To avoid further confusion: There are two bands called Dead Combo. One is from Finland and plays “raw electro-punk”. The other is a Portuguese duo playing instrumental music which is mellow, thoughtful, funny, inspiring – and, more than anything, visual. Their songs are a boiling cauldron of reverberating guitars, film references, Cuban jazz, flamenco, klezmer and Morricone-esque Spaghetti Western score music. At the bottom of the cauldron, like the stone in the soup, the Portuguese Fado gives everything a bittersweet flavour, like a gust of chilly Atlantic winds sneaking through a Lisboan back alley on a hot summer night.
The band has been together since 2002, when bass player Pedro Gonçalves and guitarist Tó Trips met during a recording session for a tribute album to Portuguese guitar virtuoso Carlos Paredes. Their cooperation has seen four album releases and performances at a growing number of European clubs and festivals. When hearing about the Finnish Dead Combo, Gonçalves and Trips invited their Finnish colleagues to perform with them in Lisboa for a gig called Dead Combo Clash! Still, confusion is rampant on online streaming services and the groups are often being mixed together – seemingly without any of them worrying much about it.
Dead Combo is like the soundtrack to your own reality, creating weird pictures in your head.
Text: Kristian Krogh-Sørensen