Angra interview (10/2006)
|With:||Kiko [Guitars] and Edu [Vocals]|
|Conducted by:||Jeff (in person)|
This interview took place the 18 of September in a Palace of Paris. Kiko and Edu were eating when I came to the room. After some pictures for a French Magazine (Hard N Heavy) I had the luck to meet two really friendly dudes who were both really happy to talk about their upcoming album, "Aurora Consurgens".
Jeff: Hi guys! So, the fifteenth anniversary of Angra is near, how do you feel about it?
Kiko: Yeah (laughs). No, well, we're really happy, because it's really hard for a band to have a career of fifteen years! And being a band from Brazil, it's even harder. Not a lot managed to do it. Sepultura did it… a few bands did it actually… but it's very hard to become professional and to have so many fans and people who like your music. And the friends we made these fifteen years from the press, the fans and others bands, that's really cool.
Jeff: So you're happy, great! Let's talk a bit about your new album, "Aurora Consurgens", can you do a little introduction?
Edu: "Aurora Consurgens"! Well, I think that it is a very special album. First, because here we are completing fifteen years of career and so we're celebrating this time. And well, to celebrate it, we choose to do this album because it's a really strong album. The songs are stronger, heavier comparing to the other albums, the band is much more mature now, especially because our last album "Temple Of Shadow" was like a challenge for us and now we're better, we play better and I think that the next tour will be much better than the other ones. We played many concerts during the last tour and we're playing much better now. I think we're are just better people, personally I mean.
So, this album… well we don't have a concept in the lyrics, but we have a theme and the whole album is talking about this theme. We have different lyrics but we're talking about the same subject. This name, "Aurora Consurgens" is based on an old book, a very old book that is like a secret book. There is a very important point for me. We're living in a world that is getting more and more crazy maybe because the information is so fast nowadays, because of the Internet, because of all the information in the streets, for example in Japan you have those big screens, and it's easy for the people to become crazy with all those information. Look, last week in Canada with this guy who killed many people in a school and in USA this is the same thing. And in Brazil we have the same problems with Bolivia! Do you know about that? with Bolivia?
Jeff: No no, I didn't know that you had some problems with them. What's the problem?
Edu: We consider them like friends, and they stole one of our petrol stations, a Brazilian petrol station… it's just crazy! Just think about it, Bolivia against Brazil! We're friends damn! Of course I'm not talking about the people but about the government. So I think that those signs are a kind of result of some problem with human beings. And well, those problems can be find in this book, "Aurora Consurgens", you know those problems that come when you're young… problems with fathers, parents and children. We have different elements that could call those disorders, these mind disorders. So we chose this subject because we think that it is an important one.
It's a very old book, but a man studied this book and it was very difficult in its subjects, in its psychological aspects, to understand it. So, we used his studies to build the whole things of the album, lyrics, etc.
Kiko: Hum well…
Jeff: Don't worry Kiko, I have some other questions about the lyrics, etc. (laughs)
Kiko: Oh ok good! (laughs)
Jeff: You released "Temple Of Shadows" two years ago, and now you're already back with a new album. How did you manage to write a new album so fast? Did you start to write it during the long "ToS" tour?
Kiko: Well, we did a really long tour with "ToS", yes, because it was a really successful album. It was an amazing tour, we did more than 80 concerts in Brazil sometimes with three or four dates in the same town, and of course we were in Europe, Japan, Asia in 2005… USA too, etc. It's very good in a way to do a tour because you have a lot of free time in the hotels and you can meet different people who listen to different music. And sometimes the ideas come in those hotels, but not whole songs of course, just some ideas. When it's good, the ideas always come back in your mind. So, when we were back from the tour, we started to organize the ideas to write the songs. And then four months before recording, we did a meeting together to show the songs…with a computer it's easy to do it now you know. We discovered the songs, we listened to them, we worked on them and the we recorded the album…. But two years, it's not so fast, it's a good time… less it's just impossible…
Jeff: So everybody comes with ideas, with sounds and you put them together?
Kiko: Well, not really… this time we came more with entire songs, if you have a look on the credits I think that we have only one song that belong to the whole band. Everybody work on the songs, of course, but 90% of a song belong to its author. No, this time it was more personal.
Jeff: Well, I already had the chance to listen to your new album and I read in the biography, the one from your label SPV, that "Aurora Consurgens" is more heavier. I have to agree and disagree. I agree because I think that the riffs are heavier, like on the first song of the album where we are able to find real "thrashy" riffs but on the other hand, I think that the whole album is much more progressive than "ToS" which was a pure Power Metal album…. Am I right?
Kiko: Well… I don't know…
Edu: Yeah, we had many different opinions…
Kiko: Well you know, we do music that we like, and to be honest we don't have a clue of what people gonna think about it… It's funny because for the "ToS" album we think that it is progressive… in its structure, in the length of the song, well for us it brings a little bit toward in the progressive area. But it doesn't mean that we play progressive music, I mean, we're not Dream Theater…
Edu: Well, and I think that I have a different way to sing on this album. I consider that "ToS" is a "poetical-progressive" Metal… (laughs). And this one is more "technical-progressive" Metal, something like that you know… Because I think that "ToS" is more complex than this one, but maybe, as you said, that "Aurora Consurgens" is more difficult to play and not so easy of access.
Jeff: Oh yeah, I really think that it is the best performance of Kiko and Rafael on the whole Angra discography…
Kiko: Really? Well thank! But I think that it is a little progressive yes… and some people don't think that "ToS" is progressive so… But you know, I don't know your background, if you only listen to AC/DC, every Angra's albums will sound progressive. But if you listen to some hardcore progressive music or even classical music or some "extreme concrete music" (laughs) or whatever… Angra will sound like a baby. But if we say that it is heavier, it's just because it's heavier for us. Of course if you listen to Slayer all day it's not gonna be "heavy"… It's just heavier for us. It's more aggressive but it doesn't mean that it is heavier in general yes.
Edu: But for me, I think that the most important thing is that the songs are good… or not!
Jeff: We agree!
Kiko: It's just a matter of sensations. But I think that it is the best album of Angra, because we did our maximum and we kept our best ideas… and it was the best of us, really, and we mixed it! Now we're happy, the result is good… Oh, whatever anyway every bands always say that their new album is the best (laughs). I just hope that people will have the same feeling than us when they will listen to the songs.
Jeff: Well let's talk a bit about Saint Thomas d'Aquin.
Jeff: Saint Thomas d'Aquin! (It seems that my French accent played some bad turns to me one more time lol)
Edu: Oh, Saint Thomas!
Kiko: How do you say in French? D'Aquin? We say Santo Thomas d'Aquino (laughs)…
Jeff: (laughs) So well, as I know, this man was someone who believed in reason and nature and, as you said in the beginning, the new album is linked with one of his book, so is it for you a way to send a special message about nature and reason to your audience?
Edu: Yeah yeah, this is important. You know, some people tell me, "do you believe in your lyrics?" I say yes because for me, I have the power to give a chance to the people to think about those subjects. And we chose this book as a reference. So yes, Saint Thomas d'Aquino wrote it and this is like a secret book because the Catholic Church liked to say that Saint Thomas was too crazy to write this book… it's quite strange you know, in the book you have some drawings that are linked with mental disorder diseases! Many specialists say that the Church didn't like it because it doesn't follow its laws, so it was a forbidden book…
Kiko: You have to know too, that it's secret because alchemists used this book. Some people say that Saint Thomas d'Aquino was an alchemist and the Church say "no" and say that he didn't write this book… But all the symbols (animals, etc.), colours were used by the alchemist and for them, there is a lot of relations between those drawings and the mind of the human being. It's a really interesting subject.
In "ToS" we were talking about relation between people. This time we went more scientific, psychological and realistic. In fact you start with religion, and then you go to symbolism and then you come to the book of Saint Thomas. But in general the lyrics talk about mental disorder and about our society.
Jeff: Ok, I understand. So, you had a lot of guests singers and musicians on "ToS", is it the same with "Aurora Consurgens"? I don't think so…
Kiko: No guest… only a percussionist! Only musicians that we needed to have. You know for example, on "ToS" we invited Milton Nascimiento, the great Brazilian singer, because we had a song for him. So after that, we wanted also someone to represent Power Metal, so that's the reason why you were able to find Kai and Hansi… But this time, we want to do Angra and that's all.
Edu: Especially because of the anniversary…
Kiko: We don't want that guest singers become a trademark, we don't want some "hey who will be the next guest singer?". We think that Angra doesn't really need people from other bands on all its new albums. "Tos" was a good album because of the music, not because of the guest musicians but of course they were all amazing additions.
Edu: This time we will focus only on the band, the five guys.
Jeff: Ok. Why did you record albums in Germany instead of Brazil?
Kiko: We did it with "Rebirth" and "ToS"…
Jeff: But why there?
Kiko: Well because it happens to be there…
Edu: You know, Dennis Ward prefers to work at home to mix and master the album.
Kiko: It's not so easy for him to record an album in Brazil, I mean, he knows his studio in Germany. It's not a technical problem, it's just, well… We were in Gods Of Metal, so it was easy for us to come to Denis' studio to records the drums for "Aurora Consurgens". We have good studios in Brazil, and good studios in Germany… it was the same really. But Denis just prefers to work in a studio that he knows.
Jeff: And why did you choose to work with Denis?
Kiko: We just like the way he works! The work on "Rebirth" and "ToS" was really good so… But the producer, that's not only the sound, it's also the vibes and the feeling and Denis is half American half German. He has the good parts of the Germans and the good parts of the Americans (laughs). He is really relax but always serious. That's great to work with him.
Jeff: And what about the cover? Why do you only work with Isabel De Amorim now? This is the 3rd time right?
Kiko: Four time!
Jeff: She did the artwork on Firework too?
Kiko: Yes! We're a kind of conservative band (laughs). We like how she works, so I don't see why we should change. Well you know, when you will release a new album, it has to be ready in time. The label, requests it. If you change of designer and if you have to look after a new one, you cannot be sure that you'll have the design ready in time. With Isabel, we're always sure that it will be ready.
Jeff: Oki, so let's keep Denis and Isabel! (laughs)
Edu: We don't want to change! (laughs)
Jeff: I heard something about a virtual single?
Kiko: We want to put one song with a cover and all what you need on the net for free. You'll be able to find it on www.angra.net. This song in advance will have a special artwork, it's another way to celebrate the anniversary.
Jeff: So you're not afraid of Internet and P2P sharing?
Kiko: Of course we are!
Edu: But we cannot control it anyway…
Kiko: At least we will have one song on the Internet on a legal way! But of course P2P sharing is a problem for the artists, but also for the shops in the cities and everybody who is linked with the CDs. Unfortunately we cannot do two gigs everyday to win money, so we need to sell CDs too but Internet sharing…this is a reality…we need to control it. How? I don't know… But one day they will have to find a way to pay the composers. And same with the studios or they will close their doors and then we will have to record our stuff on our computers and it will become bad at the end.
But anyway don't worry, even if we will release a virtual single, we will be in your town one day, and it will not be a virtual Kiko or a virtual Edu!!! (laughs)
The upcoming album, Aurora Consurgens
Jeff: I know that you'll tour in Asia and Japan soon. I also know that you're really famous there, and also that you have a big fan-base in France. Our countries are totally different, so can you tell me why and how you have this success in those two really different countries?
Edu: Well, as I told you Angra is a special band because we have five really special guys. We're all really different and we can all bring different stuff in the music. In France, people like variation I think… In Japan the people like our "classical" orientation. But no doubt that "ToS" helped us a lot to become what we are now, especially in Japan where they consider it like a real masterpiece. For this tour, we will be "co-headliners" only before Megadeth and many bands will play before us: Arch Enemy, Anthrax, COB, Dio… many important bands will play before us.
Kiko: But France is really different than Japan… Hum that's a good question actually. Why Angra can be a link between two different countries like France and Japan? Hum… I think that the French people are really open to different and new sonorities at the opposite of American people. If you talk about Latin music in USA, you'll only have some words about Shakira, no Bossa Nova or other Brazilian music… But France is different, people listen to some (Kiko is talking in French) "musique du monde" ("world music"). Brazilian people see French people like people who want to discover new stuff… you can even find French books about the jungle and forest from Brazil. So with the music, if you play Heavy Metal with a djembe, French people will think that it's cool, in Germany they will say "what the fuck?!". When we released "Holy Land" a lot of French people were really excited because of the Brazilian music, Samba, Bossa that we put in it. That's the reason why Angra started to become famous there I think… In Japan, they're also open. Actually they like "weird" occidental stuff. But first they like melodic classical Heavy Metal. They like this side of Angra first. And Italy and Spain are a bit like France I think. Germanic countries just prefer pure Heavy Metal music.
Jeff: Good answer! Kiko, can you talk a bit about your new album?
Kiko: It's already out, I will give you one. It's already released in Brazil and Japan. But it's a really different album, it's a Jazzy album. I'm the only "Heavy Metal guy" of the album.
Jeff: And what about Rafael? Maybe that he will also do one?
Kiko: Edu did it!
Jeff: Really? I didn't know it!
Edu: Well, yes, I did a solo album but it was released only in Japan and Brazil. Right now we're talking with some European labels so you can expect to have it next year. But well, to talk about it, I invited some friends, Emppu of Nightwhish, Lauri of Stratovarius and Cassey of Kamelot.
Jeff: So it's Heavy Metal I suppose?
Edu: Yeah it is, but there are different influences on the album, from Pop to Brazilian music. But it was really cool for me, because I composed everything, I did the arrangements, etc. I invited some "guests" like Mike Stone… But each song is different, for example the first song is a kind of Thrash Metal… It's not an Angra album.
Jeff: And it was released this year in Japan?
Edu: Yes in July. And it's going well, I sold more than 4,000 CD in one day there... I'm happy (laughs)
Jeff: I hope that we will have it here soon…
Edu: Yeah yeah, you'll have it don't worry!
Jeff: Last question, what about a future tour?
Kiko: Asia in October… End of the year, Brazil… And later, Japan again in January for a real tour, not for this festival. You can expect to see us in Europe in February.
Jeff: Ok! Well, so if you have something to say to our readers…
Kiko: Nothing to say!!! (laughs)
Edu: Haha! (laughs)
Kiko: Well just have a look on the new album… You'll be surprised we have a lot of new things, it's more direct, the guitar parts are a bit more experimental, it's a different album but I think that the fans of Angra will like it.
Edu: Actually, we just would like to invite the fans to come to see us on our next tour. Because we will celebrate our anniversary so it will be a really special tour with surprises.
Kiko: We will play old songs that we don't play a lot in general. We will play different stuff and you'll have the chance to listen to our music from the beginning of our career to our last album. We will play "other songs"… it will be fun.
Edu: A real party!
Jeff: Thank you guys… and one more time sorry for the world cup!
Kiko: Shut up! (laughs)
Edu: Every French journalists talk about that… stop it now!
Many thx to Edu and Kiko for their friendly attitude. Thx to Roger and Olivier @ Replica Records. Promo pictures: SPV Records all rights reserved.
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