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Blazing Dog - The Race To Beat Chinese Democracy (Renan Guimarães) - Online Jul 2010

After a lot of hard work, and a long delay, Brazilian act BLAZING DOG released their debut album “Metallic Beast" in 2009. Bassist Renan Guimarães recently participated in an e-mail interview with "The Metal Observer".


Hi, Guys. This is Steve with "The Metal Observer". Thank you for taking some time to answer a few questions.


When I look at the band member profiles on your website and see the bands and artists that each of you cites as favorites and influences, it reads like a Who's Who of 1970s and 1980s Hard Rock and Heavy Metal – IRON MAIDEN, JUDAS PRIEST, MANOWAR, THE RAMONES, PINK FLOYD. Yet most of you were not even yet born by the time these bands had recorded most of their music. How is it that you were all drawn to them?

In all forms of art, masterpieces are timeless. For example: if you see a painting by Leonardo DaVinci today or fifty years from now, it will have similar impact on you. The same happens with those musical legends, the music they’ve created will not fade as time goes by and once you listen to it, you get caught by this magic they’ve created.



The influence of these bands, at least to me, is obvious on your album, “Metallic Beast.” Were you specifically trying to channel this sound?

We formed the band to play Heavy Metal, without giving in for any trends in the scene. We always loved the sound and vibe of the style and we just let what were in our hearts flow. For our luck, what we did had a nice appeal to the metal community, and that is great! We did not plan: let’s play this or sound like that. It was natural.


Yet the album is still very distinctive – it's not just another JUDAS PRIEST rip-off, for example. What other influences or interests did you bring into the project that helped you achieve a sound that is still uniquely yours?

The funny thing is that everyone in the band has mixed influences. Our drummer is a progressive freak, the vocalist is an ARCH ENEMY and CHILDREN OF BODOM fanatic and the list goes on. Our sound has a lot of Thrashy edge, because everybody loves what bands like PANTERA did. We wanted to make a record with old school influences and the heaviness that you can find on music nowadays.


The album was recorded in 2007, but not released until 2009. What took so long?

The studio we recorded the album was a complete mess. Marcos Pagani, the owner and recording engineer of Orbis Studio is a great professional but his agenda is crazy, he cannot handle so many bands recording with him. This fucked up our timing with the record because we thought it would take six months to release it, not two years. There was even an internal joke we did at the time: Which record will be released first, Chinese Democracy or Metallic Beast? Chinese Democracy won by three months! (laughs).


Is there any story behind the band's name?

Carlos Sousa, while watching a GRAVE DIGGER video at Wacken Festival had the idea for the band. In the beginning all he got was the concept of playing Heavy Metal and the name BLAZING DOG. The sound and the exotic fusion of these words were crucial for him to choose them. In his imagination, it would represent the power and vision he had in mind for a Heavy Metal band. At first, we thought it was a strange name but sometime after we felt it was a great choice for a Metal band.


Please tell me about your songwriting process. Is everyone involved, or does this responsibility fall to just one or two of the band members? Does just one of you take responsibility for writing the lyrics?

Gustavo Freitas has the ideas for the majority of the riffs. He shows them at rehearsals and we start to work on it, suggesting changes and new riffs for the sequel of the music. While we do this, Carlos Sousa experiments some vocal melodies. After the music is complete, we visualize a theme for the lyrics and start to write them. Sometimes, everybody takes part of the process, other times only part of the band. It all depends on the moment.


How did you all come together as a band? Carlos is fifteen years older than Gustavo, the next oldest member, so this doesn't appear to be an example of “We've all been friends since we were kids, and we just got together and formed a band.”

Carlos Sousa is an old figure in our local scene. I, while a teenager, watched a lot of shows he did with his old band, NARCOZE. I´ve never imagined playing with this guy, because he was already in a great local band. When he formed BLAZING DOG, Walisson Mota, our first guitarist, called me. I´ve played with him for some time in the band LETHAL WEAPON. Later, I talked to Gustavo Freitas who immediately joined us. After that, Gustavo found T.R. which invited Daniel Marks. BLAZING DOG was born thanks to several social connections in the scene.


Were any of you in other bands before BLAZING DOG?

Carlos Sousa came from NARCOZE, a Heavy/Prog Metal legend from Brasília, Renan Guimarães played with junkie bangers in the infamous Thrash Metal band LETHAL WEAPON. Gustavo Freitas was the leader of the great underground Power Metal band RISE and Daniel Marks and T.R. played together in a Power Metal group called LOST LEGACY. All these bands are now buried, BLAZING DOG killed them all! (laughs)


You seem to be gigging really hard in Brazil to promote the album. How are you being received in your home country in terms of records sales and fan reaction at your shows?

We´re playing like madmen at our home country! Our shows are always a spectacular event for us and for the audience, because we love to play live. The public enjoy very much the band, and our record sale, besides the MP3 advent, is going pretty well! We’re almost done with the first press of the "Metallic Beast" album.


How about abroad? Do you have ambitions to break out on a more global scale? How successful have you been so far at getting attention outside Brazil?

Metal is a worldwide scene. With Internet, things got a lot easier for any band to send their message to the world. We sent our CD to the most influential websites and magazines across the globe and got great reviews, with many people contacting us, asking for interviews and distribution of our CD. We hope to make a tour outside Brazil in the future, but first, we need to achieve a lot of things in our country. We must take one step at time.


Brazil has a reputation as a country with a strong Metal fan base. Describe the Metal scene there.

It’s a great and passionate scene. Several kids are in the Metal lifestyle and Brazilians are always in love with music, especially Metal.  There are a lot of good bands here and São Paulo has a huge scene, with an entire mall called “Galeria do Rock” dedicated to the style. Foreign bands also make a lot of concerts around. The scene has some problems, but it’s fantastic in general.


Yet aside from SEPULTURA and KRISIUN, many fans outside South America would have difficulty naming bands from Brazil. With the strength of the scene there, why do you think that this is so?

One of the problems of our scene is to not valorize local bands. Brazilian Metal bands first need to conquer the world, and only after that Brazil will look at them. This is changing, but will take a lot of time still. Also, there are not too many good places to play around and not enough money for bands to record an album or buy good instruments. I’ve seen some great groups disbanding because of these kinds of issues.


Who are some of the up-and-coming bands in Brazil that the rest of us should be listening to?

There are a lot of excellent bands up here! Only from our city, you will find MIASTHENIA, ISOLATE and MORTAES playing Black/Death Metal, VIOLATOR playing Thrash Metal and DYNAHEAD playing Prog/Thrash Metal. All of them are great bands! Also take a close listen to the power metal band HIBRIA, a grateful revelation from Brazil.


Let's talk a little bit about the album. Do each of you have a favorite track. Which one and why?

This is funny, because they tend to change from time to time. Last week, we talked about the best tracks on the record, and the names that came up were: Easy Rider, Battle Splendour, Supreme Wings and Dance of Skeptics. These are songs that go deep in our souls when we listen to them!


“Wasted Bullets” is a favorite of mine. The harmonica, the slow, arpeggiated acoustic picking, and the lyrics all call to my American mind images of the Old West, and in fact make me think of the Eric Clapton song “Knocking On Heaven's Door.” Yet recognizing that you are all from Brazil, I imagine that you had a different setting in mind. What imagery were you trying to conjure with this song?

The inspiration from the track came from the movie “From Dusk Till Dawn”. It’s not difficult to figure out the old American western feeling with all the movies we saw. This is our musical version of spaghetti western. We’ve created images and feelings that reminded the Old West, with a sense of desperation, tension, but above all, hope with this song.


The female vocals on that song are fantastic as well – giving the song a much more emotional impact. Who is she, and how did she come to be involved in the album?

She is an extremely talented singer called Ellen Oléria. We had the idea of putting her voice in the music to reinforce the mix of black and white that was the origin of Rock N´ Roll and his bastard son, Heavy Metal. 


What is next for BLAZING DOG?

A lot of gigs, write new songs, record a live DVD and release the second album with songs that we are writing at the moment. We know it will be a hard way, but we are ready for it. Metallic Beast is just the first step of a long Metal journey.


Any final words for our readers?

Keep supporting Metal and its marvelous lifestyle. Go to the shows, buy the CD’s, live the scene! Breathe and feel the underground.


Again, thank you very much for talking with me. Good luck with the album.

We appreciate your support, the TMO Website and the interest in the underground metal scene. May you guys keep spreading this music around the globe for many years to come.

Steve Herrmann

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