Heavenwood is one of the most important Portuguese Metal acts, also one of the most known outside our borders. Playing a top quality Gothic Metal, the band released this year the excellent fifth album "The Tarot of the Bohemians, Part 1" (9 in 10 on our reviews). Here is the interview with the charismatic Ricardo Dias, the band leader.
Thank you very much Ricardo for taking some of your time, and congratulations for the masterpiece that is "The Tarot Part 1".
For what I'm following, the reactions to the album are being excellent: great release shows, quite good reviews and visibility all around the world, international release under a Massacre Records new contract. Were you expecting this result?

This year of 2016 is being very productive regarding Heavenwood released not one but three albums. We released firstly "The Tarot Of The Bohemians Part I" for the Portuguese National market and with a limited editon via Raising Legends Records and now worldwide via Massacre Records with a different artwork, extra song, a new Mastering at HERTZ STUDIO in Poland, etc. Also it is the year we return to our very first international record company and, to celebrate, the label and us decided to re-release the 2008 album "Redemption". All the reviews and feedback regarding the new album "The Tarot Of The Bohemians Part I" were amazing in Portugal and outside our country. The promotional just started and I believe this new album will be a pride for the Portuguese Metal Music all around the world!
I was one of your crowdfunding supporter, by the end of 2014. Despite the great value for rewards, it was unsuccessfull. Aren't Portuguese fans still aware of crowdfunding, do not risk without listening first or it's an extension of people buying less music? Other reasons?
First I would like to thank you for the support. We used a portuguese crowdfunding plataform because we wanted this album to be firstly released with a exclusive and limited edition for the Portuguese fans. Strangely we got a lot Of support from other countries and although many portuguese fans crowdfunded it the truth is that it wasn't enough for the album Studio, Mix, Artwork and Packaging. We had a meeting with Raising Legends Records and they made it possible! The fact is that we sold very well this portuguese Exclusive edition so perhaps portuguese metal fans aren't still prepared or interested in this style of investment or Pre-order.
You took the initiative of warning the crowdfunding supporters to request the contribution return. Among all crowdfundings where I participated this is a unique case, normally bands accept the raised amount, get other funds, take some more time and honour the rewards. Did you consider this idea? Or Raising Legends entered the equation and the idea for developing the fan pack was already in-place?
No, the Goal was Set in the begining so once we didn't achieve it we think the money should return to the supporters. We had in hands another challenge, a hardest one and we made it! We believe that those ones who stay with us on the worst momments will be with us on the Best ones.
Meanwhile the artwork was assigned to DZO (awesome artist, by the way), instead of Matthew Vickerstaff, that was thought first. Your comments?
It was a sort of feeling, mutual respect for Arts and Occultism. The fact that the amazing french illustrator DZO Olivier accepted regarding the fact the Portuguese edition was a limited version for Portugal had its influence too. It was a question Of pure love to Art. Regarding Gustavo Sazes artwork for the international release edition via Massacre Records our Management decided to add a more universal concept to it.
Do you already started the process of composing "The Tarot Part 2?" Is there an idea for its release?
Yes, the ideas and concept is on the way.
Will it have 10 songs, the remaining cards on the Tarot deck (Major Arcana)?
For now, I can only say we will start with the "Death" card.
Heavenwood is a band that doesn't deliver many concerts. One of the main reasons is members availability, in particular Ernesto that is a teacher on another continent. Are there plans to change this and schedule more concerts or going on tour?
The band prefer to play as we mostly say and defend "Less is more".
The shows that we really are interested in playing are always a possibilty. For example we made an impossible Mission to play at the DUBAI ROCK FEST so...
Back in 2014 Heavenwood played on the Dubai Rock Fest. Between flights, I spent there one day, saw both the old city and the new city with all those skyscrapers, and didn't like it, I noticed quite a heavy (not Metal) environment and some lack of freedom. How was the experience playing there? As there is an important Portuguese community working there, did you find many portugueses on the audience?
We had a good experience on the Dubai Rock Fest and even got the chance to be with fans from Egypt, Quatar, Syria, Russia, Lebanon, ├Źndia and of course Portuguese. Honestly I never felt insecure, we were very well received and feel very proud to play for Heavenwood fans from those exotic lands.
Being Portugal such a small country, do you feel a division between the north and south concerning Metal fans and bands? I travelled to the north countless times, many for Metal shows, and never felt this, to me it is more political and football related speeches.
I think it's important for the development of the scene when you have a fair competion. It helps you to work more, to be unique and to be an example to others. Everyone like to have their work recognized, everyone need to be mentally and musically prepared to play on the same league, at least, from major bands. The reality from being known on the world metal scene demand more responsability, more quality, more strategy and more pression. A international and solid label doesn't offer you a deal because you sell 500 Records, play for 70 people, or have the biggest ego from your town. You can always get a low profile label that will demand money for this, money for that but that was never our objective because even if we never got a label with that conditions we already know that it's not a good Beginning or Principle. Perhaps that's why some consider us "arrogants"... by telling the truth.
The situation now with Internet, social networks and digital platforms, had huge developments since Diva and Swallow times. I've never heard so many new bands as nowadays, as well has developing contacts. Do you think that this represents a good opportunity for spreading the word about Heavenwood? Or, on the other hand, this encourages the creation of many bands, increasing dispersion and competition?
Both, never forget that an established band use the same tools too. Mouth to mouth, to create and develop a fan base, to write and to sing and answer what you fight for is important. That means creating a band with personality is very important and vital these days.
Heavy Metal now encompasses two generations and it's common to see families on shows and festivals. How do you feel when being on stage and seeing such families enjoying your music?
Wonderfull!! We have that amazing feeling after the shows and that means our music is intemporal.
Do you want to share the funniest thing that happened to Heavenwood (reactions, pranks, ...)?
We had to record two times our Pre-Production... not so funny at all. We had a lot of experiences but I think the emotive ones are much more special..remembering a russian fan crying and hugging in happyness, to listen to fans explaining certain songs were very important at their lifes, to know that someone travelled 3 countries to buy a record from you in 96..uau!!
And our last classic question. Do you want to leave a final message to the Sounds from Apocalypse readers?
I invite you all to listen and to understand our new album, there are plenty of musical information, metaphors and introspective moments. Close your Eyes, Open your Mind and travel to your own dimension.
Visit our official Facebook Page at www.facebook.com/heavenwoodofficial
Thanks a lot Ricardo for sharing your thoughts. We will see you one of these days in another Heavenwood show

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