“Bold, fast and complex at the same time” – Auro Control’s Lucas de Ouro talks to Chaoszine about their debut album, “The Harp”

Author Daniel Agapito - 6.5.2024

Brazil has undoubtedly been a force in power metal for a long time, “exporting” bands such as Angra and Shaman in the late 90s and early 2000s. Nowadays, a new wave of melodic metal bands have been coming up, such as Tocantins-based outfit Vocifer and Auro Control, coming out of Bahia. Lucas de Ouro, lead linger of the latter band has spoken to us about the formation of the band and the release and recording process for their debut album “The Harp”, set to be released this month.

Thiago Bianchi (Noturnall, ShamAngra, ex-Shaman), the person behind the production of your music has gone on to state that he has “a great deal of affection for Lucas, the vocalist… he managed to take the time to create an album that left everyone in awe when it was finished!” Could you take us through the formation process for Auro Control, especially given since most of the material was made only by you?

Lucas de Ouro: I had an idea in my head and nothing else! I contacted producer Thiago Bianchi before having the songs ready. I had already written most of the lyrics for the album and, after explaining my vision for it, I started inviting the musicians. I’m lucky to be friends with amazing musicians! Thiago “Bonga” Baumgarten, currently playing with Hibria (BRA), Diego Pires is playing with Warlord (GER), Lucas Barney released a solo album and was among the Top 20 Best Guitarists in Brazil by Roadie Crew Magazine, Davi Britto is the drummer for a tribute to Dream Theater well known in my city… that is: everyone is very good and we have been friends since childhood. We’ve had a lot of bands together and I thought it was time to get together again to record something at a high level.

Your first concert was in São Paulo this January, alongside other promising Brazilian power metal acts Vocifer and FireWing, opening for ShamAngra, a project which unites Angra and Shaman alumni. How was it like playing to such a big audience so early in your career? How would you say that concert weighed on your career and trajectory as a band?

Lucas de Ouro: It was a great experience for Auro Control. We started off on the right foot and with great visibility for our work. We managed to put on a show for a very specific audience, who like the same things as us. After all, we were greatly influenced by Angra and Shaman too. It certainly raised expectations for our album, and we were happy with the amount of positive feedback we received. Our album will be released first in Japan, with a bonus track. Afterwards, physical copies will arrive in Europe, the United States, Brazil and the rest of the world as well.

By extension, how do you see the power metal scene in Brazil today? Would you say there is a new wave of bands coming up? Having opened for ShamAngra, how would you weigh the impact of not only Shaman and Angra but maestro André Matos in general in the Brazilian melodic metal scene?

Lucas de Ouro: Long live the return of Edu Falaschi! In Brazil, I feel that the scene is warming up again with Edu’s new albums and the excellent work that Angra has been presenting with Fabio Lione on vocals. We have again, two big names promoting Power/Prog Metal in Brazil. Many new bands are appearing and some old ones are coming back. Certainly, there is a new wave of Brazilian Power Metal and I’m happy that Auro Control is part of it! We have excellent bands in the activity such as Noturnall, Sinistra, NorthTale, Vocifer, Firewing (not to be confused with FireWind), Innocence Lost, Ego Absence, Perc3ption, Eigen Flame and Twilight Aura, among others. Out there, I see a very vibrant scene too. I follow bands like Beast in Black, Gloryhammer, New Horizon, Induction and Power Paladin, who are killing it.

About the concert, writers at Sonoridade Underground said that “Even in their first show, they already oozed stage presence and a great dynamic between the members. Lucas de Ouro showed that he had a natural charisma, receiving warm responses as he interacted with the public, the guitarists always seemed to be in tune and, in general, the band did not give off the feeling of being nervous, managing to have a good command of the São Paulo public.” How would you describe the Auro Control live experience?

Lucas de Ouro: Our first shows were amazing! We were very comfortable on stage after a couple of years working on songs and recording in the studio. It’s always important to remember that we are childhood friends. It’s different when we look around and see a guy who has shared many other moments with you, often in environments without as much structure as at the beginning of our careers. Personally, I can’t wait to release the album and put my mind to planning a tour.

Both “Rise of the Phoenix”, your first single (featuring Aquiles Priester) and “Not Alone” (featuring Jeff Scott Soto), your second single, both talk about mental health struggles and the ability of going past dark times and restarting. What are some of the other themes touched on in your debut album, “The Harp”, to be released this year? What is your opinion on talking about mental health struggles in metal?

Lucas de Ouro: I like to say that “The Harp” is an album that talks about overcoming, rebuilding bonds and giving the opportunity to give new meaning to life. Taking care of your mental health, after years as turbulent as the ones we’ve been through, is fundamental. Dealing with depression and anxiety are challenges of the modern world and I try to talk about these topics always presenting the possibility of positive transformation. The title song: “The Harp” literally talks about defying the silence of death and  listening to music, listening to the harp playing. It’s about connecting with some melody that can guide you along a better path. For me, metal is about that too.

As has been mentioned before, you have recorded a single (“Rise of the Phoenix”) with Aquiles Priester (W.A.S.P., ex-Angra) – how did his experience affect the final product presented? The track was also composed before the rest of the album, as was the first one to have its drums recorded. How did this influence the other songs in the album?

Lucas de Ouro: Aquiles Priester’s participation certainly elevated the album’s performance. It was the first song we recorded due to his commitment schedule and, after it, we dived into composing the rest of the album. The pressure of having such a recognized and professional musician also set the tone for our next steps. I am very grateful to Aquiles for his dedication and generosity.

Not Alone”, the second single you are set to release was written with many quotes from Jeff Scott Soto songs, referencing track such as “Soul divine”, “Eyes of love”, “Break your chains” and “Holding on” and with a duet with him in mind, even if nothing was confirmed at the time. How did this partnership ultimately come to be? Was there a backup plan in case the plans fell through?

Lucas de Ouro: The song doesn’t have that title for nothing. I wrote it to be sung with someone. And, logically, I thought of JSS to sing with me, as I’m a big fan. In other words: there was no plan B! In fact, I recorded the whole song by myself and sang my parts and his. If he wasn’t willing to participate, I would have paid tribute to him anyway. But luckily he liked the song and was very quick in the process of recording the vocals. In less than three days, he already sent me his parts and even created harmonies for our vocal lines. It was amazing!

Apart from that you have gone on record saying that JSS is one of your biggest influences in the metal sphere. How was it like recording with an idol?

Lucas de Ouro: It was surreal! The first time I heard him singing the lyrics I wrote I got goosebumps. The entire process of contacting him was very easy and professional. Sometimes we’re afraid to get close to idols so as not to deconstruct the image we have of them, but Jeff was a really cool guy throughout the process. He deserves all the success and I was very honored by our duet.

Auro Control has recently signed with Japanese record label Avalon Records, European Label RockShots and Brazilian label MetalRelics for worldwide distribution of your debut album, scheduled for release still this month. Could we expect international tours from the band? Something around Europe, maybe? Furthermore, what would you say differentiates the band, on a global scale from other Brazilian bands of the same style?

Lucas de Ouro: Certainly, having representatives in different parts of the world facilitates possible tours or participation in festivals. We wanted our music to reach as many people as possible. Therefore, we are very grateful to all the record companies that listened to our sound and were interested in the album, taking care of its promotion and distribution. I believe that we have this mix of references and bring the folk percussive elements from Bahia, as something different from what other Brazilian bands have already presented. I also believe that my way of singing is a little different from what is expected of a Power Metal vocalist due to my experience singing other musical styles professionally. We have a lot of what is expected from a band of this style, but we also have something that is ours, in the middle of it all.

What could we expect from your debut album “The Harp”? How would you describe its sound?

Lucas de Ouro: A bold, fast, complex album and, at the same time, with captivating melodies and great choruses to sing along with the band. Incredible guitars and an overwhelming bass! The album has a little bit of everything we like, so listening to the tracks is very dynamic, presenting the band and its members.

To wrap things up, do you have any final considerations, anything you’d like to share with the Chaoszine audience?

Lucas de Ouro: Thanks for having me! I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak to the Chaoszine audience and say that we are a Brazilian band passionate about metal. We seek to honor the great names of the style and you will be able to recognize our influences when listening to our work, at the same time that we will be pleased to present new elements to the style, showing that mixtures are good and that cultural differences can serve as a good seasoning for Power and Prog Metal listeners.

Live photos by Belmilson Santos