Country of origin: Brazil
Location: Porto Alegre, Rio Grande do Sul
Formed in: 2000
Genre: Power Metal
Lyrical themes: Fantasy, Life
Current label: Voice Music
Years active: 2000-present
Gustavo Strapazon: Bass
See also: ex-Holyfire, ex-Lápide
Francis Cassol: Drums
See also: ex-Holyfire
Renato Osório: Guitars
See also: Fighterlord, Hibria, Magician
Magnus Wichmann: Guitars
See also: ex-Holyfire
Fabio Juan: Vocals (2010-present)
THE INTERVIEW (With Francis Cassol (Drums)
1. "The Sniper" is an incredible piece of work. I'm sure it took a long time to craft and every track shows that hard work was put in. I was literally blown away by this one, so thanks for that. But could you talk about the recording process for the disc? What was the toughest part of that process?
First of all thanx for the incredible words about our new album. It really means a lot that so many people around the world are enjoying it and giving us the greatest feedback.
Yes, there was a lot of hard work put into the tracks, we were very careful during the writing process, with the demos, arrangements, and all. About the recording process, the drums were recorded in Germany, in the Blind Guardian Studios – Twilight Hall Studios -, and it was produced by Charlie Bauerfeind. Charlie is the most requested metal producer in Europe, he has a very tight schedule because he works with some of the greatest European metal bands such as Helloween, Blind Guardian, Motörhead, Halford, Saxon, Hammerfall, among others and records amazing metal drummers like Mikkey Dee, Mike Terrana, Anders Johansson, Dani Löeble and others. So it was quite an experience for me, as the band’s drummer, to record with Charlie. Not to mention that he is a drummer himself, so he really knows what he’s doing. But I was prepared, rehearsed and practiced the songs for months and things turned out great. We had a great relationship and a great time.
The rest of the band recorded in Brazil, and it wasn’t easy because of our dayjobs and because our singer, Fabio Juan, lives in São Paulo and the rest of the band is from Porto Alegre, that’s over 600 miles away. That was the toughest part for sure. So when we had to record him he had to fly all the way in from São Paulo on weekends. I believe he came 5 or 6 times so he could nail it. Vocals, guitars, bass and piano were recorded in home studios and produced by guitarist Renato Osorio, then Charlie re-amped the guitars and bass, mixed and mastered in Germany and sent the files over to us and to the labels.
2. My jaw dropped when I heard that Andi Deris and Paul Di'Anno were on this record, not only as guests; but as composers and co-writers of the disc. How did all of this come about? And furthermore, what was it like working with these metal legends?
We’ve been playing with Paul DiAnno for 4 years now, Scelerata is Paul’s backing band in Brazil. We developed a very strong friendship through the years, and when we started working on the album we knew we wanted him singing. And he was very open, agreed right away. So I sent him the song and we asked him to write the words and the melody for the fast part in the mid-section of the song ‘In My Blood’. We wanted him to create, because music flows through his veins in a way you wouldn’t believe. We took him to the studio in a day-off during the 2011 tour and he nailed it very fast. It was so fast that we had the time to record his parts for ‘Rising Sun’. It made our day!
Andi’s song came to us thanks to Charlie and to our lead singer Fabio Juan. We sent the demos over to Charlie and he showed some of our stuff to Andi, who really liked Fabio’s voice. So he offered us the song, which was kind of hard to believe! Of course we accepted this amazing gift, after all this is Andi Deris, Helloween’s lead singer and an amazing song writer. When we heard the song, we were completely blown away! It’s a beautiful song that could have easily been on a Helloween album. We are very thankful to Andi.
3. What does the name Scelerata mean? Who came up with it?
‘Scelerata’ comes from the latin language, and it means something like ‘rioter’, or ‘bad influence’. Also there is a roman legend where ‘scelerata’ was the name of a portal, gateway, and who ever passed that portal would have its fate written and doomed. But the main reason why we chose this name is because how close it sounds to ‘accelerated’ phonetically speaking, in the Portuguese language, which is our native language here in Brazil. The band’s former guitar player Rod Velasco came up with this name, over 10 years ago.
4. Most of your current band members were in a Christian group called Holyfire. I was surprised to know this. I have nothing against the faith, "to each their own" as they say; but what is your opinion on Christian metal?
Magnus Wichmann (G), Gustavo Strapazon (B) and myself were in Holyfire, from 2001 to late 2004. Actually the intention of the band Holyfire wasn’t to be a Christian band. We don’t have anything against it either, but we never intended to limit our fan base. The thing is that Holyfire’s singer, Marcio Machado, wrote the lyrics and we actually liked it, and it didn’t have such a Christian appeal. It was more about clonation, religious conflicts in the mid-east, human behavior, etc. To be honest I’m not sure why people classified the band’s music as Christian, but that’s ok. Some people used to say the same about Scelerata, but with ‘The Sniper’ I don’t think they will anymore. Like I said, we don’t have anything against Christian metal, like we don’t have anything against Black, Glam, Death, etc. I think you have to make real and truthful music and whatever makes you happy.
5. We're usually accustomed to devils and skulls and such in this genre; but as of lately there's been a lot of crosses and bibles. What is your opinion on some of these darker bands? Do you think it's all just an act, that none of them actually know what hell really might be?
That’s a tricky question because what is hell anyway? Does it really exist or does each person come up with their own hell? The only thing that I don’t like is when things get violent, like animal sacrifices, burning churches and stuff like that.
It’s very hard to question people’s faith and beliefs. Like I said before, you have to do whatever makes you happy, what keeps you going, since it doesn’t harm other people or the environment.
6. How do your friends and family react to the fact that you're in a heavy metal band?
I don’t know, but they act like they are proud. My friends are always at the shows, they buy the CD’s, t-shirts and stuff and help us promote the band, which is very cool. However I believe my parents would rather see my working as an architect (I have the degree), but I think they’re happy too.
7. What are some bands or musicians that you have really enjoyed as of late, in any genre of music?
If I was gonna list them all, we’d be here for days, so I’ll try to summarize! I love classical music like Vivaldi, Mozart and Beethoven, I love black and funky music from the 70’s, but mostly I’m into rock music. Let’s see, leaving heavy/power metal aside, I must say my all time favorite artists are The Beatles, Queen, Rush, Dream Theater, Metallica, Guns n Roses, Pantera, The Ramones, Van Halen... it’s just so many bands... I’m also intro instrumental music like Yanni, Frank Solari, and I’m a huge Bob Marley fan as well.
8. The album has many different lyrical concepts. But some of my favorite are "Must be Dreaming" and of course, "The Sniper." Could you explain these concepts further, and the intermission track "Money Painted Red?" I wasn't able to understand it, but I'd like to know how it relates to the concept of "The Sniper."
Yes, like I said before, we were very careful writing the album, and that applies to the lyrics as well. ‘The Sniper’ was inspired in the Brazilian political scene. Politics here are so disgusting that people just don’t take it seriously anymore – that’s one of the meanings of the clown in the front cover. Politicians rob from the people, the press finds out, but there is no punishment, and in the next election they are all back!!! And worst, they get elected!!! It’s like people gave up, because you can’t trust anyone. That is a shame, because when you don’t care, it gives the politicians a chance to do even more crap. So ‘the sniper’ would be the guy that would start cleaning up by killing the bad apples. Of course this is just a story, we’re totally against violence, but the ‘do it yourself’ thing seems like an option these days.
This is a way to criticize not only the politicians, but also our entire society, because the politicians are just a reflection of the people. So we’re kind of asking people to re-think their behavior in small things, by not cutting in line, not passing in the red light, stuff like that. Little wrong things people do every day.
The intermission brings parts of speeches from some famous Brazilian politicians with an orchestra of guitars in the background playing the melody of the chorus of the song ‘The Sniper’. And in the end there is a gunshot... the end of this story I’ll leave it up to your imagination!
9. They say that all music is an expression of one's soul, that it carries a message. What message are you trying to convey with "The Sniper?"
There was only one message we were thinking about when writing and recording this album, and that was to bring people a heartful music. We want people to feel the way we do about these songs, to transmit how much love we put into making and recording these songs and how much we enjoy playing them. Every drum and cymbal pounding, every melody from the vocals, every guitar and bass riff were recorded with a very hard d**k, if you know what I mean. I believe that is the real key to success, to be truthful and honest about your work, especially when it’s related to art, because when it’s not, it becomes disposable. People know what is real music and what is fake.
10. Tell me a little about your gear. What are you currently jamming with, and what bands/musicians inspired you to pick up your drum kit?
My drum set is inspired not in a specific drummer, but in the metal context. I play with a Ludwig drum kit with two kick drums 22”, two tom-toms 10” and 12” and two floor toms, a 14” (on my left) and a 16”. My snare is a Tama StarClassic 14”x6,5”, and I play with two 19” crash cymbals, two 18” crashes, two 19” chinas, two splashes 10” and 8”, two 14” hi-hats (one on my right), one 20” ride cymbal and a 12” stax cymbal mini-china + splash. I play with Pearl Eliminator pedals and C. Ibañez drumsticks.
11. You guys have had many tours, I'd imagine. Do you have any interesting stories that you could share with us?
FC: Well, yeah, I could go on and on talking about unexpected events that happen on tour, but I’ll just mention one! The day after the last show of the Paul DiAnno tour last year, we had to be at the airport at 2:00 PM. So everybody got up, had breakfast and was waiting at the hotel lobby around noon for the van that would pick us up and drive us to the airport. But the driver was taking forever, and we were starting to get nervous and worried about the flight. The guy appeared around 1:30 PM, and we knew we would never make it. After calling the driver all kinds of names, we tried anyway, but the airport was so far away that it never happened. Things got very stressful and ugly. The local promoter had to re-buy all the tickets and we had to go all the way back to the hotel and check in once again. We all ended up on different flights that only left at dawn, it was a mess but we survived. Luckily there was no show that night! Later on we discovered there were undercover police cars escorting us to the airport because they were worried things could get out of hand. Of course nothing happened.
12. What do you guys do when you're not making music? What hobbies do you enjoy?
I’m a lot into soccer, I support the local soccer team from Porto Alegre called Grêmio. I love hanging out with friends and family, share some beers and laughter. Also I’ve been reading, researching and learning a lot for the past 6 months about the atrocities that happen in farm factoring and about (the lack of) animal rights.
13. I live in the states and of course we're having some major troubles here, and an election which literally has some people frightened and scared to death of its outcome. What do you think of our country, and what are your current impressions of Brazil?
I believe most of the world sees Brazil as an economical rising country, but truth is things are very screwed up over here. I already mentioned the political scene, politicians and stuff, so you can see things can’t be good. Urban violence is growing day after day in major cities like São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Porto Alegre, and that is making everyone crap their pants. Cars being robbed at gun point, schools and hospitals robbed too... they just don’t care. But at the same time people are very kind, heartful and mellow. We love receiving people from other countries and all. Not to mention the natural beauties, such as our beaches, rain Forest, etc.
The impression I have about the USA is the best. I lived in the USA for four years and a half as a child, and it couldn’t have been better. Me and my brother had a great childhood. We lived in West Lafayette, Indiana, a very small town, in the Tippecanoe County, so I’m very connected to the USA. Of course we know that the US government has been hard on 3rd world countries, with the neo-colonialism and stuff, responds too much with violence and war sometimes, but we also know that it doesn’t come from the people. We are aware of your political situation, but I’m sure things will turn out fine for you.
14. Society has certainly gone down the tubes as of late, and corporate greed and wealth has skyrocketed beyond sound means. What are some ways that you think we could fix the problems in society and the world?
Well, the way I see it, people and companies don’t know how to live in peace with Mother Nature. I keep cracking my head to try to understand why we are at war with the environment. There is no problem to kill and destroy if it’s in the name of money. Millions of dollars invested every year in technologies on how to kill more for less money, and that means more and more cruelty and devastation. There has been no respect for other forms of life from the past 50 to 60 years. Money is NOT the most important thing in the world, and I wish people could see that. I think it should be the other way around. Instead of investing on how to be more stressed and make more money, people should be more introspective, look more inside of themselves and be more in touch with nature, which is for me the only way to cure mankind and save the environment. Of course that won’t happen over night, money still talks very loud and governments and corporate will never tell you to stop consuming, so that’s something that must begin with ourselves as individuals.
Thank you very much for your answers and for such an amazing record.
Thank you for all the support and help in spreading the word about Scelerata. It’s great to see how music from humble South America reached and touched you. Thanks for that and hopefully we’ll see you on the road! Don’t forget to visit the band on the internet and to purchase the real deal! It’s on Amazon and other online shops, so no excuses!
Visit us at:
http://WWW.scelerata.com, http://WWW.facebook.com/scelerataofficial, http://WWW.twitter.com/scelerata, http://WWW.youtube.com/scelerataonline
And purchase the album here: http://nightmarerecords.com/NMR/online-store/pgxso-product-details/prx-988/ctx-1
This third opus from Brazilian power/thrashers SCELERATA definitely took me by surprise. At first, I had no idea what to expect; but as soon as the disc cranked up with the onslaught of opener "Rising Sun" I was completely hooked. The drums pound, the guitars snake their away around with every little melody and solo, and the soaring vocal performance from Fabio Juan reminds me more of the legendary Germans HELLOWEEN than anyone else. But perhaps that's because Andi Deris (HELLOWEEN) and Paul Di' Anno (ex-IRON MAIDEN) are not only guests on the album, but they also composed and co-wrote this great work. Being a fan of power metal for several years and finding little to like from the genre especially since HAMMERFALL's hammer is getting rusty, and only finding Japanese bands like ANIMETAL USA and GALNERYUS to be of any real merit, this album gives me a great sense of hope for the genre. This is every bit what power metal should sound like, with bombastic choruses, thundering riffs and hearty melodies, and a drummer behind the kit who isn't afraid to mix things up a little. Trust me, folks - there is little on this album that is not to like. While not all of the songs are as fast and mighty as "Road To Death" or "Till The Day We Die" the ballad "Must Be Dreaming" is certainly worth hearing, with it's odd melody structure and soaring vocal performance. But the real icing on the cake? The disc's closer, "The Sniper." This is the very definition of "epic power metal finale" that you were looking for. With this bombastic release, SCELERATA proves that they're able to re-light the power metal torch that seems to have been extinguished in the fuzz of technicality, djent, and deathcore. The special edition of this disc features two more tracks and some live performances that this reviewer wasn't given the privilege to hear, so definitely check that one out. SCELERATA might very well be the saviours of power metal, and they couldn't have come not a moment too soon.