Here’s our lengthy interview with the amazing Ricardo Dias from Portugal’s FOR THE GLORY, who told us nearly everything about the band, their view on hardcore punk scene and the tough situation of young people in Portugal. In the chat below Ricardo reveals some thoughts on the band’s new album and speaks out about live shows, talking between songs, zines, performing live on national television, and much much more. Be brave and read the whole thing. You won’t regret it! :)
Howdy, guys. God to have you here. What’s up in Portugal? Where are you now?
Hi there. I really have to thank for the opportunity. It’s a pleasure to answer some questions and speak our minds for lots of people.
Portugal is a bit stressful these days, no jobs, no money, hard times going on at the time. This whole crisis and the fact that people can’t see a future here is bringin us all down a bit (me included). Right now as we speak I’m doing this social occupational job at a museum. I call it the new human slavery. Portuguese government are using unemployed people to fill gaps they have and they pay them shit, and when the time comes and the social benefits are done, they kick us out of the door. This a way of lowering the unemployment stats and not hiring people for the spots they really need to have people. Its sketchy [laughs].
How do you know they will kick you out?
I am unemployed since January 2011 and I get this support from the state cause I work since I was 17. But the support they give me will be over by march, so they are using me over here and when the social service support is over they gonna kick me out, and get another dude on the same status I was. They already told me, we are numbers, our lives are meaningless for those with power. After that, I really don’t know what to do with all the bills to pay and wife, dog… I really need to think of something to get food on the table. I am one amongst many others that are in the same situation. Life ain’t easy down here.
Does it anger you or rather push to take certain actions in order to change your situation? How can you change that? Are your friends in the same position as yourself?
Yeah it does upset me a lot. To see me and a lot of our young population with no future, no hope all because of dirty politicians that used all the resources in their benefit.
In the band I’m the only one facing this right now, but in our youth you see tons of examples. Like I said I’m just one in a universe of thousands. You may send resumes to companies and do an extensive job search but the doors you knock most of them are closed cause companies have no money to hire people. Most people are doing what Portuguese people did during the 60’s and are moving to other places in search of a better life.
Have you thought about emigrating?
That idea has crossed my mind a bunch of times. But it hurts a lot knowing that I would have to let go so many things that I love. I really love the scene here, all the bands, all the friends I have. I love my family and by family I mean everyone involved in FOR THE GLORY and the blood family of course. It’s a really hard call to make. Sometimes I wonder and think that hope is gone but other times I keep my PMA and think that better days will come one day and I will be able to overcome, that WE the youth will be able to get through.
Damn, man. You hit me like a train with all of this. I really hope it will get better soon. How does it affect a hardcore punk band?
Well it does affect people in general. And since hardcore punk culture is part of this globalized and merciless society unfortunately we cannot break all ties with modern times, and we need to find a way to get food on our table and survive. So a small band like ours that basically does what it can to play some shows (even though we actually play more than we should) and jeopardize our personal lives at times. But then again, hardcore and the band are also part of our lives, it’s what we choose to do 10 years ago and we keep doing it cause we love it, not cause we gonna get rich or even take money out of it.
When people all around you have less money, they have to choose which shows to attend and if they can buy the record or just download it. Most of the times I see that people rather save some money to see that big band, and do not go to a smaller hardcore show, and I can understand why.
You have to make a lot of choices with the few euros you have for you and your family and also for some entertainment.
We as band, get offered to play a lot and people come to see us, we are truly blessed!
Do you all live in one city?
Not really. We all live in different cities, some are close to each other but our drummer actually lives 300km’s away in Porto. We are located on the Lisbon suburbs.
João lives in the city, me and Sérgio used to live in the same city, but I moved to a more country side area, Rui lives in the same train line i do, but 17 kms away from me, we yeah we live in the Lisbon area but not really in the city. It’s too expensive to live there, except on old neighbors like João lives, but he lived there since he was born [laughs].
The distance thing was always a thing in FOR THE GLORY, before we had Claudio on drums, we had other members that were from the south (Algarve) and they were also 300kms away.
It’s kinda hard to keep things going this way, with all the distance, and it requires a lot of commitment to the band. A band is a like a relationship, you gotta give all you got and always work hard to keep the love level alive. I think we still manage that pretty well.
So how did you manage to put this pack together?
It was funny. in 2002 we were touring with a previous band I had called WHAT WENT WRONG and Sérgio used to be our roadie (he was playing in a local hardcore band called CRIMINAL WASTE). We were in Holland and we jammed a show with BORN FROM PAIN and TERROR in Landgraaf, and that show was amazing. We already loved bands like MADBALL, STRIFE and all the groovie bands, but we saw the first show TERROR ever did in Europe and I guess that was the event that changed our lives. It was mind blowing.
So we kept on going with the tour and then we were sitting in Leuven at a venue and we started talking about making a new band when we got home, a bit more heavy and groovie. Cause Sérgio was not playing in WHAT WENT WRONG and we wanted to have a band together, then we got the ball rolling when we arrived home. Mike was the drummer at the time and he hooked up with his brother Poli (he left the band after 2 or 3 years and made a band called DEVIL IN ME), then Rui (who was singing in a band called TWENTY INCH BURIAL) offered to jam the bass.
It was funny cause Rui knew me but did not knew the other dudes that well, so we clicked. It was funny cause the early days everything seemed easy and all that. We were young and had that blood boiling in our veins, we wanted to do everything and for some years we toured like crazy, did small shows, big shows.. we did everything we could, and then people started to leave the band. The main core of the band stood together, me, Rui and Sérgio (although Rui left the band for a short period but he got back cause he loves this [laughs]).
We searched for drummers and second guitar players, we had a bunch but we ended up with Claudio on drums for 6 years now and João joined almost 4 years ago!
It’s hard to have band members that are on the same wave length that you are, we are getting more picky about members. you don’t need to play good. you need to have attitude, your heart needs to be on the right place and be open minded!
Dude! You’re covering more or less the whole country with your current and alumni members [smiles]. Are there local Portuguese punk scenes that you might not be aware of? How hermetic are your punk communities?
Yeah we pretty much had to go from one side to the other [laughs].
Well we do live in a small country right?!
The punk hc scene in Portugal is quite ok and the kids have a good sense of community. I mean there are a couple of stronger scenes in the big cities like Lisboa, Porto and then you have smaller scenes but really active like Caldas da Rainha, Faro, Portimao, Albufeira, Viana do Castelo. And a cool thing is that most bands get along pretty well, you can see straightedge kids playing with crust punk bands. We do play a lot of metal shows, so you also extend the hardcore kids interaction with metalheads. It’s a small country, you gotta see things that way. If we don’t get along things will simply vanish right?
Great! So how many gigs have you played for all those kids so far?
For metal kids?? Like metal fests?
We played a lot of fests with bands such as PARADISE LOST, VADER, KRISIUN, ENTOMBED, I don’t know. We played a lot of shows over here. I mean in the early days we would go to every little village and play, those were the periods when city halls had money to pay bands to play for their cultural events. That does not happen anymore [laughs].
And what about touring in general? Have you played a lot of shows this year?
We really played a bunch of shows.
We did a small Portuguese run with some friends that we named lions unleashed, we did a summer tour of 20 days, we played Spain, a weekend trip with rise and fall in Portugal, did fly a in to Germany for the NO TURNING BACK release show. We played several shows this year. We are able to play north to south here and we try to go to places we haven’t been before. It’s nice to be able to go to new cities and meet new people and connect with locals, get to know a bit more of their culture. I’m blessed cause we are able to do it. And now we are preparing 2013. Hopefully we will play new places again.
Do you guys have anything coming up soon?
Yeah like so far we have a show with NO TURNING BACK here in January, then we do a weekend trip with shape from Portugal and we will play a venue that was super classical for my personal and character development, march we play Portugal with we ride and challenge, we are about to confirm a 5 dates run with a band we love for march as well, 30 march we go to Spain, April we fly in to Genève for Aries festival and the birthday party of our main man Florian!! So yeah we are pretty much getting booked, but we need to take it easy cause we want to put out a new record in 2013. A real tour is not planned yet, we will see what’s up, everything changes if we have some issues to deal with our personal life. You know what I mean? Not making a commitment of doing something and then fail. We take it easy.
Yeah, it’s completely understandable. You’re quite tight with your men in NO TURNING BACK, right? What other good friends in bands around the world do you have?
Yeah we do. The thing with NO TURNING BACK it will be written in stone forever bro. Here it is… Around 10 years ago NO TURNING BACK played here and I booked the show. It was a tour with BORN FROM PAIN and the show went good and they felt at home. So we clicked. Then Martijn spent some time here in Lisbon and I ended up going to Holland for a short period of time to fill in for NO TURNING BACK at the time for a bunch of dates with RAG MEN. That was 2004. I lived in Brabant and it was some of the best moments of my life. His parents gave their house and treated me like their own, I truly believe that there are people that are like angels on earth, the van den Heuvel family are my angels. So our relationship or at least mine is more than just a band thing. He is my brother, and he sings in my Fave European band so that is cool. It’s weird that we played tons of shows together through the years and had the talk of doing something with both bands, and finally it happened in 2012. It was a pleasure to sing on the latest record with one of my fave bands, the band that makes me cry and have goosebumps when I see them [laughs].
We have good friendship with tons of bands, mostly Europe cause that’s where we are from. The “new breed” of European hardcore broke a huge barrier, borders are no longer borders cause we feel at home in every European country. In every area we go you know you will meet your friends again and that is amazing. So many bands we are friends with I would ended up forgetting someone [laughs].
They all know we respect them for what they did for us. There is a really good band community in Europe at the moment. I love it this way!
Is there anything that makes you upset about the current state of European punk? [smiles]
[laughs] I came to a point in my life that I don’t get upset that easy. So I just would like to state within the bands and the people making music in Europe, there are so many good quality bands from places you may think it’s weird. Be more open minded and look inside and see that it may not be super stylish from what you see on youtube, fancy videos, nice clothes or the dancing skills you want to have one day, just look around and see that we do have good bands and ideas. Not empty bands with an empty message. There are so many good bands to be discovered that is the only thing I could point as a bad thing.
Ok one thing leads to another and with all the image thing going, the lack of ideas and what hardcore should really stand for gets a bit lost. I am not a preachy guy but something’s I really make sure to keep it clear. If this was just music I would stop playing it and do a rock band or indie band to get some money [laughs].
[smiles] Weren’t you tempted to go this way? There are lots of great rock bands with message [smiles].
Alllllrightie! Time to talk about “Some Kids Have No Face”. Tell me everything about it [smiles].
Let’s start. It is our second full length, we have recorded it in Portugal, mixed and mastered here. It was the record we felt we were able to do at the time. It took us a bit to release it but in the end we were happy with the fact that it was out.
The first press was made in cd through two Portuguese labels Hell Xiss and Raging Planet, and then we got offered to press it as a picture disc 12″ by Italians own Destroy You World Inc. and the result was amazing.
We like to keep control on everything, so I made all artworks and everything, then we were just super lucky to work with friends that made our life way easier when it was time to release it.
This record has some of the best tunes we made till that period. Its groovie, fast and has a sense of melody here and there. But never too melodic [laughs].
How did you guys approach making this record as opposed to your previous releases?
We put a lot of effort on this record.
We are really slow when it comes to write music or whatever, cause we have the distance handicap and also because we might be what you can consider a bit lazy [laughs].
This record a perfect blend of everyone’s taste and also it was the first record we did with Joao on guitar. We work as a team and as a democracy, so we have to agree on a song to consider it done.
This time around we had more time to explore different harmonies, the groove parts are heavy but at the same time catchy, and off the course the fast old school parts sound like FOR THE GLORY has to sound.
I’ve tried to cover all sorts of topics lyric wise. You to the PMA lyrics, you got the “political” / social awareness lyrics and also some personal lyrics but that people can easily relate. It’s a more overall coverage of subjects.
And how are you feelings about that record at the moment?
To be honest I really think that this was the best record we could have delivered at the time. The tracks on it make feel like I wanted to be in the crowd, and that is always a good sign in my opinion. For example I don’t want to release music that myself wouldn’t enjoy it, or write a lyric that I wouldn’t see myself on it.
The way we recorded was close to home and it was on several days according to everyone’s time and availability. I would change a couple of things vocal wise but at the time it seemed right, so we yeah overall I really like the record!
For that comp we added “All The Same” from the “Some Kids Have No Face” record.
We were part of the benefit HHF did last year with other song. When we toured Europe in 2010 we played a bunch of shows with NEXT STEP UP and we got along pretty well with all of them.
We kept in touch with JR (the singer) and since he has a really strong connection with people from Japan (Sand dudes) he thought about this idea of a comp after the tragic events, where we could somehow help to minimize the effects of the destruction caused by the tsunami. On that cd you can find a good ammount of bands, that teamed up to offer you a double disc cd with a proper message and good idea behind it!
The HHF work and what JR also managed to do with this, it proves that we can be active, we can really make an impact in the world besides all the lyrics we write.
For some it may be ridiculous to think we can actually make a change, but for others it’s really something they are working hard achieve. From words to actions, one step ahead.
Why is it so important for punk bands to make a change? Why does Greg Bennick and thousands other guys do all the talking between the songs? [smiles]
It is important people to be aware of what is going on in the world. It’s not a band thing, if a band does not want to talk about this, it’s all good.
Not every band has to cover the same subjects, but as far as punk hardcore music, I think it’s a big part of our culture the awareness and the social criticism towards issues that people forget that exist. There is still hunger in Africa, there are still people being oppressed in Middle East, there are still banks taking people’s houses, there is corruption in loads of governments, dictators doing what they want and taking everything they want from people. So it still makes sense to talk about all these issues.
I really think that Greg with the Haiti thing is doing a great job, I think that everything as a timming, there are shows where I feel I want to say something more and there are shows I don’t. Anyways I think that every band has a purpose and for example with TRIAL his purpose is to speak a bit more than I actually do with our band. I have total respect for his activities and total respect for those who live their life to help others (being a good person and having a good heart has nothing to do with hardcore or non-hardcore discussions, you are what you are).
True, true [smiles].
Okay, guys. Do you feel that we have covered more or less everything Idioteq readers should know about you? [smiles]
[laughs] Well I don’t know, I think this is probably the most extensive interview that we have ever replied [laughs].
We are celebrating 10 years of existence and during 2013 we will be playing a bunch of dates all over Europe. we don’t have a plan for an European tour cause we want to focus and finish the songs we started already for a new release. Also we might announce some more shows maybe next week.
I invite you all to check out the scenes from countries you think there is nothing going on, right now I’m focused again on the Brazilian scene. During the 90’s I really liked some Brazilian bands, so i got hold of their tracks again (SIGHT FOR SORE EYES, INSPIRE, SELF CONVICTION) and discovered some new stuff I’m digging like STILL STRONG, ONE TRUE REASON, PAURA, CLEARVIEW… good scene there!
A split would be a great idea. Go for it!
A split record? We have just released a split 7″ with German band WORLD EATER on Save My Soul Records. Each band contributed with 2 new tracks plus a cover song. We have decided to record THE OFFSPRING [laughs].
Oh no, don’t do it! [laughs] Which song?
We already did it!! The record is out already [laughs]we did “Genocide” from the record “Smash” [laughs].
It’s funny cause they played here at a fest and did not played that one, so we decided that is such a good song we grew up with that so we did it our own way! [laughs].
Ok, I’m gonna have to forgive you. The song and the whole album is the least evil this band [laughs].
How did you decide to put out this mini-record?
That record is good! Oldie but pretty actual actually.
We love WORLD EATER and we are such good friends. It seemed the right thing to do. Two European bands getting together and release a 7″ that could show everybody the good core made in Europe. It was fun! [laughs].
So now you’re taking a break from releasing splits for some time? [smiles]
We are so focused on the LP. But we do not close the door to any split 7″ in the future. As long as we have enough songs for all plans!
Do you often have overproduction? Bonus songs ready for an extra use? [smiles]
Not really, since we are kinda slow writing music, we do not have songs left for split, when we plan a split we make the songs and then we find a proper studio to making it happen. Till now we don’t have many split 7″, we have a 4 way split with CITY TO CITY, BLACK FRIDAY and LAST MILE, and the last split 7″ with WORLD EATER.
Vinyl is so expensive these days that smaller labels cannot afford it. So we do cds and for the first time ever we had an LP with Destroy Your World.
So the main focus is to do enough tracks for full lengths and then when we do have sometime or something settled with a band we write the music for the splits.
One band I’d love to make a split would be NO TURNING BACK. A live in Lisbon or Porto kinda thing, that would be insane. 3 tracks each band recorded live with the Portuguese kids going insane!
We actually have a live show recorded with 5 cameras and good audio quality, but we never had the chance to release it, so I might just drop it online or so… I don’t know! [smiles]
Wow! Come on! Put it out, guys! Don’t be cruel [smiles]. You can always use Vimeo or Youtube to release it [smiles]. No need to release it properly. You can do it afterwards and make the big news in 5 years, do a favour for collectors [smiles]. Do you have it already edited?
Yeah we have it edited and ready to get it online. I’m just waiting on the password from YouTube and code.
It was recorded like a year ago or so, but we totally forgot about it, so I was checking YouTube and found that teaser, so now I will drop it online! It was a really cool showcase, with most of the Portuguese bands at the moment playing for the HFF. Great evening!
Lots of kids fighting and singing along?
No fights! we don’t like fightings, I mean we love energy, stage dives and mosh. But when someone uses the mosh pit to beat the crap out of a smaller kid ain’t the smartest thing to do. If you wanna fight, fight the real enemy, they are out there, they are not inside of a hardcore show! I love a good singalong and some good mosh, I love when kids do it with meaning not some made up dance they saw some video about it. If you want to express what you feel by going crazy, do whatever you want and just make sure that you do not hurt people around you, or if you do (ca/strong/spanuse we all know that happens) just apologize and have fun! [smiles].
Yeah yeah we are too political correct [smiles].
Ha! I know what you mean, dawg [smiles]. I meant the good, sissy fights, ya know? [laughs]
O-K! What else, mate? Any secrets you’d like to reveal via Idioteq? [smiles]
There are a couple of things aligned for us to do, but right now i don’t want to tell anything and then they might not happen. so i’d rather wait a bit before become public with all the dates and plans. But for now we have a bunch of shows booked, we are going to Switzerland again, we are going to Spain, we are doing cities we haven’t been before or haven’t bee in years in Portugal. We could not be more happy about it.
Well we will be on national TV playing live a couple of tracks on December 21st (that’s something new that i haven’t brought to public yet [laughs]). it will be a fun experience, playing like if we were at the practice room but with some cameras rolling. No audience, just us playing our music. I hope i can come up with something smart to say cause not that many people have the chance to go on tv for a couple of minutes and speak their mind, right?
And i guess that’s about it… ahh yeah we will have a new record out in 2013!!!
Sweet Jesus… We’ll never finish this interview [laughs]. How did you hook up with this TV station? Tell me more about the new outing [smiles].
This is gonna be a big interview [laughs].
Well we had been there already on a couple of interviews and this time there will be a special edition for xmas, and there will be some playing every day, I mean you will have those more commercial artists and then we will play, it feels weird. It’s a show for young kids, if we can deliver a message there, perfect!
I really don’t care if people call us sellouts or whatever just cause you go to TV, it’s the way you use the tools you are given.
We really hope to have the record out by the summer. And then we plan the thing properly. One step at a time, no rus/span/ah, no need to show that we are alive. We work at our own pace so, it’s all good! [laughs]
Is there a station showing good music on television in Portugal? [smiles] I remember the amazing Viva Zwei from Germany. It had produced so many great shows showing so many amazing underground artists. I can’t believe there’s so much shit on the airplay these days.
Back in the days we used to have a channel called Sol Musica, they used to have all the heavy shit. I remember the video from Portuguese HC classic TRINTA E UM on TV, shit was off the hook!!!! Nowadays that TV station called Sic Radical, they support the smaller bands, and without looking at music style. They like to support the underground bands in general.
Viva was the shit… BIOHAZARD punishment, MADBALL – Pride or Down By Law. Oh boy those vids are great!
Yup! I loved the Wah Wah and other night shows, too. It was a great place to watch amazing shows and meet some new strange artists [smiles].
Do you listen to the radio? Maybe streaming something online?
I don’t really have a specific radio station that I listen to, but i do listen to radio when I’m driving and most of the time when there are news.
I really like to be informed so yeah I listen to radio, and when I listen for music i listen those rock pop radio stations.
I’m really open minded to music in general [laughs].
There are a few local stations here that host metal shows, and most of them they broadcast hardcore punk, as well.
We had a couple interviews on some radio shows, it’s always fun. I’d like one day to have a radio show.
Cool [smiles]. It’s great again to know that you’re not a narrow minded hardcore-only pumped up boy [smiles]
Have you considered starting a rock band, an acoustic project perhaps? boy [smiles]
That idea has crossed my mind a couple of times. But I don’t know how to sing or anything. So I dropped it.
If I ever do something different it has to be with those 90’s indie rock emo flavour kinda thing. But to be honest I don’t see that coming [laughs].
I wish I could and I would be lying if I was going to say that I wouldn’t mind living from music, but it had to be a professional thing. And for now in good this way. Motown and Universal have to wait a bit till they get me [laughs].
Alright, dawg [smiles]. We’re approaching to the end of this talk [smiles]. Just tell me about some cool zines you know [smiles].
Right now I don’t see that many amount of fanzines like I used to back in the days.
Anyways I’ve always done fanzines myself, I do a fanzine called Overpower Overcome, it has 4 numbers out already. Before that I had some others with different names.
I don’t get hands on fanzines from abroad cause mostly its only when we tour that I have the chance.
I miss fanzines to be honest, but also most kids nowadays have internet access, so it makes less sense to have it printed, although an old school dude like me rather holds the paper in his hands. For example I found out some interviews I did in 2000/2001/2002 for an old fanzine I had, some of them were printed, others not, and I posted online has an online fanzine [laughs] just a revival thing. Check it here:
Well, is there anything else that you’d like to expound upon? What else comes to your mind? [smiles]
I really want to thank you for getting us some space to open our minds and talk about life, music, etc.
I’m sorry if some of the answers are a bit boring or not what most people expect, but I couldn’t be more sincere.
Thank you for this shot, it’s much appreciated!!
Thanks for stopping by, it was a pleasure! [smiles]
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