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Interview - Douglas Jen (SupreMa)

Interview with Douglas Jen from SupreMa
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 03 June 2014, 1:16 AM

Power Metal coming from Brazil is certainly nothing new to report, yes when it comes to quality, only several of the acts heading from that vast country of Metal actually deliver the goods. The decade old band SUPREMA recently digitally stoked with their debut “Traumatic Scenes”. Steinmetal had the opportunity to talk to Douglas Jen, the band’s guitarist, regarding the release, the sensation of their craft and more…   

Cheers Douglas, how have you been doing? It is great having you for this interview for Metal Temple.

Hello folks! I’m doing great, thank you! I’m so glad we are having this chat!

Before stepping up to the plate with your band SupreMa’s latest album, let’s get into details about your band in general, though it isn’t overly new, but it would be nice of you to shed some light about it.

So, SupreMa is a power and progressive metal band from Brazil and we started all activities in 2004. Now in 2014 the band completes 10 years and we’ve traveled all around Brazil. Last year the band released the debut album “Traumatic Scenes” and we’ve received a lot of good comments from the fans and press around the world and we’re very excited about the band’s international career. I hope all the fans have been enjoying this album.

Though official released independently two years ago, “Traumatic Scenes”, your debut album, became hot once again due to your signing with Power Prog for a digital release, hashing your flavor of Power Metal to Europe. How has this step affected the acceptance of the album in your viewpoint?

Actually Power Prog released our album in Europe as a digital and physical release in July 2013 and after this date the CD arrived in USA and Japan too. We released a single in December 2011 to promote the album and we released it with a video and also a free download. I think it hasn’t affected the acceptance of the album, cause we promoted all around Brazil and the "Nightmare" video reached great TV Channels in Brazil and was outstanding in MTV/BRZ for a few months. It was a great sensation in Brazil and it's so exciting to watch your crowd singing your song, and we could see it on all places that we traveled to in 2012 and 2013.

"Traumatic Scenes" was released with a delay in Europe but I hope the fans are enjoying a lot our power and progressive metal songs. Perhaps on the next album we ought to think about other ways to release the album or prepare some special gift for European fans before the tour.

Judging from the album’s title, and of course by also catching the vibe of the music, there is a general sorrowful feel within the lines, along with scents and happening of angered manners, what can you comment about that? Was this album written due to past tragic occurrences or mainly just pointing out a human state of mind?

“Traumatic Scenes” is a conceptual album and I’ve written all songs based on the history of “The Invisible” movie. But it's not a narration about the movie; I’ve given another vision about the subjects and some hidden feelings inside it, such as love, anger, fury, rage, memories and nightmares as well. I’m a surrealist follower and I commonly use some insane themes and artworks to express myself. Before I developed the concept I was already thinking about writing about some stages of the human mind, and the movie gave me  a consistent basis to explain every theme.

To sum up, the CD shows a character facing all stages of the mind, sometimes nearing madness or paranormal activities, a real insane search for unravelling the mystery of his “death”. It’s very interesting how the CD could be understood in different ways for every person in different points of views.

Musically, SupreMa seems to be almost everywhere other than attributing extreme Metal manifestations. I gathered that it was something between Symphony X and Brainstorm, meaning strong Euro Power Metal, melodic at times, with elements of Progressive ingredients. As one of the band’s main composers, do you see this musical direction as a constant leading aspect of SupreMa in general or do you think that it might be spiced up on the next ventures?

In short the band sounds like heavy and progressive with beautiful melodies. Sometimes sounds so aggressive and other ones so intricate but without forgetting the importance of the song for singing. We have mixed all influences and we produced a solid album, of course bringing such different songs but with some common points between them all.

I’m already writing the next album and all comments from the fans and press are influencing the next songs. I already have about 16 new songs and I’m choosing how could be the best way for each one. Despite any "label", SupreMa always will try to sound different and the new album should sound heavier than the first album by bringing the power of 7 strings guitars, and more cadenced songs with powerful voice with a lot of feeling!

We won't leave the speed or technique aside, but the new songs are much heavier to crush the heads!

I recently watched the video of the song “Nightmare”, prior to this interview actually, presenting a rather theatrical, classy type of horror, clean and neat. Furthermore, I believe that this is one of  the album’s most influential titles. Leaving the video aside, although providing a fine impression, how do you observe this song? Does it mean anything to you personally?

“Nightmare” might be the most aggressive song of the album, despite its speed, it’s so progressive and also savage! The lyrics shows a real nightmare with the character trapped in a long torture. It doesn’t have relation with any personality but can show a desperate person trying to flee from this situation, and any person could have lived that situation when they are dreaming or awake.

Any other songs on the album that you wish to comment about regarding their impact on the release and yourself?

Perhaps “Before the end” song has the most impactful theme because this song relates to the suicidal. The character didn’t find salvation about his situation and decide to end his life, but when he’s near death he repents and wants to come back but it's too late… He doesn't have any more chances to stay alive and he agonizes, feeling his pulse decrease and losing his breath.

This song tries to warn about this subject because lots of people put an end to their lives due to troubles or mistakes but they don't think about their parents or other people that love them.

Going a bit technical, how are the songs being processed? How does SupreMa compose its material? Any particular roles or mainly everything by a single person?

Actually I’m the main songwriter and the most part of them was written by me, but I received some ideas from my bandmates and inside the studio they could put their talent into the album.

I did the full concept of the album and that way it’s natural that the most part of songs have been written by me. All concepts from the album was developed thinking how it’s going to sound live, the scenario, performance with the audience, colors, clothes, etc. This concept was so clear in my mind and all guys have loved all ideas when I brought those to them. It gave us a direction in our two videos and also merch for example, the lyrics are the little part of the concept and all these points are linked.

Perhaps on the next album I should receive more ideas, but I prefer to receive the entire song because the band is on the road most of the time and if I could receive the full songs we can compose the new album faster. As I said before I already have 16 songs or so and we’ll choose the best of them shortly for the upcoming album.

When it comes to Power Metal in Brazil, I have been noticing that in overall both Heavy and Power Metal have been catching quite attention. When playing locally do you feel at home, meaning when it comes to audience’s responses or would you be more comfortable in Europe, which this type of music is rather much more appreciated?

Actually you can find audience for all metal styles in Brazil. The audience listens to all styles from hard rock to extreme metal, and the concerts always have a great audience to enjoy your performance.

Perhaps you’ve heard more about power metal bands in Brazil for the last few years, but the country has great bands in thrash metal, progressive and also traditional metal. For the most part of North and Northeast the crowd appreciates the thrash and death metal style. Some of our musician friends have told us about the European crowd and we received only good references. They've told us that our kind of music pending to power and progressive metal could be appreciated more in Europe and also Japan, and it increases more and more our desire to do our first run in these territories. We want a lot to be near our European fans.

Talking about supporting “Traumatic Scenes”, will you be heading for Europe or North America anytime soon for a tour or festivals?

We’ve been planning to do our first run in Europe since 2008 but we hadn’t have released the CD yet and we preferred to focus all efforts to produce and release a great album, meanwhile we've traveled all around Brazil in six tours. Now we've released the album and two amazing videos and we've received great reviews about the album and a lot of messages from the fans, I guess it’s the right moment to turn it into reality. The new concert shows a well-rehearsed band with all maturity that we have acquired along the tours.

We need to plan calmly because we want to travel with the same structure that we've been playing in Brazil with all crew, scenario, lightning, etc, and we’re planning how could be the best way to take it overseas and show to the European fans the same concert that the band does in Brazil.

We have cool news for our fans in USA but I can't talk about it for now, it’ll be announced shortly, stay tuned to!

It has been discussed rather a lot over the years, since the development of the internet services, yet it has been asked over and over. When you look at how bands over the world are marketing themselves, do you think that the industry of downloading and the existence of public networks are good or bad for the promotion and marketing of a band?

In my point of view I think it’s good for the bands because you can reach your fans very fast. Twenty years ago when one band released a new album  you only could hear some songs after two months or more, mainly in Brazil where the import CDs and vinyl would delay a  long time to arrive here. Nowadays you can release the album and post a sample or a single, you can post the cover or artwork before the full release, and of course you can reach a great number of people following what you do. Labels must change some marketing strategies but I think that the industry has not fallen down, but those who don’t adapt themselves could go bankrupt. The band mustn’t think about it, the band must keep on the road, playing their concerts and tours.

Douglas I wish to thank you for your time for this interview, may you guys storm the scenes everywhere because you are worth it. Any last words for the readers?

Douglas Jen: I am very glad for this interview, thank you for the kind words. I hope we can go to Europe shortly, we've received a lot of messages from the fans, our label has been doing a amazing work for this album and we want a lot to go on an European Tour. For now I'll leave our links and I hope all the fans stay updated about the band because we'll announce amazing news shortly!

Thank you so much, see ya!


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