1. What has changed with the release of your debut album?
First of all, thank you for giving us, Terror Empire, the opportunity to divulge our work. And congrats for the persistence that you have reveled with The Black Planet over the years. With this new record we’re being seen as a more serious band, and not just as bunch of kids that released an EP and then disappeared completely. We’re still here and we’ve edited a new album that is the evolution of all the work we’ve done in the EP. So put up with us!
2. Why did you choose Nordavind Records to be your label?
Ever since we’ve worked with Joel for the promotion of our first EP that we realized he was the right person for the job. He’s a true professional, discrete and lets his work speak for himself, as it should always be. We talked, opened up the game and agreed on the terms that were right for both parts, and the rest is history. Now we’re both millionaires thanks to the record.
3. Let’s talk about the recording process and the choices for special guests for this album…
After we were done writing the album on our rehearsal space/room, we like to record what we can play, we’re not trying to fool anyone in the name of skills we don’t possess. After that, we followed with our plan and went to record in the UltraSound Studios, in Moita, where we were very well received. But, unfortunately we misjudge the time we needed to record, and only had time to capture the drums and guitars, after which we had to return to Coimbra, because, unfortunately, we don’t live off our music. But if it was up to them, Hugo and Pardal from Switchtense, we would have stayed there long enough.
Although, we were still able to record much of the album’s backbone, and they gave us incredible advice and tips on something we thought it was more than finished. That was in May, and we only finished recording between October and December, because in the meantime we made the mistake to schedule some shows, and you either record or rehearse. But it eventually got done.
Regarding the special guests… Marco Fresco (Tales For The Unspoken) was a natural choice, he’s been friends with the band for a very long time and his voice fits perfectly on that track. Ricardo Gordo added a part that gives the final song of the album an amazing touch, and Ricardo Dias put all his “cred” on a song that’s purely punk-hardcore.
4. The reaction of the public and the Portuguese underground scene was the expected?
Taking into account our realistic expectations, yes! There were a small number of people that liked it, others that got to know our music and liked it as well, and some were entirely indifferent to it. We weren’t expecting more than that. Nowadays the offer is plenty, so it’s not just because a thrash metal band from Coimbra released an album that the whole underground is going to stop to listen to it. It’s a normal thing; I myself don’t listen to every single thing that it’s released. Part of our mission, which was putting the album out there, is done, now we just have to promote it and the band to reach as many people as possible.
5. Are you planning on doing a video for one of your songs?
Yes, we have a session for it booked and we’ll also have that one video with those blooper moments that happen during and between the shows (haha).
6. Is there any special meaning behind the title of your record, “The Empire Strikes Black”, besides the obvious Star Wars reference?
Besides the word play, we have continued the narrative we’ve started with our previous release. In this album, said empire it’s us, the people that insurgence against a force that punishes us with political decisions that humiliate and enslave us. The counterblow is black, because that is the colour of death. The end is tragical for some, and it is a fine and hopeful dawn for others, like a Matrix…
7. What is the theme explored in the record?
The usual one: hate. Hate against everything we feel is wrong in our society, like social injustice, repression, hypocrisy, prevarication… It’s a recurrent theme, unfortunately, because it’s an indication that still are a lot of reasons to talk about it.
8. You’ve had a calendar full of gigs lately. Is the stage the place where you feel most at home?
I feel more at home by the bar, near the beer tower, but we also do well on stage. I believe that we are a band that lives mostly for it. We rehearse to compose, we compose to play live, which is our main goal. Mingle and socializing with people that eventually become our friends, it’s one of the best things there is. Everything about playing live is good, except maybe the hangovers on the next day.
9. How was been the public turnout and support in your gigs?
It varies a lot. Sometimes we play in a festival for almost 500 people, other for 150, and sometimes even for 30 people. I won’t say it doesn’t matter much, because it does, but I’m not going to sit down and whine about it. Every band goes through that at some point in their careers. I see myself as a glass half-full kind of person, I’d rather take chances and play live and enjoy this at the most, than stay at home and be frustrated thinking about “what if?”. Life is short, so come out and enjoy it, and see live shows, it won’t get better than that.
10. How do you reconcile your work with Mosher ™ with the band? Does the fact that you’re behind that brand helps you promote Terror Empire (and vice-versa)?
It’s easy: I’m always thinking about Mosher and the rest of my life circles around it. Terror Empire represents a great part of my life, so I find a way to make these two work together, and, when possible, I’ll find a way that will be beneficial to both things. I try to force my band mates to wear Mosher (sometimes with the use of cold steel weapons), and divulge every posters where Terror Empire appears, as long as Mosher endorses the event. That way, no band is more favored than the others. I don’t believe that someone that doesn’t know Terror Empire will detect through the Mosher page that I’m in that band. I cover my tracks well and am too irrelevant to someone to make that connection.
11. Do you thing that this will be the year where Coimbra is going to stay marked on the map as an obligatory point of interest of the Portuguese underground scene?
No. I believe that there will be some people that will realize that there are great metal bands from Coimbra (and every one of them very different from the others). But when you organize a show at a Sunday afternoon, with a very reasonable price, a house band and two foreign bands with quality, and only 29 people show up… Honestly I don’t know who will risk organizing events in a city that despite its enormous potential doesn’t have much of a turn out. It’s just not worth it. Maybe there is only one insane person left to organize an event, a Mosher Fest, on the 14th of November, with Dew-Scented, Holocausto Canibal and For The Glory already confirmed… Just maybe…
12. What are the biggest obstacles for bands in our underground scene?
Well… Being taken seriously. Sometimes the problem comes out from the bands themselves. A band that takes its self seriously doesn’t play for free (or for almost nothing) during an undetermined amount of time. They have to ask what they believe its fair (within reason) and know when to say no, if they see a gig/festival/event that does not have the necessary conditions for everything to go well. It takes more than just a stage.
You’ll need a backline, a PA, gas and/or transportation, merch stand, dinner, and imagine that, a fee. It’s ok to play in order to promote yourself and your work, but you need to know that playing in certain events hurts you more that helps your cause, your band or the movement itself.
13. What are your plans for the near future?
Play live. Write new songs. Compose some quality music that we’ll like ourselves, and luckily some others too. Preferably a lot of people. The Lamborghini doesn’t pay itself.
14. Would you like to leave a message for our readers?
Our merch is awesome, come and buy your shirt during our shows! Support the bands and their evolution in the underground, and this involve a constructive criticism. There are some very pedagogic bitchslaps, I must tell you… Support those who support us, the scene is not just the bands, is everyone that writes, designs, photographs and does striptease, etc.
Thank you all. Thank you The Black Planet! SATAN!