HellLight interview

  • Hi HellLight! Here we go with the serious conversation. When did you start writing/producing music – and what or who were your early passions and influences?

Hi there! I started quite early writing music, when I was 15 I was already in a death metal band writing some songs…however, I only started producing by the first HellLight album, in 2000. My passion were, and still are, get metal music and soundtracks together…I always liked movies soundtracks and classical pieces… merge it with metal, to me, is as closest to funeral Doom as it gets.

  • What do you personally consider to be the incisive moments in your artistic work and/or career?

There was some incisive moments, but a huge one was getting a record label contract. This showed me how wrong I was to think that no one would be interested in my kind of art… and specially, that true art has no limits or boundaries. I did not have to fit any major style of music and I was able to show the world my way of writing. It was a important step and everything worked great so far.

  • What are currently your main compositional- and production-challenges?

Probably not repeating myself… It can be weird, but it´s true… when you reach the 6th album, it gets hard not to have the same idea over and over. When I was talking to Christopher from Therion, he said the same happened to him. I think it´s important to keep listening to new stuff and be open minded when it comes to composing/producing… I don´t really mind to make similar albums, but they must have personality and it´s difficult.

  • What do you usually start with when working on a new piece?

I really need to get in the mood or nothing happens… so I need to be alone, I like to listen to some soundtracks, especially james horner… gets my guitar and everything works… It´s very important to get in the mood, music should not be easy and cheap, it´s supposed to elevate the spirit…not easy at all.

  • How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?

I always start with improvising, sometimes hours on it, just to get a good riff or some beautiful fingering. Then, when It´s ready, the composing starts… to develop a whole song around that riff, gathering the lyrics ideas is really the hard part of the whole experience.

  • How do you see the relationship between sound, space and composition?

To me it´s all parts of the same thing… I always need to be alone when I´m composing, which means, the surroundings really interfere. Music, at least serious ones, needs the right environment to be fully appreciated. That´s why Funeral Doom Metal is not a music for every moment, it´s not the radio kind of music.

  • Do you feel it important that an audience is able to deduct the processes and ideas behind a work purely on the basis of the music? If so, how do you make them transparent?

To me, it´s absolutely important…I became an artist just to be able to make people feel and share with me all the feelings, thoughts, emotions I had when I was writing that piece of music. This is one of the reasons I love live gigs, It´s when we have the energy exchange with the audience…when you actually see that people are in the same page as you are. There´s nothing like it…it´s a experience I think every artist should have.

  • In how much, do you feel, are creative decisions shaped by cultural differences – and in how much, vice versa, is the perception of sound influenced by cultural differences?

Nowadays I think it´s important…It can help shaping your art, whether you like or not… but I think that importance is definitely not 100%. The most part of your art comes from the inside and not the outside. Which means, I can make Funeral Doom even living in Brazil, the one country that´s supposed to be happy and sunny, it doesn´t matter to me…It probably sounds different from a Swedish, or American funeral doom metal band, but in the end, it´s all funeral doom…

  • The relationship between music and other forms of art – painting, video art and cinema most importantly – has become increasingly important. How do you see this relationship yourself and in how far, do you feel, does music relate to other senses than hearing alone?

I think they have a very important relationship…All kinds of art are related, some more than others but, they all have a connection… It really depends on what kind of people you are to identify yourself to a certain kind of art. To me, music has the power to reach your soul, surfacing all kinds of emotions… by that, it can relate all other senses together. It´s not unusual to listen to a music and remember someone, some moment in your life, some place or even the taste of something your grandma used to make to you..lol. When the art comes from the heart, it carries a lot of emotions.
I usually write about life with no support from any religion to overcome the difficulties and the big issues … this is a serious, heavy and sad subject … the emotions that the songs carry are heavy … like a dark day of winter … this is already a neat association with the art of photography, cinema or painting.

  • There seem to be two fundamental tendencies in music today: On the one hand, a move towards complete virtualisation, where tracks and albums are merely released as digital files. And, on the other, an even closer union between music, artwork, packaging and physical presentation. Where do you stand between these poles?

I understand that artists must have to adapt those kind of presentation… to me, it´s awesome to have the physical album, with the booklet, pictures and the whole thing, maybe it´s nostalgia, but I still like it. However, it doesn´t seems to affect the youngsters, they seems to be fine only with the picture of it on the cell phone… I can tell you that we still sell a lot of cds on live shows, but I can see it´s not lasting too long….probably in a near future, we will only release digital music…who knows… as long as we keep making music, the kind of media it works, doesn´t matters that much to me.

  • What changes would you like to see to the music industry to allow you to make a living from your music?

Probably a bigger support on live shows…that´s because it´s where things happens… t-shirts, cds and all kind of stuff are sold, If the physical cd industry are dying, maybe they should help their artists, that´s because digital music doesn´t make the same kind of money cds and lps used to make…But I don’t see a movement toward this by the labels..

  • The role of an artist is always subject to change. What’s your view on the (e.g. political/social/creative) tasks of artists today and how do you try to meet these goals in your work?

I chose to not write about those kinds of subject in my career, amongst other reasons, in my country things are way too agitated right now…politics are crazy and people are more than never dealing with it… I know politics, social problems had a huge part on the music art…I do have a political position, but I do not let it influence HellLight´s art.

  • Music-sharing sites and -blogs as well as a flood of releases in general are presenting both listeners and artists with challenging questions. What’s your view on the value of music today? In what way does the abundance of music change our perception of it?

It´s a really hard and controversial issue…When I first started, recording was very expensive, which was a bad thing, in the other hand, most music we got to listen was quality music, because only a few (and big) bands could afford to record….when recording became digital and cheap, suddenly every group have a record online…what is a good thing, but in the other hand, we got to hear a lot of awful songs…It´s really controversial, because, what´s awful to me is good to someone else…I know, it´s art…

  • How, would you say, could non-mainstream forms of music reach wider audiences?

Even when you make non-mainstream music, you (normally) want to reach a wider audience, I think internet can help a lot now, but it´s not all, I know it sounds old school, but I believe a band should play live and make an effort to make good live gigs, it´s still very important for divulgation…Specially in non-mainstream music.

  • Usually, it is considered that it is the job of the artist to win over an audience. But listening is also an active, rather than just a passive process. How do you see the role of the listener in the musical communication process?

Incredibly huge…I always say that the Doom Metal scene are made not only by the bands, but the listeners, the webzines, the venue owners, the guy that sells the t-shirts, the record labels and everybody else involved. The bands are just one part of it, and when everybody works together, you can have a huge scene. So the listeners have a huge role on it, and they must be very careful when they release a good or bad opinion about a band… they usually don´t know the importance they have.

  • Reaching audiences usually involves reaching out to the press and possibly working with a PR company. What’s your perspective on the promo system? In which way do music journalism and PR companies change the way music is perceived by the public?

We had two experiences with PR…but we felt like they were having a hard time with the promo stuff…that´s because PR companies usually works with mainstream music, In the end of the day, they could not help us too much…we are looking for a new one, probably more into our kind of music… I understand that it´s very important, they are the gateway to the public and their work must be very good, otherwise, you will sell your art in a different direction, and there´s nothing worse for an artist.

  • Please recommend two artists to our readers which you feel deserve their attention.

I´ll recommend two Doom metal related artists… there´s this artist that made our last 2 albums cover arts, his name is Rodrigo Bueno and he is really talented… he´s also in a Doom metal band called Lacrima Mortis.

Also, there´s an American band named Chalice of suffering that´s really good…you should check it out. I and the lead singer of this band are making a new doom metal project, but this is a matter for another day…lol!

  • Thank you for your time!

Thank you! I really appreciate it…it was a great opportunity to explain my point of view! Hope to see you soon! Doom on!