Hailing from Albacete, Spain Angelus Apatrida has been a force in thrash in their home country since 2000. David G. Alvarez, lead guitar; Jose Izquierdo, bass; Victor Valera, drums; and the voice behind Angelus Apatrida Guillermo Izquierdo also handling guitar duty have released four full length albums, their last two with Century Media Records. Produced by Daniel Cardoso their fifth studio album, Hidden Evolution, is set to be released Jan. 27th. If you are a fan of old school thrash then you will want to check out Angelus Apatrida.
Tell us about the history of the band.
We started about 15 years ago. We got together to play cover songs of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Metallica, all that stuff. We were sharing rehearsal space with my older brother, one day we were playing with some friends, and they were like, “It sounds good! Why don’t you make a band from this and start a new album?” We were playing with other people and sharing each other’s instruments. After about a year and a half we solidified our line-up. I started to sing as we were looking for a new singer and had no luck. So I was singing some cover songs and the guys forced me to sing the rest of the songs which I actually hate (I hate singing. My thing was always just playing guitar.) Our drummer, my brother, had to leave the band because of personal reasons. Then we got Victor Valera, originally to sing but he said, “I think I’m going to play the drums”, and that gave us our current line-up. We are still a very young band, fifteen years isn’t very long.
You’ve had a solid line-up for quite some time.
Yes, we’ve known each other for a long time, it’s like a family. It’s one of the best points of the band. Coming into the band you should be friends. If you’re in a band just as professionals it’s so hard, there’s no comfort, there’s no trust. It becomes like a real job in this way. Sometimes it doesn’t work very well.
On January 27th your fifth album is set to be released, what can you tell us about that?
You say it’s our fifth album but we really consider it to be our third album because the band became more professional after signing with Century Media Records in 2009. Prior to this we put out two albums: Evil Unleashed and Give ‘em War. But Clockwork, our first album with Century Media Records is really our first album; we changed everything at that point. We got a professional producer. I would say our last album is our best album, of course everyone says that. We are always trying to learn from our mistakes and grow. We’ve had the same producer for the last three albums, Daniel Cardoso. It’s like a constant climb to the top. Always trying to do our best. I think the people that listen will hear it’s our most technical. It’s like a mix of everything, it’s the perfect presentation of Angelus Apatrida.
I gave the album a listen, sounds great! My favorite song off the album was the title track, “Hidden Evolution”. I love how it starts out fast and heavy, slows in the middle to a very melodic pace then picks back up. There was a piece in there that reminded me of Metallica’s “Call of Ktulu”. Do you have a favorite song off of the new album?
It’s very difficult to say, it’s like asking someone who their favorite child is (laughs). I don’t know with all our albums I always had my favorite song or favorite two songs. I think all the songs have something that is good for me, they have the very technical parts that I really love. I’m going to agree with you on Hidden Evolution. Of course it’s not the one to be the single as it’s almost 9 minutes long. We’ve never done something like that, such a huge song with that kind of part in it, very simple but at the same time very catchy, very powerful. With that slow down as you say, reminded us of the old school, like in the 80’s, like you say like Metallica. That was not our intention because it’s our fifth album doing this. I would say at the moment my favorite song would be Tug of War because it’s the strangest song we’ve ever done, it’s like a mix of everything. You’ve got fast parts, very technical parts, it’s very catchy, I love the lyrics. So I would say right now Tug of War, but maybe next week it will be another.
Well, like you said, one week one kid is your favorite the next it’s a different one. This is your third album with Daniel Cardoso. He has an impressive resume, not only producing, but he also plays just about every instrument out there. How did that relationship come about?
It was almost by accident; it was just by coincidence. People were asking “Why are you recording in Portugal? Are there are no good studios in Spain?” But as I said it was by coincidence. We were searching for a studio to record our 2009 album, Clockwork. We found this guy in Portugal and I was so impressed, plus, Portugal is so close to Spain. He was producing very good music. We were talking with him and we thought it would be very good to go to Portugal to record, and get away from the distractions, the routine, friends, family, even your language, and participate in another country’s culture and language. And after that, we not only realized that Dan Cardoso was an excellent producer, but he’s an amazing musician. He plays everything! It’s amazing working with him and we’ve become very close friends. He’s an amazing guy. Working every album with him is like a new surprise. We are trying to improve ourselves, our technical skills and at the same time Daniel is improving himself as a producer and a musician. Right now it’s very simple: he’s the opposite of drama for the band. Having him helps us improve with every album and it’s so easy recording with him. And now we have more confidence and trust in each other that it just keeps getting better. We can tell each other how we really feel; if something is shit we can say it. I’m pretty sure we are going to work with him going forward as well.
How long did you spend in the studio for this album?
It’s was about a month. Usually we book the studio for 15 or 20 days but Daniel was like come on guys let’s make the best album possible. It doesn’t matter how much time you spend in the studio. We were working on the songs for about a year, preparing demos, recording tracks and all that.
Does the whole band participate in the writing process?
Normally it’s either me or David that comes in with an idea; mostly it’s guitar riffs. Right now we have computers and all that technology that we can make parts or a complete song, and it’s like, “Ok guys, this is what I got on my mind.” I try to record as much as I can and present my ideas, and if they like it, we work with it. That’s mostly the way we work, David and I start with the ideas and the rest of the guys will add their opinions, and of course Victor on drums and Jose on bass will add their own style to it.
The album hits in January, and then you have a proper tour of Europe lined up. Any plans to come to North American, head to Asia? What’s the long range plan for touring?
The most important thing for us is touring. It should be the most important thing for a band. As you said we are doing about 40 days in Europe for February and March. After that we would love to go anywhere because I think it’s time now for visiting other continents. Last year we were lucky to go to Japan. It was amazing touring there. We would love to go back there as soon as possible, not only there but the rest of Asia. Our friends say touring China, Singapore, and Malaysia all of those places is fucking amazing, I’m like so jealous of those guys I really want to do that as soon as possible. And of course North America is something we really want to do. I’ve never been there, I really want to go there. I’m in love with the cities and the American culture. My favorite music mostly comes from the U.S.A. So going there and bringing my own music and playing for American people would be a dream come true. Of course let’s see what happens and hopefully it happens sooner rather than later. Going to South America where they speak our language (we know we have a lot of fans there), there are some opportunities there, sometimes they are just fucked up, we are just waiting for the right opportunity to go to Mexico and South America. I would like to go about three or four years without releasing an album because we are touring all over the world. That would be amazing.
Speaking of your live show, what can fans expect at an Angelus Apatrida show?
I think we are a very powerful band. I think we are funny. I’ve never seen myself play because I’m always on stage (laughs) and it’s not the same watching a video. As far as I know – not just from friends or your closer fans – but when you are playing in Japan or other parts of the world, you have fans there, there really love your music. We try to be ourselves. We are not acting, we are playing because we love to play. We try to make the best we can on stage, it doesn’t matter if it’s 10 people, 100 or 10,000 we always try to do our best and enjoy the show. So I think the word would be powerful.
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Is there a show that stands out as being the most memorable that you played? Where you stand on stage and say, “Wow this is really happening!”?
It always happens to us in Spain; we are lucky that we are a big band in Spain. I would say maybe playing at Sonisphere I think it was in 2011, it was incredible. There was maybe 30,000 people; it was crazy! We played the main stage, our intro music was playing and I’m standing there, there were lots of people screaming and I was about shitting my pants. We were already used to playing for large crowds but it was like, “This is HUGE!” The other was touring with Megadeth and Slayer here in Spain. It was huge clubs and each day it was a large crowd for us and of course everyone knew us. Actually I remember Dave Ellefson (Megadeth bassist) was talking with us at the last show and said I have to congratulate you guys because you were the most impressive opening act that we ever had, of course he was meaning best local band that ever opened for them. There were like two or three thousand people every night it was amazing.
What a compliment from such a legend. Do you have a favorite band you’ve toured with in the past?
Not toured but my favorite band that we played with was Iron Maiden; it will always be Iron Maiden. We were so lucky to play with them. I would say of course Slayer and Megadeth. Of course would love to tour with Pantera, but that’s impossible.
You kind of answered my next question, two bands alive today you would love to tour with? Obviously one would be Iron Maiden.
Yeah, yeah definitely Iron Maiden. There are many bands that we would love to tour with but coming to my mind right now would be Testament.
Your vocals remind me a lot of Bobby Blitz from Overkill, has anyone mentioned that to you before?
Yeah, but mostly everybody says that my voice is very similar to Dave Mustaine. I remember on earlier albums I was trying to make my own personal voice and I was always fucking up the songs. So I decided to let me natural voice go and it’s that way naturally. I really like Megadeth but I’m not trying to copy that. Yeah I’ve heard Bobby Blitz, but mostly Dave Mustaine.
Do you think the internet helps or hurts you?
I think it helps you. I think everyone has to get used to it and see the right side of things. I think there is a lot of shit with it, everybody has something to say, but on the other hand I think it’s a very good thing for bands, especially bands that are not able to travel a lot. The internet is full of amazing bands. I think is something everyone should take advantage of and use it in a good way. Times change and we have to adapt to it and make the best of it.
When you are off tour or not making music what are you doing? Do you work at another job or is music it?
Yeah its music, it’s impossible nowadays to have a normal job. We are very lucky being a big band in Spain, we can tour Spain and the company makes a lot of money. We can live with that. When we are not touring we spend most of our time at home, we are teachers. I work sometimes in school here, I teach children to play guitar, mostly to play heavy metal. Victor is a drum teacher and David is a guitar teacher as well. As a band we are a company so we have a lot of work to do, so most of the time when we are not touring we are doing work for the band, it’s like running a company. We are also rehearsing. It’s all about the music.
Any final words?
First thank you for your time. For all the people in the United States listening to our music we hope sooner rather than later to tour there and see you over there and enjoy the music and make it an every year thing that would be awesome. Let’s hope it will happen.
Thank you and best of luck with the new album and tour.