sábado, 15 de fevereiro de 2014

Interview: Torture Squad - The Years of Military's Dictatorship in Brazil, Narrated in Conceptual Album

As part of its 20th anniversary , the Brazilian band Torture Squad has been promoting the release of his new album, with a Portuguese title “Esquadrão de Tortura" (that means “ Torture Squad”), a conceptual album about the years of brazilian military's dictatorship and 1964's coup d'etat, and also marks the debut of band's new lineup, now as a power-trio, formed by Amilcar Christófaro (Drums), Castor (bass and vocals) and André Evaristo (Guitars & vocals).

The new album is totally politicized lyrics, and talking about facts that happened during the military dictatorship in Brazil. We met drummer Amilcar Christófaro to talk about the idea of ​​doing a whole album concept and other curiosities of the new album.

For those who do not care much for politics,  it is important to read what Amilcar say at the very end of the interview , which was also a rapid learning for me .

Road to Metal: Having completed 20 years of career, the band is experiencing a new moment releasing your newest studio album, "Esquadrão de Tortura". After all this is the disc that marks the band's debut as a power- trio, which has achieved good results well before releasing the album . How hard was it working with only three members?
Amilcar Christófaro: It is basically the traditional way of the band works, which is with many rehersals. André come already getting along with the tradition of band rehearsals . We did not change anything at all! It was André who was incorporated into our method , which is the traditional method of band where we rehearse enough, compose and rehearse songs that we play at shows . And hence it was that our new building rapport. And sure the album was born this way, the traditional way .
Amilcar Christófaro
RtM: Today is not new bands making concept albums. And in this new album, the band covers everything that happened during the military dictatorship in Brazil . Write a whole album only talking about this subject comes early or had the influence of someone who lived through that era and that , somehow , found it interesting reports on the album ?
AC: The idea did not come from anyone's influence. Just painted the idea of talking about something important, instead, has to do with the band's name. But neither the name of the album, which is now "Esquadrão de Tortura", the title came first. It was something that was going on, the ideas were coming and chose the best. And the idea of talking about the dictatorship has come naturally, it's been a while since we had the idea. We had never done a concept album. And, especially, is the first time of many things in this album, many things we never done after. The initial idea came  when we were still with the other line up,  and when Vitor (Vitor Rodrigues, former singer) left the band, the idea became more entrenched.

RtM: And about the lyrics?
AC: The lyrics, which at the time Vitor was going to write it, naturally it was up to us to do, especially me. And I too enjoyed doing the research and understand more about it, because before I knew superficially about the dictatorship. I certainly do not know everything because they are twenty years of history, both in the eleven songs that we quote relevant parts at the time that passed the military regime. And in the booklet we made sure to put summaries of each song, because the song mentions us one thing and the summary will understand a little more what was quoted. And I was happy to understand more about it and I could have used my music an important subject that has happened in our country. And make other people - picking up our album, reading the lyrics and reading summaries - can understand more about it. I am thrilled at the possibility that we are having.

RtM: The band's previous albums, with this latest, were written and sung in English, of course. But the first did, if I'm not mistaken, Torture Squad is the first Brazilian metal band that releases an album with English lyrics with the Portuguese title. If dealing with an historical event that happened here in Brazil was more conventional in baptizing the album title in Portuguese than in English?
AC: I do not know if Torture Squad is the first band that sings in English, with the English name and the title of the disc in Portuguese. I cannot speak if we are the first , but it sure is the first of our discography and our career where all disks are books in English and this is the first with the Portuguese name .

The  album "Esquadrão de Tortura" can be considered more material for those who want to study about the Military's Dictatorship years?
AC: That question is really cool! I consider him our new album material to know about the time of the dictatorship, because we made a serious and thorough study. May not be as thorough as other works that speak of this subject, but surely one might know something about the disc, and delve on the subject through a book or a web link. And the album can be a way to know more about the theme.

RtM: Find out about everything that happened during the Military Dictatorship has no secret, because it has enough documentaries, books and articles on the topic it addresses. And also, of course, has several articles on the internet and history teachers who give lessons in public schools. And since I mentioned this educational part, Professor Alexandre Carneiro Rossi gave you a lecture on the subject to help in the compositions. It was the best choice that you have looked for them to have a deeper knowledge? 
AC:What about Alexander Rossi can say that, for us, was the right choice! It may even have other people who understand more about it, but he was the best choice. And among the people we knew, he was the obvious choice because he is a Torture Squad’s longtime fan and we know it too. When André joined the band did not know he knew Alexandre, but they was already friends.

RtM: Then, i believe he was the best choice, for sure!
AC: Of course he was the best choice we could have. He set up a text pointing events of the time the scheme for either side, because that was our criteria. The criterion is to narrate the story! And isn’t necessary to be part of any politic segment to understand a subject and form an opinion about. And that is our intention with the album , that people understand more about what happened, and did not need to raise flag of any color to have an opinion .

RtM: The cover, which was designed and illustrated by João Duarte, called me much attention by skull, the cross, the newspaper, the owl and Cristo Redentor monument. Is there meaning behind these five elements put in album art?
AC: There are all the meanings, that is the truth!!!( laughs ) The Christ Redeemer monument and the newspaper, is to identify that is in Brazil. The Cristo Redentor statue is an universal thing, that anyone who sees know what is in Brazil , and we made ​​sure to put the newspaper using a French expression saying "Coup D' Etat", which is "Coup" in French.Only that this expression it is used worldwide. So anyone catch the disc anywhere in the world and read " 1964 Brazilian - Coup D' Etat " and see crisscross will already know what disk it is , it's a coup in Brazil . And these two images was precisely for this, which is to facilitate information .

The skulls are to represent the dead ones. And the crosses ago, if you notice, has cross is all that belief, because at that time no one was safe from prosecution and that anyone could receive.
The owl, that you said, which could well be(laughs), is an eagle, in fact (more laughs ).One thing that many people do not know, was the USA influence in the coup in Brazil . And had a very great influence, especially with Lincoln Gordon, who was the American Embassy here in São Paulo. Instead ​​I had a great reference on American influence in the coup in a documentary called "The Day That Lasted 21 Years", talking only about American influence in the coup. And that was a very important fact that it could not pass, and just put the eagle to represent this.

RtM: In terms of concept album , and as a band like Torture Squad , everything fit perfectly ! Even on the release date you were conceptual, which was released on November 15, 2013 , Day of Proclamation of the Brazilian Republic. This was a way to celebrate the occasion with a reflexion listening to the album ?
AC: Everyone can take as you want! There were moments in time of the recording, when the album was being done, we talked to the label in relation to the release date, where we caught up talking about politics because the album. And this is really cool because it gives the opportunity to those who know the band and that bangers maybe not care much for politics. And I understand that side, because my whole life has been thinking about the band and my music.

We will see that, of course, we have to learn a bit of everything. And the policy she is too embedded in our lives! We cannot be living and pretend that the policy does not exist, because you have to understand what is happening, even to improve what is to come. And giving the chance with our record, I am extremely happy. The release on the day of Proclamation of the Republic was for us wanting it, which is a symbolic date in our country and the album has this policy theme. And I think the date dovetailed with the release.

RtM: Talking about the sound of the album, the band has always followed a line Thrash Metal and Death Metal. But after Vitor Rodrigues left the band, and André became a vocalist, the new songs were Thrash Metal and Heavy Metal , like fifty fifty. These variations were to leave André more comfortable to be able to sing?
AC : No, because we did not write to his vocal . Actually it is normal to make up, but the songs were already being made ​​before him sing. So it was kind of adapting to what the music is. And to tell you the real, he was a warrior! Going forward, perhaps even his role bind you're doing a riff that is not married to the voice, or that it will fit the voice in another way, because the riff is being done in another way. But, on the album, has not had this thought, was put the vocal on top and learning how to do!

So it was a challenge he acquired and was that way. Has more lilting music and has music that is more Thrash that was not purposeful because of his voice or because he's singing and playing, because it was rolled naturally even. I am very happy with his voice, which is a Thrash Metal torn, and Castor's voice is an old school Death Metal . Then we have Death and Thrash voices, it could work well on the first album with these two voices. And, sure, I believe the most up to work, which will grow rapport about it .

RtM: In this new album there are many special features , as Sphaera Rock Orchestra , Rafael Augusto Lopes ( former guitarist ) , Fernanda Lira (Nervosa), Paulinho Sorriso and Dino Verdade. But participation I liked most was that of João Gordo (from Brazilian Hardcore band Ratos de Porão), singing the track “Pátria Livre” (means “Free Fatherland”). How did all these people gather to participate in the album?
AC: Before being invited João Gordo (from legendary brazilian band Ratos de Porão), the music was already taken . At first she had lyrics and everything, but then she became instrumental, till he came to the idea we put only one verse at a time, which is the part most hardcore music. And whenever I played this song, I took as a homage to the band Ratos de Porão. And that part came a stanza of a letter that Carlos Marighella sent to his former party, because he had more radical ideas about fighting the military regime .

João Gordo, from legendary brazilian band "Ratos de Porão", guest vocalist in the track "Pátria Livre"
And there was biding his time and thought : "And what if we called João? Was going to be animal!". Until I called him, he accepted and we stay crazy and happy!!Because the band Ratos de Porão are some of our heroes!!besides Sepultura, Krisiun and Korzus, who are also bands that made history for us, because they represent so much to Brazilian Heavy Metal . And just to finish on, I think it worked out nicely. It is a time of protest on the lyrics, and he singing, as he always did with his band, Ratos de Porão, fit like a glove!!! especially at this time that was the Hardcore of the music. Was awesome heard he singing that part, was very special.

RtM: And what about the other guests?
AC: Other equity flowed naturally. There's a song on the disc called "Architecture Of Pain", which has a moment that gets knocked down and who forwarded me a lot to Latin music. And then I thought of putting instruments lactic music, with the Ganza , Lehi and to the Half Moon, but only in a very low mix just to make a sauce , which did not mischaracterize anything. And the rather I write, I thought: "Why I write if I can call some friends who is drummer and who could participate?". And that's what I thought. And then I called Paulinho Sorriso, which is a samba- rock drums, and we have a large contact because of Orion Cymbals. About Dino Verdade, I have a great contact with him, admire him as drummer and as an entrepreneu , because he owns the "Bateras Beat" .

The idea of Sphaera Rock Orchestra, to the string quartet, was just making a Tchello and violin in " Conspiracy Of Silence", which is a part more Death Metal , which I figured these chords with the riff . And in the end they composed a quartet for animal and was! Were two violins, a viola and a cello. They recorded for "Conspiracy Of Silence" and "For The Countless Dead" which is an instrumental song and one of the most important parts of the disk, where we left a question at the air, where we speak that had two sides. But as the price is not too high, what do you think? So for those who listen to the record and for those who read the lyrics is to have them own opinion.

Fernanda Lira (center), from brazilian Thrash Metal band NERVOSA, another special guest
RtM: And the participation of Fernanda, from Nervosa (Female brazilian Thrash band), and Rafael , former guitarist of the band?
AC: Fernanda, from Nervosa, recorded the narration in "For The Countless Dead", I think the most important part, as just said. Has a narration in English and another in Portuguese , who recorded it in the Portuguese was Tommy Moriello, from Crash Bang , and that also works for us. The english part was made by Fernanda Lira, from Nervosa , which also recorded vocals for a  Coroner song , the " Divene Step". Incidentally we have 11 songs on disc, but we recorded 17 and six left to go working slowly .

And has the participation of Raphael , which I found brilliant. Castor had been the idea to the soil in the "Wardance" , which is actually a soil that we wrote together at the time he was in the band. Soil is the composition of his, but the basic riff we wrote together. And we thought he was too hard on playing with a melody which he himself composed .
The stakes were very special ! We were glad to have everyone on the records, that keeps us dearly .

RtM: The production was again signed by Brendan Duffey and Adriano Daga at Norcal Studio . Today Norcal being one of the best studios to record what has been , and quite good band out there with great records , became the best option to record the new album ?
AC: I think so , because they're certainly one of the best producers of Heavy Metal you have here in Brazil . Brazil is starting to get to many experts and many producers who already know what it is heavy metal , perhaps not far had not in the past , but now has . Has Pompey and Heros at Mr. Som , the Ciero the Tribes ... Are enough producers that work with this type of sound long , but who knows the language and knows what he is talking about. 

 And Brendan and Adriano are certainly very strong in the category of Heavy Metal in production . And we 're quite happy with the end result of hard , because it is very true to the sound that I got the drums and the sound we got on guitar . And when I say real , all our discs are , but I think this can really pass the sound coming out of the test to pass for disc burning .

RtM: Last year you received the invitation to participate in the new DVD of another great brazilian banda, Angra, the " Angels Cry - 20th Anniversary Tour " DVD, performing the song "Evil Warning". The record also had holdings of Tarja Turunen, Uli John Roth and the staff of Lima Family. It adds a lot these invitations that are made for you, as it was also with Sepultura in 2011 ?
AC: Absolutely, because we 're talking about monstrous bands. Sepultura?has nothing to talk about! Angra is also great, they have a range of passionate fans! Perhaps many melodic metal fans who did not know the Death and Thrash of Torture Squad, and the DVD did get to them our sound.

And certainly adds a lot! And for me aggregates in various segments, such as I had the pleasure of being called to record a cover of "Brutal Truth", the new CD of Oligarquia band, which is a contemporanean band and they are in the underground over 20 years. They will make a album only with of covers, to show the influences of the band. And on all sides adds, because the name of my band is coming to places that might not come. And I 'm very happy with the invitations .

RtM: Talking once again about the new album, how do you compare the concept of "Esquadrão de Tortura" with the current reality of today ?
AC: The last song we did the issue of finalizing the history of dictatorship , which ended in 1985, but in 1988 it was enacted constitutional provision, which on paper and laws had finished military dictatorship. Democracy had actually returned , which becomes a question mark. The election which come after the dictatorship was the Collor and Lula, which had bid the TV Globo infiltrating the debates and that it has been proven. Tried to manipulate the people opinion, saying that Collor de Mello was better. But this nepotism in politics continues,with children , with the Sarney family, with ACM -Antonio Carlos Monteiro - some worst examples of brazilian politicians ... it seems like... the dictatorship ended , but maybe it continues otherwise . I do not say in relation to repression, but I say with that old way of thinking .

I do not say that the dictatorship had it, but I think what was really bad at that time was the repression, and the coup, saying that Goulart (João "Jango" Goulart, the 24º brazilian president, who was victim of the 1964's coup d'etat) was a communist and such. It was something that was born wrong and could only wrong things happen , this is the vision I have . And today, even with democracy, I think had a lot of buzz and dishonesty with this thing of wanting to earn more and have the normal values to human being, which is the thing for you to be honest and gain what is rightfully. Even though the pot of gold in your hand and it's not yours you do not have to pick up because someone do it. But I do not know ... Brazil has always lived this thing the "Brazilian way", this thing of giving up one way and the thing that I can give an improvement here. And it sucks! And it's very disgusting, because that is what impedes the country to make progress.

RtM: The famous bad way to do, and that idea of always to trying to take advantage of everythingl!
AC: And it is precisely this that has head in politics today!!! And this one day have to change ! And I believe a lot of good in people , along with the new generations , with the children being educated by their parents, who already know what they need to change it , that already today to educate you , when you get there and have power in the hands , already know what to do . And I just think that flinty rebuke that had the dictatorship . May have a crackdown yet, but perhaps not with as much like before. Only such a policy already disturbs me a lot. I believe this is affecting me so much that the songs on the next album will come more politicized. And for sure the next album will come one thing we really say what we think today, with more realistic lyrics.

For we, who are good people and do things on honesty, all news about politicians are 99 % malfeasance. You do not have to rely on! And seeing the interviews of João Goulart on Youtube, I feel a truth in his eyes that I did not feel in today's politicians. And regardless of flag and color , no more of this party! It has to be honesty and manliness, because you have to see the value in person even. And when I saw the interviews of João Goulart, I felt a very great truth in what he spoke. Of course I have not lived the time, sometimes the people who see me talking think I'm wrong, but I 'm talking about the feedback that I had everything that I saw .

João Goulart (popularly known as "Jango Goulart")
RtM: It much depends on the viewpoint and also the knowledge of each individual, i think.
AC: I have not seen a lie, I saw a simple guy wanting good things to our country. And i saw honestly in the eyes, which is something I do not see in today's politicians. Sometimes the people are hoping something happens worse, the type to start a political killing and throw them in ditches, and people start noticing that it's getting bad for who kills, steals and who is not even listenin to the people. And people really need to wake up , in a way, that the country has not yet seen. And a hard thing has to happen to everyone, which is something to start one way and that it is okay.

RtM: To finish it, what are your plans for this year of 2014 ? Maybe a DVD or live CD ?
AC: Maybe, especially at the end of the tour. Do not know where and do not know when yet, what we know is that we want to burn a DVD, very soon. I do not say that at the end of the year or early next year, but as we have already played enough songs, when the band get hotter. And we will play as much as possible to promote the album, we already have plans to do a tour here in Brazil, the Under Control Agency will mark everything for us. We are trying to do this tour before the World Cup , because it sure will stop everything. And after the World Cup, or during, the people also have plans to go to Europe. And all this is being worked on. Meanwhile , we are doing our even gigs .

RtM: Thank you very much for the interview! I leave the freed space for you to say anything to the readers and fans.
AC: A big hug to all the bangers who follow Road To Metal web site! Was great to do this interview. And strength to Brazilian bands and to Brazilian Metal scene.

Interview : Gabriel Arruda
Revision / translate/ editing : Carlos Garcia
Photos : Band's archive
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Um comentário:

Anônimo disse...

Torture Squad sempre foi uma bosta. Uma bandinha medíocre muito superestimada pelas Roadie Crew da vida. Os integrantes dessa banda são uns idiotas. rs