Warred – Mask of ChaosSaturday, 9th May 2020
In today’s global marketplace, people often take for granted how the value of music can be perceived in other countries. Thanks to the global success of Sepultura and to a smaller degree Angra and Krisiun, Brazil has grown in terms of metal appeal not just for international bands but also younger musicians striving to achieve their goals to make an impact through their music. Warred are one of those newer bands – although releasing an EP Wild Legion in 2013, they’ve been carefully assembling the right musicians and mindset to deliver a style that has its roots in traditional metal while injecting a bit of a modern touch to things. They recently issued MMXX- The Singles Collection, another EP of material as they continue to work hard on their debut full-length effort.
We reached out to both guitarists of the group Arthur Ernandes and Rodrigo de Andrade to learn more about the history of Warred, specific favorites when it comes to heavy metal albums and shows, the state of things when it comes to a band of their level in Brazil, and of course thoughts on the world and what can be improved.
Dead Rhetoric: Tell me about your childhood memories surrounding music growing up – how did you get into heavy metal and then make the progression into wanting to pick up an instrument and play/create something yourselves?
Arthur: My parents were huge fans of the 70’s rock bands like Deep Purple, Rush, Queen, but they didn’t play any instrument. My cousins started a band back in 2003, and their set was entirely of cover songs of bands such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, Led Zeppelin, etc. One of them plays bass guitar, and the other one plays drums. So, I started to play guitar hoping to join the band someday, but it never happened, so I decided to go my own path.
Rodrigo: Ever since I was born, metal has always been around my life. At home my father always listened to older rock bands, which ended up becoming my taste too. In high school, I also had friends who listened to heavier stuff, Pantera, Metallica, System of a Down and more. From that point on, I began shaping my musical taste, which fluctuates a lot within all aspects of rock.
I had contact with guitars when I was 12 years old, when my father, who is also a musician, encouraged me to take some classes. I must admit I didn’t have much interest at the time, but after the first class and the first music I learned, I fell in love with the instrument and haven’t stopped since.
Dead Rhetoric: Warred began in 2012 when Arthur and Rodrigo as friends decided to form a group. Can you discuss those early years that led to the Wild Legion EP release in 2013 and why it was difficult to keep a stable lineup in those early times?
Arthur: We had an Iron Maiden cover band called Son of a Beast back in 2008, but as time went on, we began toying with the idea of doing our own stuff in the veins of NWOBHM and the newer bands following that traditional trend then. So, we began using spandex pants, chains, wristbands and stuff like that. When Warred came to life in 2012, we were still an Iron Maiden cover band but we started performing in tribute band championships in São Paulo and our performances were so well received that we won one of the contests we were disputing and then we were chosen by the jury as the host cover band of the pub. But even in those years, we kept envisioning doing our own music, and it was difficult to keep the line-up stable because not everyone in the band wanted to do that, but we kept it together long enough to record our Wild Legion EP, which was about 100% traditional metal in the vein of Enforcer, Skull Fist and NWOBHM stuff. But straight after that, we began to listen to other genres of metal, the line-up kept changing so we felt the music we recorded for that EP did not represent us anymore. We wanted to go further, sound-wise.
Rodrigo: As soon as we found what we considered to be a stable line up, we wrote those songs, recorded and dropped the Wild Legion EP. The process was very simple, actually. But then, we found ourselves into that line up dilemma again. Those years were very unstable and difficult in terms of band line up. We were very young at the beginning; it was very difficult for everyone to put time and effort on the band. Some of them had daily jobs, college and other plans, and ended up leaving the band to dedicate themselves to their life projects. Since the band’s inception, it is basically me and Arthur who stuck with it since day one. I am really grateful to everyone who was in this band at some point and helped to shape the band to what it is today.
Dead Rhetoric: Your latest EP MMXX – The Singles Collection contains three songs that you’ve been developing over the past few years that showcase your mix of traditional metal and modern influences. How did the recording sessions go for these songs, were there any surprises, challenges, or obstacles that came up during the development and songwriting to the final performances?
Arthur: The songs were ready to go before the recording sessions, there are just a few adjustments we did with the help of the producer (Rogerio Wecko), like arrangements and that kind of thing. Our song-writing sessions are a little bit ‘aggressive’, to be honest. Each one of us has different tastes in music. While both of us kept listening to traditional metal and some modern stuff, our bassist likes hardcore and punk, our singer is into black metal, so we have to make a huge brainstorming session with all the ideas to reach a song good enough for everyone. It takes a while, but in the end, it works well for everybody.
Rodrigo: With the line-up changes, we brought Pedro for the vocals, Espiga for the bass and Jorge for the drums. The fact that we all have different tastes in music brought a lot of divergence of ideas and overall sound. Despite all the effort we need to put with so many different ideas, we managed to combine these ideas and create something with our identity.
As for the recording, it was really simple. Everyone worked very hard, and we were in the good hands of producer Rogerio Wecko from Dual Noise Studios to make the process easier. He knew what we needed, we only had to worry about our performances.
In general, the process was very tiring, but I personally am 100% satisfied and happy with our music.
Dead Rhetoric: How would you describe Warred when it comes to your live shows/performances compared to the studio work? What have been some of the more memorable shows that you’ve done throughout the Warred career?
Arthur: As Warred, we’ve been in a few underground festivals in Sao Paulo with other bands, It was kind of a “battle of the bands” thing with 3 stages (quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals). We signed for three of those festivals, reaching the final round in all of them. It was important for us to reach all the finals because its crowded and full of people who never heard us before, and their response was great! Also, in Sao Paulo, there’s a huge place called Paulista Avenue, which is the business district of the city, and on Sundays it is closed for cars and traffic, so people can literally walk in the street to do whatever they wanna do. We had the opportunity to do a set with our original music, open air, with all kinds of people passing by and stopping by to watch our show, and it was madness, lots of people who don’t even listen to metal took a moment to appreciate our music.
Rodrigo: I describe it with two words: energy and passion. We go up on stage like we are preparing ourselves for a war. Personally, I really like the energy exchange with the audience and the interaction we have between the band and the audience at the show.
It is difficult to highlight one moment, but our last show, in Paulista Avenue, was madness. We were playing open air, on the street, easily 40ºc, for anyone who was passing by and some people wanted to hear more. I felt a great energy, and it was a very significant one, considering we had not been on stage for a long time.
But I feel that the best is yet to come, for sure.
Dead Rhetoric: Hailing from Brazil, where do you see the biggest struggles or obstacles in your path to moving up the ranks and making Warred more of a known group not just within your domestic scene, but also on an international scale?
Arthur: The club owners and event producers always look for cover bands, because it is easier to fill clubs and bars on a Saturday night with Metallica fans than with an original band. It is tough to compete, but there are a few producers (like the ones in the festivals we signed up for) that can provide great venues, great equipment without exploiting us and our role as a band. Media wise, you can’t go much further without paying the specialized media to share your band, we try to avoid that. On an international scale though, we have to do everything by ourselves, via the internet, sharing our music to spread through the globe.
Rodrigo: Complex subject. Culturally, in Brazil, nothing that is national is valued. People in general, tend to give attention, copy, and only consume what comes from the outside. In addition, on the music ambition isn’t much different. But with metal, despite having huge bands with global impact like Sepultura, Angra, Krisiun and more, Brazil itself is a country where metal is not valued at all, and this adds up to an extremely conservative audience that only consumes older bands and does not value the newer generations. To overcome this, only with a lot of work, dedication, passion, and of course, good music with our identity. I believe we have it all, and we can achieve our goal.
Dead Rhetoric: Can you tell us three albums in the metal genre that shaped your views, outlook, and fuel your passion for the cause – and what would you consider some of the best concerts/ festivals that you’ve personally witnessed just as a music fan?
Arthur: Seventh Son of a Seventh Son (Iron Maiden), Ride the Lightning (Metallica), and Love Gun (Kiss). I had the opportunity to go to Rock in Rio a few times and watch my favorite bands Maiden, Metallica and more. All of those were life changing experiences and makes me love what I do even more.
Rodrigo: It is very difficult to highlight only three albums, but I will highlight mainly those that impacted me the most and changed me the most as a musician and songwriter, such as Powerslave (Iron Maiden), Master of Puppets (Metallica) and The Way of All Flesh (Gojira). Each one in its own manner and time inspire me to keep moving forward, to keep on playing, studying music, and doing what I love.
Regarding concerts, I can certainly highlight the Iron Maiden concerts I attended, as well as Kiss, which personally I feel it’s the best show on earth. I can also highlight Monsters of Rock 2013, which I saw bands like Gojira, Slipknot, Korn, Hatebreed and even Limp Bizkit. I just went to enjoy the Slipknot show, and left with a completely different mindset, musically speaking.
Dead Rhetoric: What are some of the interests, hobbies, or activities that the members of Warred like to participate in outside of music when you have the free time to do so? Also, how do the members handle the balance between holding down jobs/careers, family time, as well as working on Warred – do you have the support of your extended families, friends, and relationships/significant others?
Arthur: We still need to work because the band isn’t our prime source of income. Basically, we book the weekends to make the band stuff, like writing, rehearsals. I’m a simple guy, I like to play games, hang out with friends and stuff like that. My family supports me and so does my girlfriend. My dad still goes to our concerts!
Rodrigo: I am a very restless person; I have many hobbies. One of them is still music, I like to play just to relax, even though I take it seriously, I have lots of fun doing it. Other than that, I like to train at the gym, play video games, fight and go out a lot to see my friends. I can’t live without a day a week at the bar to drink and chat.
For me it is very natural to reconcile the band with my daily and personal life. My friends and family support me unconditionally, and I know how to share my time with my daily job very well with my musical life. Each one has its time during my day and I take it very smoothly.
Dead Rhetoric: How do you feel about the state of the world today? If you had the opportunity to be a leader of the world, what do you believe the general population needs to focus on first to make this world a better, safer, and healthier place for all?
Arthur: It’s hard to say anything about that nowadays, but I think the sooner we stay locked in our houses 100% of the time, the sooner we will be free of this current plague. But it’s hard to do that when the vast majority of the population doesn’t have that option at all, even if you have a small business, when you have to pay salaries, in addition to all the economic problems we already have.
Rodrigo: Chaos. Not only due to COVID-19, plaguing us. Here in Brazil we have a bizarre leader, who prefers to attend economic summits than caring about the health of the population, and I imagine that his attitude extends to many other leaders around the globe, even if some might hide it better than others.
As a leader, I would care more about the human beings, the well-being of the population, social causes and giving equal opportunities to all people in the world. No matter how utopian they say it can be. We need to come together, break social, racial and gender prejudices. We are all the same and we all want the best for everyone. I believe that good will is still in the majority!
Dead Rhetoric: Warred is currently working on their next release, a full-length. How would you compare these songs stylistically to the band’s last release? Do you believe you will be a band that consistently adds new aspects to their sound, or are you pretty content to stay within certain parameters of your traditional meets modern influences?
Arthur: For the new songs, we are trying some drop D tuning. Also, we are always discovering new bands, new kinds of music and new elements. Most of our heroes didn’t do the same thing over and over, so why should we?
Rodrigo: Certainly, the style is changing and improving. I feel that we are increasingly modernizing the sound, but we seek to keep our identity and essence. The rule for me is not having rules. The music is free, and this is how I imagine the sound of Warred, floating between all our aspects and let it be whatever the band feels it has to be.
Dead Rhetoric: Where would you like to see Warred within the next three to five years? Do you believe the tools of the internet, social media, and instant communication allow the band to make a footprint even faster and on a similar level as many of the bigger, signed artists within the metal community?
Arthur: We hope that our music can reach out to new people, keep on doing live shows, recording and releasing new music, it is all about that. The internet and social media help us a lot. I mean, a guy from Morocco listened to our songs on Spotify. How could we achieve that without these tools?
Rodrigo: I wish we can headline Rock in Rio (laughs). Jokes aside, I imagine that in five years we can be established as a band, well known nationwide and globally, and reaching new people to listen to our music. With two or three albums released in the future, I think it will become easier to tour worldwide. One step at a time, but it doesn’t hurt to dream, right?
I work with social networks as a daily job and I fully understand the impact of promotion for bands and artists. It’s a path that definitely helps everyone in the business. However, because it is easier, the number of bands that uses this tool is also big, and thus, we have more competition, so if we want to make it, we can’t be amateurs. It is a very deep matter!
Dead Rhetoric: What can we expect from Warred over the next year or so as far as promotion, additional recordings, live shows/touring, etc.?
Arthur: As for 2020 it is tough to say when it comes to live shows. We have our own festival called WAR FEST, it was supposed to happen in late May, now we postponed it to late August but we are still unsure if it’s moving forward due to all this COVID outbreak, we don’t really know. We also had plans to do one more in November, but all these plans became vague now. But you can expect the new album with new songs, more social media content, and we really hope that more and more people can know and enjoy our work! We released our first official video clip for the song “Behind the Mask” and also a guitar playthrough for the song “Beneath The Sea” and the response has been great so far! We want to keep on doing this for the next year and beyond.
Rodrigo: We had clear plans for this year. Our headlining festival scheduled for May, later postponed to August, the release of another single and our debut album at the end of the year. However, with COVID-19 all these plans are on hold. But we are still working on the album and we still plan to release it soon. Between 2020 and early 2021 we will have our debut album out, and when everything resumes to normality, we will reschedule our show and put the band wagon on the road.