An Interview with Zhema Rodero of Vulcano

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An Interview with Zhema Rodero of Vulcano

The Brazilian death metal scene has provided me a seemingly endless source of exciting new discoveries for many years. Like many other metalheads my introduction to South America's deadliest export came in the form of now legendary Sepultura. My insatiable appetite for new music inspired me to dig deeper into the Brazilian metal scene. My efforts have been rewarded with one savage and crushing band after another, and in the case of one band in particular I strongly believe that I might have discovered ground zero of the Brazilian death metal movement. The name of that band is Vulcano.

I don't remember the exact circumstances under which I was introduced to Santos, São Paulo blackened death metallers Vulcano, but I definitely owe the Metal Gods of the Universe a massive "Thank You"! The death metal pioneers have released nine slabs of audio warfare since forming in 1980, and influenced an entire generation of extreme metal artists, Sepultura among them.

I was extremely fortunate to have been granted an interview with founding guitarist, Zhema Rodero.

Derek: Hi Zhema! Thank you very much granting me an interview! Vulcano's last studio album, "Wholly Wicked", was released in July of 2014. I read that there was another release scheduled for last year titled "The Awakening an Ancient and Wicked Soul", but I haven't been able to find any other information about it. Are you still planning to release that album? If not, do you have a new studio album planned for 2015?

Zhema:  Hi Derek! Yeah! We released in 2014 “Wholly Wicked” um a version CD, in July and three months after we released our second live album, titled “Live II – Stockholm Stormed, recorded in Sweden in 2013. This album is only in vinyl version and limited edition. We announced a third releasing for 2014, an EP "The Awakening an Ancient and Wicked Soul". It was recorded, mixed and mastered in October 2014, but it has only 20 minutes and the most of labels and recording companies didn’t interested. So, I decide to compose 3 more songs and to release it in a LP 12”, just for fans. In last 12th of April VULCANO did a gig here in Santos, our base, to commemorate the 30th anniversary of our important live album from 1985. In this occasion, we invited Angel the singer on that album to sing the entire album and we presented the EP "The Awakening an Ancient and Wicked Soul" for the first time to the fans. It was awesome, because those compositions are very good. Finally, I think in next three months we’ll get to put out this album. About a possible 2015 album, I don’t discard this possibility because I already have many songs composed.

Derek:  Can you tell me a little about your songwriting and recording process in Vulcano? Do you have a primary songwriter or songwriters? Do you work up complete songs before going into the studio or just the rough structures? Where does your lyrical inspiration come from?

Zhema: I'm the unique songwriter, not because egoism, but because I think the band must to have a central line where all the other musicians should go into. Our method to write songs is to create a rough structure with beginning, middle and end so, I write the score of the songs and call Arthur, the drummer, and together we go the recording studio. I am minded crazy in reading, I really appreciate to read Philosophy, Occultism, so for me it's not problem to get a matter.

Derek: Vulcano will be performing at this year's Maryland Deathfest. Is this your first time performing in USA? Is there any chance that you'll be doing a full tour of North America in the near future?

 Zhema: Yes, it's our first time on American soil and we are very excited for this, but this time will be an exclusive show.

Maybe in near future we can organize a tour, but I must to say you the taxes for get a work visa is very, very hard!


Derek: Vulcano has been conjuring up excellent death metal albums since 1986, but I've been hearing much more about the band over the last couple years. Do you think this increased interest in the band might be credited to the internet providing metalheads more access to music around the world?

Zhema: Yes, of course! A large part is due to this fact, but I think the ransom for the less polished and less virtuous music, also is a fact. The Metalishers are tired to listen very precise picks and triggers on the drums that make all boring. I think.

Derek: It's been said that Vulcano was one of Brazil's first extreme metal bands and had a great influence on the bands that followed, one of those being Sepultura. How does it feel to be a part of that legacy? Who were some of your influences in the early days?

Zhema: Yes I think it's an honor to have this recognition. When I was younger, in the beginning of 70's, my favorites bands were the South American Bands like, grand Funk Railroad, Doobie Bro., Alice Cooper Three Dogs Nights, etc. But when I knew and listened to Black Sabbath, they became my heroes and latter Motorhead won my heart. So I can say you that those two bands influenced VULCANO in the beginning.


Derek: We're coming up on the 30th anniversary of Vulcano's debut album, "Bloody Vengeance". Looking back, what are your thoughts on that album?


Zhema:  I always thought the "Bloody Vengeance" was a mark a watershed in the history of extreme music here in South America. It has a writing style that no one was doing at that time and so he became "cult". I only had vague awareness this album when I was in Scandinavia in 2009. There were numerous stories that important musicians of current bands told me about the first impression when they looked for the first time "Bloody Vengeance"

Derek: Now it's time for my "Firsts" Round of Questions! What was the first guitar/bass you ever owned? What was the first metal album you ever owned? And what was the first metal concert you ever went to?


Zhema:  My first guitar was a Brazilian brand "Giannini" stratocaster model and my first bass too. I saw Alice Cooper in 15th April of 1974. It was the first international heavy music here in Brazil. "Pluribus" of Grand Funk Railroad in 1971, imported album and very expensive for me.


Derek: Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions, Zhema! I hope you have a blast at Maryland Deathfest and I hope I get the chance to see Vulcano in concert sometime soon!

Zhema: I must to thank you for this opportunity to talk about VULCANO and tell you that I really appreciate your questions. To all readers, feel free to listen our three latest albums and check out our live performance on the Live II - Stockholm Stormed.

Stay banging!
Listen to "Dominions of Death" and "Ready to Explode" from the album -VULCANO - "LIVE II - STOCKHOLM STORMED"!

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