Opprobrium (formerly known as Incubus)
Interview with Francis and Moyses Howard
Interviewed by David Leslie
Incubus – demo days photo
So brothers, how long have you been involved into metal and how did you get involved with it?
(francis)-> since the 80’s, my brother Moyses and I used to watch local bands playing live and we liked the sound and specially the instruments, for myself I fell in love with the guitar and my brother the drums.
(moyses)–>Yeah, I started playing drums first, and later I told Francis to play guitar and he liked it.
How did your passion for heavy metal start?
(francis)–> For me was early Dio, and other big bands of the time. In the beginning my dream was to be like the great guitar players of that time. I wouldn’t say that it started, it felt like I was meant
to play the guitar. It’s like a calling and I still am in love with it and every time a new song is born
it’s gives me a great feeling to enjoy it and to share with the my fans thru out the World.
(moyses)–> When I heard some Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden and many others, plus you get to use your musical instruments more than pop-music, radio music, etc. And that is really an inspiration when you are a young musician trying to master your instrument. As for me, I found heavy metal drumming awesome.
How did you find interest in music and metal in particular?
(francis)–>The interest began with the sound of the guitar and the way metal music shows the guitar. I love the power that such a beautiful instrument can bring out. As for metal in particular I loved the power that it can give, specially when you might have the blues about something, when I listen to metal it’s like it energizes my soul…..it’s awesome.
(moyses)–>I used to love music since I can remember, even when I was living in Brazil, when my parents brought me to the U.S, I used to bang on cans, etc. Then I bought some toy drums when I was a kid, about 14. Then my interest grew more as I was listening to songs on the radio, MTV, etc. Then from there I used to work at many part time jobs, as I was still attending school, and I saved to buy a decent drum kit. Everyday, when I arrived from school, I would practice hard, playing solos and following my favourite records. I got into metal and heavier stuff after I heard Black Sabbath, old Queen, Judas Priest, Maiden, all that good stuff.
What did you find so exciting in this music?
(francis)–> The Power that it brings.
(moyses)–>For myself being a drummer, the speed and power of this kind of music. I find it a great style of music.
Did you start listening to death/thrash bands and were you into smaller underground acts or were you into popular, established ones?
(francis)–> Mainly both.
(moyses)–>Yeah, all of the above, if it was cool.
At which point did you decide to play instruments and what was the first instrument that you decided to play?
(francis)-> When I was around 15 yrs old that’s when I decided to play and my brother at the time bought me my first guitar and actually paid my guitar lessons for around six months, I have to thank him for that.
(Moyses)–>Like I mentioned above, I worked to save for a kit and then was practicing everyday. I just felt I needed to buy a drum kit and go at it, probably when I was 14. And yes, drums was the first instrument I decided to play, it just came naturally. I also would like to play guitar in the near future.
Do you perhaps play other instruments as well?
(francis)–>Mostly guitar and for the album Beyond the unknown and Discerning Forces I played the bass on the studio on these two albums.
(moyses)–>So far only drums.
Did you take lessons or were you self taught?
(francis)–>I took lessons for six months. After that I learned by listening and watching and exploring the guitar, it’s an never ending process. In a way I guess I am self taught.
(moyses)–>I was self taught. I just practiced a lot.
What were your influences to become musicians at all?
(francis)–>For me at that time was Vivian Campbell and Yngwie Malmsteen, these were my heroes at the time. When I saw those guys playing the guitar I decided that’s what I want to learn.
(moyses)–>I liked Mitch Mitchel from Hendrix, Buddy Rich, Stave Smith from Journey, Neil Peart, and as far as speed metal music, I also liked the drummers from Motorhead and Venom, Nicko from Iron Maiden, I really like his drumming. Stewart Copeland from The Police is another fantastic drummer.
You immigrated to New Orleans from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. When and how did you decide to move to the States?
(francis)–>at that time I was 10 yrs old and my family decided to move to the US to be close to our family members that were living here in the US – that was the main reason.
(moyses)–>Our parents brought us over to the U.S. to be close to our other family members. My grandmother and My Grandfather was here and we all missed them very much, then they asked my father to come to live close to them, then we all came to the U.S.
Did you move to the States, because you had more possibility to form a band or…?
(francis)–> It was because of family.
(moyses)–> When we were in Brazil, we didn’t even dream to play music, it happened after some time that we were living here.
How was the Brazilian underground scene at that point and did it have a strong background?
(francis)–>I really couldn’t say how it was at that time, cause I was living in the US, but when I heard that Metal was also strong there, it made me happy in a way I did not feel alone knowing that metal was everywhere. Especially in Brazil.
(moyses)–>We left Brazil in ’82 and back then I don’t remember seeing a metal scene. Back then people used to like Kiss, Zeppelin Queen, etc. We didn’t have the extreme metal that we have today in Brazil.
Were the fans and the press supportive for metal in Brazil at all?
(francis)–>Brazil has a strong metal scene, why do you think many big bands go and record their live album there, the fans there loves metal. We Brazilian love anything that has to do with music. In a way we are a musical and very friendly people. The press is very supportive of metal there.
(moyses)–>They always were, no matter what era of rock, metal it was.
What kind of fanzines existed in Brazil those times?
(francis)–>oh Jesus, you got me there lol, I really don’t recall the names at this time, sorry.
(moyses)–>I don’t remember seeing any fanzines in Brazil, especially in 1982. Now days they have a whole bunch of fanzines.
Do you still recall the first record you bought? Has it changed your life in any way?
(francis)–> Yes, it did, it showed me that music has power and makes you feel good about many things, especially if it is a good song.
(moyses)–> I can’t recall what the first record it was, as I was buying records since I lived in Brazil, but when I listen to old songs from the ’70’s and before ’82’, it brings me back old memories from when I was a kid.
Was it hard to get information on what’s going on in the underground scene worldwide?
(francis) Oh yes, at that time it was extremely difficult. We had no internet back then; everything was done by mail, and phone/fax. Crazy old days. I think that we have it made now, the internet is a blessing for bands.
(moyses)–>Information was near impossible back then, as everything was done by mail, publicity, interviews, etc.
Was New Orleans your first choice to move or…?
(francis)–>Yes, that is where we first set foot in the US, New Orleans. New Orleans is a beautiful city, great people, and the food is great, I love it.
(moyses)–>Our grandparents were living there when we arrived, and that’s where we went and stayed. It’s a party town, very nice to live.
How did you see the New Orleans at this point?
(francis)–>A place for possibilities, and growth, New Orleans people love music and Mardi Gras is great. It’s a party place with happy faces.
(moyses)–>Everything completely different from Brazil. We wanted to see as much as we could of that great city.
How did you feel seeing that metal explosion in New Orleans with quite a good number of outfits such as Exhorder, Acid Bath, Nuclear Crucifixion, Elimination etc.?
(francis)–>New Orleans is on the map now, thanks to great bands that delivered great music. It’s a great thing that bands like us and others are showing the talents that New Orleans can deliver.
(moyses)–>We actually liked very much seeing metal growing in New Orleans, because back then (as Incubus) we were the only genuine death metal band at that time. We don’t remember any other. There were mainly hardcore, punk-rock bands in those days, and since we did not know of death metal bands in those days, we had to play shows with punk-rock or hardcore bands. It was shocking to them, seeing 3 long haired guys on stage. But fortunately, we got along real good with them and they admired us a lot. We respected their hardcore punk music and they respected our death metal style of music. But I can tell you with certainty that we were the first and only death metal band in the whole city of New Orleans and the whole entire state of Louisiana from 1986 to 1990. We were too advanced for them, we were ahead of our time and we were doing music which in Europe it was already established.
Did this band try to make a name for themselves in the underground scene?
(francis)–>Yes, and only the best survived.
(moyses)–>Oh yeah! That’s why we worked hard at it from the beginning until now.
INCUBUS – Beyond the unknown – backstage
Incubus was formed in 1986, but before being involved in the band, what were the previous acts you’ve played with?
(francis)–>I can recall the names, sorry.
(moyses)–>Man, we’ve played with many bands, it’s hard to remember them all.
The line up of the band became complete with the addition of bassist Scott LaTour, what about his musical background?
(francis)–>Well, he like us at that time enjoyed the same music that we enjoyed. Scott is a great bass player, we had a lot of fun at that time together as a band, but his back ground I think that was pretty much the stuff we enjoyed listening at that time.
(moyses)–>He was into heavy metal like us. Back then we all went heavier with death metal. Scott used to play in a local metal band, and our old bass player wasn’t working out too well, so we made Scott an offer and he accepted. Before, we used to be 4 guys, we had a singer, we played covers and some original metal songs, even our old originals was heavier for many people back then, nothing fast, but people didn’t know what to label our music. After we went all out death metal, our old singer was told to go because his high pitched vocals was not in line with what we wanted to do, and me and Francis asked Scott if he wants to handle the vocals. He kinda hesitated for a while, but later on he adjusted to it and there we went.
Was he your first choice or did you try out other musicians as well?
(francis)–>we had other bass players , but when we decided to take our band to the next level, Scott was the choice, because at that time, you must remember Death/Thrash metal wasn’t popular at all, and the fact that he decided to join my brother and I to play this great style of music , was a plus for us.
(moyses)–>I think Francis just answered precisely.
Would you say, that Scott was an experienced, talented musician?
(francis)–>His is a great bass player, very professional and loves his instrument of choice, the bass guitar. I wish him all the very best.
(moyses)–>Yes indeed, after many years playing together, he would learn a song very quickly, Scot knew Francis’ style of song writing. And when Francis would play a guitar solo in our songs, he was there following very tight along with my drum patterns. Great musician.
Who came up with the name of the band?
(francis) Believe it or not, it was my middle brother Reginaldo, the one that drew our first album cover. At that time he opened up the dictionary and said, "hey guys look at this, its a great name", and at that time we loved the name. However, our new band OPPROBRIUM, was me, I found the new band name.
(moyses)–>Yes, our middle brother Reginaldo who painted the "Serpent Temptation" (1988) LP cover, discovered that in the dictionary and we all thought it was a cool name.
Have you thought about considering another Incubus existed in Georgia including Mike Browning were a death metal acts as well, that it might do some harm to you?
(francis)–>Like I said, at that time, knowing who and where was other bands were doing was very difficult, so I couldn’t say.
(moyses)–>death metal was just beginning back in the 80’s and information was terrible back then.
What about your rehearsals?
(francis)–>My guitar is always with me, it’s part of me.
(moyses)–>I always try to have a few days to practice alone on the drums, and then there are the band rehearsal days.
How often did you rehearse?
(francis)–>As much as we can.
(moyses)–>We try to do it as much as we can.
Did you start writing originals right from the start or were you jamming mostly on covers?
(francis) To get to know any instrument one must learn and by doing covers you get a direction and after that you start to be your own, but in the beginning was mostly covers.
(moyses)–>Yeah, like I mentioned, we used to play mostly covers. Then me and Francis started to work on a few originals. Nothing like the stuff we released.
During May 1987 you recorded your legendary demo „Supernatural death", do you still remember how the demo was recorded which was probably your first studio experience?
(francis)–>Yes, I remember, it was a small studio at the back of the engineer’s house. We felt like rock starts in there, it was a wonderful experience at that time.
(moyses)–>Yes it was our first studio work. Just a small studio at the time, but it worked fine. It was a great deal for us to listen to our music in the playback in a nice and clean sound, after many months of listening to our music recorded thru a regular tape recorder.
Demo recordings of „Death", „Hell’s Fire", „Caraleptic", „Rigor Mortis", „Blind Vengeance" and „Assault" were also done, but never properly released – why? Did you never spread these aforementioned tunes?
(francis)–>I guess after the release of our first album "Serpent Temptation" it kind of got forgotten, but who knows, it might be a good future project, who knows.
(moyses)–>We kinda decided to put them in the low profile, because after "S.T." me and Francis happened to have written "Beyond The Unknown" and we didn’t know what to do with these songs. But we hope to release these songs in the near future.
Did this demo expand the band’s popularity in the underground scene?
(francis)–>Yes, it did, people from all over were requesting a copy of our demo.
(moyses)–>Especially the underground fanzines reviews and the underground tape traders. Everyone that I met liked it. And they still do.
Were you selling the demo at shows or was it done destined to be shopped around?
(francis)–> At shows, but the popularity came thru people spreading the copy thru the underground scene, that really helped us.
(moyses)–>We sold them at our gigs and everybody liked it, but like I said, the underground fanzines and tape traders helped to spread the word even further internationally.
In my collection is a bootleg that was recorded 8/28/1987 at the VFW Hall in New Orleans. Do you still recall this particular gig? Was it your first show what you have played ever?
(francis)–>I recall, but it was not our first show.
(moyses)–>I remember, it was a hot Louisiana’s summer night! And no, it wasn’t our first show.
You played „Armageddon day" which was later changed to „The battle of Armageddon", is that correct?
(moyses)–>Yes, that was before we changed to "The Battle of Armageddon" right before we recorded "S.T." (1988).
When did you start writing the material for your debut album „Serpent temptation" and what about the song writing process? Who was responsible for the lyrics and for the music at this point?
(francis)–>The music was me, lyrics was the band at the time.
(moyses)–>Me and Francis were always trying to write new material and then we picked which song will make to the album. Francis would come up with riffs and then I would help him to arrange it to make a song, we would arrange it until it would make us happy. I being the drummer would have a wider perspective to arrange the rhythm.
What do you recall from the recording sessions of the album? How did you end up recording the material at Morrisound Studios?
(francis)–>Well, Morrisound was for our second album "Beyond the Unknown" and not “Serpent Temptation”. It was a very rushed job, we had a very limited budget for that recording at that time. I think it came out great and fans still love it till this day.
(moyses)–>We recorded "Serpent Temptation" at Southlake studio in Metairie, Louisiana (January 1988) and mixed it at Track Record studio in North Hollywood, California (February 1988). But it was a great emotion. There we were to record our debut! Also it was great to go to Los Angeles to mix it over there at the legendary Track Record studio.
How did you see the Florida death metal scene, that started becoming influential and bigger and bigger with acts, such as Death, Massacre, Morbid Angel, Atheist etc.? Were you familiar with this scene?
(francis)–>Florida still is a great scene to be in, like I said, great bands makes great scenes. Florida is great, and kind of new the scene at that time, but after we moved to Tampa, for our “Beyond The Unknown” album, we saw that Tampa, FL and others cities in Florida had great bands, even till this day…so yes, we were familiar with the scene.
(moyses)–>We were familiar with the old Florida scene, we lived there in that period.
Didn’t you think about to move from New Orleans to Florida?
(francis)–We did, Florida is a great State. We are living in Florida now, due to the Hurricane Katrina we’ve been here since then.
(moyses)–>We are living in Florida for the time being, we moved back here after New Orleans got hit by the hurricane Katrina. The hurricane hit New Orleans in August of 2005, but thank God me and all our family evacuated a day before, we went to north Louisiana to my aunt’s house. Nothing happened there; there we stayed until we moved over here in October 2005. The town still is rebuilding, we hope to move back as soon everything gets better there, we miss it very much.
Incubus made a strong start as one of the heaviest bands in the eighties and „Serpent Temptation" is an example of pure thrashing rage in its finest form, with barking vocals and rampaging guitars. When Incubus play at reasonable speeds, they produce some of the heaviest riffs, what one can ever hope to hear, how do you see it?
(francis)–>My brother and I had a vision, and thru our music and the fan support, made it all happen.
(moyses)–>Me and Francis always trying to record the most brutal and eerie riffs that we can find, and blend it together with good quality arrangements. We do brutal and fast death metal songs but still musical and that flows, then the album ends and you don’t feel it. It’s like going around the world in 60 seconds.
What do you think about that the ultra-fast guitar solos on this album often sound downright rushed, making even bands like Slayer sound almost progressive in comparison?
(francis)–>Well, that’s one way to be original, is trying to do something different always, in order to stand out.
(moyses)–>Francis guitar solos work within the music, like I said, fast, but still serving the song.
Do you agree thet there are some albums that recapture the zeitgeist of balls-to-the-walls brutality and some albums that are replete with some of the most lethal, uncompromising riffs, Incubus’ „Serpent Temptation" manages to do both, altogether?
(francis)–>Well, if metal is in your blood, it shows 🙂
(moyses)–>I agree. I still get hypnotized when I listen to "Serpent Temptation".
The record represents a clear, but heavy coat of sound, „Serpent Temptation" boasts a thick slab of grinding guitars along with some very powerful sounding drums and for a debut album the production presented here sure packs a hefty punch. Also the vocals deserve a mention as it is sung in a high, scratchy manner similar to most Black metal bands but different enough to give the vocals its own distinctive quality, what do you think about it?
(francis)–>For that time, and up till now, it still amazes me on how it came out, I listen to that album still till this day and I love every minute of it. What can I say, it’s a masterpiece, hell in a 100 yrs from now it could be the next Bach (laughs)… and they might even teach musical schools throughout the world.
(moyses)–>Even I get amazed how the production sound came out. Everything worked together for that album. Great songs with a great sound. Scott’s vocals came out better than we expected, it was very dark and aggressive.
Would you say, that the best, most relative comparison would be that of the vocals of „Season of the Dead" record of Necrophagia?
(francis)–>When Scot was singing, in a way yes, but at that time we did not hear of Necrophagia, only later.
(moyses)–>We kinda noticed the similarities after we got to hear that Necrophagia LP. It’s funny how singers can have similar vocal ranges and tones.
How do you see the drum work on this album – it is without a doubt, stunning, not very technical in a sense but Moyses never misses a beat. It’s fast, relentless and flows along with the riffs perfectly, which really helps to appreciate the music as whole rather than focusing on minor aspects such as the riffs or drumming alone?
(francis)–>I’ll let Moyses answer that one..haha
(moyses)–>I think the drummer should always serve the song. When I play a song, I don’t just do a drum fill for the sake of doing it, it must have a purpose. I did not play everything that I know and could in that record, so I don’t mess up the songs. Even knowing that I had total freedom to do so.
If I tried to be technical on that album, it probably would not turn out as good as it did, it all came out perfectly.
The riffs on these songs are very well placed and range from slowly crushing into dust to catapulting one into the next multi-verse at warp-speed, is that correct?
(francis)–>Totaly correct on that one, my riffs are all about power.
(moyses)–>You put it very well.
Do you think that, „Serpent Temptation" is furious, very fast thrash/death which took the genre into its next stage? The music is still more thrash than death metal, but some sections are so intense that many future death metal bands would find it hard to match; a ground-breaking album?
(francis)–>Its a great album, and yes in a way it will be hard to match, but wait until you hear our new songs that we are working on. Our fans are going to freak, our fourth album under our new band name OPPROBRIUM will be in a way all 3 albums combined into one but on a new a fresh level. And yes ST is and still is a ground breaking album, for me.
(moyses)–>It’s a classic in itself. Believe it or not, but when we heard the final mix for "S.T.", we used to say that that album was ahead of it’s time and not matter what year, it will always be up to date with the death metal style thru the future and beyond.
Most of the tracks on this record consist of a mixture of slamming breakdown riffs or high speed hypersnare, sort of like the NYDM scene (Suffocation, Immolation, Ripping Corpse etc.), but before it existed and with a heavy thrash vibe (Kreator, Sepultura, Sodom, etc.) that makes the sound of this record so unique for when it came out, what do you think about it?
(francis)–>Serpent Temptation is a unique and original album, when I wrote those songs, I had no influences from other bands, it all came fresh to me and as we combined the riffs with the different speeds, I must say that, it is indeed a master piece, I can’t wait to play some of those songs live again. yes, ST is an unique album.
(moyses)–>Francis said it all! There wasn’t many bands playing at that speed back in those days.
Would you say, that „Serpent Temptation" really makes its mark on the scene?
(francis)–>Yes, but Beyond the Unknown and Discerning Forces are also other great releases that also brought new fans to our family of fans.
(moyses)–>It left a mark indeed. It is one of Opprobrium’s fan favorite album.
I think, sound wise you tried to differ from acts, such as Death, Morbid Angel, Sepultura etc., I mean, you didn’t have the typical Morrisound sound, but the record became brutal and heavy as hell? Were you satisfied with Scott Burns’ work as far as the end result?
(francis)–>Yes, Scot Burns is a great sound engineer, but it was Tom Morris that did Beyond the unknown for us, and like I said before, I am all about being original, this is what a strive for always
with our music.
(moyses)–>I agree with you totally. When we recorded "S.T". we did not hear of Morrisound studio. We kinda had the guts to enter Southlake studio and produce it ourselves. Death metal was a very underground style of music in the "80’s, and we did not hear of producers that worked specifically on this type of music. Looking back we think the production was awesome. We are very glad about the work we did in that album.
The record was released by Brutal Records, was it a small label?
(francis)–>Yes, it was and it was also released by Metal Works from England at that time.
(moyses)–It was a small label, but soon they worked together with Metalworks from the U.K. and the LP got worldwide release.
Weren’t bigger labels interested in the band at this point?
(francis)–>Nuclear Blast is a big label, and we released 2 albums with them after ST.
(moyses)–>Nuclear Blast signed us immediately, 2 years after the release of "S.T.". We were happy with Brutal/Metalworks until we signed with Nuclear Blast.
What kind of releases did they still have besides „Serpent temptation"?
(francis)–>after ST we had Beyond the Unknown and Discerning Forces under our new band name OPPROBRIUM. We have plans to re-release ST and BTU under our new band name, but we won’t change the original recording of theses albums.
(moyses)–>They were going to release some more stuff, but we don’t know what happened.
How much support did you get from Brutal Records at all?
(francis)–>A lot for that time when we first started doing this as a profession.
(moyses)–>Total support! We had full page ads in the main Thrash magazines in America, and Metalworks were promoting it in Europe and the world with ads in the main metal magazines in Europe etc. The album came out strong.
Francis, you did guest vocals on the Cannibal Corpse’s „Skull Full Of Maggots" and Sepultura’s „Stronger Than Hate", what do you recall from it?
(francis)–>What I recalled from was that ST gave us a name with other bands in terms of popularity and I also noticed that as I did backing vocals for “Stronger than Hate” I noticed that I have a strong and powerful voice, I guess that woke me up to the fact that I wanted to be a singer and Beyond the Unknown and Discerning Forces is proof of that. I still remember those time as if it was yesterday, I remember the band cannibal corpse coming over to our apartments to chat with us. I also remember that Scott Burns called us and that Cannibal Corpse wanted us to be included on their album, its a great feeling, but all theses invitations was due to Serpent Temptation, I guess.
(moyses)–>Francis can answer this one, as I was only watching from the control room Francis recording these projects.
If I’m correct, Scott also did some guest appearance on Sepultura’s „Beneath the remains" record, right?
(francis)–>Yes, he was there also.
As far as „Serpent temptation", the tunes were originally sung by Scott LaTour, is that correct? I’ve this version as well… Francis, you re-sung the songs later, were there any differences between yours and Scott’s vocals?
(francis)–>The original version of ST was sung by Scott, then my brother and I decided to do a different project with ST at that time and I sang on that different ST project. As for the difference between Scot and me, I think that we each had a different talent when it came to vocals.
(moyses)–>The original "S.T" of 1988 with Scott is a classic as I said. The 1994 version with Francis vocals was just a side project. It was a limited edition release.
The record existed with two covers, how did that happen? Which was the original cover?
(francis)–>The original cover was that with the tree and the two skeletons, the other was the one with a lady trying to bite an apple.
(moyses)–>The original 1988 "S.T." cover artwork by our middle brother Reginaldo, with the 2 skeletons by the tree. Reginaldo did a great job on that cover, it just came out beautifully.
What were the shows to support the record?
(francis)–> God, there are too many to mention. Ha!
(moyses)–>We lost track, we played a lot.
Back then Scott was replaced by Mark Lavenia (Abhorrent Existence, Equinox). What made Scott leave the band and how did Mark get in the picture exactly?
(francis)–>Well, what happened at that time was that, my brother and I went to rehearse and Scot’s equipment was not there, and some how we knew that he left the band. Maybe it was because I became the new singer, but we have no bad feelings towards Scott. I guess at that time he did not like the idea of me singing and the new direction I wanted to take our band. Maybe it was that he was also going to a lot of personal problems at that time in his life.
(moyses)–>Probably he was going thru some personal problems or something like that. He never really told us of why he suddenly left the band.
Did you part ways with Scott on a friendly term at the end?
(francis)–>Yes, like I said, for me he still is and will always be a good friend, after all, we had history together as a group.
(moyses)–>Certainly. He was our bassist and vocalist, and he still is in the history of the origin of the band. I still consider him as a friend until this day.
Scott joined Haate after his departure and they recorded a demo in 1990, can you tell us more about it?
(francis)–>I really never heard any material from hate, sorry so I couldn’t say.
(moyses)–>I’ve heard a few tracks. By the way, Scot re-united with our first vocalist that I mentioned above, and he was the singer for Haate.
Did Mark have a big hand into the song writing for the next effort „Beyond the unknown"?
(francis)–>No, the song writing has always been my brother and I on ‘Beyond The Unknown’. Mark came in after ‘Beyond the unknown’ recording was done, he only did shows with us.
(moyses)–>Not all. When Mark arrived in the band, me and Francis had already recorded "Beyond The Unknown". He then joined us as our new bassist for our 1991 "B.T.U." tour.
In June 1990 you entered the Morrisound Studios again to cut your second album, was it unambiguous for you to work in Morrisound again?
(francis)–> We only record at Morrisound once and that was for the “Beyond the unknown” album, the ST album and the Discerning Forces album was recorded in a different studio. ST was recorded in New Orleans and mixed in Los Angeles and Discerning Forces was recorded in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil and mixed in Germany.
(moyses)–>June 1990 was the first time ever that we’ve worked at Morrisound studios, and it was very nice and quiet environment. Me, Francis and Tom Morris worked very well together for "B.T.U".
Didn’t you want to choose another studio?
(francis)–>We did choose another studio, because we are always looking for a different sound for our band.
(moyses)–>Anyway, Morrissound was close to home when we were residing in Tampa at that time, and since it was a great place to produce metal albums at that time, we recorded there.
Were you more prepared then for the previous record?
(francis)–> Every album that we did, we are always prepared.
(moyses)–>We were equally prepared for both albums. We rehearse intensively for every album that we release.
How did the recording sessions go with the record?
(francis)–>Great, lots of fun, we enjoyed a lot.
(moyses)–>Nice and organized. We get things done right on time.
Did you use all of the tunes you had written for the album?
(francis)–>We used the songs that we agreed upon for every album that we’ve done.
(moyses)–>Yes indeed. Every song is there.
Would you say that all the tracks on this album are filled with fast vicious riffling and double bass lines without losing focus on song structures. There is also a lot of powerful mid tempo riffling accompanied by a furious shouter spitting out mankind’s threatening issues?
(francis)–>Yes, our song is all about power, we look for power on every song always. We also like to write about real topics, we are not in to that satanic stuff, for us we prefer to write about what’s going on with the world in general.
(moyses)–>It is a fantastic album! I think that you described the album well. It was a very serious album that me and Francis created. Brutal yet musical with real and serious topics along with some lyrics about the world from beyond, spiritual matters that is.
Incubus somehow manages, this also goes for their previous effort, to create your own sound of sonic violence combined with a crushing dark atmosphere, how do you see it?
(francis)–>For the record, we are no longer using the name Incubus (laughs). We are now called OPPROBRIUM, we are still the same band but under a different name. For me its all about the music we are the same band, even though we are called now OPPROBRIUM.
(moyses)–>As everyone knows by now, we’ve changed our name to OPPROBRIUM. The music was very dark in "B.T.U." and every song worked out great. Dark and brutal at the same time.
Do you think, that the album is a blend of death and thrash, with Brazilian style deep vocals, similar to Max Cavalera. The guitars are fast and thrashy with some nice solos, the bass lines are solid, the drums really pound and stand out in the mix?
(francis)–>When I write my music I think of no style or anyone, the reason is that I am always looking to be original, originality is what sales, if a band tries to copy another, it does not last. We are a unique band, we are Opprobrium, original to the teeth. In a way we could be a blend of Death and Thrash Metal.
(moyses)–>Francis has a vocal style of his own. He can sing loud and brutal as well, yet Francis is Francis. We’re original as we can be. Originality is our main goal. From song writing to the way a snare drum sounds on each record, we feel that Opprobrium already achieved our signature sound. At each album we try to do something different.
„Beyond the unknown" is an excellent album all the way through without any filler tracks and the excellent drumming style makes this album stand out among all the other death/thrash bands, what’s your opinion?
(francis)–>Thank you for the great compliment, ST and BTU and Discerning Forces are all great albums, but its our great fans that makes it worth it all. If it wasn’t for them, we would still be playing in a garage somewhere in the middle of nowhere, but yes all our albums stands out with force and power.
(moyses)–>I agree with you. Thanks for the compliments. This album stands the test of time even almost 20 years later. We do it for our fans around the world. When people and fans appreciate our work, it makes us very happy and it also make us work harder.
Did this album sound way better and clear to what you wanted to achieve with Incubus?
(francis)–>A musician is never satisfied in a way, as with life, we are always progressing and trying to improve for the better, but on all our releases (Serpent Temptation, Beyond The Unknown, and Discerning Forces) I can honestly say that we are happy, because it leaves a mark on the time that we did those albums and at each of those times we were happy with the results in a way. Opprobrium is always striving for a better sound.
(moyses)–>We are never satisfied; we always try to reach a new plateau, being it with a song, a final mix for an album or a simple drum pattern, etc. But we feel accomplished with our albums because we know that we all gave our very best to put out the best albums that we could at that time. Opprobrium is a band that keeps getting better and better. We’re always improving our techniques in every area of this band.
Did you find out that there were a lot of people familiar with your material and do you think that your records helped you to build up a fanbase?
(francis)–>We are known all over now, even with our new band name OPPROBRIUM, it’s still us and our fans know who we are, even with our new band name. The name Incubus is the past now, our fans know that we are still the same band but under a different name.
(moyses)–>Of course. We changed our name to Opprobrium, and all our fans know it by now. The albums that we did helped a lot to build our fan base. The fans are waiting for our new fourth album with great anticipation.
What I remember, you got awesome critics and feedbacks for „Beyond the unknown", both the press and the fans waited exciting for the record and in my opinion, you didn’t cause any disappointment for them, how do you see it?
(francis)–>I see it as a great thing, a musicians needs those kind of feedback, it is what drives them and feeds them. Great feedback from fans is what keeps us going even till this day. Every album that we ever done has something good to offer.
(moyses)–>We were very happy. The feedbacks were awesome. The album is legendary. Like I said, a musician tends to grow technically and as a band as a whole, It makes us work harder to write the next album even better.
Did you go on tour after the recording sessions to promote and support the album?
(francis)–>Yes, but mostly for ST and BTU.
(moyses)–>Yes, we did the "Beyond The Unknown" 1991 tour. We also played songs from "Sepent Temptation".
Would you say, that a European tour would have helped to make Incubus bigger and more popular in the underground scene?
(francis)–>We did Tour Europe back in the BTU release when we used to be called Incubus.
(moyses)–>We done the "Beyond The Unknown" 1991 European tour, when we were called Incubus with Disharmonic Orchestra opening for us. It was great and we had a lot of fun doing this ’91 European tour.
Did you get a lot of mail or order from Europe at all?
The record was released by Nuclear Blast; do you still remember how you got picked up by them?
(francis)–>We got really known from our first debut Serpent temptation and that in a way made it easy to sign with them at that time.
(moyses)–>Yeah, it was in early ’90. They liked "S.T." very much; they became aware of us from that album. We talked on the phone about releasing a new album with them, and then they mail us a recording contract. And the rest is history.
Did they ask you to hear newer material or did they have a complete confidence into it?
(moyses)–>They sent us the contract first, I think as a sign of complete confidence in our band. Later on, me and Francis prepared a demo on a 4 track recording mini-studio especially for them, as they were very anxious to hear our new album and they all liked the new material.
Nuclear Blast was a relatively young and new label at this point with acts, such as Benediction, Master, Abomination, Pungent Stench, Disharmonic Orchestra etc. wasn’t it?
(francis)–>Yes, we in a way know Markus Staiger very well, I treat him as a friend, even though its a business, he is a great guy and very down to earth. When Beyond The Unknown came out, yes Nuclear Blast was a small label at that time. But with Discerning Forces Nuclear Blast was already a Major Label.
(moyses)–>Yes. When we re-signed with them in ’99 to record "Discerning Forces", Markus Staiger the owner, came down to Brazil to see the recording sessions, and then we talked and he explained how NB was at that moment, and even I was amazed how huge his company has become. It’s phenomenal.
Did you get more support from them then from Brutal Records? Did they try to spread the band’s name worldwide?
(francis)–>Yes, they (Nuclear Blast) did a great job, except for Discerning Forces, when we released that album with them, we kind of felt that we did not have the priority from the staff, but no matter,
our fans are always loyal, and we are here for them our fans.
(moyses)–>Brutal and Metalworks did a great job to a certain extent, but Nuclear Blast did a lot more for us for the "B.T.U’ album, but not much for our latest album "Discerning Forces", but the good thing that came out of it, was the promotion for our new name Opprobrium, as they are a much bigger label now days with a great worldwide distribution.
As far as Incubus’ short career as a whole, were you an underrated band or were you on the same level/league of acts, such as early Slayer, Sepultura, Morbid Angel etc.?
(francis)–>Lets just say that, we can play with any of those great bands that you’ve just mentioned and be on the same level with them. I see my band as a big band, we have a unique sound, and original sound, we are Opprobrium now..better then before when we were called Incubus. Underrated in a way yes, I do have to agree.
(moyses)–>We always were and still are on the same level/league of some of the acts that you’ve mentioned. The problem was that we have never had the same big breaks or opportunities to promote this band like they had, and yes, I feel that this band is still an underrated band, but this can be changed with good promotion and an extensive world tour. But the press and our fans knows that this is a powerful band musically and also on stage.
After the releasing of „Beyond the unknown" you vanished from sight, what was the status of the band at this point? Did you break up or were you on hold?
(francis)–>On hold, too long I guess (laughs)…but we are back now, stronger as a whole , we have a vision now to take this band to a higher ground.
(moyses)–>Just on hold. This band never broke up. Now we’re still here better and wiser than never.
How did you see the metal in general in the ’90s? Do you think, that it was onto an extinction phase with many bands either breaking up or changing their sound for something that had nothing to do with their original approach or was the scene oversaturated and the people started jumping from one trend to another?
(francis)–>I think that it evolved, and it is still changing, we are in 2008 now, and Death Metal is back, people are looking for metal. Like the old saying goes, Rock and Roll never dies (laughs).
(moyses)–>I guess the market was full back in those days. Death metal went down in the mid ’90’s, but the fans want it back now. And it’s great that death metal is back. It’s more established and balanced now days. Not too much, but on the right level I think.
Would you say, that neither the appearance of grunge nor the appearance of pop/punk didn’t the metal scene good, because traditional metal seemed to be killed by them at this point?
(francis)–>True fans stay loyal, but I think that has a lot to do with the music industry. Thank God for the internet, now fans can choose on their own without letting big business getting in their way. Its all about freedom now. If you don’t like a radio station, people now can go online and listen to what ever they want, it’s great now.
(moyses)–>Most of this sudden dominance came from the major labels pushing those bands, but death metal stayed stable within the real death metal fans, and it held the base those last few years. But we see that even with all that has happened in the music industry, death metal has survived and it’s back again, stronger than ever.
The idea of recording a third Incubus album occurred to you during a trip to your home land, Rio de Janeiro, but the rights of the Incubus moniker now belong to a crappy pop band, and you opted for releasing it as Opprobrium, instead of engaging in a legal battle – can you tell us more about it?
(francis)–>We could release under the old name band Incubus but the lawyers from the other band, said that in the US we could not, so we decided that we had to change the name. So that is why we are OPPROBRIUM now, and we are the same band and better then ever.
(moyses)–>We’re still are the same band but with a different name. By that time, they (the other Incubus) had too much on the market, MTV videos etc. And would be impossible for us to re-use that name, as their fans already knew them from MTV as Incubus, also we felt that the name Incubus
was already associated with them, and we opted to change the name completely, so we don’t had to have any link with the other group. But now, all our fans and the metal press, etc., knows that we are Opprobrium now.
For a brief period you were billed as Incubus Rage, is that correct?
(francis)–>Incubus rage was an option for a name, but we decided to go for OPPROBRIUM.
(moyses)–>There were talks about it, but we decided to delete that name, and opted for OPPROBRIUM.
The new line up of the band consisted of, besides you, Luiz Carlos on rhythm guitar and Andre Luiz on bass, tell us about their musical background and how did they joined the band.
(francis)–>They were both fan, that’s how they got in, we liked their attitude. They are both great musicians and very professional.
(moyses)–>Luiz, I first met him in a metal show down in Recife, north east-Brazil, and Andre we met him during the recording sessions in Rio de Janeiro. They both were in metal bands before we met them; they both were great guys and great musicians. We still keep in contact with Luiz Carlos until this day, but we lost contact with Andre Luiz.
Did they take part in the song-composing as well?
(francis)–>No, I did all the composing and I did all the recording such as bass and etc.. and moyses
did the drums and lyrics with me.
(moyses)–>Francis came out with the riffs and I would help him with the arrangements. And me and Francis wrote all the lyrics. No, they did not take part in the song writing.
How did you approach the song writing for the new record?
(francios)–>Its a secret (laughs)
(moyses)–>We tried to do something more advanced and more complex, yet brutal death metal.
Did you write material continuously or did you start writing the stuff before the recording sessions?
(francis)–>Before, always, as a band one must have a plan and it grows from there.
(moyses)–>We started writing the new material months before the recording sessions.
The album was recorded at Discover Digital Studio, Nov-Dec 1999, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, tell us about the recording sessions…
(francis)–>It went great, we had Harris Johns as a producer and even Markus Staiger went there, for in a way he is also a big fan of the band. It was awesome to record in the same area where we used to live back when we were young.
(moyses)–>It was awesome! We had Harris Johns producing the sound. He’s a great engineer to work with. He did the final mix in his Spiderhouse Studio in Germany and we were very happy with the final product. Even the owner of Nuclear Blast Markus Staiger came down to visit the recording
sessions. It was nice to do an album in the land where me and Francis were born, and also visit our city where we used to live as kids.
As far as I’m concerned, this record hadn’t anything to do with your classic releases, it sounded too modern for me, what do you think about?
(francis)—Then wait till the next one comes out, its a mixture of all our 3 past releases, we have 12 new songs now, its going to be the next major hit for OPPROBRIUM, but, I guess the fans noticed the change due to the recording budget, which was much better then before. On all our albums we always put 8 songs, now we will put 12 songs. But I cant talk about it too much, its a surprise .
(moyses)–>It’s a improved combination of our earlier albums with a plus. We explored different areas musically.
The album was engineered, mixed and mastered by Harris Johns, were you happy with his work?
(francis)–>Yes, he is the best at what he does.
(moyses)–>It came out better than we expected. Harris gave even more power to the songs thru the mix. We are all very happy with his work.
The cover art was done by Kristian „Necrolord" Wahlin, how did your choice fall on him? Did you like his previous works?
(francis)–>Yes and we wanted to put the same ghost we had on BTU on Discerning Forces to let the fans know that, its us and we are back and even with the new name we are still the same, in a way better. The cover concept was my idea and Kristian did great art work. He is a great artist, I like his style.
(moyses)–>We liked very much the work he did on "B.T.U.", so we contacted him for "Discerning Forces”, plus we wanted to create a link from our last album to the new one for the fans to know that we changed our name to Opprobrium, but we still the same band but with a different name, that this is actually our third record.
What about the touring aspect in support of „Discerning forces"?
(francis)–> There was none, at that time we ran into some personal problems, I got divorced and all that, so that kind of thru us off track, but we are back now and here to stay.
(moyses)–>No tour at all, Francis was going thru some marital problems with his wife, he got divorced, so me and him could not set a base to do anything related to the band. Plus Francis needed some time off to clear off his mind. But now everything is ok now and the band is in full force again.
How did you view all of those reformations that happened around 2000/2001 and later, such as Heathen, Death Angel, Destruction, Metal Church, Agent Steel?
(francis)–>I think not as a come back, the reason I say that is once a musician always a musician. Theses bands, like us, had a mission, a calling to continue, its a love for the art thing, that’s the way I see it.
(moyses)–>I think it’s real cool. A band always leaves a fan base when they suddenly stop or break-up, and when they decide to get back again, the fans become very happy.
Did you like their comeback records as well?
(francis)–>Some are good and others weren’t so great, but just to see them all together again its a great feeling, I wish all them the best.
(moyses)–>They all legendary bands that basically like Opprobrium, left their marks in the metal world. More power to them.
Do you think, that it started a retro metal movement at this point?
(francis)–>Hard to say, I really couldn’t say.
(moyses)–>I’ve being noticing it.
The band never actually „broke up" but remained inactive after „Discerning Forces", what happened with you?
(francis)–>Personal problems, such as my divorce and all…but that’s water under the bridge now, its the past…we are back now , cause in a way we never left, only took too long to get things done, that’s all.
(moyses)–> I think Francis said it all.
You are currently writing material for a so far untitled 4th album, can you tell us more about it?
(francis)–>Its the BEST material I wrote in a long long time, its going to kick ass, luck is the label that signs us this time, we and them are going to be very happy. I call these new 12 songs my babies, and only a good record label with a good vision is going to have them, they are my master piece…oh if only you could hear..Its the best material of all times.
(moyses)–>Yes indeed! It’s far more brutal and faster. Even the heavier parts are so aggressive! We can’t wait to release it for the death metal fans. 12 new songs. It’s coming out fantastic!
Are you still with Nuclear Blast or do you want to find another label?
(francis)–>We are looking for another label at this time, we are having many offers but so far nothing to our liking. And no, we are no longer with Nuclear Blast records.
(moyses)–>We are no longer with NB, but we are currently getting some offers from some record labels.
Do you think, that Nuclear Blast became one of the biggest underground, independent label during the years, but they became a little bit trend-oriented?
(francis)–>Yes, but they are a business, what can I say? (laughs) I have to respect them for that.
(moyses)–>Yeah, they are a big label now.
What are your views about the metal scene and the ways it has developed over the last 15-20 years? Are you the type of dudes who miss the old, glorious days of metal?
(francis)–>I think this way, the glorious years is now, this is the golden moment, for you and me, its all about metal and having a great time…I think both times are the best for me. Death/Thrash music is always in style, I can pick a record from back then and one from now, and it all sounds up to date. The only change now is that recording got better and the market accepts it now with respect.
(moyses)–>I miss it sometimes. There was something different about that time, it was cool, it was like the beginning and stuff.
Are you still in touch with what’s going on in the underground metal scene?
(francis)–>Yes, I am always listening and watching, like a pit-bull (laughs).
(moyses)–>We play death metal and we always try to keep up to date and stuff.
„Beyond the unknown" was re-released in Bare Bones Digipak format along with the re vocal tracked version of „Serpent Temptation" in 2000 by Nuclear Blast. Were you deeply involved into the making of this reissue? Who came up with the idea of the reissue at all?
(francis)–><My brother and I.
(moyses)–>Me and Francis.
Do you think, that both of these records stood the test of time and they are still influential ones?
(francis)–Yes, for in a way they are still us.
(moyses)–>Yeah. They became legendary classics, even "Discerning Forces".
Would you say, that the name of Incubus is still big and it’s in people’s minds?
(francis)–>I don’t think so, its all about OPPROBRIUM now.
(moyses)–>They first knew us by our first name, but now they know us as OPPROBRIUM.
So guys, thanks a lot for this extensive feature, anything to add what I forgot to cover? Hail Opprobrium!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(francis)–>We hope to see all our fans there on day, and yes we will play the old songs with the new band name Opprobrium. OPPROBRIUM is back…..and thank you for this great interview. Check out our website thank you and Metal for Ever!!!!!!!
(moyses)–>Thank you for your support for Opprobrium, and also we would like to thank all our fans for their support throughout the years! We hope to play to all of our fans there one day, and we will do great shows for you all. Also thank you for this cool interview. And please make sure to check our official Myspace Opprobrium band site at: .Thank you all once again
and beware: "OPPROBRIUM is here"!!!