What makes an upcoming band feel captivating? Is it their ability to create innovative, original music? Is it when they manage to stand out in their particular niche in the music world? Or is it when they create music that seems truly personal and from the heart? I’d reckon all of these are very valid answers. For Brazilian shoegazers terraplana, I think the latter is what got me.
I’ve first heard of terraplana when they were announced as the opening act for a Deafheaven concert in Brazil that I was attending. Their name followed the classic shoegaze tradition of taking two words and putting them together, and their name would translate to ‘flatearth‘, so I decided to check it out. They had just released their debut olhar pra trás, and I found myself listening to it about as much as Deafheaven before the show. While I, as a Brazilian myself, try to keep tabs on upcoming artists from my country, it’s kind of rare to find local music that truly grabs me as much as terraplana did.
They come from the often cold city of Curitiba, located at the southern region of Brazil, and play shoegaze in its purest form. There is a bit of a heavygaze presence in some riffs, something that could remind you of Holy Fawn for example, but for the most of it, it’s a band that follows closely to the thread that Slowdive has woven: dreamy, beautiful melodies with a sad but hopeful aura permeating it. While it is easy to pick up and talk about the international influences, there is much of a brazilian flavor to their DNA as well, as guitarist and founding member Vinicius says: ‘I think the band has many inspirations, a lot of them being bands we saw live at Curitiba, but I think that Boogarins is one our biggest influences. Maybe not in how they sound, but in how they do things… Their career, where they took the music and where the music took them was always an inspiration.‘
There are tons of bands out there that follow this shoegaze route, and most of the time they end up not really being that interesting to me, as they lack novelty or originality as a whole. While terraplana‘s current output is easily labeled as traditional shoegaze, I feel they have something that so many artists lack: true passion. The music is good and the music is passionate, and sometimes that’s all you need to stand out. The band definitely goes outside of the box when it comes to inspiration, and could have more layers to their next projects, as Vinicius puts it:
‘Of course we come from Slowdive and My Bloody Valentine, they created this type of music, but we try to bring references from outside of the shoegaze realm too, such as Unwound, Slint, Duster, Pinback, Bark Psychosis, Steve Reich, Milton Nascimento… well, a lot of stuff. Our references keep changing according to what we’ve been listening and writing, so our next record will not necessarily follow the same route.‘
(Note: all of the band’s comments were in portuguese and translated by me)
Despite having only an album and an EP under their belt, the band has been getting bigger in our national underground scene, with some successful shows around the country and a big upcoming show opening for the quintessential Slowdive. So maybe you’re like ‘Wow, that’s pretty impressive for a band that just came out, right?‘ Well, like most artists, what we see is just a little of how a band truly comes into fruition. Guitarist and founding member Vinicius went into detail on their history:
‘Me and Stefani wanted to have a band before we even really knew each other. We met via Twitter on 2011 and always talked about making music together. When I moved to Curitiba, in 2015, we had a few projects that didn’t came to be, but in 2017 we started to write a few songs that would be a part of our Exílio EP, and soon we met Wendeu and our former guitarist, put our compositions together, worked on a few more songs and got the EP out there. After a while, Cassiano joined the band and we’ve kept the same formation since then.‘
One of the things that certainly caught my attention as well was the band’s decision to have songs in Portuguese. When it comes to rock and metal music, most artists worldwide will prefer to sing in English, as that makes it easier for an international career and more media coverage overseas. I always find it very interesting to hear music sang in an artists native language though, as that generally results in music that has an added layer of honesty and personality to it. I talked to them about their decision to keep the music on our mother tongue:
‘Nowadays, we think it sets us apart, even more so within the type of music we make. It’s kind of hard to understand shoegaze lyrics, whatever the language, so singing in portuguese makes our stuff more sincere, we can express ourselves better and feature influences from brazilian music and literature, which is very rich lyrically and melodically.‘
Songs like “conversas” and “me encontrar” do speak much more to me because they’re sung in portuguese.
I guess that no matter how much we immerse ourselves in another language, there will always be things that can only be truly expressed and felt on our own tongue, something that is crucial in emotionally charged music. Bassist and vocalist Stephani talked to me a bit about what emotions they aim to evoke: ‘I think we want people to feel welcome and accepted in a way, because the songs are very introspective and introspection is a very personal and solitary thing, but sometimes when you see that other people feel similar things, you identify with them and feel seen and heard.‘
Despite having a somewhat fast ascension in our underground scene, terraplana, like most upcoming artists, is still not a full time endeavor for them, something that could change on the future:
‘It’s one of our focuses for sure, but not the only one, as everyone also has a normal job. The band is like our second job, because since day one we take music seriously and professionally. Of course it would be great if we could dedicate 100% of our time to the band, but life as an artist is quite uncertain and a long road to take. While it’s not a reality yet, it’s definitely something we aspire to.‘
The band is new and in a blooming phase, with their debut olhar pra trás still being fresh and having recently put out a live release called ao vivo na vinícola. Even so, the band is already looking forward to the future: ‘We are working at new songs that are going in a different direction than our first album, but I think evolving your sound, absorbing new influences and experimenting with new things is a natural and healthy path to any artist.‘
When I joined Everything Is Noise, I knew I’d do a feature on terraplana eventually, as I feel this is exactly the kind of band that needs to get out there and get more exposition. I will follow their career with great interest, and any shoegaze enthusiast should too! You may keep up to date with them via Instagram and listen to their stuff on your preferred streaming service or via their Bandcamp.
Stephani Heuczuk – vocals, bass
Vinícius Lourenço – vocals, guitar
Wendeu Silverio – drums
Cassiano Kruchelski – vocals, guitar