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In Words: Angra

- André Matos - June 1995 - Claudia Ehrhardt -

André Matos @ Uelsen 1995
© Claudia Ehrhardt

André Matos - June 10th 1995 - Uelsen (Germany)

At a small open-air festival I met André Matos, the singer of Angra. The band from Brazil plays a couple of shows in Germany. They are playing the first time in Germany. Their debut album Angels Cry was released in 1994. A few of you will know André from the time he was singing in the Brazilian band Viper.

You are from Brazil, but you recorded your debut in Germany. Why? How it came to the work with Kai Hansen?

We got a German manager, Limb. You maybe know him from his work with Helloween. He is use to be our manager from the beginning. He takes care of the European and Japanese market. We got another manager, our personal manager in Brazil. We came here to record, 'cause Limb had lots of contacts here. He knows the right people, producers, engineers, etc. It's much cheaper for us to record in Germany. In Brazil we have very, very good studios, of course, but it's too expensive. For example Guns'n'Roses recorded in Brazil. The studios in Brazil are pretty expensive, 'cause we don't have that much in Brazil. A nice studio here costs less than a studio at the same level in Brazil. It's cheaper, even if we had to pay the flights, etc. For us it means, we can work with very good people which we couldn't afford to pay in Brazil. Like our producers Charlie Bauerfeind and Sven Paeth. You ask how it came to work with Kai. Kai and Dirk from Gamma Ray are the owners of the studio. Two years ago we came here to record our debut at their studio. They are really nice people and at the end they take part on our record. They were a kind of guest musicians. This time we record here again, we wanted it to be like it was the last time. Almost the same thing, we recorded at Kai Hansen's studio.

Are you start recording after playing these shows?

We have already started. Between the shows we had the time. Two weeks ago the tour stopped and we started rehearsing at Kai's studio. But at the moment we don't really recording. It was a kind of pre-production. Next week we'll start the recordings.

I hope we see you again on some shows. It was a good show even if the sound wasn't that good, but it's always the same at open-air festivals.

At least we had much fun. We expected that the sound won't be that good. The feeling was quit nice.

You had luck that the fans supporting all the different types of bands which playing today.

It was great, yeah. Maybe better than the festival in Wacken. It was terrible, so cold. Cold weather.

Sometimes people compare you with Helloween (the Keeper of The Seven Keys-albums), Crimson Glory and Dream Theater. Your musical abilities are much better than of most bands other bands in the metal scene. I think you have a classical training.

I finished the musical university. I studied there for six years piano and singing. Our guitar player is studying on his last year. We have classical experience. The other guys used to learn all that stuff. Jazz and pop it's more their stuff, but we have a kind of training. I don't think we are at the same level as Dream Theater. They all are very good musicians. But who knows perhaps one day we are as good as they are.

Perhaps one day you have the same success like they have.

There is a big difference between them and us, when you speak about Dream Theater. I think they are to technical, gets a little bit extreme some times. We care about not to get that extreme.

I think it's better. Many people can't understand what e.g. Dream Theater playing.

Sometimes you're doing music only for yourself.

In the first place it should be what you like.

Of course. you can't always think about who's gonna listen. You can't release your own album when it's done. You have to think about the people who support you. We did the first album in a certain way and we didn't change too much on the second.

You play heavy metal with classic pieces. It's not that usual. I think it's through your classical experiences. Do you think it influences people to give classic the change to listen to?

Let's put it like that, The classical music is much more incorporated than in the other thing. I mean, when we think about classic it's not only taking a synthesis of an existing piece and put it into our stuff. It's more deep. it has something to do with the composition we do. I think it helps quit a lot to have this classical training. It's a science. It's funny, but on rock, heavy metal you can find pretty much of the same. For me, it helps a lot. Otherwise I wouldn't really know what I do. It's a very big acknowledge which is very nice to have. At least when you finished your class you have much more to learn.

Everybody leans until the end of life.

Yes, but how to learn is the think which is important. Otherwise you loose time. you got the right way to learn when you start to study something. Don't finish your class and say "now I may not have to learn".

You are the second known band from Brazil. Okay, in the first place it's Sepultura the people thinking about as an Brazilian act and then Angra. We don't hear very much about the music scene of Brazil. Do you have success in Brazil or do the fans listen more to the harder part of music?

It's very interesting. When we released in Brazil we didn't think that we can sell that much. We can sell about 5,000 albums we thought. that's enough for us. It was a sur­prise that we finally sold about 20,000 albums. Numbers are not everything. Every place we play we probably fill. It's okay, we have a very good response from everybody there. Sepultura is the most famous band out of Brazil, as you say. They deserved to be, 'cause they are very professional. I know them for 10 years. It's a mistake to think that in Brazil are only bands like Sepultura.

We don't hear more about the Brazilian scene, so it seems that there are not other bands. Only that it's a hard­core scene, almost.

Even the guys from Sepultura, they say that before them music ain't exist in Brazil. That's not the truth at all. The metal scene from Brazil remains from the early 80's. As a very young kid I was watching that bands. It's very simple at that time most of the bands use to be singing in Portuguese. That's why they are not known. At the time Sepultura came out other bands, like Viper the band I took part of before, we started with singing in English. We was really criticized by doing it, as not be patriotic. it was the only way. The only bands which came out of Brazil are singing in English. I don't feel bad about singing in English, 'cause I think the most important thing is to give your message to other people. Okay, I would like to sing in Portuguese, but to sing just in Por­tuguese it's a sort of limitation. English is a kind of universal language. You can sell in Japan, in Germany, in Russia, in Australia, everywhere. This is the thing, but let's come back to your question. Sepultura was the first band out of Brazil and in Brazil. Some good things happen to us like the festival we took part there, the Monsters Of Rock. We opened the festival which includes: Kiss, Black Sabbath and slayer and much more. It was great, 'cause we played there in front of 40,000 people. The response was great. All these slayer and Suicidal Ten­dencies fans, but it was pretty cool. Really exciting.

Everybody should be open minded to other kinds of music.

Yeah, it seems that it's happening. It happened a funny thing when we played in Holland. The promotion for the show was telling that we are a death metal band. Okay, there were many people who know Angra. Most were death metal fans. The melodic metal fans remain at home. It was cool, because when we start everybody was a little bit con­fused. Then the people listen and at the end it was really crazy. The good thing is that the people don't care and at the end the people call for more. We played a track from Iron Maiden.

Today you finished with Judas Priest's Pain­killer. Just fun?

Yeah, we like this music. It's not the normal style for my voice. I sing very high, so it's different. I have to say that Judas Priest is a big influence. Earlier it was one of my favorites. I still like to listen to Painkiller.

It's a very good album.

Rather this and thrash metal of course.

I get magazines from Russia and even there people know about Angra. They didn't know much about you. Sepultura played there and the only other band they know from Brazil is Angra. In Russia it's different to Europe. There most musicians have a classical training. For them it's something special. On the other hand there is another parallel to Brazil. Most of the Russian bands sing in Russian and so they are not that popular outside the former soviet union.

It's the same problem. They should change.

Are there obvious changes between the debut and the new one?

It's the same thing and even different. Have I told you, the basic style remains the same.

It's not good to change too much.

Basically it's our style, heavy metal, fast sometimes. Okay, with our classical touch, but ....

People will remember it when they heard it once.

I think so, because... now we got something different. I really think we shouldn't do exactly the same thing again. Something exactly what Angels Cry is. We are looking for originality. Now we have quit new elements, experiences, new influences.

Where are your influences?

We had a very serious research about the Latin Brazilian music last year. We really think that the country we came from is very rich in music. The folk music is great. Samba and something even deeper. It has not only to with the rhythm, also with the scales, the harmony, the melody, everything. This time we have a little bit concerned about it, like to add something more interesting to our sound. Add, not replace. Never forget what you've done. So the next album will be a little bit different. Maybe it's more heavy, perhaps through this percussive stuff and the heavy metal within.

I think your listen to many different kinds of music.

Normally we listen to nearly everything. I mean it's the only way.

Many people limit themselves by listening just to one musical direction.

I'm sorry for them. It's bullshit. I mean, you have to try everything. Then you can say don't like it. If somebody comes to me and says: listen to this German folk music. I would listen to it. Maybe there is something new. I like world music, pop and jazz.

Take the best of everything.

We want to change a little bit the image of the band. Not just heavy metal with classical elements. My real wish is that people say Angra is Angra. That they say, we have our own style. I think the next album will come pretty close to it.

It takes time to develop.

Yes, but it's pretty much our style.

For a debut it is very outstanding.

Maybe not as complete as it could be.

The new album will be more complete as you say. The last to years and the touring and ex­periences you made have influenced you a lot.

It was a hard experience. Europe is very different. Now we are a little closer to it. Last time we spend about 4 months in Germany.

You first came here to record the debut, now you are touring and recording.

The last time we haven't toured. The touring thing is terrible. But we have to do it. It's a part of our job. I have to find a better way to handle it. It's really fatiguing. Really different to what I imagine. But, it's okay. In the future we gonna get pretty usual to it.

On the other hand without touring you couldn't play that much live.

The only thing we would like to have more rest. It's hard for me, for my voice.

You will get more experienced and it become easier.

I hope the band will be back soon. With a new album they will tour. I can recommend this band to all fans of Helloween (days of Keepers...), Crimson Glory, Vicious Rumors, Fates Warning and Dream Theater. A German magazine called the band the Brazilian answer to Queensrÿche! Just test it, you will like it.

Claudia Ehrhardt


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