Although not exactly a household name just yet in North America, Mindflow has been tearin’ it up in their home country of Brazil for over six years now. Their progressive hard rock sound is starting to make some waves and the band is currently out on tour with UFO here in The States.
TWRY had the opportunity to catch up with founding members guitarist Rodrigo Hidalgo and drummer Rafael Pensado prior to their show in Foxboro MA at showcase Live and find out a little bit about who they are. Check it out!
By: Roger Scales
You’re currently out on the road supporting UFO here in the US. Have you toured here in North America previously and what have the crowds been like thus far?
This is actually our 4th time here, although most of the dates have been on the West coast and Southern part of the US. So far on this leg it’s been awesome. Every show the crowds seem to get bigger and that’s a good sign. We did play the Prog Power Festival in Atlanta in 2009 and I think that was our biggest show here in America up to this point. We love the American crowds and they seem to be really into the music. You guys are all rockers at heart and we are very happy to be here once again.
With Bare Hands is your 4th studio album and the first with Nightmare Records. Was the recording experience/location any different than you’re your previous releases?
Yes it was. It was a very different experience than in the past because the initial recording started out within a project called “365” where we worked on 1 song a month for an entire year. So we kind of worked on the song, recorded it and released it one at a time. We did move around a bit working at several different studios during this process. We once again got to work with Ben Grosse (Marilyn Manson, Slipknot, Disturbed, Breaking Benjamin, and Sevendust) producing some of the tracks on this new record so we were real happy having his contributions and experience at our disposal. We were very pleased with how the final mix came out and we hope the fans do as well.
After watching and enjoying the video for the first single “Break Me Out” I’m curious where that was shot and do you have any interesting stories coming from it?
Everybody always asks about the girl!! No none of us are dating her! Basically that location is a major trucking spot in Sao Paulo Brazil where sand is gathered for distribution to various construction sites throughout the area. We had a lot of fun working on that track I think the director got the most out of us that day and the performance shots are really a good representation of who we are as a live act.
I also watched the video for the new single “Thrust Into The Game” which was a lot different from a stylistic approach than the first video from this album. What is the game referenced in that song?
That “game” is a reference to Brazilian politics and what seems to be going on in local government right now. There was lot of corruption that was going on at that time. It was in the news daily and we just couldn’t help but be affected by it and it came out in this song. It’s all about taking the people and the government and throwing them all in one pot and trying to create a stabilized environment. It’s still a work in progress.
Speaking of games..tell me a little bit about the Alternative Reality Game ‘Follow Your Instinct”. Who came up with the concept, how many people have been playing this game and at what stage is it at currently?
The band came up with the general idea for the game and the concept of the game in 2005 that situates the players as detectives in pursuit of a dangerous serial killer. We thought it would be fun and it started out with about 3,000 players in the first edition of the game that lasted a little more than 1 year. It combines fictional situations with reality, making use of media channels from the real world. The game takes place in websites, e-mails, phone calls, and some other media sources. It’s now up and over 10,000 players at this point. It has a special connection with our younger fans because it’s similar to a video game. We put clues in each of the albums so it combines our records in the game as well.
It’s a little tough to categorize Mindflow into just one musical direction. Hard rock rhythm section with a melodic flow and power vocals is the best description I could come up with. Certainly you appeal to different fans and age groups for different reasons. Did you ever have a goal in mind as a band to overtly attempt to have mass appeal or did it just happen naturally as the band evolved over time?
I think it’s just a natural progress over time. As a band we never tried to limit ourselves or categorize the act into one particular style or direction..just let it flow. That’s how we came up with the name of the band. With the new record With Bare Hands we did try to be more aggressive and heavier for sure so it should resonate with the metal fans all over. We really wanted to share the energy with the crowd when we recorded this new record and couldn’t wait to start playing these songs live and feel that vibe up close and personal by getting back on the road.
In your native Brazil you have played some major stadium type shows and also supported some major acts throughout Europe as well. What has observing these rock veterans in these environments taught you about life on the road, interacting with fans and building the Mindflow legacy?
Great question because we all believe the best experience you can get “cutting your teeth” and creating a band for the long haul is just tour, tour, tour. We need to bond and work as family and friends and you can only gain that connection by going out on the road. Seeing some of these guys that have been doing this for 20 or 25 years just gives us the motivation to someday be that vetern act headlining on a bill with 4 or 5 other bands. Most of these bands we have toured with have been super supportive and we have appreciated the guidance and advice.
There was a recent photo of the band from this tour with Mike Portnoy..now drummer free agent! What was that meeting like and did you think Dream Theater will be the same band without him?
He has been one of the biggest inspiration to us and one of the most important metal progressive performers of his generation. To have him in the audience at our gig watching as a fan was a huge thrill for all of us. We got to talk to him for a bit after our set and Rafael got to ask a few drumming questions which defiantly made his day! He was so cool. We gave him one of our tour shirts and he wore it!! He is a real music fan who just happens to be the best rock drummer in the business. Having Mike Mangini replacing Portnoy in the band they will lose very little from a skill perspective and his style and technique are so similar I can see why he got the gig. But Portnoy was so much more than just the drummer. From a business standpoint it will be different. His spirit is what flowed through the band and it will be interesting to see not only the quality of the new music but how the fans react no matter how good it is because Portnoy is not there. On the other hand maybe the other band members will step out of the shadows and showcase another side from them we have never seen; either way no matter what happens Mike Portnoy will be back in Dream Theater at some point in the future playing like he always did and has with reckless abandonment.
What does the future hold for Mindflow in terms of touring for the remainder of this year, another studio album or maybe a live cd/dvd?
We have actually been filming quite a bit of material since we started in the hopes of putting together a bulk of material for a live DVD package. We have some more touring planned for the summer in Brazil and then possibly back in the studio to start work on a new record by year’s end. Writing, touring, writing touring. We feel the whole spirit of the 1970’s is starting to come back with bands constantly working and trying to release an album a year to keep their momentum going and fan base growing. We strive for that as a band. We have a lot of energy burning inside each of us and want to get it out live on stage and then back to the studio to create new reasons to keep come seeing you guys here in the US! We love it here and want to thank all of the fans on this tour for coming out early to check us out before seeing UFO.