Somehow I got on the website of the Brazilian band Henceforth. I checked out the MP3 and sent an email to the band. Soon I got a reply from drummer Fabio Elsas and we arranged something. Read how it turned out!
The band was founded in 1993. Please tell us about the beginning of the band!
Up until 1992 I used to play with Hugo in a trash metal band called Wardeth; the band split up and when I noticed I was playing with Hugo and André in what soon would become Henceforth...
Why did you name the band Henceforth? What does the name mean to you?
Actually Hugo came up with this name out of the blue... I think he must have read this word in some book. Anyway, I found it to be sort of fitting at the time - we used to play trash metal but from now on things will change a bit...
Many might expect the progressive heavy metal when they read that Hugo Mariutti is part of the band, coz his brother was a member of Angra for years. Do you think that this link to Angra in the past and now to Shaman is positive for Henceforth?
Well, I think that there are both the good and the bad sides. The bad side is that besides linking us to melodic heavy metal - nothing against it; I like it, but we really are not into playing this style - people have a certain tendency to look at the band as a mere 'side project' from Hugo, when this is not really like that. While Hugo has a lot of Shaman-relate things to do and he does have to manage his time really well in order to avoid scheduling conflicts, he is one of the founding members of this band and he is the main songwriter; I guess one can't just call a 10 year effort a 'side project'... In the other hand, the link with Angra and now with Shaman serves to 'showcase' Hugo - the more people get to see and hear he play, the more people are likely to have some degree of interest in Henceforth...
Hugo is a member of Shaman as well. I think it's obvious that Shaman has priority at the moment, coz they have an album out and tour. What does it mean for Henceforth?
As I said, Hugo obviously has a lot of Shaman-stuff going on - specially now, after the release of Ritual and the world tour. We (the rest of the band) concentrate in other activities such as promoting the band through the web, writing / revising lyrics, creating new arrangements... We have our debut-CD that is half-done, so we definitely have a lot to think about while Hugo is having a great time touring with the guys.
You decided to do a promo CD with just one track. Why?
We just decided to pick up a song that was strong and a good summation of Henceforth's characteristics...
You choose the track I.Q.U.! Do you think that this track present the band best at the moment?
Yes, I do, although this one is a good representative of our heavier stuff - we have songs that are even heavier than this one and we have songs that are a little calmer, with a certain atmosphere to them...
On the track André Matos is adding some vocals. How come?
That was that sort of 'moment' thing - there we were late at night recording the vocals when someone (maybe Luis, I guess...) suggested: "Why don't we call André and ask him to come over and do some vocals?" It was that simple!
The promo CD is produced by Luis Mariutti and Luis Guilherme Canaes. Why did you work with the twosome?
Guilherme first showed his interest in our band when we played as opening acts for Angra one night during the Fireworks tour in São Paulo, and we got to work together after that. Luis has always been around; he was fundamental in giving our music its current shape. And obviously: he's our guitar player's brother, and as so he was always sort of 'inside' Henceforth...
Will you work again with them?
That's for sure! This is proving itself to be an excellent partnership so far.
Have you started shopping around for a record deal already?
We've had a few proposals in the past that we didn't find good enough for many reasons. As of now, we want to finish the CD so that we can find a good deal, being able to negotiate with some degree of comfort.
You have samples from 3 other songs on your page which show the range of Henceforth music. Will these songs make it on the debut album?
Yes, all of them will make it to the CD although with a few slight changes.
Have you already written enough material for the debut album?
You bet! We even have some stuff for the follow up...
Is song writing a band thing? Or does someone come up with a almost finished track?
A little of each. Someone (usually Hugo) comes up with an idea (even though sometimes he has the full song worked out) and the band work it over in the studio, each one adding personal touches here and there.
Unusual is that the lyrics are written by the drummer... Please tell us about the idea behind I.Q.U.! What does the short form stands for? And what inspires you for this track?
Well, when we first started working with Guilherme and Luis one of the points we all agreed that should receive a little more attention were the lyrics. We decided to rewrite most of them, in many cases completely changing the subject. Each of us thought about topics that could be turned into interesting lyrics and after we decided which direction to take for a specific song someone (usually me) would be tasked with effectively turning the subject into a lyric. Not all of our lyrics were written like that, though; there are a few older lyrics that Hugo wrote all by himself, a few that I did and a few we did together.
As for IQU, one of the topics we choose was related to chemical and biological mass destruction weapons - definitely not an easy subject these days... When I wrote the lyrics for this song (circa 1999) the world was still about to get in touch with Al Qaeda and all this full-scale terrorism thing, so it wasn't difficult for me to write it like I did (being narrated by a land mine who introduces her friends like Sarin Gas, Mustard Gas...). By the way, no mystery here: when you pronounce the characters I, Q and U in their 'english' forms, it sounds a bit like I Kill You.
What inspires you lyrically in general? Are you dealing with serious topic on other tracks as well?
We deal with several different topics: there are songs about addiction, spiritualism, social problems and so on, but there are also a few songs that have lyrics that are a bit more personal, yet written in a way that will allow each person to understand them the way they want.
What inspires you musically? What are your musical idols?
I guess you're not limiting my idols to drummers... I really like Geoff Tate from Queensrÿche, Bruce Dickinson and Steve Hogarth from Marillion. On drummers, I like Deen Castronovo, Scott Rockenfield, Scott Travis and Nicko McBrain, to name a few.
I'm inspired by any thing that I listen to that I can say "Hey, this is different!"...
The band handles the business their own. Will you also do the concept of the artwork?
We'll probably conceive the artwork and have someone who's really a pro on this stuff do it.
Will the artwork be done by the band? Or by another artist? Can you already tell something about?
As I said, we will only work out the concept. I still can't tell much about it, we're still studying the options...
I heard that recording studios are quite expensive in Brazil, if they have a decent quality. Do you think that this is limiting the Brazilian scene?
Absolutely. You are well informed! A good studio in Brazil is definitely not cheap and this fact limits the amount of bands that can have a decent demo or even a decent CD.
Do you think that the success of Angra and Sepultura helped the Brazilian metal scene to develop?
Yes, these bands were cornerstones for the Brazilian heavy metal scene.
Is there a chance for you to play live yet?
It's been a while since we last played live, mostly because we wanted to spend our time working on the pre-production of the songs rather than rehearsing them the way they were in order to play at a bar or club. We surely miss playing live (except probably for Hugo, who's having his share on the road with Shaman!), but we know that we have more important things to look at right now.
Are there clubs where Brazilian bands can play live? Or are usually just international bands that have the chance to play live?
Yes, there are a few - really few - places where smaller bands can play, but most of them lack the adequate structure (equipment, etc...). There are only a few ways for a smaller Brazilian band to get to play at some of the larger venues: by playing as opening acts for larger bands like we did for Angra in the past or by getting big!
Famous last words.... Anything you want to say to the fans?
I'd like to thank everybody for the support and patience - this waiting will not be in vain! Keep an eye at our homepage www.henceforth.com.br for the latest updates!