An Interview with THE BOURBONS

by Jeff Rogers
September 2013

The Bourbons are a rock band from the outskirts of Lisbon in Portugal. The band started in fall of 2011 with musicians who shared a common desire to play rock music inspired by bands from the 70s through the 90s.

They released their first album, "BAR," and are currently at work on a new record. Senior staff writer Jeff Rogers caught up with the band and found out a little about their sound, their style ... and their choice of beverage!

Rough Edge: The Bourbons have been playing music since 2011 and you guys already have an album out entitled "Best Amazing Reasons" -- which, when put into an acronym, spells B.A.R., and your name is The Bourbons. Was there a little wordplay involved in the title?

The Bourbons: Yes! We choose the title "BAR" to our first record and the reason is the members of the band really like this kind of environment. We already have named this project "The Bourbons" because we all like a good whiskey flavor. So, we divided the letters and "Best Amazing Reasons" was a fine combination to us ;).

Rough Edge: What are most of your songs about and who writes the majority of the lyrics?

The Bourbons: In our first album, the lyrics were all written by Nelson Fontes, our lead singer. The subjects of those songs are mostly about our nocturnal experiences together. This was planned to be a relaxed album, the same as we search for when we come out at night and go to a bar, to drink and have fun with our friends. The songs that came after we recorded "BAR" are a little different. The lyrics are coming more in a introspective direction. The music is also a little bit heavier, but always remaining the rock roots that inspired us at the beginning.

Rough Edge: Your sound is solid. It doesn't have a bunch of fuzz to it. Have fans responded well to your style?

The Bourbons: The people we have reached so far have been positive about our work. Some like our first record, some prefer our new songs, but the agreement point between them both is they prefer to hear us live and tell us that is better than the CD. We are considering recording our next album in a live session at the studio, so we can get the energy that we transmit live into the tape.

Rough Edge:  Studio and video work captures the songs but playing live really captures the crowd. Where have you guys played and where would you like to play?

The Bourbons: Well, we have been playing at bars and clubs mostly; also some festivals. In the future we expect to be playing at some festivals, maybe opening shows to best-known bands, grow up with them and reach more people, more crowd and more fans to our music.

Rough Edge:  Have you ever thought about a bilingual album?

The Bourbons: We have been questioned about that. Sometimes people that have known us right from the start ask us about this possibility. It is not an objective at the moment, but for sure is also something that we may consider in the future. Maybe we could do a cover version to a song from a band we love since our childhood one of this days. This could be an good idea ;). 

Rough Edge: Does Lisbon, Portugal have a big following for American music and how did you guys decide what type of music to play?

The Bourbons: The people here in Portugal are great consumers for American music. When the bands come to play in here the crowd is always very receptive -- loving and noisy. We decided to play rock, because it is a kind of music that all the members of the band like very much. We are inspired by bands of 70s to 90s, such as Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, the Rolling Stones, Guns N'Roses ... so many good bands ;).

Rough Edge: Although you guys play rock music you have a sound that leans towards a Portuguese feel when the acoustics come out. Are there any traditional songs that you play?

The Bourbons: The acoustic songs were always another point that we all agree on. Most of the ideas appear when we sit with an acoustic guitar and start to improvise some chords. We like to feel the organic sounds coming from the strings, voices and small drum kits. That's the environment in which we gather to compose. When the songs sound good in acoustic, we know already that they will sound equal in a electric version. Playing any traditional songs in the future may be a challenge that we could get ourselves into. Who knows if we join this experience when we make a bilingual album ;).

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Copyright 2013 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 31 Jul 2018 23:38:09 -0400 .