Dick Siebert, The Bassist of The Brazilian Thrashers KORZUS
(Additional questions answered by guitarist Silvio Golfetti)
Interview by Arto Lehtinen
An interview series of The Brazilian metal bands continues again. Korzus being one of the longest running thrash metal bands from Brazil was definitely a logical choice for Metal-Rules.Com. Korzus has struggled year after year by putting out killer releases for example their latest output TIES OF BLOOD was a great slab of brutal and grove influenced thrashing metal. Even though Korzus isn’t widely known, the five piece Brazilian metal squad constantly keeps gigging all around Brazil and other South American countries. Therefore it was a great opportunity to interview Korzus’s founding member and bassist Dick Siebert to find out more about this legendary Brazilian thrash metal combo.
Good day down to Brazil, what’s up there in Brazil and of course what have you done lately ?!
Dick Siebert : To the sound of Anthrax – We´ve Come For You All – here in Brazil, a southern paradise, a geographically beautiful country, good weather, great food, beautiful women, nice people, the best soccer in the world, carnival, an obligatory stop for metal bands of the world …. A country ruled by incompetence, by corruption, by the disregard towards its people and nature, one of the highest taxes in the world, people dying at hospital doors, more people dying due to firearms than in a war, a huge political crisis and no one goes to jail, nothing happens, and the people are always fooled. And life goes on.
Speaking of things that give us pleasure, we are composing our next album. We have various new bases, real aggressive. It is a sequence to Ties, but I believe it is more aggressive, with more adrenalin. We hope to release it in 2006.
We are also preparing a DVD about the history of the band called Video Story and another one of a festival in which we played with Slipknot and Sepultura here in São Paulo.
TIES IN BLOOD
Let’s begin the whole interview by focusing on the latest studio album called TIES OF BLOOD which came out in 2004. The album presents a mix of aggressive thrash metal and obvious hard core elements tied up together. Obviously you reached the aimed goals on TIES OF BLOOD by having catchy thrash songs and above all managed to capture the pure hate and aggression from the beginning to the end what Ties Of Blood presents ?
As the name says, the album represents our ties with metal and with each other. It represents our style. It is aggressive and very heavy. It shows the evolution of the band in terms of music, composition and production.
Could you tell a little bit about the recording process of Ties Of Blood like how long you recorded the album and was it carried out in Brazil from the beginning to the end ?!
The whole recording process, mix and masterization was done here in São Paulo, Brazil, during a period of two years and some months. Of course this didn´t happen every day, but on alternate days at Mr. Som Studios, which belongs to our vocal Pompeu and our guitar player Heros Trench, who were the producers.
The recording process was nothing out of the ordinary, we changed some things at the last minute, we got to know some of the voice guidelines during the recording, as always. We rerecorded the guitars, Heros did various mixes since we had time, for we had no specific date for the release of the album, we were still negotiating…
I guess this time you didn’t work Steve Evetts (who was in charge of the soundworld of KZS), did you produce TIES OF BLOOD all by yourselves ?!
The production was done 100% by the band. Heros Trench was in charge of the sound of TI.
When listening to the album I am extremely happy that Korzus have been more than loyal to their old school thrash/hard core roots and haven’t started exploring new musical territories by venturing into whatever style like many other bands have done and then failed. How important was it for you to follow and have the straight forward played thrash style with the Hard core elements mixed and not trying to adopt something weird aggro/nu metal styles to the sounds of Korzus ?!
We never thought of changing our style or adding new elements to our sound. First of all we do what we like – aggressive and angry metal, thrash metal. The elements we incorporate to our sound are our reality, our day to day. We live in a city of 12 million people, full of problems, violence, unemployment, misery. It’s a tough world, the southern paradise is here.
TIES OF BLOOD features several guests like Otto Taurus from Forca Macabra, the R.D.P guys, Matos from Shamaan of course Anders Kisser from Sepultura. … Where did you get an idea to have those guys for the album, and was it an easy task to carry out their visiting plans on Ties Of Blood ?! Regarding Forca Macabra’s guy, how did that come about by the way !?
All of the people invited are friends. Pompeu had already invited João Gordo and Boka as he worked as a sound engineer for Ratos De Porão for many years. We already wanted to invite André Matos because of the lyrics of the song. In this same song Helcio Aguirra of Golpe de Estado plays the guitar solo .Andreas always goes to the São Paulo soccer games with Silvio. Força Macabra was doing a tour in Brazil and recorded some songs at Pompeu´s studio. Otto was then invited to record because we knew that they liked the brazilian thrash bands of the 80s, including Korzus. They recorded the song, “Príncipe da Escuridão”.
It is obvious the lyrics of Korzus are not about the darker side issues anymore like you used to have them in the early days of your career and nowadays deal with all kinds of problems that occur in the everyday’s reality in our life. Where do you ladle all the essential topics and subjects for penning lyrics even though they are from the real life, does the Brazilian way of life and all the problems what the country effect you to write about ?! How much do your lyrics present the hate and anger coming from your own experiences !?
Most of the lyrics are written by Pompeu. Of course he accepts various opinions, ours as well as our friends, but our actual reality , here in Brazil as well as all over the world is our biggest source of inspiration.
You started working on the material for Ties Of Blood already in 2002, was the writing and composing process of Ties Of Blood after all an easy task or a real pain-in-ass process ?! How did you start putting the songs together in the first place ?! Did the songs of Blood Of Ties come more in the natural way ?!
It is never a pain in the ass to compose. The songs come the usual way, naturally. Everyone always has a new base and we take it form the there. We put the song together to everyone´s liking. Everyone in the band gives opinions. When Pompeu fits in the lyrics he always comes up with something different so we always end up changing something at the last minute.
How does the album differ in terms of sounds, production and lyrics from your point of view for example compared to KZS ?!
Time, experiences, and the substitution of musicians are all factors that are a part of any process of musical creation. As to the sound, studio, producer, instruments, amplifiers, the way we play, everything is different, they are new concepts, but nothing that alters our style. For the first time, the lyrics were not written exclusively by Pompeu. We had some collaborations in lyrics such as Blood For Blood and Punisher (Vitor Rodrigues – Torture Squad), Cruelty (Pancho – Ação Direta), Who´s Going to be Next (Alexandre Callari), The Sadist (Ricardo Soranzo), Never Get Me Down (Ronaldo Simola) and Silvio and I. That´s what Ties of Blood are all about. The sound is more aggressive, metal is more in our veins. That´s the truth.
Your own mother language Portuguese is another used verbal style besides English on your albums, is it easier to express your opinions and standpoint in Portuguese than in English, or does Portuguese fit better to some songs ?!
Without a doubt, expressing ourselves in Portuguese is much easier for us, from the wording of the phrases to the intonation. The language fits well into our sound. I think that many things we would like to express sound a little obscure as we don´t have a more profound knowledge of the English language.
But when I hear a heavy base line and a distorted guitar they seem to speak in English. It a weird feeling. Metal has no nationality, there are headbangers all over the world, but metal speaks English.
As stated above Ties Of Blood came out in 2004 and the previous album KZS came out in 1995 and later re-issued 1998 for the German market and there was 3 or 4 years between KZS and Mass Illusion, why do you usually keep such a long break between the recording of these albums as bands usually release albums every second year, but having such a long break is definitely a little bit too much at least in my opinion ?!?
As you already noticed, from one album to the next the band always had problems with substitution of musicians - specially the drummers – which always hindered the band, plus the label was always slow in investing money. Until we could convince them to invest, a lot of time had already gone by. Ties of Blood was supposed to have been released earlier, in 2003. The proposal we got were never interesting enough. We do not live in America or Europe.
Tell all the readers, where the heck can TIES OF BLOOD be picked up / bought or ordered because it seems to be unavailable outside Brazil or at least bloody hard to find ?!
The album was released in Brazil and in Mexico and we did some underground distributions in small quantities. Whoever is interested in buying the album should get in touch with us through our site.
Korzus have a few cover tunes, like Slayer’ “Evil Has No Boundaries and of course Sepultura’s “Desperate Cry”, S.O.D’s “Speak English Or Die” . On which base and purpose do you usually pick up cover tunes and how did those ones as mentioned earlier come about ?!
Evil Has No Boundaries we played in 1985. It was one of our first covers. We didn´t even know all of the lyrics. No one spoke good English then – and we still don´t!!! Desperate Cry was recorded for a compilation which was to be included in a tribute to Seputura, but nothing came of it. The compilation was being organized by the Sepultura Fan Club so then we used it at the Live At Monsters of rock. SOD´s Speak English or Die was recorded in the States in Billy Milano´s studio and the irony is that we sang the song in Portuguese and the chorus in English. Unfortunately his studio caught fire and the originals were lost. We only have a few minutes of the track which will be included in our upcoming DVD.
LABELS AND PROMOTIONS
All the older Korzus albums seem to have released by a Brazilian label called Devil Discos since the first so called official Korzus output called KORZUS AO VIVO came out 1986 till LIVE AT MONSTERS OF ROCK, and now you seem to be on the Hellion Records.. I can’t help asking how big, good and reliable Devil Discos was after all ?! Did your co-operation during these years work perfectly from your point of view ?!
First of all, we are not in Hellion, and never were. As to Devil discos, it was one of the first labels to release independent bands in the 1980´s. It was a record store in the rock gallery, here in São Paulo. At the time it was an interesting proposal, all of our albums were well-produced, specially KZS. The relationship of the band with Devil was good, but didn´t work out perfectly. Up to the finalization of the albums everything worked out Ok, but then came problems such as little money for publicity, bad distribution, etc… As I said, it was a store and didn´t have the profile of a record label, for all their good intentions.
As stated above KZS was released in Europe and a separate German version of KZS was released and even the Internally video was shown on the German music channel Viva a couple of times, how did you land a deal with this German RAWK Records after all, and were you kinda pleased with how they worked what comes doing a promotion ?!
We entered Rawk through Ralph Graupner who represented us and in the beginning it seemed to be an interesting deal. When he left the label he passed us to another department which never got in touch with us. We never heard from them again although we sent various e mails and someone even went to Germany to go after our rights, but no one spoke to him. They fooled us.
Why the heck haven’t you tried to push more power and try to make some kind of breakthrough in Europe, I mean your albums are great indeed and there would be a lot of huge metal festivals all around Europe and big magazines, is it all because a lack of some kind of attention and interest from record labels ?!
I believe we knocked on the wrong doors at the wrong time. We sent our material to various labels and some answered with excuses and others gave us no attention whatsoever.
After ending a deal with Devil Records, TIES OF BLOOD was put out on Hellion Rec, what made you sign a deal with them anyway and will this deal with Hellion Rec help you to get some doors open in Europe ?!
After Devil we didn´t sign any contract. Ties of Blood is distributed in Brazil by Unimar, a branch of A Universal and in Mexico it is distributed by Scarecrow. All of the rights belong to the band. There never was any negotiation with Hellion.
Have these promo videos helped to draw more attention for Korzus in a way or another ?! But do you think making these promo videos would draw more attention and interest and gather more new people curious toward Korzus ?!
Of course. An image is worth more than a thousand words.
Frankly have you had any kind of negotiations with labels to put out TIES OF BLOOD out elsewhere ?!
Yes. It was released now in Mexico by Scarecrow records and we are in contact with various labels in South America and waiting for answers from Europe and USA.
MEMBERS; Come and gone
Questions for the guitarist Silvio Golfetti : Forgive me if I am badly mistaken now, but I found out you would have been involved in the US speed metal band called Agent Steel, is that true, if it is, so when were you in the band and how did you get hooked up after all ?!
Silvio Golfetti : Yes, you are right. I was invited by Chuck Porfus after he came to Brazil with John Cyriis in 1988. They went to a Korzus gig and invited me to be part of their new band called Pontius Prophet because, after a great confusion with the members of Agent Steel in Phoenix, the band finished and Chuck Profus and John Cyriis came to Brazil to chill out after the ensuing lawsuit. At the time they wanted their new band to be based in Brazil, but they ended up changing their minds because the lawsuit was filed in Phoenix and because, in 1988, the Brazilian scene was still very small and had no structure.
I went with them to Los Angeles where I recorded a demo with Pontius and stayed there for 4 months, but due to relationship problems and musical differences, I left the band and rejoined Korzus.
Anders Kisser is a long time friend of yours, how many times has he shared the stage with you and has he visited other Korzus albums besides TIES OF BLOOD ?!? Never tried to lure him to join Korzus permanently hahaah ?!
Silvio : I have been knowing Andreas since 1988, soon after he joined Sepultura, but our friendship became stronger after I stood in for him in a tour called the Christmas Metal Festival in Germany in December 1991, when he broke his arm in a jet ski accident. It was a great festival with Motorhead as headliner plus Sepultura, Kreator, Morbid Angel, Headhunter and Wolfsbane.
The first time we shared the same stage was in May 1992, when Korzus did a jam with Sepultura at the Town & Country. We became good friends and shared the stage various times during these years, with both me playing with Sepultura and Andreas playing with Korzus. We also root for the same soccer team, São Paulo Futebol Clube, current world champion of clubs. We frequently go to soccer games!!! As for him joining Korzus, only if he were to be the 3rd guitarist !!!!!
The main core of the line-up of Korzus has been quite stable during the last 20 years, consisting of the vocalist Marcello Pompeu, guitarist Silvio Golfetti, bassist Dick Siebert, but of course other members have come and gone. But when speaking of your long time partnership between you three, how many times have you been on the edge of quitting the band after getting tired of seeing each others’ faces during these years, do you have to take a break from the band’s activity to charge all the batteries for new and next efforts ?!
Actually we never thought of giving up and quitting. Above all we are friends and respect each other´s individuality. When we get fed up of one another we just don´t see each other. The band never stops, our time off is when our schedules don´t coincide, for each of us has other activities besides the band. After all, who is going to pay our bills?
Hopefully I am allowed to ask a little bit about former members : When the band was formed in 1984 the guitarist Eduardo Toperman and the drummer Mauricio Brian were involved, but left the band 1987 and as far as I know Brian was replaced by Zema Peas, did you continue as a four piece with Silvio doing all the guitar back then ?!
Yes. At the time of Sonho Maníaco there were only 4 members in the band. It worked out well at the time because Silvio and I had to work harder musically speaking.
Then a real shock stroke to Korzus when drummer Zema stepped in the world beyond.. Hmm I am sorry to ask but were any reasons for why Zema took his life ?!
We have no idea. It is a story we´d like to forget.
Roberto Silencio was recruited behind the drum battery and Marcelo Nicastro took over the guitar, but then Silvio was hired to play in Agent Steel. Did you carry on Korzus without Silvio who spent touring life with Agent Steel, because as far as I know you did a plenty of gigs during that time !?
Silvio only spent 10 months in the USA with Agent Steel. It was kind of vacation for him. We did all of our gigs with 4 members.
As for former members of Korzus, Ricardo Confessori (ex Angra, now Shaman) being in Korzus, but left together the guitarist Marcello Nicastro almost at the same time in the end of 1993, didn’t he join playing the aggressive metal as he joined Angra and played on their Evil Warning ep in 1994 ?
We recruited Ricardo to play at a few shows. He ended up staying about 10 months with the band. He liked playing heavy music but the proposal from Angra proved to be an attractive proposal
Then Fernando Schaefer joined taking the drumming duties over and he spent in the band quite a long time by doing several tours. But he and the guitarist Marcello Nejem left to pursue other issues, well what went wrong with these guys then ?!
In reality I don´t know if anything went wrong. They simply went their own way.
The finally guys were found fitting to Korzus, namely the former Mercury Rain drummer Rodrigo Oliveira and then the new guitarist Heros Trench, who are all in the band’s line up of nowadays. How did you manage to track them down and lure them to join Korzus ?!
Heros Trench was supposed to have entered the band in Marcelo Nejm´s place. He is a good friend of Pormpeu´s and they are partners at the studio. He was already part of the family before he entered the band. He even played the bass in my place during the three months which I spent in the USA. As for Rodrigo, when Schaeffer left the band Rodrigo called us up and wanted an audition. He asked us not to underestimate him because of his age. He was only seventeen at the time. The rest of the story you already know. He is still in the band until today.
Korzus have undergone a few line up changes and faced up and down hills, but to be honest now how many times or has it ever crossed your mind to throw a towel in and focus on doing something else ?!
I don´t know about the other members but this is something that never crossed my mind. That is not something you should ask a headbanger!!!!
KZS TIES IN TOURING
Korzus seem to play a great deal of gigs in Brazil almost every year, could you tell how much do you usually pull people to your shows and where are your strongest fanbase in Brazil, Sao Paulo, Belo Horizonte ?! And as far as I know the Brazilian metal audience is extremely wild and crazy, right ?!
The quantity of people depends a lot on where we play. Anywhere from 500 to 2,000. It really depends a lot on where we play. At some festivals there were 20,000 people like the Monsters of Rock and the Chimera festival. As to where our biggest fan base is, I´d say everywhere in Brazil. The metal audience in Brazil is extremely insane.
Korzus embarked for the first European tour in 1992, going thru 20 countries. Can you tell with whom did you play back then, and what kind of places did you play !? But after that you haven’t visited Europe since then ?!
We played mostly in squats, specially in Italy and Germany. It was an underground tour. We also played at the Marquee in London. The following day we played a jam with Sepultura at the Town and Country. We played wit h Agnostic Front in Postdam and Berlin, at SO36. In Italy we played with a thrash band called Alligator and another one called Shower and in London we played with a band called Cerebral Fix and in France we played with Atom. I don’t remember the names of the other bands. Unfortunately we haven´t had the chance to go back to Europe but we are really looking forward to it.
Then you have done a number of gigs in Brazil supporting from a hard core band to traditional metal bands and As far as I have understand right you are close friends with Mille of Kreator, but in general how have you been treated by another so called headliner bands, have you ever faced any sort of problems when touring with big names ?!
No, we never had any problems. Korzus is a band that gets along well with everyone, no matter what the style. We only know the members of Kreator through some shows they played here. We are good friends with Frank, the ex guitar player of Kreator. He lives here in São Paulo for years now.
Then back in 1997 you set off for the US tour, but with whom did you tour mostly and during the same tour you did one/off show with BioHazard and S.O.D, presumably it was one kind of unique show for you ?!
It was a small tour. We only spent 20 days in the USA. We played in Florida and from there we went to New York where we played with SOD invited by Billy Milano. He was really cool. It is a shame we lost contact with him.
How do the European, US and South American audience differ on your gigs !?
We didn´t feel that much of a difference. No matter where you play, Metal is universal language but I think that the latins are more aggressive and some parts of the USA also. I think that they show their feelings more.
METAL TO THE BONE
When speaking of the old school Brazilian metal scene born in the early 80’s and mostly old school metal bangers seem to adore these so called cult bands like Sarcofago, Vulcano and a helluva lot more. And Korzus started out at the same time, but your image wasn’t that wild compared to Sepultura, Sarcofago or so on But I guess you were however influenced by outlook of bands like Venom, Slayer, Destruction in the early days ?
Our biggest influence was the metal of the USA with bands such as Slayer and Exodus. We also loved Judas Priest and Black Sabbath.
At that time you used to have lyrics about the dark issues ?!
Yes, on the album Sonho Maníaco. At the time our lyrics were quite black metal. According to Zema, Pompeu was the poet from hell.
Whenever picking up any Brazilian band from the 80’s, 90’s and even nowadays, they mostly sound really extreme, playing hard core influenced thrash, old school thrash, death or black metal and hardly these traditional metal bands pop up apart from Angra or Shamaan. Are the Brazilian metal crowd more eager and hungry for the aggressive style ?!
Actually Brazilians like everything. Here in Brazil there are audiences for all styles but at the moment melodic metal is stronger.
Krisiun have gained a lot of respect and attention for their brutal and tight death metal assault, and you shared the stage with them, I guess you dig the Krisiun stuff ?!
The guys of Krisiun are our friends for many years and we already played together a few times. They are the biggest representatives of death metal. They are the most aggressive death metal band nowadays.
Do you still keep your eyes and ears open to check out what is up in the metal world, have you lost your interest toward the current metal stuff cos it is all about the power metal ?! Can you name your current playing list ?!
I always know what´s happening in the metal scene, but there is a lot of stuff that doesn´t interest me. There are many bands which don´t seem to have the essence of metal. The bands don´t have an attitude. My current playing list still includes classics such as Slayer, Exodus, Testament, Pantera, Judas Priest . I´m also listening to the new Anthrax, Machine Head and Devil Driver.
All right I think it is about time to conclude the interview here. And I therefore thank you for your time and interest in doing the interview for Metal-Rules.Com. But as usual you have the last words to conclude the whole long interview…
I want to thank you and the readers of Metal Rules and all sick,maniac addicts of fucking metal. Headbangers never die. Korzus rules.
KORZUS ‘ Mp3