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Interview – Animal Ventura + Stream

Stream ‘Animal’ below.

Who are you and what are you doing here?

Animal Ventura – but that’s not my real name. I was born Fernando Aragones in the capital city Porto Alegre, southern Brazil. Moved to Sydney, Australia in 2005 and have been living the dream since. I play music, most of the time, when I’m not walking my dog Maverick. I also cook a very nice Brazilian style barbecue, probably the best you’ll ever have.

When did you know you wanted to pursue music as a career?

When I was very young, probably 8 years old. My family had a beach house in a very friendly neighbourhood, and my next door neighbour had a great collection of samba percussion instruments and they’d used to go around people’s house late at night and serenade them in exchange for beer. One day they needed someone to play “surdo” (the big round bass drum) so I put my hand up and they gave me a go. Turned out I could play better than anyone else in the group and I got the spot. It was back then that I realised music was this magical thing that unites and moves people, and I pretty much haven’t stopped since. I don’t really like to call it a career, it’s way bigger than that, it’s a mission, a call and a lifestyle.

How would you describe your music?

That’s a great question but very hard to answer. I guess it’s best described as “Innate Brazilian soul, raised on Australian shores, influenced by the four corners of the world”. It has a rootsy element to it but also a modern feel, and it’s natural.

If you had to choose one song you’ve written that best defines your sound which one would it be?

I think ‘Domingo’ from my debut album ‘Forrest St.’. I choose this one because it has a bit of everything that represents me musically. Maybe not so much lyrically but more rhythmically. It also flows from English to Portuguese, and there’s a lot of Brazilian percussion too. I think it best represents my journey of moving to Australia and finding my space in the music industry here. It’s funky and has a South American spice to it.

In this day and age where anyone is pretty much able to pick up an instrument, what would you say sets you apart from the rest?

I think everyone has a unique “thing” when it comes to music. Some people are more skilled than others but that doesn’t mean they’re better or worse, because music it’s very taste orientated. I think what sets me or anyone else apart is the baggage we carry, it’s all the influences that’s imprinted deep inside and how you project them to the world. If I had to pick one thing that sets me apart, it’d be my roots, where I come from and how that shaped the music I make at this very moment.

Where are people able to hear your songs?

My music is available in every digital platform for streaming and downloading, but the best way to hear it is by visiting my website www.animalventura.com
You can also buy a physical copy on my bandcamp https://animalventura.bandcamp.com/releases
Or the best way is coming to a show to check it out live.

Are you playing any shows anytime soon?

Yes, quite a few really.
I’ll be supporting The Beautiful Girls on their 15th Anniversary Tour this summer and also doing a few side shows. You can get tickets and tour dates here

The Beautiful Girls

What is your proudest moment/greatest achievement as a musician?

Probably playing at The Christchurch Arts Festival, in the Spiegeltent alongside Paul Kelly. Also, playing at Channel V Stage at The Australian Open Of Surfing transmitted live on National TV. Also, releasing my debut album Forrest St.

Tell us 3 bands that we should be listening to/be keeping an eye out for?

Definitely listen to (if you haven’t already) Jordan Rakei’s new album Wallflower. Loving New Zealand’s Lord Echo as well, his latest album Harmonies is really good. And please do yourself a favour and listen to Pat Van Dyke, he produced and played drums in Forrest St.

Anything Else you’d like to add?

Firstly, I would like to thank you for this space and for keeping music alive and well. Also, I’d like to encourage people to go out and support live music, buy your favourite artist’s album, spread the word about it, buy their merch, stream the music, be involved with your local music scene. The industry and the way we listen to music might have changed, but the feeling of watching a live band in a dark, sweaty room with like minded people will always remain the same. Get out there!