Almah - Marcelo Barbosa

Almah - Marcelo Barbosa

ALMAH's latest album, "Motion" was more than a pleasant surprise for almost every metalhead, so METAL KAOZ contacted Marcelo Barbosa, the band's guitarist, and sent him a bunch of questions. Marcelo was kind enough to reveal us some of the ALMAH's future plans, commenting also Edu's recent statement about the Brazilian Metal scene. So, enough with the small talk, and let's see what he had to say!

Hello from METAL KAOZ and many congrats on “Motion”. What is the feedback you are getting from the day if its release?
Hello. Thank you very much. So far, the feedback of “Motion” is pretty good. We had awesome sales numbers in Brazil and it’s going well in all countries it was released. We performed in some cities in the country and it was great as well. We did a promo trip in Japan and Europe last year and in 2012 the tour will continue...

How do you feel about the final result of “Motion”? I mean, is there something that you’d like to change if you had the chance?
When you work as a part of a team, everybody always needs to give up about some personal ideas. If “Motion” was a solo album of any of us, it would be different. Since the record was made by five people I have nothing to complain about it. I love the result and if you consider it was written, arranged, recorded and mixed in less than three months the result is even more impressive. There is nothing to be changed.  I look forward to recording new projects with ALMAH, KHALLICE or whatever appears in 2012...

I think in this album ALMAH sounds more solid a band and I think heavier. What are the differences between this album and the previous one from your point of view? In fact, I found some PANTERA references in “Zombies Dictator” and even Edu sounds more aggressive.
You’re right. The whole process of the creation of this album was really natural and spontaneous. We wrote and recorded what we wanted and what we felt by the time we were working on it. The main difference is that during the creation process of “Fragile Equality” we had a preconception and an idea of what we should do at that time. It was good, but on the other hand we were stuck into that and somehow we were limited as artists. I love the “Fragile Equality” album. There are some incredible songs on it, but “Motion” is far more mature and I know the next one will be even better. This is a natural process when you try always to innovate, to create something you have never done before.

What about your guitar work are there any changes there?
As I said previously, I’m very proud of this work. I think that if we had more time something would be different, for sure. I don’t know if it would be better or worse but different. We had about eight days to create and record all the guitars on this album. It is a short time to work on it, however I strongly believe we produced a high level of sophistication when it comes to guitar parts and sound. It was a great challenge.

If you were to describe your guitar work by mentioning three guitarists, who would those be?
I’m use to listen to many different musicians and styles. Therefore, it’s really difficult for me to choose only three guitar players. There are so many great musicians out there but if I had to pick three right now, it would be Greg Howe, Steve Vai and Richie Kotzen.

Maybe this is kind of a cliché question but can one really be a self-taught guitarist and reach a high level like yourself?
Yes, it’s possible. We have some examples but I do believe that if a person who is self-taught had a good teacher helping him, he would go further and being even better. Beside that, I don’t understand the concept of being self-taught anymore. Books and videos are most available at this time. For example, if I study the ”Speed Picking” book of Frank Gambale, am I considered a self-taught student? I don’t agree... Another point is nowadays we can easily find instructions on internet. I personally feel that there are no many self-taught guitar players like it used to be back in the days.

Lyrically where does the new album stands? And in particular, can you shed some light to “Late Night ‘85” and the ballad “When And Why”?
The lyrics of this album are most about life itself and facts we went through during our experience in this world. We choose to talk about reality, feelings and how we deal with all more them about fantasy. “Late Night” is about an experience in Edu’s life. He lost his father when he was a teenager and this song deals with that particular moment of his life. “When And Why” talks about a  heart breaking moment and the hope of a new beginning of a relationship unexpected.

Tell us some things about the way you worked during the composing process of “Motion”. What was your contribution to the album?
The most of the main ideas were brought by Edu. He’s a great composer and normally does nice things really easily. Paulo, Felipe and I were responsible to increase the instrumental parts and guitar riffs. When we started to write ideas, I wrote and recorded something like 25 guitar parts and bring them to the pre-production session. Some of the riffs you heard along the songs were created by me. Some harmonies structures as well. “When And Why” is the only track I did by myself with Edu. I had the intro done and we made the other parts in less than 30 minutes. Everyone helped in the process; it’s really hard to identify who did what during the creation process. We all participated effectively.

You are also in KHALLICE, so do you have any news from their side?
I love that band. It has a special place in my heart because we started as teenagers and did so many nice things together. We stopped working in 2011 because of ALMAH but we’re trying to do something new in 2012. Probably a new album.

In a past interview with Edu he told me that ALMAH is a full time band and not a project; how do you feel about that? Can the schedule with ANGRA put ALMAH in slower gear?
Yes, it can always happen but now thing are more balanced. We have some plans with ALMAH and we are planning to do everything accordingly to both schedules. I have my personal projects as well as my bands and my music institute... We are always trying to keep ourselves busy with our personal projects.

Recently Edu expressed some complaints about the Brazilian fans; so, do you think that is happening only in Brazil? I mean, I don’t see much of a support in Greece from the Greek metalheads. Maybe this is a global thing and nowadays everyone is just following the mainstream and already successful bands. What is your opinion on that matter?
Maybe you’re right. That interview was in a specific moment for Edu and I do believe he got off things of his chest and spoke from the heart.  The matter wasn’t what he said but how he said it. On the other hand, if he drew the attention to himself and maybe made some people to realize what’s going on. Talking about the scene, these things come in cycles. Nowadays, I’m sure the metalheads aren’t supporting the scene like some years ago, but I hope soon it will change.

The music in “Motion” features two guitars so what about the live performances? Will Edu handle the rhythm guitars where needed? (You have to excuse me since I haven’t seen ALMAH live).
We have two guitar players in the band. Paulo is the other one and he is an amazing guitarist. Obviously, when a duet guitar part comes on, there’s no rhythm guitar. The rhythm in this case is made by Felipe, the bass player and the keys.

What is the situation with ALMAH in the US? Is there a chance to book some live dates there? The US audience is not that “open” to the classic Heavy Metal even though there is strong progressive Metal scene.
We are near to release “Motion” in the USA. It will happen on January 12th and “Fragile Equality” was released there too. By the way, I’m in currently in the USA right now. I was invited to attend the NAMM Show by the Dean Markley strings who launched last year my signature model strings in Brazil. I’m taking the opportunity to see friends, meet other musicians and drink some good Californian wine. “Motion” already is available at on a pre-sale campaign. “Motion” is causing a great rumor among the Metal scene in Los Angeles. The US tour will come up soon.

So, what are the band’s immediate plans?
We are scheduling some concerts to 2012 and also started to write some new material. In Brazil, nothing happens before carnival which is in February, so, I’m pretty sure that in March we will comeback working on the support of “Motion”.

Marcello, thank you for your time answering to METAL KAOZ questions; please feel free to add something you like.
Thank you Kiriakos for the interview, too. It’s always a pleasure. I wish to all a happy new year with lots of success, love and respect. Hope to see you soon on the road.