01. First, can you tell us what are the immediate plans for Shaaman? How about your upcoming studio album (November 2004)?
Well, I believe that the studio album is gonna be out even before that. Our initial plan is to release it between september / october, followed by a world tour right away. In Europe, we're looking for another band to share this tour; it would make things easier to reach a major diversity of countries.
02. What are your best memories of your touring experience with Shaaman so far. What were the places you enjoyed playing the most?
We had some tough but funny times in Europe, where we came over about three times already in this tour. It's actually going to be more, for we're playing some summer festivals before the next record. But I guess that the funniest place we ever played was Mexico. In some cities, the people didn't have a single clue of who the hell we were…
Of course, We liked a lot to tour Brazil on its entire extension, for the first time in our lives. Shaman made about 80 gigs only in our country - which is a big conquest nowadays. Three good memories at three different moments: the very first show in Recife, the big show in Sao Paulo for the DVD shooting, and finally, as opening act for Maiden, in front of 50.000 people.
03. How would you judge the band compared to its level during the recording of the first album "Ritual"?
It was the most crucial experience, for it was the very first time for Hugo to record an album. We didn't know how would he perform his guitars in studio - and we also didn't know how would the band react… It was a hard time, during the winter season in Germany, but I can say it made us stay tight together and that was very important for everything else that followed after. In a few words, from Ritual on, Shaman happened to be a real band. The level is not too different from nowadays but, of course, after almost two years of touring and 150 concerts behind, we feel much more relaxed to face the entire process of composing / recording again.
04. Let's talk about "RituAlive", Shaman's first live album. It could appear strange to record a live album with only one studio album but let's remind our readers that some of you already performed a lot with Angra. To record this live album, was it scheduled already after the release of "Ritual" or did it come naturally?
No, it wasn't scheduled at all… We even didn't have in mind to record a live album; we just wanted to register the big concert where we had some special guests, maybe for a future use… But as long as we were planning up everything, the idea started to take form; and then it ended up as a DVD project, together with the live album. In fact, it might sound strange for a 1-studio-album-only-band, but, as you said, three of us have been playing together for more than 10 years and never released a DVD. If we would still be together as Angra, probably that should be the right time to release a DVD or something alike. Then we took the risk. I'm very happy that we took that risk - it was all worth it!
In the end, the concert was pretty large (almost 3-hour) and we'd have enough material to release a double DVD… we had to leave a lot of things aside.
05. São Paulo! Is it your personal favorite place to perform?
…maybe not… just because it's our hometown and, sometimes, when you play your hometown it's never so comfortable as playing a completely different place. Lots of friends, people you know, people who envy you, too… it's a bigger responsibility, somehow!
But the result on the DVD is wonderful. That was a very special night and we felt relaxed on stage. The crowd was vital to make that great concert.
06. Which was your favorite song to sing that night? Why?
* Perhaps "Fairy Tale"… first, because of the amazing participation of the audience, singing every single note. Second, because I could hardly believe I had my idol Marcus Viana playing in front of me!! That was very emotional - and I guess I couldn't hide it in front of the cameras…
07. "RituAlive" is an excellent live album but what surprises the most is the extended track list, playing songs from Shaman, Angra, Helloween and Avantasia. Do you always do that or was it only for the occasion?
that was something special, set up for that occasion… we knew we'd have those special guests on stage, so we wanted to pay some tribute to their music, too. Eventually, we can play some covers within our regular set - but songs like Eagle Fly Free or Sign Of The Cross, we never repeated again… unless we make another "special guest" concert.
08. Your friend Tobias Sammet [Edguy, Avantasia] was even there to sing along with you guys. Does he have some teleport powers or did you abduct him before the concert? What about the guys from Helloween (Andi Deris and Michael Weikath)?
No, in fact he was abducted after the concert in Rio, the next day… : ) (But this is a story that you should ask him personally - I'm not even allowed to talk about those supernatural phenomenons…!!!!)
Well Andi and Weiki are also good friends, we know each other for a long time. They were already spending some time in Brazil so we coincidentally wanted to ask them to take part in our concert. It was absolutely great! And let's not forget Sascha Paeth, who also came especially for that occasion.
09. Let's go back to "Ritual". How did the songwriting and then the recording take place? Were you amazed by your new "recruits"?
Yes, pretty much!! It's great to recognize in which way our work reaches some feedback sometimes… We were writing songs for more than a year before going to Germany. Then we worked on the pre-production of the album, together with Sascha. It was entirely recorded at Gate Studio, in Wolfsburg, except for the guest appearances, recorded all over.
10. Your friend Sascha Paeth is most of the time part of your music either as a producer or a musician. How is it like to work with him as a producer?
I would say both. Because he is not only a great producer, but also a wonderful musician, so he's able to help a lot on the musical side, too. I think it would be very hard for me nor to work with Sascha, we make such a team together… it's like as if he would be part of the band already, so there would be no reason to stop working together!
Mr. Mariutti & Mr Mariutti
11. One common trend in the feedback from the worldwide press was that "Ritual showcases Andre Matos' genius". How did you cope with that? Were you happy about it or disappointed that people resumed Shaaman to Andre Matos?
He, he - I never heard such words… But thanks, anyway!!! In fact I must be very honest and say that Ritual is pretty much a work to be shared between the four guys in the band, plus the guests, the producers, and finally Miro, who did a wonderful job on the keyboards. The main thing about Shaman is that we have a real band here and it does work as real band - no leaders, no managers… everyone in the band has his own importance and I guess that's what makes the difference here. And I must say I'm pretty happy with the things as they are now.
12. "Ritual" featured several aspects of Shaaman's music with songs that you wrote for Angra and others that you wrote for and with Shaaman. Do you still have material that you originally wrote for Angra? If so, would you use it raw or would you allow other members of the band to bring new elements?
13. Yes, there was one song that was written for Angra, Fairy Tale. It was rejected then by the producer and we decided to use it for Shaman, obviously under a completely different arrangement. There are some leftovers from the previous times but, first of all, we must agree if they suit Shaaman's style or not. It's always possible to release those B sides on a single or EP, anyway… but we won't risk the integrity of a new album for no reason. In case we use any song, of course, we must rebuild it almost completely - the same way as we did on Fairy Tale. Then we could consider it proper to feature under Shaaman's philosophy.
14. Anything you want to share with us about your new album on the way? :-)
* It's been a lot of work, as ever… I'm excited, for Sascha is arriving in Brazil tomorrow; we'll spend about 20 days together doing the pre-production. Then we'll start the recordings over here - this time we found a wonderful studio in São Paulo that supplies all of our needs - and the record is going to be finished in Wolfsburg again. I bet that everybody is gonna be impressed with the sound quality and also the new songs - which will come something "heavier"… The idea is to explore more deeply both the band punch as well as the atmospheres from "Ritual". It's gonna be really exciting!
15. Seeing the popular success of Tobias Sammet's "Avantasia" project and his current support on both "Ritual" and "RituAlive", do you think you two will eventually work together again soon on a common project? And just for my curiosity; your have a lot of German friends, you record in Germany, do you speak German?
Ja, natürlich kann Ich Deutsch!!! I'm very close to the German culture (nothing to do with my family) - by pure coincidence. When I was still a student, I had the dream of learning classical piano in Germany, which is the Meca of Classics… Then I started to learn the language, it took me about three years to speak a little… that was exactly the time when I went to Hamburg for Angra's first recordings. After it, I've been to Germany so many other times and in the end I lived there for something like two years altogether.
As for Tobias, whenever he's ready for another project, he can count me in. But I don't know if he's got something in mind. For the moment, we just took part together on another rock opera called Aina, which was released no long ago.
Shaaman, Live in Brazil !!!
16. Thank you so much for your time! Anything else you want to add?
Nothing more to add. Hope everybody gets some positive vibes out of this interview.
Andre Matos. [ http://www.shaamanonline.com.br ]