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Midnight Priest's Pedro Pita: "There is clearly a mood change on the last several songs and the album gets to pumping iron, shortly after possessing demons and hunting vampire nuns in haunted convents."

Interview with Pedro Pita from Midnight Priest
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 13 March 2020, 11:29 AM

Things are about to get musically darker, haunting, capturing the ear. There are clear signs of nostalgia alongside the interest in the occult along with treading within old movies. These aspects have been one of the most interesting cohesions within Metal, in comparison to most genres that don't really pay much attention to the darkened features, which are part of our society, and cannot be denied. Releasing their third album, praising the good ol' arts of Heavy Metal, the Portuguese Midnight Priest comes out with "Aggressive Hauntings", via Metal On Metal Records. Steinmetal had a chat with Pedro "Iron Fist" Pita about the new record, musical progress and more… 

Cheers Pedro, it is a pleasure having you for this interview for Metal Temple online magazine. How have you been doing mate? I remember the first time I listened to Midnight Priest, it was actually your self-titled debut album, back in 2011, all in Portuguese. No doubt that back then you already had what it takes music wise, and here you are already with album no. 3, newly signed to Metal On Metal Records, spreading the promise. So how do you feel about “Aggressive Hauntings” and what has been going on around it?

Hi Lior, thank you so much for your words.

We are very surprised with the outcome of the new album. We took some important steps towards shaping our sound, and I think we came very close to what we had in mind. There is always a need to keep changing and finding new ways to refine our style. I think we are almost there.

We are nevertheless categorized and often taken as some kind of King Diamond tribute band, this is not true. Although we are obviously influenced by the greats, I must reckon that those dedicated to 80’s heavy metal, and those who know how to appreciate a good riff and searing high pitch vocals will feel at home with “Aggressive Hauntings”, because it slays.

Was it your interest in Metal On Metal Records or were you approached? Did you have other offers that you considered?

Yes, the album was intended to be released with MOM from the start.

Jowita Kamińska-Peruzzi, also owner of Metal On Metal Records, did you a fine service on coming up with such a well crafted artwork. Was it intentional for it to look like a horror bi-movie kind of poster? Or it merely fit the image you wished to address?

Our lyrics often involve fantastic and surrealistic horror themes, trying to capture the vibe of Italian horror movies and exaggerated occult aesthetics. We discussed some features that we would want on the cover and based the woman on the character of Justine. She appears on the song "Funeral".

The artwork is absolutely fantastic and really ties in with the music.

The album’s sound is so naturally mid to late 80s, simply cracking and a great experience to listen to. Who produced the album? Is this the sound that will represent Midnight Priest for the coming years?

That’s a great question; in fact it was the lack of time to master the album that made it sound so raw and good. We decided to keep a very uncompressed sound and it turned out to be the best choice. We will definitely try to keep this as a guideline for the next one. Song wise, not so much, because it’s about to get dark and morbid.

Do you believe that “Aggressive Hauntings” is a step forward for Midnight Priest when it comes to your songwriting style or is it merely a continued effort? Please elaborate how the album’s proceedings affected the band.

Although it started as a continued effort, it became obvious that we were just fucking around. A lot of ideas and riffs where trashed before we could even come close to the final track list. This was a very challenging process, but suddenly there was a breakthrough and nearly half of the album was done. There is clearly a mood change on the last several songs and the album gets to pumping iron, shortly after possessing demons and hunting vampire nuns in haunted convents.

Regarding the songwriting style, when you look around you in your local Metal scene, or also in Europe and the US for that matter, modern Metal came to power, not merely being a trend. Do you think that traditional Metal could actually survive in that environment? Are you one of the devotees that say that it would never die no matter what?

Heavy Metal will never die. It can come in and out of fashion, but the true flame never fades, there will always be the record covers that peeks your interest when you are a kid. The solos, the air-guitars…

I think it’s only natural that the metal scene will keep growing, bands are dedicated to leave their mark, touring all over the world and really taking advantage of the new ways we have to promote our music. It’s the legacy of steel, and that’s something you can never kill. Just keep it real and don’t go pretend you are someone you’re not.

You wrote some smashing catchy tunes, some to be anthems, but the one that truly captured my attention was “Iron Heart”. I don’t know, but it has that Motley Crue kind of wickedness and main riff orientation, yet right when Lex Thunder starts heating up the place, it is a dream. What do you think of this tune?

I think "Iron Heart" is a fine jewel and a smashing tune. It pays homage to the great heroes of our time, our friends, and everyone dedicated to free living and rock and rolling. It’s a slower song that makes you think about times gone by, while capturing the essence of old school heavy metal anthems. It’s a code of honor.

Talking about the tunes, which one is your favorite? One that you just can’t stop listening to?

The band has mixed opinions; "Ecstasy" is an odd tune with some wicked creepiness that really stands out. I personally would say "Funeral" or "Aggressive Hauntings", because these are songs that just keep on coming and laying riffs like it’s bad.

Another nice thing that I heard a little while ago is that in Australia there is an academic institution that actually opened a Metal course for students. Is that a marketing move on Metal music or simply preaching the fine art?

Depends on whether you have Yngwie Malmsteen teaching…

How do you intend to support the new album? Will there be a European tour? Festivals perhaps in this heated up Summer?

We will be playing at all major festivals in Portugal until August, and then will go on a European tour to finish the album off. Then it will be time to start working on the successor to “Aggressive Hauntings” and hopefully release it a couple of month later.

Pedro, it has been amazing, you guys made me a devoted fan, even though 80s Metal had already been in my blood, you proved it to be just the best. Cheers mate.

Thank you so very much Lior. I hope you guys enjoy our songs and find some time to check our stuff. Buy our records and support the underground. Keep rocking, keep pounding. Pita



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Edited 24 January 2022

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