Rafael Moreira Review – The Force Behind Magnetico

Among the myriad of accomplished, polished and hungry guitarists on the west coast lies a music industry battling to stay relevant in a computer age. Remaining competitive while watching opportunities slowly diminish, musicians have had to broaden their scope and become more than just unidirectional in pursuing their dreams. Savvy in his understanding of the business, Brazilian-born Rafael Moreira has defined the road to what it takes to remain on top of the game. A glimpse into his long list of self-created musical accomplishments has no doubt secured him a position at the top of rock's 'most wanted list. From countless television appearances on The Voice, American Idol, Rock Star: INXS and Rock Star: Supernova to successful tours working alongside such musical giants as Christina Aguilera, Pink, Paul Stanley (KISS) and Steven Tyler (Aerosmith) to name a few, Moreira has an incredible resumė. His latest musical release and second album with power trio Magnetico, follows the very successful “Songs About the World” from 2009. Reigniting the band with two new members, Magnetico is now fueled up and looking at 2017 as their year to shine. Earlier this month the guitarist, vocalist, songwriter and producer shared with us his unique look into the industry in this exclusive interview conducted from his home in NoHo California.


SMW: Your first solo album “Acid Guitar” was released in 2005 followed by your sophomore album with your rock trio Magnetico in 2009 entitled “Songs About the World”. Why did it take you until 2016 to release “Death Race”? 

Rafael: Well, from when we recorded the original live session of that album to when we completed it, there was a lot going on in my life both musically and personally. Musically, I was on tour with The Backstreet Boys and New Kids On the Block which lasted three months. I got a call to do The Voice and did two seasons with them. I was also on American Idol for the last three seasons of the show and among other things, I performed in front of 65,000 people at the final match of The America's Cup. Personally, I lost my father in that time and had to travel back to Brazil many times to be with my family. It was a tough time and it was difficult to find holes in my schedule to devote my full attention to it. 

SMW: What was the inspiration behind wanting to do another album? 

Rafael: There were two things that really inspired me to put it out. First off, I had a brand new rhythm section (Ben White on bass and Jerry Roe on drums) that had an incredible sound. We were so tight together and our chemistry along with that sound propelled me to release some new material with them. Secondly, Magnetico's first album was so well-received that I felt I needed to continue going down that road to see where it would lead. 


Ben White (bass), Rafael Moreira (guitar/vocals), Edo Tancredi (drums)


SMW: Are you ever looking for commercial success when you release new material? 

Rafael: You know, I'd be lying to you if I said that I didn't care what happened. Everyone wants success in life, but that is really secondary to me. If people didn't like the album or it didn't achieve success though, it wouldn't change anything. I just love making and creating new music and I think it's important for people like myself to continue creating and experimenting. It's just what I need to do. Also, if we were just fed musically with only what we heard everyday on the radio, I feel it would be a sterile environment. There is a whole underground market out there that the public should really tap into. 

SMW: As an artist how do you feel about the idea that revenue lies more in touring than in creating new albums these days? 

Rafael: Ya, I feel that it's just a sign of the times. Things have changed so much since I was a kid and followed the artists that I admired. Those bands have had lengthy careers and now can tour only on their old material if they choose, but new bands today need to create new music. Remember, those classic bands had to have released new material back when they were up-and-coming. I think again that artists simply need to create and keep on creating to remain relevant. 



SMW: What is it like to be a working musician while pursuing your own goals at the same time? 

Rafael: It's very conflicting sometimes. I always enjoy lending my expertise to those outstanding artists and I like to be respected for getting the job done for people. I look at every opportunity as being able to make a contribution to that project and having an open mind allows me to do that. The conflicting part is that I, myself enjoy putting out and performing my own music. There is no better feeling than having people appreciate the music that comes from inside yourself. 

SMW: Do you find that with what the music industry is promoting and what they consider pop culture today that there is less work for guitar players? 

Rafael: Yes, absolutely. That's the reality of things. Musicians who have studied their instruments their whole lives and play authentically don't seem to be out there in the capacity that they were before. It is a shame that we are losing real players to sterile music. You know, when we buy a ticket to a show we should see greatness. We should see true talent up there. Again, the music that is being fed to the masses today through pop culture is usually horrifying, but there are always a few exceptions. 



SMW: Do you feel that the genre of rock music is being represented well today? 

Rafael: I don't think that what is considered rock music has the great players that it used to have. It's not just about the playing though. It's also about the personalities. Each member before used to have a distinct sound that they offered to the group. That's what made a band and that's what made us love it. Again, people need to be aware that when they pay to go see a show they shouldn't be naive to what they are paying to see. Most are just there to enjoy themselves and it often has little to do with the music. Rock isn't dead, it's just misrepresented.

SMW: What do you think are the true characteristics to your approach to playing lead guitar? 

Rafael: You know, in Portuguese we use the term 'pegada' which means to have a strong grip. I think I have that. I think it's my vibrato, my bends and my note-choices. I really try to bring melody to my solos along with rhythmic ideas that are exciting. I would like to think that when someone hears something that I've done that they would recognize it as being me. I think that is every players ultimate goal. 



SMW: You seem to have a cool working relationship with Paul Stanley from KISS. How has that helped your own career? 

Rafael: Ya, Paul is great. He watched both seasons of Rock Star: INXS and Rock Star: Supernova and he invited the whole house band from the show to perform with him on his “Live to Win” tour. That opportunity lead me to play with him again more recently in his Soul Station project where I get to perform with some great musicians and friends. I was invited to perform with my band Magnetico on the KISS Kruise V along with KISS, Steel Panther, Lita Ford and The Dead Daisies. Shortly after that we were asked to open for Steel Panther on a mini tour across the west coast. Last summer my band Magnetico did its biggest gig yet. We opened up for KISS on the 4th of July at the AVA Amphitheater in Tuscon, Arizona. It was actually the hardest show I've ever had to do because my father had passed away about a week before that. At the end of 2016 we were invited back on the KISS Kruise VI. This time we were joined by Kings X, Skid Row and Enuff Z'Nuff. The cool thing is all of these opportunities came to me organically. 

SMW: You have accomplished so much in your career and performed alongside many huge artists. How do you remain humble with those kinds of credentials? 

Rafael: (Laughs) You know man, life keeps you humble. There could be someone right next to you who is after the very thing that you're after and if you're not grateful and make sure that you give value to what is given to you, you're going to lose it. I am really just a regular guy who grew up with big dreams and now that I have it I don't want to take it for granted. I am incredibly grateful for where I am in my life today. 



For more information on Rafael Moreira and Magnetico click on the following links:

Rafael Moreira





Photo Credits: Gilad Koriski and Vofka Solovey





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