Interview with vocalist and guitarist Arthur Hermann
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: April 12, 2017
Brazil has always been considered one of the most important and productive Metal countries in South American with a lot of the credit going to Sepultura. They were the first Brazilian Metal band that managed to break through on the international Metal music stage and sold hundreds of thousands of albums worldwide in the days since Roadracer/Roadrunner Records first laid eyes on them back in the eighties. Brazil has produced a bunch of bands that feel right at home with Thrash Metal with Violator and Nervosa being two good examples.
Incarcehated, a 4-piece Thrash Metal combo from the northeast of Brazil, specifically João Pessoa (Paraíba), was formed in 2013 and is a prime example of how talented, new Brazilian Thrash Metal bands are ready to thrash your world upside down. Finding bands as good as Incarcehated would hardly be possible without the Internet. The band popped up on YouTube and made such a great impression on yours truly that I felt I had to find out more.
Arthur Hermann, who formed Incarcehated, took some time to answer The Metal Crypt's inquiries about the band's history, how Metal music in general is doing in Brazil these days and the prevailing difficulty of making your living playing Thrash Metal and so on.
Keep on reading to find out more about Incarcehated's plans for the world domination...
Luxi: How are things in Brazil?
Arthur: Things are pretty wild around here. We are in the middle of the most difficult times for our country in the past recent years. Corruption is rooted so deeply into our country and it is still haunting our people.
We've had years of terrible governments and things are only getting worse in every aspect you can think of. People who should be united are actually getting divided more and more, and new corruption scandals arise every week...
It's a fucked up situation, you know? It is very sad because we love our country but right now it is difficult to see any light in the darkness...
Luxi: You guys have been around since 2013 so would you mind telling us what made decide to form Incarcehated in the first place? Was it easy/difficult to find like-minded musicians?
Arthur: Yeah, back then I started to write some songs that I thought were worth sharing. I gathered up the boys who were all friends of mine already and things worked very well. In 2014 we recorded our first demo entitled Halfskull, which is a four track record plus a rendition of Testament's "Return to Serenity", and it was well received. One of the tracks even got featured on a compilation from EMP, David Ellefson's record label.
Since then, we haven't stopped. I think because we've known each other for a long time, we get along and this helps us.
Luxi: When you started, did you have a clear vision of how you wanted Incarcehated to sound? To me the band sounds a lot like it is strongly influenced by early Metallica, Slayer and especially Megadeth (due to the similar vocal styles).
Arthur: Yes. From the start our vision was always to bring together the classic sounds of the American bands but with a lot more anger, the rage that South American acts have, you know? Something like old Sepultura meeting old Megadeth, Testament, Metallica (*laughs*).
I grew up a die-hard Megadeth fan, so yes, no doubt they are a big influence, but we have always pursued our own identity. From the demo to the full album you can clearly hear some big changes in our sound. We are still pushing ourselves to discover where we can go. Everyone in the band has their own particular tastes but we all love classic 80s Thrash, the bands we already mentioned plus Annihilator, Razor, Overkill, and Dark Angel are also huge influences.
Luxi: Your debut album, Tales from the Street, was released digitally at the end of 2016 by the band. How has the response been so far?
Arthur: It's been rad, dude! We are getting so much response from outside the country and this is a big deal for us, you know? Making friends with people all over the world, like right now giving this interview to you, is fucking cool.
And down here in Brazil it's been well received with some small labels showing interest, but we are being very picky because we want to be sure that we're making the right move, but yeah, it's been awesome so far.
Luxi: How satisfied are you personally with Tales... as far as how it turned out?
Arthur: I think that when you are fully satisfied with your music, it's a hint that probably something is wrong, don't you agree? Though I must say that we are happy with the final product. I think it's a pretty solid album for a debut, even more when you realize that myself and Cácio (lead guitar) produced and recorded the whole thing at our home studio. It took almost a year to be close to what we're looking for...
Max Norman (renowned producer) listened to it and said, "This record is pretty cool! Good work you guys. Guitars, bass and drums all good here," so I guess we did a good job, right? :oP
Luxi: Due to the large number of Metal bands coming from your country these days do you find it tougher for a band like Incarcehated to break through internationally?
Arthur: It's a long way to the top if you wanna rock 'n' roll (*laughs*).
I think that every band outside the USA and Europe faces a harder time getting recognized properly. In spite of so many bands coming out, I don't think many of them are breaking through, besides Nervosa and Violator. I can't remember many newer Metal bands that are really making paths outside the country and I think it's a shame, you know? We have some of the best new Metal bands on the world, but we don't get as many chances as we would like.
Luxi: Do you believe labels outside of Brazil are not so keen on signing Brazilian Metal acts these days because they expect touring and getting bands out of Brazil to do that requires a lot of resources and money?
Arthur: It's a good point, this probably crosses their minds, but I don't think it's the right way to deal with it.
Labels should be aware of potential bands from anywhere and invest in making them well known to the major public. I really believe that with a lot of support and the power of the Internet it's possible to discover and help bands then later on figure out the touring.
I know that signing a foreign band represents some financial risk but also could represent profits if well chosen. Like I said before, there are plenty of really awesome bands looking for a chance to get noticed, but the labels don't pay attention. Maybe I'm being too innocent here, but one thing I know for sure, they should be more aware. It's a complicated industry though!
Luxi: If the whole band had to relocate to some European metropolitan city in exchange for getting a good record deal, would you do it?
Arthur: No doubts about it! We would love to make our living here in Brazil but it's hard so if a chance like that came up, we would surely take it.
Luxi: How much groundwork promotion have you done for the band?
Arthur: All that we have done up to today was thanks to the Internet. It's the only way an independent band can go somewhere. We often send our music to labels inside and outside the country and always try to spread our music as much as we can through social media.
Luxi: How easy (or difficult) is it for up-and-coming underground Metal bands to get gigs in Brazil these days? Do you have to know the right people or have a huge network of people to get gigs booked? What are some of the venues in your town that book Metal bands? What are the turnouts for each gig?
Arthur: Like everything here, isn't an easy task. Possible? Yes, but veeeeery hard!!!
You've been very accurate; you have to know tons of people to get gigs with very bad conditions, shitty sound, few folks, and you have to be thankful that you are well paid for it. We have a very passionate Metal scene and great bands but when it comes to promoters, gigs and structure it's a tragedy. We're from northeast Brazil and in our hometown, João Pessoa, we are orphans. All of the places dedicated to Rock/Metal music have been shut down.
São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais are the states that are more into Metal music, but for the rest of the country, Metal isn't really what people want to hear, you know?
Luxi: It is Sepultura that can be credited for turning people's attention toward the Brazilian (underground) Metal scene back in the day, paving the way for acts like Sarcófago, Krisiun, Violator, Angra, Nervosa, etc. How much credit do you give Sepultura for making Brazil such a well-known and productive country for its skilled Metal bands?
Arthur: Yeah, no doubt Sepultura deserves to be credited. They were the first band to get signed by a big label and they became real stars until the split with Cavalera. I think they were masters at what they used to do. You gotta love old Sepultura!
But, I would make a silly comparative; Sepultura is like our own Metallica, revolutionary pioneers, they were awesome, they got big but there is so much more from where they came from, you know? Even back then in the 80s, we thought that Brazil would turn out to be known as a great center of Metal bands, but it didn't (IMO).
I hope that someday we will get there but no doubt Sepultura will be forever remembered in our Metal history.
Luxi: What's your relationship with both the past and present Brazilian (underground) Metal scene in terms of how closely you have followed it for your own pleasure?
Arthur: I'm a great and enthusiastic fan of the Brazilian Metal scene. I have always loved and followed it as much as I could and was inspired by the first bands like Sepultura, Overdose, Dorsal Atlântica, Korzus, Attomica, The Mist and more. I'm always looking to discover bands, not just from Brazil. I'm really into some Finnish bands like Lost Society, Deathchain, Kiuas and Children of Bodom, of course.
Luxi: I am also curious to know what's the most popular subgenre of Heavy Metal in Brazil these days? Has Thrash Metal managed to keep its place as the brightest gem on the crown or has perhaps some other subgenre of Metal taken its place?
Arthur: That's a tough one. I think that Brazilian metal heads have a preference for extreme Metal and even in Thrash the bands and the fans tend to like the sound more aggressive and as extreme as possible.
That being said, I think Thrash Metal is still the big thing but Death Metal and other types of extreme like Grindcore and Black Metal have really strong scenes, too.
Luxi: Are there some Brazilian metal bands that you think people should keep their eyes out for in the future, besides Incarcehated of course, heheh?
Arthur: Woslom, Blackning, Voodoopriest, Conclave, Madness Factory, Machinage, Cangaço, Deathraiser, Ancesttral, Jackdevil, Andralls, King of Bones... The list goes on and on dude, I could do this all day long. These are some of my favorite new ones, so check them out! You will really be surprised.
Luxi: Obviously you have some new material, can you share with the readers of The Metal Crypt a bit about what they can expect to hear?
Arthur: Right now we are still doing some gigs and spreading the word about our Tales From the Streets record, but, of course, we have already started to write some riffs for the upcoming material. What I can tell you guys now is that if you like what you hear on Tales..., you will surely love what will come from us next... ;o)
I think that we're getting faster and heavier but also finding even more ways to do it, coming up with new things, experimenting with new possibilities and approaches.
I'm writing a lot these days, about things that we haven't spoken about yet on our songs, themes like lucid dreams, the human mind, insanity and stuff like that. I'm heavily into books like The King in Yellow and At the Mountains of Madness. We should write a little about those things on the next one.
Luxi: Who is responsible for what with regards to songwriting and do you see Incarcehated as a democratic unit in which all decisions are made amicably, sort of?
Arthur: Yeah, we get along very well and we are very democratic and open-minded but we work in a certain way that we are used to. Most of the time, I will come up with some riffs or ideas then I will record a demo to show to the guys. At the point where everyone is ok with the idea, we start to build up the song, change a little bit here and there, and that's how our songs come together. Usually, I like to think of an idea first, what I want to talk about. Then I'll come up with riffs or lyrics that match this idea.
Luxi: What are some of Incarcehated's future goals?
Arthur: We are really looking forward to spreading our music to the whole world, that is our greatest goal! We want to play live as much as we can, meet new people and see new places, maybe get signed to a record label that could help us to achieve our goals. That would be really nice!
Also, we are planning to release some new material this year, maybe an EP, or even a full record, who knows? We are working on that!
Luxi: I guess that is all I had in mind for this interview. Thanks a lot for taking time with my questions and all the best both for you and Incarcehated with your future endeavors. Last words are, of course, rightfully yours... ;o)
Arthur: All right dude! That's it! Thanks for your interest and for contacting us, we really appreciate your support!
We wish you all the best! Keep up with the good work here!
To you all that are reading this interview, thanks and don't forget to catch us up on Facebook, Spotify, YouTube and all that shit! :o) Listen to Tales From The Streets; share it, tag it to your friends and remember to support your local bands!
Peace & love fuckers!
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