Friday, 3 July 2015

Band Interview: REDQUARTER

By Lady Kat Chaos with George Derenches, Dave Wolff, Brion Hughes and Alan Lisanti
Interview conducted live at Kat Chaos’ Facebook profile January 27, 2015
Edited by Dave Wolff – Reposted with permission

Lady Kat Chaos: Hails Matheus! How’s everything going? What is the atmosphere like for you as a musician and as a band hailing from Brazil?
Matheus Telles: Hey, Kat! I'm doing ok, what about you? Sorry I took so long.

George Derenches: How did you come up with the band name?
Matheus Telles: Actually I'm not a former member. I got in like a year after it started. By the time I asked that question they said: "It's not literally anything. We were coming up with names and we thought Redquarter sounded good".

Lady Kat Chaos: What is the atmosphere like for you as a musician and as a band hailing from Brazil?
Matheus Telles: Well, we released our first official work last year and we're finishing the pre-production of our first full length, to be released in 2015. Until now we've been extremely well received by the specialized media and metal heads. Hope it goes getting better and better.

Dave Wolff: Is there anything you want to reveal about your debut full length before it comes out?
Matheus Telles: We actually have 4 unreleased songs recorded live at the same show that appears on the video clip. One of them will surely be a single for the Full length. Maybe in 2 or 3 more months.

Lady Kat Chaos: Do you find it at times better to play your new songs live to see what the reaction you will receive from the crowd before you finalized it on a new release?
Matheus Telles: Actually, no. we think it's getting even better. When we played those songs the first time live the audience response was incredible. You'll get to hear it soon.

Lady Kat Chaos: Are you still playing around with titles for your full-length?
Matheus Telles: We were thinking about the full length even while recording the EP. Hahahahaha It doesn't have a name yet, but the idea is already done. The one thing sure is that we'll continue to work with Elton Fernandes. His artwork is just perfect for Redquarter's covers.

Dave Wolff: How did you and Elton Fernandes come into contact?
Matheus Telles: We used to rehearsal in the same studio. My band was just starting and I admired those guys. I was like 15 and never played live, they had fans already. We got to know each other and they came to me one day asking me if I wanted to join the band. It's actually a little longer than that, but let's save it from a live interview. Elton lives in the same city we do. We've always heard about his job and when we got the chance to work with him it was awesome! Great guy!

Lady Kat Chaos: Do you find it hard joining a band what has been around for three or four years before you became a part of their family? How long did it take you to learn their material?
Matheus Telles: When I joined the band they already had the EP composed. So I started doing by best at the business part like booking shows, making good contacts. At the beginning I felt like I had to work really hard since some songs were already done. The EP was our first work together. But I can tell it's the first of many more!

Lady Kat Chaos: What was going through your mind when you hit the stage for the first time?
Matheus Telles: At my first show I was ok, actually. What really got me was my first rehearsal with Redquarter. I was all shaky and sweating. They still make fun of me because of that.

Lady Kat Chaos: Are you much younger the rest of the band?
Matheus Telles I'm 19 now, they're all between 21 and 26.

Lady Kat Chaos: In your earlier years you started learning how to play on an acoustic guitar playing pop rock, hard rock and metal. How old were you when you first started playing?
Matheus Telles: I always wanted to play the drums. My room wasn't big enough and here in Brazil it's pricey. So at age 12 a cousin of mine started playing and I took the old acoustic guitar I had in my room and started learning with him.

Lady Kat Chaos: Your mom brought your first guitar a Japanese Ibanez RG, do you still use this guitar today? Do you still use your Zoom G2 and the Guitar Rig 5? What new gear have you purchased?
Matheus Telles: This Ibanez is still my first guitar on stage. The zoom G2 gave space to the Satchurator Distortion pedal, by Vox and an Ibanez TS9 like pedal. For the rest, it's all on Guitar Rig.

Lady Kat Chaos: What do you like about Ibanez guitars?
Matheus Telles: They got the famous "C shape" neck, which gives you great grip all over the neck. Some guitar necks are too fat or too skinny, Ibanez's just feels right. And the tone is killer!

Lady Kat Chaos: What about your pick-ups?
Matheus Telles: Most metal players like those crazy looking guitars, but that's not my vibe. But I've gotta admit... The Dean Razorback Dimebag used to play with... That guitar is Awesome! On the Ibanez I still use the original ones, made by DiMarzio I guess. My Bill Lawrence LX500 and Fernandes Sustainer are on their way!

Lady Kat Chaos: Are you happy being a guitarist now and do you plan on switching to drums later on in your career? Do you ever play on Leonardo kit when he leaves the rehearsal room?
Matheus Telles: Of course I do! I still think the drums are the funniest instrument to play. You get to hit on thins and look cool while doing it! hahahaha But I don't see me doing something else in my life other than playing guitar. It's a part of me.

Lady Kat Chaos: Why not Seymour Duncan SH-13 instead of Bill Lawrence LX500?
Matheus Telles: They are very similar pickups on the tone, but not at the price. Think it's because Seymour Duncan has to pay some royalties to Dimebag's family. Here in Brazil the Seymour it's almost twice the price Bill Lawrence ones.

Lady Kat Chaos: Did you know the man who claims to be named Bill Lawrence is actually Willi Stich, AKA Billy Lorento and Bill Lawrence?
Matheus Telles: Didn't know that! I've heard that he had his own handmade pickups nowadays, aside Bill Lawrence factory made ones. Heard they're like little tone devils trapped inside the pickups. Not sure if it's true though.

Lady Kat Chaos: Pickups made by the Bill Lawrence Company (USA), which is owned by Jzchak Wajcman, are mainly manufactured in California. All pickups are still made similar to the 1982 Dimebag Darrell L-500XL pickups. Is it still hard to purchase instruments in Brazil?Matheus Telles: Here in Brazil, once the instruments get in they are taxed in like 70% its price. It's absurd! If an Amplifier costs like 1.5K dollars in USA, they get up to 8.000 reais easily! (About $3.200).

Lady Kat Chaos:  I never knew that. That is a bit insane. Maybe one day down the road you can create your own signature guitars in your country so others are able to purchase some instruments cheaper. What would be your dream guitar?
Matheus Telles: Who knows? Mr. Zakk Wylde did it recently. I always loved 80's guitars like Kramer and Charvel. But there are three guitars that make me crazy! The Kramer signature from Steel Panther's Satchel, the Schecter signature from Jeff Loomis and the Dean Vinnie Moore uses, the Red one with gold bridge and stuff. These three I mentioned are my greatest heroes when it comes to guitar playing.

Lady Kat Chaos: You enjoy many 80's shredders. One of your influences is Jeff Loomis. When did you first hear Jeff Loomis guitar work with Nevermore or Arch Enemy?
Matheus Telles: I first heard Jeff Loomis playing his solo career, actually it was "Jato Unit" at EMGtv... at that time I was really into Chris Broderick, and that's how I got to him.

Lady Kat Chaos: Did you know Jeff tried out for Megadeth when he was 16 years old but they felt he was too young at that time. During the time when he was recording his solo album, "Zero Order Phase" in 2007 or 2008 he was asked to join Megadeth but this time Jeff declined their offer? Are you a fan of Jeff's three solo albums?
Matheus Telles: Yeah! I tell everybody this story! Mustaine must have been really frustrated at that time. I don't think anybody else would have declined this offer.

Brion Hughes: I got a few questions, first, what's your current guitar & amp/effects set up?
Matheus Telles: Now I use my Ibanez RG 450 LTD, a Vox Satchurator and an Ibanez TS9 like pedal to boost... All the rest is on Guitar Rig 5. Effects, amplifiers... Guitar Rig is an incredible tool for live and studio use.

Brion Hughes Are the music stores there in Brazil expensive? Or do you buy equipment on-line?
Matheus Telles: It's more worth it to buy online. The products made here in Brazil aren't that expensive, but the imported ones are absurd! A Fractal Audio Axe FX II costs almost R$20.000, around the $8.000. How much is it in the USA? $3.000?

Brion Hughes: That’s insane!! So, that being said, do you ever use Brazilian equipment? What are some of the influential bands from your area/country that really sparked your interests in metal?
Lady Kat Chaos: I'm glad to see that you being 19, really dig deep into the history of your influences and the roots of metal. One of your favorite songs is, "Feel the Steel" by Steel Panther. Was Steel Panther one of the first band who got you into metal?
Matheus Telles: I friend of mine showed me Steel Panther 3 or 4 years ago and I'm a huge Glam Metal fan, I'd never think I’d see a post 2000 band playing that kind of stuff and still dressing like that! Hahahahah They're my favorite band ever. But they didn't got me into Metal. My father did. When I was like 6, 7 years old we used to sit and listen do Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple. And that's how I got started. Also I'm a huge music fan, I'm always trying to find new stuff. In my PC I have like, 220.000 songs. I might not have listened to every one of them, but name the band and I'll name you at least one good song.

Brion Hughes: Oh boy!! Glam metal was very popular when I was your age, there were some amazing bands that I still jam, Bang Tango, Steelheart, Stryper, Bullet Boys, Poison, White Lion.
Matheus Telles: Those guys are sick! Rough Cutt, Y&T, Skid Row, Dokken. Glam Metal rules!

Brion Hughes: I love Dokken!
Matheus Telles: About the Brazilian Equipment, we have some pretty good guitars, like Tagima guitars, Seize guitars, and some killers custom ones! I wouldn't mind if Tagima asked me to be and endorser.

Lady Kat Chaos: That's interesting to know that you're also a Glam Metal fan especially at your age. Is Glam Metal making a comeback in Brazil and do you feel Thrash Metal is beginning to really re-surge again? What is it about the last few years that has made thrash metal becoming strong and is there still a big scene for Thrash Metal compared to Death and Black Metal in Brazil?
Matheus Telles There are some great glam metal bands here in Brazil, but the metal scenario is going stronger. Thrash Metal here in Brazil is almost in every corner! The gods from KORZUS OFFICIAL just released a killer album! Also there's Krisiun and lots of great bands!

Dave Wolff: Is Sepultura still well known in Brazil?
Matheus Telles: Hellyeah! Sepultura is everywhere! They played on the last 2 Rock in Rio in the main stage. I went to one of them in 2013. It was insane! Those most extreme genres of Metal are HUGE here. We have great festivals with great Brazilian band and it's getting better. But of course they're all independent.

Lady Kat Chaos: Was your father a musician as well?
Matheus Telles My father isn't a musician, but he's a big rock music fan.

Lady Kat Chaos:  Being a diverse musician how do you feel this helps with your own creativity?
Matheus Telles I think it's great! I listen to lots of bands of different genres and I try to mix everything I like into my own stuff. I try to be open minded to every idea that comes around and sounds good to me.

Lady Kat Chaos: Last year you released your debut EP “Innersight” which has been making an impact on Brazilian Thrash Metal scene. "My Only Desire", what is the meaning behind this track?
Matheus Telles: We all love metal ballads. That song was the first Redquarter's composition I think. I bet Mauricio Chinemann composed that song trying to get girls to like the band.

Lady Kat Chaos: What is your favorite song off this EP?
Matheus Telles I always loved playing "Chainless Prison"! Live this song gets the crowd insane!

Brion Hughes: Hey those Tagima guitars look pretty nice, I've always wanted a guitar that is made with Brazilian wood.
Matheus Telles They are, Brion! Have you ever listened to DR SIN? Ardanuy uses Tagima guitars, also Kiko Loureiro used them a long time. That was before he went to Ibanez.

Brion Hughes: Do you like Soulfly in any way?
Matheus Telles: I listened to Soulfly the first time in High School, Brion. It's not the kind of thing I put on the headphones to hear, but their show must be sick!

Lady Kat Chaos: What are your thoughts about females within metal bands and as fans, since you mentioned girls? Who are some of your favorite female musicians? Do you feel creating a metal ballad that it will attract more females to the metal scene?
Matheus Telles: Girls have always been a huge part of every (or almost every) band's fan base. I once heard Mike Portnoy saying the only girls in Dream Theater's show were only there because of their boyfriends. But I admire those girls who go to Metal shows and play at metal bands even when society is still so criticizing.

Lady Kat Chaos: Do you feel the metal scene is still male dominated or has this been changing?
Matheus Telles: Of course it does! Not every girl likes to hear a guy scream his brains off, but almost every girl likes to hear a ballad of love here and there.

Brion Hughes: Girls can be such a motivator in that respect.
Dave Wolff: It depends on the female. Many are attracted to the brutality of extreme metal
Lady Kat Chaos: You clearly read my mind Dave. Do you see more females singing along to your metal love song compared to your other songs?

Matheus Telles: Here in Brazil we have some great bands with girls, some of them with girls only, like Nervosa Thrash and Girlie Hell Go. I myself am a huge fan of some girls in heavy music, such as Alissa from Arch Enemy, Lizzy Hale from Halestorm. Those cute faces can make you crazy with their talent! The good thing about heavy metal ballads is that they reach not only those who enjoy Metal music. But almost every music fan. I'm talking about "I Remember You", "Nothing Else Matters", "Tears Of The Dragon", "More Than Words" and so many others.

Dave Wolff: Also "The Ballad" by Testament and "Words Are Just Words" by Cyclone Temple. "Melissa" by Mercyful Fate and "Last Nail In The Coffin" by Whiplash. And who could forget Manowar's "Heart Of Steel"?
Lady Kat Chaos: “Bare” by Anthrax, “A Room With a View” by Death Angel, “Wading Through the Darkness” by Flotsam And Jetsam, "Return to Serenity" by Testament and the list can go on.

Matheus Telles: There are so many great ballads in heavy metal, we should stop sometime and make a list together!

Lady Kat Chaos: What did you think of Angela Gossow?
Matheus Telles: Her work with Arch Enemy was incredible! Nemesis is a hymn! But I have to admit I've always been an Alissa fan since The Agonist.

Lady Kat Chaos: Do you like female bands for their musical talent or their looks first?
Matheus Telles: It is more usual for me to listen the band before getting to really know them. For example, out of metal music. Pop artist Jessie J. She's an incredible singer! At first I thought she was a little weird, but I got so into her talent that now I think she's gorgeous. But I won't lie, the opposite sometimes happens too.

Lady Kat Chaos: Some still don't respect women today in the metal scene whether they are a musician or a fan. Although, there has been females in the metal scene since the 70s. Why do you feel women don't get the same respect as the males do?
Matheus Telles: I really don't have an answer. People still have lots of judgmental opinions about metal scene itself. Even metal fans. Guess they still think that female metal fans are only sluts, groupies and stuff. I think that's all bullshit.

Lady Kat Chaos: Indeed many still think that was about females but they are wrong in most cases. Will you be heading back to Vintage Studios (Rio de Janeiro) to record your full length and will it be produced by Lisciel Franco again? When are you planning to head into the studio and have you schedule a release date as of yet?
Matheus Telles: We're planning on recording the full length in Sao Paulo. We've contacted some great producers and we're still talking about how we want the album to sound and things like that. Lisciel Franco is a great producer, he did a hell of a job on "Innersight"! He sure is in our list. About a release date, I don't wanna rush anything, but certainly by the second half of the year, if everything goes how planned.

Lady Kat Chaos: Is there a central message or theme you're trying to get across with this album?
Matheus Telles: We're almost finishing the idea for the album cover. It'll say everything we want to say. And I think the surprise will make it even better!

Lady Kat Chaos: Are you taken a break from playing shows while you're in the writing process and then heading into the studio?
Matheus Telles: Half the songs that'll be on the new album have been written in our rehearsals for the presentation at the "Innersight" release concert, in October 18th. It's a completely natural process to all of us. And since we're still booking the dates, we still got some time to finish some details before heading to the recording studio.

Lady Kat Chaos: What do you feel is the most challenging part of creating an album?
Matheus Telles: Definitely the recording process! We are perfectionists in every aspect. If we do a good take or even a great take. We always think we can do better in some aspect. And if we keep doing this, we'd take forever to release the full length.

Lady Kat Chaos: Since you are a part of the new generation growing up with the internet, even well-known bands have problems selling their CDs and concert tickets. How does has this affected you so far?
Matheus Telles: It hasn't, I guess. At least not yet. We released the "Innersight" EP for free download at our site. Since we're a first album band, I don't feel like it's fair or even smart to charge people to listen your work.

Lady Kat Chaos: Most of the time a musician aren't always happy and feel they could do better. How do you feel about the categorizing of metal sub-genres and have you ever been labeled wrongly?
Matheus Telles: I try not to divide so much. For me there is music I like and music I don't like. And we think we're a Heavy Metal band with some Thrash and prog influences, everything between that is kinda right.

Lady Kat Chaos: It’s expensive for bands to buy gear, equipment, travel back and forth to gigs, pay for studio time and so forth. So, you feel that given it away all for free downloads wouldn’t hurt your band or other bands to release another album?
Matheus Telles: A band can't depend on selling CDs to make money nowadays. Even the bigger ones. You can listen to Redquarter pretty much everywhere you go. I think it's more prejudicial for a band trying to compete with the music industry. Like in Facebook, for example. Some bands ask you to give a "like" before you even listen to their songs. How absurd is that? I know 20 years ago that's how it worked. But not anymore. You have to give people the chance to listen to your songs. That's the first step. They won't buy anything if they don't hear it first. And since it was an EP, not a full album... Guess it'll be worth it when we release the album.

Lady Kat Chaos: Other than your own material, what's coming out in metal this year you are looking forward to?
Matheus Telles: I'm not aware of the upcoming releases this year, but I heard Testament is working on a new album, Halestorm, Adrenaline Mob (HUGE fan). And I think Megadeth too, but they haven't even announced their new guitar player and drummer yet!

Lady Kat Chaos: Most will listen to a band before they hit the like on their fb page. Some just hit it just to give some support especially if they are friends with one another. I can see bands putting out some sample songs for individuals to take a listen and in hopes they will purchase a hard copy. Do you still purchase albums, EPs and what was the first album you brought on your own?
Alan Lisanti: Do you prefer downloading music or buying physical copies of releases, and do you plan to release your new album both ways, or just one or the other?

I'm a physical copy fan. I do download lots of stuff, but if I really enjoy, I'll support the band and get a physical copy and, if possible, a shirt and stuff. We'll probably release it both ways. Not sure if free download, probably not. But YouTube, Spotify and media like that is always a good idea.

Alan Lisanti: Are you a fan of Jeff Loomis's other work in other projects, and which is your favorite if so?
Matheus Telles: Pretty much everything he's done so far. I'm not a huge Nevermore fan, although I like the Enemies of Reality record. And my favorite has to be Sanctuary. That was an amazing band.

Alan Lisanti I do think, since he left Nevermore, they aren't as good lol. I prefer the stuff he played on/wrote with them. So, getting back to the CD/downloading thing, do you think more people will buy CD's as opposed to downloading in the future?
Matheus Telles: I think that even if in a smaller scale, CDs will always sell. Metal fans have this hunger for having the physical copies of what they really like. It's not just hearing, it wearing the shirt, is touching the physical CD, reading the booklet. There's a magic in that! Vinyls are great! They are coming back as limited edition stuff and it's going great! But I think it's not the "salvation" of the market.

Lady Kat Chaos: I've heard if you put your album on YouTube there is a code that allows you to download the song or album for free. The internet has its pros and cons. It does help bands branch out more. What about marketing your releases with distro companies?
Matheus Telles: It can help you get into places you wouldn't be able to get by yourself! But with your first release is hard to find a company willing to work with you. You don't get so much credibility by them. But it sure can open a window for a future release, such as an Album. (That's how it's working for us).

Lady Kat Chaos: You guys just dropped a music video for "Redquarter". Can you tell me about how that came together?
Matheus Telles: We already had an album, excellent reviews and a live show. What did we need most? A video clip. So we contacted João Gabriel and Ricardo Estevao from Radar Produtora and we started planning it to happen live.

Lady Kat Chaos: I've heard that you were up for an award last year, 2014. What can you tell us about that?
Matheus Telles: The "Innersight" EP was nominated in a few zines here in Brazil in "Best EP" category. So far, we won in one of them. It's great being recognized by your work. And we'll make sure the name Redquarter get stuck in their heads with our new album!

Lady Kat Chaos: Congrats! Are there still many printed fanzines that exist in Brazil? I also know that you have to get going since its getting late. I would like to thank you for taken out your time for this interview and wish you good luck with your upcoming album. Any last words or plugs you would like to leave before we close our gates?
Matheus Telles: Not anymore. About 5 years ago there were a few more. It's been my pleasure talking to you guys, I had a lot of fun and hopefully, next time will be a live interview. My last words are: If you're a metal fan, go to the events, support the local bands. You can't complain there ain't good bands if you don't support those you like. And if you're a musician, well... We're all in this together! Hahahahaha Good night and go to Redquarter's page on Facebook for more info! Hail!