About 2 years ago I got a hold of a flyer announcing a concert with DIABOLIC FORCE, APOCALYPTIC RAIDS, CHAKAL and VULCANO to take place in Brazil. I couldn’t believe it cause I thought the last two bands had been declared as being dead a long time ago. I really thought about buying a ticket to go see that concert, but reality got back to me, I didn’t have the money and my employer wouldn’t grant me the necessary days off. How long had the band existed again at that time?
We reunited again in 2001 to write the album "Tales From...". We did a show in November 2001, and a month later our guitarist Soto Jr. died. It took us until 2003 to record the new album and we did that show with CHAKAL in Rio de Janeiro.
After the release of your album “Ratrace” (I think it was in 1990) I never heard of you again. When and how did you guys reunite? What have you been up to in all those years, aside from the fact that most likely each one of you is married and has got lots of children (haha)?
Like I told you before we reunited in 2001 and we recorded our new album in 2003. In the years before I played acoustic guitar. I played in a project called TALAVERA with VULCANO’s current guitar player André. We were a power-trio and we did heavy metal in the style of BLACK SABBATH’s first four albums. At the end of the 90's I played in a CREEDANCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL cover band called TRAVELLIN’ BAND. Soto Jr. created a band called RALLUS in 87 and in 96 he created a crossover band called TESTAS COM DENTES until his death in 2001. Angel became an excellent tattoo artist and he is still working in his studio.
After this introductory question let’s go way back into the past. Considering the fact that the band was originally formed in 1981 I bet there is a lot to tell about past times. As far as I am informed (hail to the internet, haha) you and your buddy Carli Cooper played together in another band called AZTAROTH before you started out with VULCANO. I have never left Europe before, so really I don’t know my way around in South America. But I can well imagine that at the end of the 70’s/beginning of the 80’s there hardly was any heavy metal scene in Sao Paulo. Which bands inspired you back then? Was it easy to get a hold of music from Europe and the United States? How did you guys get a hold of records over there? Were you able to just walk into a record store and to, let’s say, buy a MOTÖRHEAD record?
During that time we didn't get heavy metal LP’s here in Brazil. The loudest heavy metal band that you got to buy here was BLACK SABBATH. When you came in a record store you saw DEEP PURPLE, LED ZEPPELIN, RUSH and other bands like that. We got JUDAS PRIEST, MOTÖRHEAD, etc. by tape trading with Europe and the USA.
In 1983 you released your first single “Om Pushne Namah” (a collector’s item with very great demand). Where did you record it? That must have cost a fortune back then? I read somewhere that you guys paid for the recordings yourselves and that you were the one who released the single, is that right? How did you finance the whole thing? I guess back in 1983 you were a relatively young kid, so where did you get the money from?
Yeh! At that time, here in Brazil it was not usual to record metal bands. No record company paid attention to bands like VULCANO. Thus I decided that VULCANO needed to record a single and I sold my car and put all of my money in it.
About 2 years later your first album entitled “Live!” was released. It’s not common use for a first release being a live recording. What was the reason for releasing a live instead of a studio album?
At that time the core of the metal scene was in São Paulo and we live in Santos, a town 70 miles away from São Paulo. VULCANO didn´t get to play in São Paulo City because of their very extreme sound. We tried to many times, also in 1985, but after several attempts to play in São Paulo City I decided that: If São Paulo City doesn't want to watch a show of VULCANO, at least they will hear it”. So I decided to record a live album and push it in São Paulo Capital.
How did you guys get in touch with the label? At the beginning of the 80’s there surely weren’t very many labels in Brazil, were there? Did you also try to get a deal with an American or European label back then?
When I decided to release the “Live!” album, I was not thinking about a label. I was going to release it in an independent way. A few months later I met the guy from Lunário Perpétuo Discos and he lent me the name of his label. At that time the possibility of an agreement with a foreign label didn't pass through my mind.
I bet you remember quite well that very special moment when you held the first VULCANO record in your hands? Describe the feeling you had when first seeing your own band pressed on vinyl and when putting that record on the shelf next to those of your idols? That must have been an exciting moment, wasn’t it?
Yeh! I remember getting people together and the band members, then we spent much time hearing the songs and drinking much beer!!! We all got very drunk to celebrate this event!!
Did you go and check out all the record stores to look if they were selling VULCANO records? Or was there only a very limited number of stores selling metal anyway?
In my town there were just three stores selling metal, and their owner was a friend of mine. I sold a lot through the post office. Brazil is a very large country, therefore it’s very difficult to distribute the albums in stores. It’s easier to sell them by mail.
Then in 1986 you finally released your first studio album “Bloody Vengeance” which can be regarded as being one of the milestones within the Black/Death/Thrash metal sector. After all these years how would you describe your feelings when thinking about this record? How would you describe the musical abilities you had back then?
I don't know exactly! As soon as we recorded the “Live!” album, we started to play faster and we wanted to be something original. We composed many songs, but didn’t use them, because they were similar to those of other metal bands from that time.
Besides VENOM, BATHORY, CELTIC FROST, MERCYFUL FATE and others your band belonged to the pioneers of Death and Black Metal. Unfortunately, you were never very well known in Europe or in the USA, since back then it was pretty difficult to get your records and if at all you had to pay a lot of money for them. Still, within the underground scene you have a legendary reputation and amongst the real freaks there is a great demand for your stuff. Many underground “stars” really admire you. The DISMEMBER guys wear your shirts, Norwegian black metal heroes like EMPEROR or SATYRICON have often named your band when being asked for their influences. Describe your thoughts when reading that you influence other bands and that they cover your songs?
I feel very honored! It's very cool to know that VULCANO influenced many European bands and I can tell you that I don't know how to describe this feeling!
Do you know any VULCANO cover songs? I just now heard DAMNATION’s (Sweden) version of “Bloody Vengeance”. KILLER!
I already heard "Bloody Vengeance" covered by DAMNATION and "Witch's Sabbath" by NIFELHEIM and here in Brazil many bands covered VULCANO's songs.
How many people visited your shows back then?
I think something like 400/500. Last Saturday we played in Osasco infront of 450 people.
If the date of birth I have here is correct, you must now be 47. Man, that’s not the typical metal age really, leaving aside Ozzy, Dio, Spinal Tap :) and Co. Theoretically, you could be my father! Zhema, you wanna be my father? I want a VULCANO-Dad! Haha! No seriously, I think it’s amazing you have stuck to the metal scene for such a long time respectively have now returned to it.
Yeah! I'm 47 years old and have been into heavy metal music for 36 years! I'm back again with the same enthusiasm as back when I was 17, because I have metal running in my veins!!!!!!
Officially nobody within the scene heard anything about you ever since 1992. Were you still into metal during VULCANO’s time out or did you play other musical styles and we just didn’t know about it?
During those years I still played guitar. As I told you above I played in a project called TALAVERA together with André, I played in a CREEDENCE CLEARWATER REVIVAL cover band, too. Angel, the singer, worked in his tattoo studio and Soto Jr. was playing in a band called TESTAS COM DENTES until his death in 2001.
Why did you quit with VULCANO? Tell us the reason please! Who’s idea was it to reform the band?
I was very disappointed with the Brazilian metal scene in 88/89 and the other members Fernando, Levine and Arthur were going to college, so I decided to stop VULCANO. We returned because Soto Jr. always called me saying "Hey man, let's play again" and one of those days I accepted!
What’s it like getting on stage again after all those years? What was your first gig like after all the time that had past? As far as I know you played your first gig with CHAKAL, who also reformed, and with APOCALYPTIC RAIDS. Officially, a tour through Brazil was planned after that. Did that really take place? If yes, how many shows did you play?
Yeah! That was the first show after the release of our last album. We started that tour in October 2004 and we finished on November 12th at the "25 Years Cogumelo Festival". After that we started composing new songs and we are planning a European Tour.
It would be great if you guys would tour Europe to also play some shows in Germany. Lots of bands from Brazil have played here, like KRISIUN, REBEALLIUM, IMPERIOUS MALEVOLENCE, and back then SEPULTURA and many many others. You have gained cult status all over the world, but only within the underground scene. However, I am sure that lots of people who would have liked to have seen you in the 80’s will come crawling out of their holes to see you guys play. The thought of you guys playing here with CHAKAL and SARCOFAGO!! Man, that would be one of the highlights concerning concerts I still wanna see in life!
As I told you, soon after we played at the "25th Cogumelo Festival" we'll be planning to tour in Europe, but I need to know some producers there, if you can help us, let me know.
Well, I guess you’ve been waiting for this part the whole time! Let’s finally get around to talk about your new album “Tales from a Black Book”. I still haven”t really found out if it includes all new songs or if they are old unreleased songs?
They're new songs except "Guerreiros de Satã" and "Total Destruição". I started to compose those songs in August 2002. They sound like “Bloody Vengeance” style because that is my way to compose.
What was it like to release another VULCANO album after all these years? Did the same old feeling come back to you?
Yes, I feel the same emotion as during those times, except that nowadays I don't have as much time to enjoy it the same way! For example, as soon as I have answered your last question I'll be going to the studio to rehearse our next three gigs and I'm very excited to do that!
I think the songs are very similar to the material on “Bloody Vengeance”. How would you describe them?
I think so too! Like I told you before that's my way to compose! In "Tales from..." I have written almost all of the songs. I didn't let the other members interfere, so that's the result!
How did the fans react after all this time? Have you found new fans as well?
Yes, "Tales from..." was very well received by the public and reviewers. Here in Brazil the album was listed within the 10 best albums released in 2004 and abroad I've been reading great reviews about it, besides I have been seeing young people in our shows.
Can you tell already how many copies of the new CD have been sold so far?
1.000 copies! We only released 1.000 copies, no more!
I guess despite of your legendary status VULCANO can not be compared to a full time job, that means you most likely cannot finance your lifes just by the band, especially after this long break you took. How do you earn your money for a living? I once read that you also work as a producer? Can you live from that or do you also have an additional “normal” job?
I did some work as a producer, but I have a normal job, I work in a steel plant. I'm a metallurgical engineer and Angel, our singer, is a professional tattoo artist.
Okay Zhema, that’s it for now, I wish you all the very best with and for VULCANO! I hope that you will release further albums in the future. If I have to I’ll wait till I’m 70 years old to see you play in Europe! Thanks a lot! Any last words? Go right ahead, they’re all yours! THANX!
Thanx!!!!! I would really enjoy to tour Europe and to see you when I’m 70 years old, so I'll invite you to drink some beer!! Ah, Ah .. Thanx again for the opportunity to answer this nice interview and I would like to tell you that very soon VULCANO will release a split single with NIFELHEIM through I Hate Recs from Europe. Stay banging!!!