Interview with Terror Empire done by Patrick
1.Hello please introduce yourself to the readers? And how are things in Portugal these days?
Hi, my name is Rui Alexandre, and I’m the guitarist for Terror Empire. I’m also a designer and the founder of Mosher Clothing, a brand metalheads should get to know! Portugal is a wonderful country with a rich History. However, we f-ed up good time and eventually reality took its toll on our economy. As PIGS (Portugal, Italy, Greece and Spain), we’re slaves to debt and to bank. If you think about money has an effect on people’s happiness, things aren’t looking so bright. People are fighting to see who gets the biggest crumble - nobody’s thinking about the whole cake, anymore.
2.When did you first start listening to metal music and who were the first bands you listened to?
I started listening to metal back in the early nineties, influenced by an older cousin who had access to all the cool records by Metallica, Megadeth and Sepultura. Sepultura was definitely the trigger that got me into this lifestyle. As soon as I heard “Inner Self”, I was hooked for life.
3.Terror Empire formed in 2009 when did you first get the idea to start this band?And how did you all choose Terror Empire as the name of the band?
The core of the band used to play together for a few years, but we eventually stopped, which sucks. Kids, don’t stop playing in your early 20’s. There is no better period in life to be rocking. We picked up the name “Terror Empire” by the depth of it’s meaning, instead of using yet another generic word ending in “-ion”, we actually gave it a thought. If you think of the media and the governments around the globe (eastern and western), we’re subjects to a permanent state of fear and terror. Is the threat real? I don’t know, but there’s this whole terror empire among us. After we started the band, I started paying attention for its use in the news, and I’ve seen it being used in articles, so that’s that for validation, I guess.
4.What is the current line up of the band?And who would you say are Terror Empire's biggest influences?
Apart from me and Nuno Oliveira on guitars, Rui Puga handles bass duties, João Dourado plays the drums and Ricardo Martins is the band’s throat. Our influences range from old-school thrash to 90’s death metal, but we’re not afraid to experiment with groove. We don’t do melodic stuff, much; we try to go as corrosive as possible.
5.Obscurity Rising is the bands second full length release which was released through Mosher Rec.How did the band come in contact with this label?
Well… I run Mosher Records. The label started after our second full-length and it’d seem a waste of resources (aka “stupid”) not to make the most out of it. The whole band agreed to it, and there have been zero conflict of interests, so far. We’re all rowing to the same side.
6.How long did it take the band to write the music for this release?Does the whole band work on writing the music or does one member write everything?
It’s random, the writing process. We either come up with a killer riff on the rehearsal place (Burn the Flags, for example), or we write new stuff on purpose. Inspiration means transpiration, you know? If you put your mind into the the riff-craft, something cool should come up. Then, there’s the old songs we had never used, but still fit like a glove, like Death Wish or Lust. Since our previous guitar player left the band in between albums, I had to write it all, mostly with the help of the amazing drummer this band has. A great riff without great percussion is wasted music.
7.Who usually handles writing the lyrics for the band and what are some topics you all wrote about on Obscurity Rising ?
There isn’t a specific rule for who writes lyrics, but Ricardo is the main author. I also help out here and there. His topics revolve mostly around society’s problems of current times, like wars and corruption. It seems like a cliché, but it’s how you express your disscontempt that makes or breaks the message, you know? I think we pull it off rather nicely.
8.Besides the new release are their any copies of the debut release still available?What about other merchandise if yes what is available and where can the readers buy it?
“Face the Terror” (EP, 2009) is sold out, and there’s just a few copies left of “The Empire Strikes Black”. We always have plenty of merch available, just send us a message on facebook/twitter or email us. Check out our website www.terrorempire.net.
9.Does Terror Empire play live very often if yes what have been some of the bands most memorable shows?
We’re lucky enough to be invited to play shows very often, and we promote our own gigs if needed. I’m the type of guy who thinks the glass is half-empty, so I remember the worse gigs the most - not many, though! We played at one of the biggest metal fests in Portugal, this summer, and we had a blast. I remember playing the Moita Metal Fest shows and they’re always so good, we feel like home every time we go there. I remember the third time we went to Spain, and we were reluctant to go there (the first couple of shows sucked), but it was completely awesome. I hope Grovios Fest makes a comeback.
10.Are their any shows or tours coming up in support of Obscurity Rising if yes where will the band be playing?And who are some bands you will be playing with?
We’ll be playing as much as we can, because we only make records to have an excuse to play live. We’ve played with thrash bands, black metal bands, death metal bands, hardcore, punk… we’ll play with anyone and try to make new friends every time. Please visit our website for tour dates!
11.When not working on new music or band business what do you like to do in your free time?
I live for Mosher Clothing. Everything else feels like a a timeout from my true passion and I always feel like I’m wasting time when I’m doing something else. I play the occasional FIFA, but that’s it.
12.Terror Empire comes out of Portugal's thrash metal scene what is your opinion of the metal scene in Portugal?
Portugal has great bands, and it surprises me when people are surprised by this. We have plenty of venues and shows, and the country if small enough to play a gig and return home in less than 24 hours driving, but big and diverse enough to play to different crowds throughout the year. Our festivals are also quite nice. SWR Barroselas has got to be one of the coolest festivals in the world, period. We also have the oldest metal festival in the Iberian peninsula, that’s always cool. In terms of media, there’s plenty of weblogs and we have two different metal magazines, which is great. Luckily, we have promoters who are crazy enough to keep bringing great bands here (we’re the doors to Europe, when flying from the West).
13.Who are your all-time favorite Portugese bands?And are their any new bands you feel the readers should check out soon?
I’ll probably forget about someone and that isn’t fair. I wish Pitch Black would make a triumphant return, they’re no-nonsense oldschool thrash. Switchtense (thrash/groove) are portuguese underground icons, and I have much respect for them. As for new bands, or rather unknown bands, everybody should check out Analepsy (slam) and Destroyers of All, who are on Mosher Records. Search for these on Spotify/YouTube and keep checking the related artists, it’s easier!
14.Besides playing in Terror Empire do any of the members currently play in any other bands?If yes please tell the readers a little about them?
Only Nuno Oliveira has another band, which is Tales for the Unspoken. I can’t label their style, but it’s definitely metal, check them out.
15.Thank you for taking the time to fill this interview out do you have any final comments for the readers?
Metal is a way of life. It can help you throughout your best and your worst moments, and you can always rely on it (and I can’t say that about most people), so help out your local scene. Go to shows and share stuff on social media. Reach and engagement are like a modern day currency, use it with those who need it the most!