INTERVIEWS, REVIEWS & RELATED ARTICLES
Uncut MAY 2017 - by Wyndam Wallace
"The first thing Brian Eno said when he arrived was, "I'm the worst musician here..."
Two years had passed since The Gift's Nunu Gonçalves first bumped into Brian Eno on holiday in Brazil when the band's singer, Sónia Tavares, finally popped the inevitable question. Though Gonçalves had been unwilling to exploit the friendship that had subsequently blossomed, Tavares had no such qualms when she met him in London. "It's Brian Eno!" she recalls, laughing at the reasoning behind her forthright suggestion they collaborate. "I'm not a friend, so I'll ask him!"
It wasn't an incongruous suggestion: since forming in 1994, The Gift have not only pursued an entirely self-sufficient path to become Portugal's biggest independent band, but have also worked with Ken Nelson (Coldplay) and Howie B (U2).
Altar, however, is their most universally appealing album to date, as well as, for the band, the most memorable, and not just thanks to Eno's techniques, which included recording in dark rooms and using an electric callus remover as an instrument. "There were a lot of fruit trees," Tavares says fondly, "and every day he made jam," while Gonçalves recalls how, "Once he arrived in the studio painted in gold!"
Whatever happens next, Altar taught The Gift a valuable lesson. "One thing leads to another," Tavares grins. "That's how dreams come true..."