What inspired you to first start making music? And how did you come to be in your current incarnation? Or if you prefer, a brief bio about you.
I started playing guitar at age 11 so I could give some use to an old Classic Guitar that was laying around the house. Shortly after it became an obsession after I discovered some Metallica tunes. I’d spend days trying to play their albums and it was for sure my gateway into the world of metal guitar.
I joined my first band ‘Collapser’, a thrash metal act, at age 15 and we played many gigs around Portugal. It was a great experience. I had the opportunity to get to know many bands that I admire today and learn a lot about the Portuguese underground metal scene. Unfortunately we didn’t have the chance to release any record.
I’ve also played in a Rock & Metal cover band, ‘Tempora’, where I had the change to acquire more stage experience, however after a year I decided to leave so I could put all my effort into composing original music.
In 2015 I released my first solo project EP, ‘Geometric Winters’, at the time I didn’t have much knowledge about music production but I still think this release was a great milestone in my musical path as it helped to shape my musical approach today. Still in 2015 the technical death metal band ‘Enblood’ was formed and I’ve been playing there to this day.
After ‘Geometric Winters’ I released the single ‘Kabbalah’ for my solo project. This single brought some new flavors to my sound as it mixed some elements from stoner rock and blues to my previous metal sound.
In 2017 I joined the Thrash Metal band ‘Adamantine’ to play at the promotion gigs of the album ‘Heroes and Villains’ and it was such a wonderful experience since I had the opportunity to play at some major stages with incredible people.
2018 has been a really good year for me, given that Enblood released its debut album ‘Cast to Exile’ and I released the first full-length of my solo project titled ‘STONESUN’.
Provide us with some info about your latest release…
Some months ago I released ‘STONESUN’, the debut full-length of my solo project. ‘STONESUN’ is an instrumental metal concept album with a root sound of progressive metal complemented with a diverse set of influences from another styles such as neoclassical and heavy blues.
My main goal with this record was crafting a soundtrack to a post-apocalyptic world where every song represents an episode in a journey of mankind trying to leave planet Earth after the sun turned to stone. I was inspired by many post-apocalyptic movies such as “Oblivion” (2013) which helped me to imagine the world I felt the album would belong to.
The album starts with an orchestral intro that represents an omen of something bad that is about to happen and sets a tone of uncertainty and darkness for the rest of the album that gets deeper as songs move forward. This way the album progression goes along with its theme since each song portrays a chapter from the extinction of life on Earth to the journey of humanity through the eerie space in the search of a new home.
Which ones would you consider your main influences both music-wise & non-music-wise?
I’d say my main influences music-wise are, between many others, Guthrie Govan, Jason Becker, Yngwie Malmsteen, Joe Satriani, Nick Johnston, Marty Friedman, Plini, Owane & Angel Vivaldi. All of them have such a beautiful way to communicate through their music which inspires me a lot in my own compositions.
I’m a huge cinema fan, so my non-music-wise influences are mostly from cinema world. I’m very inspired by Christopher Nolan movies, everything is just so well thought out, from the script to the visuals and the soundtrack which in many movies is brilliantly composed by one of my favorite modern composers, Hans Zimmer. The cast is always also amazing, I’m particularly inspired by Christian Bale’s unbelievable performances and his method acting and dedication.
Although I’m not that of an active reader, I really appreciate Fernando Pessoa’s poetry, considering him also an influence.
In what way does your sound differ from the rest genre-related artists/bands and why should we listen to your music? In other words, how would you describe your sound?
I’m really fascinated by instrumental music, I believe it’s one of the most beautiful forms of communication. When there is no lyrics and you only have the melodies left, the listener is given a new level of interpretation where there’s a lot of room either to associate personal experiences with the sounds or to try to understand what the composer was feeling to group those notes in that specific order forming that melody. I find that pure magic, it’s for me the most honest and universal way of communicating, it’s an experience everyone can enjoy anywhere in the world since there’s no need to understand any language and as human beings we associate different sounds to different emotions.
In my compositions I take this into consideration. Being my sound mainly shaped by metal subgenres I already have a solid way to pass on strong emotions, so I try to absorb a lot of elements from other genres mainly blues, jazz-fusion or even classical to pass on to the listener other emotions in some sections of the track I feel suitable.
I believe every music genre has something great to offer, so I really feel it is important to be open-minded and learn from other genres things that can be applied to our own, adding some different flavors to it, resulting in a more fresh sounding composition.
Please name your 3 desert islands albums, movies & books…
It’s really hard to name only three albums but I’d say this three are the ones I’d take with me to a desert island: “Erotic Cakes” by Guthrie Govan, “Black Sabbath” by Black Sabbath and “Earthborn Evolution” by Beyond Creation.
As for movies I’d say my top three are, among many others, “The Prestige” (2006), “Whiplash” (2014) and “Interstellar” (2014).
Unfortunately I don’t have that much time to read, but the books that marked me the most were “The Catcher in the Rye” by J. D. Salinger and “Mensagem” by Fernando Pessoa.
Do you prefer studio or performing live and why?
I love being at the studio recording and composing, it’s where the music is born and I always have a great time, it’s an unique experience for sure. However I believe music is made by people and the exchange of emotions that only can happen in a live performance. Being at the stage and watch the crowd enjoying your music, singing the melodies and lyrics is something that fills my heart and makes me feel fulfilled. It’s a feeling like no other and means the world to me, therefore I’d say I prefer performing live.
Is there any funny-unique story you would like to share with us, always in relation to your music ‘career’?
I find funny the fact that at the beginning, shortly before I started to play guitar, I didn’t have much interest in music at all. My parents thought it would be good for me to learn a musical instrument and insisted so much for me to play the guitar that one day I agreed and joined a music school. Never thought it would become such a big part of my life, after a few weeks that was the only thing I could think about, I gained a lot of interest not only in guitar but about music in general. I’ve had a lot of luck to have a great guitar teacher and to meet so much incredible people along my musical path that taught me a lot of things and keep on inspiring me to be a better person and musician.
Which track of your own would you point out as the most unique and why?
I believe my most unique track is ‘Trivial Perception’ from my latest album ‘STONESUN’. This is the last but one track of the album and represents the internal awakening that needs to happen in mankind in order to live in harmony with the Universe. It’s one of the fastest and heaviest songs in the record, so it can be seen literally as a ‘wake-up call’ to sensitize people to all the major problems the world is facing right now.
Fred Brum was featured in this track doing a guest guitar solo. Being one of my main influences in Portuguese metal guitar, it was such a great pleasure to have him. He added a lot of flavor to this track with his unique and outstanding guitar playing, helping to shape the final flow of the song.
Would you like to share with our readers your future plans?
Sure! Both in Enblood and in my solo project ideas are being gathered to start the composition process of the next albums. You can expect news very soon about new releases from these projects.
Free question!!! (Ask yourself a question) you wish to answer and haven’t been given the opportunity…
How do you feel when listening your previous releases and how have your creative process have changed since then?
I see life as a learning process, my main concern is always to do the best I can do at the moment. When I hear my previous releases, especially the first ones, I inevitably think if I was doing it now, I’d do it in another way. However I see it as part of my learning process, so even if at the moment I’d do it in another way, that was the best I could do at the given time, and I think that’s what really matters, to keep on improving your knowledge and experiment different workflows to always keep on doing a better job, release after release. That being so, I look at my previous releases as milestones of what I could do at that time.
My creative process changes quite a bit from release to release. In my solo project I really like to experiment with different themes and exploring new genres. When I decide to make a new release, I usually start by choosing its theme, then I spend a lot of time studying and absorbing other works of art related to that theme and finally I try to compose a soundtrack to fit the world I’m trying to create. When I started the creative process for ‘STONESUN’ album, I picked the ‘post-apocalyptic world’ theme, then I’ve spent some time watching some post-apocalyptic movies and doing some research about the topic. Shortly after I felt very inspired to start composing the album.
Photo credits: Daniel Jesus (1st one), Ana Sofia (2nd one)
Curated by: Mary Kalaitzidou
Connect with João Miguel:
Youtube -» www.youtube.com/c/joaomiguelmusic
Facebook -» www.facebook.com/joaomiguelpage
Instagram -» www.instagram.com/j.miguelguitar
Twitter -» www.twitter.com/joaomiguelmetal
BandCamp -» joaomiguel.bandcamp.com/releases
Spotify -» http://bit.ly/StonesunJoaoMiguel