The album, which includes the participation of artists such as Mayra Andrade, Bonga and Branko, began as "a play on words, which, on top of that, has an associated image, and has so much intention that it even becomes an object that is constructed ", said Pedro Coquenão in an interview with Lusa.
"When I started it was really just 'this phrase is cool to spark a conversation starter, to say, to use," he said. Afterwards, the "word provocation" "Neon Colonialism" ended up being transformed into a visual object, a neon that was made "not to work well".
"Technically I found a way for the piece to have this component of not working well, because I didn't want it to be confused with something that is working well. I didn't want to be that sarcastic", shared Pedro Coquenão.
The object was exhibited in September at the Iminente festival, in Lisbon, where it was photographed for the album cover, which is available on digital platforms and was released on CD and vinyl, with distribution in Europe, the United States and some parts of Asia, particularly in Japan.
"For me, it's a marvel to be able to have this tool and to be able to provoke, and then turn it into a radio show, into a record. It ends up being more or less what I try to do in all my works", he said.
Pedro Coquenão accepts that "in recent years there has been a greater concern" with the issue of colonialism, but stresses that "this is a long journey, which is made up of more attempts at cover-up than the opposite".
"So, even if there are here and there sometimes political gestures and attempts to improve things, a very negative average of practices and non-recognition persist," he said.
The conversation that the word game "Neon Colonialismo" intends to provoke "can go one way or the other, from the light or the second word and talk a little more about it".
"Because we can't be satisfied with recent conversations and recent gestures of things, which are still on top of a rotten, dirty, dark, and blood and violence, and that don't disappear from one day to the next, not even in a generation, nor with two or three laws. They disappear with repeated practices and, above all, felt", said Pedro Coquenão, who was born in Angola, was raised on the outskirts of Lisbon and has developed work in the areas of music, radio, dance, visual arts and fine arts.
For the artist, in Portugal, the discussion about colonialism "is often more academic, it is done more in the field of the historian, the social activist, more in the field of those who suffer and have had the opportunity to think about it".
"Because those who live are often not even aware of what they are being victims of, or the difficulties they are facing", he defended.
In Portugal, "we are still a little in the early stages of conversation, we are still afraid, and making the news every time 'the politician said he was sorry' or 'the gentleman from the church said that this was indeed complicated here on this island'".
"We're still at that moment. And it's important that we have this notion that this is news, and it should be more, but it's still news, we're still flagging every time someone says 'I'm sorry.' that there is someone who expresses repentance, which is a good first step, but perhaps it is also fair to accept some impatience on the part of others, or even a distance from the majority, who do not even understand what they are talking about", stated.
"Neon Colonialismo" is composed of ten themes, which "have a line, but it was not consciously drawn".
"When I heard the songs and started to see them coming together, they managed to dialogue with each other. There was one or another that was sacrificed and left out, precisely to be able to give the record a more obvious and more consistent dialogue", he shared.
To reinforce this consistency, in the mixing and finalization phase, Pedro Coquenão gave the record a "texture that has something between the 1980s and the 1990s".
In the album "there is something on tape, on cassette" that "makes the songs dialogue aesthetically with each other". In addition, "there are common instruments that can make them appear dialoguing".
"Neon Colonialismo" has a series of guests, all artists with whom Pedro Coquenão had already crossed paths, "but with many of them - such as Mayra Andrade, Poté, Nástio Mosquito, DJ Dolores - he had not achieved anything".
"The only one I had never met was Lia from Itamaracá. And there's only one repeater, which is Luaty Beirão, who was the first time he wasn't going to participate in a work of mine. But we ended up picking up a song that was going to be instrumental. and in an instant the song was written with lyrics", he said.
Mayra Andrade participates in the song "Bom Bom", which has been on the radio, but on the album it appears in a different version, "closer to what in the 1980s and 90s was called the extended version, the 'extended version'".
"It's a candy for anyone who buys or listens to the record now, and not just being 'I already know this one, I'll pass it on', and realizing 'there's something new here'. That entry in the song serves to honor what we've achieved in terms of of musical arrangement, but being able to just say things and we have to wait, because what she says and how she says it is so beautiful that it can sustain 30 seconds of a song without the urgency of starting right away for anything that I notice, fix, understand and want to whistle right away. And it also has a different ending. It ends with an infinite dance that has no end", he explained.
Bonga was "and is" a superhero, who Pedro Coquenão saw on television when he was a child and seemed "unreachable", but in the meantime, he became part of his life and his team.
"Neon Colonialismo" will be presented live in two formats: Pedro Coquenão "crossing records as a DJ" or "on a stage with various dimensions: dance, video, word music".
The presentation date is in Paris on Saturday, and until the end of the year it will always be in DJ format, but in 2023 "both formats coexist" and Pedro Coquenão hopes to "present the album live in Portugal and Angola".