A Chat With Hadean's Nicolao Dos Santos About Debut Album "Parasite"
Germany's Hadean unleashed the debut album "Parasite" last year, which was a perfect storm of thrash and melodic power metal, with a few prog elements for good measure, that can be appreciated by pretty much any metal head.
As the band works on new material for a follow-up album and gears up to spread the music at live shows, guitarist Nicolao Dos Santos took out some time to discuss the band with Metalunderground. Explaining the concept of "Parasite, Nicolao commented, "On a macro level... the album dives into a social context with focus on the humanity as a whole and its cruelty against the planet and everything on it. We just have to look back into the past to see where we are heading, and that scares me."
During our discussion, Nicolao also covered the history of the band, recording the debut album, and Metallica's "One" getting him hooked on metal music.
xFiruath: To start off, give me a little history and background on Hadean. How long has the band been together and did you all know each other before forming the band?
Nicolao: We founded the band around 2005. Before that Lars, Timotheus, and I had been playing in a band together, but we wanted to expand the musical margin. When the three of us decided to put the old band to rest, it was already certain that we would continue with a new project. And then we simply asked Daniel to join us, which was pretty much a natural choice, since back then, he and I were playing in a “prog metal” kind of band, and he was already familiar with the other guys of my old band. And I guess at that point he and Timotheus even had another project for a while, if I remember correctly. So after some time we were approached by a singer and played two quite successful shows, before we parted ways due to personal reasons. Some years later we found Freio, in whom we not only found the perfect singer but also someone who could record our music on a professional level. He owns a small but growing studio and he really is a sound magician and extremely easy to work with during recordings.
xFiruath: How long have you been involved in music and what made you want to be a musician?
Nicolao: Basically it is all Metallica’s fault, haha… when I was like 13 years old, I saw the video to “One” and I was hooked. I started taking guitar lessons, much later followed by vocal lessons. Now some 15 years down the road, I am a student of music at the University of Siegen, Germany. I decided to focus on music. It is not about what some might call a rock star thing at all. It is all about emotions and transferring expression and thoughts, really. I also studied art even before I began to study music, so I guess I simply am this artist kind of person, rather than anything else.
xFiruath: With all kinds of genres and sub-genres like symphonic black metal or avant garde metal or post-hardcore, where would you say that Hadean lands in the metal world?
Nicolao: Hard to tell, since I don’t worry too much about labels when creating music. OK we are definitely a metal band, but the new material differs from the music one can hear on our first album “Parasite.” We are moving away from what could be called power or thrash metal, but you know what? The press will label us what they want anyway. I’ve seen things from melodic and power metal to progressive metal, with comparisons with Iced Earth, Nevermore, Morgana Lefay, and even Opeth and Pain of Salvation. I don’t know, they might be right a tiny bit, because (at least) I do listen to these bands, but I refuse to agree that we - in this particular band that is Hadean - were really influenced musically by the more proggy stuff, other than doing a concept album. The wider range of styles might stem from the freedom of expression that we always wanted to have since the beginning of the band. So when I think about it, all these things may confuse the press, because we’ve always incorporated different styles and we’ll keep doing so and we’ll explore new ground even stronger. And to tell you the truth, basically I see it just as “music.”
xFiruath: When was “Parasite” recorded and where did the recordings take place?
Nicolao: The album was recorded between 2007 and 2010 at Freio’s Big Easy Studio in a sleepy village near Cologne, Germany. We did a pre-production first, and since we had the luxury to record in our own studio, we kind of spent more time with details than most of the bands in our situation could afford. But we wanted to make the album just the way it was supposed to be. And I hope people get it, if not… well, you can’t please everyone.
xFiruath: Who writes the lyrics and what do the lyrics usually deal with? Is there a particular theme found between the songs?
Nicolao: I did all the lyrics on “Parasite,” as well as the graphical concept. It’s a concept album; hence the lyrics have many different levels. On a micro level, for example, it is very personal and deals with things like loss, learning about your own mortality, but also free will, and stuff like this. This is the result of trying to cope with the loss of related and trying to understand the feelings and thoughts when someone close dies. On a macro level, which may be much more visible, the album dives into a social context with focus on the humanity as a whole and its cruelty against the planet and everything on it. We just have to look back into the past to see where we are heading, and that scares me. We have five acts or chapters, that are somewhat represented by elements, which embody different ideas - be it emotions, characteristics, and different connections I have with these elements and so on. Also they mirror seasons, but rather in the lifetime and existence of mankind. This ties everything together and there’s plenty of ideas in every chapter. That would be some of the ideas in an extremely brief answer.
I find it pretty hard to explain all the content, because there were many different events in my life that made the concept what it is, so some things really appear on a sublevel and are somewhat hidden, sort of. I too find it to be a little bit unnecessary to even try explaining it to the fullest. Basically I hope that people are going to read this, dive into it and finally make their own interpretations and thoughts about the concept and about what’s happening in the world right now. I think that is the more important part.
xFiruath: Has Hadean been playing live shows up until now?
Nicolao: We played some shows, which were fun, but we realized it makes sense to have an album to support, so we waited for it to be released before we started touring again. And that is happening now.
xFiruath: What’s your local metal scene like?
Nicolao: It is not as shiny as it was 10 or 15 years back. But I hope things will brighten up a bit. We still have plenty of pubs and events here in this region, although I do not consider myself to belong to a certain “scene,” as I did when growing up. And I think I can speak for the other guys in the band, when I say that we all have a part outside the metal world, too; some of us more, and some less.
xFiruath: Been to any great live shows lately or seen anything crazy at a concert recently?
Nicolao: Daniel and I attended a Pain of Salvation concert last October, which simply blew us away, for me personally the best gig I have seen so far in my life. Magical! Goosebumps all the way! Now I’m waiting for a Nevermore show to attend. On a sad side note I, hope to catch Iced Earth with Matt on vocals before he leaves the band later this year.
xFiruath: What’s on the horizon for Hadean?
Nicolao: I hope playing many shows and getting the name out to the scene. And then recording the new album, we have some new songs up our sleeves.
xFiruath: What bands and albums have you listened to lately?
Nicolao: Not too much metal or rock I must admit. Because of my studies, I am drawn towards classical guitar music, for example the great Brazilian guitarist Baden Powell, some old pieces like Johann Sebastian Bach and Silvius Leopold Weiss, which were actually composed for baroque lute. Lately I fell in love with a music style called Choro which is Portuguese for “crying.” It is awesome music, with a big impro touch to it. Some call it the jazz of Brazil, because of the combination of European harmony and Afro- Brazilian rhythms, but in fact it is even older than the earliest American styles. It has happy tunes that have a melancholic touch and sad tunes, were you can feel a glimpse of hope. Hm, rock music… OK, I love the new Transatlantic album though!
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