Viniloversus is a four-member music group of Venezuela consisting of Rodrigo Gonsalves (lead vocals, guitar), Adrián Salas (bass, back-up vocals), Juan Belisario (bass, back-up vocals) and Orlando Martínez (drums).
The band’s style reaches indie rock and alternative rock.
Since 2008, Viniloversus has delivered a total of three albums, with the latest, Cambié de Nombre, releasing this year. Cambié de Nombre is currently nominated for a Latin Grammy in the category of Best Recording Package.
Gonsalves granted Campus Circle an interview while Viniloversus visited Los Angeles on a promotional tour. Here’s what he had to say:
Campus Circle: The name of the band is very unique. What can you tell us about the name? How did you come up with that name?
Rodrigo Gonsalves: Originally, the name of the band was Vinilo, which means vinyl in Spanish. We wanted to invoke an allusion to music from the 70's. Then we came to realize that several other bands in Latin America already used the name Vinilo, so we added Versus to change it up a bit. Also, we felt that Versus could invoke a contrast between music from the past and music from the present, and the name stuck.
CC: Can you tell us about the musical influences that the group has had?
RG: There are tons. Naming an influential band then is similar to trying to name your favorite food. I can tell you what I've been listening to lately though. I really like Jack Black's last album. Definitely The Beatles, even though it sounds cliché. Also Prince, I've been listening to him a lot. There are many more; we can be here all day.
CC: The band is nominated this year for a Latin Grammy in the category of Best Recording Package for Cambié de Nombre. What was the band's reaction once you found out about the nomination?
RG: It was ridiculous. It came completely out of context for us especially since we live in Venezuela, where our genre is not the main genre. When this kind of stuff happens to us, it's very surreal. It's been really special being here in L.A., because of the nomination. It's the second time it's happened to us. It's very weird, but a very fun experience. We try not to let that stuff get to our heads. Eventually we have to come back home and keep working. It's a huge compliment to your career: one of the reasons why we do music.
CC: Can you tell us about the concept of this album? How did you guys plan it? Did it come out as you guys had planned it?
RG: We aimed to evolve with this album, just like any other band. This is our third album and we really wanted to prove ourselves as musicians – not to anyone else, just to ourselves. We knew we had to suffer to make this album, and to get through that process. We worked on it for a year and a half, and changed producers. The first six songs were produced by the first producer, and the last six were produced by a different producer. It was a very rewarding experience for us as musicians.
CC: With technology changing, and the way music reaches an audience nowadays, do you think that in order for a band to be successful, there has to be some type of fusion within the lyrics or the sounds of a band's projects?
RG: Absolutely. I think it would be foolish for any band NOT to take advantage of all the tools available, like the internet, and social networks. We live through social networks. The concept of a record label in Venezuela giving money to a rock band hasn't really existed for at least the last 20 years. When social networks arose, and bands began to have web pages, it really opened up a new phase in the Venezuelan rock scene. Many bands take advantage of these new technologies. People are very active on Twitter in Venezuela. It's been very rewarding to us communication-wise. Every independent musician should take advantage of that, regardless of who you are. It's amazing we can now use these social networks, because there's no one in between. It's just you and your fans. I think that's better than the way it was before.
CC: Do you have any advice for the youth out there who might potentially want to follow in the band's footsteps in the music industry?
RG: I would say, play until your fingers bleed. Also listen to several different musicians and listen to people's recommendations of music. It's good to learn how to accept criticism.
For more information on Viniloversus, visit www.viniloversus.com.