Welcome again to The Black Planet! – First of all, we would like to ask you to introduce yourselves, for those who are not familiar with Tales For The Unspoken. Who are you, where you come from, what are your roles in the band…
First of all we are very pleased to be back at The Black Planet webzine once more. We are a metal band from Portugal, we play metal without labels, we were formed in Coimbra. We have five members: Marco is the lead singer, he is Portuguese, Nuno Khan is one of the guitarists, coming from Mozambique. Miguel Gonçalves is the other guitar, this time from Cape Verde, Nuno Raimundo, our Bassist is Portuguese, but was born in Switzerland. Last, Sérgio Vaz is the guy in the back of the drum kit and he is Portuguese as well.
You have just released a new album entitled “CO2”. Why this title and what’s behind it?
The name is an analogy to what is making this world collapse, like terrorism, human trafficking, etc… People nowadays only look at their own bellybuttons and forget that some decisions they make are hurting other people, just like when you drive your car you are destroying the ambient, that’s why we choose one of the worst type of poison gas for the name of our album.
In your previous album “Alchemy” you had some tribal and reggae influences in your sound. This album is much more direct, more “in your face”. Was this change deliberate or did it just happened naturally?
In this band we all listen to a lot of different kinds of music. That’s why in the first album we had the reggae part. In this album we start creating riffs and when we had almost all the riffs for the songs we noticed that all the songs were more like you said: “in your face”, but it wasn’t something we thought about during the creative process, really. We don’t force our sound to be heavier or more melodic… We just make the music we like, the way we like, being heavier was normal.
In several reviews it is pointed out that you are a death metal band with influences of thrash, while others say thrash with death metal influences, and for others you are groove metal. But for you, how would you describe your sound?
We would describe it as Metal! It’s really hard to point a type of metal, we don’t think we are a Death metal band or a Thrash Metal band, in both our albums you can find all kinds of metal: Black, Death, Thrash, Progressive. We are just metal!
In terms of recording, editing, mixing, producing, mastering you chose the Raising Legends studios. Would you like to talk a bit about it, the entire process?
When we start thinking in recording the album, we had finished the contract with our previous label, so we thought that it was the time to change to something better. We had already worked with André from Raising Legends in the distribution of Alchemy in Portugal, so we talked to him about the possibility of making Tales For The Unspoken part of the Raising Legends family. He made a contract with us that included the recording, mixing and mastering of the album. We knew his work as a producer, as well as other bands he had recorded, so we thought it was a good deal. We weren’t disappointed because he is one hell of a producer, he always wants the best for the band and everything has to be perfect.
All the recordings took place in Porto, which is 100Km away from our hometown, we had to make a schedule to record the whole album there, but it was worth it.
In this album you have the participation of some guests. Could you introduce them and tell us how the opportunity to include them in the album arose?
The first participation in the album was by Rui Alexandre, the guitarist of Terror Empire. At that time Rui was living in the same place with Marco and he was always listening to the album mixes, so Marco invited him to write the lyrics for “I, Claudius”. When he finished the lyrics they were perfect for the song. It’s a really fast song and Rui, being a guitar player, forgot that singers have to breath, hahaha! In consequence, when we were recording the song Marco was struggling with the breathing part so we thought it would be great to invite someone to sing along. We thought about Miguel Inglês from the mighty EQUALEFT, he is an amazing person with a really great voice, full of groove, just what the song needed. The second participation was Ricardo Martins, this one was a really easy pick. He is a long time friend of the band. We had a really thrashy part in “Crossroads” and we wanted to put a pure Thrash singer like the old Sepultura shit so we invited him. He completely nailed all the parts with his angry thrash voice.
The third guest is Joana in “Resilient Winter”. In the last day of vocal recordings we were recording that song and we just had the idea of putting some female vocals in the chorus, we didn’t have any in any of our songs, and knowing she was a singer even though she has no band, so when she recorded we just thought it was perfect to give a more feminine voice to the album. The lead guitar from “World’s Biggest Lie” by Malone was funny because we forgot to record the lead guitar in that part, so when we came back to Coimbra we called Malone to record something for us!
How have people been reacting to the new songs at your latest shows?
We never thought we would have this kind of reaction, people are reacting really good to the new album. Since people in Portugal already knew us from the first record “Alchemy”, now with more direct songs people are throwing their guts around in the pit. We just love to play, it’s the best part of having a band , go on stage and make everyone have a good time!
How are album sales doing?
No one sells albuns like back in the old days… Nowadays with legal ways like Spotify you can listen to your favorite band’s music, but we have a merch stand at all our concerts. We already sold a lot of them, not only here but to a lot of different countries and it’s really good to acknowledge that people abroad are discovering Tales For The Unspoken.
At this point, do you think it is possible to promote the album internationally with a tour through foreign countries?
Playing in Spain, for instance, is not that hard, we are trying to go on an European tour, but that’s something that has to be really well studied and planned so we won’t lose money. Since we don’t make a living from the band, we have the problems to solve, like everyone having vacations at the same time, but that is a goal to 2016.
The Portuguese market seems to be a bit overcrowded when it comes to bands, do you think there’s room for everyone or that internationalization, at a medium-long term, is the best solution for those bands if they want to leave the “play for friends” level?
In Portugal every band’s goal is the internationalization because Portugal is small but is in a full power level with a lot of good bands. There still are places in Portugal where we never played and wish to play.
In your opinion, do you think that it is difficult for a Portuguese metal band to get noticed outside our country? If there are good national bands, why do you think it’s difficult for those bands to export their sound and what are the main barriers for Portugal not having more top bands like Moonspell or Heavenwood when they belonged to the catalog of Massacre Records?
The big labels have changed their politics, now they have a fear of signing small bands, so even though Portuguese bands like Swichtense, Revolution Within, Midnight Priest have played in other countries they have difficulty on being noticed, so I think is really hard to get noticed outside but we keep the fight until our last breath.
How do you see the current Portuguese scene ? Is there an attitude of common help or, on the contrary, rivalry and competition between bands and musicians?
Here in Portugal the Portuguese metal scene is getting bigger, we have a lot of bands and underground festivals. There’s a lot of bands going from north to south to play during the whole year, which is something we haven’t seen in a while, when bands used to always play at the same places. At the same time, bands have to help other bands because the people who play there are the same people who organize concerts and festivals.
Finally, what balance do you make of this long journey that you have been doing ever since the band was born?
A very positive balance, we’ve been around for almost 8 years, we’ve had two lineup changes, have recorded two albums and one EP, 3 Videos clips, we have our own rehearsal room, our own van (Princesinha do Agreste!)… So we take this very seriously, we want to do a international tour in the next couple of years.
Any last words for our readers?
See you all in our concerts and keep reading The Black Planet. Metal on!!