I love heavy metal, or any kind of metal for that matter. I’ve always had a special relation to south –American bands. So when I got the chance to interview a metal band from Brazil I took it. ©2011 Anders Ekdahl
I have a hard time getting a grip on what it is you play. How would you like to describe your sound?
Renata (guitars): A mix of all the bandmates’ influences, like Metallica, Arch Enemy, Megadeth, Kreator, Opeth… and others. Many others!
Mirella (drums): I think it’s a mix of each member’s influences and style when it comes to composing. Nothing more, nothing less.
When you started, what was your biggest influence and how has that influence changed with you writing songs?
Renata (guitars): I started to play guitar watching Kurt Cobain videos on MTV. After that, I changed my “plays” to Thrash (Bay Area) and Power Metal. When I entered the University, I decided to start a band. The initial idea was to play covers, but about some months later I was already composing authorial songs to that band. With HellArise, the way I compose changed a lot and many bands doesn’t have much influence on this process anymore. However, you still can see some of my “old” influences, like Paradise Lost and Megadeth.
Mirella (drums): From the very beginning, Metallica was my biggest influence. But, as the time passed, I got in touch with other genres and bands; I started to feel like I needed to do something different. So, today, I don’t I have just one big influence. I’m inspired my music itself; it doesn’t matter what genre or whatever.
Flávia (lead vocals): As they have said, it’s difficult to say just one thing. In my case, starts in the europop – lots of Swedish stuff, by the way – until the most extreme, weird and obscure kind of metal.
Brazil has for the longest of times had a great metal scene. What knowledge do you benefit from this heritage?
Renata (guitars): Well, we have a great heritage but people here normally doesn’t take it seriously. We’ve learned that, to get on top, you need to work extremely hard, and not just wait for a chance or get benefits from contacts. Things like this helps in the beginning of the career, of course. But there’s a time that you have to show everyone around what you really came for.
Mirella (drums): There are lots of great Brazilian bands that sound amazing. But, unfortunately, Brazilian people don’t value it’s own music enough. And I think that, for a lot of people here, it takes some time to really see the quality of the native bands. So one thing I carry within is: never think less of something you never really paid attention.
One thing that strikes me is that I don’t know of any great Brazilian record labels (Cogumelo excepted). Is it hard to find a trustworthy national label to work with?
Renata (guitars): Well, we have a lot of small labels, but the majority just helps on the distribution. I think the bands from here are always looking forward to other countries, not only Brazil.
Mirella (drums): Actually, it’s hard to find a label at all. There are a lot o distributors and stuff, but I can’t think of one label that actually gives real support to the bands.
Living on the other side of the World all I get to hear about the Brazilian metal scene is how hard it is (getting decent instruments, hassling by the police etc.). How hard is it really to be a metal band in Brazil?
Renata (guitars): Around São Paulo area, the scene is really strong, but the underground scene. We never had problems with the police. And yes, around here – one of our biggest issues – instruments are really expensive! =/
Mirella (drums): I think one of the major problems is related to the public. As I said before, most people here don’t support native bands, and without a loyal public, you can’t have any support. It’s a big chain, everything is linked: without a substantial public, there isn’t enough profit to promote events; if the bands – even if they’re very good, technically speaking – play for a small public almost always, the producers will lose interest on supporting the bands. In the end, in order to actually do our music, we have to “support ourselves”. Basically without any help. This whole situation is really difficult, specially when it comes to the financial part.
Flávia (lead vocals): As that song says: it’s all ‘bout the money. We’ve to pay for everything. It’s hard as hell to get some real support (money mainly), endorsers, etc. And, to help us more and more, some so-called producers even charge bands to play at their events! It’s not something co-op, like selling an amount of tickets or helping with the starting costs: it’s like “you pay, you play”.
When you’re a smaller band what options are there to play live? What kind of infrastructure is there to the live scene in Brazil?
Renata (guitars): People are starting to hear more about us now, mainly in São Paulo area and in the south, southwest. Because of that, we’ve already played in cool pubs and nice smaller concert places, with capacity for up to 300 people.
Mirella (drums): Infrastructure is also a problem. We either bring our own gear or we play with the equipment that is given to us (which is mostly crappy). The stage conditions, PAs, mics, drums… we always have problems with at least one of these things. Once, I actually saw a guitar amplifier catch on fire during a friend’s concert! But sometimes the gear given to us it’s actually good. It’s pretty much a lottery.
Flávia (lead vocals): We have some nice spots to play here. But in the best/most famous places, we have to share these spaces with cover/tribute bands. And it’s not easy, because we back to the public problem again: cover bands brings more people = more money, etc, etc.
We pretty much know everything there is to know about Belo Horizonte but what is São Paulo like to be a metal band in?
Renata (guitars): All the metal bands that we know normally start their tour here in São Paulo. Like Belo Horizonte, we have a strong scene around here too, and some bands like: Korzus, Torture Squad, Angra and more.
Mirella (drums): I think it’s where most bands concentrate and that makes our lives harder. There isn’t enough space to all the bands, so it’s hard to get any real attention. The public have so many options that they don’t know where to run.
São Paulo is the biggest South American city. And, even knowing that Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro have a big and nice metal scene, here the thing is bigger. Like it’s was said: the more, the harder.
Christianity is pretty big in Brazil. Does Catholicism affect being a metal band in anyway?
Renata (guitars): For me, not that much… My family is into Catholicism but they’re non-practicing.
Mirella (drums): Not at all. Of course there is always someone that will say we are evil and we play the devil’s music, but we just try to ignore it. Actually there are a few Catholic metal bands, which are pretty good, by the way.
Are there any other obstacles you encounter from the Brazilian society playing in a metal band?
Renata (guitars): Well, the problem isn’t just in metal, it’s in music. We don’t have much support. And yes, in heavy metal, less support yet.
Mirella (drums): Most people here think that metal is just noise, so it’s pretty hard to catch the general public’s attention positively. But I’m hopeful that it may change someday.
Flávia (lead vocals): I think it’s our culture, education problems and, as the result of these all, crappy “music”. I placed music between quotation marks because some stuff that people listen to here are really not music. Some people would say it’s prejudice, but it’s not: I can recognize quality in a song and a good singer/band even if it’s a style I’m not fond of. There are lots of cases of so-called artists that repeats just one sentence during minutes with some sound in the background and now are famous, always on TV and some are even rich. And other absurdities in our music industry. Sad to say that, but great, quality music here – from samba to metal – it’s a genre for a few now…
How far do you intend to take HellArise?
Renata (guitars): As far as we can do. Record more CDs, maybe tour around the world… It would be a nice thing to happen.
Mirella (drums): As far as it gets.
Flávia (lead vocals): Let’s continue making some music and see what’ll happen.