Interview with Renato Malizia of The Blog That Celebrates Itself and TBTCI Records
Renato Malizia has been promoting quality music for the past decade with his site The Blog That Celebrates Itself, compiling song files and networking around the world seeking music from the shoegaze, psychedelic and dream pop genres. On The Blog, Renato interviews bands and includes song files to listen. More recently he started a Bandcamp page for TBTCI Records, featuring covers compilations from the likes of Cocteau Twins, Chapterhouse, Ride, Yo La Tengo, Nirvana, My Bloody Valentine, The Cure and Siouxsie & The Banshees along with many other non-cover compilations and single artist releases. The most recent release is Just For A Life, A Homage to Slowdive. Included in the comp is a cover of the song Slowdive by Whimsical that was given love on social media by Slowdive themselves.
I contacted Renato recently to find out more about what makes this man tick, why he loves music and about the music scene in his hometown of Sao Paulo, Brazil and this is what he had to say.
When did you first start The Blog That Celebrates Itself? Why did you do it?
First of all, thank you very much Bret for the space, it will be delightful to talk with you about TBTCI.
Well it all started nine years ago, in fact I was a little tired of what happened in the music in the 2000s, for me what was made of really good that decade was made in the underworld of the underground and nothing I really liked was given value, for example bands like Skywave, Alcian Blue, Air Formation among others, simply these bands were ignored at that time. And the TBTCI began just like an outburst of mine in relation to the mediocrity that prevailed at the time. But I wrote things like someone who writes a personal diary, I never imagined anyone would read or pay attention.
Until I met the band 93 Million Miles From The Sun, this was My Space’s golden age and I met their record label at the time, Northern Star and the owner, Scott Causer suggested that I start interviewing the bands of Northern Star, and from then on I have not stopped, and here we are with more than 2000 interview, imagine, over 2000 bands that really deserve to be heard.
How has The Blog changed over the years? How has technology helped you to spread the word about good music?
As I said above, the first change was to start making TBTCI a vehicle for the bands to speak, not me, in my opinion review site exists in the hills, and I did not want TBTCI to be just another one, and so I focused solely and exclusively on giving the space for the artists to talk about themselves, their experiences, in short, the word is theirs.
Of course I always give my introduction, but I’m not a journalist, I’m just a fan of music, so my reviews or introductions are always in the first person, that is, who I interview I really like, and I like a lot, but coming back, with the passing of years technologies have been changing, we have many social networking tools today (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram) and all should be used as mechanisms for dissemination, and I as a graduate in marketing, I know how to use these tools.
But currently, the main and fundamental tool is, interactivity, that is, each artist must interact with the others, and thus form a bond, and I see more and more bands and people doing it, with that, doors open and bigger possibilities appear .
Who has been one of your favorite bands or artists to interview over the years?
It may sound like protectionism, but it’s not, every band, even if it has not released anything official, only demo versions, have something to say, and that fascinates me, so every interview in my opinion is very important.
I can say that interviewing people like Adam Franklin (Swervedriver), Dean Garcia (Curve / SPC ECO), Stephen Lawrie (Telescopes), David Callahan (The Wolfhounds), Oliver Ackermann / Paul Baker / John Fedowitz (Skywave / APTBS / Ceremony / Static Daydream), Jake and Kim Reid (Alcian Blue / Screen Vinyl Image), Mark Gardener (Ride) were very special
You also started The Blog That Celebrates Itself Records with many compilations and single band releases. When did you start this and how has the reception been so far?
Well it all began in 2012, we did the trilogy of three EPs from Robsongs, then came more Brazilian bands like Bela Infanta, and we did six volumes with bands from all over the world that I had already interviewed where I gave names of colors (Black, Blue, Pink, Yellow, White, Green) there were more than 72 bands in all gratuitous compilations in the Bandcamp, and from that moment, I was beginning to think about new projects to spread the bands, and also to revere the bands that all we like.
The reception of the honorees as well as the people and especially of the bands that participate are geniuses, all have fun and end up opening new horizons and promoting their music to new audiences. It’s what I mentioned above, networking is fundamental.
Do you make money for the artists via your Bandcamp page and compilations? Are you able to do this full-time or do you have a day job?
You see, all projects are free, which is fundamental, because even when I ask for permission for the bands there is a rule in not charging people, what happens is that everyone likes and contribute to what we do, and with that everything remains free. [There] are more than 60 records, the average monthly downloads of TBTCI reaches 1200, and everything that people contribute I revert to the cost with downloads, that is, everything always remains free.
But I have a dream, someday I’ll be able to release the bands that I like on vinyl, or cassette formats, and you can believe, I’ll do it, wait and see.
Ah, yes, I divide the activities of TBTCI with my normal work, which is marketing and also I venture to be a Uber driver 😉
What is a typical day for you Renato?
As I said above, I work a lot all day, marketing, uber, and listen to music all day basically, I read, I search, I’m hyper active, for me the day could have a few more hours, so I would sleep with those extra hours And would produce all day;)
I imagine you’re always listening and looking for new bands. Where do you find them and what are some keywords you’re using? Do you have anyone with good taste you can rely on to let you know about new bands to interview and/or be included on your compilations?
I read and research a lot, I listen to music hours and hours a day, I get a lot of material from bands that read TBTCI, many great, some not so much, but I try to listen to everything, and I try to give everyone back.
Perhaps the main means of communication today is Greg Wilson’s DKFM, he’s a person who, like me, is restless, is always attentive to everything, another person I admire is Amber When The Sun Hits‘ owner, I read from the first days of life, and of course, countless good friends on social networks, such as Lee Bridestine, Sheila Villareal, Pedro Damian, Patrice Gutschenritter, Toze Cardoso, Fabrizio Lusso, Dead Shoegaze Bromley and many others who have a taste and are people like me fanatic by music.
What are some of the criteria you use when deciding what bands to put on your releases?
I make the selections first based on what the bands say, that is, I search inside the TBTCI itself, see, when I went to select the bands for the Slowdive tribute for example, I searched the TBTCI, simple as that.
Of course, I also look for, see influences, and organize in a logical way, but the starting point is always the interviews in the TBTCI itself.
How large is your list of bands? Are they organized alphabetically or by genre?
Wow, I honestly have no idea, I’m a music collector. I always organize as follows:
What bands do you want to work with in the future that have been elusive up until now?
Hmmmmm, You know everyone has always been very receptive to my invitations, but it’s always a matter of making the invitation at the right time and place, and I hope I still get hit with Airiel, Miniatures, Singapore Sling and make another work with Screen Vinyl Image and Bloody Knives😉
What is the scene like in your home town? Who are some of your favorite local bands?
The scene here in Sao Paulo and in Brazil is big and at least time closed, particularly I think the bands here should think globally and not only in the domestic market, that is the great defect of most bands here.
I like a lot of bands like Ceus de Abril, Loomer, The John Candy, The Sorry Shop, Chalk Outlines, Second Come, Pin Ups, Sileste, PELVs, The Cigarettes, Traveling Wave, The Us, Lava Divers, Camile Claudel, Justine Never Knew The Rules, Giallos, Kid Foguete, Stellamaris… to name a few.
Do you see lots of live bands? What is your favorite venue?
Yes, I see many, I would like to see a lot more, but the promoters of shows here in Brazil are mediocre, and we have unfortunately few shows from outside the country, but bands that do not tell me anything.
I really like a venue here called 74 Club, it’s the best place in Sao Paulo, cold beer, good friends, a perfect environment and an extremely loud sound.
Are there many music shops or places to talk about music?
There are three specialized stores here in Sao Paulo, Locomotiva Discos and Sensorial Discos and Velvet Discos, both are perfect places to meet and research and talk about music, and….my house as well hahahahahaha.
Are you a music collector? What is one of your favorite albums, CDs, shirts, etc?
Aaaah my friend, I am a collector of music, vinyls, cds, k7s, T-shirts, I buy a lot is part of me.
Well, my top five is: Psychocandy – J&MC / Closer – Joy Division / White Light White Heat – V.U. / Playing with Fire – Spacemen 3 / My Bloody Valentine – Isn’t Anything. Oh shit, don´t forget …..Sister – Sonic Youth.
What keeps you doing the Blog and Label? Who are some of the people and bands that make this all worth doing?
I’ve met many people in these almost ten years of TBTCI, extremely special people, in fact, what keeps it all alive, are the bands, whenever I listen to something new, new even know, with quality it fills me with energy and satisfaction to continue, this is the main fuel.
But I need to take advantage of your asking and thank some people more than special, my friends, Michele (my wife), Fabio Bridges, Cicero J., Dimitry Uziel (the TBTCI artist, he’s a genius) Paul Baker, Krissy Vanderwoude, Anders and Charles from The 0ffering, Jeff McCollough from Blackpool Astronomy, Nick Noble from 93MMFTS, my god, the list is endless, please feel all duly thankful, each of you who daily live this journey.
(by Bret Miller)