THE WAR INSIDE MY HEAD: AN INTERVIEW WITH KAATAYRA
To the uninitiated, the "The War Inside My Head" interview series was meant as a way for me to provide a glimpse into the minds of some of my favorite current musicians, all while avoiding the heft and, honestly, labor, both emotional and physical, that goes into sustaining the "flagship" interview series, The Albums of the Decade. And as it turns out, without any real intention, this series has also become that place where I get to converse with more underground contemporary – dare I say "young" – artists, that, to my mind at least, represent the cutting edge of what's going on right now.
Having said all that, it gives me much pride to present the next installment of this little experiment with one of the most exiting and moving discoveries I've had in the past year, the Brazilian one-man black metal project Kaatayra. My first encounter with Kaatayra was with his debut album, released in March of this year (2019), as one of those "I wonder what'll happen when I click this cover art on Bandcamp" moments. What was unleashed was a unique, warm, organic, and innovative mix of atmospheric black metal, straight up black metal, folk, EDM (!), and progressive rock that just floored me. It isn't that often that a completely out of nowhere album floors me, and this year has been marked by just a few other instances of this: An Isolated Mind's epic debut I'm Losing Myself; Nothingness and their amazing death metal debut, The Hollow Gaze of Death; God's Bastard's emotive and raging black metal; and the industrial/death metal soundscapes that make up Bolgia's demo.
And among this very special group, Kaatayra's debut, No Ruidar da Mata que Mirra seemed to fill that Agalloch-sized hole in my heart, putting together some of the best folky/atmospheric black metal I have heard this decade. Take a moment to think of that. A mix of Panopticon-like emotional expressiveness, Agallochian song structures (only more progressive), along with a touch completely his own, that includes acoustic overtures, avant-garde moments, and an overall sense of personality. I was so impressed, in fact, that I immediately contacted Kaatayra for the possibility of an interview, but everything was so hectic with The Albums of the Decade that I put it off for later. Well, with the release of another (!) amazing album just a few days ago, Nascido Sob o Signo Incivilizatório, it seems that that later has become now. Truly one of the best new acts in all of black metal, and the source, to me at least, of life-affirming, genre-bending, transcendent music.
Before the interview, however, the usual public-service announcement: If you like what you see around here, the feel free to check us out on Facebook, Instagram, Spotify (mostly monthly recommendation playlists), and even Patreon. Stay tuned for other cool stuff like MILIM KASHOT, our first compilation of local bands, our merch, and also the archive of The War Inside My Head series. In the meantime, enjoy Kaatayra.
What was the first album you bought with your own money, and where did you buy it?
Pink Floyd – Final Cut
I just bought it because it was really cheap in some retail store. I was really young, and I liked the cover art. But when I listened to it I found it to be ultra boring. Later I became more fond of Pink Floyd.
What 2-3 albums did you hear the most growing up?
Great question. As a child I would say:
Legião Urbana – Acústico MTV
Legião Urbana is a very famous band from the city in which I was born, perhaps one of the most famous rock bands in Brazil. My parents bought this CD when I was seven or eight years old. Me and my older brother listened to it nonstop in those times. It's not the style of music that pleases me the most, but the acoustic version of the songs are great and I really like the poetry of writer and vocalist Renato Russo.
Elba Ramalho, Geraldo Azevedo, Alceu Valença e Zé Ramalho – O Grande Encontro – Volume I
Another CD that my parents bought me. A Brazilian classic. On our trips to their hometown of Rio de Janeiro (it was an 11-hour drive) we listened to this CD on repeat. It is mostly Forró. It is a really beautiful, contagious and fun album.
Iron Maiden – The Best of the Beast
My brother bought this for us in Feira do Paraguai, a marketplace that sells a lot of pirated CD version that costs 5 Reals. We used to buy a lot of those to discover new music. He didn’t know Iron Maiden at the time, but we got excited about all the demon-faced creatures in the cover and ot was cheap and we were like: “Well, why not”. I can say that Iron Maiden was the band the that threw me into heavy metal.
However, as a teenager, it was probably these albums:
Blind Guardian – Somewhere Far Beyond
I used to literally have dreams of my playing with them live.
Death – Symbolic
My favorite death metal band. I could say that was the album that I listened the most in my life.
Wintersun – Wintersun.
This album ever fails to impress me.
What two albums by other artists taught you the most about making your music (mixing, production, performance)?
That is a very difficult question as I don’t really learn about mixing and production just listening to music, but, I would say Skagos and Alda influenced me because I really like the organic and raw production they do. Krallice is an important band for me too because I like how Colin Marston spans the guitar.
What is the last album that absolutely shocked you?
Amiri – O.N.F.K
Amiri is a Brazilian rapper, and this is based on the four songs he's released from an upcoming album. His music/lyrics make me feel both euphoric and melancholic at the same time. It is crazy, the kind of music that I have to choose the right time to listen and take in small doses.
What album relaxes you or centers you the most?
GAS – POP
A nature-feeling ambient techno album. Marvelous.
What are the 2-3 albums you’ve listened to the most recently?
Jorge Ben Jor – Tabua de Esmeralda
I am kind of always listening to it. This album makes me happy. Simple as that.
Nishaiar – Igewanda
One of the most interesting black metal albums I've heard this year. Atmospheric, ambient, psychedelic with lots of beautiful songs.
Nicola Cruz – Suki
I like dancing while I take a shower when I wake up to lift up the spirit to endure the day ahead, and Nicola Cruz music is perfect for it. Makes me relax and enter in a meditative state. I listen to his music a lot.
What album do you feel is grossly underrated?
Terreno Baldio – Terreno Baldio (1976)
A progressive rock Brazilian band. Seriously, people should listen to it. It is not even well known in Brazil.
Life is a Lie – Tomo II: Sobre os Fundamentos d'A Ordem
A Brazilian black metal/grindcore band. It is insane. Very well executed.
What album would you recommend from your local scene?
Malicious Intent – Under the Shine of Ripping Sickle
Deathgrind band of friends of mine. The members agitate the local scene with gigs, sometimes free ones. It is great.
Males Fecundos – Males Fecundos
A local grindcore band, also of good friends of mine. It is brutal and this videoclip is awesome.