Brazilian Band Discusses Forthcoming Album, Playing with Paulo Jr.
Eminence first played America last year when they stepped onto a boat to play a show with Prong as part of a CMJ/Metal Insider concert. The Brazilian band returned recently to play a few shows at Austin, Texas’ annual industry blow out, SXSW. The group played multiple times, including a South American metal band showcase featuring historic first American performances by three Cuban metal bands.
Eminence is approaching its 20-year anniversary, but the group is still under the radar in America. With a new album in the works, one that includes guest appearances by Sepultura’s Paulo JR, new video on the way and a different voice on the microphone—Eminence chose the ideal time to make a splash north of the Equator. Guitarist Alan Wallace and legendary Brazilian drummer Andre Marcio (Overdose, ex-Armmagedon) met with Metal Underground at their hotel to discuss these events and outline some of the band’s history.
Darren Cowan (Rex_84): Welcome back to America. How do you feel about making it over here and taking part in SXSW?
Alan Wallace: For us, it’s a big pleasure to play America for the second time. Last year we played the CMJ in New York City. It was really good. And now we are here in Austin for SXSW. It is really good as well. It’s our second time here and it’s good promotion for the band.
Cowan: Where and when can your fans see you play?
Wallace: We just played one show yesterday at Jr. (formerly inside Emo’s). The venue was really good.
Cowan: Was this the South American showcase?
Wallace: Yes, it was the South American showcase. There were some bands from Cuba there as well (first performance from Cuban metal bands on American soil). Another band from Brazil called Atomica from Belo Horizonte and also from Sao Paulo. We are from Belo Horizonte as well, which is a different state in Brazil. It was really good, the mix with the Cubans. There was also a band from Mexico. It was really great.
Cowan: How has your first SXSW experience been?
Andre Marcio: (Translated by Wallace): I am very happy. This is my first time at SXSW. The crowd was amazing to us. They are very nice people.
Cowan: This is your second time in America. Eminence played on a boat as part of MetalInsider.net’s CMJ Music Marathon showcase in NYC. That must have been quite an experience.
Wallace: It was crazy [laughs] because we boarded a boat on Manhattan Island. We played with Prong. We’re really big fans of Prong since 12-years ago. As a band that just played with Prong, it was an amazing experience. Yes, it was really great.
Cowan: Tell our American readers who aren’t familiar with Eminence about your sound. Tell our readers about Eminence.
Wallace: Basically, we are a metal band from Brazil. We started professionally ten years ago. We are all good friends. We are good friends with the guys from Sepultura. Me and Andre have a project with Paulo Jr.—the bass player from Sepultura. The name of the project is Unabomber Files. 9On the verge of laughter) yes, it’s a crazy name, especially for America. Eminence just recorded a new album with Danish producer Tue Madsen. He’s recorded Heaven Shall Burn, Dark Tranquility and Hatesphere. We have plans to release the new album in August here in the United States.
Cowan: Do you have a title for that album?
Wallace: Not yet, we’re working on it.
Cowan: What about some of the songs. Can you tell us about some of the songs on the album?
Wallace: Sure. We are mixing some samples. We are more metal. People think of Eminence as a metalcore band. I think we play a thrashy style, but we play metal. We either play death metal, thrash metal or hardcore.
Marcio: It’s hard to explain.
Wallace: Yes, it’s hard to explain. It’s a mix between Sepultura and Machine Head…
Cowan: Does it have a lot of groove?
Cowan: Tell us about your drumming on the album. Do you play a lot of kick drum?
Marcio: Yes, I play a lot of brutal styles—a lot of double bass and blast beats. It’s very hard to explain.
Cowan: Do you have diverse influences:
Wallace: It’s very modern metal influenced.
Cowan: Eminence has been around since 1995. Has your styled changed since then?
Wallace: Yes, when we started we were more of a thrash band influenced by Kreator and other German thrash bands. Now, we have a good chemistry and have diversified our style. You’ll hear bands like Kreator, Sepultura, Machine Head, Fear Factory and Slayer. There is on song that is Meshuggah-like metal. What is the name for that style?
Cowan: We call it “djent.”
Wallace: Yes, that is it! We play different time signature than we did ten years ago. Now, this is a trend in the U.S. It’s normal for us in Brazil. We have a lot of bands with different beats. We like Meshuggah. Animals As Leaders is a very good band. Also, there is the band Periphery. They are an amazing band.
Cowan: How does this album compare to "The God of All Mistakes?" Is it a continuation of the sound you’ve been playing?
Wallace: Yes, it’s a little different because we use more low tuning for the guitar. It is more fast and heavy.
Marcio: We changed the vocals. We have a new singer.
Wallace: His name is Bruno [Paraguay]. He is more brutal. -
Cowan: Earlier, you mentioned Paulo JR. of Sepultura. Sepultura is by far the most popular metal band in Brazil. How does it feel to have him play on your album? How many songs does he appear on?
Wallace: He’s on three songs. Andre has been friends with Paulo for a long time. I know Paulo from our project, The Unibomber Files. Paulo was on holiday four weeks ago in our city. We asked him what he thought about recording a song for us. He said he wanted to do it. He recorded three tracks with Eminence.
Cowan: Did you have material recorded that he played to?
Wallace: Yes, I sent him MP3s of the pre-production of the album. Tue Madsen is producing the CD. Then we went to the studio with Paulo and we recorded it together.
Cowan: It must be a dream come true to play with someone you grew up idolizing.
Wallace: Yes, he’s a good friend. Sepultura is one of the biggest metal bands in the world, so it’s a huge pleasure to have him playing with us.
Cowan: Has that given you more exposure, too. Has it been good for promoting your band?
Wallace: We just think about him as a friend. It’s not about promotion for the band. It might help. We have been talking to some record companies. We don’t know if we can release it through a record company or not. Yes, for sure, it’s good for promotion.
Cowan: How does Eminence release records? Do you release them DIY?
Wallace: We released the last record “The God of All Mistakes” with a record label out of Spain, Locomotive Records, but the record company has gone bankrupt. Now we are talking to some labels who will give us the opportunity to release our album here in America. We really want to release the album here. If not, we can use i-Tunes for download. We are working with The Syndicate to promote the band. We have some more shows. We’ll have to wait and see what we can do.
Cowan: Where are you going after SXSW?
Wallace: We go back home next Monday. We’re going to work on the video clip. We’ll work on the mix. We have two weeks working on that. Then, we have plans to record a DVD of the band. We have a lot of things to do back in Brazil before August when we promote the band.
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