I have been singing professionally for about 10 years. I had three bands. The first one was Mitraum. We released one album on vinyl. After that I had a second band called Simbols and this band was very famous here in Brazil in the heavy metal scene. We released two albums. The first one was just called Simbols and the second one was called Go To The End. Simbols was a very important heavy metal band from Brazil. It was very famous just here in Brazil and in some countries like Spain and maybe Japan. So it was very important. Now I'm here in Angra.
At one point you were a contender to replace Bruce Dickinson in Iron Maiden. Why didn't that work out?
Yeah, it was in 1994. I had a very quick contact with a producer called Dick Bell. He called me here in Brazil and I talked to him about the possibility of joining Iron Maiden. It was a long time ago. I did a small demo with two songs and I sent this material to Iron Maiden. This guy Dick Bell called me because I believe that he really liked this work.
You along with drummer Aquiles Priester and bassist Felipe Andreoli are the newest members of Angra. When did the three of you join the band and what were the circumstances?
Let me remember. It was almost one year ago. It was in November of 2000 I believe. We, the new three members, did some demos. In my case I sang four songs for this new album, Rebirth, of course demo versions. I sang "Acid Rain", "Unholy Wars", "Rebirth", and "Running Alone". Afterwards I sang some old songs like "Nothing To Say" and I believe that it was the same thing for Aquiles Priester and Felipe Andreoli. Time passed and passed and after waiting a long time, Kiko called us and told us the news.
Why did the other three guys leave the band?
I don't know why but from my point of view I believe there was some fighting. I think the most important thing was these guys were angry. The old guys, the three guys. The bass player, drummer, and singer. I believe they now want to play songs in a little bit more progressive matter and not play metal songs anymore. I believe the main thing was this.
In other words they wanted to move in another musical direction.
Yeah, we are trying to keep the essence of Angra now because Angra is a heavy metal melodic band. We are trying to keep the essence of Angra. I believe that's the difference.
Where does the name Angra come from?
Angra means goddess of fire. It's a Brazilian word. Angra is a city here in Brazil. Very important city. I believe that it was Rafael who chose this name because Angra is a strong name. I think Angra is a beautiful name. It's very similar to the word anger. We like it. Anger. I think that's it.
Your music is a mixture of German metal and Brazilian rhythms. How do you incorporate the two sounds?
The main difference for Angra not sounding like other bands is this mix of heavy metal songs, classical music, and percussion with Brazilian rhythms. I believe that is the main difference. Everybody in Europe, especially France and Germany, likes this different mix. The heavy metal with Indian percussion.
You have a new album out titled Rebirth which seems pretty appropriate. It appears that the band has had a rebirth with the new lineup. Tell me about the new album.
This album, Rebirth, is a conceptual album. The story is about a world that was destroyed. Now it's been rebuilt with a new concept. Honesty, friendship, and this kind of stuff. The history of this album is a parallel with the Angra story. We are now like a new band. It's a new experience. The essence of Angra is the same. We have three new guys but the original essence of Angra remains. That's important to say. The concept of this album is that we need to just speak positive words to the people. Especially now because we are living in a very difficult moment around the world. You can see this war between the United States Of America and Bin Laden. We need peace and this album is talking about peace. Like I said before, it's like a parallel with our history of the past, and now we have a new moment in our lives. We have peace now. We are trying to work together like brothers so we're working like brothers.
I know that Brazil has had some difficult moments. Are there any songs in particular that stand out from the others?
I pretty much like "Nova Era" and "Rebirth", the title of the album. "Rebirth" is very beautiful. I like "Nova Era" because it's a typical heavy metal song. I very much like this kind of song, heavy metal. I used to say that the main difference between Angra and myself is that Andre, the old singer, is a classy guy. He is very, very, very polite. I am very polite. Andre is too polite. He is a great singer. I pretty much like him. There is some difference between us. It's difficult to say but let me try. Andre is a great singer but he used to sing very high, very thin, like a woman. He sings very well but he reaches very high notes like a real woman. He sounds like a woman to me but I like it very much. Because I like women very much. I'm joking. My main influences are Ronnie James Dio and Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden with Bruce Dickinson, Michael Kiske. I used to sing a little bit stronger than Andre. My voice is a little bit powerful. It's very difficult to say.
The two of you have different vocal ranges.
What was the inspiration behind dividing the song "Unholy Wars" into two parts?
At the beginning we used a very, very famous rhythm here in Brazil called maracatu. This very famous rhythm from Brazil came from Africa because here in Brazil we have a very big carnival. You know the carnival here in Brazil? In Brazil the most important things are soccer and the carnival. You know, naked girls. That rhythm is very important here in Brazil. We like to show this strange rhythm to the whole world because it's different to some countries like Germany, USA, France. We used to put this rhythm in our songs and "Unholy Wars" is a very special song because of this drumming. The lyrics of the song are very beautiful. At the end of the song we have some Arabian melodies. We were trying to find a connection with the primitive rhythm and the Arabian notes to show the culture of these kind of countries like Egypt, Arabian countries. We want to do this parallel to show and to compare our primitive rhythms and their primitive melodies.
How much input did you have in the creative process of Rebirth?
I wrote two songs on this new album. "Nova Era" is mine and "Heroes Of Sand" is mine also. I wrote a song called "Bleeding Heart" that was just released on the Japanese version of the CD. "Bleeding Heart" is a very beautiful ballad and we are intending to present this song in the near future. It's a very beautiful song.
Good deal. Who does most of the writing or does everyone contribute?
Kiko and Rafael wrote some songs like "Millennium Sun", "Acid Rain", "Unholy Wars", "Running Alone", "Rebirth". They wrote some songs together. Aquiles Priester and Felipe Andreoli didn't write some new songs for this album but I believe on the next album everybody will write something.
The CD cover is pretty amazing. Who came up with the concept for that?
The art cover was made by a girl from France. Isabel deAmorin. She is a great designer. She did the Fireworks cover, the third work from Angra and Rebirth, the new one. This cover is beautiful. It's perfect because we were intending to show a new spirit from Angra and to show like a kind of peace to all people. We wanted to use some colors like blue, like a beautiful angel, and she did it perfectly. This cover is very beautiful. I like it very much.
Pink Cream 69 bassist Dennis Ward produced and mixed the album. I seem to see his name everywhere.
Dennis was perfect because Dennis Ward is a great person. A great producer also. It was perfect because he understood the new spirit, the union, the friendship. He understood that we needed to work in peace. We needed to work happy. Dennis is like a friend to me. He is like a teacher and is very professional. I believe that choice was perfect. We are intending to work with him on the next album. In May we're going to release a new album, just a mini album with seven songs and Dennis Ward came to Brazil last month and we recorded four new songs. We recorded two acoustic versions from Rebirth. We did acoustic versions of "Rebirth" and "Heroes Of Sand". We did two acoustic versions and we're going to put them on this mini album that we're going to release in May with seven songs. Here in Brazil we recorded a Led Zeppelin tribute. We recorded "Kashmir". We worked with Dennis Ward again. I pretty much like this song. It's a classic song. Led Zeppelin is an icon for everybody. This song "Kashmir" is very beautiful. I like it pretty much because we put some percussion, some Brazilian rhythms, on this song. It's great.
I always like Led Zeppelin covers better than the originals.
This new version is very, very beautiful and a little bit powerful because of course we did it with new instruments. It was a little bit stronger. The rhythm on that one riff is a little bit stronger. It's very beautiful.
You put some of your own personality and sound into it. Rebirth sold 50,000 copies alone in Brazil in a little over a month. That must have been thrilling to have such a fantastic response from the fans.
In Brazil this album is selling very well. We won a gold album here in Brazil with this album Rebirth. Around the world it's selling very well, especially in Japan and Italy and in France it's growing. We are very, very happy with the results, especially in Brazil because we live here. We're reaching new horizons and here in Brazil we're doing some TV shows now. Very important TV shows to show our work. The heavy metal scene in Brazil is growing now. Everybody is saying "oh heavy metal is good". Metal is not dirty anymore. Everybody in Brazil thinks that heavy metal people are very dirty. Ugly guys. Here in Brazil we are trying to change this concept. In Brazil the heavy metal market is growing. Now we have many bands coming to Brazil from Europe, the USA, everywhere.
Yngwie Malmsteen did a tour in Brazil.
Yeah, Malmsteen was trying to play the American anthem. Everybody here in Brazil was joking. Screaming "Bin Laden, Bin Laden" but just joking. Just 10 or 15 guys and Malmsteen was very, very angry and screaming "oh fuck you man. I hate you". Something like that. This show was very bad here in Brazil. Just this show. Stratovarious, Gamma Ray, and other bands had everybody singing their songs. I believe that these bands want to come to Brazil again. I think that Malmsteen won't play in Brazil again.
I heard only one side of that story. I was curious about the other side. I guess after what happened in September people's sense of humor dried up a little.
No problem. Just one gig.
You guys did a video clip for one of your songs. Which song was it and where will people be able to view it?
We intend to do a video clip. A real video clip with some different singers from Brazil. We finished it last week. We released a video clip from the last show here in Sao Paulo. A great show. A big show though with fireworks and it was a very beautiful show. A very important show here in Brazil because Sao Paulo is the capital for heavy metal here in Brazil. We recorded this show in Brazil to do a video and we're going to release it maybe next month. The song is "Rebirth" and it's a live video clip.
I saw an interesting poll question on the Angra site. It asked if you guys should record some songs in portuguese. I was wondering if you guys ever gave any thought to doing it and seeing how it would turn out.
It was just a question. We asked our fans this question because when we were in Europe, Kiko, Rafael, and I did some acoustic shows and everybody was asking about this kind of thing. "By the way, why don't you write some songs in portuguese? Or maybe one song". We decided to ask our fans on our website.
I think it would be cool.
I'm going to tell you the truth. We already recorded one song in portuguese. A very new song called "Hunters And Prey". We're going to release this song on this mini album that we're going to release in May. This song "Hunters And Prey" will be an english version and a portuguese version. You are the first person I've told.
I think it's a cool idea. I'm a fan of Rammstein even though my german isn't that great. Sometimes I wonder why bands from other countries don't record songs in their own language.
It's different. It sounds strange but it's different. It's great. I like different, strange things though.
So do I. Have you guys been touring and what are your future touring plans?
We're going to be doing a big tour in Europe next month, February. We're going to play in some countries like Italy, Germany, France, Spain, and many other countries. Afterwards I believe that in March we're going to play in the USA in a festival called Metal Meltdown. We're also going to play in Canada. I believe we're doing three gigs in Canada. I'm not sure.
When you guys play the U. S., will it be just that one festival?
Yeah. Maybe in June or July we're going to play at some summer festivals in Europe.
Have you played any shows?
Not abroad, no, but here in Brazil we already did a big South American tour and we played in Chile, Argentina, and we did 26 shows here in Brazil. They were in November and December. They were very great because all the people were accepting and everybody was singing the new songs. I'm very happy because of that. Everybody was singing the new songs, the new lyrics, and of course the old songs. The classics like "Make Believe". I am very glad because the people were understanding that we now have a new moment. We have a new concept. We have a new moment in our lives but the essence of Angra remains. That's important to say. We are intending to keep the essence of Angra and I think everybody understands.
I listened to the new album. It's great. Any other thoughts or comments?
I'm very glad to be able to play in the USA and it will be the first time for Angra in the USA. We are going to try to do a beautiful show to prove, like I said before, that the essence of Angra remains and to show that we are a real heavy metal band.