ANGELUS APATRIDA – Spanish thrash armada
As an older metal person who grew up through the first thrash development, I don’t mind the new insurrgence of young talent in the movement. Some acts have taken the old and refined it with better production values and sharper tones of attack- while others appear content to be cutting and pasting their favorite riffs and melodies in a tribute sort of manner. For Spain’s Angelus Apatrida, I believe they have their creativity and songwriting in the right place- steamrolling with thick riffs and this volatile vocal presence that reminds me of the Bay Area scene along with the late 80’s Sepultura sound prevalent on Beneath The Remains.
Amidst their current European tour with 3 Inches Of Blood, Goatwhore, and Havok, I fired off some questions that guitarist/ vocalist Guillermo Izquierdo happily answered after one of their triumphant apperances in Ireland.
Tell us about the making of the latest album "The Call"- how long did the songwriting and recording take, and how do you feel this album differs or expands upon the previous effort "Clockwork"?
Well, we can say "The Call" was composed almost all on the road, we were touring the last one and a half years all over Europe and we didn’t have enough time to work at the rehearsal room nor our homes. We spent like 4 months working on the new songs and approx. 22 days recording it. I think the main difference with "Clockwork" is the freshness and spontaneity of the album, I think it has the power and energy the band has on stage and, as it sounds like a topic, yeah, it’s our best album so far.
How is it being a thrash band from Spain and singing in English? Does this make things easier or harder for you to be accepted within your home country? When you work on lyrics do you think in Spanish first and then translate into English or purely work from an English standpoint?
Well we all grew up listening to bands singing in English, we didn’t find so many bands singing in Spain that we liked… so I think that’s the main reason. At the beginning it was a bit hard to gain a foothold in Spain, but after the release of our first album things went very good! Nowadays Spain is different than 10 years ago and all the new bands coming up are mostly singing in English. I use to think of the main idea in my head and think about the melody to fit in English, so I can say I mostly compose lyrics in English for the first time, although sometimes I have a great sentence in Spanish and just look for the same situation in English, it usually works.
You filmed a video for the first track off the new album "You Are Next". Tell us about the video shoot, and who came up with the concept of having the band play in an arcade as well as the creation of the old school style video game? Do you still play video games these days- and what are some of your favorite through the years?
Myself and our manager, one night having some beers, got the idea! We thought about a clip with a scene kind of like Terminator’s 2 arcade scene, when John Connor meets the terminators… hahaha… then we told this idea to the directors and they just love it! The rest is their work! Yeah we DO still play video games, David’s favorite all time games are any from the Zelda saga, Victor plays some like Assassins Creed and I am just focused on Starcraft II and Diablo III!
How do you compare your early years with labels like Maldito Records and Mastertrax with your current company Century Media?
Well those labels were not labels in fact for us, they were just our "legal" way to be in the stores, our first two albums were self-financed, those labels were working as distributors in Spain. You can imagine, being a self-financed band and then start working with probably the best Heavy Metal Label in the world, they don’t even compare! Now we are a professional band very proud to be working with Century Media, it’s just a dream come true!
When listening to the band’s sound, there are a variety of influences from Bay Area thrash like Metallica, Megadeth and Testament, on through to Annihilator, Sepultura, and a little Pantera as well. What attracted you to the thrash sound in your early years, and was it easy or difficult for you to afford proper instruments and amplifiers to create a sound similar to your heroes?
In the early years we use to play something close to German Power Metal, you know, similar to early Helloween, Gamma Ray, Blind Guardian albums… we all love thrash metal since we were children, so it was a natural way to become a thrash band. All our gear we got in the early days, we tried to copy the guitars and amps of our heroes, you know, Jackson guitars, Randall or Peavey amps, Tama drums… with the passage of years and the success of the band we were able to have real and good enough material not to sound similar to our heroes, but just be happy with the sound we were searching for the band.
What’s the touring situation like for Angelus Apatrida in Spain and mainland Europe? How would you describe the band in a live environment? What have been some your favorite shows or festival appearances through the years?
Right now I’m answering this interview after our show in Belfast, North Ireland, part of our European Tour! We love touring, and if we are not recording a new album we probably are on the road. We are a big band in Spain so we are lucky to play in huge venues with great crowds, but we are still a young and new band in Europe, so we need to work hard and do our best to gain more of a foothold in Europe and the rest of the world. As favorite shows actually I would say, just to name a couple of them, the opening shows for Slayer and Megadeth tour and Sonisphere festival with Iron Maiden…
What are some special hobbies or interests each member has when you have free time away from the band to pursue them?
Well some of us are music teachers in our free time, and the rest of the time I think like the rest of humankind! Going out to bars, drink beer, play video games, watch movies, listen to music… the normal things any human does hehehehe
What concerns you most about the world we live in currently? What area(s) of the world do you think our leaders need to focus on most to ensure a better planet for future generations?
Hahahaha nice question! I think its obvious, if the USA, Europe and Asia (China, Japan…) would be more respectful with the planet, everything would be better for everyone… but for the leaders and rich people this planet is just a business for them and they don’t care about this or the next generation… they only care about money and power!
How important is it for the members of Angelus Apatrida to be involved in the business and management aspects of the band? What is some of the best advice you’ve received either from other bands or friends/ fans/ labels concerning the music business?
We trust 100% in our manager and our label so we don’t have to worry about the business. Actually we are informed every week about the situation of the band, but we are not professionals in that way so we just let the people who know the business work the best they can, we are very happy with them actually. The best concern I had maybe I would say "shut yout mouth and look like an idiot, then learn how the business works and after this, action!" or "Defend your band playing music, not with words"
The ultimate riff I wish I had written that exists from another band (metal or not) would be…?
I would say any of Iron Maiden… but I will choose the beginning of "Wasted Years", just awesome…
What would be in your top three albums you could not live without listening to?
Somewhere in Time from Iron Maiden, Cowboys From Hell from Pantera and Seventh Son from Iron Maiden.
Some of the members also teach music as a way to supplement their living income. Are your students aware of your thrash metal endeavors, and how do you feel the new generation of musicians are these days? Do you try to help them benefit from all of the computer technology at their disposal to improve their abilities?
Yeah of course, we just tell them that we didn’t have the opportunity they actually have, internet, free videos and lessons, tabs… so we try to advise them about all they have nowadays to learn better and faster that we did, but always trying to do it in a "old school" way, as sometimes it’s dangerous to have so much information, as the more you have, the less you do…
What are your plans for the next 12 to 18 months with the band?
I would say play live, play live and then… play live! Our plans right now are just playing live the most we can until a new album comes! Wherever it happens, Spain, Europe, of if we are so much lucky, USA or Asia, but as I said, until the recording of the new album, we just want to play live!