X: When can we expect Revolutions Pt. 1 to be released? Is there a particular theme to this album? How was it working with Roy Z?
IG: Revolution Pt. I is in its final stages of mastering and should be completed sometime in March. We’re planning on sending it to some distribution contacts, maybe a couple of labels, and then gauge the situation from there. If we decide to do an independent release it will probably be early May.
The theme for this album, as the title suggests, is Revolution. It can be viewed as a revolution of the mind, an awakening of consciousness, a societal revolution, or even a personal revolution. It’s the first of a two part double EP and this “Pt. I” focuses on the realization of the need to begin a revolution and the decision to become the change.
Working with Roy Z was awesome! He’s one of the coolest, most humble guys we’ve ever met and he’s got the ear that you need to make killer records! It was such an honor to be working with the man who has been the producer AND engineer for the 2 biggest voices in heavy metal, Bruce Dickinson and Rob Halford! So needless to say, Carlos’ voice sounds fucking incredible on the record. And since he’s also been the guitarist for Bruce and Rob’s solo projects, he made sure to make the shred sound flawless… he might have even made a guest appearance on the record with a solo in one of our favorite tracks. (wink)
X: Are you considering making a music video for any of the tracks on the new album? Who would you like to work with that you feel could carry out IG’s vision?
IG: Yes! We plan on making at least 3 music videos for this EP, one narrative, one LIVE compilation, and one with footage from our Fun Fun Fun Fest Shred Sled weekend. We will most likely be working with a group of close friends that we have done video production with in the past. Our manager, Brett, also works in video production and will be bringing in a good friend, Andrew Gonzales, whose title is “Video Marketing Solutions Warrior” for the company Digestible Media. So we’re confident that we should be pushing out some amazing, action-packed, high-quality video content with this record.
X: Record labels must be courting IG, why haven’t you signed yet?
IG: We were in small talks with Prosthetic a few years back but nothing developed. Since then we’ve gone through some lineup changes and the band has become a whole new kind of beast, so we’ve been fine tuning the new package and getting ready for a big debut with the new “Revolution Pt. I”. We already have some contacts with a few distributors and labels so we will wait and see what happens once the record is complete.
X: What are your plans for touring in the near future? Will you stay in the states or go international?
IG: We plan on getting out to some of the Dallas and Houston markets as well as the surrounding states before the summer, but no plans for U.S. touring until possibly end of year. We will however be going back to Brazil in July for a short tour to coincide with all the international traffic for the World Cup. We are also beginning to explore ideas of getting to Europe and Japan late this year or next.
X: What will be your involvement with SXSW this year? Will you be busting out the Shred Sled?
IG: We really wish we could bust out the Shred Sled this year, but will not due to a couple of reasons. One being our guitarist Jyro Alejo’s recently injured leg which leaves him incapable of running away from the cops, and two being a rumor of a zero tolerance sound ordinance that could lead to arrests of anyone performing illegally without a proper sound permit. Last year we didn’t mind risking a $500 ticket to bring the metal to the masses, but with our plans of international travel, we just can’t risk the complications of an arrest history when trying to travel abroad. But the Shred Sled will return!
Photo by: Sandra DahDah
X to Carlos: Who are you vocal influences? What do you bring that’s your own?
Carlos Zema: I really like a bunch of singers with different styles, and I have stuck with the traditional singers throughout a certain period of time, until recently. Maybe 5 years ago I started to listen to different new singers every day that really surprised me with their creativity and performance. I think traditional names such as Michael Kiske, Dio, Bruce Dickinson, Rob Halford, André Matos (Angra), Ed Motta, Hansi Kürsch (Blind Guardian), Djavan, Biff Byford (Saxon), Homero Henry (Mandatory Suicide), were always my main influences, but then also the generation after them, such as Todd LaTorre, Jorn Lande, Russel Allen, Mike Vescera, even Billie Joe Armstrong and others, were very influential in my singing style. But I also am a big fan of aggressive vocals, such as Max Cavalera, Randy Blythe (Lamb of God), Marcello Pompeu (Korzus), Bill Steer (Carcass) and many others. I have always tried to incorporate all these styles of singing and make my own reading from what I have always listened to. I think I have brought a little of super clean and super dirty vocals together in my own way. I really have fun with that, especially with Immortal Guardian now, where they are very open to so many different styles. We are going to surprise you guys with the unexpected.
Photo by: Down The Rabbit Hole Photography
X to Carlos: Tell us how you came to be the frontman of IG?
Carlos Zema: I had a band in Brazil for several years called Heaven’s Guardian, and I have recorded Demo-Tapes to a live DVD with them. After a chain of massacring events and very hard times in Brazil and a sequence of disappointments with several bands here in the USA, to be sincere with you, after all this discouragement I had practically given up on actually forming a band again. I cut my hair and everything. And I was thinking about just recording my own stuff for fun and forgetting about dealing with a band. That was exactly when Mr. Brett Rivera, IG’s manager, hit me up on Facebook to invite me for the try-outs. Once I listened to the name of the band and the sound of their music, I completely changed my mind and I thought…well, these guys are really the band I was thinking about forming and they are called Immortal Guardian, which is pretty odd. They released their first EP on the day of my birthday, and there was a sequence of a bunch of “coincidences” that really got me to ask myself, is this fate? So, I was very excited about being selected after competing with a few singers for the spot in the band.
X to Carlos: You are from Brazil, a country put on the map of metal by the great Sepultura. What enticed you to come to America?
Carlos Zema: That was certainly a very hard decision, but considering the times I was living in Brazil and after being very active in the Brazilian scene for 15 years, I got a little discouraged to keep going. I lost both of my parents in a period of one year and also lost a few of my best friends. Brazil at that time, did not make much sense for me. Heaven’s Guardian and Vougan, my previous bands at that time, were very much stuck with a lot of family compromises, regular jobs, and other things. Because of those and dozens of other reasons, I made the decision to move my career somewhere else and try different things for the first time in my music career. In 2007, I received an invitation from Bobby Williamson of Outworld at that time. The band was based in Houston and that was the dream team of Metal For me then. The perfect fit for me was a singer at that time and all I wanted to do. That went very well until the members decided to follow separate paths. I joined a bunch of projects after that until I got to meet these guys! I am very happy to finally be in the best band I have ever worked with and also a participant of the most creative and fun group of people.
Music in my life has turned from black and white to color in the blink of an eye with Immortal Guardian. I am very happy in general. Music is certainly all I have done in my life very intensely since I was 14 years old, and now it seems like it makes sense. The United States has received me with open arms in any possible way, and I have formed the strongest friendships and received the best support that I could ever ask for. l am very lucky to be here and be a part of the American metal scene. Even being so hard and competitive, I still see how this can be very addicting! I love Austin, Texas like my hometown now and I don’t see myself going anywhere else, if this does not change.
Photo by: Clark Terrell Photography
X to Gabriel: You are obviously highly technical as a musician. How did you learn to play music?
Gabriel Guardian: I was all self taught. Growing up in a family of very talented musicians helped alot. I originally started on drums because I wanted to play like my dad and brother, but one day when I was 10 years old I picked up a guitar and never let go. I fell in love! Then about 4 years later I decided to pick up the keyboard and take it to a whole nutha level.
X to Gabriel: Tell us about your sponsorship with Fender. Any hints on what they have planned for you this year?
Gabriel Guardian: My sponsorship with Fender is a blessing! You know they say the music industry can sometimes be about being at the right place at the right time? Well, that is exactly how I got Fender. I had the privilege to be in the same room as our Fender rep, Jeff, and showed him my video of guitar/keyboard playing on an iPad. He loved what he saw and that is how our relationship started. Been proudly playing Fender guitars since I was a kid so it’s quite an honor to be sponsored by them at age 22. They planned something pretty special for us this year but I can’t tell you… it’s a surprise! Come out to our shows this year and you’ll see what I’m talking about.
X to Gabriel: The YouTube video of you covering Cemetary Gates on keyboard/guitar has had over 100,000 likes. How do you think this happened and has this exposure opened any new doors for IG?
Gabriel Guardian: Cemetery gates is my favorite Pantera song, so it was easy to pick the tribute I wanted to make for Dimebag. I thought it would just reach all my friends and family and my YouTube fanbase. But after it got in the hands of alot of huge metal blogs and was shared on Pantera and Dimebag’s facebook pages, all of them shared it and it blew up so fast. I was so, so, so happy. You have no idea. I got much love and respect for that video from people all over the world. The video sure did open up alot of doors and opportunities for me and got me mega, super, awesome exposure for my band Immortal Guardian.
X to Jyro: You’re a fucking badass on guitar too, as evident by your sponsorship with Jackson Guitars. How is that going?
Jyro Alejo: It’s going great. I’m very honored to be on board with Jackson Guitars. It’s something I always dreamed of since I was a boy when my first Jackson was picked up! I’m looking forward to working with Jackson and representing the strongest instruments in the world!
X to Jyro: How did you end up in Austin?
Jyro Alejo: Zema and manager, Brett Rivera have been living in Austin since before we discovered this line up. There are so many good opportunities and connections that have come that have came out of the Austin music scene and that’s what made us all migrate over here one by one.
Immortal Guardian recently announced the addition of their new bass player, Thad Stevens, formerly of Ethereal Architect. Check out the wild hair! He and drummer, Cody Gilliland are both native Texans, along with Gabriel Guardian. The extreme talent and youth of Immortal Guardian make them the band to watch in the Red River district. Their professional level,” in-your-face” marketing make them impossible to miss.
Photo by Adam Kissick for NPR Adam David Kissick © 2013
Love, Madame X