1-SB:Hell-o Sofia! How do you do ?…….let start with my fun and fav questions héhéhé How many packs of beer did you destroy today? ………..to begin ….introduce your band to our readers ?.... introduce the band members?
-SS: Hell-o Sataroth Blasphemer and all readers! I’ll have to disappoint you on that. As much as I like beer I don’t drink alcohol often. But I drink a lot of tea… ahahah… So the band members are myself Sofia Silva (vocalist), Vitor Mendes (lead guitar and composer), José Marreiros (rhythm guitar), Alex Ribeiro (bass guitar) and Rolando Barros (drums). We have the same line up since 2001.
2-SB:Do interviews mean anything to you? Do you have to have a special state of mind when answering one ?
SS: Absolutely! Interviews are a way of letting people knowa little bit of us as a band and as individuals. I do give them a lot of attention and to answer I do need a special state of mind. That’s why (apologies…) I sometimes tend to take so long to reply to interviews.
3-SB:In what part of Portugal do you live? Is it attractive for tourists? What can you recommend ?
SS: I live in Lisbon with Alex (Ribeiro, bass player), which is the country’s capital city. Lisbon has a very rich history and beautiful architecture and all of Portugal have great gastronomy, wine and beer. In Lisbon I would recommend that you visit the Belém area and try some “pastéis de Belém” which is a pastry with a nice creamy filling and visit also the Baixa area. In both these places you can find a lot of museums, restaurants, bars with live music and great beer. In Cais do Sodré you will find the bulk of the nightlife.Also hostels are all over Lisbon, so it is probably the European city with the biggest hype for tourists at the moment.
4-SB:Why have you chosen such a band name Neoplasmah, and what does it mean for you?
SS: We are called Neoplasmah because we are travelers that came within the solar plasma that is irradiated from the Sun in magnetic storms. So we are in fact Aliens conspiring to rule the Earth ahahah
5-SB:You started under the name of Systematic Collision but you changed your name to Neoplasmah in my opinion the first name was better and I would like to know what’s the reason for this changing have you more success under the name Neoplasmah ??
SS: At the time of the name change it was thought that Systematic Collision sounded too much like a hardcore band’s name. Also there was a change in the line-up, with Alex and Rolando enterin the band, so Vitor decided to change the name also.
6-SB:Do you see limitations in how much you can evolve with the musical framework of the band?
SS: If you are asking if I think we can make even better music in our next album, well yes of course! Since we are not a technical death metal band (although many people have labeled us as such in the past) all the music is written not so much thinking of going beyond the band’s technical (or human if you prefer) capabilities, but much more on the feeling of the riff and the interest of the story behind the lyrics. So yes of course we can dig into our minds and souls and produce more and better songs!
7-SB:Which albums you are listening lately , are you still buying the original albums or download is more easy for you , what do you think about buying original albums and merch and supporting the bands , are you against downloading of the albums or you prefer to buy original albums and what’s the latest albums which you bought?
SS: In the last years I have only bought albums from Portuguese bands. I hear a lot of Portuguese metal and alternative music (not so much the Portuguese mainstream music which is terrible…). The Portuguese economy as you may know is not at its best right now and buying albums is not affordable for everyone. So I usually listen to the album online before buying it, of course, and I only buy what I really like. Therefore I don’t think the metal scene has been negatively affected by the illegal and free downloading, I actually think we can benefit from it, and use it to promote our music ourselves. We have a video on youtube for Stargate to Infinity that allows people to read our lyrics while hearing the song and seeing pictures of our live performances. I think it is a great vehicle for promoting the band. Lately I have been listening to Corpus Christii, MorteIncandescente and Onirik, great black metal bands and some of the most influential we have here in Portugal.
8-SB:Has the band had more success since you’ve joined it withyourhell witch impressive evil screaming hateful vocals?I think it’s rare to find a female vocalist in death/black metal or grindcore?
SS: At the time I joined the band, around 15 years ago, I was very young and we started out playing live on some of the biggest fests and venues around here. So at that time I think I developed a sort of “stage fright”. I was the only death metal frontwoman in the country and everybody expected me to be like Angela Gossow, which was impossible, since she is one of the most impressive stage beasts I have ever seen, better than 99% of the frontmen in the metal scene. However I am not at all like her and I’m actually a shy person, so metalheads (especially ladies) weren’t that kind to meat that time and eventually I quit. Right now I am totally confident on stage, I know my place and people go to our shows with an interest for that different posture I have, more sober, darker, grimmer and accompanied by the finest musicians in the Portuguese scene. So now it may be more of an advantage to have a girl as a frontwoman than it was 10 years ago.
9-SB:What do you think about the girls in the metal movement?
SS: Finally and fortunately it’s getting bigger, with more and more women in the metal scene, not just supporting but also playing and singing and growling. Here in Portugal the scene was somewhat different and women tended to be very bitchy with their peers about 10-15 years ago, which made me really sad and actually was one of the factors that made me quit for seven years from the metal scene. But today I’m trying to fight it and actually Neoplasmah (me and Alex) organized the first ever concert only with death metal bands that had women growler vocalists. The concert was called the “Female Growlers United Front fest.The public really loved it and the press called it an historical moment in the Portuguese metal scene. Today I actually make an effort to encourageand show my support to any women joining the club of female singers/growlers/musicians in Portugal’s metal scene because I think having the support of your peers, of those who understand the difficulties of being a women in what is still a men’s world, is actually encouraging and gives us confidence to continue, evolve and never quit what we love doing.In Portugal we actually have quite a few female vocalists in all metal subgenres, from punk to crust, from symphonic/gothic to progressive, from death to black metal. That makes me very proud.
10-SB:Space ,cosmos and maybe vision of the Human Future in spaceare present in all of your lyrics. It’s remember me the Spanish band Thirteen Bled Promises their main lyrics subject and concept it’s about aliens so give more details about your main influences and all things whomotivated you ?
SS: When I joined the band in 2001 all lyrics for the first album were already written by the band’s first vocalist and bassist (Simão Santos). And I loved them! The subject has changed a little for the second album, where I have written all the lyrics except for Ravishing Theatre of Chaos (by Vitor Mendes). Although in this second album I kept the sci-fi theme, all the lyrics are actually apocalyptic stories. For example, Storm Vortices of Neoplasmah describes how we (Neoplasmah band members) have come from the Sun to bring chaos to the Earth. Auguring the Dusk of a New Era describes a story of a meteor fallen on Earth that manipulated all earthly creatures’ minds and made humankind go back to the primitive stage, thus again destroying all we know with Aliens dominating the planet. These stories are inspired by sci-fi books like The Electric Forest or Neanderthal and by actual science books, so I do some research while I’m writing but not all the stories are scientifically accurate.
11-SB:Do you have a favourite disaster either man-made or natural?
SS: I don’t have a favorite one per se, that would be kind of grim even for a death metal singer…but the 1755 earthquake and tsunami that hit Lisbon, Portugal’s capital city is the one more remarkable for me. It occurred on the 1st of November when everyone was in churches praying (All Saints Day) and was a major catastrophe that triggered both a religious faith crisis and a sort of an economic crisis all over Europe, since Lisbon was at that time one of the greatest cities and much of the commerce came through it from Africa, India and so on. Also because I’m a geologist an earthquake/tsunami is always something that fascinates in terms of the power that nature has on human’s fate. And finally because some areas in Portugal have a risk of earthquakes/tsunamis, namely Lisbon, where I live, and we sometimes experience minor seismic events, so it is something we have to be ready for.
12-SB:Tell me a little about the death/black metal scene in Portugal. I bet a lot of people won’t know a lot about it and I am sure it will be a pleasant surprise for everyone to discover new bands. What other Portugal metal bands would you suggest?
SS: It depends on the subgenre you prefer. Moonspell is the most famous Portuguese band internationally. But for reference bands I recommend Grog for grindcore lovers, Fungus for Brutal Death Metal, Theriomorphic and Bleeding Display for death metal, Infra, Alchemist, Corpus Christii and Onirik for black metal and for sludge doom lovers I recommend Vaee Solis and Redemptus. A lot more good bands could be mentioned, but I’m sure as soon as you hear these you’ll want to look for more!
13-SB:I really appreciate your album. Can you tell us more about your latest release "Auguring the Dusk of a New Era" give us some info about it ?and how do you describe the music of " Auguring the Dusk of a New Era " ? any material by the way after that ?.......what’s the future plans of Neoplasmah any split promo compilation ep new album……. Other things ?
SS: Thank you so much! We are very proud of it. I would describe our latest album as a combination of brutal drums, technical bass, extremely dark and intricate guitars and black metal vocals mixed with apocalyptic lyrics. We are now about to close the promotional year and will then start focusing on composing the third album. I know Alex and Vitor already have some material they will start working on this year.
14-SB:I don’t like so much your band name artwork also the artwork of " Auguring the Dusk of a New Era ",that’s not attracted me compared to the album containing because the music of "Auguring the Dusk of a New Era" its was like a courage with hateful vengeance or sci fi futuristic war I imagine a massive nuclear war when I listen to " Auguring the Dusk of a New Era " ……well ,who is the author behind the drawing?. The artwork is inspired in the title of the album ?or you said to him the drawing type that do you wanted to illustrate it?
SS: Well…too bad you didn’t like it! It was actually my idea Ahah… Vitor and I (lead guitar and composer) wanted an image that showed the horizon line separating the earthly or planetary realm from the interplanetary space and some human figure in the center of the image. I wanted the colors to reflect the aurora and an image that represented the ascension of the human figure either because Man got to a level of knowledge and intelligence that allowed him to survive in this planet (which for now seems doomed btw with all the waste humans produce) either by the disappearance of the human race. So when we were recommended to work with artist Joana Shino we gave her a rough sketch, some examples from the internet for the colors and after a few trials she came up with this which for me looks perfect. After that we had the help of our friendSamuel Trindade to make sure the digital artwork was ready for final printing.Because you see, the kind of album artwork you describe is the expectable and I myself wanted to bring somethingnew and more in line with the lyrics, which tell of a geocentric or anthropocentric view of the apocalypse. About the logo I absolutely love it too. It is actually symmetric if you watch it closely and has a sci-fi apocalyptic feeling to it, being also very distinct from the usual death or black metal band logos, which I really value.
15-SB:You have released two albums “Sidereal Passage” was released in 2004 by Dark Music Productions “Auguring the Dusk of a New Era” was released in 2014, by Helldprod so why the reason of the long delay between this two albums ten years it’s so far!!! Give us more details about this ?
SS: Many things went wrong by the time we released our first album. Dark Music Productions disappeared soon after releasing our album so virtually no promotion was done and no albums were sold. Since there was no facebook we could not promote it ourselves as easily as we can today. In 2004-2005 all the songs for the second album were already composed and we had already played them in all venues in Portugal, so we were eager to release the second album. But we sent demos to foreign and Portuguese labels and no one showed interest. So we got frustrated and tired and I guess we gave up. The band was inactive between 2005 and 2012, when we reunited and decided to record the second album just for the fun, but immediately we had invitations to play live and a proposition from Helldprod.So we thought let’s make this a band again and release the album and promote it!Fortunately all went very well, far beyond our expectations.
16-SB:Which label would fit your music?
SS: Blackened Death metal
17-SB:How would you define Neoplasmah in one word?
18-SB:How would you define Neoplasmah music in one word?
SS: I would choose the exact same word: Apocalyptic. The spirit of the band on stage and the lyrics are as apocalyptic as the music.
19-SB:Describe Neoplasmah gigs,a great pics are available in your facebook page do you make a lot of gigs ?
SS: We have really great photographers in Portugal! Ahah Yes, we have been fortunate to be invited for most of the greatest festivals and gigs occurring in Portugal since we released our second album (Auguring the Dusk of a New Era) and we do give a lot of ourselves on stage. We are not an energetic band on stage - that is not what you may expect from a Neoplasmah show. We like to add some performative stuff, like intros from movies, masks, smoke and a dark environment that would lead you to more black metal ambiences together with powerful guitar riffs and a restless rhythmic section. I must say the technical skills of my guys are amazing and I see a lot of mesmerized looks when we play live. So people really enjoy our shows due to their unique vibe, I think.
20-SB:How many gigs have you played? Which type of gigs do you prefer, whether in clubs or festivals and which of your performances would you consider as the best?
SS: After the album release we have played on average once a month, which is pretty good for such a small country. I think we prefer the festivals for the general environment and the clubs for the intimacy with the public, where you can look them in the eye and interact more directly. They are two completely different settings. I would consider our best performance the one in the “Female Growlers United Front fest” last October here in Lisbon, where three other bands with growling frontwomen played with us and each of the girls “sang” a song from our setlist with me. It was very special and the public really loved it.
21-SB:Any fav bands to get on stage with ?,any future gigs ?
SS: I would like to share the stage with a lot of bands…some foreign, some Portuguese. But I think the greatest honor during this promotional year was to be a support act for Corpus Christii’sPalemoon album release. It is one of the biggest acts in Portugal and the most international of our black metal bands. Our next shows will be:on April 1st we will be playing in Moita in the Moita Metal Fest, on April 16th we will be closing act for the Morbid Spring Fest here in Lisbon, where we were challenged to play our two albums in onenight and then on May 14thwe will be playing at Deathmania fest in Benavente, alongside many other Portuguese bands as support acts for Cancer. And this way we close our promotional year in great style!
22-SB:Do the members of the band play in other projects?
SS: Yes and it’s quite a list! Rolando Barros is currently playing in Grog, Alex is playing in Grog and Fungus, José is playing in Martelo Negro, Di:soulved and CultoMacabro and I am currently in Secret Symmetry.
23-SB:What are some of your non-musical influences?
SS: Mainly books. Both sci-fi and science books. The first lyrics I wrote I was inspired in academic books from when I was in college, since I graduated in Earth Sciences.
24-SB:What is your occupations outside Neoplasmah?
SS: All members in Neoplasmah have full time jobs. I myself am a geologist, for example. But our main occupation is music. That is what really drives us. Unfortunately here in Portugal it’s not possible to survive only from music.
25-SB:What is your daily consumption amount of alcohol,cigarettes...... ?
SS: Absolutely none. Zero. I used to smoke but one day I simply stopped and don’t regularly drink alcohol. I don’t condemn those who do but it’s just not my thing.
26-SB:What kind of music do you play in your car? What car do you own?
SS: You may be surprised…I have a 12 year old Citroen C3 with a broken CD player. So I listen to radio. I like smooth jazz radio stations and sometimes some pop hits from my childhood or adolescence that I can sing along with.When the band does long trips to get to a show we like to hear the local radios that play their local romantic musicians, which are corny and terrible… unfortunately… but we have great laughs with their terrible love lyrics!
27-SB:Would you like to ask me a question !!???
SS: Actually yes! I bet it is hard and requires a lot of hard work and commitment to keep a webzine alive. I really admire people that do this kind of work, spreading others’ music around the world. So… What drives Youto go on doing this amazing work??
SB:Yes, it is not easy to keep alive a webzine for long because I already had a period a little disconnected and lack of motivation of ambition and idea as I do my review and interview alone without me there is nothing on no Mercy Zine but thanks to the beers that give me motivation hé hé and inspiration , I do not think it's a hard job to do what is right if you loved if you like and if you really love the well made as webzines They are made by passionate ,if you find my wortk amazing I'm surprised !!!!!!!
28-SB:Thank you very much for spent your time with me and good luck for the future any last words for me and for our readers
SS: We thank you very much for this opportunity! Never give up your great work on No Mercy WebZine! For the readers, I’d like to recommend to ear some Portuguese metal bands…It is groing and you’ll be surprised with the variety and quality of what you’ll find! And don’t forget to support us! Visit or contact us though our facebook page!