Born in 1973; Santo Amaro da Boiça – Figueira da Foz
The beginning of Cláudio Mateus’ musical journey, dates back to 1993, when he formed “Gnose” with three childhood friends, with common music interests. With this band, he gives his first steps in music compositing, inspired by bands such as The Velvet Underground, Talking Heads or Sonic Youth. Of his first creative endeavors, around 20 original songs came to existence, some of which would be further developed in future projects. The Gnose split up in 1996, leaving only some live recordings, such as their première concert at the Auditório do Museu Municipal of Figueira da Foz, and their memorable performance at the “Estas coisas acontecem” Festival in Montemor-o-Velho, where they played with bands such as Tina and the Top Ten and Clã.
CAFFEINE (1997 -2004)
Caffeine started as a covers band playing songs by Neil Young, Tom Waits and Velvet Underground. After a few months, the members of the band started working on their own originals and recorded an EP with ten songs written by Cláudio Mateus. This EP was considered one of the best EPs of the year of 1998, by the Diário de Notícias. Caffeine gave concerts all around the country, visiting concert halls, such as the Teatro Tivoli, the Aula Magna, Ritz Club, CCB and Coliseu dos Recreios. The band was widely recognized in the national press and they performed opening shows for Dakota Suite and Day One. Soon, the band launched the EP “Caffeine”, the single “Music for Streap Tease” (soundtrack of the theater play “Fish Bird & Beast”) and the album Caffeine, mixed and post-produced by Tony Cohen. Following the presentation of their first album, the band performed opening concerts for the Icelandic band Sigur Rós and for Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. The band broke up in 2004, after recording their second album, “Last Shot”, which was later released by Honeysound.
2006 – Electric Willow starts taking shape in the beginning of 2006, following the composition of new songs by Cláudio Mateus, after the end of Caffeine. The musician starts this project looking for a more direct and personal approach to his own music, and tries to reduce the “clothing” of his own compositions to the essential, by losing the esthetics of abundance, used in the days of Caffeine.
Together with the bass player Adílio Sousa and the drummer Pedro Geraldo, he forms the trio, which, after a few rehearsals, heads to the studio and records the first album of original songs by EW.
Luís Pedro Silva recorded the album, produced by Cláudio Mateus, between March and July 2006 at the Long Play studio in Santana – Figueira da Foz. The album´s final mix and mastering was led by José Arantes. In studio, the band also counted with the collaboration of Susana Filipe (voice) and Marco Alves (trombone).
In October, the first Electric Willow EP is released, with the songs “Ready” and “Be for real”. Around the same time, the band is invited to participate in the album “Acorda” (Antena 3), in which they present the themes “Ready” and “Rock and roll song”.
The first album, “Mood Swing”, was released in December of the same year, by the label Transporte, with the support of Honeysound and the Theatro Circo, and was presented as “an album of alternative rock which lines up songs of intimate character, with a very characteristic sound, in which Cláudio Mateus reaches a new state of maturity in the composition of songs and within the domain of a more personal and authentic musical discourse”.
The band closes the year with presentation concerts for the new album, and the live performances count with the collaboration of the guitar player Nuno Fernandes, who would come to cooperate regularly with the trio.
2007 – Electric Willow begin the year of 2007 presenting their first album. Along with the concerts, Cláudio Mateus keeps composing and taking to the rehearsal room new themes.
In the summer of 2007, Electric Willow move forward to create their second original album, with co-production of José Arandes and recorded in the band’s rehearsal room in Santo Amaro da Boiça – Figueira da Foz and the Oops! Studio in Barcelos. This album also has the collaboration of a wide range of musicians, while it assumes in a more cohesive way the sonorities coming from “Mood Swing”.
The EP Electric Willow II was released in November, with three songs of the new album.
The same year, the band participated in the album TOG, released by Honeysound. In this album, the label invites six different projects to recreate a version of one of the other bands’ themes. The artists collaborating in this record were The Partisan Seed, Walter Benjamin, Nuno Fernandes, Mazgani, Electric Willow and A Milieu.
2008 – The second album by Electric Willow “Nothing’s ever good enough”, was released in the beginning of 2008, by Honeysound. The record conquered praises and was presented as a cohesive group of songs of intimate feeling, in which the strong melodic sense of the voice crosses over with acoustic sonorities and electric samples of a more mature rock.
Filipe Miranda referred to this work in these terms: “There are composers who always have their personal path, without fashions, collective movements or momentary tendencies. Cláudio Mateus is one of them, in his exigency, concentration, dedication… and it is together with his band members, Pedro Geraldo and Adílio Sousa – the trio Electic Willow – that musical jewels such as “Nothing’s ever good enough” rise.
The album’s release tour happened throughout 2008 and 2009, counting with the participation of Susana Filipe (keyboards and voice) and Mário Batista (electric guitar).
2009 – The year of 2009 starts with concerts and rehearsal sessions, in which a new set of songs takes shape.
Between April and July, the band starts recording eleven new themes, which would embody the third album of originals.
The album counted, once more, with the recording, mixing, mastering and co-production of José Arantes, Cláudio Mateus’s great partner in the conception and caption of Electric Willow’s sonority.
“Blunders”, the presentation single of the album is released online, and “Majestic Lies”, the band’s third album, is released in October by the loyal Honeysound, and with distribution of Compact Records.
J. J. Novo presents the album: “From Figueira da Foz arrives another excellent album of originals by Electric Willow. Majestic Lies does not hide the desire of the band to show its audience their mastery of songs well sang and full of an outstanding musical know how. The singular and mysterious voice of Cláudio Mateus, always so authentic in its lightness and unstoppable, even in silence, alternates with guitar insinuations and velvety battery and drum rhythms. Majestic Lies is nothing more than a music record from the band. However, it also desires to be a living element in our cultural consciousness”.
Cláudio Mateus’ creative rhythm was corresponded by Adílio Sousa and Pedro Geraldo and the good chemistry between the band members, in their approach to music, allowed the project to come to an end, after three years, with three original albums of rare consistency.
2010 – The band starts the year with the “Majestic Lies” tour, in which the songs of the new album meet with older themes.
Cláudio Mateus invites the guitar player Nuno Fernandes once again to accompany the trio and the four musicians give some of the best live performances by Electric Willow. 2010 was not only a year of concerts, but also of new compositions.
2011 – In March, the Electric Willow leave the rehearsal room for four concerts, followed by two recording sessions, in which they register the rhythmic bases of ten new songs.
The following recording sessions stop for some periods of time and last until the mid of 2012.
Finally, in September 2012, the presentation EP of the fourth original album by Electric Willow is released online. “Stir” and “Blue in Everyone” are the two songs of the EP, released by Honeysound.
The new album, entitled “Electric Willow IV” was co-produced by Luís Pedro Silva, whom also assured the recording, mixing and mastering.