Angra - Changing the Course of Nature
By: David E. Gehlke
Vintage, Matos-era Angra, circa mid-90's...
Blistering.com: Do you anticipate on having an album totally written, then having the new guy come in at the tail-end, or will you involve this person in the writing process?
Bittencourt: I have a concept that I want to explore, but the songs donīt exist yet. The capability of helping us with the writings is one of the most important qualities that we are searching. If we have four of five good songs there is always room for another four or five songs blending to the new vocalists input. I believe itīs important to have a guy who knows a minimum of what is the deal of writing. After all, he will be explaining that to people.
Blistering.com: Because Richard [Confessori, drums] re-joined a few years ago, there are going to be calls for you to re-enlist Andre. Any consideration to that, or is it better to leave the past in the past?
Bittencourt: Iīd love to create an anniversary concert for the 20th birth of Angels Cry. For instance, with the original line-up. Or maybe a DVD for the fans of a big gathering of all the members that have been in Angra. A short festival tour or a DVD is cool. But having Andre re-join for writing together and producing new material is not going to be effective. Is probably going to disappoint those who love Angels Cry and Holy Land. That aura needs to be preserved.
Blistering.com: Naturally, there's a certain nostalgic aspect toward your Angel's Cry through Fireworks lineup. What made that lineup so successful, especially in a time when melodic and/or power metal wasn't exactly popular?
Bittencourt: I believe that power metal was still being invented and there were much more room for experimenting. For the same reason the audience was more open for the new sounds. That was added to the fact that we were not standard metal musicians. We were familiar to pop, bossa nova, MPB, jazz, classic and ethnic stuff. And we were lucky to be successful building up a style that could be classified as powerful and metal, but it was very unique among other power-metal bands.
Blistering.com: I watched some vintage videos of the band on YouTube recently [watch here] and was blown away by the audience's response. What do you remember most about those times?
Bittencourt: The same reason that build our success was something that we are always fighting against. Which is the fact that, in the end, people didn't group us on any particular style. We are too traditional for a prog-metal festival and too experimental for a power metal scene. We were building our own crowd which could be seen as a quality, but in order to build success we would need a more steady production and a more intense and closer relationship with the fans.
Blistering.com: Around that time, you were highly visible on MTV in your home and surrounding countries. Did it feel odd that they were so behind you? At that time, especially in the United States, MTV wanted nothing to do with metal ha-ha.
Bittencourt: MTV Brasil was a brand new channel and we had a good crowd here. So they liked us. As soon as they started to have a more hype approach and looks we became too weird and ugly for the channel. Itīs alright
I donīt like to be where Iīm not wanted. My mother said Iīm not that ugly, ha-ha
Blistering.com: Your visits to North America have been sparse. Any hopes in rectifying that in the coming years?
Bittencourt: For that we need a plan and some budget to invest. Itīs not commercially compensating in short terms. We need to have a better scheduled world tour and invest some of the income there. In long terms could be a nice idea since it is still a great market and a huge country, a very small share means a lot of people reached. Also, if you are a rock musician it is always nice to have any kind of approval from the country that invented rock music. Itīs hard. Like here in Brazil, it will be always hard for a foreigner to cause any impression writing a samba. But itīs not impossible.
Blistering.com: Finally, what's on the agenda for the rest of 2012 and into 2013?
Bittencourt: We plan a small promotional tour for Best Reached Horizons. Only me and Kiko [Loureiro, guitars] playing the acoustic, singing some tunes and telling some cool stories about these 21 years. We are preparing a surprise for the 20th anniversary of Angels Cry, our debut album. And of course, the audition for the new singer together with the writing of the new songs.
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