Press - Interviews
01st July 2008
Interview for Metal Team UK

Hot and spicy, warm and fragrant, passionate and fiery; these are all good descriptions for the new album ‘Zoom Code’ by Portuguese band ThanatoSchizO. Having been bowled over by the group a few years ago I was keen to pop back and chat with guitarist Guilhermino Martins about the group’s history and the cracking new album which could well be the perfect accompaniment to this hot summer we keep getting promised.

Greetings and congratulations on the new album. Firstly I would like to ask the obvious, does the name ThanatoSchizO have any specific meaning and are you actually going to shorten it to TSO as the new album cover suggests in the future?
Thanks! The name has indeed a meaning: “Thanatos” is the human impulse towards the abyss according to Freud; “Schizo” comes from schizophrenia. Therefore, ThanatoSchizO represents an urgent impulse towards death caused by schizophrenia. We shortened it to TSO on this album not only due to aesthetic reasons, but also to symbolise a new beginning for the band. However, right now I can’t say if we’ll continue to use it on the next albums. Time will tell.

I was completely bowled over by your 2002 album InsomniousNightlift, what were reactions generally to that album and what memories do you have of those recording sessions?
The reactions were pretty intense and basically that was our first record focused on “songs”, if you know what I mean. I remember that the vibe was great and that we were thrilled to step in a new ground to us.

This was released on British album Rage Of Achilles before Duncan unfortunately pulled the plug on the label? Some bands went on to other bigger labels; it must have been a very frustrating time?
It was strange, to say the least. The day we sent him the master CD with our next album titled Turbulence (our deal with Rage of Achilles was for a two-albums-release), he told us he was putting an end to the label and search for new things. It got us by complete surprise and we had to change all our plans. And yes, Cult of Luna, Omnium Gatherum and Anaal Nathrakh got bigger labels, so that proves Duncan had a good ear, eheh.

I believe you ended up back on your old label Misdeed Records and released ‘Turbulence’ in 2004; was the title a direct reference to your label situation perhaps?
Yes, that’s right. The album’s name had nothing to do with the label’s problem. Instead it was chosen because of the very intense feelings we thought the album could create on the listener’s mind.

Personally I have not heard that album or your first one ‘Schizo Level’ also released on Misdeed in 2001. I was looking on your myspace page and it suggests that these albums have been re-released on other labels more recently, are they available at the moment?
Yes, Turbulence was released internationally through Australian Burning Elf Records and Schizo Level got a deluxe edition in charge of Mexican Sun Empire Productions. Both albums are available on the merchandise section of our web site and in the labels’ stores.

Comparing things between the two albums I do know, I notice that the line-up between InsomniousNightlift and Zoom Code is the same. I take it that the six of you obviously work well together?
There’s an old saying for that situation: one doesn’t change a winning team, and I guess that portraits perfectly the way we see it. We are a genuine band with all the good and bag things that come out of it and we all deal well with each other both on a personal and musical level.

A couple of observations between the two albums, I noticed that Zoom Code is a lot more upbeat than InsomniousNightlift; I would even say that it is perhaps a warm Summer album compared to a colder Winter one, care to comment?
I can foresee it too. InsomniousNightLift has a doomish approach with all the acoustics and is more focused on an atmospheric path. Zoom Code has more dynamics, with more live-oriented stuff and the songs are shorter also.

It strikes that the doom-laden and perhaps Gothic sound is now orientated more towards a progressive deathly structure whilst retaining a certain avant-garde flavour, would you agree with this?
Yes! Our progressive side is more and more important in the sound. Actually, I think people often refer to the gothic tag when they ear a girl singing melodically in a metal band. Well, I’m pretty sure we are not the typical “beauty and the beast” band. That said, I think we, almost unconsciously, tried to escape that label, moving towards the avant-garde side you talked.

Another thing that struck me is that there is more emphasis on Patricia Rodrigues who I consider has a fantastic bewitching presence, also Eduardo Paulo’s vocals have improved in range with fluid clean vocals and more accomplished growls. How would you say they have progressed and is there perhaps more emphasis on utilising two singers?
Well, maturity brought us to that emphasis on the vocals and since both Patrícia and Eduardo have evolved in their singing during these years, it was quite obvious to explore their vocal work with various layers of singing tracks.

You are now on My Kingdom Music and hopefully a bit more stable there, how did this come about and how are things going for you with the label?
So far so good. I’ve been a fan of bands such as Crowhead, Rain Paint and Klimt 1918, so it was kind of obvious to contact My Kingdom Music, in order to perceive if there was any interest in working with us. And there was! They are following all the conditions agreed and we are starting to see the feedback of the good promotion they have managed for this record.

Moving on to the new album, how long were you writing the songs for ‘Zoom Code’ and how were the recording sessions for the album?
It took us nine months to finalize the composition phase. Then we started the pre-production which took months. When we enter the final studio, we have all the stuff written and we know exactly what to do, so there’s not much room to improvisation and to work new ideas there. The recording sessions are always very pacific and the mood is quite comfortable, since we do know Luís and Paulo Barros (the producers) for so long.

The artwork is very striking; again it gives me the idea of heat and Summer as it is in lurid fiery orange. The shots are of a public toilet by the looks of things, what is this meant to represent if anything and is there an actual concept to the album?
There are various layers of concepts. The album’s name comes from the day we realised we need to focus ourselves in the best we could give musically (hence the Zoom Code). On a lyric level, Patrícia and Eduardo leave behind all the melancholy and dark side of their past writings (always based on their personal experiences) and start to tell third-person stories, where the main idea is more shining and less dark. The photo session that ended up in the CD inlay represents the band isolated from the outside world, looking (and avoiding) the window of mediocrity that’s out there, in one of the most mundane places there could be.

I found the title ‘L’ rather ambiguous and intriguing, reading Patricia’s lyrics there are words such as ‘Luminous’ and ‘Leaving’ as well as themes of ‘Love’ is this open to interpretation perhaps?
The title leads to a very open interpretation, yes. I tend to make my own mind about each and every lyric we have and I’m sure everyone can get different ideas from them. It’s just poetry and I don’t think it is right to show the readers a path they should follow.

There are melodies such as on that song in particular that have a strong Middle Eastern flavour about them, this really reminds of Orphaned Land, who you have actually supported along with perhaps Salem and with the female vocals Stream Of Passion? I find your music pretty damn unique but could any of these bands or any others perhaps be a slight influence?
Well, some of us listen to Oprhaned Land and Stream of Passion, yes. However, our Middle-Eastern influences come from the Portuguese folklore and, especially, from the huge amount of World Music we dig in.

You have a few added textures with Violin from Timb Harris of (Estradasphere), Sax and Concertina parts as well as some samples from Zweizz (ex Fluerty and Dodheimsgard). Was it easy finding people to collaborate with for these extra dimensions?
Luckily, yes! Estradasphere is one of my favourite bands and it was quite obvious to summon Timb for a violin solo. Also, Dodheimsgard is a band I admire for their bizarre attitude, so Zweizz was the perfect guy to work on some sampling. The sax and the concertina (a Latin accordion) were played by António Pereira, a great local folk musician.

How have you found reactions to the album so far, I see you take a lot of time putting links to all the reviews on your website?
Good or bad, all the reviews we can find end up in our web site. I guess the great majority of the reviews have been great. I’m pretty sure ThanatoSchizO is not for everyone’s taste, since we are not an easy band to get into but, so far, the reactions have been great.

Although quite prolific gig wise in your home country do you get to play much abroad? I guess it might be asking a bit to catch you over in England?
We are pretty much open to invites to play abroad. Over the years we had some invitations but they all involved spending money and that’s something we can’t afford. If anyone out there knows some promoter interested in flying a six-piece band to your country, just contact us!

I notice that you also arrange a festival ‘Liperske’ featuring Portuguese bands so you obviously have a strong musical dedication, not just involving being in a band? How did this come about and how popular is it?
Liperske is “our” festival. We manage all the stuff around it and invite the bands. It is gaining a very good reputation throughout the years. The last edition – where we celebrated our tenth anniversary – received 500 persons and has a friend of us says: “Liperske is not a festival, but a party!”

Obviously most of our readers will have heard of Moonspell, what other bands would you advise those packing their suitcase for a holiday in the sun to check out?
I can point out bands like The Firstborn, Pitch Black, Before the Rain, Filii Nigrantium Infernalium and Process of Guilt. All of them have a very personalized way to present their metal and are on the top of the Portuguese scene in terms of quality.

Well that’s about it, final question, ‘Nothing is as it seems’??
Yes, there’s always a surprise element, hiden in between the lines!

5 CDs + 1 EP
€45.00 / $58.50