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26/04/2007 – Interview with HEREGE

HEREGE (official website) is a Brazilian Heavy Metal band, whose goal is to bring back the spirit of before, to fight for the great music that Metal is and to put Brasil even more on the map of Heavy Metal. Since a couple of years the band has been building on its career, difficult as it is, and have added a few demos and one EP to their discography. This EP, "Bang Your Heads", came out one year ago and since the band is still promoting it, I had the chance to review it. Check it out at this location.

HEREGE had some line-up problems too, but that didn't stop them to go on. And in March they recorded their first full album that is to be released sometime this year. Guitarist Dalton and drummer Maurício were kind enough to answer the questions I sent them.

Herege logo

In short, but not superficial, could you explain how HEREGE was formed, what the objectives were at that time and if they've changed since then?

Maurício: HEREGE was formed in mid-2001. As I and Rodrigo were classmates, we decide to join forces to play some covers. at that time, Selvino was the guitarist and I had invited Dennis to sing. Our objective at that time was to play just for fun and to get drunk, and nothing else. With the passing of time, all this was changing with the gigs, with the good public's acceptance. So, we decide to invest in our own compositions and consider the band as a professional and seriousl business and we are here today, expanding our horizons day after day and showing our songs the furthest that we possibly can.

Are you all self-taught musicians or did you take lessons?

Dalton: I took some lessons a couple of years ago, our bassist had too when he and I were still in the high-school. Denis and Maurício are the only ones that learned by themselves, without the help of a teacher, But, in particularly, I like to study alone nowadays, I think that can be better sometimes, create your own method to learn more. Anyway, that's cool!

As far as I know, HEREGE means 'heretic'. Who came up with it and what inspired you to choose this name?

Maurício: That's true, in English you say 'heretic'. The name HEREGE was suggested by Rodrigo and we accepted it, because the term is very broad and it has a connection firstly with some persons which think and act by their own ways, against the norms, standard of living and behaviors of their time. At the time when the name was suggested, he had in his own head the heretics of the Feudal Times and Old Regimen. However, later we saw that the term can go beyond subversives of that time, and it can be re-interpreted in each generation.

HEREGE only exists since a couple of year and you already had to look for other members. What happened? Less dedication from those who left? Stuff that couldn't be solved through talking?

Dalton: A question of personal and musical interests, some ex-members didn't have the desire to keep the band like a professional business and make Heavy Metal part of their lives. There was never a fight when someone left the band, only the ones that couldn't give more dedication just jumped off the boat (laughs).

Bang Your Heads coverSo far you've recorded two demos and one EP. What evolution - musically - is there?

Maurício: I'm sure there is a great evolution. We had a group evolution first, because we had a lot of musician exchanges in the line-up. The big improvement is with the guitars. Before Dalton had joined us, Rodrigo created the riffs. So, that was seen very harsh, without arrangements like the two first cd-demos. And now with Dalton, it gave more gain in our songs, more melodies and pretty cool arrangements, since the "Bang Your Heads" recording. And with the full length already recorded and being produced, everything's sounding awesome!

I've noticed that the two bonus tracks on "Bang Your Heads" sound different than the new songs. Did you record those in another studio? Or did you use a different way of working?

Dalton: Right, these bonus tracks were actually recorded in another studio. But since we them so much , we decided to add them to the EP, and also to give more minutes of heavy metal than our past demos. But, what's cool now is that these bonus tracks were remastered and you can hear the new versions on our official website and MySpace page.

You're currently recording new material for the forthcoming album, right? How are things going and what are the new songs like compared to "Bang Your Heads"? Plus, do you have a release date set?

Maurício: Yes, the recordings are already finished, since we did it in March of this year, in Nitro Sound Solutions Studio in Caxias do Sul. The recording process was very good, everything happened within the time limits and the songs are really fucking great. Compared to the previously demo the songs now are better arranged, we had many hours to record and work on them. Really, we expect that it'll be killer. The release date is still undefined, maybe in August or September of this year, when we will finish the production. After that we'll try some contacts with the records companies.

Lyrically the songs will be about marking historical facts of the 20th and 21st Century, following a chronological order, from the end of Second World War, passing through Cold War, Latin America dictatorships, until the present, with themes about globalization and terrorism. How did you get to work to find sufficient material to fill an album?

Dalton: At first, we thought about making something that should explain a little of our tormented history, and mentioning some marking facts. Rodrigo is studying History at the University and with this he already got a great knowledge about all these subjects that we wanted to tackle on the album, so we gathered the facts in their order of happening and he wrote all the lyrics, I believe that they got acids like this one: "Army Cowards, Shameful, Disgusting!", in the "Congress Cellars" track.

What's it like for a young band In Brazil? Do you easily get gigs? Do people appreciate your work?

Maurício: It's hard, for any young Brazilian band. The scene is weak, backing support doesn't exist, and almost everything is done in an independent way, buddy! We need to run miles and miles if we really want that everything turns out well. Gigs are hard too, many times the band has to play far away, spending money for the travelling costs, food, and arrives in a really ruined place. Where we live there are no appropriate places for gigs, so everything is improvised. And unfortunately there's a nasty competition between some bands. But there are some cool places in minority, and young bands fighting with honor. You must run and never stop if you have a metal band in Brazil. If you don't do this, you'll be fucked!

Everyone has a MySpace page nowadays. How important is this tool for you? Do you think you would gain the same amount of interest without it?

Dalton: MySpace has been awesome to us! Before having a page, we didn't have a way to show our work. People from many countries, who have never heard of us, can now hear our songs and get in contact with the band. This has been extremely important, more than our own official homepage (I think). Without it, the online promotion wouldn't be as good.

Has any label already showed interest in signing you for one or more albums?

Maurício: We're keeping contact with record companies and labels, here and in other countries, anyone who's waiting for our album to be ready to have a listen. But there's nothing hopeful yet. Our manager, Emanuel Seagal, is working on it.

When writing new songs, do you all come together and exchange ideas or does it start with, say, Dalton who comes up with some riffs after which the rest adds their input?

Dalton: Before I joined the band, Rodrigo told me that he wrote all the riffs, after which they were added with the drums and the vocals. But now, things have changed. Now we create the riffs, in our own homes, by ourselves, away from the band. Afterwards, when we're all together, we gather the ideas and improve them. Sometimes he comes with an idea and I add some necessary melody to make it better, licks, bridges and anything else are done this way. The only exception are the guitar solos, which I prefer to do at the studio or in my home. I did almost all the solos of the album like this.

Lyrics or music, which is first? And speaking of the lyrics, where do you take your inspiration from?

Maurício: We don't follow a form to write songs, but for this album things were different. The songs came first, the lyrics second, following the tunes of each song.

Dalton: The inspiration to do all this came from our dissatisfaction with things that happened and which will happen again if we don't express our hate against these shits, such as war, greed by money, tortures, terrorism, junkies in your own fucking religions! With your disgusting bias against the people who they try to live free.

Reviews can be nice to read, but do you take certain criticism to heart? Do you follow certain advices to improve/change your songwriting?

Dalton: We are receiving criticism from all sides. In some reviews there is bad and unnecessary criticism, but surely there are cool reviews, very constructive to the band and done by guys who really understand the music. Reviews vary a lot! We like to read and to analyze the ones that are coherent and that they say serious things without wanting to hurt the band with bad words.

Herege - bandOn your website and in your songs, you seem to be very enthusiastic about Metal (in general). Does Metal mean more for you than just the music?

Maurício: You're absolutely right! Heavy Metal isn't just a musical style, it's a way of life, and we live this intensively, and we try to carry on the true Rock 'n' Roll essence, the attitude, the look, too. We aren't stage actors, we live this 24 hours a day!

Related to the previous question: how did you guys get in touch with Metal? Which were the first bands that convinced you to buy albums, to start a band, ...?

Dalton: We began to listen rock and metal more or less 10 years ago, when we were in high school and becoming adolescents (laughs). We got to know a lot of bands every single day (and this still happens) and guys who were rock fans. The first bands that I heard and turned me into a Heavy Metal fan were JUDAS PRIEST, BLACK SABBATH, OZZY...the other guys of the band didn't go ver far for this, but they also had their preferred bands. But the bands that had more importance to HEREGE's creation were: MOTÖRHEAD, JUDAS PRIEST and BLACK SABBATH.

It seems lots of foreign releases are hard to get in Brazil and people have to pay lots of money or (illegally) download them or import what they want (and again paying lots for it). Can you confirm this and do you find every album you want (in the shops, of course ;-))?

Dalton: Here we may find some foreign releases in the big Brazilian towns, such as Sao Paulo, Porto Alegre and Rio de Janeiro, because there are many shops and it's possible to find a lot of things. A lot of imported DVDs aren't available, but you can buy them using the internet :-).

What do the big bands of Brazil (SEPULTURA, KRISIUN, ANGRA, etc... think of HEREGE? Or is HEREGE still unknown to them?

Dalton: I believe that we don't yet arrive in the ears of these guys (laughs), because we are just releasing our first album and also we don't live in the great Brazilian cities.

Next to music, what else keeps you busy? (jobs, studies, hobbies, ...)

Dalton: Well, we have temporary jobs that don't have any connection with music stuff. I said 'temporary', because there's no way we'll do it for the rest of our lives! (laughs) Only until the band supports us. Studies? Well, one of us is studying at the university (Rodrigo, like I said before). About the hobbies: we like to drink, to party, have fun with friends, I think that's it.

Metal plays a big role in your lives, I guess, but do you also listen to other music?

Dalton: Of Course yes! Rock n'roll of the 60's, 70's and 80's are really listened here! Bands like: DEEP PURPLE, LED ZEPPELIN, GRAND FUNK RAILROAD, EMERSON LAKE & PALMER, RUSH, QUEEN, and others. Hard Rock is great too: WHITESNAKE, MOTLEY CRUE, AC/DC, etc. We don't limit us just to the metal, it is very cool enjoy another things and also to get more influences.

And that's it for me. If there's anything I forgot, feel free to add it. ;-) In the meantime, I'd like to wish you the best with your career and upcoming album(s).

Dalton: All right! We really want to thank you for this interview, it was very cool! This was very important for us, the band is very grateful for this space in you webzine. So, we want to invite all the bangers to access our homepage and our myspace to know more about the band and about the upcoming album! Any contact will be received with much respect!

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