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On the eve of their European tour, HellLight founder Fabio took some time out to talk to Comrade Aleks about the band's hstory of 20 years and more of Brazilian Funeral Doom.

Interview with HellLight.
"I wouldn't say that the South American heavy scene is isolated, but due to the Atlantic Ocean, local bands very rarely have an opportunity to play in Europe. As it's doom-metal.com and we're here because of Doom Metal, it's obvious that the best place to perform this sort of heavy music is still in the Old World. Brazilians HellLight have spent January preparating for their forthcoming European tour, so isn't it a good occasion to talk to band founder Fabio de Paula? Fabio has performed guitars, keyboards and vocals in HellLight since 1996, and at the start it even seemed to be almost a solo project (today he's the only original member of the band), but each time he starts to write a new album there are other band members at his side. So fans of Funeral/Death Doom metal beware as HellLight comes your way!"

Talking to Comrade Aleks today, band founder Fabio de Paula.

Hello Fabio! How are you? What's new in HellLight?

Hi there, we have a lot a new things coming. European tour, new album, video shooting…it´s gonna be a busy year.

The band's story started more than 20 years ago: how did it happen? What made you create the band?

I was a 18 years old teenager and I was the lead guitarist of a death metal band, but I always had in mind that what I really would like to play was a much slower and melodic kind of metal, I didn´t even knew doom metal bands at the time, but I knew it was my kind of music. I was very influenced by classic music and movie soundtracks, It was just mix it with my metal influences, like Danzig or Black Sabbath and doom metal was in my life.

Do you mean that you worked out HellLight's sound on your own, without strict doom influences?

Yes, maybe that´s why HellLight doesn´t sounds like other doom metal bands…I know it sounds unusual, but it´s very true.

HellLight: current line-up: Alexandre Vida (Bass), Fabio de Paula (Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards), Renan Bianchi (Drums).

There was a seven year long break between HellLight's demo 'Fear No Evil' (1998) and the debut full-length 'In Memory Of The Old Spirits'. What did you do over these years? What prevented you from releasing the album earlier?

I was looking for musicians with the same musical taste…it wasn´t easy, but I found a couple of guys. Next step was find the band´s sound..it really took a while, but, fortunately it worked.

How long did you spend composing 'In Memory Of The Old Spirits'? What were your main reference points when you wrote these compositions? For example, was it one of main features from the start to use keyboards, especially piano?

When we "found" our sound, it was fast to compose, we came up with the songs in a few weeks, however, we would not use keyboards, but when we were recording, we get to meet our first keyboard player, and he started right away. The record mixing quality is quite poor, but most people get the quality of the compositions.

HellLight - 'Distant Light That Fades' (Official):

What was people's reaction to the album? Did local media support it, and how did you promote HellLight when you had the first album at hand?

We didn´t have any help from the local medias at the time…not at all. Doom metal was (and still is) a rare kind of music down here.. Most producers, managers, venue owners have never heard of it, so it wasn't easy in the beginning. We had to struggle a lot to got our place in the sun. But, fortunately, we always had very good reactions with metal public. We are used to performing with thrash, death, black metal bands, and we are always very welcomed by the crowd.

The first album was never officially released, but we are planning to re-record it, and release it properly.

How do you plan to do it? Do you want to play all the songs once again in the studio with a new line-up? Or do you only plan to re-work the original record in the studio?

The idea is to record it all over, with the new line up…the result will be much better. I believe we´ll make it next year.

Discography part 1: 'Fear No Evil' (Demo, Self-released 1998), 'In Memory Of The Old Spirits' (Self-released 2005), 'Funeral Doom' (Ancient Dreams 2008), '…And Then, The Light Of Consciousness Became Hell…' (Solitude Productions 2010).

You titled the next album just 'Funeral Doom', do you see this description as better one for your music? How do you see the funeral elements in this material?

It was an attempt to make people understand what it was about. We slowed down the beats on the next albums, but it´s a name that describes well what´s on that record.

There are three tracks taken from the debut full-length, why did you decide to record them anew?

Initially it was meant to be a double album, containing the first and the second album, so we started to record both new and old songs. But the record label went back with this decision, so, as we had not released the first album, it felt right to put three songs on it.

'Funeral Doom' is "dedicated to the immortal spirits of Fátima de Paula Carrijo, Luiza Correia Silva and Alcides Elias". May I ask you to tell more about them?

Yeah, Fatima is my mother and Luiza and Alcides are the grandparents of our first drummer. All of them died in the same year and they were responsible for encouraging us to move forward with the dream of developing a band with such a unique style, in a country that gives no help whatsoever.

The third album with a long title '...And Then, the Light of Consciousness Became Hell...' was released on Russian label Solitude Productions. How did they find you? Were you satisfied with such a collaboration?

I found them online, made contact and they were really super cool with us. They helped a lot, and still helps. Our contract is long, with many albums to come. We really appreciate their professionalism

Discography part 2: 'The Light That Brought Darkness' (EP, Self-released 2011), 'No God Above, No Devil Below' (Solitude Productions 2013), 'Journey Through Endless Storms' (Solitude Productions 2015), 'XX Years of Doom 1996 - 2016' (Compilation, Self-released 2016).

The band's name, the album's title... what do you find so attractive in hell? Do you mean the Christian version of hell or does it personify something special for you?

Hell is a very ancient word, much older than Christianity, it always meant darkness…HellLight means the "light that comes from hell" or "the light that comes from darkness", by light, we mean knowledge, science, true emotions and human feelings that are not guided by the hands any sort of god, religion or believers. For the sake of being extremely against religions, and especially the Christian religion, we wanted to name the band HellLight.

But if you deny Christianity why do you choose the opposite concept from the same system (hell)? Why not create a more "atheistic" vision?

I thought it would make people understand it better, like "Rotting Christ" or many black metal bands.

You recorded the album as a duet with Alexandre Vida? How did it happen that there was no-one left from the original lineup besides you?

Yes, that´s true, there´s none of the original members with me anymore. However, Alexandre Vida (bass) is in the band for a long time now, about 13 years. We record that album alone, it was a difficult time and we couldn´t find other musicians to join the band. Nowadays we have a drummer, so we are 3 now.

I see that you recorded the albums in Hell Inc. Studio, is that your home studio? What kind of equipment do you have there? How often do you update it?

Yep, it´s my home studio, I work with Line6 amps and interfaces, KrK monitors and headphones, Akai midi keyboards and a couple of condenser mics. We´re using it since the last album, that we got the best recording and mixing results.

You recorded the next full-length 'No God Above, No Devil Below' soon after covers album 'The Light That Brought Darkness'. And once again it's almost 80 minutes long: how do you manage to compose such massive records? Do you find this format more suitable to express HellLight's mournful essence?

Actually It feels natural for me, I know it´s not common, but yeah, I always want to put as much as we can on the record…but, to be fair, I think it´s about to change it now. The next record will have 60 minutes of music, with 6 songs.. a little bit shorter then usual (for us)

Your latest full-length, 'Journey Through Endless Storm', was released in 2015. How do you see the band's evolution comparing it with 'In Memory Of The Old Spirits'? How far did you go?

I really believe we´ve evolved, not in the composition way, but in recording ways. I understand we have the same essence as the beginning, but we got way more professional on the job. But I think we still have a long way to go.

In the year 2016 HellLight celebrated its 20th anniversary. How did you mark this date?

We made a show, it was very, very nice..we got it sold out. It was truly amazing, it was in our home town, São Paulo. We are used to make one show a year in São Paulo, but this one was really cool. We´ll never forget it

What kind of songs did you include on the 'XX Years Of Doom 1996 – 2016' compilation? Did you put any exclusive material in, or did you just gather the best of your tracks?

Not exactly the best, but the ones that best represent each album. It was a difficult decision to choose what songs to include, but it turns out pretty good. Thousands of downloads were made.

HellLight - 'Funeral Doom':

How do you see band's highlights for its long history? Do you feel that HellLight got proper recognition for these years?

Well, it´s hard to tell, I believe we are doing fine, we have many many fans around the world, and I must say that the doom fans are the best.. they are very passionate and truly understand the feelings and emotions we try to put in our songs

The band is finishing the new album: what can you tell us about this material?

It´s going to be an special album, we are working hard on the vocals and drums. Renan Bianchi, our new drummer also sings very well, so he is making beautiful backing vocals. Also I´m back on the keyboards (on studio), and some fans had told me that when I record keyboards, the songs sounds heavier…let´s see...

The main theme of the album is Time, the way it passes thru us, the way we feel it and let it slip through our fingers.

HellLight should be touring Europe in 2018 - what can you say about your approximate schedule? And how do you organize everything nowadays?

The tour will start on april 26 in Portugal, we´ll make 4 gigs there, one of those in Barroselas fest, wich should be a big one. We´ll make a total of 18 shows in 5 countries…Portugal, Spain, France, Germany and Belgium. We now have a staff to make it for us, booking the shows, the tour arrangements. It´s gonna be awesome.

Do you know what kind of bands you'll play with? Will you take part in some festivals or will it be only your gigs?

We´ll play in SWR Barroselas Metalfest, it´s a big festival and probably with about 50 bands...but, it´s the only gig on festival (so far). Unfortunately, I don´t know which bands we´ll play with.. only Andralls, cause they´re making the tour with us...

What's HellLight current lineup? Who will play on the band's European shows?

Our Current Line up is me, on guitars and vocals, Alexandre Vida on Bass and Renan Bianchi on drums and backing vocals. This is the line up on the tour, we do not have a keyboardist anymore, so we playback the keyboards when playing live. It easier than hiring a keyboardist, and this way, we got it exactly as you hear on the album…the live performances are much richer now…we´ll be playing some new tunes, but unfortunately, there´s no way the record is released by the time...it may come out in July. Hope you enjoy it!

Okay, Fabio, then I wish you all the best on your journey to Europe! I hope that all of your gigs there will be fantastic! Do you have any words to add?

Thank you very much for this opportunity, it´s not easy to manage a Funeral Doom metal band, but we do our best, and I think it´s working fine…hope to meet a lot of our fans in the tour, stay tuned, there´s a lot to come! Doom on!

Click HERE to discuss this interview on the doom-metal forum.

Visit the HellLight bandpage.

Interviewed on 2018-02-04 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
Aesthetic Death
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