It’s with great pleasure that SpazioRock offers to you a long interview to a great artist such as Andre Matos, who talked all accomplished about himself and his career, amid past, present and future. Enjoy your reading!
Article by Gaetano Loffredo
Published on: 25/01/10
I assume you’ve been doing a lot of interviews in these last days.
It’s true, it’s true. It’s a marathon!
Eheheh, it’s normal, isn’t it?
Yes, it’s normal and it’s good, because I think it’s better that way: people are interested and we can talk about the album. Better than having no one interested in the album!
Of course, listen Andre, you can talk in English if you have any trouble with Italian. No problem at all.
Oh, well, I’ll reply to the interview in English, because it’s better. I need time to find the right words in Italian. If you want, you can keep on asking me questions in Italian.
Brilliant, no problem at all. Listen Andre, first of all I’d like to say that I’m 31 years old and I’ve been following you since I was 14, more or less. So, I kept track of your musical career and I’d like to begin with "Mentalize". It seemed more calculated than "Time To Be Free" and a little bit harder to digest. Did you create it with the same attitude than the previous one or did you feel mentally freer?
Well, when you start composing songs for the new album, you never know what is going to come out. In this very situation, I was with my band mates and we used to compose and write songs together … So, we technically decided not to worry too much about what was coming out. We had this philosophy saying something like "just do what you’re able to do and what comes out in a spontaneous way". So, I think this album it’s somehow more spontaneous and more natural than the first one. I don’t mean that the first one it’s not that too, it followed the same philosophy, but maybe, due to the fact that it was the first release and it was of my solo band and solo career, of course you become concerned about the result. You want to do your best, you want to put all of your ideas at the same time there. So, I think in some way "Mentalize", the follower, it has been constructed more simply, but the atmospheres, the substance of the songs and the ideas are not less intense. Everything is still there. We always believed there must be some kind of development and enhancement from an album to another, and at least the albums are different to each other, but they still keep the same attitude.
Perfect! Now you really feel free, I think.
Yeah, you know, the first album was titled "Time To Be Free" and that really was the search for self-expression, freedom and liberty, and perhaps this has been confirmed in the second album. I think that’s a good point: we can really speak out our minds, we can really compose what’s in our souls and that will always come through the music and we will hit people with this message. That’s freedom in music, basically, I don’t mean you don’t care about what people think of your work, but that you don’t do anything just to satisfy somebody else’s taste. It’s also trying to dare and look for new elements and ideas: it has always been very important to me. Across my career I have always tried to find motivation to write songs, not only because I had to release something.
Yes indeed, because "Time To Be Free" on the contrary was still bonded with your past. At this point I’d like to ask you who were your enemies in the past.
Well … Uhm … Should I say I had any enemy in the past? That’s the point. I don’t believe so, I do respect my past, I’m not fighting against it, but on the other hand someone has to be very careful in order to avoid repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Sometimes artists are successful for a particular style or for a formula they discovered in the past, and they repeated that over and over through the years. That formula is not going to work forever, you know, you must bring some fresh air and you have to look towards the future. Actually that doesn’t mean you don’t like what you did before, I’m very proud of my past and previous works. If I look back at my very first recordings for instance, of course I think things were very simple at that time, on the other hand it impresses me, because I had such a young age when I did that. It’s nothing to be ashamed of.
Do you know why I asked you about your enemies? Because your former mates of Angra and Shaman, who I interviewed several times, always issued some harsh statements about you. They labelled you as a "tyrant". (Andre Matos giggles) I’d like to know whether it’s true or not and why did they say such things?
I’m not the right person to answer that, you can ask my current band mates, which they have been working with me for over fifteen years and they will tell you if I’m a tyrant or not. Ah-ehm (coughs) may also be considered that being a tyrant it’s not so bad, it really depends what you mean by using that word. Of course, I’m a perfectionist and I like working in a certain way, but that doesn’t mean I’m forcing people to do them in my way. The problem with some of my former colleagues was that there was a certain kind of "battle of the Ego" going on, and some of them probably didn’t understand that there are different rules in a band, there’s a singer, there’s a guitarist, there’s a drummer and sometimes people want to be more a "prima donna" than limiting themselves, as they are supposed to do. There’s always someone who wants to get everything, but, you know, I don’t think to have done that myself. That’s why I have a solo band and I give it total freedom to create and to perform, we do things together, I want to have a real band atmosphere.
… Of course!
… Even though the band is under my own name, if everybody was tired, I’d say that nobody would compose or write, I’d do the whole album alone and I’d say "you get paid and shut up!". You know, that’s not what is going on here.
Now, I need to ask you a tough question and I’ve been waiting for years to ask you that. Are you aware of the fact that if you went on with Angra, now you would probably be as popular as Iron Maiden?
It’s difficult to answer, because it’s an "if" question. You know, it may be or it may be not. It depends on a big variety of reasons, but I think the band was going nuts and we were to the point of exhaustion. We had a very promising career, I can’t say whether it would be like Iron Maiden, but it was surely very promising. On the other hand, because of the way things were going, it was really impossible to stay together anymore. We split up not because of the ego or stuff like that, but because things in the band were not working anymore, although from the outside people would believe that everything is going great, there is chemistry and magic and so on. To be honest there has been a lot of lies, we have pretended that things were going fine, when they were not. This hurt me a lot as we were talking and leaving was the best decision; it was honest not to continue playing a farce, because sooner or later people would have found out the truth, and that would have been very bad, and, it would have been worse. Some things are meant to have a short life, they just fade away. Everything would have been promising, but, you know, each one of us has learned from all what we have been through, from good times to bad times as well and here we are, still making music. My life would have been completely different if I had continued with them, perhaps not as rich as now, in terms of experience.
I see. By the way, I ask you the last question about Angra, then we will change the subject. As you know, there are still a lot of fans who are hoping for a reunion with Angra. Through the years, have you ever thought about that? Did someone asked you to do that? Or it’s simply an impossible thing to happen?
That’s not my goal to reunite with Angra. In my mind, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, because you just want to do a reunion if it really turns you up somehow. With Angra a reunion it would be possible only for money and I don’t think it would be a nice reason to do something of the sort. I don’t say never, for you never know what is going to happen in the future, in terms of getting old and having a good relationship with each other. Then, one day we could step the stage together and pay a tribute, celebrate like a jubilee. But it’s definitely out of my plans to establish a career with Angra again, that’s really for sure and I can say it 100% no.
Ok, then we can say there is a little hope, or "never say never" …
Yeah, yeah, there’s a little hope, but I wonder why there are so many hopes. It could be interesting, a rather funny thing to see, but nobody should expect that specific situation happen again.
… And you want to be free.
Yeah, I could be free if I played with friends, for example I’m still friend with my first band Viper and every now and then we reunite and we do some concerts together. We have a lot of fun and we really love each other. In that case you feel free, you don’t have to be on your own to be free. You need to be free when you are on stage, where you can’t pretend to anybody. That’s an important aspect.
I totally agree. What’s the meaning of the word "Mentalize" to the Andre Matos artist and to the Andre Matos man?
It has many meanings. I think we are all looking for answers to many questions and "Mentalize" is something that I have already talked about a lot. It’s about the mind, in the eastern religions, like Buddhism, Hinduism they have a lot of mental training. When you want to achieve something, you are going to mentalize before achieving it, and in that way is easier. Actually, I was reading a lot about quantum physics and about all the energy and where it came from, because they say that it is possible with the power of the mind to create it, we are using only 5% of our brain, and I wonder where was the remaining 95% and what is it for. There’s a big time discover in this area now and quantum physiciansC’ say now that mind is able to change something in reality and everything we see around us is almost like a creation of our own mind. This is the whole point and concept and also the title I decided to give to the album and the lyrics I wanted to write about and I wanted to take that direction.
Are you a very religious person? Because in each album there’s something about religion.
I’d say I’m very spiritual, but not religious. I don’t consider myself belonging to this or that religion, although I was born Catholic and I have been baptized. But, I didn’t limited myself to the Catholic philosophy, although I think it is very interesting as well. I try to learn a little bit from all of the religions and civilizations. In the end you find that they are all similar to each other, some of them are more extreme, some of them are more liberal, but they are preaching the same things basically.
Let’s talk about a much more concrete subject: why the album is released in Japan months in advance and then in Europe. You risk to lose many sales because of the illegal file sharing.
I think there’s always that risk, especially because of the internet. But nowadays it doesn’t matter so much if you release an album a month later o a day later. It would be put on the internet anyway and sometimes it’s leaked weeks before the release, so everybody is going to listen to it before the release. I think that who is going to buy a record are fans, collectors, people who follow me and who wants to have all the collection; so we try to do something very special with the record, so that people are happy to buy it. There’s an artwork, they can have lyrics in there, it makes sense to have such a piece at home. Well, Japan always releases the albums before the rest of the world, because there they have a big problem with the import, when the imported goods are going to Japan they can have it at half price, compared to the national product. So, the need to release albums first because they would lose a lot of sales. It’s not happening in other parts of the world. The reason why I released "Mentalize" only now is because I was actually waiting for the record label to decide a good time to release it. They really did a nice job with the first one and I wanted to wait for them for the second one and they’re doing such a great job again. I’m very happy and it’s not a big problem the release of an album.
Well, better for you! That’s another question I had since my teenagehood. Just out of curiosity: which album do you prefer between "Angels Cry" and "Holy Land"?
I think it’s "Holy Land" …
… There you are!
… But I don’t mean that "Angels Cry" is worse, it’s a fantastic album as well. "Holy Land" was the second one and also special, because the concept of the album was so strong, I researched so much to write lyrics and I was really in love with the whole subject. Also the sound brought up a lot of our Brazilian roots. I absolutely think that "Holy Land" has been for me a landmark, where I had big pleasure on working on that.
I totally agree with you, because not only "Holy Land" it was the best record ever made by you, but it’s also one of the 5-10 best heavy metal album of all times, not only for me, but also for many people. It’s not flattery, if I had something bad to tell you, I’d do that.
Thank you! Thank you! You know what? The funny thing about "Holy Land" is that when he came out, it was put aside. People thought it sounded strange and they said something like "How do you dare to put this and that … Blah blah blah.". After ten years or more thing can become or not a classic, you know, you shouldn’t trust the first impressions that people have about something.
By the way "Holy Land" had a production that you haven’t been able to have again with the other bands and some other projects, in my opinion.
Yeah, it had a lot of details and I think also about the arrangements of the songs. It has been a very inspired moment.
Moreover, I’d like to add that the true successor of "Holy Land" is "Time To Be Free".
Oh, ok! Well, thank you!
I mean, it’s because of the melodies. The next one made by Angra and the album you made with Shaman weren’t the right successors. I see there "Time To Be Free".
All right, good!
Very well, we’re almost done. I’d like to ask you one more thing. Talking about your side projects, you’ll work again with Tobias Sammet in the new Avantasia album. How is your relationship with Tobias and what do you think about Avantasia?
I’ve known Tobias for over ten years and when we first met we made a tour together in Europe. That was when he asked me to take part in the first Avantasia album. I remember joking with him and telling him that I would be very glad to take part in it and I told him he was a little bit crazy! He seemed to be a dreamer, you know, I told him that it was not going to happen and stuff like that. I was very sceptical about his intentions, but he proved me I was wrong. He made it and he manage to put all these people together and not only that: when Avantasia came out I thought "Fuck! That’s the best thing in metal I’ve ever listened to in ages!". It was a new thing. The good thing is that he afforded to do more and more and Tobias is a hard-worker guy and his a great example of somebody who never gives up and he believes in what he is doing. So, the fourth album of Avantasia is going to be released and it has become such a big thing, although it was meant to be a side project, sometimes he spends more time on Avantasia than on Edguy. In 2008 we made a big tour in Europe, in all over the world actually, I took part in the tour as one of the singers and it was a very nice atmosphere and a pleasant moment for every one of us. Now we’ve just finished recordings, at least my part, of the next record and from what I’ve heard so far, it is going to be a very very good record.
I was there in Milan at the concert, where Bob Catley took part.
That’s true, it was raining …
… And there were few people!
Yeah, there were few people and it was raining, but after the show I told the guys: "You know what? That was the best concert of the tour so far!"
Oh! Was it!?
It was, it was! Incredible, it was so perfect that night!
It was so funny, music is like football, you never know what is going to happen.
That’s true. I thought the best one would be at Wacken Open Air.
In Wacken we played in front of hundred thousand people. It was very exciting, but in terms of the music quality … Well, when you play in front of so many people, you tend to be careful. But in Italy, there were few people and we started having so much fun on stage and I think that it should be always that way. Music should be like this. Always.
I’m very glad about what you’ve just said, because we were afraid you were upset about the small crowd. That’s all.
Oh but it’s not your fault, you know, this or that person, artists should be always prepared to such situations and that’s when you have to pull yourself, and you don’t have to go there bored and think you don’t want to do it for this kind of reasons. Then you are not a real artist. A real artist is when in front of just a hundred people, you want to make happy them all.
Andre, I thank you very much. The last question: when will you come to Italy, if you are planning to come, maybe with Clairvoyants?
I’m really ready! Clairvoyants are planning a tour maybe before summer and I might join them and it would be a pleasure as always, they are my biggest friends in Italy. It’s always pleasant to be in Italy with the guys, but also I’m planning some summer festivals for the Andre Matos Band, I hope we can make it to Italy as well. In summer festivals I’d like to do some headliner shows.
So will you be a headliner or an opening band?
No, because we’ve already did the opening band for Edguy, Scorpions and Europe, we made a lot of concerts like that and it has been nice. Now it’s time to be able to play a full concert.
Very well, I’m very glad to hear that. We are waiting for you, then.
Thank you very much!