Vocalist Daisa Munhoz and drummer Otávio Nunez – 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.
BEYOND THE HUMAN MIND is the name of the second album from the Brazilian metal act Vandroya. The album is a concept piece and what the album is about is handled down below in the interview so if you’re interested in what the band has to offer this time continue reading. It has taken the band quite a few years to follow up the debut album ONE (2013) and that was one of the questions we handled. I hooked up with vocalist Daisa Munhoz and drummer Otávio Nunez which was kind to take on this quite long interview and when opportunity knocked I decided to ask Daisa some questions about her involvement in the metal opera SoulSpell.
Hi Daisa and Otavio, how are you today, it’s nice to talk to you guys 🙂are you ready to give the readers of metal-rules.com the latest info about Vandroya?
Otávio: Hey there! It is very cool to talk to you to and an awesome opportunity to talk about our latest news \m/
Daísa: Let’s do it.
Well let’s take it back to the debut album ONE that came 2013, what was the band up to after the release? Were you out touring?
Otávio: We had “The One Tour” off in 2013 and 2014, when we played in several cities in São Paulo state.
Would have you liked to perform more live than you did?
Otávio: The more the better!
Daísa: I believe this time will be better than the last tour.
ONE was a success; do you have any idea on how many copies was sold of the album?
Otavio: We don’t have an exact number, but we were glad to see many friends abroad sending photos of their copies, all over Europe, Japan and USA.
Otávio: It was a very fun and busy weekend in Santo André, a city in the metropolitan area of São Paulo. Energy was good and we had a great time with the video shooting staff.
Why Should We Say Goodbye? Official Video
In 2015 you participated on the Brazilian Helloween tribute album 30 YEARS OF HAPPINESS with the song “March Of Time” is the band huge fans of Helloween and have you been influenced by the Germans? Why did you pick to cover that song?
Otávio They surely were a great influence for us and in our work, and it was a great honor to be part of such a great Tribute.
Daísa: I think we chose “March of Time” just because it’s an awesome song, the kind of song I would love to the able to compose one day.
Last year Vandroya celebrate 15 years as a band and chose to release an EP for downloading at your website with the songs “Heavenly Oblivion” (in acoustical version) taken from ONE and the Bryan Adams cover “Heaven”, how come you chose to do “Heaven” and how does it feel to have been running Vandroya for 15 years?
Otávio: About heaven, it was actually a very spontaneous idea which everybody loved. It is a beautiful song, and we loved the result. Running Vandroya for 15 years has been intense sometimes, but it is about a passion we share, since our very beginning, with results we can be proud of.
You also released a shorter youtube video with the EP, what did fans think of the video and what do they think of the official audio video of “Heaven”?
Otávio: It is pretty common and frequently positive to make unlikely covers like this one. Heaven is a song that everyone in Vandroya loves as Bryan Adam’s fans and we were very excited to work on it. Some of the people we’ve talked to about this EP were kind of weird out with our choice, but liked the results in the end of the day. We’ve also followed the comments in our social network profiles and we were glad we had a very warm reception from our fans. So, gladly we had a very positive outcome of this one. Hope we can do another one pretty soon.
Daisa you’re also active in the Project Aegis with the song “Angel In The Ashes” what can you tell us about the project, the song and how you got involved?
Daísa: It’s an amazing project. It is all idealized by Matt Smith and “Angel in the Ashes” is the second single released. Matt knew my voice through Soulspell and Vandroya, so he wrote one day to me to congratulate me on my work with these bands. He told me that he was writing something especially for my voice and invited me to take part on the project. Of course my answer was yes… hahaha… he blew my mind away with this invitation. And the fact that it would be a charity song made everything even better.
Project Aegis – Angel In The Ashes [OFFICIAL VIDEO]
The song is written by Matt Smith (Theocracy) and other guests besides you are Rob Rock, Vasilis Georgiou, Leah and Gus Drax, what do you think of the song?
Daísa: First of all, Matt is a genius. He’s one of the most brilliant and competent songwriters of our time. Matt knows how to write a really catchy chorus, right? I did not know who would join the track, so it was such a great surprise to see my name among so many talented artists.
All of the proceeds of the song are going to support the homeless and refugees in Greece, what do you think of the current situations of the refugees from Syria and middle east over here in Europe? Is that matter well known and discussed a lot in South America?
Daísa: It is well-known here, yes. Also, Brazil is doing a very good job, as far as possible, with the refugees who arrive here as well. In fact, Brazil has treated the Syrian crisis differently for some years. Although the spotlight is on Europe, Brazil granted refugee status to more than 2,000 Syrians from 2011 until August 2015, almost double the number of concessions made by the United States and European countries in the Mediterranean Sea as Greece, Spain, Italy and Portugal in the same period. This does not mean that more Syrians have come here, but that more people have received refugee status here compared to other countries. In addition, Brazil conducts major refugee resettlement programs, which is when a third country receives refugees who have been refused by the welcoming country and who cannot return to their countries of origin. I have an Angolan refugee friend and many are being relocated to cities close to mine with decent jobs and excellent living conditions, so I have been more aware of this situation in my country. I am totally in favor of my country receiving with open arms any human being from whatever country. This notion of geographical boundaries, or this ridiculous attempt to separate us into groups according to religion, skin color or sexual orientation, is completely outdated for me, a real backsliding for the human race.
How was it to shoot the video to the song?
Daísa: quite simple, actually. I just had to sing my part in a studio, in front of a mic… hahaha. I didn’t have to act or something.
If you got the question would you do it again?
Daísa: over and over again. This is a very important cause, which has my total support, despite the fact of working with such awesome artists.
Did you meet any of the other participants of the project?
Daísa: unfortunately, no. But I’d love to.
Why has it taken Vandroya so long to follow up ONE?
Otávio: Well, there are some factors that lead us to, let us say, a slower rhythm on releasing new works. Since we are an independent band, we don’t have to work with deadlines, with give us freedom to create as we please, in our own timing. Sometimes, this takes more time than expected, since we are really able to work our songs to what we believe is perfection, in the sense of what we believe reflects our moment, passion and soul. So, there are the bright and dark sides of it.
Does all of the band members come from the same city?
Otávio: Not really. We have people from São Paulo (State Capital), Jaú, Bariri, etc.
Daísa: yeah, same region, different cities.
New album BEYOND THE HUMAN MIND
You two have written most of the lyrics, how does your co-operation work out? Are you sitting together writing or do you come up with ideas separately?
Otávio: It actually depends. We don’t follow a unique method since creativity and ideas usually don’t follow these rules. Most of the lyrics are from Daísa, because she tends to think in concepts around which the themes will orbit, she has everything in her mind and it comes out with a great inner synergy and beautiful poetics. Sometimes, she uses some of my ideas that align perfectly to what she wants to say. Sometimes she gives the theme and melody for me to create, I return it to her with a structure and she gives the lyric her touch, adapting some passages. Sometimes, I just come with an entire lyric that she finds perfectly fit to some melody. Anyway, what we value is not the method but this connection we have to create things together. In this sense, besides the huge respect and admiration we have for each other’s work, we also have this synergy of ideas and themes, that have been followed us over the years.
The Path To The Endless Fall [OFFICIAL AUDIO]
BEYOND THE HUMAN MIND is a concept album but what is it about?
Daísa: it’s about go beyond the limits that your mind imposes on you. Most of us don’t think about it, actually we are used to do the opposite of it: we over-feed our mind, because that’s the way we’ve been doing for centuries. And “to go beyond the limits of your mind” could possibly set you free from any kind of condition. A good way for better understanding of this is: If we assume that mind is part imagination and part memory, we can say that we are not living the reality, once that both memory and imagination don’t really exist. So if you are lost in your imagination or trapped by your memories, than you make room for fear, anxiety, depression or any other condition our kind accepted to call “normal” nowadays, right? We are always suffering for what happened in the past or for what may happen in the future, so it’s based on something that don’t exist, because we are not rooted in reality, but hidden in our own minds. The lyrics in this album follow a crescendo: initially shows a tormented person who will gradually understand the conception of illusion and reality throughout her/his existence on earth.
Were there any challenges with writing in the concept format?
Otávio: I don’t think it is more difficult or easier. It is just the way ideas came in that particular moment. When Daísa came up with this narrative idea around the concept of Beyond the Human Mind, we could work on a structure, in which each song had a stage of this story. Each lyric had a theme and, in this sense, we could work in a more assertive way.
Daísa: It wasn’t hard in this case because it wasn’t intentional, you know? The concept just came out. Interestingly, another concept occurred to me recently, so I think our next album will follow the same course… hahaha.
Otávio: The fun fact about this, is that I was working in some lyrics since we released One, around the theme of Transcendence. When we started talking about lyrics of Beyond the Human Mind, I was amazed of how aligned we were about the message we wanted to transmit in this work. It was a connection, a synergy, which is reflected on the lyrics.
Daísa: yeah, that was pretty amazing.
Can the songs stand on their own or do they have to be in context of the theme?
Otávio: They are all related and make up a narrative of a character searching for inner piece. But they can also work separately since each song is about a stage of this search. Which, I believe, people can relate depending on the stage of their lives. If it is true, it would be cool and I would be glad to have this connection with whoever are listening the songs.
Daísa: sure, that would be the ideal, but it doesn’t mean one would not understand the message of an isolated song, because each one of them has a theme, like Otavio said.
Is writing in concept format something you’re continuing doing in the future?
Otávio: We can keep going on this way. But it is not a rule, of course. It is a matter of how ideas appear in our minds.
Daísa: I told you I got an idea… hahaha.
Who came up with the title BEYOND THE HUMAN MIND? Does the title have any special meaning?
Otávio: Well, as I remember, I was working on some lyrics with the theme transcendence, in which some of the concepts.
Daisa: the title resumes the concept.
Once again you worked with artwork artist Felipe Machado Franco, are you happy with his work?
Otávio: Oh yeah, this guy is amazing and complete as an artist. I’ve been followed his work through the years since I knew of him, and I love his view of our songs. Just think his graphic translation of One and BTHM are perfect.
Daísa: Felipe is a genius. He captured the concept right away. Once you know the concept of the album, you can easily recognize it in the elements Felipe put on the art.
The official lyric video to “I’m Alive” came a month ago, what respond did you get from fans on the video?
Otávio: I’d say we are glad to have all the support and positive receptions we’ve been having. We are grateful that the work we are passionate about is also pleasing our fans around the world.
I’m Alive [OFFICIAL LYRIC VIDEO]
Do you think the band have gone through any musical changes since ONE? If so in what way?
Otávio: I believe so. We still have our backbone, our signature as a band, with which we have be loyal to. But we are also looking for some evolution, maturity as individuals, musicians and so on. So, it is natural this process is reflected in all we do, including music.
The bio states that Vandroya today is more evident progressive without giving up on the weight and virtuosity of power metal, can you agree with that?
Otávio: That is tricky. As I see it, besides our prog-based songs, we indeed added more progressive elements in our power-based ones and our prog influences are more evident. Myself, as long as other members are heavily prog based in our taste and “metal school”. So it is natural all these influences come to sight in our work.
How would you two like to describe what kind of music Vandroya plays today?
Otávio: I would put it pretty much as the specialized media: Power metal with this strong scent of progressive.
Daísa: I couldn’t agree more. Prog power is our essence, but there’s always room for pinches of hard rock, tribal, psychedelia, you know? Also, I would love to try different mixtures.
Last time I spoke with you Daisa you said you had begun to work on this new album, how far were you in the progress back then?
Daísa: I was, indeed, working on Vandroya’s next one. But when this concept came, I just put all that I had done aside. I decided to change everything because once this idea came out, all I had done was no longer making sense. There is good stuff there; maybe I’ll use those lyrics in the future.
With its 50 minutes BEYOND THE HUMAN MIND is a pretty long piece, was that your intention?
Otávio: The intention was to produce a work that transmitted the message we wanted to transmit. It could have 30 minutes or 2 hours. The point, the most important thing, is the message, with which we are satisfied about. .
What is the title track “Beyond the Human Mind” and the shortest song “Last Breath” about?
Otávio: Beyond the Human Mind is about the universe that is our mind, with all the created structures that are put there by society, the richness of our personality and imagination, and the journey, sometimes, the struggle we are put through to overcome some issues. It is about an inner battle in the search for inner peace, to learn, to grow, to free yourself from whatever prisons are chaining you. On the other hand, it is also about the beauty, and the plenitude of the conquer, the self discovery and other day to day winnings we have in this journey.
Daísa: and “Last Breath” is about breaking patterns, an allusion to breaking patterns. It is the separation of a couple, one suffices in an abusive relationship. Sometimes all we need to do is to break our standards and free ourselves from what physically and mentally imprison us in order to better see our purposes. Breaking patterns is one of the ways that leads you to a greater understanding of yourself.
Just as on ONE you chose to feature an instrumental song on BEYOND THE HUMAN MIND, why?
Otávio: We just thought it was a good idea to have a nice intro to our works. Marco, indeed, was pretty inspired about this one, Column of Illusions. Love this song.
Daísa: I think sometimes it’s just hard for us to think on how we’re gonna open the album, you know? So the instrumental song solves the problem.
I think the album is great and that everyone’s efforts are amazing, are the band happy with the outcome of BEYOND THE HUMAN MIND?
Otávio: Thank you so much! I believe everybody is very happy with the results. Personally, it was a next step of our work, and I believe everybody did better this time than in One.
Daísa: it’s a more mature album, definitely. More mature songwriting, more mature musicians, indeed.
Are there any differences in how foreign and native media writes and treats the band?
Otávio: I think, since the markets are different in stage of maturity and even taste wise, there is a difference in the way we are treated. But they are all good, and we are glad to have fans and support in Brazil and abroad.
Do you care about what media thinks and writes about the band and your albums?
Otávio: I’d say the most important thing is to be truthful to ourselves in the sense of how the work feels to us. Are we enjoying it? Are we proud of it? Did we give our best to create it? Are we glad and confident to release it? Anyways, then, comes the media and the public, which reaction is, of course essential, because means the way we touched the public with our songs, how everybody felt about it, and we want that to happen in the best way possible. The media and fans are the ones who support and inspire us to do our best. So, I believe there is a conection.
Led by vocalist Daisa Munhoz Vandroya are ready to take the next step and make a mark in the metal scene – this sentence can be read in the bio, what do you think of the statement, is it true?
Daísa: well, we hope so… hahaha.
Studio and production
Just as ONE member Marco Lambert produced the new album, how come he wanted to take on the producers seat once again?
Otávio: Marco is the one who put all the ideas together instrumental wise. So, it is natural that he would be the most indicated to assume this position on Beyond the Human Mind. We trusted his talents as usual and definitely didn’t regret a bit.
What’s his strongest feature as producer?
Otávio: His respect for each one’s talents to give the freedom for us to express ourselves in our work, and, in the same time, put it all together in a natural way.
Is anyone else involved in the process or is he taking care of it all?
Otávio: All band had the chance to be part of the process.
Is the album recorded in the same studio as last time, Genesis Studio?
Otávio: No. This time, we recorded in Marco’s studio, Dr. Sound, in Bariri-SP.
Was everyone gathered in the studio recording the music together or did each member record separately?
Otávio: We did it separately. First drums, then guitars, bass and finally voices.
The mix and mastering was also made by Lambert, how come you didn’t work with Heros Trench as you did on ONE?
Otávio: We wanted to reach a different sound this time, besides, we could take advantage of Marcos’s studio, which helped with costs.
Was there anyone else in the band part of the mixing/mastering process besides Lambert and where was that done?
Otávio: Marco was very opened for suggestions and for us to participate. At the same time, he had a very clear idea of how the album was supposed to sound like. So we could make suggestions that enriched the process.
Label and management
Are you happy with the work Inner Wound Recordings put into to ONE, the new album and the band so far?
Daísa: extremely happy. Inner Wound Recordings was a gift from the Universe. They always put a lot of effort in disclosures and releases. Also, they believe in our work, they support us and understand what the band needs.
Did ONE sell well in North America and Europe?
Daísa: yes and this took us by surprise. We never thought we would go this far.
In Japan the album is released by Bickee Music, is the interest in the band big in Asia?
Daísa: I can’t measure, I don’t have this data. But I can say Japan has been amazing so far, lots of good feedback from Asia and Oceania.
MS Metal Records is releasing the album in Brazil, is it them that release the album in the rest of South America as well?
Otavio: We are actually releasing it independently.
Do you see any problems in the fact that IWR is a smaller label?
Otavio: Not at all. They have been true friends to us, giving us all the support and enabling the band’s growth abroad. We are happy with this partnership!
Are there any plans on releasing the album on vinyl? What format on albums do you prefer, cd, vinyl or as download?
Otavio: I don’t think we are releasing it as a vinyl. I don’t care much about formats, as long as it reaches whoever wants to listen and support our work.
Daísa: oh, that would be so cool to have it on vinyl!
Are your albums available to listen to at Spotify, Itunes etc?
Daísa: yes, so anyone can hear us.
Are you happy with the outcome of ONE and in the numbers it sold?
Daísa: totally. Like I said, we never thought we could go so far with our first album.
What do you guys think regarding the fact that more and more people turns to downloading and streaming music rather than actually buy a real album?
Daísa: the world reality, there’s not much we can do about it.
Do you currently work with any bookingagency?
Otavio: Not yet, but opened to good opportunities!
Soulspell and Daísa Munhoz
Now that I have you here Daisa let’s talk about the metal opera Soulspell that you’re involved in. Soon the new album THE SECOND BIG BANG is out, how was it to record the album?
Daisa: I recorded 4 years ago. I love recording for Soulspell. Heleno is such a great friend and he gives me all the space I need to create. If I’m gonna spend 4 hours in the studio with him, I assure you that we’re gonna spend at least one hour just laughing and recording stupid things.
Is it fun to be a part of the Soulspell project?
Daisa: super fun. It’s fun in studio, it’s fun when we are performing. When we go on tour, especially, too many good people together, you know? Also, by now we are all very close friends to each other, which make everything even better.
The Vandroya guitarist Rodolfo Pagotto is also participating on the album, how did he end up in Soulspell?
Daísa: I don’t know. Started with just me and suddenly we were all together… hahaha. Actually, it’s just that we are all connected in a way, cause we live in the same area, so the same friends and scene, you know?
Daisa, you’re singing on the cover version of the Celine Dion song “My Heart Will Go On” that was released 2015 as a digital single by Soulspell, how come Soulspell leader Heleno Vale wanted to do a cover of that song?
Daísa: Heleno is a huge fan of Celine Dion, so he always wanted to record one of her tunes. Back in 2015, Titanic (the movie) was turning 20 years, so he thought it would be a great idea to make a metal version of “My Heart Will Go On”.
Soulspell Metal Opera | My Heart Will Go On (Celine Dion’s Tribute)
Have Soulspell done any live shows since the release of the previous album HOLLOW’S GATHERING 2012?
Daísa: yes, lots of them. We’ve been attending great festivals all over the country.
Just as Vandroya, Soulspell is participating on the Helloween cover album with the song “We Got The Right”, how was it to record that song Daisa?
Daísa: super cool. This song is one of my favorites and the result is brilliant. We manage to gather together Brazilian talents with famous artists such as Arjen Lucassen and Tim Ripper. How cool is this, right?
Soulspell Metal Opera | We Got The Right (Helloween’s Tribute)
What other bands are featured on the Helloween cover album 30 YEARS OF HAPPINESS?
Daísa: you’ll find bands like Pastore, Rygel, Bruno Sutter, Scelerata, among others.
Did you do a lot of shows home in Brazil after the release of ONE?
Daísa: we did, but we wanna do lot more.
Is the metal scene big in Brazil and are there a lot of clubs to play at in your hometown?
Daísa: yes, and the clubs from our hometowns totally support us. The metal scene here is rich, as rich as any cultural movement that takes place in Brazil. We have amazing metal bands from huge metropolises like São Paulo to Amazonia, all kinds of genres and sub-genres and one of the most amazing metal audiences of the world.
Are there a lot of metal bands in Brazil today and are you friends with any particular bands?
Daísa: lots of bands, and good ones. You see, Brazil is a huge country, so the number of bands is proportional to the size of this giant. We have good friends from other bands, indeed, like Iuri Sanson from Hibria, Edu Falaschi, Andre Matos, Pompeu and Heros from Korzus, Nando Fernandes, but we are extremely connected to Soulspell.
Last time we spoke Daisa you said you wanted to tour outside Brazil, is that happening now? Would you like to tour outside Brazil?
Daísa: We still want to, a lot. But now we are focused on Brazil. We want to do as many concerts as possible here before thinking about touring outside.
There’s not a lot new info about the band on your website, the last update was in May 2016, who runs the site and why hasn’t it been updated?
Daísa: we had some problems with our website. Now we are remodeling it, so quite soon it will be shining.
You’re pretty active on Facebook, Twitter and Youtube, is it important for you to be active on the social networks and talk to the fans there?
Daísa: Nowadays if you’re not, you’re dead. Social media is an important tool if you want to be seen.
Do you think the band have grown since the release of ONE? If so in what way?
Daísa: yes, I do think that. You know, I think we are more mature now and it reflects in our music and in the way we deal with the band. We started out as a cover band that knew nothing about the music world and today, although we keep the same vibe from when we started, we deal with the band more professionally, as a company that it is.
Are you happy with what the band have achieved so far, are there anything you feel you should have done in a different way?
Daísa: everything is an apprenticeship. Sometimes we make the right move, sometimes we don’t. I don’t believe we have regrets, but we are constantly learning from our mistakes and successes.
Could you give the fans and readers three reasons why they should buy BEYOND THE HUMAN MIND? What would you like to say to the ones who haven’t heard the music of Vandroya yet?
Otavio Dear metal fellows, you are the most welcome to give us a try 🙂 Hope you like our songs with the same intensity we enjoyed making them \m/
Finally, just as last time, do you have any words of wisdom to share with fans and readers?
Otavio I have some grateful words for all the fans who have been with us during this years. You guys are an inspiration to us \m/
Thanks for taking the time making the interview, I wish you and the rest of the band all the best and I really hope you can come over to Scandinavia and perform soon.
Otavio Oh man, Scandinavia would be a dream! I appreciated all your support and thank you for the opportunity to answer this interview.
Daísa: yeah, that would be a dream coming true. Thank you so much for this interview. It was such a great opportunity for us to share a little bit of our history. It means a lot to us!