STEEL FOX has the perfect power metal name a band can have. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
When the band came into creation what was the main purpose for it?
R. We formed the band in 1997, encouraged by the bands we were accompanying at the time. Friends of childhood, we all got to know the power of heavy music together, and soon we became interested in playing instruments and trying to play the bands we liked like Maiden, Blind Guardian, Grave Digger, Running Wild, Accept, Manowar and many more. We started writing songs and realized that’s what we wanted.
How hard is it to come up with a sound that is all yours? What bits’n’pieces do you pick up from other stuff to make it your sound?
R. It is extremely difficult to make music and there are no comparisons with bands that follow the same line. I need a basic reference to guide those who are looking for new bands. It is impossible to play music that has never been explored, but we try to keep things up to that point. Our music is a collection of many influences, we hear practically everything in heavy music, in classic rock, but we avoid bands with very modern concepts, we have preference for more traditional sounds and themes of heavy music.
I have no idea what kind of creative process you guys go through but how hard is it to record and release new songs?
R. Me and Robson (singer) wrote the lyrics, we are great devourers of books and movies, so we always have things in our heads. A theme we see on TV or in magazines can also become music, we just try to bring it to the metal music side. The songs themselves, practically all of them involve in some way, we have a very liberal style. It is not difficult to write, it is difficult to make what is written in an interesting heavy song. With the recordings already a little different, it involves something clearer to become presentable. We are from the poorest region of the country, the heavy music in Brazil is not culturally strong, but it has a legion of fans that make everything happen. Here the best studios are quite expensive, this ends up making things a bit more complicated for the bands.
Today technology allows you to record at home and release your music digitally. But in doing so is there a risk that you release only single songs because that is what is demanded to stay atop and therefore you end up killing the album for example?
R. We are living an era of consumption, everything is very ephemeral and passes as a holiday. I believe that in Heavy Metal things still happen in the traditional way, releasing an album, buying a CD and listening to the lyrics in the booklet, it’s still wonderful. But single songs have always been present; in the past they were on 7-inch single-play vinyl records, today they’re on digital platforms. I think it’s possible to release albums and singles, the single can serve as input for the listener to consume the disc, if done correctly and with a good promotion of the material.
I for one feel that the change in how people listen to music today, by downloading it and expecting to get it for free, will kill music as we know it. What kind of future is there for music?
R. This is an important point. We who do and live in this environment, along with record companies, need to find ways to make this whole thing sustainable. The digital age has its problems with illegal sharing, but it can facilitate the distribution of the music, making it reach people in distant places, and that’s where the vacuum is. We need to find ways to make it sustainable for the bands and record companies, for the media that also depend on this business, and it is remarkable that we are not following everything as we should. While we do not find a way to face all this, I believe that the best weapon to keep the business is the promotion of shows, there is everything face to face, there is no way to cheat.
What kind of responses do you get to your music? What has been the thing that has gotten the most attention?
R. So far the answers have been very positive. The reviews have come with a good average, and it’s gratifying for us. We are launching the album in Europe, just the place where the bands we’ve always heard come from, it’s a very different feeling. I was surprised by one of the reviews on a website where the author of the critic says that during the songs he got his fists raised and shaking his head (laughs). That was great!
We live in a world where there are no real distances between people communicating anymore. What has been the most surprising contact so far?
R. When we were still producing the album, we released a song by Soundcloud from our producer, as a way of evaluating what we were doing, listening to comments, feedback from people. To our surprise, we received a message from a radio program in Cleveland, Ohio, USA. They performed our music and the listeners loved it! That was just sensational. There are no more borders, we are all really connected.
Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of a greater community? What has music brought with it that you would have otherwise missed out on?
R. Playing music is first and foremost an escape, an anti stress remedy. Seeing people listening to their music, whether it’s in shows or the messages that arrive on the album is very cool. The interaction and bonding between rock and heavy music lovers has been something consolidated for decades, it’s like a great worldwide brotherhood. The fact that we are releasing an album on a worldwide level has further expanded this fellowship to us. We have known and interacted with people from different countries, cultures, all because of music. It has been a special moment and we are very happy.
What is the live scene like for you? Do you feel that playing live helps building a bigger following?
R. Playing live is one of the things we love to do. It’s the kind of thing that makes you feel really part of it, whether you’re a musician or a spectator. Everyone there, face to face, without masks, without an elaborate production, only band and public, is in a show that the relationships become real. The audience needs to be won, so the band has to play with the heart, show everything they can in a sincere and true way. Surely that is the way to build a solid base of fans and followers.
What plans do you have for the future?
R. We’re promoting the album “Savagery”, so we’ve been thinking about doing that until next year. We intend to tour a lot, Europe is a goal and logically other places that may become possible. We want people to see the band in action on stage. At the same time, we already have enough written material for an upcoming release, so our plans are to move forward with our music.