Q&A: Renato Malizia, of Brazil's The Blog That Celebrates Itself

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A bit over a month ago, we released a Q&A with Jairo Manzur, the Colombian editor and sole music journalist for his blog, Latinoamerica Shoegaze. He has wonderful insight, a strong young mind, and a great ear in regards to Latin psych music. Nonetheless, I set out to find a slightly different perspective from another region of Latin America.

Renato Malizia is another pro blogger based in Brazil who I learn from often. He grew up listening to American rock ‘n’ roll bands like The Rolling Stones and The Beatles, because his father was a fan of those bands. He slowly began listening to Brazilian rock bands like Ira! in the ’80s, as well as to the legendary NYC punk group, The Ramones. Renato dug further into his passion for music and began to read about music history and was fascinated by English post-punk bands like The Cure, The Smiths, Joy Division and Cocteau Twins, not knowing a new genre of music would stem from these bands in Lat-Am and would be the most influential sounds in his life.

In 1987, Renato experienced the emerging and very instrumental rock genre called shoegaze. The album Psychocandy, by the English band Jesus and Mary Chain, changed his life, and Renato has been on a pursuit to document music in his blog, The Blog that Celebrates Itself, while promoting and DJing events all over São Paulo, Brazil.

Because of Renato’s history with shoegaze and alternative music, I knew he would be able to give more insight on how shoegaze and psychedelic music truly infiltrated Latin America. He simply has a rich understanding and a great writing ability that I’d like to share.

Check out what Renato Malizia has to say about his personal music journey, his perspective of the history of Latin shoegaze and psychedelia, and his fervent interest in popular American and British shoegaze bands that keep his taste well rounded and eclectic.

Which bands do you really think made an impact on Spanish/Portuguese speaking countries?

The ’80s were the basis for the vast majority of music lovers with bands like The Smiths, Echo & The Bunnymen, Cocteau Twins, Jesus & Mary Chain, Sonic Youth, Pixies and My Bloody Valentine. In my opinion, they were the ones responsible for changing concepts and defining new directions in music in Latin America.

How did you become involved in psych and shoegaze music?

In 1987, I heard The Jesus and Mary Chain and heard Psychocandy. From there on, I devoured musical movements and genres such as Class of 86, punk, proto punk, etc. The second band that influenced and changed my life was My Bloody Valentine. When I heard their album Isn’t Anything, I was starting to play guitar in my own band. That sounds completely intrigued me. I wanted to understand how that guy Kevin Shields did it, and I became a big fan of shoegaze.

My introduction to psychedelic music was when The Jesus and Mary Chain played in Brazil in 1990. At that show, I met a band that changed me for the rest of my life called Spacemen 3. When I heard their song “Revolution,” I was completely stunned by their sound, and from then on, I became a devotee Spacemen 3. Thereafter, I just embraced any band that had anything to do with the Spacemen 3.


Why did you start The Blog that Celebrates Itself (TBTCI)?

The big reason why I started writing TBTCI was to express my personal taste. I never imagined that the blog would take the proportion that it took, first because I write in a personal way and I’m not worried about doing media for anyone. I publish what I love and never anything I dislike.

TBTCI has now existed for almost four years, and during these years I told the world that there is real music that’s made with love, with soul by bands that most probably never reach the general public.

I love TBTCI because it is for the sake of sharing knowledge, and its power. I love exposing bands to music lovers through interviews and spreading their music, whether it be through vinyls, CDs, or mp3s.

Do you think you have a bit more perspective on the music scene compared to younger music bloggers?

This is subjective because the vast majority of music blogs simply serve to offer downloads. Honestly, that’s not very interesting and perhaps damages the expectations of the fans. There is a purpose in this whole fucking blogging thing, so I prefer not to compare blogs with TBTCI because the goal of TBTCI is to promote the bands we love and to make people read what bands have to say. That’s it.

Is there a benefit to have more historical background when it comes to Latin psych and shoegaze?

When you identify with a song or a band, it is inevitable that you want to know the influences and context of that particular song or band, and that’s independent of being in Latin America, the United States, or Europe. When a person is born with music in his or her soul, they certainly becomes a connoisseur, and that person will automatically have a historical knowledge on that style of music. That makes his or her personal world a powerful mechanism to publicize their opinions and knowledge.

Where do you see Latin psych and shoegaze going in the future?

Like I said, when I made The Blog That Celebrates Itself, I wanted to show wonderful, well done, and underground music, so I started interviewing bands for my blog. Also, an opportunity arose for a party in São Paulo called Dopamine. 20 years of having friends in this music scene, never thought of doing this. The opportunity came abruptly. This idea of hosting parties woke me up, and I got a disturbing eagerness and willingness to get involved heavily in the scene again. From there and on, I started hosting parties called Blue Room in Espaço Cultural Walden.

There are so many great Latin band like Brazil’s The Concept, Uruguay’s The Algun Dios, Argentina’s Asalto Al Parque Zoologico, Peru’s Resplandor, Brazil’s Loomer and a ton of others. I believe that each country should promote their bands and events, and invite bands to neighboring countries, to events like the Mercosur Festival. Blogs and social networks should spread this so that the whole world will know that there is real rock music in Latin America.

We should never stop believing and having lust for live music, and fuck anyone who doesn’t like what we do. This is what moves us, this love, this fascination, this desire, this lust, this religion — something for all of us that is untouchable and beautiful, it’s MUSIC.