Soulspell is the brainchild of Heleno Vale and as Act II: The Labyrinth Of Truth is out now and he already works on Act III while playing shows in Brazil, it's time to learn a bit more about Heleno and Soulspell.
First of all, please tell us a bit about yourself and how you became a musician!
I've always been connected to music as far as I can remember. When I was twelve I started taking piano lessons, then I moved to guitar and bass. When I was seventeen I started playing the drums and that was also when I started playing on bands and got the taste for it.
It's quite unusual for a drummer to create something complex like a metal opera. So I guess, you play other instruments too... Right?
Yes, as I said before, I play a little bit of each instrument and I normally say I'm not a drummer, I just happened to end up playing the drums... (lol)
It's a huge story you tell with Soulspell. Have the whole story been written before you started writing music? Or is it still developing?
I've only written the story for the first to the seventh albums so far (lol). Of course, I add one detail or two because of the new participations we get on the way.
And what did inspire you to start writing the story? What inspires you to continue?
Once a friend of mine told me a story about some visions he had while traveling to the countryside of Brazil with his girlfriend. I found the story very interesting, so I decided to add some fiction to it and write a complete story. After it was finished, I decided to do a metal opera, where each singer would play a character of the story. My inspiration is the innumerous talented people that are out there and all the characters I have to create to accommodate all of them into Soulspell. :)
On the first part A Legacy Of Honor you worked with Brazilian musicians, the album was just released in Japan and your home country Brazil. Will the rest of the world get a chance to discover it? Are there any plans to release it in Europe? The US?
As you can imagine, it is very difficult to release an album that was already released in other countries a while ago. We have released it digitally, through Inner Wound, in Europe and in the US. Some fans also buy directly from us by using PayPal. And, yes, we want to spread Soulspell as much as possible!
Was it difficult to get the cast for A Legacy Of Honor?
It was not so easy, but it was not as difficult as I had imagined. I was not famous at all and people had to give me one chance and listen to the songs. Luckily they were all very receptive and took the risk to join me on this adventure (lol).
Now you have part 2 out and The Labyrinth Of Truths has an international cast. Was it difficult to convince them to join in? Did you have certain musicians/singers in mind when you wrote the songs?
Gathering the cast for the second album was much easier than it was for the first one. By the time we'd finished recording the first album, I had contact with many musicians and Soulspell was already known among them. They basically liked the songs and agreed to participate. They were all very friendly and I was a big pleasure to work with them. As for specific participations, I didn't have anyone in mind for a particular song, but for each part of each song. The melody was created thinking about the participants.
And will some of the musicians which were involved in the first 2 chapters re-appear in part 3? Or will you have some new faces at part 3?
The second and the third albums were recorded at the same time, so all the participants of the second album participate on the third one, with exception to the special guests, like Roland Grapow, Zak Stevens, Jon Oliva and Edu Falaschi. We do have some new participants confirmed so far like Mike Vescera, Tim Ripper and Blaze Bayley.
Is it true that it's 5 parts at the end? Or is it a kind of never-ending story and you have no idea how and when it will end?
I still don't know how many parts there will be. I guess, I will stop when I run out of ideas. I wrote the story in seven acts till now.
You have already played some shows in Brazil, more to come. Any plans to bring the show on the road in Europe? USA? Japan?
This is actually the big part of the picture. We really want to be able to take this tour to other countries and we are working on it. We have to have everything very well planned so that we can make it a great concert.
At the Brazilian shows Edu Falaschi was part of the cast, but with Angra having a new album and going on tour he won't be available. Who will take over his place?
We Brazilians just go with the flow (lol). We try to schedule concerts on the dates Edu is free. It has worked for all the concerts we held. If he is not able to come, there won't be anyone specifically to take over his place, but someone of the present cast will then sing his part.
I guess, if you go abroad you'll tour with the Brazilian cast, any talks about having one or the other musician join you for some shows? I'm not talking about a whole tour, just some kind of special guest appearances.
Yes, that is actually our plan: to have the international participants as special guests when we tour in their home countries.
As it's a very ambitious project, will you try to bring the whole story on stage for a DVD recording? Perhaps with some of the musicians who can't tour with you...
Yes, we do want to record a DVD and are waiting for the best concert scenario to do so. We have to be able to put our scenario on stage, clothing and audience, but we are getting there!
You have some videos from the recordings posted at YouTube, will you add something from the show? Not talking about a pro recording, just something to give fans an impression what to expect...
We do have some videos of the concerts posted on YouTube and they give a hint of what people can expect from a live show.
What are your plans for 2011?
We are releasing the third album in 2011 and plan to do as many concerts as we can. Also we are releasing our first video clip and intend to record another one for the third album in 2011.
I have to thank Heleno for answering my questions in between shows and I hope that soon fans outside Brazil will get the chance to see Soulspell on stage! and perhaps one day we get the first part on CD... Not everybody likes digital releases. ;)