“Berlin has got a lot of fresh art and culture pumping through its veins. I feel the audience is open to experience a diverse palate of sounds.”
You know you’re getting lazy when the musician writes the intro for you. But in my defense, Seven Eyes are the experts in getting the general public on board with fantastically diverse music.
Just have a listen to their stuff, say, at Prachtwerk next Thursday 20th. Paulo is a classically trained but very versatile guitarist from Brazil. And Tanya is a pretty unique singer: she doesn’t just have a superb voice she’s also earnt a loyal Indian following, for her use of Hindustani classical techniques that she’s spent her career studying.
When you listen to Seven Eyes, you feel like the globetrotter you always wished you were – the globetrotters that Tanya & Paolo actually are. Here’s a single off the new album:
Need any more invitation? Tanya’s last performance in Berlin, she “sang an Urdu song, playing guitar, thumping dancing bells strapped to my ankle for rhythm. People seemed to like it.” I’m sure that’s an understatement.
iB: How does the magic happen?
Tanya: Paulo and I have always found it easy to jam. Sometimes Paulo will play a melody on his guitar, and then I’d come in with vocals adding lyrics, and we’d build the idea until we have a form that flows. The Seed album worked just like that. We wrote it quickly and spontaneously.
Paulo: Yes, and this is all an intuitive process, rather than a rational one.
iB: Who are your favourite giants, to stand on their shoulders?
Tanya: In no particular order: Ella Fitzgerald, Lauryn Hill, Bob Dylan, Lior, Joni Mitchell, Randy Newman, Natacha Atlas, Nina Simone, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Bon Iver, Jeff Buckley, Mehdi Hassan, Ustad Rashid Khan, my teacher Pt. Prabhakar Dhakde Guruji.
iB: Coy, Paulo. What’s your live game like?
Paulo: I prefer to play in a situation where people want to absorb what we have to say as artists. It’s not about the number, but the message.
Tanya: There’s nothing like seeing the expressions on people’s faces and hearing their reactions up close.
iB: Have you ever really f’ed things up on stage?
Paulo: I’ve had my moments. One that marked me was forgetting my capo when we performed at the United Nations in New York and I needed to transpose the song on the spot whilst we performed. We got away with it in the end, thank God!
Mountains and valleys: keep going…
iB: You’ve been on tour lately. What’s been blasting through the van stereo?
Tanya: It’s been pretty amazing listening to Vaughan William’s The Lark Ascending whilst driving through the Lake District up to Scotland. Makes for a beautiful drive. We were also listening to Brazilian artists Hamilton de Hollanda, also Jacob Collier, Cinematic Orchestra, Bon Iver.
iB: Couldn’t have called it. And what lies ahead for Seven Eyes?
Tanya: We’re already writing new songs for our second album which we hope to record at the end of this year into next year. It may have a similar style to The Seed in terms of our influences with Hindustani classical music, folk, Brazilian music etc. And we look forward to collaborate with great artists around the world.
iB: In ten years’ time you look back to today and think:
Paulo: Hopefully I would think it was nice to do that.
Tanya: Mountains and valleys. Keep going…
Paulo, you’re right, and Tanya, please do.
Student small fry, country boy in the big city, with inky fingers and a travel guitar.