Time Out Rio de Janeiro

5 Minutes with... Letuce

Tuned in both in love and music, Leticia Novaes and Lucas Vasconcellos aka Letuce have just released their second album, Manja Perennial.

After five and a half years as a couple and musical duo, Letuce are confounding the cliches, maintaining a critically acclaimed output and keeping the home fires burning brightly, so what is the secret of their success? Based in Rio Comprido, they churn out challenging vignettes on life and matters of the heart, treading a careful line along the professional/personal border while simultaneously providing their audience with an intimate, occasionally voyeuristic look into their world. Time Out Rio pulls up a chair to find out what makes Letuce tick.

How do you define your sound?
We flirted with lots of styles, from rock, bolero, bossa nova and electronica until, finally, we found our true sound. The search for originality makes me reluctant to define it as anything in particular.

What has changed between the release of your debut album and now?
Our maturity on stage. We've done loads of shows and that undoubtedly influenced our recording,bringing us all together as friends and musicians (drummer Thomas and bassist Harres Fabio Lima complete the live line up) .

The lyrics play around with tone, sounds, onomatopoeias, they're pretty irreverent.
Its how we are day-to-day and work is just an extension of our emotions. To live on this planet you have to have an irreverance and sense of humor. We have no interest in faking feelings just to produce a song.

Incidentally, the name of the new album is Perennial Manja... which means?
It comes from a poem I wrote for Lucas that talked of eternity. It finished by saying: "You know forever, manja perennial?" Manja is a word from the '20s and '30s, and I like the way it sounds. Perennial just means enduring forever - I like to use less obvious words.

The second album explores the body parts. Bones, flesh, heart, leg...
It is a carnal record, wrapped in tactile emotions. The body is the best amusement park.

The songs seem very auto-biographical, who does most of the writing Luke or Leticia?
The songs are all ours, but the last track is by André Dahmer, and "Anatomia Sexual" was written by our bass player, Fabio Lima. Our drummer also collaborated on "Fio Solto" and "Insoniazinha." The rest are all ours. The initial ideas often come from me, my everyday thoughts and observations, then Lucas drops in a melody and some lyrics. But there's a beautiful track on there that is all his, "Areia Fina."

There is a lot of audience interaction at your shows, what is it about that side of the performance you like? 
Deep, deep down, I'm shy. I'm so afraid of the stage and when i'm up there I get so intimidated by people that I prefer to bring them closer.

What are your musical influences?
Everything you can imagine, from Roberto Carlos, to Raça Negra, PJ Harvey, Janis Joplin, Tom Jobim, The Smiths, Rolling Stones. And just to counter that, '90s axé, Caetano (Veloso), Coco Rosie and Air.

Do you see a trend in experimental new bands that are emerging?
Yes, some projects are pointing to a creativity-focused experimentalism, not that the song format has fallen by the wayside, but we've seen that, little by little, the market is opening up to different approaches.

Who are the top names in Rio's music scene today?
Negro Leo, Ava Rocha, Do Amor, Nina Becker, Qinho, Botika, Alice Caymmi, Medulla, Dorgas.

If you were to choose one song that represented your romance, what would it be?
Its impossible to choose one, but something by Sade or Roberto Carlos.

Words by Time Out Rio de Janeiro editors

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