EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW – ALMAH
Our man Calum Robson caught up with the Brazilian power prog metallers to bring you yet another rushonrock exclusive!
rushonrock: The name Almah has dual meanings when used in separate contexts of both Jewish and Christian writings. What was it that made you want Almah as a name for this band?
Edu Falaschi: Actually the main reason was because Alma in Portuguese means ‘soul’. The word in Portuguese is without the ‘h’, but I decided to put ‘h’ on the end because it is a Hebrew word and there is a very nice meaning. It can represent many things in the Bible – I’m not a religious person but the meaning is cool. It means virginity, purity but at the same time it can mean evil. Many religious people have studied the Bible, but no one knows the real meaning of the name. Sometimes they say it is like the mother of the God, but sometimes they say Almah means the name of the devil. I think it was quite nice to have both sides – it can be like a parallel, comparing to many things.
rushonrock: Does the idea of the name Almah and these polar meanings contrast within the record to create a concept record?
EF: We didn’t want to make a conceptual album – the main idea was making something modern and more direct. The lyrics and instrumental ideas are totally connected to this direction – to make something modern, to make something fresh and new. We are quite tired of those bands that don’t even change anything over many years and are comfortable doing the same thing. We want to change, we want to at least try to do something new – that’s why the name of the album is Motion, because we want to move it, we need to go forward. The concept of the album is not totally closed, we don’t talk about one thing. The whole songs are talking about reality but they are constantly changing all the time.
rushonrock: In relation to Angra this is quite different – your last album with Angra was a concept record based on Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
EF: We didn’t want to make lyrics about fairytales or things that don’t even exist. We wanted to make something about the real life of the people and we believe music is a strong instrument to touch the people. For me, it makes no sense to talk about dragons, angels and fairytales any more. I wanted to talk about reality – about wars, about the dictators we have nowadays. There is a case in Brazil where a man went into a school and killed 12-children in the name of God. It’s them things we are talking about. For the songs we discuss religion – what is the difference between being a religious person and being a crazed person? And we talk about the things that are happening today.
rushonrock: It can have dual purposes and different effects on different individuals…
EF: Religion is totally connected to power and money. They brainwash those people and those people like to think they are living in another world. The idea was trying to talk to people through the music and try to make those people think about the reality nowadays, because in my opinion the younger generation are too boring – they don’t care about politicians, they don’t care abut the future and the world – they just care about video games or something like that. It’s quite dangerous because the world, in my opinion is getting worse. We have many many wars, but we are in 2011 – we need to evolve – we need to continue the evolution so we can stop.
rushonrock: Whether the world is evolving or not, Almah seems to be evolving musically, especially with the addition of Marcelo Barbosa on guitar (Khallice), Paulo Schroeber on guitar and Marcelo Moreira on drums (Burn In Hell). How do you fell they have stylistically impacted the band?
EF: Actually I have no idea! We were mixing many elements on the CD. The first album (Almah, 2006) was a solo album and I didn’t have one definitive style because I just put all of my influences in this album – many things that I’ve used in my whole career. The second album was the first one as a band – we needed to use some songs to have the Angra fans – we needed to have the Angra fans supporting us. We made some Angra elements because I sing in Angra as well, but this time with Motion, we needed to show people that we are a real band with our own identity and language. That’s why the album is sounding very different wit those many influences, because many people were composing – even the drummer was helping with melodies! In this way we can have many ideas. As five guys we have enough elements to create one unique element that is called Almah.
rushonrock: One song called Zombies Dictator will surely give some fans a surprise. It’s probably the heaviest song on the album and perhaps one of the heaviest songs you’ve ever recorded – would you agree with that?
EF: I agree with you that this is the heaviest one – we really love songs like that. We have some friends who are in Children Of Bodom and Arch Enemy and we really like it. I wanted to compose something like that, but I was just waiting for the opportunity to make it. In my opinion, my voice is not perfect to sing this kind of death stuff, but we invited a friend of ours from a band called Furia Inc – his name is Victor. He helped me with the song and he helped me to find the sound that we really wanted to have in this kind of vocals. It was real nice to have a counter-point to my clean voice in the chorus. This is making a difference in Almah, we are finding a compromise between really modern, aggressive and something really melodic, sometimes melancholic and even romantic. Those meters are creating the album identity.
rushonrock: I suppose in terms of the vocals you do on the track it’s a first step for you in this direction and it must have been quite a challenge to do so…
EF: Yeah. In a way it’s a new time, we can do it. We need to have our own identity and we believe that we need to be mixing ideas.
rushonrock: Late Night In ’85 is quite the different song – taking the listener on a beautiful, nostalgic journey. Could you tell us a bit about that?
EF: It’s different in the way that it is a ballad, but the atmosphere is the same. I believe that the whole album is connected. It’s a ballad but it’s a dark ballad. I made it on purpose – I wanted to make a ballad but I didn’t want to have something too soft, then I decided to make a ballad, more into the Pantera style for example. More adult and a little more darker than the ballads I’ve done in my whole career. Of course, I didn’t want to lose the catchy elements – I like to have a very good chorus. I was trying to have all of those elements together – and we got it – the song is very very nice. It is about my father’s death, but I didn’t want to make a very boring lyric talking about a death, I just wanted to create a message to people who have had this situation, about losing relatives and losing a father or mother. In the end, the message I like to say to the people is ‘you need to carry on and you need to use this situation to grow and carry on, and you need to help the people who are still alive – the ones beside you.
rushonrock: Despite the dark themes, delving into harsh realities, there’s a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ to be found within the album?
EF: We have to do it. We have a chance to reach many, many people in the world – in the whole world. We sing in English and we sell many CD’s in Japan, in Europe, in Brazil, South America, in the US so there’s a reason, we have to say something beautiful to the people.
rushonrock: You’ve had a very good level of success so far with Almah. Do you think the new record will continue in this direction?
EF: We are expecting that some people will really love this album because we had some experience recently – for example, we just released a video clip on the internet and in less than a week it had 30,000 hits! It was a good sign, and almost 100% of the comments were talking good things about that song. People were saying that they were expecting something really good on the album, just because of the single. We’ve just had an opportunity to listen to the comments of the Japanese journalists and everybody has been amazing with the CD. The journalists were saying that Almah is growing up, they’re much more mature now and the guys said that we have our own identity for sure. There were people asking for tours and we did an acoustic session only for selected fans. All fans were listening to the album and everybody was shocked because it’s very different to the previous one. The people are saying ‘this is 100% Almah’ and we’re very happy with the results and response. We have our own identity and we just need to keep it and carry on, to work hard and believe in the future.
rushonrock: What of Angra? Do you think you’ll have no problems balancing time for the two bands?
EF: It depends on Almah’s future. If people start saying Almah is the best band – because some people are saying that – it depends on many things. If the guys start making tours for us and creating new opportunities to go abroad, then of course, we’re going to make a new album soon with Almah. If everything starts growing a lot, we’re probably going to have some problems! [laughs] With Angra, we decided to stop for a while – after the Rock In Rio Festival that we’re going to do this month, we’re going to stop at least until January or February next year. Then we’re going to talk a lot and try to find a solution and decide what we’re going to do with Angra, if we’re going to do a new CD or a DVD or if we divert and each one goes to different directions. So, we just need to talk about it and decide what we’re going to do. At the moment, for us, especially me and Felipe the moment now is Almah – we are totally concentrated forward and we believe this album can give us lots of very very good things in the future. The future – we never know. When we talk about Angra, everything is very unclear, always. It’s very obscure because we have many complicated situations within the band all the time – if everything is OK then maybe we are going to do something. I prefer to think about Almah and to say that Almah is doing well – things are happening very fast.
rushonrock: What’s your next move in this uncertain future?
EF: We recorded two video clips already – one is released on the internet and the next one is going to be released in October and it is for Late Night In ’85. Then we’re probably going to record a video clip in the US, in Los Angeles, then we’re going to release an iPhone application. It’s done and it’s very nice. Next year we’re probably going to do some concerts in Europe – we are trying to do it, but it is not confirmed. We’re going to try and do something like that in Europe then Japan. If everything happens, we’ll be very happy and probably manage to make another album. We’re just trying to have a good band with friendship – that’s the main thing for us.
rushonrock: Any chance of getting over to the UK eventually?
EF: I really want to, but it depends on the future – on the response of the album and if it sells well. We really want to, but I have no idea!