It is difficult to argue with the fact that Andre Matos – it is one of the key figures of world power metal scene. This man was a pioneer of Latin American music in the broadest sense: with his comrades of Angra he had committed a genuine revolution in the South American continent musical spaces. Melodic power metal, seasoned with a little of the original shamanistic melodies and decorated with wonderful melodies and orchestral arrangements has become the benchmark for style throughout Latin America heavy scenes. Along with Sepultura Andre and his companions have made recognition of Brazil at the metal-open spaces of the world community and filed a positive example of skill and nontriviality to his European brethren. Many know the fate of Andre after the departure from Angra, particularly its successful project Shamaan. But despite all these successes, the ambitious Brazilian musician seemed insufficient, and, deciding to show everybody what he is able for, Andre formed his solo project with the unambiguous title Andre Matos. Before the release of the first album of the formation and, consequently, the very first solo album of Andre, he agreed to answer a few questions involving how to present creative-being, as well as plans for the foreseeable future.
Andre Matos: Hi there!
MetalKings.com: Hi! I’m glad that you’ve finally phoned.
Andre Matos: Me too, you know.
MetalKings.com: OK. Let’s begin our interview. What does the name of your new album actually symbolize? ("Time To Be Free" – author’s comment)
Andre Matos: So, it is about freedom itself. In its particular sense it means that everybody must be free. You know, in our usual life we are naturally getting used to some realities, that are seeming to be right. Religion, traditions, culture and so on – there are too many things that are bounding us. And I tried to say, that every man must have his time to be free, to break some rules and seek for his personal freedom. It’s also about a sacrifice, which we must pay to become really free.
MetalKings.com: So, speaking commonly, it is a conceptual album, isn’t it?
Andre Matos: Yes, merely it’s true. I think it makes more sense to create a conception that will merge an album not only in musical, but also in idea focus. I always tried to do it and my opinion is that conception may create the right atmosphere together with the music part.
MetalKings.com: What have inspired you to create an album by your own – it is so hard to work alone!
Andre Matos: Not actually alone. You know, "Andre Matos" is a project first of all, that’s why many of my bandmates from Angra and Shamaan helped me to record it. Anytime, creating a solo-band is a very responsible idea, because all the hardness of composing and leading the project is lying on your own shoulders. But as I have already mentioned, my friends were helping me during the production of this album. But despite all difficulties I felt real freedom and I was able to do that entire things which I would like to do.
MetalKings.com: Why have you chosen Sasha Paeth and Roy Z as producers? I know that Sasha Paeth had worked with many bands in Europe and in Latin America too. What was a reason for your personal choice?
Andre Matos: Yes, Sasha is a really good producer. He is a great guy, and we are very good friends for a couple of years. It was very pleasant to work with such an experienced and responsible guy, he always knew what is needed and he is a real expert. Roy Z is, maybe, the most famous producer in America and he is really good in American specifics. And, overall, it was a really amazing work, when two best American musical producers were working with me and my crew hand by hand. It was a very hard and serious work, and skills and energy of these two guys spiritually pushed me to do my work.
MetalKings.com: Is it true that all music on your subsequent long-play was composed by you?
Andre Matos: Yes, I supposed to be! (both laughing) I’ll be a little bit shamed, if someone else would do it! Actually, I’ve got a great experience of composing while working on this album, and it brings me a lot of pleasure to work on my own idea. Surely, guys from my crew also helped me in some places, and it was very interesting to cooperate our ideas sometimes, they even created some melodies, but in the whole sense all the music was composed by me.
MetalKings.com: And why an official release of "Time To Be Free" will be hold in Japan on the 22-nd of August?
Andre Matos: So, as far as you can see, Japan is very valuable country in the question of profit. People there are eager for the newest releases and musical market there is very wide, and it is developing all the time. One more positive point is that there is no musical piracy in Japan – according to their trade and export policy it is not commercially effective. So, from every point of view Japan is the best country for the "opening" release.
MetalKings.com: So, a few questions about music. Your recent works were mainly encircled on power-prog. What kind of musical expression you’ve tried to reflect on your solo work?
Andre Matos: I think that on "Time To Be Free" I tried to reflect all my experience and all my musical preferences as a whole one. You know, playing metal itself is a bit boring, that’s why first of all I concentrate my attention on connection of metal music with classics. I also tried to involve some national Indian motives, you know, samba and so on. When it sounds everywhere, you have no choice! (laughing). So, I tried to combine as much musical vibes as I can and realize all this mix through my own vision.
MetalKings.com: What band or musician have basically influenced on your musical choice?
Andre Matos: You know, there where too many bands and composers. When I was a teenager we all were a kind of metal freaks, and I used to listen such grands of metal as Manowar, Judas Priest and so on. But I also appreciated such bands as Van Halen, AC/DC, Black Sabbath and many other rock bands. Generally speaking I am fond of rather unlike music, because I also like such old pop bands as Genesis, Slash and many many others. My opinion is nearly the next: if you want to compose interesting and outstanding music, you cannot listen to one direction or style. You must see and listen to many many kinds of music before you can choose your own musical way. For example, nowadays I am rather fond of Rammstein and I sincerely suppose that they are playing really good music.
MetalKings.com: Oh, and what’s your attitude to the metal-operas? For example, Avantasia? I know that you took part in its recording. It’s rather interesting, because many good artists are gathered together to create some idea and perform a really outstanding things. What can you say about it?
Andre Matos: Yes, it’s very exciting, when many talented people are gathered together united with idea of something. Actually, Avantasia was the first metal opera, and I can tell rather funny story about its beginning. Somewhere in the 90-s (oh, great 90-s!) we were playing on one festival in Europe. And there I’ve first met Tobias Sammet. He was very young and funny guy and I was pleased to acquaint with him. And than he told me about his idea of a project of a metal opera, he’d even shown me a story, a conception of this opera. Sincerely to say, by that time I was rather skeptic about his idea. Then I just thought he was a great and nice guy and wished him good luck. Short time had passed and I surprisingly discovered that Tobias finally realized his idea! I was very proud of him and it was a real honor to work with Tobias, because he is very talented and outstanding guy.
MetalKings.com: I’ve known many acts which were named "metal operas", but a real opera provides many artists, many characters.
Andre Matos: Yes, you’re right! A real metal opera needs a lot of characters and singers, unifying different songs and senses in one being. It is very hard and interesting process, and the result is amazing!
MetalKings.com: And now a question personally to you. There is a national stereotype, that all Latinos are very "hot". Do you think so? Are you so emotional?
Andre Matos: So… I think, yes. You know, our culture is unique, because we’ve accepted the influences both of Spanish and Indian nations, and such integrative mood creates an explosive-danger consistence! (laughing) From the critical point of view Brazilians are rather conservative, because most of the population adores Catholicism (nearly 74% – auth. com.). But every person could blow up in a situation, when everybody around are barking and howling, it creates an atmosphere of discomfort. And I think that in the question of temperament Latinos may be compared with Russians!
MetalKings.com: Oh! Russians are used to drink, not to think! (here we started to laugh at least for a minute, which caused a limit of interviewing time and voluntary recall of Andre; how pretty and talkable are these Brazilians! – auth.com.) So, if we’d raised a question of nations, I’d like to ask very interesting (at least for me) question. Your Shaman project was conceptually based on Indian tribal religion and culture. I’d like to know, have you been using any historical sources, or it was just your fantasy?
Andre Matos: From the moment of my birth I was living in a contrast of shamanism and Christianity. You know, nowadays in Latin America shamanism, which was formed by Indian tribes, is closely mixed with African voodoo, macumba and umbanta cult (spiritizm and species of shamanism are indicated as religion by almost 2% of Brazilians – auth.com.). Shamanism was also wide-spread in North America and on Alaska.
MetalKings.com: Yes, you’re right. Most of these cultures had shamanism as a kind of the primordial religion, first chance to speak with the immaterial divinity.
Andre Matos: Yes, that’s true. And I think that our knowledge about shamanism is keeping its roots somewhere in submental clauses, which are till nowadays fulfilled with fears and beliefs of our ancestors.
MetalKings.com: And what religion do you believe in?
Andre Matos: I am a baptized catholic (don’t forget – it is Brazil!). But in general I can’t say that I am a Christian in its traditional sense: I’m trying to investigate as many religions and their denominations as I could and find some common points in them. It is very exciting and very important for me, because I’m always eager for more and, lastly, I’d like to know how all people could live (if they obviously are able to) in peace and commonwealth of ideas.
MetalKings.com: In the end – just a few words to your numerous Russian fans!
Andre Matos: So, hi all over there!!! I think when you’ll listen to my solo album you will discover something new about me! I am looking forward to visit your country. A have very warm feelings to Russia: I know many classical composers, I can even remember our attitude to soviet Red Army in the times of "cold war", when all the Latin America was eager to kick America’s ass! (both laughing) So, I think that I’ll soon visit you! I always wished to ride across Eastern Europe, you know.
MetalKings.com: So, thank you for the great interview! I hope, we’ll meet someday on your show!
Andre Matos: Thank you! It was rather remarkable talk! Good luck, Nicolai!
Nicolai "Harald" Andreev
The interview was made with the informational support of CD-Maximum