Marcos Carvalho - Lead guitar
Nilson Santágueda - Bass
Paulo Santos - Drums
Pedro Arroja - Vocals
Claudio Shivers - Guitar
Today we have the portuguese Fantasy Opus with us. Welcome guys, how are you?
Marcos Carvalho: Hello, thanks for the interest in our work, we are doing fine, thanks.
As usual, let's begin with the history of your band.
Very briefly, myself and Paulo Santos Started the band back in 99 with the name "Black Thunder", due to several line up problems, we could only record a demo in 2001, with our singer Luis Guerreiro and a guest Bass player Fernando Augusto.
During the recording of the demo I came up with the name Fantasy Opus, to portray our neoclassical influenced sound. After that, still in 2001, Nilson Santagueda joined us which was a great, because he became with the years a very charismatic person within the band. From that point several line up changes created big turmoil and uncertainty in the band. We finally recorded "Beyond Eternity" in 2004, still without a lead singer. Finally we found Pedro Arroja only in 2007, and he has performed very well with us, and recorded the album vocals brilliantly.
Also in 2007 we found Claudio Shiver for the guitar as well, so we had a great line up. We did several concerts here in Portugal with great feedback, but now we had to stop for a while. There are several reasons for this:For one side, Claudio is out of Portugal for a couple of months, for other side, we wanted to start writing new stuff. But the main Reason is (and I'm telling this in first hand to Aristocrazia Webzine), our Drummer Paulo Santos and our lead singer Pedro Arroja left the band.
So, we already found a new drummer, but we are looking for a world class lead singer worldwide right now. Also, let me say that a more detailed version of our history and bio can be found in your myspace page.
As I've already said in the review, I'm not a fan of classic sounds, but I appreciated your "Beyond Eternity", which are the bands that led you to this sound and that made you choose for it?
Well, I'm the main composer, so I guess in the main responsible for the sound... I listen and like a lot of bands... especially progressive bands, but only a few influenced my guitar playing and my composition.
To make it short, Id' say my riffing in Fantasy Opus is especially influenced by Megadeth, Gamma Ray, Symphony X and Angra. My soloing is more derived from the 80's and 90's guitar heroes, which I studied, mostly Malmsteen, J. Becker and M. Friedman and Vinnie Moore. Today we all listen to a lot of bands of different styles, but we created a musical aesthetic that we think that works and gives us pleasure creating and playing, so we will stick with it in the future.
In my opinion the essence of the album is included in three songs: "Mystic Messenger", "Higher State Of Mind" and "The Battle", they show at best your potentiality. How do your songs come to life, do you have a modus operandi for creating one?
Well those songs came about like all songs of the album... I have a lyric Idea and I try to make an interesting base for it in the guitar. When A solid base is found, all other members give their input and we try to make it all sound coherent but still diverse. In my Personal opinion, I think "The Lament" is a song full of epic feeling, yet very sad, and it is also very striking.
Who writes the lyrics? From which sources do you draw, as they are mostly about fantasy?
I write the lyrics, and I'd say yes, the main sources are Fantasy derived, but I dont write it in a literal form like other Power Metal bands do, I see it mostly like metaphors for everyday life.
In Italy 2010 is the year of the return of Rhapsody Of Fire with "The Frozen Tears Of Angels" and also of Labyrinth with "Return to Heaven Denied Pt. II - A Midnight Autumn’s Dream", a great dose of melody. What do you think about Metal and about your specific genre? Are there any acts that contribute to increase the value of it or is it standardized?
Well, I must confess I did not follow the work of Rhapsody and Labyrinth in these last 4-5 years. For what I know about them, they are 2 very different bands. Rhapsody at some point inspired me very much with "Symphony Of Enchanted Lands", and It's a very symphonic, keyboard dependant sound. Labyrinth is a more guitar oriented band, clearly influenced by German Metal, but somewhat different, it's that Italian flavour I guess. None of those bands has a standardized sound, in my opinion. If power Metal is standardized?
Sure, I think there are thousands of bands doing similar styles, and thats the main reason why the great boom of Power Metal in the 90's dissipated. I think those fans went to listen bands that have a power metal pedigree but have wandered a little bit it away from it, like Kamelot, Epica and so on. I also think that we Fantasy Opus have a great quality that it lies in our sound beeing very diverse within the Power Metal spectrum.
That can become an strong asset in the future for us.
How do you live your national scene? Are there any bands that you would recommend to listen to?
MC:Well, our national scene is growing, but it is still very limited, some good bands have risen in these last fews years, but not many. I can name some interesting bands of several musical genres such as Ramp, Tarantula and Sannedrin.
Visiting your myspace I read that Marcos, besides being a great guitarist, is also a teacher. What advice would you give to someone who wants to begin playing guitar?
Just do it from the heart. If you do that, the persistence you need to learn, the ability to be auto-critical about your playing, and all the other attributes needed will come effortlessly.
Which is the experience that led you to Metal? What made you think "this is my way"?
Well, regarding this, I can only answer for myself. And for me It was gradual, I started hearing rock and grunge, albums like "Ten" and "Nevermind", really introduced me to heavy rock and guitar riffing. Then I started to play guitar at 14 years old and the band that made the click was Megadeth, my favorite band of all time. After that my horizons got bigger and bigger, knowing more and more bands, getting more into it, so when I was about 15 I knew I wanted to be a Heavy Metal Guitarrist.
How are your relations with people who follows the band?
It's great, we have a big, big mailing list to keep in touch, we make sure we talk to all the people we can at concerts and really tell them how we appreciate that they payed to hear us playing. It means a lot to us and we have been very fortunate in having do many people in our home country and also abroad (especially japan), interested in our work.
How much is important to be on social networks today?
The easy answer is "very Important", but we do not actually have a twitter/hi5/etc account. I think it's more important for big mainstream bands that have thousands of fans. We put a lot of effort in getting a world class myspace page for people to know about the band and become interested. I think that for a band of our size, it is enough for now.
Is there anything that you regret abaout the last decades: tape trading, paper zines, the search for an album? Which are the main difference between the eighties/nineties and today?
Tape Trading was to us what mp3 is nowadays. Like everything in the universe, Mp3 itself generated good and bad consequences for the musicians. Bad consequence is that revenues from album royalties are almost inexistent to 95% of the bands. That in theory would affect the ability for bands to record better produced albums. But... It doesn't, because recording nowadays can be made from your bedroom with pro quality, and the revenues of the bands come from concerts nowadays (ticket prices have risen in the last years because of that). Mp3 diminished the difference in exposure between bands like Metallica and bands like us. So I personally dont have any regrets. I think the situation is not Ideal, but in theory, a professional musician still has means to support himself.
Are you playing live? Which is the best experience on stage so far?
Yes We did several gigs in our homeland of Portugal, and It's difficult to name the Best experience.
Some of the Best to date, was to play opening for Epica, for 1000+ people, and other smaller concerts where we were the headliners and the response was overwhelming.
Will we see you live in Italy?
We would love to. We and people close to us that work as our staff are trying very hard for a long time to book an international tour. Difficulty lies on beeing able to enter a big management company that can book you opening for a big band. Hopefully with our next album, we might get oportunities to play all over the world, especially in Europe, Japan and South America.
Do you have some news about the successor of "Beyond Eternity", are you working at it?
Yes we are working on it, we have some really great solid ideas but It will take a lot of time until it's written and ready to record.
Thanks for the time spent with us, the last message for our readers is up to you.
Thanks for your support, our latin brothers from Italy, and we hope to see you soon!!!