Most will only name Angra, Shaaman and Sepultura when asked about Brazilian bands. With Scelerata another Brazilian band tries to establish themselves outside their home country. Time to talk a bit about Scelerata, their album and plans. Thanks to singer Carl Casagrande - one question is answered by Francis which is indicated - to answer my questions within hours!
Please tell us a bit about the beginning of the band!
The band began when Gustavo Strapazon (bass) and Bruno Sandri (guitar), who are friends since a very young age, invited Francis Cassol (drums) to a jam session. They were looking for a drummer to start a heavy metal band. Quickly they hit it off, and became very good friends. This was around October of the year 2000 and bands name weren't Scelerata yet. And in 2002 me (vocals) and Rod Velasco (guitar) joined the band putting the name of Scelerata. We did lots of gigs, recorded some demo stuff, and in December of 2004, Rod was replaced by Magnus Wichmann (guitar). Since then we have the same line-up, and hopefully it will never change!
What does the name Scelerata mean? And what does it mean to you? Btw, do you know that there is a red wine of 2001 called Scelerata Ame Noire?
When we started looking for a name for the band, we knew we wanted something different and that would step aside from the clichés. When we came up with this name, we liked it instantly. In Portuguese, the word's phonetic suggests speed, accelerated, fast. The correct meaning though comes from Latin. Scelerata means 'bad guy', 'sinful', 'accursed'... something like that. Summing up its real meaning with its phonetic, we knew we had a heavy metal name for a heavy metal band. To sum up, its all about good and bad and something like the final judgement day, when God should come down and let the 'good ones', pass into the 'Scelerata' portal! The 'bad ones' that don't get allowed to pass, should remain here paying their duties. ;)
The wine thing, its pretty interesting, since I'm a fan of good wines, you know!? :) Anyway, could you please keep it a bottle for me there?! Thank you very much ;)
Are the songs mainly written for the debut album Darkness & Light?
Yes, they are! With no exceptions!
Why did you chose Darkness & Light as the album title? Do you think that song represents the album best?
Darkness And Light is a pretty strong and at the same time, easy to understand title, you know?! It represents everything and all energies that guides our feelings and acts on this planet! You can't just read Darkness And Light and think on it strict meaning you know?! Take a careful reading at the albums lyrics and you'll understand what I'm talking about! ;)
The song Darkness And Light its a pretty good song, but I must admit that, it won't show you the albums whole atmosphere at the musical web, I mean.
What's the story behind the song?
In fact, the song tell us many things about our collapsed world we are living on, where love is in total decadence between couples itself! Also, tell us a lot about our governments, that will start to see the real world just in the day when everything ruins besides them and their sons start to get hungry and sick! Their totally blind, seeking for more money and power, losing their own minds and their focus, for the real meaning of this life here at planet earth!
Who did the album art work? Was it you idea to use a phoenix?
Francis: We called a great artist from São Paulo to do the artwork for our first album. Rodrigo Cruz is his name, and we knew his work with artists such as Shaaman, Kotipelto and some other bands from Brazil. For the cover we wanted something dark and with a symbol, something that we could use on future albums, kind of like Iron Maiden's Eddie, in a smaller scale, of course! Rodrigo came up with the idea of a petrified phoenix bird with fire. When he showed us the final art, we just loved it, because the phoenix has a lot to do with the title of the album Darkness & Light.
Please tell us what inspires you to write songs? Musically and lyrically!
I could say that, as more as I could reach peoples hearts, I'll try to! People all over the world, are leaving blind lifes, consuming this wild capitalism that pumps everywhere and to everybody! What the hell is going on with our governments, that should care about the population and, instead of that, just keep putting more money into their pockets and starting new wars to sell more guns! Keep making wars, seeing there, good money opportunities for their own! People lost their minds and the real meaning of this life. We are leaving like 'I need more money, more power, a brand new car and thats the real meaning of life', but people forget that, the only 100% sure point we’ve got is that we don't know from where we came from and that we will die someday! Where we are going into?! Well, thats another big story to talk drinking the good 'Scelerata' wine. ;)
On Spell Of Time you get Edu Falaschi as a guest vocalist. How come? And why this song?
Edu is a good friend of mine, particularly. We've started working together during his workshop tours in Brazil, which in case, I was responsible for booking his dates and manage him during the events. Edu is one of the most powerful heavy metal voices nowadays and an amazing person, the results were the best as possible!!
The Spell Of Time, needed a 'spell of time' between two parts in our concept, so, maybe this is the reason for Edu singing it!
Do you write songs as a band? Or does someone comes up with a finished song?
Most of time, we all have our own ideas. After that, we show to the others and everybody start to put their seasoning here and there, you know?! Thats basically how we’ve been working on since the beginning, and we are pretty happy with the results at all.
How did you get in touch with Karma singer Thiago Bianchi who produced the album?
In fact, he didn't produced the album. He just engineered and helped us a little bit with it all, and thats why we wrote on the inserts, co-produced by him! The album was totally produced by ourselves!
We've already shared stages with his band Karma, during the early days of Scelerata! We know him its been a long time and he offered a nice proposal for our albums production, and we agreed on doing it with him!
Will you work with him again?
Pretty soon to say, but the answer is, I really don't know. ;)
About Dennis Ward who mastered the album. Are you satisfied with his work?
Totally!! Dennis was so kind with Scelerata's album and his part on it! Brilliant producer and we thank him a lot for the good job at the Darkness And Light album!
For Eminence you did a video which is as a bonus on the CD. Tell us a bit about the video shot!
Great experience so far! This video gave us lots of good feedback including prizes that we never thought in! For a heavy metal band, its a pretty well produced video which make people get interested in the rest of the album, due to his production quality and the atmosphere of it! We should keep with the same production team for the next Scelerata’s videos for sure. Check it out the video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nc3GLyaKnzE
It seems that these days there aren't many possibilities to air a video on TV - at least here in Europe. But it was on TV in Brazil, I heard...
Yeah! We've got this aired at many big TV programs, including MTV! The band competed at the 2 hugest video prizes here, which in case are Papo Clip TVCOM, from our local state and the Gramado Movies Festival 2006, which in case, is the most important Movies Festival in Latin America! We WON the Gramado Movies Festival, which was an awesome experience, being at a glamour place, like the Oscar itself, you know?! Great moments so far, hope we could be there again!
Have you been surprised that you got voted by readers of Rock Brigade on #3 of best albums in Brazil in 2006?
Well, yeah, pretty surprised. We knew that our album sold out the first press in about 2 months, but we couldn't expect this fans feedback at our very first album, specially in Brazil, where people really don't appreciate their own talents.
Which bands influenced you? Some compare you with Edguy...
Scelerata is a huge mix of heavy, thrash, hard rock and progressive music, in my opinion. We do have other influences from Brazilian music, jazz and classical music too, but I think we'll be able to fulfill Greeks and Troys deserves!
We've already toured with Edguy, but I don't think we are that close to them, but anyway, Edguy is a brilliant band and its awesome to be compared with them!
You already had the chance to play live several times with quite known bands. Who did you get this opening slots? Tell us about that experiences!
Basically our management, which is me itself... hehehe!! Its always a great experience to play in front of 8.000 people, which is something that we can't do it as a headliner today! We do hope to be able to do that as soon as possible! Share stages with metal heroes like Gamma Ray, Edguy and Deep Purple, just to name a few, its always a magic moment!
Have you had the chance to play outside Brazil? Are there any plans to tour outside your home country?
It didn't happened yet and we are working very hard to get a good chance to fly over Europe and show our power and energy to all metal fans there!!
You'll play a few shows in São Paulo this month. One is an acoustic show... How do you choose the songs for the acoustic show? Will the set list be very different to your usual set?
This is gonna be another magic moment, cos we'll have Eric Martin, Mr. Big singer, singing a song or two with us there! Surely that we gave another arrangements to our songs, and they are sounding great!! Including, right now, I'm seriously thinking about recording some acoustic songs to add as bonus or extras for some future Scelerata releases. The set list will be a little bit shortened from our normal live shows and we will be including some never played before songs!
Do you think it would have been an advantage to live in São Paulo? Beside Rio de Janeiro it's the most known city...
In fact no. The big difference would be, if we were an European band. That would had make things much easier to us, but we aren't so... Lets keep our hard working to conquer our space at the metal scene!
Porto Alegre isn't a small city, what about it's music scene? Metal scene?
Porto Alegre is a pretty rock'n'roll city, with a climate like England most of times! I could say that we have lots of great metal bands here with many quality and without too many chances to appear! Most of time, is their own fault, coz they don't know how to start the machine roll on.
Anyway, great city to live in, pretty eclectic and similar to Europe! Maybe that's because we do have lots of German and Italian immigrants living here.
I know that beside Germans many people from Italy, Poland and Spain beside Portuguese settled in Porto Alegre... How much did the culture of immigrantes took influence on the people in your area? On music? Literature?
Yeah yeah, lots of immigrants from Europe, pretty different from São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where the immigrants came from Brazil's North-East. Thats the main culture difference between those cities. Here in Porto Alegre, people care a lot more about life's quality. We do have lots of great theaters and people likes to go there and watch a play! Irish pubs are something that people really likes over here too! At the musical and literature web, I can't see too many influences, but surely they exist on some way.
What do you do beside playing in Scelerata? What are your hobbies?
I really appreciate good dinner or lunch with friends! Taking a nap and having some pints are something that I really love to do! Driving to the mountains during the winter, having some nice meal with good company and great wine, can't be more peaceful and happy to me!
I really like to go to my football team games or, when they play outside Porto Alegre, watch it on the TV, having a beer or two! ;) Uow, yeah, its international, the current Fifa World Clubs Champion, who defeated Barcelona last December in Yokohama, Japan.
There’s a lot of things, but this may be the main ones!
Here in Europe we don't hear much about bands from Latin America - and only a very few made themselves known word-wide. What do you think is the reason for this? And why don't we hear more about bands from Brazil and other countries?
The main point is that to start something, you'll have to count with your own money to record something. Nowadays, to get a well produced record, to attract labels attentions worldwide, you'll have to spend a quite good amount of money. Besides that, to get everything more difficult, we don't have good quality producers here, able to arrange an album with the high quality that European producers are able to! Finally, the scene its totally bureaucratic and amateur, without booking agencies able to book, at least, 3 dates for a band that already got their album released worldwide! I could say that, we are pretty lucky to get our very first album, released worldwide, through major labels that are really trusting on Scelerata’s music and work! We hope to keep it working hard, with humility, passion and respect to everybody else to maybe get a chance to show to people a new modern way to spread good things through heavy metal music!
Do you think that communities like MySpace will help bands from countries which aren't on the world map of metal?
There’s a few stories about bands that 'happened' due this kind of thing, but sincerely, I don't believe that much in that. I think its much more a marketing tactic then anything else. Obviously that, its a great thing to reach people from the all over the world, but to make the band really happen, I couldn't say that would help that much!
Have you already started writing on new material?
Yes, we do. And I could say that its gonna be something never made before here in Brazil and even in Europe! Thats all for now. ;)
What's next on your schedule? More shows?
We should keep promoting the album in Europe and North America, since the album will be out there on next May! We should finish our albums pre-production on the next few months to start new albums recording at the end of this year!
Anything you want tell? Which I haven't asked?
In fact, I would like to thank for this great enjoyable interview! ;)
Many thanks for your support on Scelerata and to our European fans and bangers, support us, buy our CD! You won't get disappointed and doing that, we’ll be able to play live for you guys sometime soon!!
God bless you all!!
I hope the Brazilians will make it over to Europe and perhaps then there is time to talk a bit more... about music and their home Brazil.