Marcus D’Angelo from Claustrofobia: “I feel that the great legacy has been the example of commitment to art and the inspiration for people to never give up on a dream”

Author Maria Goe - 30.1.2023

With almost 30 years of history, Claustrofobia is one of me the most solid extreme metal bands in Brazil, managing to create an unique sonority full of ferocious influences. The band was created in the interior of the state of São Paulo in 1994 by the brothers Marcus and Caio D’Angelo, the band has seven full albums, several tours in Brazil and Europe, and has already shared the stage with names like Sepultura, Destruction, In Flames, Napalm Death, Vader, and more.

Claustrofobia is currently based in Las Vegas, USA, and has just released their seventh studio album titled “Unleeched“. Check out an exclusive interview with vocalist and guitarist Marcus D’Angelo about the new album, defining moments of the band and much more.

Photo Credit: Helena Mestriner

-You recently released the album “Unleeched”, which was highly praised by the fans. How was its production and when did it all start?
Marcus D’Angelo: First of all, thank you very much for the opportunity to make this interview. The album was produced in Los Angeles by Claustrofobia and the Brazilian producer Adair Daufembach, who has been known for his work with Angra, Megadeth, Cadaver, among others. We were looking for a different approach for this album, but without neglecting the organic principle of our music. I believe that together with Adair we reached a very convincing result. Everything started in 2018 when we kick started the jam sessions putting together all the riffs and compositions that we felt some potential, we went back to Brazil in 2019 to play at Rock in Rio and we returned to Las Vegas early 2020 where we also have a base. We already intended composing this album in 2020 and the pandemic hit the world which ironically was a “blessing” for us because we had all the time of the world to finish all those songs. We were isolated and we had the chance to focus all our energy on the composition from the album.

-What are the differences between this new album and the previous one?
Marcus D’Angelo: We had worked as usual, same thing along of the years, me and my brother Caio (drummer) working together but this time with the addition of the new bassist in 100% of the process. We worked like a real band, rehearsing all together etc. The songs always born from me and Caio because we have done this together more than 25 years but definitely this time, we had a very good vibe that we didn’t feel in a long time. Our last full length was “Download Hatred” we released an EP “Swamp Loco” afterwards which we tried some new successful experiences that we also explored a lot in “Unleeched”. We added a new tuning with 7-string guitars along with the old tuning. We also tried to make the songs straight to the point influenced by our second album “Thrasher”, so it’s hard to explain the difference between the albums, we’re just keeping the way of working naturally using and abusing the experiences acquired over the years.

-About 4 years ago, you moved to the US. What did you feel different about this change? And what are the main differences in the US music industry in relation to Brazil?
Marcus D’Angelo: The difference is always regarding cultural and economic point of view, each country has its own reality, and therefore we had to adapt to this new reality. Regarding the music industry, there really is a very big difference from Brazil, the access to equipment is much easier and we are also closer to showbusiness, but it does not mean that it’s easier, actually it is much more difficult because there are so many exceptional artists making the business much more competitive in a good and bad way. There is much more passion than business in the South American metal scene but on the other hands the business is taken more seriously in the U.S

-And how was the pandemic for you? What was the biggest difficulty you faced during this period?
Marcus D’Angelo: Honestly, during the pandemic we didn’t have major problems, we were well settled and united, so we took advantage of the moment to finish the compositions of “Unleeched” and that whole atmosphere of fear, anxiety, reflections, inspired us a lot in the finalization of the lyrics. The real difficulty was after the pandemic, it has been very hard to return to the same pace work that we were doing. The market is oversaturated due to tours and releases that have been postponed and are happening right now, etc. But we are grateful to be alive because with health anything is possible. We are working hard to get back to routine.

-You had the honor of playing at Rock in Rio together with Chuck Billy. It was a historic moment! How was this experience for you?
Marcus D’Angelo: Definitely It was one of the highlights of our career. Hit the stage of one of the biggest festivals in the world with a thrash metal pioneer was an unspeakable privilege. And everything was even more special because we also shared this stage with our brothers from Torture Squad, a band that we lived with a lot during the late 90’s onward. We still received messages from the fans saying that our show represented the resistance of Brazilian Metal due the fact we reach this level without any support of major labels or agents. All the achievements were our merit, and it has inspired many bands, fans and people in Brazil and all over the world.

-How was the construction of your musical style? Because the sound of Claustrofobia wanders between various extreme metal subgenres. You managed to create something unique…
Marcus D’Angelo: I’m glad to know you understand that. We’re open-minded about music, we appreciate all kinds of heavy music. When we started the band, we tried to incorporate in the same song elements of Iron Maiden, Sepultura, Biohazard and Metallica hahahah. I believe due to these intentions we developed a hybrid way of composing using all our influences that make part of our musical DNA.

-You carry a huge baggage of experiences, but if you could choose, what would be the band’s most special moment so far?
Marcus D’Angelo: It’s very difficult to single out just one important moment, but I would highlight the release of our first album in 2000, we wrote a song in partner with Andreas Kisser from Sepultura called “Curva” which ended up being the theme of a successful craft beer, the opening act for the last Slayer show in São Paulo/SP 2019 through a petition signed by fans, and obviously our participation in Rock in Rio 2019.

-And is there any song or album that is very special to you? Why?
Marcus D’Angelo: All of our albums had their due importance, but I really like “Thrasher” because it represent when we figured out the way of our style and also “Peste” because it is singing in Portuguese.

-What would you like the legacy of Claustrophobia to be?
Marcus D’Angelo: I prefer to say what has been the legacy than what I would like it to be…

I mean, we’ve putting our hearts on this band since the beginning, and I feel that the great legacy has been the example of commitment to art and the inspiration for people to never give up on a dream. Most people have dreams and never chase them to the end because they judge that have a deadline for this to happen, are based on commercially successful stories and/or comparing themselves too much with the realities of others and then finally fail to remain resistant to the adversities of the path.  I believe that when you give your soul to something, you automatically start living your dream. I often say that success is the journey and not the final line.

-What are the band’s plans for 2023?
Marcus D’Angelo: Keep the work, focused to get back into the show routine, keep the process of new compositions active and always strive to evolve personally and professionally. We’ll have some video clips to release and we’re always looking for something new to keep the fire going on.

-Claustrofobia is one of the inspirations for many people. What advice would you give to anyone who is starting or wants to start making music?
Marcus D’Angelo: If you feel It’s gonna be a priority in your life, dedicate yourself to the fullest, study everything that involves your dream to understands exactly what you wish to reach, be prepared for all kinds of sacrifices and do it first for love. Stay away from alcohol and drugs as much as you can, celebrate every little achievement and be happy with what you have without complaining about what you don’t have.

– We are finishing the interview, would you like to send a message to the people in Finland?
Marcus D’Angelo: I already played in Finland in 2009 and it was unforgettable. Finnish bands are killers, Metal is part of your culture and I think that’s amazing. I had the honor of participating as a judge in the project “Come to Latin America” sponsored by the finish government and I respect so much the finish metal scene. I really want to come back with Claustrofobia or whatever projects I have as soon as possible. We are together and I am very grateful for the support of Finnish fans and friends. Thank you very much.

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