Singer Daisa Munhoz – Vandroya
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Emil Westerdahl at Inner Wound Recordings for setting up the interview
Thanks to Inner Wound Recordings for the promo pictures of the band
Vandroya is the name of a new progressive metal act from Brazil. ONE is the title of the debut album and I hooked up with singer Daisa Munhoz in order to learn a little bit more about the band, the members, the past, present, and future for the band. We also talked about what the climate is like for harder music in Brazil. Munhoz is also involved in the metal opera Soulspell led by Heleno Vale so naturally we also spoke about that. If you like bands like Symphony X, Angra, and Sonata Arctica, make sure to check out Vandroya.
Hi Daísa hope you are ready to begin the interview! I thought we could begin with talking about the brand new album ONE which is your debut album. How long did it take to write and record ONE?
Well, the recording sessions took around a year, beginning with lead guitars and drums in early 2011. Then, guitar solos and bass and finally in early 2012, the vocal. Then it took around a month for mixing and mastering the album. It was actually ready around August 2012 but since we signed with Inner Wound in Europe and Spiritual Beast in Japan we waited till the end of 2012 for our first release in Japan.
Who has written the material and what are the lyrics about?
I wrote most of the lyrics, and in some of them, Otávio Nuñez (drums) made his contributions. Most of the material I wrote is autobiographic about life experiences and beliefs for example. But there’s also some historic and mythological content not necessarily related to gods and heroes, but about the narratives and messages of the myths that are universal. Otávio is a great fan of this kind of stuff as well as I am.
You have featured the songs “Within Shadows” and “Why Should We Say Goodbye” from the demo, why did you use those songs again?
Because we felt like they were still reflecting the band’s moment, and there were some improvements. Also, we have got more mature since 2005 (year it was released) and then came to the conclusion there were still ways to improve the songs and represent them to our fans. We loved the results!
We were very glad that the response was very positive. Just gave us more confidence and excitement for the actual release.
How come you chose to call the album ONE? Does the title mean anything special to the band?
That is kind of a funny story. We actually didn’t have a name for the album till the last minute. So the idea came from Rodolfo Pagotto (guitars), and it was so simple that sounded perfect to us.
Who has done the cover artwork and what do you and the band think of it?
The cover artwork was design by this amazing Colombian artist, Felipe Machado Franco. This guy has already created awesome covers for great bands such as Blind Guardian and Iced Earth, and we were glad to have our album cover designed by him. Well at the time he started working, we just sent him some of our lyrics for inspiration and let him work freely. We loved the results!
How would you describe the kind of music that Vandroya plays?
Despite of not being engaged with any kind of label the term the press is referring to us (Prog Power) is perhaps, the most accurate. Not because we decided to play this kind of gender but because most of our influences come from bands labeled as such. But we don’t like to think we are exclusively Prog Power.
According to the biography I received it says that fans of Kamelot, Symphony X and Sonata Arctica is going to appreciate ONE, could you agree on that?
These guys (but Kamelot) are some of our influences so the fans might find some elements of them in our music. But our songs are a mixture of a diverse range of influences from all our members.
There’s a video teaser to the song “Why Should We Say Goodbye?” when is the video going to be aired?
Our music video is already on air. You guys can check it our in our channel in YouTube: www.youtube.com/watch?v=W9pXKIYhTCM.
Did you have a release party for the album? If so when and where took the party place?
We actually had a release show in Armazém on May 10th, a rock pub in Bauru a bigger city near Bariri our hometown. We call this pub our home because of the history we have there. It was very exciting lots of friends and fans went to see us. It was a great show and we had a great time!
Have you read any review of the album in the media? What have the critics to say about ONE and do you and the band care about what critics have to say about your work?
I believe we read most of them and we were very glad the reviews were, in general very positive. We were really excited when we read about how great was our album reception among the headbangers and media around the world. First these opinions are a fuel for us to keep going in the track we have chosen. On the other hand we try to be genuine about what we think our songs should sound. In the end of the day I believe everything can be an influence in our creative process. We just have to make sure we are trying to make the best of it.
Do you think that the band has developed music wise since you first started out?
Sure we did. For instance we wouldn’t be able to release One as it is in our early years. We’ve grown not just music wise but also technically. Furthermore we have got more mature along the years.
Are you happy with the outcome of the album now that you look back on it?
Yes we are. We believe everything we’ve been through was a part of process in which One was born. So of course we had up and downs good and bad times but we don’t regret anything. If it wasn’t like that, it wouldn’t be as it is right now. Furthermore, there’s everything we’ve learned and that we will apply in the next steps.
Do you have any favorite songs on ONE? Which one and why?
Ok I would say I love them all and it changes every week. Right now I’m pretty much into Anthem (for the Sun) because it’s strong and smooth at the same time. Also I really love its lyrics. Otávio and I were inspired by the Sun Salutation which is a sequence of movements of Hatha Yoga to write this lyric.
Production and studiowork
Where was ONE recorded?
It was recorded in Genesis Studio, in a little town called Lençois Paulista close to Bariri the city I live. Despite being a very small town, the studio could easily compete with the top tier ones in bigger centers.
Band member Marco Lambert produced the album; how was it to work with him as producer?
It was pretty natural actually. Of course we worked under the pressure of giving our best all along the process but after years of friendship and connivance everything worked smoothly we trust him a lot. Also he is the one among us who truly has that accurate mind and soul for producing.
What is his strongest feature as producer?
As I said, having Marco as the producer of One was actually pretty natural for all of us. He is the person who coordinated our ideas during the composition process and after years working as a musician playing in Vandroya and knowing each band member’s potentials. I would say Marco was the one who had a crystal clear idea of how One should sound like he was very confident about everything on this album. And this is essential to bring to the listener everything we wanted to express with this work.
From what I can read, you began to record the album back in 2010, is that correct?
We started the pre-production in late 2010. But the recordings happened between late 2011 and early 2012.
Who did the mixering and mastering and where took it place?
Those were made by Heros Trench, guitarist of Brazilian thrash metal band Korzus in his studio Mr. Som in São Paulo.
Label and management
You inked a deal with Inner Wound Recordings in Europe how come you chose them?
Inner Wound Recordings already knew my work because of Heleno Vale and my work in Soulspell’s albuns. When they knew the recordings of ONE were really happening (through videos of the recording sessions posted on the Internet) their interest in the band grew larger. So I sent them some tracks and they liked what they heard, and then Spiritual Beast (Japan) joined the team, which was quite a wonderful surprise. I really feel privileged to be working with them because they are very professional and they are working very hard in promoting the album.
Do you see any problems with your label being based in Sweden and you in Brazil?
Not at all. Actually we see it as a great opportunity to reach the major metal markets around the world.
Who released ONE in North America and is the album released worldwide?
We have Inner Wound as our label in Europe and North America, and Spiritual Beast as our label in Asia. In Brazil our album is out with Voice Music.
Are you happy with the work the label have put into the band and the album so far?
We are glad we signed with our label in Europe and US. While we weren’t expecting much of projection for our debut album, it gave Vandroya the opportunity to be in the key-markets of heavy metal. Emil from Inner Wound Records have been really thoughtful and present during the whole process. From helping us with the amazing artwork of One, getting us know through interviews, being really helpful with any doubts or giving us support with some contacts from abroad. It has been great so far.
Is it possible to download the album legally?
Yes throughout Amazon for instance in USA and Japan and via iTunes.
Are you currently working with any booking agency or promotion agency?
Not at the moment.
Past and present
The band was founded back in 2001, who formed the band and why?
Vandroya was born in 2001, and we were just a group of kids playing cover songs of the bands we admire the most. We had, at that time, no pretensions about composing, about having an album of ours, actually. It was just about having fun with our friends. The original members were Marco Lambert, Rodolfo Pagotto, Kamila Fernandes, André Boton, Marcelo Alem and I.
Has the line up been the same since the start?
No, we’ve been through some transformations since then. Marco Lambert, Rodolfo Pagotto and I are original members. Giovanni Perlati and Otávio Nuñes got into the band in 2006. There were other changes since then; Rodolfo and Giovanni were out for a couple of years and other musicians took their places for a while. But when we decided to record One and make it happen we came back with the 2006 team.
Do the members have any idols or group as a common musical influence?
I think I have to say Iron Maiden.
Where does the band name Vandroya come from and does it mean anything?
Vandroya means nothing specifically. It was a suggestion from a friend of ours, back in our early years. There’s a character in Avantasia who is called Vandroy he probably thought about that when he came with the idea. We just loved the way it sounded.
You recorded a demo during 2005; what did labels and fans think of it?
We recorded the demo independently. It was a great experience and lots of learning in the process. Thanks to this demo we could get a place in the regional heavy metal scenario.
The band come from Brazil, do all of the members live in the same city?
Not actually. Marco, Rodolfo and I live in Bariri. Giovanni lives in Jaú a city nearby. Otávio lives in São Paulo, which is about 300 km away from Bariri.
Have you done a lot of touring in Brazil or abroad?
We’ve been given the opportunity to have some gigs, and also some invitations. Nothing huge, but good opportunities to be out there playing. Hope we can tour and play more and more.
How’s the climate for metal and rock in Brazil?
The scene is not easy for those who want to make music for a living. But there are lots of amazing Brazilian bands working hard to show their talents worldwide even with music as a second career.
Are there many rock/metal clubs?
Despite of not being well known and being far away from mainstream, the heavy metal scene here has lots of fans, eager to listen to their favorite bands. There are metal radios and lots of bands and dozens of clubs. Some of them well know and traditional.
When did you begin to sing and were there anyone in particular that influenced you?
I started singing when I was a child at 9 years old. At the age of fourteen I already was part of a “travelling band”. I was 18 years old or maybe 19 when we founded this band and I gained so much experience since then. I’ve been working with a lot of talented people that really taught me a lot, and I’ve been playing in many bands and projects with so many great musicians. I have a lot of idols and I listen to a lot of old stuff. There are a lot of artists who had influenced me all through my lifetime, the more I live, the more I learn, and I believe it will constantly change. Dio, Freddy Mercury, David Coverdale, Glenn Hughes, Russel Allen, just to name a few. Their work is amazing and I will always back to them to learn more. But of course the list is huge, and in the top of it lays Robert Plant and Ann Wilson. The voices of these two give me goosebumps and I think I will never understand how they can be so incredible, how they can move me the way they do.
Can you play any instruments?
I play the piano, but in a mediocre way. I only use it to guide me when I am composing, or just to distract or calm myself. I never had an interest in specializing myself I do not have the patience nor the discipline for it.
You have an amazing voice with an incredible vocal range are you classically trained or self-taught?
I would have to say self-taught. I never took singing lessons, but my parents are musicians too, so I grew up in a house always full of every kind of musicians rehearsals and jam sessions every day. So I learned a lot from them especially from my mother.
You’re also part of the metal opera Soulspell tell us about that?
It’s incredible. Heleno Vale became a beloved friend and an amazing partner. I have worked with him since his first album, and I cannot list all the wonderful things that this project has brought to me. And I’m very happy with the confidence he delegates to me. He trusts me as well as I trust him which makes our partnership something extremely strong.
Have you been part of the Soulspell live shows?
I did. I took part in every concert Soulspell did so far.
A lot of foreign artists are featured on Soulspell have you met anyone of them personally?
I met Markus Grosskopf last year. He was here in Brazil along with Helloween for concerts and invited Heleno and I to meet him personally. He is an amazing guy.
What’s the main difference with singing in Soulspell and in Vandroya?
In Soulspell above anything I play a character which is a Princess and all the songs and vocal melodies are all created by Heleno Vale. Despite the freedom he gives me to create or change a little bit the vocal melodies I cannot change the personality of the character he created and that’s why I sound a little smoother. With Vandroya I’m totally free to create all vocal melodies and Vandroya’s style is a little different from Soulspell’s one. Darker harmonies and certain guitar riffs require me to put a stronger and more energetic voice demands me to use other techniques not to mention the fact that in Vandroya I recorded a whole album what makes you explore all that you have to offer.
Does the band think it’s important to be active on the social networks and forums that are available today?
Yes, that’s for sure. It is a great way to reach a large number of people, to have our work spread-out and to have a direct contact with our fans, and this is very rewarding. The feedback we receive from them and the multiple ways we can interact with them throughout the social networks are vital nowadays. Besides some of the opportunities we’ve got regarding show recordings and so on came from the social media.
Have you done any live shows since the release of ONE? What does the fans think of ONE?
Yes we did, and the reception has been great. According to them, One is a great album, which is very rewarding to us to know because they really got what we tried to transmit with this album.
Are there any plans on heading over to Europe and Japan on tour in the near future?
We have touring abroad as a goal for the future, and we will work hard to get there for sure. We believe that if we do everything right the opportunity will come naturally.
Are you currently working on a new album? If so when do you think we can find it available in stores?
Yes we are. We have already started the composing process with everybody contributing and exchanging ideas to create a great second album, and reinforce our identity as a band. We hope we get news about it pretty soon!
What would you like to say to those who haven’t discovered Vandroya yet?
Well we just hope that people be touched by our music and the energy we transmitted in One. It reflects our passion for heavy metal, and translates more than a decade of hard work maturing friendship and joy for doing what we love. At least here’s a reason to give us a try!
Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy ONE?
Well, I think I should say that it’s a power prog metal album made with passion, with really great harmonies and vocal melodies, and above all this, it’s our first one, so all our will and energy is inside it.
Do you have any final words of wisdom to share with the fans and readers?
It’s all about gratitude, always. The moment we are living right now is the result of our hard work and the support we’ve been receiving from our co-workers, friends and fans. So all I have to do is to be thankful. I’d also like to invite you guys to “like” our facebook page (www.facebook.com/Vandroya). Thank you for this opportunity to talk about this album, it means a lot to me. I hope to see you guys soon in a possible Vandroya tour.
That was all for now, thanks a lot for making the interview possible. I wish you and the band all the best.
Thank you very much, it was my pleasure.
Facebook Page www.facebook.com/Vandroya
Twitter Page www.twitter.com/vandroyaoficial
Youtube Page www.youtube.com/vandroyaofficial
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Facebook Page www.facebook.com/innerwoundrecordings
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Myspace Page www.myspace.com/soundpollutionrecords
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