A few months ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing a hugely exciting and hook-laden record by the Brazilian hard rockers known as Landfall, and what happened was that the more I listened to said album, the more it grew on me and the more I came to love it. Entitled The Turning Point and boasting some finely crafted and lavishly textured songs, this one is undoubtedly one of Frontiers Records’ most potent releases this year. RAMzine caught up with Gui (vocals) and Marcello (guitars) and a had a little chat about all things Landfall. Wherever this band goes next, just make sure you are there because this is stylish, melodic hard rock at its best and most memorable.
Greetings, Gui and Marcello. Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedules to talk to RAMzine. Could we start out by briefly touching on your exciting and musically rewarding debut record, namely the musical gem that is The Turning Point? Where did you record said album? Is there a specific theme coursing through the record or are the songs loosely based on various ideas and perhaps even random thoughts of yours relating to everyday encounters and experiences?
Gui: First of all, thank you so much for the opportunity. It’s great to share with you all our music and our thoughts about it. Well, the album was all recorded and basically written in Curitiba, Brazil, at MGC Studio. This recording studio belongs to Marcelo and we feel at home there. Regarding the album, we wanted to explore the different nuances of a big city, from chaos to peaceful places. And this was something we decided on before starting the writing process. It’s all about people, from love to hope, faith and fear. And of course, the lyrics always come from the heart, from good and bad experiences in life.
Marcelo: We wanted to deliver a well-done album not only musically but also conceptually. The themes of the songs, the cover, the artwork, it’s all connected. We thought it was important since The Turning Point is our debut album.
What was the initial motivation for launching Landfall? Was there a specific purpose behind it all or did it strictly have to do with your profound love for hard rock/melodic rock/AOR and your need to channel that into something creative?
Gui: We all have a background in writing and recording music. I recorded with Auras and other projects and the guys recorded some albums with Wild Child, which is their old band. So, when we got together, we started writing some songs and this kind of music (hard rock, melodic rock, AOR . . . you name it) is something that we all love. The songs came about naturally. Once we were happy and proud of the songs, we wanted to show them off to a bigger audience.
Marcelo: Felipe, Thiago, and I were in a band for almost ten years and we recorded three albums. It was something that was more experimental-sounding. When Gui joined us, we knew that creatively the band would evolve more into hard rock, melodic rock and AOR, especially since he is a musical force and a natural songwriter, so stylistically speaking, we knew his style would influence us moving towards this path. Also, we knew that we would need to come up with a new band and with a new name.
Speaking of those various rock-related genres before, do you remember how, when, and why you fell in love with rock music in general? Was it one or more specific releases that changed your perspective on music and completely sucked you in, or perhaps a certain band that captured your imagination?
Gui: Well, my father was a DJ back in the seventies while he was studying to become a doctor, so music and rock and roll in general was always present in my house. I remember listening to bands like Bad Company, Badfinger, Uriah Heep, Alice Cooper, The Eagles, Sweet… when I didn’t really know what was going on. And then in the beginning of the nineties, MTV came to Brazil and when I saw Mr. Big and Extreme for the very first time, I fell in love with their music. Since then, those two bands have been my favorites of all time.
Marcelo: I have loved music since I was very young. I learned how to play keyboards when I was three or four years old. Then when I reached twelve or thirteen, I fell in love with guitar and rock music. I would say that the two most positively shocking and perspective-changing moments with respect to discovering new music as a kid were the first time I listened to Van Halen and the first time I listened to Dream Theater’s Scenes from a Memory. Those two moments were definitely game-changing for me as a musician.
Who exactly does what in terms of writing and arranging songs for Landfall? Do you arrange the compositions collectively when getting together for rehearsals to try out and play around with your ideas?
Gui: That depends on each song and who came up with the idea. There were songs that were built in the studio in a very organic way when we were playing together. For some songs Marcelo came up with a riff and we built the song around that. There were songs that I wrote using just the voice and the acoustic guitar, and then I sent them to the guys for them to create a full arrangement for. I can say that it is a very democratic process where the best ideas are the ones that we develop.
Marcelo: The Turning Point has a mixture of different creative processes. I think this is actually quite healthy because we know we can build things in various ways and always come up with something fresh.
Could you list maybe a handful of bands that have inspired you quite a bit when it comes to composing songs for Landfall? The reason I ask is that The Turning Point gives me the impression that you could be influenced by anything from Def Leppard and Journey and further on to Guns ‘N Roses and Bad Company.
Gui: I can’t say that any band has had a direct influence on the compositions of this particular album. But there are bands that we all love and that have a big influence on our songwriting; not because we want to sound like them but because we grew up listening to them, and this is something inside our hearts and minds, you know what I mean? I know that Thiago loves Rush and Kiss and both Marcelo and Felipe love Dream Theater. And of course, we all love Mr, Big, Van Halen, Journey, Harem Scarem . . . I believe those bands are a big influence on us.
Do other art forms beside music inspire you to craft melodies and lyrics and so on?
Gui: I believe that any kind of art can inspire you, like a photograph, a picture. You know, I wrote all the lyrics for the album and reading is something that really inspires me. All the lyrics were about something I lived and something I read.
Marcelo: I’m a huge movie fan, so I’m always getting inspiration and themes from movies. Actually, ‘Taxi Driver‘ was inspired by the Martin Scorcese movie.
I dig the The Turning Point album sleeve and its striking image and design; it complements the music quite nicely, I think. Does it signify something specific in relation to the title and lyrical content of the record?
Gui: This was something intentional. We wanted the people to live the whole experience, imagining the places and actually being part of the songs. Felipe came up with the ideas and Jess did a great job. Jess also did our logo – she is amazing. The cover art was made by Carlos Fides, and again, it is the extension of the songs. I love that cover.
Marcelo: We see an album as a whole experience; from the songs to the production and further on to the order of the tracks, the cover, the artwork and so on and so forth. We think about every aspect of the adventure, and we love doing that.
With respect to current band activities, are you guys by any chance composing and writing new material these days? Will Frontiers Records be involved in the release of your sophomore album? Speaking of which, are you happy with your cooperation with Frontiers?
Gui: Right now, we are involved in different projects. I am writing and recording songs with Alessandro Dell Vecchio for another project. Marcelo is writing, recording, and producing some different bands for the label. And of course, I have to say that this is also happening because Frontiers gave us this opportunity and believed in our work. We are happy, taking our chances. In January 2021, we will start writing the new album and the next one will be a huge step forward for us. We want to make a hard rock/melodic rock album full of energy.
Marcelo: We are in a very good and close relationship with the label; they really treat us as being part of the family, so we more than happy to work with them.
Thanks once again for taking the time to answer this short interview of ours – much appreciated. Any final words of encouragement to our awesome readers out there?
Gui: Thank you so much for the questions and for the opportunity to share our words with your awesome readers. We are really happy about the album and about all the things that are happening. I would like to thank everyone that listened to the album, that shared our songs with other people, that bought our album . . . anyway, thank you so much! We play music to make people feel good, and if we touch someone’s heart and soul with the melodies and the lyrics then that’s what really matters to us. And to all your awesome readers, I would like to thank them for inspiring us ‘cause that’s the way we can inspire them too. Keep the flame of rock and roll alive!
Marcelo: Thank you for all the support and keep making the music alive!