Interview With ‘Heleno Vale’ Of ‘Soulspell’


Brazilian Power Metal Opera Band Soulspell is started in 2004 by drummer Heleno Vale. He released their first album “A Legacy of Honor” in 2008, followed by “Labyrinth of Truths” in 2010. Their latest album ‘Hollow’s Gathering’ was released last month. The Album tells a story about the conflicts of human emotions. The different characters are played by many different vocalists. The list of vocalists is impressive, from ex-Iron Maiden, Helloween, Avantasia and Theocracy. Below an interview with Heleno Vale, founder and drummer of Soulspell.

TMR: Hello to you from´The Metal Resource’ Holland, how are things going there in Brazil ?

H: Hello! Thank you for the interview. To be honest here in Brazil finally I can say we are happy with the historical Supreme Court trial which is going on right now. For the first time in Brazil many politicians will pay for their crimes. Also we are concerned but confident about Brazilian Olympics and World Cup. Finally, I can see many Heavy Metal fans proud with Soulspell Metal Opera growing all over the world and as well as many other Brazilian bands which are getting their deserved space like: Pastore, Shadowside, Vandroya etc. Soon we will have many Brazilian bands side by side with Angra and Sepultura.

TMR: Can you briefly tell who is Heleno Vale.

H: Yes. Heleno is a humble and very ordinary guy who dared to follow his instincts and try something different for his life. Something he loves above all: Music and Heavy Metal. He studied the drums, the piano, harmony and vocals. Besides that Heleno loves unusual things for a musician like to play tennis and to teach classes of computer science. Heleno is graduated (masters and doctorate) in Virtual Reality. Hence he tries to produce and record his own video clips for Soulspell Metal Opera spending as little money as he can (because he has no money….yet).

TMR: Tell us the brief history of ‘Soulspell’.

H: Ok. Let’s try not to mess it up. Soulspell story is based on real facts: some visions a very close friend of mine had in the past. All albums are based on the same story. It describes the life of a very common guy named Tobit. He begins to have some visions he didn’t know what it is. Soon, he notices he is a special guy with special gifts: he can see his past lifes. Despite the story takes place nowadays in Earth, it involves several dimensions and strange beings; because I really believe we are not alone at all. You can read the complete story at our website.

TMR: Are you a full time musician ? If not what kind of job or study do you do beside the band ?

H: I’m not a full time musician. It is very hard to survive as a musician here in Brazil and I prefer just to write songs for me, for my friends and fans, not for the market, songs which come from the bottom of my heart. I thank God some recording labels like it and want to sell it. I think that surviving from the musical earnings can change it a little. As I said before, I like to play tennis (which I play very badly) and to study and teach classes of computer science.

TMR: Is ‘Soulspell’ a band or a project ?

H: Finally an easy one. Soulspell is both: a band and a project. I prefer to keep it like it is, but I’m focused on improving the Soulspell concerts quality for the next year(s).

TMR: What is your musical background ?

H: It is the more diverse musical background a Heavy Metal musician can have: from Tears for Fears, Maná, Roupa Nova (Brazil) and Alanis Morissette to Slayer and Sepultura, through my favorites Heavy Metal Bands: Iron Maiden, Blind Guardian and Sonata Arctica.

TMR: Why the name ‘Soulspell’ ? Is there a story behind it ?

H: Yes. It is a personal matter very important to me. I can’t explain it here. Also, it sounds really good to me and it has two beautiful, powerful and magic words: Soul and Spell. If you are a dreamer like me you should understand it well.

TMR: Who writes the music/lyrics in ‘Soulspell’ ? .. how do you get in the mood for writing music? And which bands/situations have influences you for writing music and lyrics ?

H: I write both music and lyrics. Also I wrote the story. I think every mood I had in the past influenced every Soulspell songs I did so far. Every mood contributes to the diversity of Soulspell music. Actually, we are talking about strange things here. I will try to explain. I do prefer depressive songs like Into the Arc of Time and A Rescue into the Storm, as I prefer drama movies. But I cannot be depressive all the time (like Tony Kakko – lol – my idol) and I need to write depressive songs just when I am depressed. I cannot fake it, Soulspell fans would certainly perceive (as I perceive it in many bands). I need to be honest with them and I certainly will. So I try to write the most I can when I’m depressed. It is when I write the Soulspell ballads and the more experimental and mysterious songs. Then, when I’m happy I write faster songs like The Dead Tree and To Crawl or to Fly. It works really well I think .

TMR: How do you describe the music of ‘Soulspell’ the best ?

H: Deep, Emotion, Love, Passion, Inspiration, Truth, Honesty, Respect, Dream, Strength, Will, Destiny. You should have observed I didn’t understand this question very well (lol) anyway, these words describe Soulspell very well for me at least.

TMR: How does ‘Soulspell’ stands in life till events in the world, religion and politics and in which proportion stands that till your music and lyrics ?

H: Soulspell is just a beautiful fairytale in which you can learn many things with the characters attitudes. There is no religious involved. I respect every religion. You can listen to Soulspell and be a better person independently of your faith. Politics are addressed subliminally. Our story is very detailed and deep. Only the biggest fans will know all the facts and understand all the approaches.

TMR: For a lot of bands the lyrics are just a accidental circumstance, but for some bands they use them to communicate ! ..can you tell us how that is for ‘Soulspell’ ?

H: Definitely Soulspell is the band that gives more importance to the lyrics. I can’t listen to a song two times if it has a poor lyric. You can be sure you will identify yourself in one of our characters. There are dozens of deep phrases in Soulspell lyrics. I like very much The Dead Tree lyrics which is 100% double meaning. I like Into the Arc of Time lyric, it already made me cry a lot like A Secret Compartment end part. Finally, “A Whisper Inside” at Michel + Amanda chorus goose bumps.

TMR: Name some of your favorite bands to play with live [past and future] and tell us why ?

H: I would love to play with great bands which respect Soulspell, for example Helloween, a great band which respects Soulspell a lot. Here in Brazil Soulspell helps and respects all the bands it can and we want it from our idols. It is all I can say here.

TMR: First record you bought?

H: Tears for Fears – Tears Roll Down (1992). The best band and more inspired compose ever.

TMR: What makes you laugh?

H: Chaves and Chapolin, The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Man, Daniel Guirado (Soulspell ex-bassist), Daniel Manso (Soulspell ex-guitarist), Rodolfo Pagotto and Marco Lambert (Soulspell actual guitarists), Claiton Oliveira (Soulspell video clips producer) and many other crazy m.f. I live with.

TMR: How do you promote your band and shows ?

H: It is a very personal way of promoting a band. I like to be in touch with Soulspell fans. I use Internet, Facebook, Whiplash (the main Brazilian Rock website), Roadie Crew (the main Brazilian Rock magazine), international interviews and reviews through our label Inner Wound etc.

TMR: How do you prepare for a show?

H: I just try to keep calm and to rehearsal a lot before the tours. As I have no problem keeping the concentration I try to help the youngest musicians to keep calm too. We always try to keep a relaxed atmosphere and to believe everything will be all right. We love to rehearsal and to play live and to be anxious before the concert. It’s a fantastic atmosphere.

TMR: Describe your show, visual and musically ? And tell us about your next shows and why we should be there.

H: We are preparing a new show filled with many background changes, adequate lights for each song, snow, characters interpretation, actors, narrative, many special guest etc. You will not believe. I’m sure our new show will take us abroad.

TMR: What is the dumbest question you have ever been asked?

H: I would answer “this one” but it would not be true (lol). Someone already asked me how I do to play the “bass” so fast.

TMR: Do you have a life philosophy / favorite quote ?

H: This will be a polemic one. It is the first time I cite it openly. My favorite quote is a Tobias Sammet’s phrase from “In Quest For (Avantasia)” which is the epigraph of my doctorate thesis: “Your quest is your purpose, go on!”. I don’t know if everyone understood it like me, but it is just perfect for my life and for Soulspell.

TMR: Are you visiting many gigs and what do you listen to these days?

H: Yes I am. I listen to every Heavy Metal new bands and even other musical styles like Pop Rock, Thrash Metal etc. I love music and that is it. I still listen to my favorite bands a lot: Tears for Fears (which I finally could see live here in Brazil), Iron Maiden (which I saw many times live), Blind Guardian (saw them too), Sonata Arctica (didn’t see them yet), Avantasia (saw 2 times live and they are awesome live even better than the albums), Sepultura, Slayer, Radiohead, Rhapsody, Roupa Nova etc. It is a very crazy list, isn’t it?

TMR: Tell us about the hardrock/metal scene in your area please? 

H: The metal/hardrock scene here is a strange one. We have a lot of international concerts happen every week (every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday…believe, if someone create an “eighth” day of the week, someone will schedule an international artist to play in that day). Here we love and respect international metal bands. We fill almost every international concert, every day. We pay something like USD200 to see each international concert how many times it is necessary per month. If necessary we invest all our earnings. Of course almost every international band deserves it, because they are always well talented and they have an excellent structure. But Brazilian bands have not same structure. We have so many well talented musicians, but we can’t compete with the high quality and high cost of an international concert. At the same time, it is not fair to ask the fans to leave the perfect international bands and to start encouraging the Brazilian bands. So we have a sad “deadlock” here. Everyone but no one is guilty. Hope one day it get better and Brazilian Heavy Metal can have the same quality and be as respected as the international names. I’m fighting for it and I will do it ‘til I die (Eric Adams would love this one. lol).

TMR: What’s your outlook on the record industry today?

H: It is a very optimistic one. I know we are living an age of changes in music due to Internet and many other factors but I feel we are beginning to learn how to live with these changes. We are adapting like the dinosaurs (lol). We are more intelligent, so we adapt fast. Anyway these days I think a band has to work harder and to struggle a lot. Only the bravest ones will survive (Eric should hire me…). Soulspell is a very aware project and we always had plans on how to survive ‘til the fourth album (the next one). We planned it to be “our first BIG album”. Let’s hope and work hard to achieve it!

TMR: Your latest album ‘Hollow’s Gathering’ is released last month on Oct. 12th, tell us about the songs, the recording proces, who did the artwork etc. [Check our album review here].

H: Soulspell was always lucky to work with such great names and well talented artists for its cover artworks. Felipe Machado (Blind Guardian, Rhapsody) did the Hollow’s Gathering artwork and in my opinion it is one of the most wonderful covers of all time. He was really inspired. I like the album a lot of course. Each song is so special. They have so much emotion involved, feeling. They are deep. They are interconnected but each one has its own aura and works well alone. The title track is a very complex track even more complex than The Labyrinth of Truths and The Last Life. It is so complete I think I will never be able to write a song like it again. A Rescue into the Storm will count on a video clip soon and has a magnificent Nando Fernandes performance, a beautiful choir, a deep feeling etc. To Crawl or to Fly is one of my favorites and goose me bumps at the end part. Anymore counts on Manuela Saggioro in a very Alanis Morissette interpretation. Adrian’s call is unique, fast and powerful. Change the Tide is a very melodic and fast one for the true power metal lovers. The Keeper’s Game seems to fit Blaze Bayley vocals so well. The Dead Tree is another favorite for me, the best lyric I wrote so far, the fastest double bass rhythm, great Tim Ripper, Daisa Munhoz and Pedro Campos performances and fantastic Thiago Amendola guitar lines. Finally A Whisper Inside count on a beautiful and deep duet between Michel Souza and Amanda Somerville. It is an excellent album, trust me, it will get you no matter how far (Iron Maiden 1981).

TMR: The album is released via ‘Innerwound Records’, how did you get signed by them ?

H: I always searched for good labels to release Soulspell abroad. Innerwound showed to be the best one and it truly is. I hope we can be partners forever because I know from inside we can make Soulspell a big and well known project together.

TMR: What about your plans for the near future ? [European Tour maybe]

H: Yes, of course. I plan to release a fourth album with the best list of participants we can do (and I think it will be a really impressive list, trust me). Also I plan to tour all the Brazilian states again, but with a more impressive structure and well planned concert than the last times. A European tour would be a dream come true for me and for all the Soulspell musicians. I know it will happen someday. I can’t assure you it will be 2013 or 2014 or 2020, but it will happen when it should and it will count on a big structure and magnificent list of participants, you can be sure! Finally, I’m thinking of releasing a book and to record some cover songs with Soulspell. It would be amazing but I won’t tell you right now what songs we will record. Of course we want to record a Live DVD in the future too.

TMR: What advice would you give to fellow bands?

H: Struggler to survive for at least 4 or 5 albums nowadays. A band is born on the fourth album.

TMR: What are the biggest obstacles for bands?

H: The biggest obstacles for bands like Soulspell are the lack of resources to improve their concerts, the world crisis, the changing market, the lack of patience, the lack of consciousness to know they have evolve. There is no way to skip steps. 10 years on the road at least so a band can be born to the world. Write for the fans you love! They deserve every tear you shed. Don’t write for the market! It won’t be your friend for the next 10 or 15 years.

TMR: Heleno thanks for your time and the interview, we wish ‘Soulspell’ all the best … Is there anything you wanna say at last? [any final statement ?]

H: I really appreciate this opportunity. Thank you. I want to use this space to give a special thanks to Soulspell fans. Dear Soulspell fans from all over the world you are the best fans a band or a project can have. Thanks a lot for your time and love! See you soon!

Band members:
Heleno Vale
Jefferson Albert
Leandro Caçoilo
Daisa Munhoz
Marco Lambert
Rodolfo Pagotto
Wanner Maurício

Just Let the Time Flows, demo [2006]
A Legacy of Honor, Full-length [2008]
The Labyrinth of Truths, Full-length [2010]
Hollow’s Gathering, Full-length [2012]

Weblinks: Website / Facebook  / Twitter

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