Thrashy, blasting metal. Brazilian metal juggernauts Eminence are exactly what I needed to cleanse my pallet from the nonstop blitzkrieg of poorly performed hipster schlock that grazed all over SXSW 2013. Brazil LOVES their metal, and when a member of seminal Brazilian act Sepultura takes interest and offers his time to help you with your project, you know you’re onto something.
Almost 2 decades into their impressive career, Eminence’s calculated, brutal delivery and sonic debauchery lays most of the metal I’ve heard recently to complete waste, so I caught up with vocalist Bruno Paraguay and bassist T.C. in Austin at SXSW to talk about Brazilian metal, the cross-cultural comparison of metal scenes, and working in the studio with Paulo Xisto Pinto, Jr. from Sepultura.
G- What going on and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five!
B- Hey thank you!
TC- Thanks for having us! We’re really excited to be here!
G- Glad to have you, man! For some of our readers who don’t know who you are yet, please do us a favor and introduce the members in the group… Who is everyone, what do they play, and where does everyone come from?
B- Ok. I’m Bruno Paraguay and I do vocals for Eminence.
TC- I’m TC and I’m the bass player. And we’re missing Andre Marcio who’s the drummer and…
G- Drummers are always lost.
TC- Yeah… Talk about lost, man! And Alan Wallace, our guitar player.
G- Alright a 4-piece?
TC- Yeah a 4-piece.
G- You guys put out A LOT of sound for a 4-piece, I gotta tell ya!
G- How’s everything going at SXSW this year? You’ve played a couple of shows so far… Any stories, moments, or drunk debacles you want to share with us?
TC- (laughing) We’re just having a great time, you know? It’s not my first time here, but it’s always so intense and you’ve got so many things to do. It’s easy to get lost, actually, but it’s a great experience for us and… I don’t know. It’s all good, man! It’s good to be here and bring some of the Brazilian flavor to the metal scene here in the US, and we’re just glad to be here.
B- Yeah, and to have fun with the band, as well. It’s good to be together, so it’s good.
G- Well, you traveled a long way to get here, so you better be having a good time! That’s a long flight!
B- Oh yeah.
G- So, for some of our readers that might not know, tell us a bit about Eminence… How long has Eminence been together, when did you first get started, and when did you feel that moment when the group really “clicked” and you said ‘This is what we’re about! We’re Eminence, and we’re gonna do this thing!’
TC- I’m the last one to join the band of this incarnation. The band has been around since 1995.
G- So, you’re pushing 20 years right now, huh?
G- You don’t even look like your 25 years old!
TC- (laughing) Thanks a lot for that! Tell people in Brazil about that! But seriously, those guys have been around for a long time.
TC- We’re from Belo Horizonte, which is the same city where Sepultura began to work, and those guys… They’re from the same scene. They were playing together, and just started to develop the scene. I’m so much younger, you know, than those guys. I hope they listen to this interview!
B- Me too, because it’s only been 5 years since I joined the band, and for me, it’s a pleasure. Before I joined the band, I was just a fan that went to all the Eminence gigs in Brazil, singing along. And now, I’m the singer and the front man and for me, it’s a pleasure!
G- Feels good, huh?
G- Rad! You’re a monster on the mic, by the way, so you’re a very good compliment to the band.
B- Thank you.
G- Now, you recently worked with Paulo Xisto Pinto Jr. from Sepultura and, I’d like to know, what was it like working with Paulo, and how did the studio sessions go? Tell us about it!
B- The session was pretty cool. The producer is a very great guy, and Paulo is a great friend of ours, you know?
TC- Let me explain because I’m the bass player.
B- He’ll explain.
TC- Since I was a little, little kid, those guys were already playing, and he’s a legend, you know? His band and everything it means for us, especially for music in general in Brazil, because they’re…
G- They’re The Rolling Stones of Brazilian Metal!
TC- Yeah. So, it was a pleasure to have Paulo working on this album because it’s, like, it’s something that has to do with the whole history of metal in Brazil. Our city is the biggest metal scene in the country, for sure, and it’s where it all began. All the metal in Brazil, and it spread all around. So, it’s good to have Eminence because we’re like veterans right now. And working together with Paulo, from the most successful band… It’s just nice to have these things together. It means a lot to us.
B- And it just happened naturally, you know? Paulo had some vacations in our hometown, and we just called him and he said ‘Why not,’ and he came to our studio and played some songs with us.
TC- Alan, our guitar player, and Andre the drummer, they have a side project with Paulo called…
B- The Unabomber Files
G- The Unabomber Files?! My God!!!
TC- So, they’ve been friends for a long time.
G- Right on! Now, tell us a little bit about the Brazilian Metal Scene. I’ve been following metal since I was a young child, and I’m from NY, so I have a bit of a central focus, but metal is universal…
G- And people like metal. Tell us about the Brazilian metal scene from your eyes. What do you like about it, and what needs to happen?
B- From my opinion, I think Brazil has a lot of good metal bands, you know?
G- Any that you can recommend to us?
B- Yeah. Project 46 is a good band from Sao Paulo. Chakal from our hometown, as well, is a very good band! We have a lot, man. A lot.
G- Brazil loves their metal!
B- It has a lot of energy, you know? It’s good, man, It’s good.
TC- I think that Brazilian metal has a lot to do with attitude and protest. If you want to go against anything, you go Metal, man! You have a point there, so that’s a good thing about Brazilian Metal.
B- The problem with some Brazilian bands is they need to be more professional, you know? We don’t have great opportunities there and we don’t have great venues to play, so it’s more difficult to start, but it’s not impossible. The guys from the bands in Brazil need to…
TC- Be united.
G- Consolidate the scene a little?
B- Yeah, and do something for the world, because they just stay in the city and the rest of the world knows nothing about them.
G- There’s so many metal bands in Brazil, and they’re putting out so much pulverizing shit! If we here in the US could open our minds a little bit, and listen to more stuff… It’s a large world, but it’s a small world. If we can listen to Sepultura, we should listen to the other stuff. Eminence is killing!
TC- Thanks, man!
G- Don’t thank me… I’m just one guy with one blog. I’m just saying!
TC- That’s all it takes. It’s so good to come here and travel and have people that connect with our music. It’s really good!
G- It’s solid, man!
What I’d like to ask now is do you have a favorite song you have ever written or that is the most fun to perform? Or, if you could only give 1 song to someone who’d never heard Eminence before, what song would you give them and why?
G- I kill everybody with this one.
B- (laughing) I like to play a song from the first album called “Chaotic Creation.” For me, it’s a really killer song from their first album, and I haven’t had the opportunity to play it before, so that’d be awesome!
TC- Well, I like “Devil’s Boulevard.”
B- It’s devastating!
TC- It’s just fast and to the point. I just love it!
B- But I have to say, man, be ready for the new album, man! The new songs are awesome and killer! I think it’s an evolution for the band, you know? We tried some different things that we’ve never tried before.
TC- It’ll probably be out in 2 months, yeah?
B- Yeah I think.
G- So a May release?
B- Yeah I think. Quite possible. I think it’s heavy, more melodic, and more interesting.
G- Heavier than what you’ve already done?!
B- Yeah I think so.
G- Jesus Christ… You’re gonna kill us!
Now, I know you played a couple of shows here last night in Austin, and you’ve been playing for a long time… Can you tell us about the craziest or most memorable show that you have played to date? Where was it and what was it like?
B- For me, I think it was the first show in our hometown, because Eminence has a long history in our hometown. So, the first show in our hometown was really special because I didn’t know what to expect, I didn’t know what the audience would think about me, but it was really crazy! It was a big show, and for me, it was very special.
G- How about you, TC?
TC- I liked a show in Central America. It was, like… I just love that country now. You don’t know what you’re gonna see. But once you get there, you have the nicest people and they just went crazy at the show and stayed with us all week long treating us like gods! Even people at the airport we’re taking pictures with us. I loved that!
G- So, you’re rock stars in Brazil, but only a few people know you in the atates and that’s a shame. You’ve been doing this for a long time, and there are a lot of Brazilian kids, Brazilian musicians, that want to do what you’re doing. They want to come to SXSW and they want to be professional musicians. From your experience, what advice can you give some of these guys that are out here trying ot make it and do what you do?
B- Work hard. Believe in yourself, and do it with heart and passion. I think that’s all.
TC- I just think that your dream is not that far away. The first time I came to America, it was a dream coming true. Once I got used to it, it all came down to hard work. You just have to believe and follow your path. Don’t look back, and go for it if you want to get where you want. Even if it’s not huge fame, that’s not what matters… It’s when you accomplish what you want to do. That’s all.
G- I agree. Well look, Live High Five loves you guys. Brazilian Metal, there’s nothing like it! Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with us at SXSW, and I’m looking forward to the showcases! Play well, travel safe, and we look forward to speaking with you guys again in the future!
B- For sure. It’ll be our pleasure.