About Me

Interview with Gaerea

Gaerea is causing quite a stir and the new release “Limbo” is, simply, phenomenal... but don't be fooled, because everything that the band has achieved comes from a lot of hard work... who said that hard work doesn't pay of?! Now signed by Season of Mist, the band returns stronger and more intense than ever! Here follows a long and interesting conversation with the founding member.

M.I. - First of all, thank you for your availability and for the excellent music you have created. The new album is phenomenal! Gaerea is the new sensation of the Portuguese metal and is one of the bands of the moment. How does it make you feel?

I don't consider ourselves a sensation, let alone a product that works in 2020 but that will be out of date in the near future. As much as it is difficult to read or hear, I am speaking the crudest truth about the engaging work this band represents for the present and the future. We worked hard to get here. And our Portuguese followers who have known us since the beginning know what I'm talking about. There were no shortcuts, no easy access to the levels we were reaching and this is what makes me most proud of.

M.I. - With so many bands nowadays, what is so special about Gaerea to cause such a stir? Was the national underground in need of a band like this?

Without wanting to discourage the work of many of our colleagues, I believe that the consistency, persistence and constant learning of what is happening around us, in the true meanings of these three words, are what will be able to put us on a different level from other bands in Portugal. I cannot be too modest and deny that we deserve everything we have been able to achieve. Again, we work hard, we sacrifice a lot for this. And we're just getting started. There is a lot to do. I don't know if the underground needed a band like us. However, the Portuguese underground needs people with a focus. And if we can be an example of that, so be it.

M.I. - How did the word Gaerea come up? What is its origin and meaning?

Gaerea meant and means only one thing: what we feel when we touch these themes as a unit. It cannot be explained because I believe it is an unparalleled experience in my life, but it has a name: Gaerea.

M.I. - Gaerea was the idea of a single member who, over time, had to find the right musicians to join him... as the identities are hidden, has the band undergone lineup changes? How is the chemistry between the elements of the band?

Nowadays I can certainly say that I have with me the best lineup that this project has ever seen. I have never been accompanied by people so serious and determined in a common goal to what all this represents for all of us. And yes, of course, Gaerea has already undergone several changes. All of them, were always for the best and for the evolution of the band.

M.I. - What is the main characteristic to be a member of Gaerea?

If you are able to abandon everything in your life to embrace this concept and, if you do not suffer from a deficit of attention and acceptance of your ego, that is a good start.

M.I. - Nowadays the existence of bands with hidden identity is no longer a novelty and the image is fundamental. The emphasis must be on music, hence the hidden identity... do you think this decision added more mysticism to Gaerea? Why did you choose not to reveal yours?

We all live masked and hidden from reality in one way or another. I could never reach your true self without stumbling upon a series of social masks that you have at your disposal with the sole purpose of protecting who you really are. We all wear masks in our day-to-day lives. The only person capable of "touching" your deepest thoughts is you. We are in no way different from the elements of the audience that watches us. We just have the courage to accept our condition, embrace it and evolve from there.

M.I. - To what extent have technology and social networks helped Gaerea to achieve the status they currently hold?

Our presence in the digital world is one of the keys to most of our achievements, because we know how to use it for the benefit of our physical evolution, never deteriorating what really matters: the live presence, the music and the concept. If you look closely, we are a band that has something new to advertise or talk about daily on our networks. It has been like this for some time now and it will remain. All this forces me to program everything that goes on in this band in detail, in the smallest detail. From all visual aesthetics, publications, interviews, managing the online store, communicating daily with the publisher, management, etc. The status we have will always be seen by outsiders and will be debatable forever. For me, we are a band aware of its strengths and weaknesses and that knows how to deal with both on a very balanced scale.

M.I. - Since the band is the idea of a single member, how does it work in terms of decisions... is it a democratic process or does the founder always have the last word?

There are decisions that are made together and there are decisions that are made by myself. Not because I was the founding member, but because I deal with almost everything that goes on in this band. Oddly enough, all of this leads to a very healthy and democratic spirit within the band. People trust me, my ideas, my decisions and, when there is something to debate, we debate with all the necessary transparency in a band that has to deal with the various pressures necessary for an emerging project.

M.I. - What can you tell us about “Limbo”? Why "Limbo"?

The vast and so abstract Limbo between reality and fiction. Death and the desire to die. Life as the raw material for something superior. Agony and liberation. The mere reflection of what we really felt at that very moment. "Nothing will be like before" Maybe that's what I have learned from this album, which, for all intents and purposes, has been written for over a year, but continues to surprise me and I still learn a lot from it and its meaning. It is the lyrical representation of the whole spontaneous concept of this album, which is also exposed within the most interesting Booklet we have.

M.I. - The band usually deals with themes such as despair, self-destruction... why the interest in these themes?

Are these not the main themes and points that make us human and living beings in a world that only exists to test us by seeing us being born, learning, reaching and then dying to make way for another new being? This despairs me and, consequently, destroys me. Live and suffer.

M.I. - Despair is visible in the facial expression of the character in the cover art. Who is responsible for it?

Eliran Kantor, someone I have always respected and an artist with whom I always wanted to work for a GAEREA art. Finally, the opportunity to achieve this has arrived, the LIMBO cover is one of the most agonizing arts I have ever witnessed. It is an honor to be able to have the Eliran brand in my work.

M.I. - Who is the author of the lyrics? Do you use English to reach a larger audience or because you feel more comfortable expressing yourself in that language?

The lyrics are co-written by me and the person who interprets them. It doesn't make any sense for me to take all the lyrical burdens of the record when I am not going to be the one to represent and interpret his writing, no matter how much the concept is entirely idealized by me. In this aspect, we are a team that works and acts for what really matters: the message that Vazio wants to transmit to the listener, to the public. We use English simply because it is a beautiful language, a language that everyone understands and the language that represents the vortex society. Who knows if the Portuguese language could be used in Gaerea one day... Maybe.

M.I. - On July 20th, the album was streamed live... how did the public react? Many people online listening and interacting with the band?

We had to do it. This was not our plan, but circumstances that go beyond us forced us to make this decision, which I liked. It was 53 minutes very well spent online with those who witnessed the premiere and wanted to participate in the live chat. It is too early to know if people are enjoying and understanding this album, however I know that we are writing and tracing a very unique path and that it is increasingly unified with the affection and support that we have received from our fanbase.

M.I. - 2020 is being a terrible year for all of us... what do Gaerea expect of "Limbo"? Did you consider delaying its release because of the current situation?

No. But I know that we were one of the few bands in SOM that did not suffer major delays in the release of the album, and for that, I thank our publisher for having appreciated us so much and believing in this album at that level. Fortunately, we were able to prove that this effort was not in vain. It has been a release full of good things for all parties involved.

M.I. - The reviews of “Limbo” have been phenomenal. How do you feel when you read reviews that value your work? Do less constructive reviews affect you?

I haven't had time to read them all yet, but most of the ones I've had time to read are good and above all, they go far beyond musical aesthetics. I like it when people invest some of their time in art, understanding it, and not just commenting and judging the whole painting by the simple color of the painting. Reading negative reviews is also good, if they are constructive and never tinted with hate or the classic “I don't like it”. However, it is in good negative reviews of your work that you find part of the key elements for progress.

M.I. - The second album is usually a kind of test for most bands... did you feel pressure to overcome the first album?

From the moment I realized that LIMBO would always be an organic evolution in my writing and in the development of the entire band, I stopped feeling any pressure to try to overcome “Unsettling Whispers”. UW is inserted at a specific time in this project and belongs to that timeline. LIMBO is no better or worse than the first record. It is an evolution. And that in itself is already overcoming an old era for something new, fresh. If not even in high competition sports can teams be classified as better or worse, how could art be? There are moments of ascension, moments when everything seems bright and untouchable and then there are episodes where the fall seems endless.

M.I. - The official video for “Conspiranoia” was filmed in Porto and shows some of its ex-libris. This theme brings together the words "Conspiracy" and "Paranoia"... what is it related to? The obsession with the amount of conspiracy theories that exist? Do you think society is obsessed with that?

Trapped, lost and socially distant in a world that is supposed to be ours, yet everything seems empty, rotten and useless. An eternal Conspiracy against the tireless individualist, an eternal Paranoia developed, fostered and aware of the destruction of its creator.

M.I. - Of the new tracks, in your opinion, which is the most striking and strong?

I could never take sides or simply choose a favorite one They are all important in the design of this disc. However, themes such as TO AIN and MARE cover a large part of what LIMBO represents in its essence.

M.I. - Your Ep “Gaerea” was released by Everlasting Spew Records, “Unsettling whispers” by Transcending Obscurity Records and “Limbo” by Season of Mist. What are the main differences between these three labels?

The differences are quite obvious, however I know that we have worked with 3 of the best labels these days. We saw Everlasting Spew Records grow with the release of our EP (we were the publisher's first release in 2016) and become a world reference point for a style that, although not really ours, determines much of the freshness that you hear inside today's Death Metal and Doom Metal. Transcending Obscurity Records brought us new release formats, an excellent promotion on the web and broadened our horizons. However, we finally feel at home with Season of Mist. All this relationship that we have created with these people has been incredible, creative, intense and already full of good times to remember. We are managing to do and put into practice all our ideas and always with the full support of our new “home”.

M.I. - Season of Mist has a good status and there are a lot of extraordinary bands in their catalogue... how did you react when you signed with them? How did the opportunity come up?

With a lot of work. The truth is that we live for this. Throughout this last year on the road we all realized that our life only makes sense around this concept. We work hard daily for everything we can achieve. We were never the band that a label, promoter or magazine fell in love with. We had to scratch to get all the little things we achieved and nothing makes me prouder than knowing that everything we have is the result of many tears, kilometers, several sleepless nights full of crises of existentialism and all the sacrifice we had to bear, be it mental, physical and family. We knew that SOM could already be “watching” us when we announced the European tour with Numenorean, a band also signed with SOM, and for us it was quite natural to approach them when we had the album practically ready. Everything proceeded naturally from there.

M.I. - You had two listening sessions for the album, one at the Bunker Store in Porto and the other at Glamorama Rockshop in Lisbon. Do these sessions usually influence sales? Why do them?

They are an excellent way to be able to earn directly from the physical sales of records and vinyl and the best possible way to be able to have direct input with the people who follow us. And, above all, they are the only way we can be together with these people in these difficult times. If none of this had happened, we would be presenting the album at a Festival in Slovakia. Times and circumstances have changed, love and dedication will remain forever. These were two very special afternoons, with music, merchandise, people, good conversations and a constitution of memories that will remain forever in our history.

M.I. - Gaerea are the cover image for Spotify's “Black and Dark Metal” list. How is the selection made? Random or by quality?

For Quality only. I'm not boasting at all, but if the release is good and with a good pitch, it will reach the playlists that we managed to reach on the most varied digital platforms. These are careful choices made by the competent people in charge of these Playlists on Spotify.

M.I. - The “Wandering Limbo Across Europa” tour starts in October… what are your expectations? Bearing in mind that covid is expected to still be here... have you considered the possibility of having to postpone it?

I hope we can do all these dates. We have already lost enough with all this and everything indicates that, in one way or another, all these concerts will happen. Anyway, if we have to postpone them, we will. We are just being confident and optimistic. The world could be a little more optimistic. Perhaps things would not be as they are today.

M.I. - With the pandemic, bands have to rethink promotion alternatives... do you think that interviews, radio programs and listening sessions work as well as a means of promotion as concerts?

That's what we have! And, fortunately, we have done a lot of written interviews, on radio programs, on podcasts, etc. It has been the only way to get more direct contact with people and it has been good to do all this, no matter tiring it may be. However, there is nothing like the energy and organicity of a live concert. Nothing, in my opinion, could ever replace that. I miss it.

M.I. - On October 9th, the band will present “Limbo” for the first time in Portugal and will be accompanied by Oak. Why did you choose them? Do you consider it important to have companionship and friendship between bands from the same country?

Oak are our sister band. Formed by Gaerea's driving force, Oak has been a regular roommate, on the road, and with good memories. However, they are not the only band that will be with us in these concerts presenting the new album. A new, excellent and gigantic confirmation of another project is underway in the coming days. People are going to love this.

M.I. - In an interview to Sábado magazine, you said that the Portuguese public is not exactly easy to please. Why?

Because we are Portuguese and no Portuguese band has direct access to the heart of the Portuguese people just because they are of the same nationality. Nothing works like that for our people. For good and for bad. We had to “scratch” a lot in other countries until we had some kind of genuine acceptance in our country. I'm not complaining at all. Perhaps it was this need that made us stronger, more resilient and, today, a band that has finally achieved some respect or consideration for the people of this Portugal that also belongs to us and that we love deeply.

M.I. – Gaerea’s style is something that you don't really worry about, however there is an inclination towards Black Metal. When did your first contact with heavier music take place? Which is the album that most impressed you?

For me personally everything happened in 2011 when I joined my first band that was a Black Metal band. Everything changed dramatically for me at that time. Musical tastes, influences, compositions, the way of being and the way of absorbing music. "The Wild Hunt" will undoubtedly be the album that defines my being in recent times. However, the album that showed me a whole new pallet with new conceptual essences and that launched me into an interior discovery until today was undoubtedly “A Year with no Summer”.

M.I. - After having played in Asia to present the first album, where do you intend to go with “Limbo”?

We want to return to Asia, this time on a much larger scale. We want to go back to doing at least two tours a year in Europe. We want to go to South America and, finally, play in the United States. All the people who constantly support us in these countries deserve our effort and dedication to get there and present something overwhelming.

M.I. - How did a band still on the rise face the fact of going to China to perform and have the pleasure of playing with Sigh? Did you expect this type of recognition so soon, mainly because you are a band from a country that does not have as much BM tradition as Scandinavian countries?

I confess that none of us knew about Sigh until we contacted them directly at the festival we played together. They’re very good people and I remember much of their Soundcheck being a pure joke with the couple's daughters running to all the instruments on stage. A family atmosphere that many dream of but cannot have! And no, we were not expecting to do a Headlining Tour in China with only 3 years of existence. It was something that changed us as people, as musicians. There is no greater influence for Limbo than the whole devastating, aggressive and enriching experience we had in China. What majestic people they are, what an incredible world it is!

M.I. - Your masks are an allusion to the masks that society uses daily to be able to avenge in this cruel world. What irritates you the most in our society?

The fact that we are so madly in love with it. And that makes us hate it more and more. Love/Hate. Eternal.

M.I. - Is there anything else you want to say to your fans and Metal Imperium’s readers?

LIMBO is officially out here. In a world where chaos, bitterness and hatred reign, let music be a cure and never an excuse.

For Portuguese version, click here

Interview by Sónia Fonseca