Album of the Month

The debut full-length from Greek band Automaton is weighty, sludgy, coffin-lid-slamming Doom perfection.
(Read more)

Speaking to the bassist of Capilla Ardiente and Procession, Claudio Botarro, Comrade Aleks took the opportunity to get the latest news on both bands.

Interview with Capilla Ardiente.
"Bass guitarist Claudio "Botarrex" Botarro Neira is one of most experienced musicians of the South American doom scene. Since the early '90s, he's played in Death Doom group Poema Arcanvs, and later in 2006 he was the one of those who laid the foundations of both Capilla Ardiente and Procession. These two bands perform Epic Doom metal, each in their own way, though Procession seems to be the more prolific, with two full-length albums in its discography, against the one of Capilla Ardiente. Both bands have been silent for a period, and today Claudio uncovers their latest plans and prospects."

Today's interviewee: bassist with Capilla Ardiente and Procession, Claudio Bottaro.

Hi Claudio! How are you? What is your main current musical project now?

Hi Aleksey! I'm fine, just coping with the 30º+ degrees we have in spring here in Chile. And Summer haven't even started. Nowadays I'm both composing Capilla Ardiente´s 2nd LP and making the basslines and arrangements for Procession's 3rd LP.

As both Capilla Ardiente and Procession work on their new full-length records, what is your progress with these bands? How much do you need to do to finally finish these albums?

Yes, both bands are working on their upcoming LP´s; On Capilla Ardiente´s side, as almost all of the band - except for Felipe - is living here in Santiago (Chile), we rehearse almost every weekend, unless the guys have gigs or compromises with their other bands (Francisco with Attacker Bloody Axe and Hell's Veins, Julio with Atomic Aggressor and Igor with Poema Arcanvs). We have 3 songs done already (something like 35 minutes of music) that we need to polish, besides composing the final track. We have no release date yet, so we are not in a hurry, though we would like to record it sometime on the first semester of 2017.

Regarding Procession it's quite similar, both the opposite, as the guys are in Europe and I am here. The songs from the new LP are almost fully written and I have been learning the riffs and structures they have sent me via internet. Now I'm on the arrangements part and will be ready to join them and rehearse couple weeks before we hit the studio together, to finish the final details, just like we did on "To Reap Heavens Apart".

Capilla Ardiente: Julio Borquez (Lead Guitar), Igor Leiva (Rhythm Guitar), Felipe Plaza Kutzbach (Vocals), Claudio and Francisco Aguirre (Drums).

Do you mean that the new Capilla Ardiente album will have just four songs? I believe that it should be epic! How do you determine the band's "epicness"? What are it's elements?

Considering that an average Capilla Ardiente song is 10 to 14 minutes long, I guess 4 songs (and maybe some passages or interludes) will be more than enough for an Epic Heavy/Doom Metal LP. I consider myself more than a musician - which I am not - a story teller, and the stories I choose to tell on the band´s songs can´t be told in less time, cutting landscapes, words and atmospheres. I tend to think about what we do comparing it with other artistic expressions, like cinema or literature; if a movie have to be 3 hours long, or if a book have to have 1000 pages to fully tell the tale, so it´s the way it must be. It´s its nature and totally justified. (Of course, we don´t "plan" to make long songs just for the sake of it; quoting writer Ernesto Sábato: "I don´t mind the extense, but I hate the extended")

Capilla Ardiente - 'Into Unknown Lands':

The second album of Procession "To Reap Heavens Apart" was released three years ago, what's new will your listeners find on the third full-length? Did you plan to add some changes in band's firm sound?

New songs and lyrics, of course (ha!) I don't think Procession is the kind of band that changes that much with time, you know? We are old enough to know what the band is and what is not; maybe the approach on this album could be a little more "Heavy" in my opinion, but that heaviness will be - of course - the same kind of heaviness we have had on both our 2 prior LPs.

As you're the only other Chilean member of Procession, and you've already heard parts of the new album... So what do you think? Do you feel any differences, as if Felipe is more influenced by another culture than he was in Chile?

I think it would be a journey through classic Doom, Epic and Heavy Metal from the 80´s to the mid 90´s. A lot of heavy riffing and upbeat parts (more aggressive, to my ears) but with the classic Procession vibe, of course! Personally speaking, I don´t feel that Felipe is more influenced "by another culture" more than when he was when living here in Chile; you see, we were listening to a lot of Metal bands from abroad and also from South America (specially from Chile) way before he moved to Sweden, so the "foreign influence" already existed. Now, what I can assure is that nowadays, being in Europe, he has a wider chance to get more material, go to concerts, buy records at fair prices, find unknown jewels on second hand stores and thus, expand his knowledge and understanding of metal, which of course can be translated to new chords, scales, harmonies, etc. He is constantly perfecting his craft.

Procession is well-known in Europe because of frequent tours and appearances at big festivals, how does the band manage to do all of these? What would your advice be to other bands from your region? Though I know that, for example, your Peruvian neighbors Reino Ermitano play in Europe from time to time too…

Well, when I'm not around, Felipe take the bass guitar and the rhythm guitar is played by Anastasis (Dead Congregation). Other than that, I have travelled once a year since he moved upthere to ensure playing the most gigs we can with the full lineup (this year was the exception, though). My advice from fellow South Americans would be rehearse a lot, record great music, be brave and trust your guts, play without thinking on the benefits you can have from touring but feel every show with your guts, make good contacts, learn from the mistakes, repeat and improve, every tour. About Reino, yes, they have played there, but also a lot from others comrades from Chile like Atomic Aggressor, Slaughtbbath, Unausprechlichen Kulten, etc.

On the road, Hamburg 2014.

And what are your principles for surviving in tours?

Don´t know if these can be considered principles or advice, but they have worked for me (I´m not dead, in jail or kicked out of the band): spend some time with promoters, bands and fans. Don´t drink, smoke or sniff everything you are offered. Try hard to be a decent guest on the place you will party/stay. Eat actual food, not just 1 Eur McDonald´s or Snickers. Try to sleep the most. If you can take a shower, DO IT. Make an "on the road" playlist that can keep the van driver awake while driving. Always keep your passport and cash on a safe place. Don´t bring your girlfriend/boyfriend or wife/husband on the road. If you can read or do some sports while touring... Wow! I will be fucking amazed!

Procession - 'To Reap Heavens Apart':

Speaking about participation in big gigs - is it an option for either Capilla Ardiente and/or Procession to play in the USA and Southern America? Or is Europe the best place for such shows?

We have had gigs in Chile with both Capilla Ardiente and Procession, but, curiously we haven´t been elsewhere in our own continent… Might be that Doom Metal is not a style enjoyed so much by our wild and extreme fellow South Americans compared to European bangers? It might be but I don't know really. Personally, I would love to do a South American / Canadian / Australian / New Zealand tour with both bands.

You haven't even played in Peru?! I believe that they have some scene... as well as Brazil.

Yes they have! Bands like Goat Semen, Anal Vomit, Cobra and legends Mortem have worldwide recognition (the last 2 ones have already played in Europe). All of them from Lima, I guess. About Brazil, well, what else can you say about the country that gave us Vulcano, Sarcofago, Dorsal Atlantica and Sepultura? For me they were the biggest South American scene on the mid 80´s/early 90´s followed by Chile, Colombia and Perú.

You and Felipe play in both bands: how does your collaboration differ in each of them? Can you say that Procession has more of Felipe and Capilla Ardiente is more your - or the other guys' - creature?

Kind of. I wrote all of the music for Capilla Ardiente and Felipe most of the music for Procession (Jonas is also composing). The correct approach would be that Felipe is the bones of Procession and I am the bones of Capilla Ardiente, and the rest of the guys are the blood, muscles and skin. We just bring an structure which means nothing without the guys giving life, character and individuality.

Procession: Claudio, Felipe, Jonas Pedersen (Guitar) and Uno Bruniusson (Drums).

How does your contribution to Procession differ from the one you put into Capilla Ardiente? How do you see the conceptual difference between the bands?

In Procession, the music is already done when I first listen to them, as I don't have the chance to rehearse with the guys because of the distance, but also, the way Procession´s music is composed gives me a lot of "free room" to do some bass "talking" (you know, pretending I am some kind of Geezer wannabe, ha!). I have space to add some melodic landscapes with the bass behind the heavy crushing guitar riffs. On the other hand, with Capilla Ardiente, I tend to compose more like a guitar player. Straightforward Heavy/Doom riffing. Those riffs are then assimilated, adapted and harmonized by the guys, so the backbone is like having 3 guitars more than 2 and a bass. Also, the songs are way longer - as I told you - which gives me the opportunity to make some solos here and there (yeah, and here's where I turn into a Lemmy wannabe...).

The lyrics of both bands deal with question of distrust of organized forms of religion: when did you start to doubt the Christian creed? What jostled you away from it?

Personally, since I was a teenager on the late 80´s, when Chile was under Pinochet´s dictatorship and the church had (still does! Fuck!) the power to manipulate masses imposing their super conservative and hypocrite dogmas. Man, in 1992 Iron Maiden couldn't play Chile because the church said officially "they were satanic and a bad influence to our youth", so, they pushed the politicians of the new "democracy" (arrived on 1990) to forbid the show or wait for the consequences… At the same time, my dad bought me some books by Herman Hesse (Demian, Narcise and Golmund, The Steppenwolf) and something changed inside me. I started to doubt about almost everything I grew up in, questioning if what I believed was really my thought or an inherited ball and chain. So yes, between my 14s and 19s I understood the spiritual burden I didn't wanted to carry anymore and started my own syncretic search.

I am still learning and trying to understand.

Is the church still influential in Chile? How did the last decade change peoples lives in your country?

Sadly it still is. All of the bastards on the head on the church are deaf to the claim of their own sheep and they do what they will, imposing their vision: supposedly don´t fuck (if you don´t count children of course, but that´s a whole other chapter) yet, they forbid and manifest their opposition towards sexual education or advertisements of birth control. Here in Chile it´s easier to find a Sealed-Yellow-Goat-Bathory-first-edition than find a condom advertise on public TV. Now about the protection network they have on the pedophilia cases, which have been taken to court many times by adults that were raped as kids, there was only 1 bastard sent to jail... All of the rest are transfered to other regions or countries to "meditate in isolation", but still in contact with their sheep, and their kids. Where everything starts all over again. Fucking disgusting! Ah! In Chile we have the saying that if you think you are really "from a good family" (your classical, aspirational right wing one) you must have in your family a businessman, a military and a priest.

Procession live in Tallinn.

What would you point to as your biggest achievement, as a musician, during the years of your career? Maybe some particular song or maybe a whole album?

Mmmm… It might sound cliché, but I feel that my "biggest musical achievement" has not happened yet. About the songs I have wrote that I always listen because there are something special on them for me, it would be "Coagula" from the Capilla Ardiente´s EP and "Into unknown lands" from the LP. When on my first tour in Stockholm Messiah Marcolin asked if we wanted him to sing a Candlemass cover with us and he joined us onstage was mindblowing also. The recording of "To Reap Heavens Apart" with Procession was one of the most beautiful moments of my life too, locked with the guys in a house on the north of Sweden, playing all day and having this unique communication and bond which we tried to translate to music. I guess my greatest personal rewards have been travelling to places I never even dreamt of, playing amazing gigs with favorite bands I never thought I would even see play live, like Candlemass, Solstice, Sorcerer, Brocas Helm, Pentagram and many, many more. And last but not least, the great people I have known abroad and that have become my friends. I have been a lucky person.

Procession - Live in 2014:

Did you play with Candlemass in Chile or in Europe? How and when was it?

Tricky question. The first time I played with them here in Chile, on the first gig they did here 10 years ago, with the classical Leif, Messiah, Lars, Mappe, Jan lineup. I was playing bass with my former band Poema Arcanvs and it was a fan-made gig. We were just friends with a lot of passion and absolutely no experience. A decade later, now in Procession, I played with them on Roadburn (The Netherlands) and then on Hellfest (France); though we talked backstage, I can´t say that was a proper "we play with" in the terms of a gig, as it was in Chile.

Claudio, all of your bands (well, probably besides Atomic Noise Machine and Garbage Breed) have a stable recognition from those who follow this small but dedicated scene. What do you feel, considering this fact? How do you value your input into the doom cult?

Uhm. I don't really know. You see, I'm a working class person that have to work with people not even related to metal on any of its forms, so I am just another regular guy at my job. I have to pay bills and like to go out for beers and a good laugh, or hang out with friends just drinking beer and listening to records, so, even when I know there´s people that really care about the bands on which I play, I don't consider myself a "special" person. Now, if my work on any of the bands I played/play have touched someone on a spiritual or intellectual level, that's great and I am happy about it, yet, I know it was the music or lyrics I have done, not the actual "me".

I don´t bother wasting energy on pretending that I´m a big shot. No sir. That is poser shit. I am just another headbanger that have a band.

You finally left Poema Arcanvs in about 2012, after nearly 15 years of playing there, how did that happen? Was it because you're now occupied with Capilla Ardiente and Procession?

Long story short: After the keyboard player gained power and started composing many of the songs on the last album I played, called "Telluric Manifesto", the musical approach the band took went more and more towards the keyboard, weird effects and complex progressive stuff, more than on the headbanging heavy riffing I like to listen and play, so, on 2006 (not 2012) I said "I´m out of this". I played with the boys for 11 years, since 1995.

By the time I went out of Poema Arcanvs, the concept of Capilla Ardiente already existed on my mind and Felipe´s, as we decided to form a "Heavy and Doomy" band together around 2005 or early 2006, while our tour bus was crossing the Chilean desert and we were drinking cheap rum. He was a roadie for the band back then and he was around 18/19 years old.

Capilla Ardiente live in Stockholm.

Do you already have plans for gigs in 2017?

The only one we have already confirmed is on January 21, 2017 with Procession here in Santiago, together with Grim Reaper, Exumer, Onslaught and Witchtrap… But of course we want to play the most as soon as our album go out. Hopefully with a full tour.

Thanks for the conversation, Claudio! I wish you all the best with finishing the Capilla Ardiente and Procession albums, and I hope that you'll have enough energy for other sides of your life too! How would you like to close the interview?

Thank you Aleksey for your time and dedicated interview! We are hoping to hit the Metal scene with 2 Iron Fists of Doom on 2017 and we want to play as much as possible the new material. On the meantime, grab some stone cold beers and listen to MOTÖRHEAD at maximum volume!!! Live to Win!!!

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

Visit the Procession bandpage.

Visit the Capilla Ardiente bandpage.

Interviewed on 2016-11-29 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
Advertise your band, label or distro on doom-metal.com