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Articles Home » Music Talk » Discussing Mercury Retrograde with Hugo Ferreira Pavement Entertainment October 5, 2018
Discussing Mercury Retrograde with Hugo Ferreira Pavement Entertainment October 5, 2018

Discussing Mercury Retrograde with Hugo Ferreira
Pavement Entertainment
October 5, 2018

By Nina McCarthy, Sr. Music Journalist Boston Rock Radio


Tantric is:
Hugo Ferreira – Vocals
Troy Patrick Farrell – Drummer
Jaron Gulino – Bass
Sebastian Labar – Guitar

The new album, Mercury Retrograde, is now available via Pavement Entertainment as of October 5, 2018. Pick up the album digitally and at major retailers Walmart and Meijer. Hugo and I had a nice chat about the album title, emotions, and being Pisces. Pick up the record and see why I love it!



HF: What did you think of the new album?


BRR: I loved it, but I had someone else review it because I felt biased.


HF: Why would you be biased?


BRR: I guess biased isn’t the right word. I know you guys and I’ve seen you live many times.  I wanted a neutral opinion. Plus, I do almost all of the interviews, so I don’t have a lot of time for reviews.


HF: I see. It’s kind of like you already have love for us.  When we were done recording it and I looked back on writing and recording it, it felt good.  All the songs felt meek and warm and very natural.  I was wondering to myself if it was just me and hoping to myself that I didn’t just think it was the shit and trying to convince myself of that.  But, it did make me feel different than the other records.  I love all the records, but with each one it’s a different kind of love that you have for it.


BRR: Exactly, they are all very different.  The title Mercury Retrograde intrigued me. I had heard the term but decided to read more about the meaning. Due to the way our own orbit interacts with those of the other planets, they might sometimes appear to be traveling backward through the night sky with respect to the zodiac. This is, in fact, an illusion, which we call apparent retrograde motion. It's an optical illusion created when Mercury catches up to and then passes Earth in its orbit around the sun. These times in particular were traditionally associated with confusions, delay, and frustration and can be an excellent time to take a step back and reanalyze who you are and what you are doing.  Last time I interviewed you, you hadn’t yet decided on an album title but you did say the new album was symbolic of the last 3 years of your life, which were very challenging.  Without getting too personal, can you delve a little further into some of the challenges you had to overcome?


HF:  There is a personal attachment to it. I’m a little bit cynical about the town I grew up in because I’ve had a horrible three years.  Everybody has chapters of their lives were we just fucking struggle.  Everything happened at once and I felt I could never recover from it and I thought someone was cursing me.  It got to the point where I was sitting around and started calling live horoscopes.  There were many that just said what they had to say to keep me on the phone, but then there was one that resonated.  Like you, I had never heard of Mercury being in retrograde and it throws everything into a spin, but it also gets personalized at certain times.  Like it will be worse for a Piscean year...but I don’t pretend to know it all.  After I got out of that seemly endless cloud of “what the fuckness,” the album came out of it, it’s always true that from some of the worse experiences have come the most incredibly beautiful and resilient things. I can’t even believe that came out of that.  Things happened and they happened very naturally.  When you go through a very painful or traumatic, emotionally charged experience, so much that your body has to regurgitate it in some way, for me to purge it in a song and that becomes a song that is the difference between what becomes a magic song and not magic song. It was a natural thing for me. I get real quiet when I get super sad and that’s the only way I really know how to deal with it.  Some people write it in a journal. Some people take it out on someone else.  To me it was a combination of that, and after it was all written, I could perform it and I didn’t have to live there; you just have the results. I think it’s kind of why it came out that way. Who knows what song of yours is going to be a hit?  I’m always expecting none to be, or I’m completely wrong.


BRR: With titles like “Angry,” “Tether,” and “The Last Stumble,” we can all certainly relate to these songs as we all have our own struggles in life.    Now, the lead single "Letting Go" was released July 26, 2018.  How has the feedback been from your fans?


HF:  It was really great that it all worked out like it did.  Todd (the original guitar player) was and always will be an irreplaceable member because he was such a unique player and songwriter.  We recorded the third Tantric record that never came out during this interim of how music was bought.  This was in the collapse of it where people realized there were digital and downloads, etc. We recorded this whole incredible record, which is the Tantric 3 record, which I still love.  A week before we were releasing it, everything imploded on itself, not for any reason of anyone.  It was just a combination of many things.  Everyone started giving up and it was disillusioning when everything you worked for kept falling, then you work again and it falls.  After a while, a lot of people just said, “Fuck this!” and they decide to go into a different field or they find love and it’s all that was needed.  After everyone had kind of gone and did their own thing, I knew this is what I had to do.  I’m too stupid to know I can’t do stuff sometimes. It was what I was going to do and I was going to brave all of this crap and totally win.  I had planned on releasing that CD at that time on Warner Brothers, but as I was going through them at that time period it became disillusioning.  I ended up writing more songs and that ended up taking precedence because we were working with Jeff Hanson at Warner Brothers at that time and he said we weren’t going to do the old songs, we were going to do the new songs because they were current with my emotions and they were a reflection of the death of music or the re-birth of how it was going to survive.  So, we put that record on a shelf.  “Letting Go” was supposed to be one of the single lead tracks on that record; at least we all felt that when it got to that point. We all thought it was a great record, but there was so much bullshit involved in releasing our own music because that record was done, but the masters were owned by a different division of that label.  We were already exhausted at that point so we continued to write music.  By “we” I meant “me” because I was the only one left at that point.  When we decided to do that song again,  I wanted to be true to it, so we actually had Todd play the guitars on it,  just like he did when we first recorded it.  It’s an updated version and it’s actually better because there is an added ingredient in there, which is Lebar.  We did the harmonies we were going to do anyway and then we had Todd double them. It wasn’t as prominent as the first recording, but it was natural and it was cool.


BRR: It’s one of those songs that when you hear it, you know it’s Tantric. Instrumentally, it definitely reminds me of “Breakdown.”  (Note: We are playing “Letting Go” on Boston Rock Radio and it can be requested on our homepage.)


HF: Right. It has a lot of southern guitars.  That’s kind of a deviation of picking on a banjo but you’re still attacking a 6 string guitar kind of like you would a rhythmic part on a banjo.  But, it’s smoothed out, but basically influenced by that, and I think that’s what made “Breakdown” so big and the other songs we came to be known for. So, I’m glad people felt like that.  When you look at your own work, it’s so hard to judge yourself.  It’s definitely feels good though to know that it’s not a forced thing and everyone is starting to like it more.  I’m trying not to get too excited.


BRR: : I saw a post on Facebook that Jaron posted and it was moving up the charts already.


HF: Yeah, even though Jaron is a member of Tantric and played on this album, he has never experienced things to this caliber yet, so it’s exciting.  All the members that played on that album are currently in the band, so they are very connected too. It’s not like they are just hired players to imitate what I did on the record.  It’s exciting to see us swing at something that ridiculously has so many things going against it and every now and then making a little bit of contact to the ball.  It’s what I need for right now to be done for another five years. (laughing)


BRR: As far as the slower songs on the album, “My Forever” is my favorite.  What made you decide to also include an acoustic version of the song as the concluding song?


HF:  That song I wrote full on with instrumentation.  I don’t always write songs with just me and an acoustic guitar.  I have always had the theory that if a song is good and it’s just you and that instrument, as you add more ingredients to that pizza, it’s going to be good because it has that good root.  But in this particular situation, I wasn’t the first one to do it because my long time friend Chuck Alkazian (Producer) took it upon himself to say to mute all the instrumentation and it sounded really good.  Ballad type songs always sound really good when they are broken down.  Then we added a piano and it became a whole different version.  We probably could have tried it on every one of the songs on the album and not all of them would make you go, “Wow.”  It’s just two different elevations of that song.  It’s just an appropriate song for that.


BRR: As far as the full album, I have read reviews from various outlets and they all say they think this is your best album yet, which I concur.  Do you agree?


HF: If you listen to all the records I’ve ever done, they all have different feelings and I understand why people like certain records over other records but I never really write for anyone else except myself, I guess.  I do understand how it’s more obvious and digestible with the energy it protrudes.  Sometimes it’s easier to digest emotionally when there are certain tones musically.  I did some pretty experimental stuff.  It’s easy to like because it’s what you grew up liking to begin with and a little bit of what you’ve always loved.  I could just be talking out my ass this whole time.  I don’t actually know these answers to be true.  I don’t actually listen to my records after I’m done recording them.


BRR: I think this album has a touch of all the old albums and that’s what I think makes it so good.


HF: That’s what Jaron said.  I really don’t try to define it but I listen to what people say because they are all valid opinions because it’s perceptions.  To me, I’m so close to all of it that it is really hard for me to tell if I like it because it’s my kid.  I just try to be sincere about everything I write and completely honest about what it is because you know if you are bullshitting yourself.  But this album came across smooth and was really effortless to record.  We recorded the whole thing in like ten days.  That’s craziness.


BRR: Like you said, all the songs are yours and they all have a personal meaning, so I see what you mean by it being really hard to say what is better than the other.


HF: Right. I don’t have kids, but I imagine it would be like having eight kids that are all completely different but have some similarities and love them all equally, but you don’t like them all equally at all times.  That’s one of the reasons I’m not a parent, because I’d be like, “I don’t even like you kids.”  (laughing)


BRR: Like I said, I have the album and love it and have listened to it over and over. What would you say personally to encourage our readers to buy the new album and get them excited for it?


HF: It’s a real obvious thing.  Whether it is me or someone else, the mediums of music being sold are becoming ever changing and dwindling at the same time.  Artists of all sorts are finding different ways of still staying in this business.  If you love somebody’s cannolis from their bakery the only way to make sure that they are still there is to buy them and understand that it is not their obligation to buy our records but we can only survive with everybody.  I don’t even know how new artists even start these days.  When we came up we still sold millions of records. Now it’s like, how do you live when there is no form of steady income, other than iTunes, but you can’t sell iTunes out of the back of your truck.  But, music will never die.  It will always be one common human trait.  I really hope people do go and buy it though because I love to do it. I love the moments when I’m out there on that stage and I’m looking out and I can really see that particular person and they feel it even though it may not be their personal story, it may be their own story.  That is the greatest feeling, when you can create something that moves somebody.  That’s the whole point of it.


BRR: I’m sure songwriting is a continuous process for you, but now that Mercury Retrograde is done and released, have you started planning a next album?


HF: I’m always writing music whether I have a guitar on me or I’m walking  the street because my form of contemplating and the language it comes out as, even if it’s just myself and I’m quiet, is in the form of melody and rhythm and patterns.  Right now all I think we can do is go as hard as we can over the next year or two, don’t complain, and really work hard for it and really gain traction and become something special and really hope it becomes what it is.  I’ll still love the record exactly as much as I did and I’ll have no regrets.  It would be nice to bring home a trophy, I guess, metaphorically speaking.  I think that the listeners that support us through the years grow with us and they understand that this shit isn’t easy.  I see them and now they have their 16 or 17 yo kid with them and they have lived their whole lifes and I’m still here performing for them and this is my life.  Even when they aren’t listening, this is still my life and I think they are more aware of that and really realize how you have to love this to do it or else, you’re just fucking nuts.  Nobody else could do this unless you love it.  I don’t know how to do anything else.


BRR: It’s your way of expressing yourself.  You’re storytelling and releasing your own emotions.  


HF: I am an epitome of a freakin’ Pisces.  I love feeling and to be in that spot as a person who creates it.  Pisces are ode to sensitivity type of people.  All of us are.  We will help anybody.  Some of my favorite song writers are Pisces, so I just happen to know why I am that way. So, go Pisces!


 BRR: We talked about us both being Pisces in our last interview.  You said, “We’re fucked!”  We are caring, but can also be dangerous. I’m very stubborn, which you obviously are when it comes to continue writing music despite what happens in the ever changing industry.


HF:  We throw shit to the wind and see what happens.  


BRR: I won’t take any more of your time...


HF: You aren’t taking my time.  You are part of this machine that at the end of the day is going to help us and keep us going, so I appreciate your time and I appreciate your listening throughout the years.  You, and people like you, are part of anything positive that happens for us.  It’s a really important part of it.


BRR: Thanks again, Hugo for taking the time to chat with me about Mercury Retrograde and congrats on this masterpiece.  I’ll see you in a few weeks at The Vault in New Bedford, MA.  I’ll also be bringing my friend Lisa that wrote the excellent review and it will be her first time seeing you live!  


HF: You can do a shit ton of shots and I’ll just sit there.


BRR: I don’t think so.  I have to drive home that night.


HF: It’s not that I quit drinking or anything, it’s just that I kind of grew out of it and I just don’t really like the taste of alcohol.  Now it’s completely a whole different experience because you’re completely sober as your friends are getting hammered out of their minds.  It makes more sense when you’re there with them though or else they’re obnoxious.  I don’t do shots anymore though, maybe a little wine, but to me being sober and clear headed is in itself a buzz.  I don’t know how anyone can actually like beer.  But, are you going to go have a drink now?  I’m headed to Providence.


BRR: We could have done this interview over a drink.  I’m actually doing this from home from bed because I had a migraine today so I have been drugged up trying to prepare.


HF: You know what I have to do after this?  I have to go sign 14 billion thousand trillion mother fucking CD covers for all the people that bought the CDs on Pledge.  It’s like moving a brick from one hand to the other for hours.  If I had a signature stamp and had someone just moved the pieces over, what difference would it make?  I’m still holding the stamp.


BRR: People wouldn’t know that though.  So be good and go do it for your fans.  See you soon!


BRR Album Review: http://bostonrockradio.com/forum3/articles.php?article_id=391


iTunes: https://apple.co/2x0ZxFg

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2x0ZPvD



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