Summon: How did the band get started?
Sofia Silva: The band was started by Vitor Mendes (guitars), Simão Santos (vox, bass) and Dário Duarte (drums) in 1997 and was called Systematic Collision. At that time they played hardcore/noise. After some changes both in line-up and musical influences the name was changed to Neoplasmah. Since 2001 the band has the same line-up.
Summon: What kind of music do you play?
Sofia Silva: Our first album was death metal with strong influences from the Swedish scene. Our second album “Auguring the Dusk of a New Era” has a darker feeling and sounds more like blackened death metal.
Summon: How has the fan response been?
Sofia Silva: Since we released our second album in November 2014 it has been overwhelming! Against all odds people still remembered us and were eager to hear our new songs!
Summon: Where did the band name come from?
Sofia Silva: The band name invokes the plasma particles that make up the solar winds that strike the Earth coming from the Sun. Essentially we (Neoplasmah) are part of the solar winds and are coming to Earth to destroy you all! This is related with the apocalyptic Sci-Fi stories of the lyrics.
Summon: Introduce the band members and what they do in the band.
Sofia Silva: Neoplasmah are: Sofia Silva (vocals), Vitor Mendes (guitars), José Marreiros aka Melkor (guitars), Alexandre Ribeiro (bass) and Rolando Barros (drums).
Summon: Who writes the music? Lyrics?
Sofia Silva: The main composer of the band is Vitor Mendes. All arranges are then made by the rest of the band. The lyrics of the first album were written by Vitor Mendes and Simão Santos (first vocalist/bass player of the band). The lyrics of this second album have all been written by me, except “Ravishing Theatre of Chaos” which was written by Vitor Mendes.
Summon: And where do the lyric ideas come from?
Sofia Silva: I tried to maintain the Sci-Fi theme that was already a trade mark for the band since the first album. Every time I come up with an idea for a lyric I did some research for the scientific part and then made up some fiction around it and ended up with a story for each song, with a not very scientific ending!
Summon: What is your view in Satanism and Occultism?
Sofia Silva: Neoplasmah does not have a satanic or occultist side to it in the lyrics or band concept. My personal view is that people should follow whatever makes sense to them. I myself like a lot of so-called Satanic bands and/or with lyrics that refer to Occultism.
Summon: How many albums/CD’s have you released?
Sofia Silva: So far we have released two albums:
– “Auguring the Dusk of a New Era” was released in 2014, by Helldprod (Portugal)
– “Sidereal Passage” was released in 2004 by Dark Music Productions (Portugal)
Summon: Tell me about some of the songs on the latest CD?
Sofia Silva: Well the title song Auguring the Dusk of a New Era is like every other song a story about how the world as we know it on Earth could end. In this case a comet with an alien subliminar message would strike the Earth, thus controlling every living creature’s mind and annihilating civilization, destroying technology and erasing all scientific knowledge. Human kind would be back to the Dark Ages. That is why it is called The Dusk of a New Era – it is the End of an Era of knowledge and light and the beginning of a Dark Era. We chose it as the album title because Neoplasmah as a band is living a new Era also, returning back to life after such a long hiatus and bringing our dark music to the world after 10 years of silence.
Summon: Do you have any side projects?
Sofia Silva: Yes, all of us are and have been involved in other projects, from Black Metal, to Grindcore, to Thrash metal or even Jazz-Bossa Nova! You most certainly have heard of Grog, one of the most influential and well known Portuguese bands, where Rolando and Alex have been for some years now. Also Vitor Mendes was co-founder and Melkor plays the guitar in the band Martelo Negro aka Black Hammer, also one of the best acts in the Portuguese underground.
Summon: Who are some of your musical influences?
Sofia Silva: Each one of us have different musical tastes that are not constrained to metal music. I believe that is what makes our music not so easy to relate to other bands. Of course the Swedish death metal scene has had a heavy influence in our music, but we also hear a lot of black metal, so our influences are in between those two.
Summon: Which current bands?
Sofia Silva: Since the musics from our new album were written since 2004 and we are not currently writing new material it is hard to point out current influences. But bands like Belphegor or Dark Fortress certainly drive us to push ourselves to do more and better everyday!
Summon: What is the band like when you play live?
Sofia Silva: We take the gigs very seriously and are trying to evolve to make it as professional and effective as it can be. We deliver all our soul and anger on stage and it is much more enjoyable now to play live than it was 10 years ago. First because we gained a lot more experience since then and second because we don’t care that much about people’s opinion anymore. So we just enjoy it as much as we can and present ourselves as the united front we are as a band.
Summon: Have you guys ever played in another country?
Sofia Silva: Not yet. So far it has been hard to plan tours abroad because we all have full-time day jobs and families. But I’m sure this will be made possible in a very near future. We are open to invitations!
Summon: How big of crowd shows up at shows usually?
Sofia Silva: We’ve had everything from a few hundreds to a few dozens. But that does not influence our performance or delivery on stage. Portugal is a small country with a proportionally small underground scene so only mainstream bands get to have huge crowds.
Summon: How is the crowd response when you play?
Sofia Silva: These guys deliver a show of brutal technicality on stage that usually leaves the audience staring incredulously for as long as the show lasts. This together with the fact that we are one of the few Portuguese bands with a female vocalist doing some growling vocals usually works pretty well. We get awesome reactions from the public and great reviews.
Summon: What do you think of the US Black Metal/Death Metal scene?
Sofia Silva: The US has always been a driving force and a big influence regarding all kinds of music. Great bands and great producers have made it so. I think that all of us (Neoplasmah) consider Cannibal Corpse and Death two of the greatest bands ever. I only wish Portuguese people would appreciate Portuguese music as much as the US people appreciates their own music. We have got to give you credit for that!
Summon: What do you think of the Overseas scenes?
Sofia Silva: I think we are living ambiguous times. Technology and the internet has made it possible for so many bands to appear nearly simultaneously that it is hard to keep track. However, great bands and great albums are released everyday! Only it makes it hard to really appreciate an album like we did 10 or 15 years ago. I still like to almost study an album like a piece of art and listen to it over and over again if it means something to me. So I usually make fun of myself saying I will never be a music connoisseur, because I can’t keep up with so many album releases nowadays!
Summon: What are some of new favorite black metal/death metal bands?
Sofia Silva: I myself am currently listening to a lot of post-rock/post-metal, psychedelic music like Ufommamut, Cult of Luna, God is an Astronaut, and some Portuguese bands like Sinistro, Redemptus. On the other hand Opeth has always been one of my favorites, alongside Dissection and Emperor and Behemoth’s last album is something I hear recurrently. I strongly recommend you follow closely new Portuguese bands like Infra, Alchemist and Redemptus, because they will certainly blow you away.
Summon: When do you guys plan on writing any new material?
Sofia Silva: For now we’re focused on promoting this album, so we’ll keep on playing live at music festivals. There are some new ideas in storage but no plans to start writing the next album. At least for now!
Summon: What does the future hold for the band??
Sofia Silva: We hope the future brings us the opportunity to play abroad and keep playing live in Portugal. Although music does not make us by far any richer, it is something that truly gives us enough personal satisfaction so that we will not give up on it.
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