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Interview - VERTHEBRAL - Life‘s too short to waste your time trying to change the world.

Interview with death metal band from Paraguay - VERTHEBRAL.

Answered Daniel.

Translated and questions prepared by Duzl, thank you!

Hi Daniel! 

You come (for us Europeans) from a rather exotic country - Paraguay from the city of Ciudad del Este where you founded the death metal band Verthebral in 2013. If I am right, you and Gabriel have played before and are still playing in the heavy metal band Ariman, it is a quite jump from heavy metal to old-school death metal, isn’t it? How did this happen and why did you choose to start playing death metal? 

It no longer surprises me when people tell us that we come from an exotic country, many people never heard anything about Paraguay, I think that’s good because people are more curious when they find a death metal band from an unknown place, when they listen our music, most of them get a good impression from our songs, that’s what matters after all. 

About our current line up I must say that have changed, I don’t play anymore on Ariman and Gabriel left Verthebral, now he’s playing only in Ariman and I play only in Verthebral, each one by his side, this changes happened at the end of 2017, the separation was friendly, there was no anger or disagreement on both sides, we simply follow different paths . 

Now we have a new drummer, his name is Denis Viveros, he’s very technical and talented, there’s a lot of expectations about things we can do together in Verthebral,. 

About the jump from heavy metal to play death metal, for me was natural and easy, I always was a fan of death metal, for me it's the musical genre where I feel better. 

How difficult it is for a new band with a relatively first record (on your account is before one EP) to get into the fans' awareness and promote the band? Found label, book gigs? Does it help that you have the experience from other bands and you already have some contacts, or it was hard work and you had to do everything from the beginning? 

When you start a band it really takes a lot of work and dedication, before our first album we have released an EP called ‘‘Adultery Of Soul‘‘ (2015), we did it totally independent and the response within our local escene was very positive, on the other hand without experience and lack of money we had to learn everything on our own to make it happen, 

To reach international projection for a new band like us it’s very difficult, there‘s a huge amount of new bands emerging day by day, releasing albums every day, your band must be more than good, there’s a big competition. We were very lucky finding three good labels like Satanath, More Hate and Final Gates Records, they trusted in our music and decided to release our album, that was very important for us, we won our place based on hard work, writing an album with high quality, no one gives you anything by casuality, a great effort was done for it. 

There are two records in your discography, the EP "Adultery of Soul" that you released yourself and a long-playing album released in June 2017 called "Regeneration" by Satanath record label. It is a Russian label, how did you get to them? Did they contact you or have you been an initiative on your side? 

I keep in touch with Aleksey Korolyov, he’s the boss of Satanath Records, we start to talk and I send to him our EP “Adultery Of Soul” , I think this was the first step to release our album under his label, because he liked our music, so when I told him we were recording a full album with new songs, he was very determined and interested in releasing our first full length. So, we signed with Satanath Records and through him we’ve arrived to other two labels, More Hate Productions from Russia and Final Gate Records from Germany. The album was co-release it by those three labels. Aleksey release only music he really likes, he did an amazing job, very professional. Satanath it’s a great label, we like the way they promoted our album. They have a good distribution in other countries, taking care of all the work of promotion, that’s very important actually. We are very happy for this achievement. 

Were you recording the last album named „Regeneration“ ? Who is responsible for the sound, mastering and production? Can you get us through this album and tell us a little bit about the concept? 

We recorded here in Ciudad del Este, the recording process took four months, very fast, it was among december of 2016 and March of 2017. 

Regeneration was mixed and mastering by Alberto Santacruz at Abato Records. The production was in our charge because we knew very well what type of sound we wanted, we follow these direction we were looking for. 

The great cover art was created by Marcos Miller, a renowned Brazilian artist, he has done an amazing cover, which was inspired by the lyrics of the song "Regeneration". 

The concept behind Regeneration revolves about the creation of a new specie, genetically superior, strongest than humans, a sci-fi theme. 

For those who have not read your lyrics, can you mention the themes that you deal with? What inspires you to write and what role does literature? 

The lyrical part of our songs cover several themes, I wrote all the lyrics on ‘‘Regeneration‘‘ , they are a very important piece inside the song structure, I think all of my lyrics are mostly dark and pessimist. 

Most of them are inspired by my personal point of view, others by some books that i have read, for example the song ‘‘The Plague Of Insomnia‘‘ was inspired by a passage from the book "100 Años De Soledad“ (One Hundred Years Of Solitude)" by Gabriel García Márquez. Speaks about a fictious and dark event ocurred in a village. 

“Old Man's Memories“ about past dictatorship in Paraguay, from the vision of a torturer and murderer, “Place Of Death“ horrors of dying in war, “Spirit In Solitude“ depression and suicide, “Beyond the Garden of Creation“ opposition to christian theory about origin of life. 

“Without Any God“ and “Inside of me“ about agnosticism and religious criticism. 

Ciudad del Este lies on a triangle of Paraguay, Brazil a Argentina, what about problems as government, religion, drugs, guns, is it all of it influencing Paraguay metal scene a lot or it‘s been better in nowadays? Did you particularly have there some personal experiences or as a band? 

All those problems are always up to this days, i live in a very violent city, there’s a lot of insecurity everywhere. I think this situation will never change, honestly those social/political issues doesn‘t matter at all to me, people are so contaminated by corruption, there‘s too much poverty and social inequality. It would be the ideal place to write lyrics for a punk or hardcore band, but it’s not our case, our lyrics does not cover so much those themes, but I‘m not sure about lyrics of other death metal bands from my country. Here in South America we have so many violence and corruption, that’s the sad reality, but the whole world is immersed in a wave of violence without boundaries, even in Europe or USA there are many terrorist attacks nowadays, the best you can do is live your life, enjoy it to the max because life‘s too short to waste your time trying to change the world. 

How do you see the evolution of death metal scene in Paraguay over the years? Do you keep contact with some other Paraguayan bands? Is some another „new blood“on the Paraguayan death metal scene which you like recommend to us? 

Most of the bands are concentrated in the capital Asunción and surrounding cities, so the biggest shows and festivals are there, we are from Ciudad Del Este, the second most important city after Asunción. 

We have many death metal bands in Paraguay, but It’s difficult to keep a band active, the main problem is money and the lack of support, when a band begin to grow, they definitely need a good economic support to record an album, and here comes the problems, there‘s no hope for financial return if you play death metal, much money invested and no return, most of the bands breaks for this reason or they stop with their activities after some years. 

Stricktly speaking about death metal, the bands that I like in Paraguay are: Funeral, The Suffer, Motorized, Ablaze, Vehement, Abomination, Sadistic Art, Repulsive Exhume, all those bands are older than us. 

How often do you meet in the rehearsal room? Who is the main composer and how is the creative process of composing new material? Do you share ideas over the internet or do you sit down together in a "garage" where you think of everything? 

We mainly write new songs in our rehearsals, for “Regeneration” most of the songs were written by me, eventually when we meet to rehearse, if I have some riffs, I show to the other members, I try to explain the song structure, tones and ideas that I have in mind, the other guys also have an important role, they bring their suggestions, influences and playing style. 

There are opportunities for everyone in the band, Alberto and Christian also help writing good songs, they are very talented, and now with Denis the possibilites to write new ideas are greater. 

How involved are you into the music scene? Are you buying stuff from other bands? trading? contacting many zine editors, label, distros? What about some clubs and specialized metal shops there? 

I was never too active in the scene, I mean out of Verthebral, because does really take up a lot of my time and obviously is my priority, it’s more than a hobby, but I have contact with a lot of bands and people who are mostly involved on the Paraguayan escene, I buy CDs when we are playing at some gig with other bands and they are selling their stuff, the most important way to support the underground it’s buying physical materials, paying their tickets and going to see local bands, trades are cool when you have available a lot of copies from your album, but if you have a few copies it’s not a great business, because seems like the hard work that your band had recording and releasing professionally doesn’t have valour or importance, if I like some band I buy their album, because I really want to support their work. 

Can you tell me what to expect from Verthebral in the Future? Some plans and visions? When are you coming to play to Europe? How difficult is it for you to get to the European tour? 

We want to write a new album for next year, we are very excited about future compositions, to create best and brutal songs. For the next album the challenges will be greater, we need to keep evolving, we want to reach more people with our music. 

I think the closest thing for us would be to plan a South American tour or something like that, play some gigs through neighboring countries, about an European tour, we would need a big economic support, a good tour manager working with us, a tour must be very well planned to carry it out. We want to go slowly with this matter, maybe in the near future there will be more chances for it. 

Thank you for your time and answers Daniel! I wish you a lot of success on the metal scene at home and abroad, hope to see you soon somewhere on the stage and the last words are yours… 

I am the one who thanks for your interest on Verthebral, I really enjoy answering these questions. 

See you guys! 

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