Virtual Jungle

Virtual Jungle is Lucio Rebello, a Brazilian-born multi-instrumentalist based in New York. Combining his diverse background as a musician – a Film Scoring graduate at prestigious Berklee College – to his home country’s rich music heritage, Lucio creates in Virtual Jungle a new world of sound that is CINEMATIC AND FUTURISTIC.

Using alternative rock as its foundation, but freely mixing it with electronica and Brazilian rhythms, Virtual Jungle displays great musicianship in its tightly arranged, highly melodic songs. Its self-titled debut album was released in 2005 to rave reviews in major publications, also receiving compliments from renowned musicians.

The newest album, CYCLES, was released in June 2010. It features 12 new songs that cover a wide spectrum of music: From lyrical ballads to heavier rock and electronica. Lucio performed all instruments and also produced the recording.

The album was mixed and mastered by T.J. Helmerich (mixing/production credits include guitar legends Jeff Beck and Steve Vai, James Labrie of Dream Theater, bassists Stanley Clarke, Gary Willis and Victor Wooten, and guitar master Scott Henderson).

During live performances, Virtual Jungle is assisted by some of the most talented musicians from the jazz/rock NYC scene: Drummer Mauricio Zottarelli (Hiromi Uehara, Esperanza Spalding, Eliane Elias), bassist Trifon Dmitrov (Randy Brecker, Duane Eubanks) and keyboardist Rubens Salles (Dave Fiuczynski).

How do you describe your music to people, Lucio?
If I could choose a label (I hate them, as most musicians), it would be Cinematic Rock. Some critics have labeled it this way. It makes sense, cause I've studied to be a film composer, where you are required to be able to write and arrange in any genre. So all these elements come together in Virtual Jungle. There's the teenager who was into Progressive Rock, Fusion, Funk-Rock, Grunge and even Electronica and Pop. But also the fan (and student) of Jazz, Brazilian and Classical Music. Describing it sounds much complicated than the actual music, of course. It's rock-based, but with a lot of outside influences from other styles.

Tell me about how you originally got into your craft.
I come from a musical family (my dad and my mom were amateur musicians). I began studying the classical guitar when I was 8 years old. I've always had a strong connection with music. In fact, my oldest remembrances of life are sound-based, not visual. I was probably a baby half-asleep in the cradle, and my dad was listening to Antonio Carlos Jobim and Stan Getz, and my mom to classical music.

What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
To write new music. When I get into "the zone", it' pretty exciting. A sort of meditation. I guess sex and hanging out with friends would make a close second place on my

What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
I joke all the time that being a 1-man band AND record label is tough! I thought that eventually Virtual Jungle would become a real band. I just couldn't wait forever on other people, for the ideal band mates, etc...So I decided to do it all myself, because I could. Things just happened this way. The music business has changed a lot in the last decade. Record labels are not taking any chances...So DIY seems to be the way to get your music out there. Now, how to stand out in the crowd...That's a complete different subject, that, unfortunately, has very little to do with the music itself. It's all about image, and, who do you know...(or F#$!, to quote the great actor Mickey Rourke-lol)

When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I was into sci-fi novels and stuff, so probably a scientist or inventor of some sort. I think I played my first concert as a classical guitarist when I was 9, though...From then on I was pretty much set. Music became my main passion.

In what way has your community impacted your development as a musician?
I've always loved Brazilian music. Not only the rhythms, but the harmonic sophistication that began with the Bossa Nova movement...The way those masters distilled the jazz influence into something original was inspiring to me. I'm sure all those innovations and all the other marvelous composers and performers that have graced us since (Chico Buarque, Joao Bosco, Djavan, Guinga, etc) inspire some of my musical choices now and then (as do all other artists), even if in some unconscious, subtle way.

What other artists out there do you love?
I think that you can find wonderful music in any style. I listened to all the masters and decided which ones worked for me. I frequently revisit ones that I "didn't get". Here's a very abbreviated list of my favorites: Classical: Villa-Lobos, Barber, Ravel. In film: Bernard Herrman, John Williams, Ennio Morricone, Elmer Bernstein, Mychael Danna. In jazz and fusion: Miles Davis, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Bob Berg, Bill Frisell, Allan Holdsworth, Jaco Pastorius, Tribal Tech (Scott Henderson), Dixie Dregs. In Rock and Pop: Beatles, Led Zeppelin, Jeff Beck, Pink Floyd, Rush, King Crimson, Zappa, Peter Gabriel, David Bowie, Depeche Mode, Radiohead, Jeff Buckley, Chris Cornell, Bjork, Steve Vai, etc...and all the wonderful Brazilian songwriters that I mentioned above...

What does your future hold?
I'd love to get Virtual Jungle on the road. I miss playing live. I'm looking for a new manager. The right one. If I get a decent offer from a supportive label (and I know there's a bunch on them that are interested), I'd sign it. It's too much to handle on my own. In the meantime, I'll be doing a score for an animation feature film till' mid 2011, in Brazil. I've been away from the Film Scoring world since I graduated from Berklee in 2002, 'cause Virtual Jungle took all my time (though I kept composing classical music). But I decided to go back to it, full-throttle.  I 'll probably also start recording ideas for a new Virtual Jungle record in the second half of 2011, though.