Thank you for having this interview with us!
1 – To start, please introduce yourself and the band.
Hey, readers of The Black Planet. It’s a pleasure to have our band featured on this website. I used to come to your Orbit Fest events, years ago! My name is Rui Alexandre, and I play the guitar for Terror Empire, a thrash metal project from Coimbra, Portugal. The rest of the band is made by Ricardo Martins (vocals), Rui Puga (bass guitar), Gonçalo Marques (drums) and Sérgio Alves (lead guitar). We like to play fast and heavy, so you should definitely check us out if you like thrash with a modern flavor!
I used to be in a band in which the drummer wasn’t really a metal head, so even if I wrote the heaviest riff on Earth, the full package would turn out lighter than expected. But we were friends, and the project only died out when he moved to Oeiras. I kept in mind that, should I ever have another metal project, it would have to be the heaviest possible, among the metal genres I praise. Puga and Martins kept their place from that previous band, and we recruited Marques and (later on) Sérgio Alves. We had lots of riffs lying around, so the rest came out naturally, in terms of music.
Yeah, we convinced the drummer to come play with us to play stuff like Municipal Waste. We had him totally fooled, because we only did on song like that, called “No Respect/ No Tolerance”, then we moved on to out natural brand of thrash. Haha. Later on, we developed a more modern sounding thrash, with odd-time signatures, breakdowns and a bit of groove, to keep it interesting beyond the mere skin pounding. We want to keep evolving from that point, to our next album. Like Hugo from Switchtense says, “this is only the beginning”.
4 – According to my research, you released an album last year, around July? Your first “dirty bomb” (hehe) is entitled “Face The Terror”, self-released. What can you tell us about the record, what it means to you as well as the message it tells carries?
Nice wordplay, haha. “Face the Terror” is a life goal objectified, period. We always wanted to release an album, and it’s really fucking awesome to fulfill a dream you always doubted if you could really pull off. It’s basically an in-your-face aggressive thrash metal album packed with 6 songs. It’s not short – it’s compact! -, but so are other classics in thrash metal. As for the message of the record, we just wanted to mention topics like the war business, population control since like forever, the end of the world and, in some points, just pure old personal hate. Might sound cliché, but we didn’t want to reinvent the wheel or to pretend to be something we’re not. You bet your ass that “FTT” is 110% genuine.
Like I said before, we had tons of riffery lying around, and we went from there. Some riffs are 10+ years old! Then, if we’re working on some of my riffs, I basically write them chained, already. It comes pretty naturally and in an organized manner. When it comes to work on Sergio’s riffs, it’s more complicated, because he’s like a musical maverick. Pure mayhem. It gets worse, because even though I do well at playing my own stuff, I really suck at playing someone else’s, so it takes longer.
6 – Why did you decide to self-release it? I have to emphasize that you were doing a campaign to help an animal protection association? Can you tell us more about it?
We might be young, but we ain’t naive to the point of thinking some label would sign us and release the beast themselves. As soon as we realized we had the money to record and copy the cds, we decided to do that for ourselves and have full control of our art. I understand some people need some guidance when it comes to writing and doing the business side of stuff, but we had that confidence in us. We know ourselves better than any outsider would ever dream of knowing, so why would someone from outside the band hinder the whole process? That made no sense for us then, and still doesn’t make sense now. Even the signed bands I know didn’t make a bigger “jump” than we have, just for being in a band. Of course that you’ll have a bigger exposure from being on a label (and lots of other perks), but we can’t complain of our journey, so far.
To make this answer a bit longer (you better break this question in two and edit this parenthesis xD ), let me tell you about the animal campaign. Apart from asking people to bring animal food to our hometown gigs, we decided that 0,50€ from any album we’d sell would go to Louzanimales, an animal association from Lousã. It’s a small gesture, but it’s something. Now that I think of it, they must hate us, because even though we’ve got their cash seperated, we still haven’t given them the money we made from the cd selling. We should get into that ASAP.
7 – How’s the feedback so far? What do the people and the press say? I saw that you got some nice reviews from internationl websites.
Yeah, most of the reviews are really positive, from all the corners of the planet. It’s the result of a really well planned campaign that Joel Costa from Infektion PR (also, magazine and records) did for us. The record really struck some people’s nerve, in a good way. Some people think we’re really big in Portugal (lol) and ask us when we’re going to tour in the US. Incredible! The portuguese fans also like our stuff, it’s amazing, but the press has been a bit more… shy, lets put it this way. Some people travel on really high horses, I guess.
8 – You have been very busy live, playing around 30 (!) shows since July 2012. That is a lot, specially for a band still in it’s first years, how do you manage to do this?
Pure networking, most of the time. We’re in this to play the music we love and to make friends. So we talk to people with no other interest besides befriending them, and things just happen: people know people and suddenly you realize you’re playing here and there. As for the 30 shows, it might seem a small deal for someone outside Portugal, but like you mentioned, it’s alot, for this small country. We recently played in Badajoz with Tales for the Unspoken, and it was a lot of fun – and that just happened because we became friends before. Other than networking, we offer ourselves to other bands and venues, and it also allows us to play more frequently.
9 – What are your plans for the near future? Are you working on new songs? Another album this year?
We want to release a new album on the recent future, and we’re writing new tunes. We just don’t want to write the same album again – we want this to be more diverse and less unidimensional. It’s time to create something more complex. If we get around to writing the album around summertime, it might come out late this year, or early 2014. Time flies!
10 – Any local bands from your region that you think are worth mentioning and checked out?
Totally. Check out Tales for the Unspoken, Dark Oath, Alma Spectrum, Existence:Void, Fight Today, Anthichton, Primal Attack, Gates of Hell, Promethevs, Revolution Within, Switchtense… too many to mention, haha. Also, there’s a hot new band that will come out soon, called “Destroyers of All”, and I believe they’ll be a crushing band.
11 – I leave this one for you to drop your “last fire”…
Support the Underground. Come to shows, buy merch and cds, help the bands! Without bands, there would be no music, and without music, life would be meaningless…
Also, like us on facebook (facebook.com/terrorempire) and check for our tour dates on our website (www.terrorempire.net). You can download our album for free from our website! Share it with your friends!
Thank you so much! All the best in the future of your Terror Empire!