THE CHAPTER is yet another cool Portuguese metal band that we all should check out. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
A band sets the tone for the band. With the right name you don’t really need any sort of declaration of intent. Was it hard to come up with a name? What does the name mean to you?
-The name actually, came from the first line up. It was meant to be as a book. “This is a Chapter”. That life has a good meaning, you can always set a new Chapter. Of course, it didn’t go that well with an Internet search. When the band was formed, there was the only dial-up internet, it wasn’t like this. So googling now for “The Chapter” might not go right into our pages, but back then we weren’t thinking about that. We are not that old, but…We started out early in 2003 or 2004 or something. The name was a kind of a declaration of how everyone can change into to a new Chapter in life. No one has to get stuck in a miserable and unhappy life. But also pointing out that in the process, (that’s where the lyrics come from) you can only do it without hurting someone else. In nowadays society, there is selfishness, people just go all over and step all over any one’s toes to get a better life. That is not what “a new chapter” means. We think that the name, just like the band, is something that will last. With a lot of Chapters. ‘
Who would say are the founding stones of the kind of sound you have? Who are your house Gods and how have they coloured your music?
-Well, that is a complicated question. Actually, we never discussed such things. But we can say that each member has their own preferences. And that works perfectly. For example, João is into to bands like Gojira, Opeth, Septicflesh and even some Metallica stuff. The singer, on the other end, is more into Goth stuff, gothic metal, “Sisters of Mercy”, some early “Cradle of Filth” stuff, and black metal, like the early “V Empire” and “Dusk and her Embrace”. Eurico and Pedro, bass player and guitar player, are more into the old school stuff like “Megadeth”, “Metallica”, “Slayer” and some Hard Rock bands. Pedro, the drummer (we have 3 Pedros eheh, like 3 Peters), loves Doom Metal and some technical stuff, he’s more into bands like “Opeth”, “Swallow the Sun”, “Alcest” and “Paradise Lost”. That’s why we can not define a genre. But we have some bands that we all enjoy like Moonspell, Opeth, and Katatonia. In the lyrics department, all responsibility falls on Pedro. In that subject, we just let it flow. A decent moral compass is what is in order. Life is here and now (as you can listen to the final words of the song Angels and Demons). In this case, Pedro believes that life is here and now, and we should do the best of it, without running over other peoples lives, without making others unhappy so we can get what we want. So our God might be karma and Nature. Respect always. There is no Evil, just lack of understanding. But overall the most important thing is that we are making the music we love. In the Metal genre.
When you play slow do you have to think differently arranging the music than if you play faster and vice versa?
-No. Usually, someone throws a faster riff, and we try it out. If after we play it a few times, we don’t like it, it’s out. We have three old songs that we’ve made, and we just don’t use them anymore. Maybe one day they will shine, but not for now. It’s like something that you cannot predict. If you listen to the song “To Live For” you might think, “ok here we go a thrash Metallica like the song” but then it changes to something more like a Whitesnake slow that goes into a … Maybe Swallow the Sun kind of song in the end. There are no pointers. I honestly can’t say where we are heading to. We just make music we love. After all, we will be the ones playing it over and over again, so we have to like them.
Playing live is a totally different beast to studio work. How does your music work in a live environment?
-Oh! That’s our main goal. To play live, where the magic is. In the studio, and I can say that today because we just came from a rehearsal minutes ago, we kinda leave our bodies and travel into the songs. But live, it is that experience 10 times better. So far the live gigs are working well. People do stand there and react. We really love it when that happens! Now we’re trying to book more shows in order to promote the new album. Let there be more live gigs!! Oh and a fun fact, our first gig was with Pedro’s (Singer) first band, in our hometown. It’s ironic how 13 years later, we needed a singer and there he was needing a band.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? Are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans?
-Well, that is the big question. Currently, the album release and band promotion were financed by all 5 of us. But we are trying the get in touch with different labels and show our work. The tricky part of working without a label is knowing where to put your money. Cause cd’s don’t sell anymore. Nowadays people go to a show, and if they like the band, they will probably buy the album. No one pays for a cd just because it has a nice cover. So we produced a few physical formats and invested on digital platforms like Spotify and Itunes. Let’s see how that goes, but until then we will keep working hard.
I get the feeling that fans that are true to a band, is a lost thing with the easy access to music these days. Do you feel that this is a bad thing or are there any positive aspects of it at all?
-If fans really love our music, they will go and buy the album. We have to accept the future. It’s hard, but we feel that digital platforms can be a solution. With Spotify, CD Baby, iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, people can listen to our music before they buy the album. They can get to know the band better. And hopefully, if they like it, they will buy it. Well, that is what we would do. Usually, we want to keep a physical form of my favorite band/album.
What to you is a great front cover? What should a cover have to make it great?
-A front cover should have all the materials that define the album. Even hidden ideas. It needs to reflect the lyrical content. In “Angels & Demons”, we have a kind of a “blank ghostly face” that is in the middle of an Angel or a Demon. It can even be a Ghost, due to the song “For a Ghost”. That song is about someone who has to choose between love or death. Another example is that the face on the cover looks somehow shattered, like in the song “Shattered Emotions”.
Do you feel that you are part of a national scene? What is the climate for metal in your country?
-It’s really hard to say. It is not that easy to play live in Portugal, we don’t have that many places to play. And most of the times, if you are a small band, you usually don’t get paid for playing a show. The good thing is that we are seeing the metal scene in Portugal growing. Every year there are more new Metal fests. And of course, it’s really inspiring to see Portuguese bands like “Moonspell”, “Painted Black”, and “Rasgo” releasing awesome albums. There are definitely great bands in Portugal, and despite all the difficulties they keep on doing an awesome work. We love the music we do and playing it. So for those who are curious, come and check us out.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-I think digital music sales will be good for music. People can hear their favorite songs anywhere and find new bands with no effort. The smaller bands are now getting more exposure, thanks to the digital platforms. And more than ever anyone can buy/play a song/album anywhere in the world and the money goes directly to the artist. It’s a bit different from the old days when you went to a store and would buy the cd.
What lies in the future?
-Well, we gave all we got to fund this thing on our own. Because we believe in our work and because we love to play music. Now, all we want is to promote the album and play live shows. It would be great if we could play outside Portugal, it’s something that we never did. Besides that, one thing is for sure we will keep on writing new songs. And Pedro, the singer, has a cool way to see the future. It’s like an equation, past + present = future… Sooo we don’t really have a clue what will happen.