Talking to Carlos De Castilho about his Clave24 project

Henrique Vidal is, like many, a big fan and enthusiast of the music made in Portugal and its history. Former FM radio announcer and journalist, he invited Carlos De Castilho to talk to us in more detail about his almost 2-year-old project called Clave24, a Portuguese music blog with several bands and singers.

Let’s find out more about this project.

Henrique Vidal: Good evening Carlos, thank you for accepting our invitation for this interview!

Carlos De Castilho: You’re welcome, I’m grateful to be here with you today!

HV: We know a little about your Portuguese music blog, called Clave24, but how did this project start and what’s it’s purpose?

CC: Well, before Clave24 had this name, it had another brand and was of varied music, that is, Clave24 began as an online radio “Clave24 Web Radio” where I used to mention some international singers with their stories and how they came about and why they ended, etc in style of news and not as posts… It was a very eclectic project. Currently this project, now with a shorter name, aims to show the world a little of our musical culture, which is obviously vast in every way.

HV: And at that time, were you already creating articles about Portuguese music or did that come later?

CC: It actually came later because I decided after about 6 months or so that having an online radio wasn’t quite what I wanted anymore, and so, after looking and searching for websites that talked about music made in Portugal, I noticed there’s not too many sites like that and I decided to do something different, something that everybody could know and learn.

HV: I noticed that your website is entirely in English, any reason for such a language choice?

CC: Yes, that was a decision I made when I decided to end Clave24 as a radio and turn it into just a Portuguese music blog. Nowadays there are some websites that mention our musical culture, but there are very few that take our music around the world, and in my opinion, one of the best ways to make our musical culture known to the world is to have a blog in several languages, mainly in English and this helps a lot even in the development of the website in a worldwide level.

HV: It’s good to take our music across borders, and we have a lot of good music…

CC: We have a lot of good Portuguese music, but from the good old days where I come from, which in this case are xats rooms and amateur online radios, I still think that sometimes we don’t give much value to what is done here… I’ve never heard as much Portuguese music as I’ve heard for 2 years now. I didn’t know many bands that are now on the blog, for example. And the bands and music I listened to, I started to “study” more about them. In other words, I followed what I already heard and knew and then one appeared after the other.

HV: Currently the blog has more than 300 bands and singers, right?…

CC: True, new ones, old ones, non-existent ones too and I plan to have more added in the future.

HV: How do you organize the articles? Do you remember a band and you write articles through research done on the internet and then put them into your own words or how you do it?… how do you prepare each article?

CC: It takes some work, I don’t have the capacity, life or patience to write the articles in my own words no matter how much I wanted to, but I have methods that help me create each article.
For example, if I remember a singer or band, I go to their official website, or Wikipedia, other websites that give a summary of that band’s biography and I try to post the most relevant text from them.
Then I have to translate it into English, look for an image for the article, videos for the article, Spotify for the article…

HV: That sounds complicated and seams a lot of hard work…

CC: For sure… Let’s see: although the posts are mostly copy and paste style, it still takes some work. Looking for information, photos, videos and music is a form of research for that band or singer’s article (composers too, of course), and at the same time I do this, I learn, because I have to read what I’m going to post and making spelling corrections and everything else… and it ends up being something rewarding in that aspect.

HV: Have you ever had an artist send you a message or an email complaining about a post or something?

CC: As incredible as it may seem in 2 years, I still haven’t… (laughs)… I already had a band that I think was Alcoolémia, where I shared the link about them on Instagram and received a like from the band themselves… . I think that when a band is shared and when the work they do is shown, and when there is even a translation into several languages, I believe that no one will complain, especially because if we were to do an analysis, what I am trying doing is advertising, which in my opinion is fine…

HV: And what about the texts? Because as you said, the articles are very copy and paste-based…

CC: What I try to do whenever I can is to put the source from which the text was taken, which is not always possible, but honestly they never told me anything because firstly the texts can be almost similar, they are all translated into several languages, and everyone knows Google Translate is not that accurate, so no one can say that the texts are a exact copy of what was taken from another website, impossible.

HV: To have a website of this caliber and maintain it, your team also needs to be present, and…

CC: …not at all! There is no team at all…

HV: Really!?…

CC: Yeah …there was a team, when I founded Tendências, which later closed, and a team almost formed when Clave24 opened as a radio, but it’s like I always say “Clave24 as a radio was a failed attempt by radio Têndencias” and then that’s why I just stayed with the blog. And in relation to the website, I’m the one who maintains it, posts articles, changes the layout, etc.

HV: And what about the TugaHits project?

CC: It’s not exactly a project, technically it’s not even a web radio and I’ve been kicked out of other radio stations because they saw TugaHits as a radio station. What is there is basically a streaming, it only plays music, there is a podcast there but because it fits perfectly with what the blog and the streaming were created for. In this case, Portuguese music from Portugal or Portuguese bands even if they sing in another language, and it is a podcast that talks about garage bands that exist and existed in Portugal. It’s not “pimbalhada” like, and besides TugaHits has never had a live broadcaster. But if you want to know a little more about this world, it’s there on the website and you can search there…

HV: Right!… What do you hope to achieve with the blog in the next two years?

CC: I am very humble in the things I do, and one of the few things I would really like is for Clave24 to one day become a reference for what we do in Portugal in terms of music. Obviously, not all the necessary information is there, not all the posts are up to date, because that would require time and then a team would be needed, but I would like there to be more people who had the same interest as me and admired more the our musical culture.

HV: If you had to form a team right now, what types of help or collaboration could each person give to the blog?

CC: You know that… although this blog requires some work, it doesn’t require a very large team, 1 or 2 people would be more than enough: one would take care of sharing the links on social media for example, the other would possibly search for new music, singers, composers, etc. and send to me, where I would be in the “back stage” doing web design work and everything else, posts, etc…

HV: So… you don’t have a team, but… Let me see if I get it right: you are your own web design… It’s that it?

CC: Exactly! I learned how to do everything by myself over the last 16 years or so… At the time I was already taking some steps in web design, but it was something very weak, simple things, websites for web radios, sound players for websites,… things that were more in demand at the time. But this blog was all made by myself and I always try to improve the layouts, posts, etc.

HV: Clave24 website, as I could see, is quite simple and inviting, you can clearly see what’s happening there! Possibly the translations are something that Google could improve…

CC: Oh yes, definitly, but there’s nothing I can do about the translations unfortunately.

HV: Carlos, thank you very much for this excellent interview, or a conversation about your project so we can find out a little more about it!…

CC: You’re welcome, I appreciate the invitation…

HV: I would like to invite you to other conversations about your projects and also about your career on other web radios, etc., but we will leave that until a later date… what do you think?

CC: Great! I will be at your complete disposal, no problem! Thanks!

HV: Thank you too! In the meantime, check out the articles about Portuguese music on the Clave24 website, and the TugaHits Web Radio playlist! We’ll be back soon and until then, have a great day and nice readings! Thanks!

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