Interview: PATRIA

Interview: PATRIA

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Coming from the Brazilian southernmost misty mountains, PATRIA is one of the most imminent black metal bands in South America today, and was founded in 2008 by the multi-instrumentalist Mantus and the vocalist Triumphsword, both veteran musicians from the local black metal bands Mysteriis and Thorns of Evil. Musically, they track under the tenuous line between black metal and experimental avant-garde music, mixing the South American metal madness with the classic and dark Scandinavian vein. Drawing influences from many different types of music but keeping the harsh shape of the black metal core … Twisted, dirty & melodic in its own way!

“Magna Adversia”, the band’s sixth full-length, was co-produced, mixed and mastered by Øystein G. Brun (Borknagar). The album features Asgeir Mickelson (Ihsahn, Sarke, Borknagar, Spiral Architect…) on drums and Fabiano Penna (Rebaelliun) as special guest on the orchestrations. The cover art was made by guitarist Mantus, known in the graphic art world as Marcelo Vasco, who already worked for major bands like Slayer, Kreator, Machine Head, Soulfly, Dark Funeral, and Hatebreed, to name a few.

What inspires you, aside from music?

Well, music has been a great part of my life since I was a kid. Music has guided my whole life as a graphic artist and as a musician, and today I consider myself a lucky person to work with what I love.

Music, as well any kind of artistic expression, is moved by active minds. You can compose a song, write a novel, or paint a portrait using your brain; arrange some patterns and, at the end, you will have a creation shaped according to what was programmed. Almost like a machine building serial devices. On the other hand, you can create your art by letting your mind and feelings naturally flow. Max Cavalera said in an old interview, that the best music is made using the heart and the fists instead the brain. I totally agree with him.

My music and artwork are inspired in many different ways. Personally, I realized that when I travel to different places, breathing fresh air, my mind is renewed, and it makes me more productive somehow. I really love to travel and visit new places and cultures. This is something very important to me. Also, I must say that I’m passionate about all kind of arts, so a good movie, a nice book or even a dance could influence my creations.

When did you first start playing ?

A long time ago … When I was 9 years old, I became interested in learning guitar, and was influenced by my uncle, a musician. I came from a musical family—my great-grandfather was also a musician—so my interest for music was kind of natural. Around 12, I started listening to heavy metal, and of course, it was love at first sight. I had to start to playing electric guitar. I could not stop after that!

What is the metal scene like in Brazil and South America? Are there a lot of black metal bands?

Yes, there are many bands around in Brazil and South America doing extreme music. Countless bands, to be honest. I think each place can add a proper seasoning to the sound. I mean, if you take two bands from different places, playing a similar kind of music, you will be able to feel that spice on their music. It’s easy to smell the “Swedish death metal sound” spice, or the “Norwegian Black Metal Sound” in some bands. I’m not sure if we already have something like “South American Black Metal Sauce”, but I’m convinced that we have some kind of craziness on the music that is done here.

Øystein G. Brun of Borknagar co-produced, mixed, and mastered Magna Adversaria. What was the recording process like? Where did you record?

Was amazing and tough at the same time, haha! Months of insanely hard work and constant learning. Bass and guitars were recorded at our home studio. The vocals were recorded at a friend’s studio in our living city. The drums were played by the brilliant Asgeir Mickelson (Ihsahn, Borknagar, Sarke, Spiral Architect) and were recorded in Norway, at the infamous Toproom Studio (Mayhem, Enslaved, Arcturus, Tristania). I recorded some synths at our home studio, and Fabiano Penna, who did all orchestrations, recorded everything at his own studio in São Paulo/Brazil. And last but not least, our good friend and wizard Øystein co-produced, mixed and mastered the whole album at his Crosound Studio in Bergen/Norway. As you can see, it seems like a jigsaw puzzle, so it demanded lots of planning, blood, and sweat. But of course, we were in very good hands to put all those pieces together, so, the final result couldn’t be better.

Can you talk about the cover, and your art? What is the inspiration and meaning to the cover?

I always had that image, since a long time ago. Based on the album concept, I decided to use it, after some adjustments to reflect what I wanted.

I was inspired by that feeling of insignificance towards the things that surround us, and how hard and tricky are our personal battles against our own enemies, since our birth till our deathbed. Basically this is what the cover tries to illustrate.

You had some notable contributors on Magna Adversia . . . Asgeir Mickelson (Ihsahn, Sarke, Borknagar, Spiral Architect…) on drums and Fabiano Penna (Rebaelliun) as special guest on the orchestrations. How did they become involved?

Fabiano is an old friend, and we had already worked together on previous PATRIA releases. Every time we need orchestrations, Fabiano is the name that comes to mind. He’s a great guy and a very talented musician!

For the drums, I usually record them by myself but, for Magna Adversia, I thought to go one step further, as the songs asked for very intense drums that I would not be able to do in my current shape, hehe. Asgeir is also an old friend, a well-known musician who is incredibly creative on everything he does. The choice couldn’t be different. The result was beyond amazing.

What are you listening to these days?

There are just two kinds of music. GOOD or BAD! I always listen to the good ones. (lol)

I’m damn eclectic and open minded … I listen all kinds of music. I’m a diehard fan of the old thrash, death and black metal. I love progressive rock, jazz/fusion, classical … I grew up in Rio de Janeiro (the cradle of samba and Bossa Nova) and when I was a teenager, was surrounded by the great times of 80’s pop music. Could you guess the mess that my daily playlist is?

But answering your question, I’m listening to basically the same old stuff as usual… To name a few new records … The Depeche Mode “Spirit” is brilliant, also the new Ulver album, and the self-titled Obituary.

Tell us about the history of the band. How did Patria from?

PATRIA was born as a studio project in 2008, with just me and T. Sword on vocals. We recorded a demo tape, an EP and three full lengths with this configuration, until we decided to have a line-up for live appearances. Since 2011, we have been a full band, but still keep the album recording process as a duo.

What is next for Patria?

It’s hard to say. We are promoting “Magna Adversia” and scheduling some shows in Brazil and South America. We want to make some dates in Europe too (Are you a producer?? Contact us!!), before we start thinking about a new album.

The lyric video for Axis is very beautiful and bleak. The song seems to have a sort of cosmic feel. What are your songs about?

Yes, you got it. Axis is a metaphor about how insignificant we are against the vastness of existence and, at same time, how similar to any kind of living form we are. This is one of our favourite songs on the new album. The lyrics have a good depth, and the video reflects it nicely.

The lyrical approach in “Magna Adversia” is focused on the relationship between our enemies and us, on different levels. I don’t mean just physical enemies, but some philosophical enemies we have inside. It’s not a conceptual album, but we have a kind of connection between the lyrics and the album title here.

Since our previous album, “Individualism”, we tried to expand our lyrical concept a little further. We went deeper with that in “Magna Adversia,” and we’re really glad with what we got. For sure, we’ll have more interesting things to write about on our next release.

How does your songwriting process work?

I created all the stuff by myself, at the beginning. It was a studio project, so I didn’t need to worry about anything but the final result on the album.

However, when we decided to have a live line-up for shows, I realized that many things I did in studio simply did not work live. For “Magna Adversia,” I decided to start the songwriting process like a “normal band”. We met in the studio with our full line-up and we started to rehearse, testing new riffs and song structures from the sketch, basically to make sure that everything would work well live. It was the first time we did this with PATRIA, and we will probably do the same for the upcoming records. All the effort and tests definitely made the album more consistent and great, and also evolved our way of playing and composing the songs, and even making some changes and improvements here and there during the recording sessions.

What are some of the high points of Patria’s history?

I like to taste each small victory we have: our first demo, our first record deal, each great show we did, and so on. Anyways, I dare say that the highest point of PATRIA’s career so far was playing at Inferno Festival in Norway in 2015. That was remarkable!

What are your thoughts on black metal today?

I believe that we play a kind of “ageless music”. It’s timeless and universal. Of course, we have differences between what we heard in 90’s black metal to what we hear today, but the core is still the same. You can call that “evolution” and you can like it or not. The fact is that black metal today is a very strong and wide style, with many different approaches, being raw and necro or even more avant-garde, twisted and progressive. The essence is always there and really should be.

Any final thoughts?

I want to thank you for the interview, and all the followers of Antichrist Metalzine, for the interest on PATRIA’s music and works. Hope to see you guys soon on the road! Check out our new album on iTunes and Spotify, follow us on Facebook, and take a look at the Soulseller store to check out the physical versions of “Magna Adversia”. They look wonderful!

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