Interview with Edu Falaschi
Brazilian Power Metal act 'Angra' have made a success of themselves over the last few years right since the beginning of their career with 'Angel's Cry', right up to the bands current and very successful album 'Temple Of Shadows', released through SPV here in Europe. The band has played some highly successful festivals such as Wacken & Dynamo and now are ready to release their new power upon the world. Vocalist Edu Falaschi talks to Jason Brown about the success of the band and also the new album, which I highly recommend. Here is what Edu had to say to the following questions.
Was it easy for the band to blend the Latin influences into the Heavy Metal sound, similar to that of Sepultura?
"Well Sepultura opened a lot of doors for this kind of crossed Latin/ Metal sound, especially for Angra. In Brazil we have 2 very big Heavy Metal bands, this been Seputlura and Angra. I think the situation right now is very good for both bands especially in Brazil, because we were growing up when Max left Sepultura and our name in Japan grew very big so, yes I do think the Latin influences to both bands have certainly help us along the way. It is time for us to make the band bigger in Europe as we are big in Brazil and Japan. I think we have certain countries in Europe that have really too to the band, such as France, Spain, and Italy. I think we use the same elements to that of Sepultura, but in a different context, Sepultura like to use more Brazilian percussion's, whereas we tend to use more Latin rhythms like samba."
Looking back at the previous Angra releases, what would you say had the most Latin feel to it?
"Mmm, that's a tough question! I think you can certainly hear more of the Latin feel in the new album 'Temple Of Shadows', because of the way the songs are wrote as a band."
The band has seen a line-up change since the early days of their career, why did the previous members leave the band and are they still friends with Rafael & Kiko been the only original members left.
"Well I think it was 4 years ago the remaining members of the band were not sure what the future would hold for the band. I am not sure what the reason was for them to leave the band. I am not really interested in the past, I'm more interested in the future of the band right now. The old and new fans really seem to like the line-up we have now. I would say that we are making good music right now and the fans really do like what we are creating. I'm not sure what the relationship is like between Rafael & Kiko and the previous members. All I know is that when they meet they greet each other, and I know they still have respect for one another still."
Do you feel that the current line-up delivers the strongest music that Angra have created so far in their careers?
"Yes I do, because we are bigger now in Japan & Brazil and in Europe, as we have sold more CD's now than we did in the past. Here in Brazil we have a gold album for the first time and with the original line-up they never achieved that. In Japan we have sold 40.000 copies of 'Temple Of Shadows', which we are very happy about through JVC. I feel that our record companies are starting to believe more in the band since we released the current album. We will play in Greece, England and different countries that we have not played in before, so I'm very excited about playing over there soon, in 2005."
Looking back at the previous album for a moment with the original line-up, which is your favourite and why?
"I think my favourite previous album before I joined the band would have to be 'Holy Land', because I feel it was a very different album for it's time. I know a lot of people don't like it because it was not so heavy and it was also different, but I feel that the ideas were great!! I'm very happy with the new album, because it is my album and I felt more relaxed recording this as to the last album we recorded."
Do you think that the music that Angra are creating today would of been as heavy etc.. if the previous line-up were still in the band?
"Yes I do think it would of been as heavy with the previous line-up, but I think the line-up we have now has given us the drive to create the heaviness we have now. We all have different influences within the band right now, if you talk to Aqulies our drummer, he listens too bands like Slayer, Death, the heavier and Thrash/ Death Metal type bands. Felipe, our bass player is a fan of Metallica, and I also like bands like this too, but I also like a band with a good singer as well. People like Ronnie James Dio, and I think this is the difference between the new line-up and the old line-up. I think we are a little heavier and we have more of a Heavy Metal feel in our blood. Our guitar players now are playing with seven string guitars, so I think that is given the band a heavier sound. I think the old line-up are great musicians and they now have a new band right now, who are signed to AFM Records in Germany."
I have to say, out of the two singer that Angra has had , you certain do have the best voice. So who are you're influences?
"Well thank you very much for you're kind words!! My vocal influences are Ronnie James Dio, I like to sing with power and emotion as my heart feels that it is guarding me. I don't like to sing very high all the time, emotion is more important to me than anything else."
So how did you hook up with Rafael & Kiko, where did they meet you and the rest of the band? What bands were you all in previous to joining Angra?
"Well I was in a band called 'Symbols', and we recorded 2 CD's which we were a very good band, very powerful. There is a stranger story which I will tell you about. Kiko called me before they recorded the album 'Fireworks', and he asked me if I would like to join the band before we recorded that album as Andre wanted to leave the band. So I said Ok, and we rehearsed with the band with the old line-up because Andre wanted to make a solo album and after 1 month Kiko called me again and said that Andre was going to stay in the band and record the album. So I stayed with my band 'Symbols' and toured etc.. and after a few years Kiko called me back and asked if I remember the the phone calls etc.., I told I did and he he asked if I wanted to join them with the old drummer and bass player. I asked him this time if it was for real this time, he said yes so we did it. I left my old band because Angra are a bigger band in Brazil. My old band were Power/ Progressive Metal, like Dream Theater and some other heavier bands. Aqulies is in a band called 'Hanger', they have released 2 previous albums, rather heavy actually. As for Felipe, he plays in a band called 'Carma', a small band in Brazil, they are Progressive Metal and I think they are a little too Progressive for me, but musically they are great musicians."
Besides yourself and Felipe & Aqulies, who else did Kiko and Rafael audition for join the band?
"I think they did but I'm not sure who auditioned for the band, sorry!!"
Moving of Edu, how successful was the 'Rebirth' album for the band? Was it also the right choice for the title with Angra having a fresh new line-up at that time?
"Before I answer those questions, I would like to point out that the new album 'Temple Of Shadows' is the most important album in my life right now, because I am much more confident in writing and also singing the songs on this album, whereas with the 'Rebirth' album I and the other 2 members were new to the band at that time and we felt nervous at that time. Now we have been in the band for some time we feel more confident in writing and playing with Rafael & Kiko. I think the 3 newer members, not so new now put more spirit and soul into this album, that is why it is heavier and we shine through more on this album without fear!! I think with the 'Rebirth' album I needed to control my voice a little bit & because of the voice of the old singer as he had a different voice to mine & he sings more softer. So I had to control my voice and think of the old fans, what there reaction would be to a new singer within the band. We had to make sure that the title would relate to the old and also new fans within the band, so I feel the title 'Rebirth' was a good choice for Angra. I feel more confidant right now singing on the new record, I think we all feel more relaxed now that we have worked together for sometime now and we have got to know each other as individuals."
Were you happy with the end results of that album as Dennis Ward from 'Pink Cream 69' produced it? What songs from that album stood out for you and why?
"Yeah we were happy with the end results for that album. I think Dennis Ward is probably the best producer for this kind of metal music, he knows what he wants and he knows how to deliver the right production for the right band. Not only that, you have to get along with the producer as a friend as well and the person who will record the album, if you get along with that person than the atmosphere is a lot more relaxed. I think the songs I like the most from that album are: 'Nova Era', 'Judgement Day', 'Heroes Of Sand', 'Rebirth'. I like 'Judgement Day', because it is a very progressive song with elements from such bands like 'Yes', I love their music!! 'Nova Era', I think this is a very personal song for me because it was the first song that I wrote for Angra. I see this song as a new icon for the band and I felt that I had to compose this song with some very good lyrics. As for 'Heroes Of Sand', that is a ballad, I like the guitar work in this song, the beginning of the song has some great guitar tapping, which really does fit well together with the rest of the song. I also like the energy of that song it really does jell well together. I do like the rest of album, but I feel those songs for me personally do stand out more!! As a sing I do feel that my vocals could of been a lot better, because I needed to control my voice more like I said earlier, not trying to sound like Andres, but more like myself."
Was 'Rebirth' for a debut for the newer line-up a success in the sales terms?
"Yeah I think it was, we got a gold album here in Brazil for that album, which we were surprised to get!! I think we sold 100.000 copies here in Brazil alone for that album. I know we did very well in sales in Japan also, but I don't know how many it actually sold."
In your own word, how would you best describe the bands music? Also how do you see the band progressive with each album?
"Mmm, that's a tough question. I think the spirit of the band has remained the same since the beginning, even with the split of the older line-up. I think we still have captured the elements of the Classical, Latin etc.. feel within our music. I think there are differences between each album, as you would expect from a band, but it is still Angra's sound. As for the best description for the band, well I would say it is Classical, Heavy Metal with Latin elements."
So why did the band decide to release the Mini CD 'Hunters & Prey' CD before writing material for the 'Temple Of Shadows' album? Also this Mini CD features a awesome version of Genesis cover tune 'Mama', what made you want to record that song?
"Well the idea to record that song came from our bass player Felipe, we thought about recording a song by such acts as 'Supertramp', 'Kansas', 'Journey', but Felipe said it was to mainstream to record a song by one of those bands, so he suggested Genesis 'Mama'. So we thought about it and played the original version and we decided to record it because we knew it would be a good song to cover. I think it turned out well!! We felt that if we recorded a Mini CD it would give us time to write a full album without any pressure, kind of a stepping stone for the fans to listen too whilst we prepare our self's for the next record."
So Edu, let's talk about your new awesome album 'Temple Of Shadows', why the title for this album?
"The title came about because of the concept of the album. This album is about a crusader who lived in the 11th century and it is not a story about killing dragons etc.. The crusader joins the Catholic church and he tells people who did not believe in the Catholic church the true about it. This guy is called 'Shadow Hunter', who joins the Catholic army who kills a lot of people like Muslim's and this album has a story and suddenly he was injured during a battle and a Muslim family helped him and saved his life. So in this story we are talking about ignorance etc... In the end he leaves the Catholic army and he forms another religion to fight against the Catholics ideas and army. So in the end the Catholic army kills this guy. So the point of this story is, that people need to talk about that, the mistakes we all made in the past and to correct them. We are still making the same mistakes now, wars in Iraq etc... We are not saying what is right or wrong, all we are saying is that we need to live together as one, and respect each other. Rafael wrote all the lyrics for this album, and we all talked about this concept as it was very difficult subject to conquer and we didn't want to offend people within the Catholic church."
Do you feel that the artwork for the album reflects within the title of the album?
"Yes I do, I think everything is linked to one another, the cover, the title and the sound of the songs, as well as the lyrics. The cover is St George killing the dragon and that is another point for this album. If you look at the cover St George is killing the dragon and here in Brazil, the dragon represents evil, but in the orient like Japan is represents something good, like happiness, money etc... Its like 2 things that don't combine and I prefer the orient ideas."
Are the songs wrote as a team effort or is it just Rafael who writes most of the lyrics etc..?
"Well Rafael wrote all the lyrics for this album, but we have 3 composers within the band, thus been Kiko, Rafael and myself. I wrote 'Spread Your Fire' together with Kiko, but I wrote most of that song and I also wrote 'Angels & Demons' together with Kiko and I also wrote 'Wishing Well', which is a ballad."
What songs from the new album stand out for you and why?
"Mmm, I like the songs 'Waiting Silence', because it was a song that Rafael should me 2 years ago. I think it was a good idea that we saved it until we released this new album. I like all the songs from the new album to be honest. I also like the song 'Late Redemption', because of the Brazilian sing that also appears on that song, it feels very beautiful to me with a lot of energy."
As the new album been receiving good reviews so far?
"Yes it has, I saw some reviews from Brazil and Japan a month before it's European release and they really seem to like it."
Again Dennis Ward produced this album, you must be very happy with the way it turned out, are you?
"Oh yes we are, I think that is it Dennis best production so far!! For the first time I can hear the bass guitar (Laughing) because we never hear the bass, only with Iron Maiden, until now!! I think the bass guitar on this album makes this album a lot heavier. I think the whole is much better for all the musicians. Dennis did a great job!!"
I believe this album took a little long to record than usual, because Dennis had to either tour or record his own band, is this true? If so do you think the overall sound would of turned out as good if it had of been rushed?
"Well this album took 9 months to record, because of Dennis other commitment's. I think since the beginning of our recording in January of 2004 Dennis had to leave the studio to do a little tour with his own band. We knew this was going to happen and it was in the plan sort of speak! So we decided to make other things in Brazil whilst Dennis was away so we decided to record the percussion's and other elements. In June Rafael and myself flew to Germany because Rafael sang all the backing vocals on the album. It was a nice idea to hear 2 types of vocals within the album, it certainly made a change. There was a lot of music and orchestral elements within this album with a real orchestra, so we had to find a solution to record the guests and the singers here in Brazil and also in Germany. So I guess it worked out really well. We are happy with it. I do feel if we had of rushed the album it would of not of turned out as good as it should of done."
This album also features guest appearances from Kai Hansen (Gamma Ray), Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian) and Sabine Edelsbacher (Edenbridge), how did you hook up with these guys for the backing vocals for this album?
"Well we wanted to make a very different album this time around, so we had some elements that we left open for these vocalist to sing on. Kai Hansen is a icon for Angra, as he is a icon within the Power Metal scene, so we knew we had to have him on this album as a singer. He is also a good friend of the band as well, since the beginning of the band, and as you may remember he also appeared on 'Angels Cry' album too!! We had Hansi from Blind Guardian on this record because, as a European band they are very unique & different since the beginning of the band they have tried to make something different and to create something new. They brought Celtic elements within the Heavy Metal sound they have, so it was a good choice to have Hansi on this record. We also like their music too!! As for Sabine, we needed a female voice in some of our songs on the new album, so because of that she sang on 'Spread Your Fire' & 'No Pain For The Dead'. She has a very beautiful voice which is melodic and she did a great job!!"
Moving on, how big is Heavy Metal in Brazil?
"Yes it has become very popular over over the last 5 years. We played a concert in Brazil for the new album in front of 6000 people and it was great!! So Metal is certainly becoming popular once again over here. We did not film it but we hope to film a new concert in the same place in April of 2005."
Talking of DVDs, you have re-released the 'Live In San Paulo' as a bonus disc on the new album, was it released because the original copy is hard to find?
"Yeah I guess so, it was only released here in Brazil, so we thought it would be a nice idea for the fans outside of Brazil to see it. It is a very nice DVD, but we are now looking forward to recording the next DVD this year!! We are much tighter now as a band so this will be something special."
Moving on Edu, the band also recorded a tribute song to Led Zepplin 'Kashmir', how did that come about?
"Yeah Jason, you know everything about us, you've done your research, you know more than me hehe! (ED: I know hehe!!). When we recorded the last album we were asked to make a Led Zepplin cover for this tribute and they asked us which song we would prefer to record for the album. So we all agreed within the band that we would record 'Kashmir'. I think that this song is probably the most Metal/ Rock song that Zepplin recorded. For us it was the perfect choice for us and it turned out great!!"
What do you think about the cover that Angra recorded by Judas Priest titled 'Painkiller', did you like it?
"To be honest, I don't like that song by Judas Priest, Judas Priest are a very important band within the Heavy Metal scene, but the singer for me doesn't do a great deal for me, don't get me wrong he is a awesome singer, probably the best but not for me. That's my personal opinion. The song has too much screaming for my personal taste."
Well Edu, thanx for taking your time out and for calling me from Brazil. My best wishes go out to you and the band. I hope we meet in 2005. Do you have anything to say before we finish the interview?
"I would like to say to our UK fans, we will probably play in the UK in February 2005 (we hope) and we are really looking forward to showing the UK audiences what Angra is really all about!! Also thank you for all the support the fans have given Angra over the years and take care of yourself's."
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