Interview with Raphael Olmos and Isabela Moraes of Kamala
By Victor Augusto
Hi everyone, it’s Rick,
Our man in Brazil, Victor, recently got the chance to interview Brazilian Thrash Metallers Kamala! It’s about time that some of these hardworking and very professional bands got a chance to shine outside of their homeland, and in Kamala’s case, Mainland Europe is starting to take notice. I shall now hand you over to Victor and would like to thank, not only him, but Raphael and Isabela for this interview
Keeping a Heavy Metal band alive demands a lot of work and struggle, especially in countries where this genre is not a popular one, and this work in very honorable. Against all the odds, Brazilian Thrash Metal band Kamala, after 17 years on road, has been growing fast in the last few years, especially in Europe. Their singer/guitarist Raphael Olmos, along with drummer Isabela Moraes, explain how they conquered it and the next step for their upcoming album.
Victor: Please. Introduce yourself and tell us when you started to play your instruments and what made you want to create Kamala.
Isabela: Hi, I am Isabela Moraes, drummer for almost 14 years. I have loved this instrument since childhood, because I have a cousin that plays drums too, but I started to learn properly at 15 years old, when my older sister gave me my first drumsticks.
Raphael: Hey, I am Raphael Olmos, guitarist, vocalist and founding member of Kamala.
I started to play when I was 13 years old, after watch the VHS “…a year and a half” by Metallica, I knew that I wanted to be a professional musician when I was 15/16 years old.
And I created Kamala when I was 18 years old…to make the music and the band that I wanted to listen to as a metalhead.
Victor: Since the early days, Kamala showed a different concept, when playing Thrash Metal. The Oriental visuals and sounds have been present in your music since that time. Why did you create this concept for the band?
Raphael: Kamala was born in 2003, and when I created, I wanted to make a band that mixed the heaviness and the energy of metal, with beautiful oriental visuals and melodies…and positive lyrics.
The world is already too negative, and as an artist, when we release a song or an album, we have the responsibility for each person that is connected with the band… I am not talking about religion but, for me, the oriental culture influence is more about the energy stuff, and it is really something that I admire.
Victor: In 2012, Kamala released the third, and the bands last album, with two guitar players in the line-up, “The Seven Deadly Chakras”, and since “Mantra” album (2015); you are in a trio formation. What has been the biggest change in Kamala’s sonority?
Raphael: The biggest change for me, is the way we turned more thrash metal, and more organic. The string tuning turned from drop B to drop D, and the riffs was more ‘IN YOUR FACE! As a trio, we wanted to create something that we can play live, so we need to be better musicians and explore within ourselves the most intricate (that is possible to us) playing, whilst maintaining a strong presence on stage.
Victor: It is rare to find underground bands really fighting to be professional or that want to have a life on road. It demands that the members give up their regular jobs, and live far from family and friends, and you have been on this path since 2014, when the line-up changed to a power trio. How hard was it to find people like Allan Malavasi and Isabela Moraes that had the same desire to make Kamala a famous band?
Raphael: We still have side jobs, but the main point is the band, because the band is getting bigger and bigger, and we need to make more international tours, for example, to spend more time on the road…and a band like us, needs to have all the members with the same objective, to make that happen. Many people wish to live by playing music, but they don’t live for the music, you know. Playing well, is the minimum thing to have as a professional band, but there are many others points to look out for when you share your time and energy with other musicians.
Victor: Kamala has been touring a lot in Europe since the “Mantra” album. Nowadays, you often have more concerts scheduled in Europe than in Brazil. How did the band conquer this space in Europe?
Isabela: I think this happens because we have frequent release of new material, so this creates some expectations to watch the band in action and this opens some doors to showcase our work. We always try to be the most professional that we can in all stages of our jobs within the band. For example, on every tour, we make a specific set-list presentation for every single gig, all the things that we need to speak and songs that we will play in a 40 min, 60 min or 90 min set. We try to be always prepared for any situation on stage…
Victor: From all the countries you play in Europe, France is the one that has showed a true passion for the band. I remember in 2018, when you released your last studio album “Eyes of Creation”, some journalists, who were working at Hellfest, said that they lost the count of how many people they saw wearing Kamala t-shirts in the crowd. Do you know why Kamala became so huge in France?
Raphael: Yeahhh, this is fucking amazing! No, we never expected to be so big in France, and on our first European tour, in 2013, the crowd was a little “cold”…but we returned in 2015 and, since then, we fell in love with France and the French people with our art! Every European tour, we play in France, and in 2016 we made a full French tour…playing every type of gig that you can imagine, and the energy is always AWESOME!
Victor: Recently, some endorsements have appeared and you, Raphael, have become part of the Solar guitars (Sweden) and Evertune (USA) family. How did it happen, and do you think the fact that the band has been playing a lot outside of Brazil helped with the endorsement deals?
Raphael: For sure, being in a Brazilian band, that is constantly touring outside Brazil, helped to open the “eyes and ears” of both brands.
So, besides really good visual stuff, a band with a lot of shows per year and good social media numbers is important and all those points I think were important to brands that I dreamed of and loved. It turns out that these are the brands that trust and believe in my art and work. It is something that I’m really proud of it!
Victor: Kamala has recently released its first live album called “Live in France”. You recorded this during the last Kamala’s show of the sixth European tour, in October of last year and released it in December, just 2 months after the show. How did you decide on that and how was the process to record it?
Isabela: Actually, we didn’t know that we would be recorded, we just knew that the owner of the venue planned to make a live broadcast of our concert on Facebook.
And we were really tight because it was our last gig on this tour. We played and when we were done, he told us that he had recorded our performance in multitrack…It was a big surprise for all of us when we listened. The sound was amazing and in that same moment, we decided to use this material!
Victor: The band has already started the process of recording the new album. What could we expect from the music on this album and when will you release it?
Isabela: The new album is done and ready. Now, with this pandemic situation, we are waiting for a better moment to release, but the album is really beautiful, and the songs are powerful, with intense lyrics, heavy riffs and too much groove. We loved the result and we are extremely excited to show it to all of you.
Victor: I have to say, it is so impressive how Kamala have become so huge in Brazil and in Europe without any label support. Everything you do is independent. Pure work! Do you feel that now is the right time to have one big label help you reach the next level, for example playing European festivals?
Raphael: Yes…a loooooooot of work! And for sure, we feel that we are ready for this next level, to sign with a good international label, play in summer European festivals and make full tours supporting bigger bands. We have lived all the tests through these years, and we know that with a label, the KAMALA name will become bigger and bigger, because a label searches for a band that can be on the road many days/months per year, to promote the releases, and we work a lot for this too!
Victor: Thanks a lot, and please use this space to leave a message.
Isabela: Thanks, one more time, for all the support and opportunity. It is always a pleasure to be part of this. Thanks to all the fans around the world, who have followed us all these years. Stay at home, be safe and healthy. Soon we will be together to bang our heads!!
Raphael Olmos – Vocals and Guitar
Allan Malavasi – Vocals and bass
Isabela Moraes – Drums
Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Victor Augusto and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.