Interview and Photos by Zenae D. Zukowski
Zenae: My name is Zenae and I’m here on behalf of MyGlobalMind and I am speaking to?
Marcelo: I’m Marcelo, Marcelo Barbosa, the guitar player.
Bruno: Bruno Valverde, the drummer.
Rafael: Rafael Bittencourt, another guitar player. [laugh]
Felipe: Felipe Andreoli, bass player.
Zenae: How’s your journey out here and what’s been your drink of choice so far?
Bruno: Lemonade. Drink of choice for real.
Zenae: There you go [laugh]. Are there any bands that you’re excited to see here on this trip?
Fabio: I wanna see Testament, and Arch Enemy which I already saw, Uli Jon Roth we’re going to see right after this.
Bruno: Quite a genius.
Felipe: I’ve never seen Anthrax live.. never seen, it’ll be my first time, yeah. I think we’ve been part of festivals, where they played, so I hadn’t a chance to see. And also Testament and Arch Enemy. And I would like to say hi to my mom and dad.
Marcelo: Yeah, Arch Enemy and Anthrax.
Zenae: Secret Garden has been out for some time, how do you guys feel about it after a few years later?
Felipe: It feels good because it was a different line-up. By then we have him (Bruno) on the drums, a young drummer and also the new singer, Fabio. And that changed a little bit, the sound of the band. For good. And people liked it, so we could really keep that energy and the concept from the beginning. The original idea with a more modern sound which pleased the people, the critics, the audience, we’re all very happy with it.
Zenae: From my memory, you guys never had a full North American Tour. You played a few shows here and there but is there any reason that why you weren’t able to book a full tour in North America?
Felipe: Not that we know of. But it seems to me that the American crowd, either never really got in touch with our music the right way or we didn’t have the right booking agency to do so. Or we didn’t find the right package to do with another band, which is something that we always look forward to finding. A band that we can tour with that already has a crowd and we can go with them and explore better on the American soil. Because we really would love a full tour here (North America).
Rafael: We started very well in Japan, very early. We went gold in 1993 there. Then good stuff happened in Europe. And then we’re working everything from Brazil, so for us, it’s very hard to prepare to manage a tour in Europe and Japan. And things seemed to go fine in both territories and was very hard for us to keep up on both territories. It was even harder to start something in America, being in Brazil and with no specific crowd. So we kept with our basic and secure territories.
[Fabio walks into the room]
Zenae: I guess it was fan-based where you’re more popular. Do you have any plans for a North American tour or like any appearances?
Rafael: Only plans. I mean pre-plan like we’re planning to have a plan.
Zenae: Who would you like to bring on the road with you? Which bands?
Rafael: Kamelot would be cool ‘coz I think we got a very similar crowd they seem to have already a steady basis in America. They come for prominence so, that would be perfect.
Felipe: Symphony-X as well.
Rafael: We need to prepare something and get in contact with these people and arrangement plans.
Zenae: Understandable. It’s been a few years since the Secret Garden, so do you guys have anything in the works for a new album?
Felipe: Yes, actually this is gonna be the start of the process of writing the new album. We’ll take chances these days while we’re together, and discuss the directions we want to take and the overall plan for a new record, which we plan to record this year still and release it between the end of the year, beginning of next year.
Zenae: Where do you find your inspiration for writing? Especially with the lineup changes, does that change your creative process as well?
Rafael: That also adds to the creative process ‘coz we have a structure, of different kinds of music that we like to work. It’s one of the things about Angra is the variety of styles. We usually want to work this range of styles, getting the best from each one of us. That’s why also Secret Garden have different sounds because we have two different new members. And now we have another new member which is Marcelo Barbosa. And at he’s bringing that new vibe, that new energy, that music idea and then the inspiration that we get from life. I mean I like to be inspired by my own life and the situations that I’m in. And I try to bring it into beats into harmonies melodies lyrics and turn it into music from my own life. And not to sound self-centered I try to create characters and stories that could be similar to my life but not exactly like. So people would identify it with themselves.
Zenae: That’s amazing. I’m a storyteller and write exactly like that.
Rafael: What’s your star sign?
Rafael: Mine is Libra? Yeah, that makes total sense.
Zenae: Do you guys have a favorite Angra album?
Felipe: I do. I think all of us has one, mine is between Temple of Shadows and the new record, the Secret Garden.
Bruno: Me too.
Fabio: I agree. I think Temple of Shadows is a very good record and Secret Garden also it’s modern, various.
Rafael: I’ll be with Holy Land and the Temple of Shadows.
Marcelo: Temple of Shadows for me.
Zenae: Wow.. mine is Rebirth.
Zenae: Do you have any advice for starting out musicians?
Felipe: Many. The first thing I would pursue is, besides of course the young kid’s music dedication, both theory, and Technic. Stick to be unique and stick to having an open mind for different styles and different kinds of influences. Because in the end, if you’re only listening to the kind of music that you wanna make, you’re gonna make music like everyone else. And if you have a broad length of things you can use then you’re more prone to be unique.
Zenae: Well said.
Rafael: I guess today is very complicated, with music.
Rafael: Especially..this kind of music because this market is going down and there are not so many CD shops anymore. So the best way possible for a new band is to try to be personal, at least move, to compose, to do whatever they want but in a personal way; a little bit of personal touch. Because without this, it’s impossible. Especially today.
Zenae: Exactly, especially since everything seems to have been done before.
Rafael: Everyone can do a record today. It’s more easy. There are many bands with a lot of studios. You can do it at your house.
Zenae: In your basement.
Rafael: It’s not like a long time ago when usually, you have few bands and the bands actually, they were very good. Because if you choose to do music in the past, it means that you are good. Today, the point is that we have a lot of bands that like to play, but there are also a lot of bands that are not good. They just copy.
Rafael: They’re just you are good and try to do the same.
Zenae: It doesn’t work.
Rafael: This will go anywhere.
Zenae: Thank You.