Note: "IN" stands for "Interviewer`s Note"
With the release of your new album, "Reason", it seems that the direction Shaaman intends to follow is really very clear. This detachment between the types of music made by Shaaman and Angra was something that was really studied and thought over… or was it something that happened naturally?
I�m not the best person to answer that, because I was never part of Angra, but the process, to me, seems to be very natural and spontaneous. In fact, this is the Heavy Metal that we�ve always listened to, since we were kids, so you can see we�re not trying too hard on the CD.
How was the transition from the first album, "Ritual", to this new release? What do you think changed from the first to the second album?
I think it’s an evolving process, a natural continuation from the first album, which already portrayed some of the elements that you can hear in "Reason". However, we didn�t want to "clone" our first album – which would be easier and more precise, commercially speaking. Though, at the same time, you listen to "Reason", and you know it�s Shaaman, and this is really important for a band�s identity.
It is known that the band toured for more or less two years, since the Ritual tour and the Ritualive tour [IN: their DVD is called "Ritualive", which is the recording of one of their concerts for their first album�s ("Ritual") tour; and, following the album tour, they also had a tour for the DVD] were "spliced". What was the writing process like for this new album? Was it something that took place in the meanwhile, amongst tour concerts (the famous "pen & notepad" out on the road), or did you really think over the whole thing and did the album during rehearsals (maybe taking place after the tour)? I ask because it seems to me that the time you had to come up with new songs for "Reason" was a bit short. What kind of influences does this all have upon the quality of your compositions at the end of the day?
Many ideas were written down during the tour, but afterwards they were polished when the entire band was together – we discussed and found the best way to put the songs together. Actually we had enough time to do everything; and this process, if it�s rushed, does have an [negative] influence – which wasn’t the case: we had time to think, to write the lyrics, to have a good pre-production etc.
I noticed that all lyrics on the album were written by Andr�, though. Was this deliberately done from his part? Or the rest of the band just doesn�t really like to sit down and write?
We all want the best for the band, always, and he�s the one that writes best. We can’t let our egos blind us. He had great ideas, and this is important, because the album is the band’s, and our fans.
Is "Ritual" a concept album? My first impression was that "Ritual", perhaps, wouldn’t really be classified as such – even if there are common elements throughout the whole CD (as in, for example, the religious material found in basically all lyrics of the album’s songs). But then I might be wrong. Is "Ritual" then a conceptual album? And was this done deliberately?
"Ritual" is a conceptual album: the songs speak of different forms of ritual, in whatever shape they assume. And yes, it was deliberately done so.
Is "Reason" a concept album?
This time we agreed that the album would not be conceptual, because we had already done that in "Ritual". We wanted to do something different this time.
What’s the link between "Ritual" and "Reason"? Both start with the letter "R". Was this done on purpose?
"Ritual" and "Reason" together sum up to 13 letters – and as Zagalo would say, 13 letters is a good sign. [Laughs] [IN: In other interviews, Andre Matos already mentioned that the third album will also start with the letter "R" and that they are all linked]
Many songs in "Reason" begin with a din, a noise or screams (and some end likewise). What’s the occult meaning of this?
We actually prefer people to listen to the album and interpret it the way they find most interesting. Of course everything we included in the album has a meaning, but it�s nice that people will reach their own conclusion themselves.
The album’s tracklist features a Sisters of Mercy cover. It’s been a long time that this has been happening ("Wuthering Heights", for example, in "Angels Cry", or even "Moonlight" in Viper). Is this Andre Matos’ thing or does it really come from the band? Why exactly do the songs belong to the album and not to an EP or a single? I�m asking this not as an implicit suggestion, but more out of curiosity, really, because it’s what others would tend to do. Is there any special reason?
That was Sascha’s [Paeth, producer] and Ricardo’s [Confessori, drummer] idea, which was approved by everyone else. We thought the song had a nice link with the rest of the album and we decided to record it. There’s no rule, really, we just thought it fitted. And I think we managed to make it pretty heavy, much more than the original. [Laughs]
Regarding the album cover… after all, who’s the old man on the cover? Santo Dar�m [IN: the real shaman the band consulted in order to find the best name change – Shaman to Shaaman]? Andre’s grandfather? I’ve heard all kinds of rumor already. Anyway, would he be the new Shaaman mascot, like Maiden’s Eddie? Will he be present in all future covers?
Well, it just coincided this time. Let’s wait for the next one because we can’t say yes or no, it’s always nice to keep this mysterious atmosphere.
Not long ago, the Distant Thunder weblog brought everyone’s attention to the cover of "Um Terrorista no Pampa" [IN: a book by a Brazilian writer called Tailor Diniz]. The book was released on October 18th, 2004 (that is, before the release of "Reason"). Was the band aware of that, or was it all just a big coincidence? Or was it on purpose, with reasons (oops!) to be discovered only in the distant future?
It was a coincidence. Plus, if you look at it carefully they’re not identical pictures. Like everything else in the music world, things sometimes look similar, but it happens unintentionally.
The band’s been performing "Be Free" in a few concerts in Brazil as an instrumental piece – but the song is not present in any official release from Shaaman. Are there any plans to include the song in a future album, EP or at least in a single?
It�s a song that turned out to be really cool, we’re considering it.
You are touring now in Brazil [IN: the interview took place in June, 2005]. When are you coming to Europe? Has the band been contacted by someone abroad? Is there any idea in which countries you might play?
During this second semester we’re supposed to tour around Latin America. After that, we’ll probably go to Europe and then Asia.
Why did the Reason promotour [IN: series of interviews for the release of the new album] include only Amsterdam, Paris and Madrid? Was it a matter of time or was there some other reason? I ask because obviously many fans hoped to have news featured in magazines of their own countries (Greece, Portugal, Italy etc), but that wasn�t possible.
Actually all these countries you cited have done interviews with us, and we did feature on their magazines, it’s just that the "stronger" offices of our record label [IN: AFM Records] are in these countries – which doesn’t prevent a Greek, or Portuguese, magazine to perform interviews. Regarding Italy, Andre is going there next week [IN: he’s probably referring to the week between June 26th and July 2nd, 2005] to do some more of this work.
Why was "Reason" released in Europe by the end of May, whereas in Brazil the album was released on the first week of April? [IN: Andre had stated in some interviews that the release date would be the same worldwide]
AFM underwent a complicated period, because unfortunately their president had a car accident and came to pass away. This affected the release date on some of the label’s new material but it�s nothing that will do us harm. AFM is a record label that promotes our work very well.
Regarding the elements that didn�t make it to "Ritualive" (for example, there�s the lifting drumset in which Ricardo played, appearing for only 2 seconds in the extras of the DVD), is there any chance they’d be included in a future DVD, with other never-seen-before material material, maybe some images of the band in the studio, while you�re recording or something? Maybe some home video stuff?
We can�t include everything in a DVD (so that it�d turn out to be a double DVD), because it would be really expensive, and the fans might not be able to afford it. But we keep all our material and maybe we’ll release it sometime later.
Fabio Ribeiro [keyboards] has been with Shaaman for a long time now – actually he’s been with you since the times of Angra! Why hasn’t he been incorporated to the "cast" yet? Is it really because there’s no need (since Andre records the keyboards for the album), and then you only need him as a support player during your live concerts? Or is there some other reason?
Fabio is an exceptional musician – to me the best in Brazil without a doubt! However, Andre enjoys very much coming up with the keyboard lines for the album. But we always call him to participate on the album recordings anyway. Actually, we just consider him to be part of the band already. [IN: Indeed, Fabio Ribeiro does participate on the album’s recording sessions. Fabio himself has stated in previous interviews that he has freedom to apply his own style and experiment with the band’s compositions]
This is a question I’ve heard pretty often (especially from non-Brazilians): have you ever thought about recording something in Portuguese? Even if it’s just one song?
We don’t consider that, no.
And that’s all for today. Metal Temple is basically a Greek metal site, but it’s written in English – anyone can read it! So here’s your chance to voice your ideas!
A big hug to all of you, thanks a lot for the interest and we hope to be there soon!