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Caedeous - Interview

Interview with: Paulo J. Mendes
Conducted by: T.V.

Some weeks like out of nothing we were hit by an amazing album named Domini Tenebrarum and the band that released is Caedeous. For many of us this is a new name on the scene, but to judge from what they offer on this debut album of theirs it seems like that we deal with a very experienced band. Nevertheless, Caedeous is an international musical project formed in 2014 by Portuguese composer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist musician and producer Paulo J. Mendes. Caedeous' music is often described as mixture between symphonic and extreme metal with a lot of black metal influences. Before releasing the normal "metal" version of the album Domini Tenebrarum, the band put out a very interesting orchestral version of it - Orchestral Sessions - Domini Tenebrarum in December 2017. Caedeous music is characterized by the use of traditional instruments in metal/rock music (guitars, bass and drums) mixed with live orchestra, choir performance and dark atmospheres. The mastermind Paulo J. Mendes composes all the music, elaborates the song structures and builds the orchestral arrangements for all of the songs. The outstanding vocalist Rute Fevereiro (Black Widows, Enchantya) builds the vocal melodies and writes the lyrics, alongside many guest/session musicians for instrumental recording in studio and live performances. Caedeous most regular session musicians are Bernardo Rodrigues on guitars and Manuel Pinto on bass guitars. The result of this is a masterpiece, a monstrous undertaking that is executed with precision and skill. Caedeous shows also a lot of originality, certainly a thing that is difficult to find these days, especially when it comes to metal or any kind of rock music, but somehow their mix of symphonic elements, black metal, theatrical and horror ambiances is absolutely unique, and Paulo J. Mendes is a bright-minded genius who shows himself to the world with his musical art and his Caedeous project is here to stay, because magnificence is this, the power of creation that takes form and body and exists by itself. I did quite an in-depth interview with Paulo and he explained mayn things regarding Domini Tenebrarum, about the band, line-up, future projects and yet much more.

T.V.: Hi Paulo! Can you please quickly present Caedeous to those of our readers who still don't know the band?
: Hello, Tomaz and Terra Relicta Magazine, thanks for inviting me to this interview. Caedeous is a symphonic black metal project that started in 2014 as a horror orchestral demonstration for music supervisors in Los Angeles with solid roots on agressive black metal influences and some horror soundtrack elements. As time moved forward it was fully adapted to be a symphonic black metal band/project. This same demonstration is now the album that our fans and audience know as Domini Tenebrarum.
T.V.: Yes, and from what I understand, the album, your debut, Domini Tenebrarum, was done already in 2014. What took you so long to release it just now?
Paulo: Mostly due to professional issues in the music industry. At the time I was working (still am) in the trailer/soundtrack industry and due to commitments and projects that were being done with insane deadlines it was impossible to make Domini Tenebrarum. As time passed by it was harder and harder to make it possible, but in 2017 due to more free time on my hands I managed to finally turn Caedeous into a reality once again, and here we are now.
T.V.: Caedeous is an international band/project. It was difficult for you to gather all the right musicians for this project?
Paulo: Yes very, I would say not hard to gather, but hard to find the right musicians with the right mentality and posture for what I had on my mind to take the shape that I wished for Caedeous. The worst part was the recruitment of voices, over the time the search was more intense and finally found the right vocals for the project in Rute Fevereiro.
T.V.: Can you tell me how did you came up with a band name Caedeous and what does it actually mean?
Paulo: Caedeous is a original word I designed which can be connected in latin to fall of god which connects to the stories of the album, the corruption and sins of the humans which lead to the fall of god.
T.V.: Your music is often described as extreme symphonic metal or symphonic black metal. Are you satisfied with this descriptions?
Paulo: Caedeous has so many type of sounds and influences in there that is very hard for me to even categorize it in metal terms, but since all the elements of extreme metal are there yes, but it is more of a conceptual idea since all the albums follow a story which is told in each song from the álbum. But symphonic black metal and/or extreme symphonic metal fits well.
T.V.: I must agree on this. One thing that I find very interesting is that you decided first to release the orchestral version of the album and later on the proper "metal" album. Very uncommon if you ask me, so why did you took this approach?
Paulo: Well that is a very good story. When we started to send our very first presskits introducing Caedeous, there was the mention of it being a demonstration as an orchestral/horror for the soundtrack industry, and by surprise lots of magazines and radios started to ask "can you share with us the orchestral version as well, we would love to take a listen to it". It was so natural that I decided "ok lets do this" and since the master and mix was already done for the orchestral since 2014 we just had to include the vocals of Rute Fevereiro on it. It was unexpected but it ended very good in the end since we gave the audience, fans, magazines an extra which complements Domini Tenebrarum so well. From now all albums forward starting on the second studio álbum, Obscurus Perpetua, which we are now recording, will always have a metal version album and orchestral album in a deluxe package.

T.V.: Interesting and I'm glad to hear that you are already working on a new album, but I'll return to it later on. Now, Domini Tenebrarum is a conceptual album exploring the collapse of the civilization of the Middle Ages. Why did you choose these thematics for the album, and are you in any way fascinated with history?
Paulo: The story was choosen while I was composing the album, for me it is very important to write songs and albums over a conceptboard. Since due to the dramatic tone of the album and theatrical aspects it made perfect sense to me the medival dark ages where witches were burned and the mind of human beings was very closed. So the concept was all done around that age to reflect the "dark ages".
T.V.: Is there any kind of a subtle message hidden in this lyrical concept, that could be interpreted as a warning?
Paulo: Yes definitely, the entire album speaks about the moral descent of human beings and the destruction of the world by the hands of humans, in the story it ends well... but in the real life if we "humans" do not wake up, we are heading into a very dark and really bad scenario. Worst than it was in the Middle Ages...
T.V.: I though so. Now tell me, was everything on this album done just by yourself? And because it's so very complex work of art, please tell me more about the sole working process for it?
Paulo: Yes, all the album was composed by me. The process of working on it was very complex since I had to pass an idea from my head to several instruments, it is a very lonely process and hard. But in the end the results are always good to listen. I always start by composing a song by piano and then pass it to the low end instruments bass, drums, low orchestra brass etc... then move it forward to middle and high sections, only on the end it enters the vocals part. In this case on Domini Tenebrarum the process of vocals was done by the amazing vocalist Rute Fevereiro. She also wrote the lyrics based on my concept story.
T.V.: And how the recording process went, because you are from different countries?
Paulo: Most of the recordings initially took place on my studio 6 and further was brought to Portugal to Studio 7 where we finished the last pieces of recording process with Rute Fevereiro, Bernardo Rodrigues and Manuel Pinto locally. It was na amazing experience but also hard to arrange a good schedule to fit all the musicians into the time table to finish the recordings.
T.V.: The album was self-released. Was there no interest from labels to release it, if you have even opted out to some?
Paulo: Well the album was planned to be self-released and self-funded since the day one. We did not take time to search for a label since we risked that option out however there were some labels interested and still are specially on the second album. I am currently studying all the available proposals. Anyway, we are always open to proposals from labels and for a prosperous business offer.
T.V.: I'm almost sure that you'll find a fair and honest deal for the next one. From what I was reading, the album got mostly very positive reviews from media. I'm interested in your point of view, would you do anything different now?
Paulo: Yes definitely, the reviews around the world have been fantastic and is always a honor to know that the audience loved your work so much. Well Domini Tenebrarum ended exactly how we wanted it to be, but there were some small things we would change for the better, but we are carrying that experience to the second album.
T.V.: Domini Tenebrarum is also very original, a thing which is difficult to achive these days in music. Congratulations for that! But still I wonder which bands and artists influenced you the most as a musician?
Paulo: Thank you so much! We always try to be as original as we can and to bring something fresh that either we like and want to send to the public. For me the bands that have influenced me so much are Cradle Of Filth, Dimmu Borgir, Emperor, Dark Funeral, Tristania, The Sins Of Thy Beloved, Theatre Of Tragedy,... the list goes on and on but I guess that this are my main influences.
T.V.: You already mentioned that you are in the process for the next album. Tell me a bit more about it and when can we expect it?
Paulo: Without spoiling much, we are looking again into a concept story album that is a sequel to the story told on Domini Tenebrarum. But the album will be in terms of sound more agressive and heavier than the first album, and will be full of crazy piano melodies.

T.V.: Are you working on the next album with the same line-up, or will there be some changes?
Paulo: No, Caedeous musicans are contracted and therefore there will be changes on the line-up for this studio album and also live shows. We will only be seeing the returning of Rute Fevereiro and Bruno Guilherme from the previous album.
T.V.: Can you alrady reveal some names?
Paulo: There will be guest vocalists, that I'm currently working to bring them on but I can't reveal the names yet and we are also currently auditioning two guitarists for live applications.
T.V.: As you mentioned live activities... is Caedeous embarking on a proper tour in the near future or will there be played just some selected shows?
Paulo: Currently we are working on our live setlist with the total performance of Domini Tenebrarum plus some themes from upcoming Obscurus Perpetua to be performed on selected events, festivals and venues. We would also like to embark on a tour but currently we are waiting for the second album for that. We are currently studying the best options in order to make that happen in terms of logistic and musicians. But a surprise live event will come this year around September/October. It'll be something special for all of our fans worldwide.
T.V.: Rute Fevereiro is certainly one kind of a vocalist. I was surprised how easily she can go from operatic voice into a totally harsh one. How in the first place this collaboration between you and her even started?
Paulo: Rute is such an amazing vocal performer, I mean she can go from full growls to operatic tones in a matter of seconds, simply outstanding, one of a kind like you said. We met in 2016 when I was in the aftermath of Elementia I album release and we talked about the possibility that she could come aboard for the chapter II of Elementia, but since due to her full outstanding metal background with her bands Black Windows and Enchantya we talked about her coming aboard to the return of Caedeous project and she was very open minded into doing something fresh and when she first heard the songs of Domini Tenebrarum it was a perfect match and since then she has become one of mine top vocal performers in my projects. Simply outstanding vocals and professionalism.
T.V.: Tell me more about your musical background. I suppose that you are and were involved also in some other projects/bands?
Paulo: Well my primary background professionally that is composer for trailers and soundtracks and videogames since 2012, but I also have been working on my Elementia music project which is a fusion of epic music with metal voices (of which first album was already released in 2016), and I also worked and played in the past with several metal bands, between black metal and symphonic metal, since 2001.
T.V.: In the music of Caedeous is notable quite a strong presence of theatrical elements. Is this a consequence of your work as a composer for soundtracks, or this just comes in naturally?
Paulo: Yes, it is definitely a direct consequence of my soundtrack composer skills and influences. I always had since I remember a very big attraction for the symphonic and theatrical elements, which led me to symphonic black metal when it was first appearing, but as I moved more and more into the soundtrack realm now it comes naturally since I am very used to this full orchestral and strong choral presence in the music I usually compose for the industry and Caedeous just happened in those terms a full black metal type of project with the symphonic and theatrical counterpart.
T.V.: If you had unlimited options, with which musician would you really like to collaborate and work together on some music?
Paulo: Well there are so many talented musicians out there that I love so much and their bands of some which I am a long time fan. But in terms of vocals, which is what I am always earger to work with are definitely Dani Filth, ICS Vortex, Shagrath, Ihsahn and Simone Simons.
T.V.: Ok. As you come from Portugal, a country with strong metal heritage, in the first place Moonspell and Heavenwood are from there among many other newer amazing acts, tell me, is there a band that that we don't know yet and you would like to recommend?
Paulo: Yes definitely we have very good bands and musicans in Portugal. I strongly recommend Desire (doom metal), Corpus Christii (black metal), Enchantya (gothic metal), Filii Nigrantium Infernalium (black metal).
T.V.: Perfect and I hope that our readers will check out for them. Now, who is Paulo in private life, outside the music world? What are the things that enthuse you the most?
Paulo: Well when I'm not composing or being involved in music I usually like to appreciate my family and kids, some RPG videogames and mmo´s, and nature, love to take long walks in the forest or on the sea shore, its very relaxing.
T.V.: I think that we went through quite a lot of things in this interview. Thank you for taking your time with answers! Is there anything that you would like to say in the end to our readers?
Paulo: Yes, I would like to send a big thanks to Terra Relicta Magazine and its staff for the time spent with me on this interview and all the support you gave and are giving to Caedeous, it is a honor on our behalf and would like also to send a big cheers to all the readers of the magazine and in the hopes you check out our music. Thank you all.

Caedeous links: Official website, Facebook, YouTube