From missed opportunities to opportunities that came too soon, I hope you enjoy reading this interview as much as I did talking to such an amazing and incredibly talented man.
In April 2008, you told us here at Komodo Rock that your absolute priority is The Andre Matos solo Band. Just short of a year and here we are! How has this short journey been in creating the New whilst re-visiting the past?
It is interesting because I have got some musicians who play with me now who are all from Brazil and somehow, it’s a big coincidence that we match again because we have all played together before in different bands like Angra and Shaaman, except for the drummer who is a pretty young boy and you are going to check him out tonight. He is a very good drummer. He is a revelation, but with all the other guys, we have shared experiences before so this whole thing together, with creating new stuff but also re-visiting the past and being able to include everything in the same set list when you play live is pretty cool I think, its pretty interesting. During this tour, as a special guest of Edguy, we don’t have a very long set, it’s only 45 minutes so we are going to try and do a little bit of everything but we will concentrate more on the new material which came out last year.
Your Solo Album, "Time To Be Free", in my opinion, captures the essence of the freedom that we all need to search for inside of ourselves. How would you best describe the strongest purpose of this album?
That is the definition. "Time To Be Free" is about the inner freedom, which is quite difficult achieve I think. The oriental people know about this better than we do because sometimes you can’t care about a situation that you are in and try to find your peace inside yourself, your freedom, especially, and we keep seeing people in this funny world that we live in nowadays where everything is changing so fast. I mean, I grew up in a different time when there was no internet and no cellphones and I have noticed how fast things are moving and also, how many people are actually looking for freedom somewhere else, it’s all about money, buying stuff and I think sometimes they forget the basic essence of life. Music is still there and this is the main reason why I play music. Music is still a very powerful tool, a powerful weapon to wake the people up. This was my main purpose with this record, trying to, with the songs and the lyrics, to give people new ways to face life, to feel comfortable and to feel free inside.
Is music your freedom?
Music is absolutely my freedom. There is no better thing. When you’re on stage, when you’re composing, when you’re recording, that’s where you put your whole soul and I really mean to deliver it when I do it.
I find it interesting that you say you find your freedom in music and whilst you’re on stage, composing and recording because so many bands don’t have that harmony or the balance and it seems that this is when everything goes wrong and you have constant fighting between the members.
Yeah, that is bad. I’ve been there too. I’ve been through some split-ups before and I understand it perfectly. When there is no harmony between members you basically cannot create good music and this is one of the main reasons why I split up with my previous bands. Maybe Viper, my very first band when I was a teenager was because I wanted to continue with musical studies and I didn’t have the time to focus on both and I chose to go to university but with Angra and Shamaan it was basically a question of us not having anbalance between the members and you cannot pretend that you’re creating music. It sounds like crap and when you play live, people notice it, the audience is not stupid and they notice that something is going on and then it appears that bands is just doing it for the money or whatever reason but this is not the way I live or think and I always try to get better and to be as honest as I can musically. I think that’s why sometimes breaking up a band is better than keeping it in a forced situation.
Musically, your career started at a very young age and you still have many years ahead of you. Having already achieved so much, what goals do you have for the future?
As I mentioned to you before, I have had many re-starts in my life and this is another one and there is more to go. I think this is my last stage, my last period. I’m not supposed to start another band. This is my band, its under my name and I hope the line-up never changes because they are all my friends and we live together in a very harmononious way than before, so for now, we’re just going to keep going and doing it as honestly as we can and putting my soul into my music and I think it works.
Edguy also started off their career at a very young age – very similar steps have been taken by both of you alike – Is this perhaps the reason for touring together or is this due to previously collaborating with Tobias [Sammet]?
We keep exchanging positions. Edguy supported Angra in Europe and now with me starting with my solo career I am now supporting Edguy. It’s perfect and we have been friends for more than 10 years so there is absolutely no ego problem with them. They are all lovely people and great friends. We have also got to know the young Swedish band H.E.A.T, we just have to teach them how to clean the tour bus (laughs)
You have played a main role on two albums for "Avantasia, The Metal Opera". Can we expect any more epic albums featuring yourself in the future?
I think so. The next Avantasia which is supposed to come out in the near future … yes, Tobias did ask me if I could take part in it and I think my character will be back in the story.
Eloy Casagrande, your teenage drummer, who has already excelled musically himself is also walking in your footsteps, so to say. Do you see your own career inspiring him?
Yes Absolutely. He has said this to me before. He was a huge fan of our music before he joined the band and he still probably is but now he has gotten used to living with us and we are teaching him lots of things. He is very intelligent and very grown-up. He is 17 years old now and turns 18 at the end of January. When he started playing with us he was only 16 and everybody critisized me saying things like, "Are you crazy putting a boy in the band?" and "Are you into paedophilia" and I said, "No, you should this guy playing before talking". After we did the first show, everyone was like, "Wow". I had seen him playing before because he is quite well known in the scene in Sao Paulo, Brazil and he also won a drumming contest in America, one of the biggest drumming contests in the world, the Modern Drummer competition when he was 14 years old. This tour is very important for him as it is his very first international tour so he is learning how to arrange himself and help himself with all the stuff that he needs to do. He has our support all the time, everybody is nice to him and we are treating him as an adult but when he needs our help, we’re always there for him.
15 years ago you auditioned to replace Bruce Dickinson. If he were to leave Iron Maiden again, would the position still interest you?
If I could keep my solo career, Yes. That would be my condition.
So you don’t think that youre too Brazilian to front a British band then?
(laughing) I think that’s why the didn’t choose me. Back then in 1993, the first Angra record was recorded but it hadn’t been released yet and I was faced with a lot of confusion over this. Sanctuary/EMI was asking for my stuff and my band was very afraid that they were going to lose me but I told them that I didn’t think they would choose me as I was from Brazil and was much younger than the rest of the Iron Maiden and they ended up choosing Blaze Bailey, a British guy who I know personally and is a great singer, maybe not too adequate for Maiden’s style but I think he did as much as he could and now Bruce is back. Bruce was a special guest at an Angra show in Paris once, this was during his solo career and he said that he couldn’t imagine going back to Maiden but a year later, he was back with them. I am a big Maiden fan but I really don’t like this thing with the 3 guitar players, it just doesn’t make sense. We have opened for Iron Maiden in Brazil and somehow it’s just not the same as before. I watched the Rock in Rio festival in 1985 and it was superb. It was definately the best show I have ever seen.
Being such an icon in music yourself, what other bands do you look to for your inspiration?
Iron Maiden was one of my first roots, Queen – it’s my all time favourite, nobody can top Freddie Mercury, Peter Gabriel – especially his solo career, Kate Bush.
What can we expect from The Andre Matos Solo career in the future?
Development and a new album pretty soon. After this tour we will be back in Brazil and in the studio to record it, keep touring as we already have some dates set for South America and we might be back in Europe in February for a festival in Finland and we’re still looking for some summer festivals in Europe. I’m pretty sure we will be back in the UK headling at some point too.
Are there any career opportunities you would like to go back and change?
Classical Music. I graduated in Classical Music in Orchestra, Conduting and Composing but I couldn’t follow it as the band was already taking off so I had to chose between the two. I used a lot of what I have been taught in the music that I do but I didn’t really go for the classical career and I’m compeletly passionate about Classical music so if I did have a second chance, I would probably be a conductor or be a classical composer.
What music would I find on your ipod?
Like I mentioned, Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Abba, AC/DC, Van Halen, Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Early Queensryche but it’s more about the British scene really.
Any final words of advise for aspiring musicians?
If I’m honest, try to have a better understanding of what you’re doing. Don’t just do it without knowing what youre doing. Try to understand music as a whole. It’s not about only playing an instrument and showing off, it’s much deeper than that. Sometimes you need to play an instrument and show off but you need to realise that you need to create bigger work than that.
Thank you for taking the time to talk to me tonight, I’m really looking forward to the show.
Thank you and perhaps we can chat again after the show.