GAINING RE-COGNITION BEYOND THE DAYS OF QUARANTINE
DPRP's Andy Read in Conversation with Sacrum
In the world of Progressive Metal, the highlights of 2010 have so far come from largely unexpected sources. Sacrum is one such surprise package. A young and adventurous quintet from the Argentinian capital, Buenos Aires, their second album, Days of Quarantine is a record of great variety and maturity that bursts with passion and some truly unforgettable melodies.
In October Sacrum’s will undertake their debut European tour including an appearance alongside the legendary Jon Oliva at the ProgPower Europe Festival on October 3rd. In one of the band’s first interviews outside of South America, guitarist and founder member Martín Guerrero tells Andy Read how Sacrum has managed to break out from a country where thousands of metal bands are battling to be heard.
ANDY: Firstly can you tell me a little bit about how Sacrum was formed and the early days of the band?
MARTIN: Talo Silveyra and I got in touch in 2003 and started playing some cover songs. I remember many of them were from the band System of a Down and also Metallica. We felt there was a chemistry and continued playing together. Then we started putting together some of my musical drafts with Talo’s lyrics and the first songs started. We played with various drummers, bassists and keyboardists for some years until we finally found the right people to complete the band. Now we are all very close friends and the line-up is as solid as never before.
Our debut album, Cognition, contained a mixture of songs that I had written many years before and some other songs that I wrote just before we recorded the album. That’s why there are many different sounds and ‘styles’ across the same album.
The production and recording process for Days Of Quarantine was very different. We wrote the lyrics and music at the same time. Sometimes we created the right music for the lyrics. Sometimes it was the other way around. I think that has made the album more solid and consistent.
ANDY: For someone who has not heard of Sacrum before, how would you describe your music?
MARTIN: I don’t like describing abstract things with lots of detail because it can make people get the wrong idea of what Sacrum really is. I would say our music is unexpected yet comfortable, dirty, fresh, raw, very powerful and you discover the rest!
We like almost any kind of music. Sometimes we are influenced by external things that arouse sensations in ourselves and then we just try to imagine the best sounds for those sensations. I like the idea of calling ourselves a group of artists more than a group of musicians only. What you see is as important as what you hear, just like in a film or a play.
ANDY: How do you feel the new album is different from Cognition?
MARTIN: I feel we were able to express what we really wanted. The lyrics are more personal and honest in some way. We also released our first song in Spanish (‘Animal’). We all really love it and there will probably be many more songs written in Spanish for future albums.
The album is available from our website and people can also buy our albums in France and Germany as well as the Mp3 on iTunes. We’ve actually sold more albums in mp3 than with the traditional format. I am aware you can get it for free in many sites and we are okay with that. As long as the music gets to the people, we don’t mind how.
ANDY: The booklet you have produced with the album has a very strong visual theme. Is there a concept storyline behind the songs as well?
MARTIN: Days of Quarantine is not a conceptual album. The songs talk about different things but there is a fine line unifying all the lyrics. It is the feeling of some kind of pressure in different levels and struggling desperately to get out of that situation. For example “Dazing Silence” is about fear and how powerful it can be if it takes control over you, “The Unknown” talks about an impossible, long-distance love and the illusion it creates. “Quarantine” refers to the social prison we live in every day, being part of useless routines. The lead voice represents a character like the “owner of the world” and the guttural voices represent the rebels, the people against the system. So I think all the songs have something in common related to personal and social struggles.
ANDY: Are all the band members full-time musicians or do you have day jobs?
MARTIN: Yes some of us teach our instruments or work with other musical projects. Talo is also an actor. So we all do art-related things and still have time for Sacrum fortunately!
ANDY: What is the metal music scene like in Argentina? Are there any other good progressive metal bands that DPRP readers should check out?
MARTIN: I think metal gets to every corner of this world and there are thousands of metal bands here. However the exposure is not big at all, so it’s complicated to reach all the metal fans out there. Abaddyon Project, Fughu and Acid Rain are a few bands that we know and have shared the stage. All of them very good!
ANDY: In 2008 you supported Dream Theater in Buenos Aires. How did that happen?
MARTIN: When they were touring South America Mike Portnoy decided to invite a local band to open every show on every city. So we applied and got chosen! It was a pleasure for us to open their show and we enjoyed every second of it. We appreciate a lot what Mike Portnoy did. Normally in these cases there is always money involved, but this time it was different and we are very grateful to them.
ANDY: I October you will perform before a European audience for the first time. How did the tour come about?
MARTIN: The tour came out after the invitation to play at Prog Power Europe. We have been in contact with Rene, the organiser, for some years but we couldn’t make it happen before. I think it is a very well known festival where many successful bands have played before. It will definitely be an important opportunity for us, as well as the other festivals in France and Russia.
We will be playing songs from our two albums and the set lists will change depending on the show. People can expect four hot-blooded and energetic young guys trying to blow their heads off with our music!
In London we will be playing acoustic shows. We will play acoustic versions of our songs and also some covers. They are going to be very intimate and warm shows, something different for us to do.
ANDY: Finally, what are your future plans for the band?
MARTIN: We are constantly thinking of future plans. We will create music until we die and always trying to surprise people with what we do. A third album will probably start to take shape after the European tour.
Interview for DPRP by Andy Read
1 Oct 2010 - 20:00 - Pand Demonium Antwerpen, BELGIUM
2 Oct 2010 - 18:30 - Trabendo, Paris, FRANCE
3 Oct 2010 - 15:00 - ProgPower Europe, Baarlo, NETHERLANDS
9 Oct 2010 - 19:00 - The Cavendish Arms, London, UNITED KINGDOM
16 Oct 2010 - 21:00 - Tochka Club, Moscow, RUSSIAN FEDERATION
17 Oct 2010 - 20:00 - Zal Ozhidania, St Petesburg, RUSSIAN FEDERATION
Sacrum - Official Website
Sacrum - YouTube
Sacrum - MySpace Page
DPRP Review of Sacrum's Cognition
DPRP Review of Sacrum's Days Of Quarantine