Paulo Xisto Pinto Junior of SEPULTURA
Interview, live & backstage pictures by Luxi Lahtinen
In March 15th 2006, the highly popular Swedish melo-metallers, In Flames and Brazilian metallers Sepultura, arrived in Helsinki under the moniker "Tuska Winter War" - bringing over 1000 fans of both bands to the House of Culture, Helsinki. A bit of an odd thing was, at least in my opinion, that it wasnï¿½t In Flames supporting Sepultura, but Sepultura supporting In Flames this time around. So strange is the world sometimes…
I got an opportunity to meet Paulo, the bass player of Sepultura approx. 5 hours before the bandï¿½s showtime – and we not only concentrated talking about the bandï¿½s current European tour, Sepulturaï¿½s new album DANTE XXI, etc. but also got kinda excited over talking about the past times; one special bass guitar, how the times have changed in general, and how some (poor) people have gained some weight and grown old over the years – and became just looking a bit different. A simple and straight bullshitting is such jolly good fun from time to time, whatever excuse you may have to do so.
News or not, but Sepultura is still going strong these days – just no matter what people may think of them. If you think otherwise, well, letï¿½s give Paulo a chance to prove you completely wrong and straighten out a few facts via this interview…
DANTE XXI ï¿½ THE EUROPEAN TOUR 2006 (with In Flames)
First off, a couple of words about your ï¿½Dante XXIï¿½ European tour… You started this tour from Scandinavia, 3 days ago, from Oslo. Is there any particular reason why you decided to start this tour from Scandinavia?
Actually, there was a gap touring-wise. They put for us and we were told like could we be interested in opening up for In Flames, so it was basically their call they made, and their tour – not ours to start the tour from Scandinavia. For us it really it doesnï¿½t matter where we start all these tours as long as we can go to as many countries as possible. I was happy to come back here because itï¿½s been a long time since we played here and this is the first time for us when we play in Finland with our new singer Derrick. So, Iï¿½m very happy for that. Iï¿½m not happy about the weather over here as I think itï¿½s way too freezing for me…
Ha-ha… yeah, itï¿½s still pretty damn cold outside, I know…
I prefer being over here during the summertime; itï¿½s much better for me personally.
I still remember clearly when you played at this ï¿½Giants of Rockï¿½ festival in Hï¿½meenlinna in 1991, and we met up in the hotel for the first time after being like trade pals for quite some time; you collecting your Maiden-stuff and me…
Oooohh… jesus! Now I remember you! You look different!
Yeah, I know. Iï¿½m definitely a bit ï¿½biggerï¿½ compared to what I was more than 10 years ago… and probably ï¿½just a bitï¿½ fatter, too…
You have a different hair now, too. It was a bit shorter and lighter back in the day if I remember correctly… yes?
Yes, I guess it was.
The funny thing is that I was going through my record collection the other day because I have still got all my old stuff, so I went through a pile of albums, kind of like trying to remember where I got this and that ï¿½ and talking to a friend of mine about them the other day as well and showing him I got all this stuff from Finland for years ago. That was cool.
Anyway, you played yesterday in Tampere. How was the response over there from your Finnish crowd?
It was just very great as everybody seemed to be very excited, so it was very good for us to play there. It was my first time to play in Tampere as well, so… As far as I remember, I think we have played here, at this place twice.
Yeah, it was with Paradise Lost.
Yeah, it was Paradise Lost and on the ï¿½Rootsï¿½ ï¿½tour, if I can remember right?
Back to this tour though, with the Swedish In Flames. You just told me earlier that it was actually their call to get you on this tour with them. Did you contact the guys and ask whether they might be interested in doing this tour with you guys?
Usually when we do tours like this we have options made by our booking agency, and when we were thinking of this slot to be an opening act for In Flames, our new record was coming out around at that time, so we thought this would be the most perfect timing for us to go on this tour with In Flames. And this is a good package, so… We usually have 2 or 3 different options to choose and this time we thought this was obviously the best one for us out of them all because this European tour will last like 6 weeks – and right after this tour is done, we will do the States and may even go to the South America to do some dates down there. After all those tours, we will come back to Europe again, so weï¿½ll do lots of touring for our new album. Then itï¿½s gonna be our own headlining tour. We will naturally play 1 hour and a half; a full set. On this very tour, we only get a chance to play like 45 minutes, not much more.
So do you consider them sort of perfect touring mates for you? Have you played with them before, by the way?
No, this is the first time when we play with them on this tour. Even if itï¿½s still the beginning of the tour, but the guys of In Flames seem to be pretty cool. After the show we may go out for beer or something. Iï¿½m sure that you get to know each other better and better day by day, the more this tour goes on. But so far – so good, yï¿½know.
So you are not kind of like afraid of their ï¿½drinking habitsï¿½ or anything ï¿½ keeping in your mind that people tend to drink quite a lot in the Scandinavian countries; in Finland, in Sweden, in Norway and so on….
I know, I know… but we drink a lot in Brazil, too.
So, I guess you at least should come along pretty well with those guys, heh!
Yeah, I think so. As long as we are all sharing this pleasant hobby altogether, i.e. drinking.
ROY (EX-SOULFLY) KEEPS HIS ARMS BUSY
You have got Roy Mayorga (ex-Soulfly) to play drums on this tour because Igor has some family related issues going on right now. So, how has Roy been doing behind his drum kit so far?
He has been doing just really good, man! Today itï¿½s gonna be the third show, and we had a week and a half of rehearsals. Heï¿½s really impressing us while he was rehearsing together with us. On the tour he has been doing good and youï¿½ll see it yourself tonight how good he actually is. Like I said, this is just our third show, and the first show was like as it always is in the beginning of the tour. But I believe as we continue touring together, weï¿½ll get better and better. Itï¿½s just matter of getting known each other better on stage. We just need more time to play together to become better and tighter in a live situation ï¿½ and thatï¿½s all. I think thatï¿½s really the only way to get know each other better when playing live.
Was it easy get him fitted in for this tour and teach him the songs you planned to play on this tour?
No, but actually he didnï¿½t know too many Sepultura songs in advance how to play them. But it basically was just a matter of practicing and achieving the feeling and vibe of a musician how to play these songs. I have to say it worked out really good; he learnt the songs quickly and really well.
I read about Igorï¿½s reasons why he had to pass on this European tour due to some family issues and stuff…
Yeah, he just got a new wife and a new kid, so he didnï¿½t want to come on tour with us this time because the kid was just recently born and he wanted to spend some time with his kid and wife. We had an agreement that once our new record has come out, we also need to do some touring for it and that way try to prevent the record wonï¿½t die. So we decided to ask Roy to play drums for this tour and we are glad we got him with us on this tour.
… but when will he join back to Sepultura again?
Heï¿½s still a part of Sepultura; he never left the band.
Well, what I actually meant will he join back to your troops right after this European tour; to do your US tour?
I hope so… (*laughs*)
But you have made this agreement with him that you guys can do this European leg of the tour without him, but might want him to do the US tour, however?
Thatï¿½s the idea…
"You look bigg… DIFFERENT!!" ;o)
You guys have been doing lots of tours since the day you made your worldwide breakthrough in late ï¿½80s with the BENEATH THE REMAINS album. Iï¿½m sure you have also noticed over the years that thereï¿½s a bunch of these so-called ï¿½die-hardï¿½ Sepultura fans at your gigs who have been following Sepultura since day one, kind of always wanting to be there for you and see one of their favorite bands playing. I assume this is one of those things that make your tours more meaningful and important for you guys, knowing that all the hard work that you have put into this band and building up your loyal fanbase for years, really pays you off nowadays.
Yeah, exactly! We know that. Thatï¿½s why it makes things a bit easier for us as we know these people are still around, showing their support toward us ï¿½ and especially in the South America when everything happened so suddenly when Max left the band, and especially both here in Europe and in the States many fans thought Sepultura died when Max left. However, we kept on working hard to regain what we had achieved until the day when Max was still in the band. A lot of people know that Sepultura is not only about one guy, and there were a lot of those people there who were thinking that way. And it always is that way. Those guys also knew that we would also come back without having Max in the line-up any longer and I know that this strong fanbase ï¿½ especially down in Brazil, where we kept on playing for a sold-out crowd for like 10,000-15,000 people. So, I knew it myself at that time that we would do good even if the records wouldnï¿½t been selling as greatly as they did in the past not only because Max wasnï¿½t with us any longer, but because of the internet as everything seems to leak into there nowadays. But anyway, it was great to notice our shows were all packed, so we knew from then only that the band was still doing strong enough and we have got a really strong fanbase that we still managed to keep during the hard times. The basic foundation of this band was firm, and it was very good to know that. Thereï¿½s a lot of places where a lot of people come to see us to; the same people who came to see us, letï¿½s say, in 1989 ï¿½ the first time when we actually came to Europe and played for our fans. Nowadays they are like more than just fans; they have become like friends of the band. Letï¿½s say that we already know that we are gonna be something like in fifty places in Europe, we know for sure that person is gonna be there in the audience… just like you. You have to make sure youï¿½ll come to see us, too!
I will for sure, so no worries, heh!
Now I need to get your email because itï¿½s easier to keep in touch via the internet…
As for Sepultura playing live, I do admit itï¿½s been a while, like 13 years or something, since I saw you playing here last time – and it was with Paradise Lost in 1993. But letï¿½s continue talking about more recent years. I know that thereï¿½s also this new generation of people that may only have got into Sepultura after Max left. I was just wondering whether you have managed to make any differences between these young people and so-called ï¿½old fucksï¿½ who have been there since the day one, following both ups and downs of Sepultura?
Actually thereï¿½s a difference between them, but I think a lot of people that believed in us in the beginning, did not accept or understand that when Sepultura changed the singer, all that has changed their minds. But no matter what, we have still been playing the old stuff, and thatï¿½s a part of the history. Even if they still see us doing it, itï¿½s not easy for them to avoid comparison to our past. It seems that everyone tends to compare our doings to our past, but I guess thatï¿½s just natural from them. But it also happens only when we talk a little bit about other bands as well like Maiden, Van Halen, Genesis, etc. ï¿½ and the list goes on and on. Everyone seems to make some comparisons with those bandsï¿½ past to the current times. We, however, know the difference when we are old enough. I think itï¿½s just a different vibe, but in the sense of the music itself, itï¿½s still there.
ABOUT HELL, PURGATORY AND PARADISE: DANTE XXI
Letï¿½s talk about your latest album DANTE XXI a little bit next which is your 9th full-length album in your career – and Sepulturaï¿½s 4th album to have Derrick on vocals. How highly would you rate this new album amongst the all those four albums where Derrick has been placed behind the microphone? Do you feel like DANTE XXI might possibly be the one of these Derrick -era Sepultura albums you are most excited and satisfied with right at the very moment, yï¿½know, kind of thinking of it as the most precious baby in the Sepultura ï¿½family?
I think… or, let me say, I usually say that I really enjoy always the last album that we have done because itï¿½s our most Thrash-orientated release out of these four Derrick -era albums, and itï¿½s like a new-born child. Every single record that we have done since our debut album, in my opinion they donï¿½t sound too much like each other; in all of them thereï¿½s a difference. And this one is no different. We had to find inspirations somehow just like we did on ROORBACK, we did on ROOTS, we did on REVOLUSONGS ï¿½ and we did on NATION, for example. So, on DANTE XXI we really had a direction to follow; both musically and lyrically. It was just that we tried to find ï¿½ just like I told you earlier, a thing to really inspire us; to go for it, yï¿½know, musically ï¿½ how it gonna be; how we are gonna do this, how we are gonna do that – and so on. I donï¿½t know whatï¿½s gonna be on next we can talk then. Thereï¿½s just so many things that you just really need to have some sort of a direction to follow.
This album is also more straight-forward, more aggressive and heavier sounding effort than your previous three albums. Can you tell any reason for this why this album turned out the way it did? Itï¿½s really quite different compared to your three previous works? Do you feel like the strong story line needed more aggressive and heavier around it in order to support it the best and most effective way possible?
Itï¿½s hard to explain, but I guess itï¿½s more like about the feeling at the time when we were writing the songs for this album. So basically what you had on this influences and these ideas, you just had to gather them together and put them on the record and they represent the time when you were really working for this album then; some piece of time on our life at that time. So thatï¿½s how I basically see why this album turned the way it did eventually. Like I told you itï¿½s really hard to explain because it was just the way we played at our rehearsals. If something feels good, then we take it and thatï¿½s how the song comes; very naturally. We cannot do our songs like: ï¿½Now we gotta do this way ï¿½ then add something to that partï¿½ in order to achieve something which is not us. It feels right for us at the very moment how we do our songs these days.
The main bottomline, however is, itï¿½s always about certain feelings and moods; and thereï¿½s no way like you could pre-plan the way you write somehow. It just happens ï¿½ and is there (or itï¿½s not), you know what I mean?
Exactly! If we recorded any of our old albums, they would definitely gonna be different because itï¿½s different times and itï¿½s different vibe now that we have. Maybe we can do even a better record; when you re-do a record, you can destroy the thing you have done in the past. Itï¿½s of course very hard, but I think it should represent the feeling and the times you have with you at a certain time.
From L to R: Derrick, Roy, Andreas & Paulo
DANTE XXI is based on ï¿½The Divine Comedyï¿½ written by one Italian author named Dante Alighieri who wrote it in the early 14th century. It contains 3 main components that are Danteï¿½s own descriptions about Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. Was it Andreas who came up this concept idea for this album? How did rest of you guys support him to get the concept squeezed together for this album? Was it like Andreasï¿½ responsibility was to write down the concept story line for this album and the rest of you supported him to find all those musical elements around it that could put that story kind of ï¿½liveï¿½?
Yeah, it was Andreas mainly, and Igor helped him through to get the concept story for this album. The record represents all those three things. We have like more lengthy songs on the album; we have 5 songs that represent Hell; 5 representing Purgatory and one song that represents Paradise. Itï¿½s basically how we have always done before; itï¿½s a parallel on his way back then and comparisons nowadays with, yï¿½know, itï¿½s very easy with these three words like ï¿½Hellï¿½, ï¿½Purgatoryï¿½ and ï¿½Paradiseï¿½. You can see nowadays whatï¿½s going on and you can really relate with these words to the current times. I even read that book twice and I got the story with me because itï¿½s like: ï¿½Huh…ï¿½. Thereï¿½s so much and you still donï¿½t understand all of it whatï¿½s written in it. I think Andreas read it like 8-9 times altogether to get a better idea of our situation in todayï¿½s world for living our lifes. I still gotta read it more because I think I still need to get it right interiorized into my head. Itï¿½s a very complicated story to read actually and Iï¿½m that kind of person who really wants and starts learning how to read the story of that book step by step, in order that I could understand completely whatï¿½s written in it. When I was younger I didnï¿½t want to read it at all, but nowadays the whole concept in that book interests me a lot, I can tell. Itï¿½s a very good book; thereï¿½s a lot of a good stuff to go through in that book and you are able to do many comparisons to todayï¿½s world whatï¿½s going on here. As for the music on DANTE XXI, the music is all good there. We brought a friend of ours when we worked with for some time in Brazil. His name is Andrï¿½ Moraes and he has done a lot of soundtracks for movies, TV series, etc. in Brazil. We have worked with him before for movies ("Lisbela e o Prisioneiro", and "No Coracao Dos Deuses" which Portuguese and means "In The Heart Of The Gods" in English) and we had an idea to bring him to help us especially with the gallows and the French horns, so he was a good part of helping with the arrangements like that. He knew exactly what we should do for the album; for ï¿½The Divine Comedyï¿½, but we wanted to use some classical instruments for this record, too ï¿½ and he was like: ï¿½Ok, letï¿½s really think about it… Iï¿½m so tamed with thatï¿½. He really did help us on them.
I also gotta assume you also kind of wanted to keep in your minds how to put this story ï¿½liveï¿½ through the songs you built around it when you go on the road and play the songs off this record for your audience, correct?
Yeah, we actually didnï¿½t have the time to get all the needed equipments for this tour, so that we could re-produce the whole horns and stuff for our live situation. Right now – like I said, we have like 45 minutes to play, so we have to do kind of like a journey through Sepultura years; history of the band – and 45 minutes limits it quite drastically. Itï¿½s very hard. For the next tour we are thinking about having other setups like keyboard pedals for doing the live thing better – just like Rush does, so we can play together; we can have everything as recorded. Itï¿½s very hard to bring like lots of people on tour, yï¿½know, and…
… itï¿½s surely very expensive, too.
… yeah, itï¿½s also too expensive to bring lots of people on the tour, but itï¿½s also lots of extra work as well. So we try to do touring like Rush does ï¿½ and I think for the next tour it really is gonna work, so we are gonna a full Sepultura setup.
You have said your favorite Sepultura album is AGAINST because at that time Sepultura was going through some hard times and you still managed to keep your heads above the surface of water when the songs for that album were born. When you listen to that album every now and then, do you feel like ï¿½ despite all the struggling you went through back then, very proud of what you accomplished on that very album in question?
Of course! All this struggling and shit is a part of it because at that time we went thought many big chances in our personal lives, yï¿½know. I think that was one of the toughest reasons why that album came out the way it did actually. Nowadays everybodyï¿½s like talking about those times like what happened to us. It was just a matter of time for people to see and realize Max wasnï¿½t with us any longer, yï¿½know. It always takes time to fully realize things like these. Nowadays…, or let me give you an example. I just received an email from a girl who lives in the States in which she told me that we are like No.1 in the most of the radio stations around the States right at the very moment. So, itï¿½s of course pretty nice for us to know that we are still doing well with the band and thatï¿½s what makes us happy, too.
You did this EP called REVOLUSONGS in 2002 where you covered everything from Hellhammer to Massive Attack to Exodus to Janeï¿½s Addiction. Have you ever been thinking of doing a sequel to that idea, covering a bunch of some of your favorite songs from your favorite artists for a full-length CD? Or even a double CD?
The idea what we really wanna idea, is to try finding a way to work and do a soundtrack for a movie. Thatï¿½s what we really would like to do some day; like The Queen did, so we wanna make one, too. We try to find a way to get that together. Thatï¿½s gonna be a really big challenge for us for sure ï¿½ to have a whole script for it and so the music that could be built around specifically for that movie. I think weï¿½ll be talking about that later with the band. I hope we are gonna able to do something in the near future.
AH, THOSE MEMORIES…
I have two photos here that you have actually sent me back in the day. What kind of memories do these two photos bring to your mind?
Jesus… Iï¿½ll bite my lip now…!!
This one photo in here, is from your gig in Sao Paolo in Brazil from ï¿½88 when you were supporting Exumer…
Wow… thatï¿½s from Sao Paolo for sure because I see that ï¿½89 FMï¿½ banderol on the wall, behind the stage. Thatï¿½s a radio station located in Sao Paulo; itï¿½s called ï¿½Radio Rockï¿½; thatï¿½s also why I know for sure this picture has been taken in San Paolo. I have good memories from that gig with Exumer. The whole place was packed which was nice, of course. Look at me in that pic; I look very skinny in it, he-he!!
What about this other picture from Sepultura ï¿½back-from-the-daysï¿½, then? Looks kinda neat as a promotional shot in my opinion anyway…
Yeah, it was an official promo shot from us. Was it taken from Sao Paolo… let me think for a second? Yeah, I think it was taken from there, my hometown. I think it was taken around when Andreas joined the band.
So you were at your twenties in that pic or something like that?
No, less than 20 back then. Probably something like 18-19, maybe.
COLLECTING IRON MAIDEN…
Back in the day when you lived in Brazil, we used to make some trades; and it was like you wanted some rare Iron Maiden stuff from me and I was basically getting crazy over some Sepultura stuff. Now I need to ask you: Would you like to start trading again with me? Nah, seriously. Do you still collect some rare Iron Maiden -stuff?
Yeah, Iï¿½m still doing that a bit. Luxi, I tell you whatï¿½s one of the center pieces of my Maiden ï¿½collection. I have the 1st Steve Harris signature bass from Fender.
SEPULTURA in the early days
You gotta be kidding me, right?
No, I have exactly the No.1 because Iï¿½m endorsed a deal with Fender and the guy that is the global artist relation, is a very good friend of mine. So heï¿½s the one who brought us into Fender; me, Andreas and Derrick. They had quarters 80ï¿½s in finished where I used to live, so we stopped by one day and he came to show the best one: ï¿½Wow, you got that…?ï¿½, I said to him. He replied back to me: ï¿½Yes, this is the first copy…ï¿½ ï¿½ and I interrupted him immediately before he even had finished his sentence: ï¿½Can I buy it? I wanna have one ï¿½ Steve Harris is my biggest hero!ï¿½. And then he just said: ï¿½Ok, let me see what I can do for you…ï¿½. At the end of the day he dropped by again and said: ï¿½Happy birthday, Paulo! Tell everyone that an old friend of yours gave it to you or something…ï¿½. So, thatï¿½s how I got the first copy, before Steve Harris, so thatï¿½s my name, ha-ha-hah!!
It undoubtedly is the most precious piece of your Maiden collection…
Yep, definitely! It stays at my pad and nobody is allowed to touch it…
… and last time when we came through Europe and we played with Maiden, I was like: ï¿½Steve, can you do a favor? Could you sign something for me?ï¿½. He said: ï¿½Yeah, sure… what have you got?ï¿½. Then I showed him the bass that I had with me and he went like: ï¿½Oh my… WHERE DID YOU GET THAT?!!ï¿½. I was just joking around to him, saying: ï¿½Itï¿½s a secret, man ï¿½ Iï¿½m not allowed to tell you, sorry!ï¿½. (*laughs*) He signed it for me and I was just so excited, like ï¿½Hell yeah, now I have even got Steveï¿½s signature on it…!!ï¿½. I have collected super-lotsa stuff, but Iï¿½m not as fanatical as I used to be. I still have all the stuff that I used to trade with people; I have still got that all stuff we even traded to each other back in the day. But like I said, Iï¿½m not nearly as that fanatical what I used to be in the past, going after for all these gems. But if I see something really rare, I may pick it up for myself.
Then letï¿½s move on to some rumors next that have been circulating around as of lately…
… about Sepulturaï¿½s ï¿½reunionï¿½, if I can guess right, correct?
Yes, precisely. Lots of talking about this Sepultura reunion thing has been going around lately, so can you tell whether thereï¿½s any truth in any of those rumors in there?
To be honest with you, I still donï¿½t know anything about it. I heard about these rumors, too.
So, thereï¿½s nothing planned for this yearï¿½s Ozzfest as some rumors are based on it…?
Nope, absolutely nothing. Itï¿½s just a rumor ï¿½ and thatï¿½s it.
COLLECTING THE FINNISH PUNK/HARDCORE…
Talking about the very early days of Sepultura ï¿½ those days when the band was formed in Belo Horizonte in the early 80ï¿½s. At that time Sepultura was heavily influenced for example by some Finnish Punk/Hardcore bands; Riistetyt, Appendix, ï¿½pï¿½rï¿½t, Rattus, Kaos ï¿½ just to mention only but a few. Because of this latter mentioned fact, I brought a little gift to you: an album from the legendary Finnish Punk/Hardcore band called Rattus. This is the French version from their STOLEN LIFE album that was released via a small label named Neg. FX. Records in 1987, limited to 1000 copies only. I donï¿½t know whether you already had this in your collection, but this version is at least brand-new, never-played copy. I have just stored my double copy for all these years, so maybe you can find some use for this ï¿½ here you are anyway!
No, I didnï¿½t have it before, but thanks a lot, man. Beautiful ï¿½ thank you! By the way, guess who would love to see this?
A close friend of mine; heï¿½s a true Punk Rockï¿½fanatic. Iï¿½m sure he would like this album a lot. But anyways… kiitos!
Kiitos itsellesi, Paulo!
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