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Arthur Migotto (Hazy Hamlet)

Interview with Arthur Migotto from Hazy Hamlet
by Dimitris Kontogeorgakos at 13 September 2009, 9:05 PM

HAZY HAMLET is a Brazilian Metal treat that made quite an impression to METAL TEMPLE with their debut Forging Metal. In order to give you some more data on this promising band that goes without a record deal we contacted Arthur Migotto -the voice of HAZY HAMLET-  who was more than kind to answer to our questions!

Interview with: Arthur Migotto from HAZY HAMLET

 A massive Hail from METAL TEMPLE magazine and many congrats on Forging Metal! Please introduce the band to our readers. How did you choose the band's name? Is there any special meaning behind it or it just sounds good?

Hail Dimitri and a big hail to METAL TEMPLE crew and readers! Thank you so much for your praises on Forging Metal! It is an honor for us. Well, the band name was created a few months after its establishment, and was brought by Fabio Nakahara, band founder and bassist. Yes, there is a meaning, as we all think it has a lot to do with the sad world we live in. The truth is always hidden from us due to big interests from huge corporations, churches, politicians. In fact we are living behind a curtain of lies, an illusion. They take everything they can, but do this in a way that we believe it is OK, and blinded by media and promotional brainwash, we even love them! It is a dense fog of lies. This world is indeed a small hazy hamlet, and that is what we believe.

Lets go to your impressive debut release; first of all how long did it take you to write the music on Forging Metal?

Well, as there are songs from all line-ups and Hazy Hamlet will complete a decade in October, so I can say we took about 6 years to compose the songs that are in the album. That is because we went through a lot of problems and our debut took 4 years to be released.

 Is the music the product of a team work or do you work separately?

A mix of both. Usually someone composes the main riffs and choruses. When riffs and ideas are taken to rehearsal, all do an awesome work on arrangements and finishing the songs. For example, I prefer composing riffs than writing lyrics! There is no dictatorship in Hazy Hamlet, all are open to contribute, and its small ideas from each member that makes the songs sound the way we like and different one from each other. Up to now it is working! (laughs)

 What about the lyrics? Who is responsible for them and is there a concept story behind them?

There are contributions from current and former members, but lately this work is being left for me 7 of the 10 Forging Metal tracks lyrics are mine. But this does not mean I love writing lyrics! I really like to expose my ideas, it is great! However, one thing is explaining them for someone, and another much harder one is to write some decent lyrics with them (laughs). We have no main concept to work on, as we want to let this open. In this album we decided to write about metal itself, motivation and also reflections on death and human degradation. We all love north mythology since the beginning (1999), and think it is a great way to bear some good reflections through metaphors, and that is why we have chosen wise Odin as our mascot. But we will not be closed to only this strict subject, let it be clear.

 The lyrics dealing about Vikings and the Norse mythology. Have you ever thought that these topics may be too much of a cliche in Metal and that many would find this a turn off and turn down the band without listening a single song?

Yeah, we know. That is the problem of taking so long to release our debut, as most of our ideas date from many years ago, long before this folk/Viking Metal fashion struck. But we love mythologies, and as I said before, we believe it is a great way of transmitting our ideas through some metaphors. Moreover, metal is all about honesty. We don't truly believe we will ever get hugely famous or win millions playing classic metal music - these days are gone! There will be no IRON MAIDEN or METALLICA anymore. And if we are playing a dated style, so why should we care? We are not market puppets, we have our own professions to survive. We want to play what we love, with the lyrics about what we enjoy, and to be renowned and respected by those who enjoy the same stuff as us. This is what rock and metal were all about originally, isn't it?

 As I said in the review I was impressed by the work you put in Forging Metal that is an independent release; what were the difficulties you faced during the recording/mastering process and how possible is for a new band to release a CD?

Wow, if I was supposed to give you every detail, I would have to take the whole night telling, really! (laughs) It was the beginning of 2005 when we decided to start recording. There was a renowned studio guy here, so we've waited some weeks until he was free. Drums were recorded first, but after some audition we thought we were not satisfied with them. It was horrible. Our drummer volunteered to record again, but he had injured his heel, so a few more weeks were spent before recording. When it was bass time, Nakahara broke his finger, and all stopped again. When Bertin was testing some guitar sounds at studio, an electricity variation burnt down the valves from his amp, and as he ordered new ones we had to wait a bit more. During all recording sessions, there were some things that just didn't sound good. The guy so told us not to be worried, that 'everything should get fine in mixing'. Well, then we discovered that was not truth.

After a long pause without money, and some weeks for voices recording, we had to wait months until he started working on mixing. He always postponed our work to give preference to his 'church mates'. And guess what? Our album sounded like crap. He didn't know how to work with metal or he didn't have ears at all. Add these with some more lies, and we were out. We got all backup data and decided to fix and finish the album by ourselves. The problem is that we had never done this before, and went through a long learning curve, that was fortunately made easier with all the technology available today. So if you ask me how possible is for a new band to release a CD, I would say that as long as you have not the luck of HAZY HAMLET, it is very possible (laughs)! Nowadays technology make it very easy. DAWs are very intuitive and there is a bunch of information on pro audio in books, articles, magazines and forums. All you have to do is not take an info as rule, and use that to do your own experiments. Take the sound you love as reference and dedicate a lot.

 Expanding the previous question, Brazil has been producing great Metal bands but a small number managed to make money out of music. Do you think there is a reason for this? Are the Brazilian bands too honest and true that cannot make a profit of their own work?

(laughs) Wow, I don't know… There are many things involved. Brazil is huge, and it has its own culture and a lot of regional music styles. They are all embraced by a hungry music market, that invests a lot in radio and TV. There is really too much money involved, and so no space for (real) rock or Metal is left. We also have a lot of dedicated concert promoters who really love what they do, but do not have the resources to afford some good structure. Some even don't care about it. In a lot of events, bands don't even get paid for the fuel spent on the travel, so how can they make money on metal music? If some promoter wants to make money here, he simply will work with another music style, not metal. Metal underground here is beautiful, honest, strong, passionate, but in this heartfelt side. It has a lot to learn and work on about professionalism, and some culture/art investment from our government is necessary to make it grow beyond its music, so the bands and bangers can get what they deserve and fight for: good metal with good structure. Concluding, I would then say that at least for now the only way for some Brazilian Metal band to make money is finding some label that takes it to some tours outside the country.

 Are you in search for a record label? Did the positive feedback from the media attracted any record label to offer you a contract?

No, Dimitri, we are not seeking one, at least for now. We want some more time to be able to do more promotional work, build more contacts, some distribution deals. We want to take this independence to the edge in this first album and feel if a label will be necessary then. Sure a label makes things much easier, but although independence has its price, it also has a beauty that signed band loses bit by bit - the close contact with bangers, promoters, redactors… It is all more human. And we also gain the advantage of having everything made exactly as we want, limited only by our capacity and dedication, not the 'value on the market' of our musical trend. As for the second question, no, the awesome reviews have not attracted any contract offer from a record label, but has attracted many bangers wishing to buy the album and also retail and web Metal stores wanting to resell the CD, and this helps a lot with paying our debts and promotion.

 What are your goals with HAZY HAMLET? When do you believe you will be in the position to say I am satisfied with the band's achievements?

This is hard to say. Every time you achieve something you desired a lot, you automatically set a new goal. One year ago the band was really upset with the difficulties and almost ceased its activities, so when we opened the first box of CDs, it was stunning, out of this world. Much time spent on it and a hard work that only we know. At that point, I can say I thought to my self - This is the achievement of my life! - because it was something that we sought for ten years - and even more for some of us! But now we are one step forward, and we have a lot of promotional work to do. Our goal with this album is to become know by classic metal lovers. It is what matters for us now. Then we can think of a future material, finding new partnerships and if possible an European tour. Each step in its time…

 Is there any chance to see Forging Metal on vinyl?

It would be like a dream, really! I can't assure it right now, as we have some big debts from the factoring of CDs yet, but this was in our plans since the beginning, and that is why we ordered a cover artwork like this one. However it is not cheap to order vinyls, and we have 51 minutes of songs that we'd have somehow to make fit in the 40 minutes available in an vinyl or find some bonuses to order double ones - which would be even more expensive. It is hard, but I risk saying that there is a small chance, yes.

 The album has received many more than good reviews, do you feel anxious to meet these expectations on the next album?

Sure! When we decided to release some cliche stuff and independently, we knew we would receive many critics and prepared ourselves for them. Then the album received a lot of praises! It was really unexpected, and a huge motivation for us! But now we have a much bigger responsibility, and will not hurry to release new stuff. Everything will have to be really well thought and hardly worked.

 What about the negative reviews (if any), how do you deal with them?

Up to now there was only one negative review. The redactor forgot to write about technical points, performance or artwork, and dedicated to write about our lack of originality and our cliche posture. But we don't have the minimum intention of sounding innovative! We love 70s and 80s sound, and we only want to have fun playing something like that. As it was something that we already knew, it didn't sound as real critics for us, really! As I said before, we got prepared for real critics about things like production or performance, and we know that they will come! We have in mind that this is necessary for us to learn with mistakes, keep growing and do better each time.  However we are already satisfied that negative critics are taking so long to appear, and the great reviews are motivating and helping us a lot!

 So, what the situation in the Brazilian Metal scene? Are the Brazilian fans 'open' to bands of their own country?

Not so much 'open' as I would like to say. Sure, there is a lot of support, but Brazil is huge and there are so many bangers that it should be more, for sure. Problem here is that we are really too much open for foreign people - not only in art, everything. A band here may have a high level, but will only get renowned - and I mean really, beyond speech - when it gets know outside, get some worldwide tour, and then comes back. Only then it is treated as it deserves, having the same level as any band from other countries. We love to consume what comes from outside, and this suffocates our own scene.

 What are your touring plans? Is there any band or bands that you would love to get on the road with?

Yeah! So many! There are many awesome Brazilian Rock, classic Metal and Thrash bands that  would be great to get on road with, but if you mean something even bigger, from outside, I risk saying - in the name of the whole band - that would be HEAVEN AND HELL, JUDAS PRIEST, GRAVE DIGGER or any other old metal act like these.

 Will you make a video clip for a song of the new album or do you believe that videos are a 'lost case' with all the internet exposure?

No, we believe they help a lot, even more now with Internet! So many bands get know with this Youtube and similar mania, and even great old underground stuff is rediscovered. We would love to make a video clip for a Forging Metal album song, but do not have the resources right now to make something decent and in the way we want. Maybe soon we will do something with mixed video excerpts from different concerts.

 These were my questions; I wish you the best for the future and hope to see you on stage some day. Add anything you would like to our readers.

First of all, thank you so much for your great support to an independent group like HAZY HAMLET, and hope really we are able to play in Greece in a not so distant future! Thanks to all readers that are writing and pushing us. Your support is essential, and we are really thankful for that. Remember that metal is all about fun and passion - so support your local acts no matter if signed or not, if innovative or cliche. Stay Heavy and a huge hug from the HAZY HAMLET Metal family!


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