Recently I had the chance to chat with Angra member Kiko Loureiro about the new album 'Rebirth', the revamped band lineup as well as the new mini album. I had a great time chatting with Kiko and could sense the confidence the band has even with the changes in personnel. I hope you enjoy this read and that it gives some insight into what the band is all about and the direction they are heading among other things. Enjoy!
Dave: Hello Kiko! I appreciate you taking the time to talk to me.
Kiko: Hi Dave!
Dave: Let's first look at the new album 'Rebirth'. It has now been out since October. How has the reception by the fans been so far??
Kiko: It's been great! Here in Brazil we recieved a Gold disc for selling 50,000 copies. This is great because Brazil is a very hard market. We are playing Heavy Metal and singing in English here in Brazil. We speak Portuguese here. In Europe the reviews have been great. People are really into the band. We are going out in March to do a big tour there. Up 'til now it's been great.
Dave: I just wanted to ask you about the language of Portuguese and the music. Some bands sing a bit here and there in their native tongue. Has Angra ever done that??
Kiko: No, not yet, but we have recorded a song in Portuguese in January. We are going to release a mini album that has a song that has a lot of percussion and Brazilian vibe. We did two versions, one in English and one in Portuguese. Sometimes the fans ask for that. Some of the people in France love this mixture. They always ask why we don't record in Portuguese.
Dave: Now just to clarify, you will have one version of the mini album with two different versions of this particular song??
Kiko: We have the two versions of the song and are going to show them to the record company. Maybe they will put both songs on the cd, but I don't know.
Dave: That would be really cool to have both on there. I really like the native sound added into the mix.
Kiko: Yeah, you can listen to it in English so you know what we are talking about and then listen to it in Portugese for the native feel. Now we could do the whole album in Portuguese, but I think the record company might complain.
Dave: English does seem to be the language of music in a lot of parts of the world.
Kiko: We do have a lot of bands down here that are Rock and Pop bands and not Metal do sing in Portuguese. The big artists here sing in Portuguese, but for the Metal scene they sing in English. We export the music to the rest of the world. Metal music really is a globalization.
Dave: I wanted to talk a bit about Eduardo the new vocalist. How has the live performance been as well as the fan reaction in general to him??
Kiko: We did a tour in Brazil of about 25 concerts and we also did Argentina and Chile. It's been great. People here support him a lot. He had a band before called Symbols so he was kind of well known. People knew his voice already. People love him. Everybody was saying to us that he would be the right guy. All of the fans told us to choose Eduardo to replace Andre.
Dave: I understand that Edu had auditioned for Iron Maiden back when Bruce departed.
Kiko: Yeah, he did. A radio station here chose him and Andre to audition. Both of them were contacted by the manager of Iron Maiden, but I don't know what happened.
Dave: That would have been interesting either way. Looking back at the album, the album is similar in style to previous efforts. What do you feel sets this album apart from the others??
Kiko: Well, we didn't want to change the style much. We wanted to keep the essence of the music. We wanted to bring back the first musical concept that we had in the beginning of Angra. It was kind of a recreation of the band. We remembered the original musical concept on this album. I think we got that. The musical element that is the mark of Angra is there. The sound is fresh. Edu's voice also helped us to bring a bit of a new vibe to the album. We are very satisfied with it.
Dave: Looking at the album title 'Rebirth', there has to be a bit of meaning to it concerning the bands new structure??
Kiko: There was a concept there. We wanted to talk about what happened to us. In a different way we are talking about a Science Fiction story. The world is destroyed and you have to rebuild with new laws, with more optimism, facing the future and not looking to the past. All of the songs talk about that, rebirth. We have the rebirth of man. We have songs that deal with the world being destroyed by natural catastrophies. It is a parallel and a metaphor of what happened to us in Angra. The problems we had, the lack of understanding between us in the band. We have a song 'Unholy Wars' that we talk about what is happening in the Middle East. The people think they can't live in the same place and have different ideas. That is a problem with humanity. We did these songs before Bin Laden did his stuff. We didn't know what was going to happen. What we were talking about is that sometimes people don't understand the other one just because we think different. That is what happened to the band. We were all working together, but thinking differently. People just started fighting because we think different.
Dave: Looking to the live experience, are you going to be doing any of the festivals??
Kiko: Yes, In March we will be doing a tour in France, Italy, Germany, Poland, Spain, and will be playig the 'Bang your head' festival, Wacken, etc. Our booking agent is finding the best places for us. It's not easy to come from Brazil to Europe. You have the band and the technicians, and the gear.
Dave: I was browsing the Official Angra site and noticed that there was suppose to be some American dates, but they were postponed or something??
kiko: We almost had it confirmed, like the New Jersey festival and Toronto and some Canadian dates also. I don't really know what happened, but they postponed. It's kind of hard to go to the United States with all the crew and everybody and not having at least six or seven concerts. I think that was a problem. Some concerts were confirmed and others were not. We really need at least seven to pay all of the expenses
Dave: I was curious about something. The perception of the Brazilian Metal scene seems to be of a very good scene down there. What is your take on actually being there??
Kiko: Well, a lot of European bands come to Brazil. I think it's good. It's not a big market as some may think. People from Europe can play bigger concerts though like 5000-7000 in a concert in Sao Paulo, the city where we live. It's a big city. Angra just did a concert here with 6000 people. Last week in a big parking place we played to 12,000 people. We ave other cities in Brazil that are good. It is a good market with a good audience. If you compare it to Europe where they normally play clubs of 500-800. European bands love to come to Brazil. It's fun, and we have nice girls.
Dave: I hink festivals like Rock in Rio seem to make it even bigger.
Kiko: That is a big draw. You'll have around 200,000 people there.
Dave: The Rock in Rio also encompasses other styles of music right like on different days??
Kiko: Yeah, but they always do a Metal day. Recently we had Halford and Iron Maiden. The first Rock in Rio was in 1985. They did a Metal day with AC/DC, Iron Maiden, and Scorpions, but at that time they also had Queen, Yes, an even James Taylor.
Dave: Shifting gears a bit, I guess you are making a video clip of something you taped at one of the Brazilian shows.
Kiko: Yeah, we recorded a whole concert and we are going to use some of it to make a compilation and hopefully later on we will release the concert on DVD.
Dave: Talk a bit about the upcoming mini album.
Kiko: We recorded in January and also had some songs left from 'Rebirth'. We also recorded Kashmir from Led Zeppelin for a tribute. We did some interesting things with that song. We added some Brazilian percussion. We kept the song as is and Edu kept it true to the original, but we added the percussion to show more of an Angra style. That is one of the elements that sets us apart from the European bands is the native element.
Dave: Dennis Ward of Pink Cream 69 hooked up with you to produce 'Rebirth'. How did you meet Dennis??
Kiko: The guy from the record company in France that released Pink Cream gave me the material from Dennis. He said 'Listen to this guy because he is a good producer. He works in a good studio with a good price and good equipment. Everybody likes him.' The guy was right. Dennis helped us a lot and is a very cool guy. Dennis was a very cool surprise for us as a producer.
Dave: So what does Dennis bring in to the production?? Is he a hands off guy that lets you as a band do what you intend to do?? Some producers get a little too involved in the music writing. How was he??
Kiko: The good thing about him was that he didn't want to change our style. He listened to the old albums and understood and helped us to get the same concept that Angra has always had. It ended up with a fresher sound... more modern. He was great. The most important thing in the studio is to be a nice person to keep the good vibe. Then the music comes naturally and easier.
Dave: Well, that's about all for now, but do you have any parting thoughts for the fans??
Kiko: I would like to come and play for the American fans. I'm really anxious to go there because it's our dream. To see their faces and see how they are and their reaction. I would like to see how many fans we have there. We have never had a chance to come to the United States. I am looking forward to it. Maybe sometime this Summer.
Dave: So you have never played the States then?? We need to get you up here.
Kiko: No we haven't. We just want to come up and get to know the fans and how they react.
Dave: Well thanks a bunch!
Kiko: Thank you very much.