domingo, 1 de janeiro de 2017

Interview - Orquídea Negra: "We are a result of a lot of persistence, a lot of dreams"

"We are a result of a lot of persistence, a lot of dreams", a striking phrase that soon caught my attention and I used as the title for this interview a phrase that can summarize the history of many bands, veterans or beginners, because this dream of forming a Metal band, to compose their own songs, to record an album, to make concerts, to become reality, but it is known that the way is arduous, and not always, most of the time I would say, is clothed with glories or financial success, but if Not everything is flowers, and for this band, formed in 1986, which bears the name of a flower, the mystical Black Orchid, certainly was not, but also certainly rewarding to have their music sung by the audience, have their own album in hands, and keep creating and active for more than three decades, and even if you still seek for more recognition and to be knowed in other countries, and they deserve, giving your best ever.

Check out some of this story that still has many pages ahead, and learn, discover, or reminisce the steps of this true legend of Brazilian Metal, in a very special interview with Robson Anadon, one of the oldest members of this institution of Heavy Metal, the band ORQUÍDEA NEGRA!
Leia a versão em português

RtM: Hello Robson, is a pleasure to talk a bit about the history of the great Orquidea Negra (Black Orchid) and this latest record, "Blood of the Gods."
Robson Anadon: Hello Carlos. The pleasure is all ours. Talk about our history and our work is always a great joy, even more for the Road To Metal, as important means of information for the music business.

RtM: The first albums are being re-released for the first time on CD, and with various attractions. Let's start with "Who's Dead" (released on LP originally in 1992 by ACIT label), which is already available, and many may have contact with this work, which at the time sold about 5000 copies. Describe for us, how was the feel to realize the dream of recording the first album, and if you expect the impact it had at that time?
RA: The feeling of the first time is what it is, is always wonderful and very rewarding. It was very exciting for the band, because we had never been in a real studio before. So you can imagine a new crowd of guys, full of desire, full of dreams, beginning to record their first LP. Thing before we only had in hand from our idols, and now we would have our own album!!! With our own songs, rehearsing day after day, every night at the home of Andre Boca (vocals). It was something that certainly left us very happy, especially because we were in São Paulo, where everything happened in the brazilian Metal. Not to mention that we were being produced by Mario and Wally Garcia of Garcia and Garcia band that made a hellish sound at that time.

 "Imagine a new crowd of guys, full of desire, full of dreams, beginning to record their first LP."
RtM: Tell us a little more of this first experience in studio recordings, which took place in São Paulo. How were the conditions, and if you believe they could play on the record what you wanted and were in terms of sound.
RA: We went to São Paulo, February 92, spend a week. We stayed in a hotel in Pinheiros (if you could call the hotel), the 5 members of the band and another friend, all in the same room with only two beds. I do not remember in which neighborhood was the Macan studio was Marcia Casanova. It was a 16-channel studio, was simple but effective. We went to the studio every morning by bus. With no lunch, just a snack there. 

We had no idea how was the recording process, if it were today, certainly the sound would have come out a little better. We had to rent a battery for even there, it was not much quality was super home, but has to break the branch. The guitars were not recorded with amplifiers (what we would not repeat nowadays, of course) was recorded with Zoom, which was an effects pedal that our guitarist Vinicius was using at the time, which was driven by a driver clinging to the body of the guitar. It worked as a pre amp, because you could put a headset and use it. it was connected directly on the sound table. In terms of sound I cannot say it was exactly what we wanted, but in terms of the composition itself, was exactly how we wanted.

Orquídea Negra's line-up during the first album's release
RtM: Even in the early 90's when hard times began for the Heavy Metal, the album "Who's Dead?" was well received, having songs including in a few radio shows. In 94 you recorded your second album, self-titled. How waas the impact of this second album? At the time you came to realize that changes in music business? The "grunge" years, and labels looking for another type of music, all this things affected the band?
RA: Certainly. With "Who's Dead?" we had some music playing on the radio, like "Miss You", "Surrender" and "It's Easy to Remember". The second had a good effect, because the band was already better known, so always generates the expectation about the second album. We had many interviews at that time in  zines and magazine articles. However, as the market was already changing, and the release happened  two years after recording, because we had to launch independently. As we saw it, would be difficult to release it by a label,  had to be that way, otherwise, would not have been made public at the time. And in the meantime between the recording and release, Andre Boca (vocals) left the band, there also has some disheartened on the other members. Knowing that we had a good album kept at home for two years, without bringing the public, it was kind of sad. We wanted everyone knew our new songs.

RtM: In this second album we can be seen a more mature production, with a much safer band, who knew what wanted and what to do.
RA: Yeah, about that I have no doubt. Even having passed only two years after the recording of the first, our second experience in a studio, it was totally different. We knew exactly what we wanted, the sound we wanted. We would not repeat the mistakes of our first experience with regard to sound.

RtM: Tell us a little more about production and recording of this second album.
RA: We went to Porto Alegre to record on Eger Studio with our bus, that served also like a hotel (ha ha ha). We stayed for three weeks parked in front of the studio, and was the same rotine, every day out of the bus and into the studio, and out of the studio into the bus. generally we were recording at night and in the morning because it was cheaper. We take our drum set, we had advice from Kiko Freitas to tune it and leave it with the sound we wanted. As for amplifiers for bass and guitar, took own heads and rented amplifiers in Porto Alegre. In this second work, as recorded with the new line-up, because our bass player Fernando Tavares had left the band 01 year ago, since I left the guitar and took the bassist position. In the recordings also did some guitar parts. Our sound was a bit over worked and heavier than the first album, the band was evolved musically.

RtM: Yeah, cool you mention that you came to have your own bus, something difficult to maintain for a Heavy Metal band in Brazil. Recently the Hangar also had the "Infallibus".
RA: Yes, we had the bus between 93 and 95, our "Orquidão" (Big Orchid). We made some trips with it, and, as I told before, even to hotel it served! ha ha ha. We ended up having to sell later.

The transport and "hotel": "The Big Orchid"
RtM: After the record of the second album, André (vocals) left the band, then also Marcelo (drums), then in the period immediately after that was complicated in the 90s, was a new era in Metal, where bands of melodic metal were more in evidence. This affected the fact that you have not released studio material in this period? Only in 2003, with Jean (vocals) and Marini (drums) you just releasing the live "Live More Than Never" which was the result of 19 years of the band's show, which ended up turning around the album as well, is it?
RA: Yeah, André left the band before we launch the second. He left the following year, in 1995 after written terms. Marcelo left the band in 2010 or 2011 I do not remember. So live it was with him still. We keep playing the same way, only without launching or compose anything new. In 2003 we recorded live and launch, we recorded a new song and a version for Surrender. The name of the CD is that precisely because many feel that we were no longer active, but not only did shows in our city, as we continue to play elsewhere. Before that, Andrew came back to the band in 2000, there was funny because we were with two vocalists and got to do a show with this format. But he got little time, so just continue with Jean.

RtM: After "Live More Than Never," you followed without recording a new studio full-length, You have the return of Andrew in 2008, which had left the band after the second album in 95. "Blood of the Gods" began to be recorded in 2012, we all know the difficulties of maintaining a metal band, and release material, mainly physical, it has not always return, sometimes the long run. In the case of Orchid, such a traditional band, what are the main causes of so long to release this album?
RA: At that time we did not feel motivated to do new songs, because all of us had parallel works  with other bands, so we played only the old songs in the shows and some covers. After the the release of the live album, we had to exchange the singer again, with Jean leaving  and entering Samuel Vargas who I believe, stayed with us for two years and he did not record anything with him, we just have a few videos on youtube. Due to the difficulties of maintaining a metal band, it took two years to complete the recording of "Blood of the Gods". Even some of the songs, "Rainbow in the Dark" was also recorded by Marcelo, former drummer.

RtM: Tell us a little more about the return of André, the former singer, to the line-up, and I believe it has also been one of the factors to bring a new spirit, reactivating the creative core of the beginning, and which culminated in the new album? And if there were disagreements in the past have been overcome, and reigniting the old chemistry!
RA: Certainly!!! His return gave us a great spirit, it is a great composer. He cannot hear us doing some riff that comes with a lyric and we have started to write something new, which is natural for us. What happens in virtually all tests. At this point we already have some new songs ready, which will be recorded as soon, and the chemistry that rolls between us is incredible. All rehersal rolls a draft for a new song. The entrance of the new drummer (Raphael Marini) also gave a great oxygenated in the band, influencing much in new compositions, as it comes from a school a little different from ours, as well as being the youngest, he brought a lot of gas to the band. What about disagreements of the past never were, the friendship between Andre and the band has always existed.

RtM: Another cool thing was to see the CD being released by an English label, Secret Service, and also by the Portuguese label Metal Soldiers. How did it happen that contact and what brought positive for the band? Metal Soldiers even has released several CDs of classic bands of the Brazilian Metal.
RA: With English label, it was by Luiz Rizzi, a friend from state of Santa Catarina (Brazil) who lives in England and was a longtime fan of the band. He released some other Brazilian bands as well. Now with Metal Soldiers, the conversation was older. It was brokered by a longtime friend of ours in Brazil, Juninho. And soon the vinyl of "Blood of the Gods" will be released by the label Secret Service, and the first CD by Metal Soldiers. The positive things came the release in Europe, and with our album launched there the distribution is much easier, certainly this has led us to be heard in some places that we had not arrived yet. Not to mention also to have a CD released here in England and Portugal is very good for fans who like to have everything of the band because each release is different, with different bonus and digipack version.

RtM: I wrote a review of the "Blood of the Gods", and put it was "a wait was worth it," because it really is an album that has many very good songs, the kind that makes you want to put on "repeat"! A great Heavy Metal album. Do you believe that this time only composing and maturing the songs for a more long time contributed to this? And sure the will and hungry of the band to record new things?
RA: We just have to thank you for the excellent review, super detailed. To us we were crazy to have a new CD in hand, and finally hear the records. For as once said in an interview on radio, we are our greatest influence. About the new songs, we wrote actually i think in a matter of months. Soon after the final return of André Graebin, the band already started writing songs and playing them live. As we are already playing new material at the shows, so that the audience already go getting used to these new songs. I think that the will that we were to record new things made us work hard on these songs, because we will always polishing with time, hitting details here and there, seeing what works well, what pleases us. Until we decide that we are all satisfied, it is ok, then we don't put more our hand in the songs.

RtM: Something I really liked was the production and the album footprint, which is classic Metal and sounds current. I see many new bands that confuse it and think to have a sound like the bands of the 80s, sometimes make a production "rough" or dated. Many bands sounded crudest conditions at the time the recordings, costs, and even lack of knowledge of the participants and producers. But what it takes is to sound "real", not "mask" other things in the studio, making that sound plastic. What do you think about it? 
RA: Frankly I also can not understand what the new metal bands are doing in relation to production, especially those who want to do something more traditional. I believe that everything has to have a certain quality, so you can spend more credibility to those who will listen. We always enjoyed the classic Heavy Metal, I think it will always be part of our writing style, it is our vein. Raphael, is the youngest of the band, came with some more modern influences, which gave a very special taste in the "Blood of the Gods"

RtM: And also tell us a little about this recording process of "Blood of the Gods."
RA: About the recording process was curious because the studio we recorded, "Eye of the Moon", changed 3 times of place, so it took a little longer to finish everything. Not to mention that it was mixed and remixed some 3 or 4 times, until the producer also keyboardist Daniel Dante Finardi and we were totally satisfied with the final result. I think to be something long awaited by us and also by those who enjoy our work and was thirsty for something new, we wanted to take the utmost care to stay with an excellent quality, from the search for guitar sounds, bass etc.

RtM: Something that is quite rare nowadays is bands that makes memorable songs,  and as I said, the more experienced and traditional bands gave a lesson in this regard. And you have a lot of great and memorable songs on "BOTG". I would like you to talk a little of both that open the album, "Blood of the Gods" and "True Soldier", which has all these classic metal elements from 80's and 70's, and more progressive parts. Some things reminded me Uriah Heep, Purple, these progressive parts, the Hammonds.
RA: In the early 90s, we used to play some covers of Uriah Heep, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd, Queen, certainly it influenced a little this progressive part of the band. All keyboards on "Blood of The Gods" were made by the producer Daniel Dante Finardi, who did a great job giving us a wealth arrangements. The song that opens the CD and takes its name, is undoubtedly the most worked of all, and gave us a hell of a work composed it until it was in the final result. Already "True Soldier" was more easy, and it seems that was born ready, its composition was super spontaneous, born of a sequence of chords created by Vinicius Porto (guitar), André heard the melody, liked and have created the lyrics, so it was born . In fact, most of the songs are born that way, we play a riff, André listening, already creates a lyric on top and left already playing, then we added other parts to the main idea.

RtM: The other two I really liked, and I think they deserve a highlight, are "Understand," which incidentally, is the chorus stuck most in my mind even now spent the day humming! He He! And "The Darkness," which is a song that was outside the "Who's Dead?" for lack of space. But you have recorded a new version. I would like to tell us more of these two songs.
RA: Ahhhh, the  "Pelé music" ha ha ha, "understand"? (Robson make a joke with a word that the famous brazilian player usually use in the final of your frases) "Understand" is really, can i say... memorable. That was the last song to be composed for the "Blood of the Gods". As you said, it has a chorus that even sticks in your mind. I like it because it has a great guitar riff created by Vinicius.
"The Darkness" was one of our first songs was a demo we sent to the Rock Brigade magazine in 1991, recorded in a test along with "Surrender". We made up a very rough clip to it in the same year. It was very difficult to leave it out of vinyl, but we had to choose a song, I do not remember what was the criteria at the time, but we have to take it off. In the re-launch of the vinyl last year for Since72 Records, the song finally came in its original version. And to "Blood of the Gods" we decided to rerecord it, since it was out in the first release, we thought this would be a great honor, a way of compensation, give a new look to the song, a modernized, it deserved it.

"I believe that everything happens at your time, the right time. If nothing great happened  for us, or is not to be, or yet to come. We will continue the fight."
RtM: In the version of Metal Soldiers label, we have several bonus tracks, highlighting the acoustic version of "Surrender", one of my favorites of the band, and was very beautiful with such acoustic arrangements and violin. This song is one of the greatest "hits" of the band, and I believe that many fans and you even see it as a special composition, since it appears as bonus not only in this issue, but also in the "More Live Than Never", and I believe it is obligatory in shows.
RtM: The acoustic version of "Surrender", never played live, only the original version. We recorded this version as always so we played when we were among friends with a guitar, it's a beautiful song and a very different arrangement from the original version, which gives it a certain charm. I believe that we play the acoustic version live only once in a theater here in Lages (Santa Catarina) when we met the original line-up from the first album to play. Then, we played "Surrender" with two people playing violins. This record is on Youtube (watch here).

RtM: In addition to "Surrender", we also have new versions of "Hunting Devil" and "Wonderful and Lost". This songs were re-recorded for this release, or you were already re-recording some tracks but still without defining where would use?
RA: These versions were re-recorded only as a bonus for the "Blood of the Gods", released by the Secret Service label, and also ended up entering on the version released by the label Metal Soldiers and the CD version of "Who's Dead" by Dies Irae, as both were their first edition. And also received a new look to be a differential. We intend to re-record some other yet from the "Who's Dead".

RtM: We have two "covers" also for the funny song "Flodoardo" and "Black Orchid" by Zé Ramalho (popular composer/singer from Brazil). These last two I remember having figured in unofficial recordings. The "Black Orchid", I believe it was an idea that must have arisen for a long time, and quite naturally. But what about the "Flodoardo"? Which is well out of context, we can say.
RA: The song "Orquídea Negra" ("Black Orchid") was recorded for the second CD in '94, but because copyright issues it can not enter on that album, and was released only in CDRs. Already "Flodoardo", from Rural Express Group, was recorded for the "Blood Of The Gods". We once participated in a tribute made by the musicians of the city to our greatest composer and friend Daniel Lucena (From Rural Express Group). Each band would choose a song to play in your style in that day, we chose this, to play in our style. We liked the end result and decided to record it, also as a tribute to this our great friend who we admire.

RtM: The second album will also be relaunched, which will bring new and attractive in this revival?
RA: Well, it will be along the lines of "Whos Dead", with 24-page booklet, many exclusive photos, continuation of the biography and some bonus tracks that are already known. The CD itself, when it was recorded in 94 had only 10 songs but for launch, we put "Miss You" and "The Darkness" from the first as a bonus, then you are again in this re-released that will bring the cover song "Orquídea Negra" ("Black Orchid" recorded in 94 who did not enter on the CD ), and because this CD marked the time of Jean on vocals, even if he do not recorded any song on it, we have "The End of your Days" and "Surrender Acoustic Version" (recorded by him for the album "More Live than Never"), that is, nothing ever is not known.

RtM:  Orquídea Negra is a band that I see as a fine example of "Classic Heavy Metal", among many labels and sub-styles. How do you see this issue labels? A necessary evil? Mainly for commercial purposes? Or is it something just segmenting a lot, or even confusing?
RA: It is a necessary evil and that too, as you said, just segmenting the Heavy Metal is already a segment of the Metal genre. Since it is to label, we really fit in the Metal Classic from eighties. But this segmentation is natural to separate the Metal in Heavy, Death, Thrash or Black and each of these four divisions with its own subdivisions. To make all these strands of metal in their places. There are many people who likes Heavy Traditional and hates Thrash or other sub-genres, and so on. But that is history, there is place for everyone. And I believe that one does not interfere with each other, just add up, because one always ends up influencing other in a way.

RtM: 30 years of career, what your feelings about to reach this mark? And what do you think you could have done differently, that maybe could have been better for the band's career?
RA: Well, 30 years is not a little time fighting in independet scene. We are here because we are the fruits of much stubbornness, many dreams. I believe that as soon as we launched the first work, if we had moved into a larger center such as São Paulo and played well there, much would surely have been different for us. But I believe that everything happens at your time. If nothing great happened  for us, or is not to be, or yet to come. We will continue the fight.

"We are here because we are the fruits of much persistence, many dreams."
RtM: And from now on, you feel more secure and also motivated to launch new albums in a shorter period of time? How do you see the future of the band?
RA: Exactly why we are already writing in full time. We already have four songs ready and have some more ideas that we have not yet started working but are already registered. We are also working on a documentary being produced about the history of the band. This same team will record the clip of "True Soldier". This is to take place this year. Our future, I see the best possible way, because we are always working. Of course we do not do as many shows as we would like, but we are there, always doing what we like.

RtM: Finally, talk to you, as you discovered the metal, what motivated you to become a musician and formed a band?
RA: I discovered the metal through my brother Francisco Anadon, which has been bassist of the band between 88 and 89 and drummer between 90 and 91. In 1985 Gone started doing guitar lessons with a friend of my brother, Marcos Cesar, who more later played on the band between 88 and 89 as well. I learned from him the introduction of The Phantom of the Opera (Iron Maiden,) then I found that the maximum and started listening to the records that my brother had at home. I played bass and guitar in several bands in the city before going to the Orquídea Negra, but it was after my entrance in 1990 that i go more deep in metal knowledge.

Robson, again, it was a pleasure, hopefully we could tell a little of the history of the bandounger fans, and old too, plus a little more about the "Blood of the Gods." It is the space for your final message, remembering that this interview is also available in English, for the headbangers around the planet!
RA: Great Carlos, was an immense pleasure to tell a little of our history through these responses to the Road to Metal, that is a great channel of information for those who like heavy metal. I would like to thank you on behalf of the Orquídea Negra family for the opportunity to disclose on its website. I hope more people interested by our music after reading both, the review and the interview. Thanks a \ o /.

Interview: Carlos Garcia

Orquídea Negra:
André "Boca" Graebin: Vocals
Robson Anadon: Bass & Vocals
Vinícius Porto: Guitar
Raphael Marini: Drums

Orquídea Negra Contacts and info:

"Who's Dead?"
"Orquídea Negra"
"More Live Than Never"
"Blood of the Gods"

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