terça-feira, 19 de abril de 2016

Interview - Uganga: Keeping the Gear on Movin

With more than 20 year career in the music, Uganga, a band from the traditional circuit of Minas Gerais, wich give us seminal bands like Sepultura, Sarcófago, Chakal and others,  have a certainty: it has been worth it! since there are, more than two decades after the onset of the band making music and main still enjoying all that involves the process. Proof of this is the album "Opressor", released in 2014 and hailed as the best work of the group. (Versão em Português)

To speak a little of this mark of two decades in Metal, the tours here in Brazil and in Europe, the album "Opressor", and other issues, we have talked with Manu "Joker" Henriques and Marco Henriques, and the result you'll see below

RtM: More than 20 years of career, looking back to all this years, do you believe that the band has achieved most of its objectives, in the expectation of when you began your work? What the band aims for the future?
Manu "Joker" Henriques: Speaking for myself, I believe that we are here more than 20 years after the beginning of the band, making music and enjoying it, it is proof that it has been worth it. See several people citing Uganga as something relevant on the national scene makes us very happy, but not in the seats. If we have reached all our goals? Certainly not, but we are motivated to follow this journey because it has proven very valid. Released four studio albums, a recorded live in Germany, we passed several regions of Brazil as we drove many kilometers on European soil in the two tours we do there. We made many friends, played alongside idols to what motivated us to have a band and we have received a strong response from both, the public and critics. This all does not have price! While this energy to take us forward, we will continue giving our best and doing what we like most, that is playing heavy rock.
Marco Henriques: As Manu said, are over 20 years of playing. That alone is a super source of pride and accomplishment, but we are always wanting more, seeking to evolve and grow with the band. Surely already achieved several goals that we had with the Uganga, but this process is always renewing itself, we are always looking to evolve within our music and it is very important to the gear keep moving.

RtM: The Uganga is a band that sought and seeks to disseminate in various ways their work, including having two tours in Europe. I would like you tell us a little about these two passages through old world, the fruits harvested and results, and also a comparison with the conditions found there, with the reality of bands here in Brazil.
Manu: We were the first time in 2010 and ran 13,000 kilometers. It was a tour of hard work and learning, but with a totally satisfactory result, we recorded our live album in Germany, launched the album "Vol.03 ..." in Europe by Metal Soldiers of Portugal and created a fan base that has been strengthening since then. In 2013 we returned to promote the live album, this time a joint tour with our brothers of Terrordome (Poland) and the results were even better, although we rotated least 6000 km. With this second tour close partnership with the Defense Records from Poland, who will launch the album "Opressor" there this year, and I believe that in 2017 we do our third working there to disclose not only this release as the next, that there is already finalized.

"We are always looking to evolve within our music and it is very important to the gear keep moving."
RtM: You also released a live album, "Eurocaos Live" (Sapólio Radio Label), tell us how the opportunity arose and how it was planning for this album. And have recordings of many shows was something planned at the beginning, instead of capturing and concentrating production in one of the shows?
Marco: In fact, taking the medley with Sarcófago and Sepultura's songs (which was recorded in Portugal) and the bonus tracks, the show was all recorded on the same day, Germany, Razorblade Festival. The opportunity came through our manager, Eliton Tomasi, who already knew the staff of the organization of the event and managed to combine with a local technician to capture. This show happened on our first tour in Europe in 2010. Of the 18 shows we did, surely this was the coolest and the uptake was great, the band was blood in his eyes and made a fucking show. So everything conspired in favor of launch this material. The result showed as well as the band was live at the time. It ended up being a release that brought an even greater return we expected, and well set the stage for us to come with the new album, "Opressor".

RtM: One of the goal with the tours in Europe were the shows with Terrordome (Poland), talk to us a little more about this partnership, including the shows that the Poles did with you in Brazil recently. It comes more fruits of this partnership ahead?
Marco: During the planning of our second European tour rolled this contact with the Terrordome, there was a nice interaction and we decided to do the tour together. And luckily they all did very well. The guys became great friends, people who keep in touch weekly until today, and the fact that they have taken all the backline made all the difference. Get all shows knowing exactly how would the drum kit was a dream (laughs). The tour in general was fuckin great, no problem, everything went very well and since then we had this plan they came to Brazil. And earlier this year the guys came. It was awesome to be able to reciprocate the hospitality that we had there. The guys had fun too here, made several legal shows, were at the waterfall, fell in love with the Brazilian girls, were knocked off (laughs). That is, they returned home full of stories. And certainly comes more things around the partnership.

RtM: You also had the opportunity to play with Exodus in Brazil, I know you are also fans. Tell us about these shows and this opportunity.
Manu: It was actually a single show in Curitiba at the Music Hall, and was very cool! As you said, Exodus is a reference for everyone in the band, and have a chance to play in the same event that they was something unique in our history, a milestone to be celebrated. We had all the conditions to make a cool show, played for 40 minutes and public reception was excellent, more than we expected I must admit, it was our first time in the city and in the South as a whole.

Many people in Brazil do not value the opening bands, and are at the door making time, waiting for the main attraction, but the audience of Curitiba showed that is out of this ridiculous blasé attitude. Before we step on stage the house was already crowded with guys totally wasted! People singing the songs, wering band's shirts and looking after to exchange an idea and buy material, it certainly makes us want to return to the capital of Paraná as soon as possible! What about the Exodus, the guys and all staff were very nice to us, Zetro even watched part of our show beside the stage! We had the opportunity to talk with them after the show, and they prove that they are above all humble and people standing on the ground, much more than many assholes that not left the garage yet  and think themselves are stars (laughs).

RtM: The latest album, "Opressor" (2014), received mentions and very good compliments in various specialized vehicles, appearing in several lists of the "best album of the year". Analyzing the album past now a time after the release and results so far, do you believe would be the best and perhaps most mature Uganga's album? What is its importance in the history of the band?
Marco: Definitely, in my opinion, is the best and most mature album. I think the "Vol 3: Caos, Carma, Conceito" ("Vol. 3: Chaos Karma Concept") we can establish our sound, creating the identity of Uganga. In the album "Opressor" this sound was polished and consolidated. I think the band in general reached its high point on this album, and members individually also showed a big musical evolution.
Manu: I have no doubt that "Opressor" is the best work of Uganga, at least so far. It took us a few steps up and now we are working hard to overcome it in the next release. 

RtM: Continuing on "Opressor", I would like you to comment on the music theme, and also because of her choice for the title track?
Manu: I think this band synthesizes very well the theme of the album that includes several issues regarding the current world, both things, the positive and negative. The idea in Opressor is an entity created by the failures, the mistakes that we humans are committing for centuries with our planet and ourselves. A totem erected on the basis of our vacillation, depending on how we treat the world. Ego, hatred, war, jealousy, addictions, religions, lies, everything is there to form this symbolic figure inspired by the Hindu deity Kali, the goddess of destruction. We adapted this idea to nowadays and to our world view. I chose the album name before writing the lyrics, I spent the idea to the guys and everyone enjoyed it. There is not a conceptual work, but the lyrics are tied in some way to the theme of the title track.

"I have no doubt that "Opressor" is the best work of Uganga, at least so far. It took us a few steps up and now we are working hard to overcome it in the next release. "

RtM: The Uganga also uses many Brazilian elements and samples in the compositions, and lyrics with Brazilian themes, as some social problems, for example in "Moleque de Pedra" and Umbanda in "Aos Pés da Grande Árvore" I would like you to talk a little about those elements that make up the personality of Uganga's sonority.
Manu: About elements and typical Brazilian rhythms, I think it comes more in samples and interludes than the actual compositions, as we work with the basics: voice, guitars, bass and drums. We are first of all a band that fuses heavy metal and hardcore / punk in our way, but we do have some elements out of this universe that we use here and there in some compositions, not only things of Brazilian music. The Jamaican dub, for example, has always been another diluted influence in our music as well as welcoming beats of Africa and something oldschool rap vocals. In the end these small details end up being more a difference in our personality as well as letters fleeing metal patterns, as you mentioned.

RtM: And since I spoke of these two songs, which are among my favorites, would you also comment a bit more on the lyrical content of these two songs in particular.
Manu: "Moleque de Pedra"  (Kid of Stone) was a lyric that I wrote togheter with my good friend Tito, bassist of the band Seu Juvenal, and speaks of this kids crazy with crack stone. People are talking about the movie zombies and forget that unfortunately we have our wandering the streets of Brazil for a long time. Crack and cocaine are an epidemic out of control and to most people seems to be something distant. This is unfortunate and shows how selfish man can become. Children living as garbage in the streets of Brazil and the political motherfuckers turning a blind eye or opting for "solutions" electioneering. That disgusts me! "At Feet Of The Great Tree" is a tribute to my Orisha, Omulu, and all the guides that help us and teach, incarnated or not. I have much respect for a number of different spiritual ways and Umbanda is certainly one of them. 

RtM: How did the writing process, production and recording of "Opressor"? I see that you had a hard work on this album, including seeking excellence in terms of sound. How was the choice of the producer Gustavo Vazques and his contribution to the final result?
Manu: We were two years involved in pre-production and album up to get in the studio with - if not all - almost all set. Before we left a lot to set the studio and it generated more debates effectiveness. From the "Vol. 03 ... " We are focusing more on composition and pre-production, and the results speak for themselves, the band, in my opinion, was found your better way to work. Gustavo had a very important role in the capture of the material as well as get the best performance of each member. The guy is a master at it! The production is on the hands of the band and this function is more with me and Ras (bass). We are six people, all make up, but now we have a more organized and productive process to equate all ideas. I can say that we arrived at Rocklab (studio where "Opressor" was recorded) with 90% of defined material. We're in pre-production of the new album and we will repeat this process.

RtM: The results achieved and praise with "Opressor" put some kind of pressure to make the next album?
Marco: I think that the internal pressure is always greater. Of course you always want to please people who like the band, but the most important is that the band is satisfied with the result. And I believe that managed to grow and evolve more in the previous work, because it makes no sense to release something worse than what was done previously. We have some new compositions and the way things are taking I think we will be able to achieve this goal.

Manu: Certainly whenever we want to overcome. The Uganga does and has always done what feels right independent of external criticism or praise, but within that optical hard work to go beyond where we are.

RtM: And how do you see the role and importance of Uganga within the scenario in Minas Gerais, which revealed many revered names here and other countries, as Sarcófago, Overdose, Sepultura, Witchhammer, Chakal and others? The fact that you are fellow of Sepultura, for example, aroused some curiosity there in Europe?
Manu: Always. The brazilian Metal is well respected in the old world thanks to this wonderful harvest from 80s. Being the son of the scene, I see that we are the continuing of something that makes us very proud. When the bands you mentioned started, they were looking for their own sound, something that came to influence many groups around the world. It was not copy certain groups of the past. One thing is to be influenced, another is trying to repeat what has already been done. In our case it is the same thing, we do not want to be a copy of any of them, despite being influenced by various and be friends with many others. Do we need more clones of Sarcófago or Sepultura around? I do not think so.

 "One thing is to be influenced, another is trying to repeat what has already been done"
RtM: What about the Metal scene, do you think that is utopian to want to live of metal in Brazil, or is it possible? A few succeeded, but the reality can change and with hard work, and perhaps focusing on some markets, a band here can be self-financing and survive only with your job?
Marco: I think live music in general is very difficult. I do not think it is a utopia, but it's not something I personally have a goal. It is very common to see bands that have a strong name, touring the country, touch the biggest festivals, and yet the members have other jobs, which are usually the main source of income. The Uganga reached a point that can keep. A band has spent, and there are few. merchandise production, testing, promotion, press office, equipment ... and we have fortunately been able to draw this account through shows and selling merchandise. But honestly, what I want is to play well, take the sound of Uganga to many places as possible and be able to keep this running gear. If for that I have to keep working on my bar, or with my fire brand, great. What we do not want is to stop playing.

Manu: We all have our jobs out of the band, but at the same time if there is a way to survive music, we want to search it on the right way. As these parallel works, we are not in music to play.

RtM: Guys, thank you! It is the ultimate space for you to send your message, a message to fans. Marco: Thanks for the space! Thank you by heart for the opportunity.
Manu: We are releasing the "Opressor" vinyl in Brazil by Sapólio Radio label, and in Europe on CD by the Defense Records. A little further on is the new job and meanwhile we see on the road. Peace for all!

Interview: Carlos Garcia



"The idea in Opressor is an entity created by the failures, the mistakes that we humans are committing for centuries with our planet and ourselves."

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