Press - Interviews
01st April 2002
Interview for Golden Lake Productions' Magazine #1

Click for a larger viewHailing from the home of Moonspell come ThanatoSchizO. Blackened death metal is the best way to describe these guys but there is so much more to the band than such a description would suggest. ThanatoSchizO try hard to compose unique brain twisting music a theme which comes through often when I quizzed guitarista Guilhermino Martins. As I had not hear of this band before I asked Guilhermino if the band had been together for a while…
Our history began a couple of years ago, when we started to play some covers in a rehearsal room. Then we decided to move further and enter upon a new phase: compose original themes (and when I say "original" I really mean it; we wanted our sound to be unique). This was back in 1998 and our name was still other: Thanatos. But after two years another change was required and our moniker as well as our line-up were slightly modified. Nowadays, the band is known as ThanatoSchizO.

The band have just released the excellent "Schizo Level" through Misdeed Records, also from Portugal. I asked how the deal came about and whether Misdeed had a strong impact on the profile of the band?
We've been working with Misdeed Records since the distribution of the EP "Melégnia" and they've always showed some interest about publishing an album. Since then our relationship became closer and at the end they revealed themselves to be very professional and supportive of our music.
The terms of our contract include the recording of another album and by mutual agreement another one. However, if by any chance we receive a proposal of a bigger label, we are free to leave our present one. This was requested by the band and Misdeed Records accepted our decision.
As for the label's contacts, am I not giving you this interview right now? Well, this proves how great the promotion has been. Lately, we have given a lot of interviews and reviews world-wide arrive every day.
Although the contact we signed with Misdeed Records is for two albums, we can get off anytime we want. Furthermore, we are friends and honest persons. It won't be a problem!

How about the album? Pleased with the end results?
Yes, we are very pleased with the final results of this new album. "Schizo level" only proves that is possible to make something at an European level here in Portugal. Furthermore, the production is excellent too. Luís Barros, drummer of Tarantula (a band from AFM label in Germany) was in charge of everything and was superb. He did a great job considering that we've used a lot of instruments this time. I sincerely recommend Rec 'n'Roll studios for the recording of any album.

How about touring plans? I believe that you have played with a number of top bands in Portugal. I suggested that to really make a mark on the scene then the band would have to play outwith their home country.
Yes, we do plan to tour in order to promote this new record. On a first stage, our tour will include national bands and perhaps in a short term we will play outdoors with international acts. Our label has been backing this tour idea and encouraged us to play a lot. Moreover, we have a background of about 40 gigs per year, which clearly shows that it won't be difficult to bear the weight of the possible pressure.
And of course we would agree to tour outside Portugal. For instance, take the example of Moonspell's opus "Wolfheart". They really started to sell and to be accepted when they toured with Morbid Angel and Immortal. In Portugal, the public only likes products that come from foreign countries. This means that a Portuguese band to be succeeded in its own country, has to be fully accepted outdoors. This is stupid, but sadly true.

On a more local level, is there much a scene in Portugal? Is there a good helping of gigs and are attendances up to much?
Portugal has a lot of quality bands and the metal scene is very strong, although it lacks union. Furthermore, there are a lot of bands which arouse the interest namely outdoors such as Sirius, Moonspell, Malevolence. This is a small country and of course the smarter bands are the ones that understand the necessity of exporting their music in order to expand musically. In Portugal, many concerts take place, but in the last year the number has radically fallen. The public prefer to attend to the big concerts (namely the ones given by foreigner bands), because they are certain they will be well organised, start on time and have a great sound.

As I mentioned above there is a lot going on throughout "Schizo Level" suggesting a broad mix of styles between the members. What about the writing process?
Well, there are some persons that have already stated we are a sort of "Mr bungle meets Extreme-metal", which pleases me a lot. In the process of composition, we all participate as a whole, but the question has nothing to do with having a thousand styles in only one theme. We just follow our rule number one: freedom! And if that implies having a theme which includes black, death, doom, thrash, ambient or rock, that's fine for us. At the bottom, all we do is deconstruct some metal clichés (which enjoy us). However, I must say we respect metal and its clichés a lot. By clichés I mean for instance typical black metal voices or familiar riffs .

Judging by the quality musicianship on show, a lot of time must be spent in the rehearsal studio…
Yes, we rehearse a lot, but in fact in the beginning things were much more intensive. We rehearsed almost 5 hours everyday. Nowadays, we play together 3/4 times a week about 3/4 hours per day. At this moment, we are preparing the promotional gigs of "Schizo Level" and composing new themes for the next album, which will be recorded (as agreed with Misdeed Records) between December 2001 and January 2002.
As for our jobs and studies, they don't interfere at all in our musical life... In fact, we are very professional taking this into consideration.

On to the lyrics of the album. Is there a concept running through the tracks?
The whole lyrical concept of "Schizo Level" metaphorically expresses the real life, which is lived by a character named Suturn. This imaginary being was previously used in "Melégnia" EP and represented then the medieval era. In this CD, Suturn impersonates the present time and also the future. In "Schizo Level", an entire world of feelings, thoughts and experiences are described as they are seen through the eyes of this character. Suturn perceives the world as place where corruption and betrayal dominate all creatures, where no pure acts or deeds can take place. A curious fact is that this journey occurs in Suturn's own mind, while he lives another moment of schizophrenia.

On a more personal level, I asked Guilhermino how long he had been playing guitar. Being a muso myself (well a drummer but hell near enough) I am always interested to hear someone's backgroud.
I play the piano since I was 8 years old and started to be interested in the guitar very late... only at 17! My first experience with metal happened at the age of 4 when I listened to Black Sabbath -Volume 4. Nevertheless, the real interest only appeared in 1991.
I'm a very eclectic person, because I listen to a lot of different sounds and I'm also interested in playing many styles in various ways. As far as I can remember, the reason why I wanted to enter in the world of metal was when I dreamed to be vocalist. I've always been a great fan of Mike Patton and of all his project, but I must admit that my voice is really not good enough. So at the age of 17, I started to explore the guitar strings. It wasn't that hard to begin, because I already had a solid basis from the piano.
My greatest influences as a guitar player come from Randy Rhoads, Tommy Iommi, Jerry Cantrell and Jim Martin. Then, in a specific field, there's Trey from Morbid Angel and Chuck Schuldiner from Death. Recently, I admire the work of Mikael Äkerfeldt from Opeth, but more in terms of composition rather than in terms of technique.

So apart from Luís Figo and Moonspell (whose new album is a MAJOR disappointment after the excellent "Butterfly Effect") what does Portugal have to offer the world?
Portugal has always been a country closely connected with the sea. Our past is full with discovery events. Moreover, we were the first ones to explore the sea world and find other continents and countries. This is why Lisbon has a lot of monuments which represent this Portuguese adventurous spirit. Furthermore, there are other points of interest scattered all over our country. A beautiful place to visit is for sure Sintra: a gothic place from where you can see the sea and taste a life near the countryside. Other options can be the mountains, our wonderful sea-shore, the vast plains, the rustic and bucolic landscapes. Portugal is a very nice place to live in, but unfortunately the Portuguese people don't know how to appreciate it. Only the foreigners can truly see the wonders that Portugal can offer and they are just here... waiting to be discovered...

A bit like ThanatoSchizO, a band well worth checking out. As always in the world of fanzines the last words fo to the band…
Well, thanks for this lovely interview. And a final advice to the readers: if you have courage, listen to "Schizo Level"! I hope you're brave enough to enter upon this "Schizo Level", because once you meet Suturn, you won't easily get rid of him. He can be your worst nightmare, since he can penetrate your own mind...

Lovely indeed 'nu

5 CDs + 1 EP
€45.00 / $58.50