H.O.S.T   HEAVY METAL FROM PORTUGAL Band Questions answer by GERRIT DRIES    
Please introduce yourself and the band members briefly? We are H.O.S.T from Portugal! There are five of us: Filipe Moreira and Carlos Barbosa on guitars, Vera Sá on bass, Augusto Peixoto on drums and Gerrit Dries as the singer (that last one is me, by the way, hi all!) Our music might be classified as "modern heavy metal", if you will, but I also kinda like to just call it "metal" and keep things simple. After all, our members all bring different musical backgrounds to the table, ranging from doom and death to power, heavy, and also prog and black metal.   What does the band name mean and how do you get it? What I like about our name is that it can mean a lot of things, really. The word "host" can refer to someone who receives guests, just like we receive our audience when we do a show, essentially, but it also has a different meaning, that of a "large enemy military force". No need to explain why that is metal AF, I suppose. On top of that, we use H.O.S.T - only 3 dots, mind you - as an acronym for "Hope Our Souls Transcend", giving it yet another, more philosophical or even religious meaning. That ambiguity in the name is something really fun to play with.   Where and how was the band founded? We started out in early 2016, shortly after the disbanding of Head:Stoned, the former band of Augusto (drums) and Vera (bass). I had met Vera via my work, and she was the one who invited me to audition for Head:Stoned vocalist. That’s how I got in contact with Augusto, who basically invited us all when he wanted to start anew.   Have you played in other bands before? As a matter of fact, with the exception of myself, all members were at one time part of the band Cycles about 10 years ago, or maybe even longer. Augusto has been playing in bands for about 30 years already (!) and all members, except myself, have been part of Porto's underground metal scene for a long time. Some of the bands that at one point featured current H.O.S.T members are Dove, Unfolded Vision, Final Mercy, In Solitude, Fears Tomb and the already mentioned Cycles and Head:Stoned. As for me, I've sung in a band called Forcefield about 10 years ago, shortly after I had moved from The Netherlands to Portugal, but we never really left the rehearsal room or released anything. That was definitely more for the fun of it. Back in The Netherlands, I've been in a few bands in several genres, roughly from 1998 until 2003, always as the guitarist though. I've also done a lot of project rather than band-based stuff, not necessarily in the metal or even rock genre.   Was it hard to find suitable band members who fit musically and humanely with the band? Not that I know of, actually. Augusto has a lot of contacts in the scene and didn't have a lot of trouble putting us together, at least that is how I experienced it.   What are the lyrics about and who of you is writing them ? The main lyricist for the band is me, although Filipe is also always happy to contribute text-wise. Subjects may be psychological and philosophical matters, social issues, and the occasional tragedy or horror story. I like to try out a lot of different approaches and types of subject matter, to see what suits my and our band's sound best.   Which bands inspired you and how would you describe your music to someone who has never heard a sound from you? We sound heavy and more modern and aggressive than typical classic or "retro" - for lack of a better word - heavy metal, with obvious influences from more extreme metal styles, but at the same time with tons of melody and more melancholic, sometimes even "intimate" moods. I find it hard to compare ourselves to other bands, but I'd describe our sound as a mix between Maiden, Iced Earth and Nevermore, with maybe a pinch of Candlemass, King Diamond and Opeth. Just close your eyes and imagine that...   Why should people listen to our music? Because we're awesome, every single one of us, and even more so as a group. Essentially, I feel that the reason for people to listen to us is the same as the reason we make music: because we feel our music deserves to be heard. It's that simple, really. We are honest, talented, and we work fucking hard. We're not in it for money or fame, but because it's what we feel we must do.   Bastard of the Fallen Thrones your debut ep is from 2016. How far have you been with the new songs and when can we count on new songs? It's still too early to get into a lot of detail, but we're working on our first full- length release for 2019. Most of the base material has already been written, but we're still in pre-production with a lot of arranging, rehearsing and of course recording ahead of us. Two original songs, Your Host for the Evening and A Blessing Condemned, are already fully arranged and rehearsed, and we've played them live quite a few times now already.   I've seen there are also some of the very good cover art work shirts and a very cool version of the EP is there anything else to buy? We're incredibly lucky to have a drummer who takes not only our sound but also our artwork and basically the entire visual presentation of our music to a whole other level. It sets us apart even for people who haven't heard our music yet. And, it has served as direct inspiration for my lyrics more than once already. Our EP and merchandising is pretty much sold out right now, all the more reason to keep working hard towards a new release, which I hope will be available in greater numbers.   You also do some artworks and other stuff for other bands about which of your work did you enjoy the most? This question is obviously addressed to our drummer Augusto. Here's what he has to say about it: "Indeed, I'm a professional designer and over the years I've made several works of art for bands, such as album covers but also logos, T-shirts, etc. I started to work as designer before I started drumming, but I believe that currently both activities complement each other, to a point where one cannot exist without the other. As you can see by my answer, I am very passionate about both things, and I couldn't tell you which one I like better."   What was your first concert as a fan? And what memory do you have of it? 1994 is when I first went to a rock concert. At 14 years old, I went to see Urban Dance Squad, a Dutch group who were big at that time as one of the first crossovers between rock and rap music, and even had success in the USA. It was the first time I did crowd surfing and stage diving too, which were still a thing then. A few years after, it wasn't allowed anymore. I remember this friend of mine who also jumped off the stage but got a hard landing and a dislocated shoulder. Oh, the memories...   What were your live highlights and with which bands did you play? We've had the pleasure of playing with a few of the bigger names of the Portuguese metal scene, such as WEB, Blame Zeus, and also Attick Demons. Maybe not exactly a specific highlight, but I love it when I see people's lips singing along to the songs as we're playing.   Have already resulted in friendship ? Most of our members are already veterans in the local scene and already have deeply rooted connections. But we've definitely also made some new friends along the way, with pretty much all of the bands we've played with.   Which band would you like to play live with and why? If our band were to vote on it, I think we'd choose Nevermore, if only that were still possible. Personally, I'd go with Oceans of Slumber actually, my single greatest metal discovery in the last few years. I'm a huge fan of theirs, I'd love to see them play and even more to share the stage with them. No idea why there’s hardly any hype around them in the media, their music is awesome.   With what do you earn your money except with the music? We don't actually make a lot of money with our music. And any profit we make is invested back into the band. With so little money in the Portuguese metal scene, we all have a full time job besides our musical endeavors. I am a copywriter for a product development company myself, and I have to combine my musical activities with my work as well as my family life, just like most of the members of H.O.S.T.   How important are social media for you as a band? Getting likes is awesome, and facebook can be a nice tool for getting the word out, but on the other hand, social media shouldn't be overestimated. It just doesn't reflect the real world. For instance, the actual turnout of people at live shows of local, lesser-known bands is often dramatically lower than the number of people liking the announcement post online. And like any musician, I'd rather see people at our shows than post likes, of course.   What would you (her) want to achieve with the band? As much as we possibly can. It would be awesome if someday we could make a living with our music and wouldn't have to keep our day jobs anymore. But that's easier said than done. A more realistic answer would be that we simply want to make as much music, as well as we are capable of making. To build a solid fanbase anywhere we can and play as often as we can, in as many different places as possible. And to achieve recognition for our work, to see our music validated, as well as to see ourselves validated as the musicians and persons we are.   What do you think about the Portugal Metal scene in general? As a Dutchman I do still tend to look at it as an outsider, although I've been part of the scene now for a while. There's a lot of talented groups and a lot of work done on voluntary basis. The DIY mentality is strong, with everybody helping out everybody like in a big brotherhood. It's not as organized as the Dutch scene, and I believe that gives the Portuguese scene a kind of openness that I hadn’t expected. A lot is possible, but be prepared to put a lot of work in if you want to get somewhere. After all, with a few exceptions, Portuguese bands aren't exactly the focus of major international attention. They are likely to have to work harder for their success than their counterparts from Northern Europe, I'd guess.   Maybe you can recommend some bands from your area? There are just so many bands here worth checking out! Some of the most noteworthy are Tarantula, pioneers and local legends of heavy music in Portugal, and WEB, an awesome thrash band that really know how to put on a live show. Fantasy Opus make great epic power metal, and Blame Zeus have their unique brand of metal/rock with progressive tendencies and an awesome lead voice. Attick Demons are great too, with their more classic but still fresh-sounding NWOBHM approach. I've also been listening to Moonshade lately, a really good melodeath band from our area, but I haven't actually had the pleasure of meeting any of the members yet.   PERSONAL QUESTIONS !   Where did you grow up and how was your childhood? I grew up in a village near the Dutch city of Arnhem. I think I am lucky to have had a rather peaceful childhood, with loving parents, plenty of friends, space, and a lot of free time that I could spend as I wanted.   How was your school time you were rather the good student or the break clown ? Although I think I was known as one of the smart kids in school, I don’t believe I actually worked harder than the rest, or anything. I was more of a dreamer, I guess, and I was just interested in a lot of things so I “knew stuff”.   How did your parents react when you started making metal music? did they support you and how do you feel about your music today? It must have taken some time for them to understand that metal wasn’t just a phase I was going through. Once they did that, they were always been very supportive of me chasing my music dreams. And they still are.   Would you be successful in making music as a musician? I guess so, yes. But the hard thing is to have success with the music you want to make yourself as an artist, instead of with music that you make because it’s the shorter route to success. Choosing integrity is key. But it makes being successful so much harder.   Are you someone who loves the hustle and bustle of the big city? or rather looking for peace and relaxation in nature? Between the Dutch countryside and the Porto city life, I’d say I love both of them. I like to be around people, of which a city has plenty, and in places with a lot going on. But nature is often so much more beautiful than anything humankind is able to produce, and I do love peace and quiet too. If I had the time and resources, I’d probably be changing constantly between the two.   Do you actively practice sports or are you more of a passive spectator? I’m not really into watching sports, unless the Dutch football selection plays a European or World Championship. I do like to practise sports, particularly cycling, but I haven’t been doing much of that since I became a father already over 10 years ago. I guess metal vocals are the most physically demanding thing I do these days, and my music is also what takes up most of my energy and free time. Some day though...   When it comes to your physical well you can cook or let you cook for you ? The kitchen, unfortunately, is where I spend a lot of time when I’m at home. In our household, I’m the one who does the cooking for the whole family, although I’m not always very happy with that to say the least. Well, we divide tasks and somebody has got to do it, so that might as well be me.   What does your environment tell you about your passion for metal (friends / family / colleagues) ? My closest family supports me, although they don’t always agree with how much time and energy I invest in it. I can understand that. Outside that inner circle, most people are supportive of what I do, although I think very few of them actually know what it’s about. The metal scene here is very underground, and pretty much goes unnoticed by outsiders. It kind of leaves them indifferent, especially since it’s easy for them to overlook, no matter how many animals you sacrifice on stage. I do make a point of looking like a metalhead myself, because I want to represent my music visually too and let people know that “we metalheads are still out there.” I’m not after shock value so you won’t catch me wearing “Jesus is a cunt” T-shirts, but I do try to look the part and wear band shirts whenever I can.   How do you see the problem with the haters on the internet who have to announce their mental garbage in anonymity always and everywhere? Sure, there’s plenty of hate to be found online, although none of it has ever been addressed directly to me or to our band or something. Not that I know of, at least. People on social networks feel protected in their private space, yet at the same time, the online world is anything but private and people are still accountable for what they do or say. Sometimes it reminds me a bit of road rage, people getting angry at each other in traffic over what are often silly misunderstandings. Cars also provide the illusion of a private space, making people oblivious to the fact that they're not alone on the road, and are required to communicate with others. Unless there is real risk involved, both traffic and internet trolls are best ignored, as they'll use anything you throw at them to become even angrier anyway. At least in traffic, if it comes to that, you can still simply punch someone in the face.   What do you think about the internet in general? a blessing or a curse? It’s a fantastic tool, although it pains me to see what some people use it for. There are loads and loads of possibilities, but whether it’s used for good or bad depends entirely on what people do with it. And so far, it’s proven to be both a blessing and a curse. I just hope humanity learns to deal with it better.   What would you personally like to do in your life? First there are my children. My greatest wish in life right now is to see them grow up and be there for them as a dad. If I get to live to be a grandfather, even better. Another dream of mine is to make a living with my music one day. I’ve invested a lot of my life into singing, playing, composing and arranging, and I even have a school of the arts degree in composition and production, but I’ve never really pursued a professional career in music. Having moved to Portugal almost right after finishing my studies, and about to become a father, I thought it would be better to play it safe and take a different path. But I still love it, obviously, and would love to explore different genres play with different people, make music for film or computer games… With the condition of course that I can make the music I want the way I want. That way everything will be perfect! It’s my dream, after all, so I call the shots.   Which question would you like to have answered and why? The question of life, the universe and everything. Is there any other?   Portugal Not sure If I'll ever get 100% used to living here. Not sure if I'd want that, either.   Austria Fantastic country with majestic mountains and a great musical history. All the way from Mozart to The Summoning, lol. It's been too long since I last went skiing there.   Bacalhau Essential food for the Portuguese in general, but personally, I don't find it all that exciting. It also depends on the recipe.   Sagres The place or the beer? I love the place, in the Algarve. As for beer, here in the north we typically prefer Super Bock!   Vasco da Gama An interesting one. A sailor from the age of discoveries who is remembered to this day. Not that I know that much about him, but his deeds and his character could make awesome subject matter for song lyrics. For a heavy, mid-tempo epic story that idealizes life on the seven seas, or something. I bet he wasn’t a saint, no one is, but in lyrics he can be whatever I want him to be. What I like too is that Vasco da Gama reminds me of the common past of Portugal and Holland as seafaring nations. It creates a bond, you know XD   Luís Figo Figo and not Cristiano Ronaldo, really? In any case, both are foorball players who are good at what they do (Figo is probably retired by now?) but also, in my opinion, extremely overpaid and overrated.   Kreator or Judas Priest Priest! One of those bands that has always made fantastic music as well as paved the way for so many other bands. And Painkiller is one of the best albums ever! A lot of love for Kreator though, they're awesome too.   Movie or Series I like movies though I hardly watch them anymore. Too little time. Some series are good, I loved Breaking Bad, for example. But I prefer video games and books.   Family Extremely precious. My two kids are everything to me.   Your top 10 all time album faves I’ll pick the ones I personally like best, not the most influential or anything. In no particular order: Emperor - Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk Symphony X - The Divine Wings of Tragedy Pain of Salvation - Remedy Lane Metallica - Master of Puppets In Flames - The Jester Race Ayreon - Into the Electric Castle At the Gates - Slaughter of the Soul Oceans of Slumber – Winter ARK - Burn the Sun I left out a few that I think aren’t metal or hardrock enough for this list, I should add.   The closing word is yours? Thanks everyone for reading, and even more for actually reaching the end! Stay on the lookout for more exciting H.O.S.T news this year! Who knows, maybe someday we‘ll see you at one of our shows, we’d certainly love that. Until then, keep listening to the true music!
© 2019 by Haschi`s Metal Corner
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