Our lives are surrounded by many clichés and several stereotypes that sometimes, ignorance, may define our way of life and to our taste in music; but believe me keeping eyes and ears open you can get in paths never imagined that ever existed… The musical path that I walked many years ago, while in school years, with a dear friend who exchanged cassettes and cds. He once gave me a cassette (‘Guerra Total’ – Blasfemia) that had a strange yet beautiful cover, a tied, burning jester, and fire forming the word Blasmefia. For the musical content itself, pure black/thrash metal sound with musical instruments being tortured to form a quick devilish and background primitive combination with intense vocals by Ramón Restrepo, like a musical ritual disconnected from the jungles of Colombia, since the band originates from there. Honesty, I feel lucky that this musical treasure/tape fell into my hands and my hearings reached other levels. Despite some countries are plagued by several problems, this does not necessarily mean that they cannot export good music.
Today we talk with this important personality of the Latin America’s underground metal scene, the great Ramón Restrepo.
Hello Ramón, how are things regarding Blasfemia?
Hello, Blasfemia now has in process an album that would be called ‘The Power Of the Real’ at the moment of 8 themes go 4 recorded and mixed. Τhe band had a pause of several years because of the death in 1998 of guitarist John Jairo Martinez co-founder of Blasfemia. I traveled to Venezuela making life with my family until 2004 when I returned to the country and made a proposal to the drummer Luis Cano that we revive the Blasfemia project, but to this I do not interest, then I go with Restos De Tragedia hard-core and Ramón ultra-metal in solitary. As Ramón could press 2 albums ‘Libre Albedrio’ in 2009 and ‘Contundente Final’ in 2012 and I define an alignment of musicians, the same for Ramón as for Blasfemia and so alternate with these 2 projects assisted important national festivals and to other local and regional of Blasfemia only was known the 1988 ‘Guerra Total’ EP, where multiple re-editions have been done in different formats, but once over a few problems return the project Blasfemia in 2013 with the work ‘Gods /Humans and Beasts’ and in 2015 the split Blasfemia / Ramón and for this 2017 I think another split with Abduction of Bogotá.
Flashback to the past! What was it that prompted the creation of Blasfemia?
Blasfemia appeared when Parabellum was completed, with the departure of John Jairo and I, there was already some ideological differences and we want to have greater participation in the musical composition as in the lyric, something that was more relevant to our reality more blasphem and contundent.
Which are your favorite lyrical subjects you like to tackle with?
Favorites themes: the transcendental, the underground roots, the personal and spiritual power, the universal totality, the way of the warrior, the magic, the philosophy of non-identification with forms or phenomena, the anti-system struggle, the present, today or now, freedom.
What does the burning buffoon symbolize on your covers? Is it Blasfemia’s trademark?
The buffon or arlequin is a humanoid that moves from the ridicules of the world, blaspheme of blasphemes, of false, reveals for proof of evolution and falls in the trap of material man and is taken to the fire, but the fire is the same alkimia that will make it to be born again which fenix between the ashes to continue the work until they complete it and say victory about the system of imposses and debts. This arlequin is what the project Blasfemia represents and appears for the first time as a seal in the EP of 1988 slogan accompanied “metal made in medellin for metalers“.
Were there ever any bad reactions opposing to your music?
In a conservative society as ours is normal then see us as extraterrestries and dispreciate our music, but what we do was to compensate the psychological load, by expressing with lyrics and sound what we feel and this strengthened us and protected and this was sufficient for those few unlocked / exiliated metallers; the way to vocalize and that strength in the sound was something scandalous for the period, but for us a contribution to the cause.
Latin America and specifically your country Colombia is plagued by issues (high crime rate, etc). Could your music be a form of protest?
Yes, the conscious metal and the hardcore are more than a form of protest, it is antithesis, anti-schema, a clever and noble way of seeing the reality that is not distorted and corrupt.
Why do prefer the lyrics to be in Spanish and not in English?
We are latinos and some radicals, but that does not say that we do not accept differences, the language is universal, but now with the globalization that brings technology, but it is only a taste and characteristic of the ultra-metal may the message be in Spanish.
Have you ever participated in concerts outside Colombia?
Yes, I travel with Restos De Tragedia on tour by Mexico.
Tell us some things about the metal scene of Colombia. Any interesting bands/projects we should take notice of?
The scene of metal in Colombia is well extensive, but always my real appreciation is for the underground and special scene for the ultra-metal sound and metal medal which is conserved that the bands resist at time and other that have returned between them: Reencarnación, Herpes, Agressor, Masacre, Averno, Organismos, Witchtrap, Athanator and of now: Mordaz, Belkant, Extertor; the bands of today are representatives of the primitive sound there also my respect for the hardcore clasico and punk medallo.
Your music career started at the beginning of the 80s continuing until today! What is this that helps you keep on?
To see my work in highest level, mature, to find the voice and the sound that transmits to all a power and conscience, besides being able to do something different no personal, to serve through the music, many identify with what one does and that helps them in some way to move forward. The ultra-metal is already a musical legacy for the world and what one hopes is that other groups get to complete the work with their contribution and fresh sound, without despising their roots, to thank them.
Which are your favorite musical heroes?
Always my respect and appreciation is for the underground bands, the heavier, strident and transcendental sounds like the om, as well as for the raw letters, among the favorite groups are: Βlack Sabbath, Venom, Bathory and Hellhammer.
Apart from music which one is your favorite hobby? Any other form of art you are involved with?
In addition to music, mystic poetry and transcendental literature, physical education, Chinese martial arts, taichikung and inbound yoga and driving a car.
Last words belong to Blasfemia! Something you want to tell or share with Last Day Deaf’s readers?
Thanks Last Day Deaf for the opportunity to approach your readers. Just as it is very important to know how to feed on the native seed, as it happens with metal true, it must teach not to identify external forms of good or evil; but with real things like finding meaning to life, to be happy in the personal and beyond that state, to be able to transmit that same and to serve consciously to all.
***Publisher’s note: Google translate was used for answering the questions. Apart from some minor changes, the answers remained intact. In most cases, they make sense, in a few not really… In any case, hope you enjoyed a living legend of South American metal, Blasfemia’s Ramón Restrepo.