Hailing from Salvador, Bahia, Inner Call is a power metal powerhouse, with Roberto Índio on vocals (a true countertenor), Leo Mascarenhas and Gabriel Heiligen on guitars, Ícaro Arthur on bass guitar and Luiz Omar on drums. Their long-spanning career started in 2008, and their discography includes two albums and an EP, featuring artwork by João Duarte, who has worked with the likes of Angra, Nightwish and Scorpions, to name but a few.
Chaoszine had the opportunity to chat with singer Roberto Índio and bassist Ícaro Arthur about the band’s history, their sound, influences and the rock and metal scene in Salvador, a city traditionally connected to carnival and Axé music.
You started your band in 2008, under the name On The Rocks. How was that beginning, and how did the band’s name change to Inner Call?
Índio: Omar, the drummer had that idea of calling the band On The Rocks; he is very old school. And I was soon invited to be part of the band. They covered Whitesnake, KISS, and wanted to play Megadeth songs. But I asked if we could also cover Iron Maiden and Queensrÿche, because it fits my voice better. Anyways, we played some gigs as On The Rocks, but then found out that there are many bands using that name already! So, we changed the band’s name: I am a big melodic metal fan, and listening to a Luca Turilli album, I heard the phrase “inner call” in a song called “Angels of the Winter Dawn”, suggested it as a new band name and everyone was ok with it. After that, Omar went to live in São Paulo in 2010, and put together a new band there, under the new name. I moved to Recife in 2011. Which means Inner Call’s first album features that band from São Paulo, and even though I am the original singer, I’m not on our band’s first record. In 2015, both of us were back living and Salvador and we got back together, as Inner Call. We had our first gig at Palco do Rock, an important rock festival held in the city during carnival. Later, Ícaro and the other guys joined us and we have our current line-up.
What are the main influences for your sound today?
Índio: The latest release, “Leviathan”, was completely written by Luiz Omar and it brings his influences. “Elementals” has songs written by other band members. For the next release, we are writing everything in a more collaborative manner, and that will show all our influences.
Ícaro: Legend says bands only develop their sound by their third album…
Índio: Well, not always… Angra defined their sound on their second album. Back to the influences: my vocals are mainly influenced by André Matos, Michael Kiske and Bruce Dickinson.
What inspires you besides music?
Ícaro: There is a lot of political stuff we put in your music.
Índio: The pandemic was a big influence for “Leviathan”, it includes a song called “Pandemic”. The new album will have historical/political context. I myself like History of Art and of Music. So, things with historical context really influence me, like you see that in Iron Maiden’s stuff. And I am also influenced by folklore, not just Brazilian, but also Celtic. And to me, being political is not just talking about politics straight up: if I help someone out by teaching them something, I think that’s a way of being political. And also, trying to be positive, especially when facing difficult times, more introspective stuff, that’s inspirational to us.
Ícaro: There is a major influence here, too, by André Matos, he was a guy who brought a lot of this introspective stuff into his songs…
What is the audience’s reception to your music?
Índio: It has been overall great, especially in the Center-South of Brazil, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Minas Gerais.
Ícaro: They are all praising Índio’s vocals!
So, Índio, how do you keep your vocals always top-notch?
Índio: I practice a lot, for sure. By influence of André Matos, I studied opera singing, especially the Italian school. Then, I learned that I was a countertenor. But I had to stop drinking: no beer for me! I also drink a lot of water.
How is the scene for you guys in Salvador and surroundings?
Índio: There is no space here for us, power metallers with original songs have a hard time around here. But I have three tribute bands, playing Iron Maiden, Helloween and André Matos. Those bands are better received than Inner Call. We don’t get the attention here that we get in Rio and São Paulo. The problem here is the bands in the scene are not united, and the audience kind of follows their lead.
Ícaro: In Minas there is a more active underground scene, people support bands with original material. But Inner Call has the respect of people around here, too, we have been around for long, and that counts: tradition. The musicians in the other bands respect us. But as far as the scene goes, even Aracajú and Feira de Santana have more active scenes than here.
What other Brazilian bands do you recommend for our readers?
Ícaro: Electric Poison out here from Salvador, very traditional New Wave of British Heavy Metal-style band.
Thank you very much for talking to Chaoszine.
Both: We thank you for your time.