Getting To Know Black Wolf Blues: Rafael Miranda
Thu 30 March 2023
Photo credit: Neil Hughes @concertinaphoto
It's that time of the week again, and over the next few weeks we'll be publishing a series of blogs about our band members, the "Getting To Know Black Wolf Blues" series.
This will be in the form of an interview about their musical career.
Today's band member is frontman Rafael Miranda.
Rafael Miranda is a singer, guitarist, guitar teacher and songwriter from São Paulo, Brazil. He began studying guitar at the age of 10, with his influences ranging from Muddy Waters and Chuck Berry to SRV and Lynyrd Skynyrd.
He completed his formal studies in music at the age of 17 at the Conservatoire Of Arts Presidente Juscelino Kubitscheck. He also studied guitar, singing and song writing at ICMP London.
He has been involved in a number of projects, having founded Black Wolf Blues as its frontman in 2019. After the release of the band's debut album he moved Black Wolf Blues' base of operations from São Paulo to London, to pursue the project with a new line up of musicians.
How did you first get into music?
Rafael: I started messing around with my mother's old classical guitar when I was about 8. I didn't know how to play at first but I just thought it looked really cool and loved being around it. Eventually I started to actually try to play it and by the time I was 10 I was officially studying guitar.
What instruments can you play?
Rafael: I can play the guitar, bass, ukulele, a little piano and percussion in general as well. At the moment the electric guitar is definitely my main instrument, but at a time it was piano, or classical guitar and at a time I was even the bassist of a short lived rock project. And finally my voice, as it is technically an instrument as well.
What would you say is your greatest strength as an artist?
Rafael: I guess that would be my ability to multitask. If you wanna be successful as an artist nowadays, not only have you gotta be a good musician, that's only the tip of the iceberg, there's a huge list of other things you also gotta do. You gotta have good planning skills if you wanna get anything at all done, including putting a project together (a lot more difficult than it sounds), register a business, do tax returns, organizing material to be worked on, schedule rehearsals, manage your social media accounts, your website, YouTube channel, Spotify profile, create playlists, develop and sell merchandise and constantly be in touch with promoters and agencies and so on. So as you can see there's really a lot more to it than the artistic side of things itself.
Who is your favourite musician?
Rafael: That's a hard one, but I'm gonna have to say Stevie Ray Vaughan. And even though his life story is very interesting that's not really the reason why. Even though he is a blues musician it's also not necessarily why. What I really love about his music is just simply the sound that he is able to get from the guitar. It's the kind of thing that's really hard to explain, you just gotta feel it. Good playing is not purely a matter of technique, it's about the feeling the musician transmits when playing music, and how well he can get his instrument to transmit that feeling as well. With SRV it's almost like the guitar becomes a part of him. Very few musicians can actually do that. I'd say Jimmy Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen were also good examples of that, but still not as much as SRV. That's how I feel about it.
What is your proudest accomplishment as a musician?
Rafael: Basically the music and all the feeling and energy that comes with it that we spread around as musicians. Whether someone listens to my music on Spotify or is at one of my shows, whether someone approaches me after a gig to say they really liked the set or whether someone watches one of my videos on YouTube and just enjoys it by themselves at home. If you get to inspire and lift a human being in that special way that only music can, that's a feeling that's hard to beat.
What interests or hobbies do you have outside of music?
Rafael: I like to go jogging in parks when I can. As a Law graduate and former Social Sciences student I always like to read Philosophy and Political Science. I also study Spanish, French and Italian.
What is your creative process when making music?
Rafael: Up until very recently, including during the writing process for my debut album, Black Wolf Blues, I would write the whole song myself and then present it to the band. As of 2022 with the new line up of my project everyone takes active part in the writing process. So at the moment I come up with a basic structure of the song, a riff, verse and some lyrics and then I take it to the band so we can all work it out together. And it's been working really well, it's really interesting to see all our ideas merging together into a song, and we have some amazing material coming your way this year.
What are your favourite venues to perform at?
Rafael: My most memorable performance in Brazil was for the release party of Black Wolf Blues at The Ton Ton Jazz in Sao Paulo, a really amazing venue. In London I've had the honour of playing in some of the best venues in the city, but especially in historical ones like the St. Moritz Club in Soho where Deep Purple and Lemmy used to hang out in the 80's, and at The Water Rats in King's Cross where Bob Dylan had his first UK gig back in the 60's and Oasis their first London gig in the 90's. The Fiddler's Elbow in Camden Town has definitely become a favourite as well, that's where we played at the Camden Rocks Festival in February and will play again on 8 April!
Who would you most like to collaborate with artistically?
Rafael: I've honestly never given this much thought, but some examples of artists out there nowadays that I'd be proud to work with are Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Rival Sons, Derek Trucks and so on.
Who has been your most influential teacher or mentor?
Rafael: I've had many great teachers, but if I had to pick one it would be Davi Bernardo, an accomplished guitarist back in Brazil, he was my guitar teacher for quite a few years at the Conservatoire of The Arts President Juscelino Kubitschek.
What inspires you as an artist?
Rafael: Anything can bring me inspiration, from reading a book to having drinks with friends on a Saturday night to listening to music or just watching a sunset. You just gotta let your mind roam free and inspiration will eventually show up. Remember to take notes of those moments of inspiration when they randomly come along.
How do you nurture your own creativity?
Rafael: Like I said for the question above, by letting my mind roam free. You can't force inspiration or creativity, it has to come to you naturally from a mind in the right conditions. It's like a a beautiful wild bird, you can't force it to be around you, but if you wander into the woods deep enough you just might get to see it here and there. And when you have that clear idea in your mind, a good knowledge of musical theory and a good musical perception will give you the tools to work that out.
Do you have trouble with performance anxiety?
Rafael: Not at all. I really like performing live, and as they say, the more the merrier. So for me the bigger the crowd the bigger the rush. The first time I played an actual proper live performance I was 14, it was an event at the auditorium of my music school at the time. The place was pretty packed and I was definitely a little scared up until a little before the show, but when I actually got there all those good vibes you get at a rock concert started kicking in and as soon as I got up on stage I just felt amazing. It's been like that ever since and it only gets better and better each time.
What are your favourite musical genres?
Rafael: I listen to everything that is good music as much as I can, from Mozart to Antonio Carlos Jobim to Led Zeppelin. Jazz, blues, rock and so on. And I studied music in Brazil so definitely some samba and bossa nova as well.
How do you differ from most other artists?
Rafael: I don't really think I do, I don't see myself as special. I do come from a very different background from most musicians in the rock industry however, I grew up in Brazil and studied music there. So while blues and rock were always my favourites, I've had a lot of influences during my learning process from musical styles such as samba and chorinho, full of complex harmonies, improvisation, modulations, syncopation and counterpoint, which definitely gives you a broader outlook on more straight forward genres such as rock and blues.
How do you think your bandmates would describe you?
Rafael: Someone committed to the project. A nice guy, good friend. Likes to party. Sensible and down to earth. Or so I hope.
That's it guys, hope you enjoyed the interview!
The exchange we have with our supporters is one of the most important things for us as musicians, and that's why we want to share a little more of our personal history with you.
Our next gig is on 8 April at The Fiddler's Elbow in Camden Town at the Camden Rocks Festival. We'll be on stage at 6:30 PM and would love to see you there!
Check out our Instagram, Facebook and YouTube for more. A new video is uploaded to our YouTube channel every Tuesday, don't forget to like and subscribe so that you don't miss out on new content weekly.
We also publish a new blog every Thursday, and next week's will be the next one on our "Getting To Know Black Wolf Blues" series, with an interview of another band member. So stay tuned, rock on and have an amazing weekend!
Black Wolf Blues Rafael, Jake, Liam & Cam