The man trying to spread Brazilian music across Europe. We sat down to have an interview with Dave Holmes.

Dave Holmes

Dave Holmes

Bnovamusic:We know that you are already involved in another genre of music, namely electronic music. What made you decide to become a bossa nova artist ?

Dave Holmes: After a long break from playing Samba percussion in a group called Toque Tambor, I attended the first ever ‘Encontro’ in the UK centre for Carnival Arts, where many fantastic Samba percussionists from around Europe and Brazil performed. I came away with a real surge of energy and a feeling that I had to get back to performing.

I rejoined the samba group that year, and stepped up work on my electronic live act ‘Damon Breakz’, but significantly, as soon as I got home from the Encontro, I recorded some Bossa Nova instrumentals on guitar and uploaded them to Soundcloud. I got very encouraging feedback and just kept uploading tracks, it became clear to me that this is the music I have a real affinity for.

BN: How do you think being an artist with ties to other genres and having traveled so much has affected you as a bossa nova artist?

DH: Musically, I started with classical guitar, which helps with the fingerstyle Bossa Nova technique, and the other genres and instruments I have played give me a flexibility I can call on. My Knowledge of music technology also helps with my confidence in the studio or playing live. Learning Samba drumming was the final piece of the puzzle that brought all my experience together. Bossa comes from the Samba.

Culturally, living in Portugal for a couple of years gave me an introduction to the Portuguese language and exposure to a culture that went on to seed Brazil. From 2001 I’ve had eight long trips to Brazil and for a number of years I was surrounded by Brazilian friends when here in the UK. So, I just absorbed the culture and language.

BN: Who is your favourite artist and why?

DH: Although he is not just known for Bossa Nova, Caetano Veloso is my favourite Brazilian artist. He was the first one I got into. His music is delicate, human and positive. His smile is infectious.

Outside of Bossa Nova, Hendrix and The Beatles were a huge influence on me. There are so many great artists though right? It gets harder to have a favourite the more of them I discover, everyone has a place in musical space.

BN: What are your plans for the future?

DH:There will be at least another two ‘Born To Bossa’ volumes; I’m planning the return to the studio now. While I’m there I will lay down the guitars and vocals for a couple of my original songs. A very fine Brazilian musician has recently agreed to play some bass for me, and I’d like to invite others onto the tracks too. They will be heavily influenced by Bossa Nova with Brazilian percussion and English lyrics.

I will also be traveling more; In August I’ll spend a week busking and gigging around Europe. I want to connect with the public, introducing Bossa Nova to new audiences and performing intimate gigs for those who are already Bossa Nova lovers. I am also commited to directing the international music project Cosmic Core, under my alias Damon Breakz.