Pure fucking heavy metal from Portugal! Ravensire is something what will conquer your mind!
Hi! Tell me about Ravensire. Why did you decide to name the band with such title? What kind of ideas do you explore?
Ravens are a very cool, intelligent and enigmatic animal. They’re also a very central part of local mythologies and folklore and they’re even the symbol of our sity Lisbon. So, we came up the idea of creating this character Ravensire, the lord of Ravens. We even wrote a couple of songs about him on our first two releases: “Ravensire” on “Iron Will” mini-CD and “Warriors to the Slaughter” on our first album “We March Forward”. Since we wanted to have an obscure, mythological / historical approach to our lyrics, this was the perfect fitting name for the band.
“The Cycle Never Ends” album was released early this year. How does that make you feel? Do you feel you have put album into masses without any wished to change something now?
We’re very proud of how “The Cycle Never Ends” came out. We feel it’s a worthy addition to our discography and all the songs are exactly how we wanted them to be. In truth, we only send our songs to the label when we feel that everything is to our liking! Since we don’t have any kind of deadlines or whatever, that allows us to properly finish the recording process.
Tell me more about “The Cycle Never Ends”? Album ideas etc…
We crafted this album much like the others. The songs were initially created by me (Nuno) or Zé Rockhard, and then we brought the ideas to the rehearsing room where everyone else worked the arrangements. This methodology has worked very well for us, so far, but since the release of the album Zé Rockhard left the band and was replaced by Mário. Now let’s see how we all work together! As for the lyrics, they were all written by Rick except for Crosshaven, which I wrote. We normally take our ideas from books we read, or history facts we stumble upon.
First release was made by Cruz del Sur Music, and last month album was re-released on Cassette format by Caverna Abismal Records! Thus we have: CD, Vinyl and Cassette, does it means you are completely old-school guys?
We are old-school guys, because we’re all well into our 40s, except for F who’s only 38 or something like that ahahah! Regarding the various editions, CD and vinyl are the “normal” formats which the labels like to work on, so Cruz del Sur Music took care of those. As for tape, it was actually a joint release by Caverna Abismal and Sinais Produções. They approached us after the release of “We March Forward” to release the album on tape and we accepted. We really hadn’t thought about releasing a tape, but since they’re good friends of ours, we said ok. Then, with “The Cycle Never Ends” it was a bit the same.
And what can you say, what is the most selling format – Digital, CD, LP, Tape? What do you think about digital sales at all, do not you think they are killing music itself?
In terms of numbers it’s the CD, by far. The interesting part of the LP’s and tapes is that they sell very fast! But the number of copies pressed is very small when compared to the CD’s. As for digital sales, I don’t think we sell that many of those, but I haven’t counted it yet. Also, I don’t think digital sales are killing music. Actually, the more digital sales we make, the more money we have to record further releases or travel to another places to play! What’s killing music is the proliferation of tribute and cover bands. Bands that exist solely to play other people’s music and that don’t bring nothing new to the scene. But the worse part of this is that this happens because people prefer to pay to see a cover band than an original band. Normally, such people come up with the argument that bands nowadays are not as good as the classic old bands but that’s bullshit. Before I’m a member of Ravensire, I’m a fan of Heavy Metal since the 80s and there are bands nowadays as good as any in the past! People only need to stop being deaf.
Where do you take all inspiration from? What are your main musical influences? How huge is their influence in your sound?
Musically speaking, I take inspiration from the old classics (Iron Maiden, Manowar, Omen, Running Wild, Holy Terror, etc), the 90s unspoken heroes (Slough Feg, Solstice, Twisted Tower Dire, Skullview, Solitude Aeturnus, etc) and the contemporary grinders (Terminus, Wrathblade, Ram, Midnight Priest, Sacral Rage, etc). As you can see, we don’t get stuck in a given era. A song like “Death’s Crown is Victory” by Solstice or “Triton the Trumpeteer”, by Wrathblade or “Hiberno Latin Invasion” by Slough Feg can have as big an impact on my songwriting as a classic like “Murders In the Rue Morgue”, or “Blood of my Enemies”.
In your opinion, what is the best way to define Ravensire’s epic sound?
Raw and passionate! We don’t strive for musical excellence, we merely want to share our dark souls and feelings any way we can!
So, are you on hiatus now, just relaxed and looking for album feedbacks, or did you started to compose new stuff immediately?
Actually, we’ve been far from relaxed! Shortly after the album came out, Zé Rockhard left the band so we had to look for a replacement. Thankfully we found Mário straight away and we spent the next two months rehearsing with him. Afterwards we started playing some gigs and that’s where we are now. In the meantime, I’ve also been creating new songs with already some help from Mário, which will be worked by the band starting in the next few months.
Is there some well-known musician in particular that you would like to use in one of your upcoming albums?
We did that on the first album “We March Forward”. We asked Mike Scalzi from Slough Feg to do some guest vocals on the song “Gates of Ilion”. I’m not sure if we’ll do it again or not… We want Ravensire to be known for itself, not the band where known musicians come and do guest appearances! When we started doing live shows, we didn’t yet have enough of our songs, so we used to play a couple of covers. When I started noticing that people were asking if we’d play them, was the moment I decided to stop playing them. We’re Ravensire, not an Omen cover band, or something.
What is your personal strategy for making your music heard by a larger audience?
There is no defined strategy. We’re not a professional band and we don’t want to be one. We simply record our songs, give the album to our label (presently Cruz del Sur Music) and let the music flow. We’ve had several reviews all over the world, quite a few interviews, too. But we mostly rely on word of mouth to spread our wings and be known a bit everywhere. Live shows also help in that regard.
Do you have any other hobby beside music?
Yes, for sure! I really enjoy travelling and, curiously, spent last week visiting Krakow. Also some sports are excellent to free your mind. But all in all, I’d say music fills more than 80% of my free time.
What does your pseudonyms means?
Actually, the pseudonyms don’t have that much meaning apart from being nicknames or internet usernames we’ve used for quite some time. In fact, we’ve been dropping them and right now only use our first names or abbreviations: Nuno, F (abbreviation of Francisco), Rick (abbreviation of Ricardo) and Mário.
Are you all supported by your relatives towards your devotion to music?
By now everyone’s more than used to our “madness”. Apart from our parents that in the 80s used to nag us about the long hair or something like that, we’ve grown to be independent people, so whoever enters our lives already know what they’re in for! hahaha
How’s the metal scene in Portugal right now? Is it easy to play gigs, to buy records etc there these days?
The Portuguese Metal scene is enjoying some good times, right now, although a far cry from the more actives scenes out there (Greece, Germany, etc). Still, gigs of local bands can bring up to 100-150 people which, compared to 10 years ago, is an excellent number. There are still record shops in the main cities of Portugal (Lisbon, Porto), but in all honesty it must be very difficult to keep the business alive with all the competition from the internet.
Thank you for answering my questions, see ya on the road!
Thank you Lukasz for your interest in Ravensire and for helping us promote our name! If anyone’s interested, please drop by www.facebook.com/Ravensire or http://ravensire.bandcamp.com and listen to our songs!