Caverna Abismal
: If you gaze into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you :
        : Interview done to Nuno Barreiras :
: Written by Skelos :        
Ok. This time we offer you something different. In our quest of knowledge of the intricacies of the fucking Underground, how the things work in this rotten and dirty territory (and to show them to you) we contacted with Nuno Barreiras, the leadership of the Portuguese underground label Caverna Abismal and editor of the more than interesting printed magazine written in English “Escritas do Subsolo”. Let’s see what he tells us and we will discover at first-hand all the work that there are behind for all this to move. A really hard work that makes possible to receive the material comfortably at our homes in their different forms, tape, cd or magazine...
Hey Nuno!! What's up dude! How about there in Portugal? Too hot? If I am not wrong you were traveling in Hungary. Great! A business travel or only for pleasure?
Hello Skelos! I'm fine thanks, I'm just sitting now after another fucking working day to write you some lines. Here in Portugal we have hot yes, and with the hot comes the fires, all over the country, an unfortunate truth, generated not only by the nature itself but mostly the cases by human stupidity. There's no country like this where herdsmen ignite fires on our forests just to have more pastures, or where there are private companies renting helicopters to the state in order to extinguish the fires (so of course the same companies ignite fires to have some extra work and money). Resuming, yes, this is the true Hell up here. Concerning my trip, I had indeed vacancies in Hungary, a country where I already lived in, inserted in a region and culture that I really appreciate. I was there for about two years, first studying and then working. While I was there I was very well received, in a different and strong culture, observed in every corner and peoples, with very aspects and mindsets dissimilar from our Iberian way of thinking that leads me to learn much, in several ways. Also in the musical spectrum, I raised great friendships with people from there so, that's another reason to come back. Do not ignoring my country's culture, history and culture, I also like to discover the world outside and understand how small your knowledge can be if you just look to your own box.
Well, I hope we can do a quite interesting and entertaining interview, and, if that's good for you, you can explain us a little about the secrets of the fucking underground, that is as thrilling as "painful" for us sometimes... Are you ready for opening the doors of your Caverna Abismal bro? (dear readers, we may advise you this visit can cause devastating effects in your brains...).
From my humble experience and for what I see, I've learned that interviews are interesting if the answers are good, no matter the questions. The main protagonist is the interviewed character and depend on him the ability to argument good answers and make an interview valuable. So, I'm going to do my best. Though, let me say that this is the first interview I'm answering, therefore you have a debut here, right now!
Ok. How the idea of creating the label came? Perhaps it was a logical result of your work and results in the zine "Escritas do Subsolo/Spellings from the underground"? Please, tell us a little how those first steep was given.
Well, to expose the birth of the label I think is important to start from the beginning of my activities in the underground. As you know I started to run an underground fanzine called Escritas do Subsolo, in Portuguese language means something like "Spellings from the Underground". This activity started in 2007 when I've decided to support the bands I enjoy, national and international and, mostly to create a closer contact with them, learn from them and discuss their concepts and musical approaches. I was very humble all the time as a fan, and I still support bands as a real fan. For example, if I meet with an individual from a band I worship I don't have any problem in asking for an autograph on their CD or LP. On another hand, I wanted to give my contribution to a passion I've developed through the years, as I dug in this obscure panorama, the beautiful and attractive landscape of the underground. So, I released the debut issue in the spring of MMVIII, with some good bands featured as Balmog (Spa), Marblebog (Hun), Exile (Bul), Slidhr (Ire), Hunok (Hun), In Tha Umbra (Por) and Remmirath (Svk), just to mention a few. At the time I had the help of Vercingetorix, not only a great friend and comrade but also one of the most cohesive personalities in the underground. Of course I had to include an article, "The Huns", related with the Hungarian horde Hunok, complementing the interview and its contents, and Vercingetorix wrote a biography of a remarkable personage of human kind, Marquis de Sade. Afterwards, all came naturally. The contacts were established in order to spread the fanzine as far as I could reach because I do believe there are somewhere some maniacs like you, willing to purchase this kind of artifact despite the financial suicide it implies (that's why it is not written in my dear native language, a far way better and more expressive language than English). The process took me to create a small tradelist, due the stock I was accumulating at home, consequence of trades. Later on, I think I was taken by the impulse of creating a label to enhance my support to the bands I like. I created a concept behind the label, intrinsically connected with the fanzine. In few words, the philosophy of the label is based in the ancient origins and instincts, applied to music. To have a better idea, you can read what I've published in the label's website:
In a lucid perspective of the origins of humanity, the caverns and the caves are traces on the animal behavior of humans. In remote times the obscure and dark nature of the deep earth were the lair of procreation and death. They were the nocturnal call of the day, the smell of dead skin on the body, the awakening of the humanity's dirty instinct. Today, like years ago, the extreme music is a primitive vestige of the musical origins of metal. The wrath and the dark sense from the obscurity is still within us. (...)
Honestly, at the beginning I was probing myself on this task as I don't consider myself a royal "hunter wonders" in spite my conscious devotion. At the time I was living in Hungary and I ended up releasing a tape from Selonath, a band from that country, introduced by Balázs from Neverheard Distro, which after listening the music and speaking a while with the individual, the material in question could serve to a first release. Well, as a matter of fact, the first version of the songs I heard were quite rawer and not so over produced as the final version, fact that made me get frustrated but, even though, I still can find some moments on it. From that point forward I got more demanding and cautions on my choices. I went through their ideals and visions, from my perspective, and I think I could refine my capacity to evaluate a band's quality. Believe me, sometimes I fall in disgraces with so many shit around and it's not easy to find a real good band, in their whole. Music is not only music, it's intelligence, it's communication and culture. It's a bond, a feeling, a whisper inside you screaming to burst. In one word: it's art. Another important aspect is that the label is not arrested to a single musical genre. Art has many forms, art has many ways to get shape and meaning.
After, I consider the following releases more important and significant. Are they:
Veér – "The measure of the waste" CD
Escritas do Subsolo TOMO II (Interviews to The Stone, Decayed, Graveyard, Vorkuta, Deathrow, Vérzivatar, The Wizard of Doom, Undersave and Nekrogoat Heresy/Warfare Productions. Articles on "Attila the Hun" and "HP Lovecraft") fanzine
Einsamtod – "Grey days" TAPE
Dér – "Crust falls" TAPE
Vulturine – "Um cruel destino para tudo que respire" TAPE.
All of them have something special, there are no routines or copy-cats here. To give you examples, Veér has a very intimate feeling to me as I saw them live for the first time and it was love at the first sight. The CD release, in cooperation with Neverheard was unavoidable and I still feel today how great the album is. Einsamtod is a tape release, their debut, to which I lost hours of my life to craft handmade hard-card covers to it. Dér, also in tape, has the entire layout created by the artist himself, handmade, no computer shit out here, as the stickers I produced them by myself as well. And, Vulturine is a horde to which I deeply identify myself by the music, by the philosophy and quality. I ended up including 100 posters with the tapes, with a killing layout and atmosphere. So far, unfortunately, I couldn't manage a Portuguese release but, I promise, I'm working on it!
Caverna Abismal
Caverna Abismal
Caverna Abismal
Caverna Abismal
Despite its recent creation, you have already a pretty number of editions. With a few exceptions, the most notable would be Selonath, for me that all stuff would be inside of the pure UG BM, quite raw and a bit dirty. Of course these reIeases are not suitable for selling in trend malls. Well, I wanted to arrive here: in all these recordings I feel to perceive a certain aura that make them "different" from the rest, each band has some unique characteristics make them "special" so to speak. Do you agree with this?
Actually, I can't agree with you in what concerns Selonath. This band is not pure BM and it's not raw and obscure. Pure BM is a strong and honorable connotation that cannot be applied to this band for several reasons. Selonath is feelingly what you can find in Dimmu Borgir sonorities and the likes but not conceptually speaking. It represents a vision from the author to create bleak atmospheres of nature and a total link between life and death through the soul. It has some good instrumental parts, in a symphonic vibe that I'm sure, for those who appreciate this kind of sonorities will enjoy it, but we cannot call this pure BM ever. Regarding the rest, I think I can agree with you, all the releases are different from each other, each one with its own vibe and personality respecting some common values: devotion, ideals and a certain demoniac smell of underground. But let me tell you that I wasn't searching for something revolutionary, something that is going to influence next generations, no. Instead, I was searching for something meaningful and true. And when I say true I'm speaking about the true essence of music, devotion and passion. The power of believing and creating music for the own satisfaction of author's, do not thinking in sales or other's opinion. I do believe that if you are a musician, first you should satisfy yourself and feel comfortable with your own art and then just after the praise might come. If that happens, it's something special indeed.
Then, perhaps is that one of the main "raison d'etre" of Caverna Absimal? To find a bit that point "special" and different?
I don't say that is the way that everybody should do but, at least, for me it works like this, I can't think working in other way, and so far, I'm satisfied with my releases. To that I just have to thank the bands, the true actors and artists on this matter.
Well, as we are at this point, can you tell us a little your honest and personal impressions about your materials edited so far? I mean a quick reviews hehe...
Well, honestly, at this point, this should be your job! AHAH! I'm glad I don't have so many releases like other really veteran labels out there. You know, when I do my reviews in order to publish them in the fanzine I not that kind of going much in depth in my opinion but more like a description oriented. Why? Because as the own name says it's only my opinion and that worth shit. I concentrate my forces in the description, starting usually by an intro and a small background showcase in order to locate the reader in the same line of thoughts as I. The following is like a report of soundscapes given by the music, the feelings and emotions provoked, the maturity, genres and song-writing associated. The main goal is make the reader understand what kind of music is that and not if is good or not. What is bad for me can be good for you and vice-versa. Veér plays disgustful plagues against everything, evolving through a mature and refined Black Metal, quite catchy but with an intense atmosphere of groovy grimness. Einsamtod travels into negative worlds of nature, melancholy and solitude. The instrumental part is quite rooted in the Slovakian vein, dirty and melodious. Dér is a Thrash machine strongly combined with Black Metal feelings. The production is a sack of primitive lesson on how to punch in the stomach after dinner. It's a fucking direct, straight forward and singular act. Vulturine represent all the hate and disbelief in Human kind. It's a maximum exponent in Brazil exploring sophisticated sonorities of negative energy and unusual eloquence. It's an underrated band yet, not discovered by many.
Caverna Abismal
Caverna Abismal
I've always feel interest in knowing how a label works since they contact with a band (or vice versa) until the material is released. What secrets you can reveal us about this process? Does the band send you the master and Caverna releases it? Please, tell us a little more... You can use as example Vulturine, perhaps the band most relevant internationally. How was the thing?
I think there are no secrets at all. An independent label as Caverna Abismal Rec. has nothing else to offer than honesty, hard-work and love to the cause. With exception to Selonath and Veér, all the releases so far completed were initiated by me and as result of my interest in the bands. The process with Vulturine was a culmination of an alliance firstly established with the interview made by Vercingetorix to Escritas do Subsolo fanzine, TOMO II, and a subsequent contact and exchange of ideas. I knew they were searching for a label to release their new demo and therefore, I naturally proposed myself to work with them. The ideas were set, and from that point forward it was just a matter of making the ideas run and finalize the concretization of the artifact.
All your releases until now (with the exception of the Veér full-length in CD) are demos if I'm not wrong, in the classic tape format (kult!! hehe). Can we say you definitevely prefer these types of materials (I mean demos) and the tape as format? Is that only a coincidence or well, everthing is owed to a question of cash (it's the cheaper option)? By the way, can you talk about the cooperation with Neverheard Distro label for the edition of the mentioned CD? How work the things in these cases between two labels and so on...
As I said, all my activities with CAV are purely related with the support to the underground. If I would like to make money with a music label, for sure I wouldn't be releasing metal or rock. I could well be a pimp of the discographic industry and contract some bitches with nice asses and pretty faces with no clue of what a hell music really means. As so, my support is naturally limited to the best I can do for the bands and to support the format itself, falling more and more in an authentic abysm. It hurts to say this but very unfortunately I start to see the unavoidable, the extinction of tapes. Tapes are indeed a format which one I growth and the one I had more contact. Being cheap, an analogic and cult format I can't turn back to these facts. I was no fucking rich to have a full shelf of vinils and CDs so, tapes were since early my favorite format till the time I could afford a larger investment in the other formats but never forgetting the format. Another reason to bet more on tapes than CDs or vinils (till today none was released) is related to the type of release we are talking about. Realize that all tapes are demos, with 15-20 minutes of music, and therefore there is no sense in releasing a CD from a demo, from my point of view.
The case of Veér, after this explanation, is obvious. Veér, at the time, was a band with experience and repertoire good enough to compose an album, by its terms, the debut, but a long-play record. Since I saw the band playing live for the first time I wished to release them. I and Balázs (Neverheard Distro) exchanged some impressions about this issue and due the work developed by both labels the release was possible and successful. Balázs is a great person and a cool guy to work with. The working-flow was extremely natural and enjoyable so, if he wish to work with me in any other project that I can identify myself, it's very well welcome. Something else I would like also to say is the lack of interest of people in buying any kind of format. The money problems and other reasons are nothing but cheap, dishonored and low excuses in order to download MP3 and to listen the bands exclusively in myspace. There's loads of bands I would like to release in CD or vinil but…besides my main motivation, what other reasons do I have? I want to support the underground but I don't want to sink in stupidity burying my money unnecessarily, when I can use it, for example to support the underground, buying original items.
Following the line, perhaps it's only a personal impression but I think people lastly is recovering the good taste of buying tapes. Well, look, perhpas at least this fucking financial crisis have something good hehe... What do you think of this mate?
In some countries this may indeed be happening, but not in Portugal. By the talks I have with some other Portuguese labels/distros the people doesn't buy much and I can tell you that I feel exactly the same. I believe I had more orders from foreigner countries than from here, even if the tapes cost the modest sum of 3 euros. It's ridiculous and I can't understand. With exception to some honorable few people, nobody wants to follow a "presumable" thing that they call passion but don't want to move a finger to keep that art alive and healthy.
Let's talk a little about your magazine "Escritas de Subsolo". 2 issues until now (dear readers if you have the chance, catch them, these folks truly know how to do inteligent interviews with a good work of investigation behind, not with the typical questions everybody do). When do you plan to publish the Tomo III? Anything as advance? Please, tell us your higlight of them.
Thank you very much by the complements, it's really appreciated. By the time the readers find this interview I can tell you that the TOMO III (3rd issue) is out. For several reasons I took a long time to labor this new issue but, finally it's out, and surely all the readers who like in-depth interviews, with a good part of musical content and an important part of cultural/historical/whatever aspects (I call it the "non-musical" content, obviously connected with the bands conceptuality and lyrical visions) will enjoy the next issues. The featured entities are Cripta Oculta, Celtic Dance, Bruma Obscura and Arkenstone as Portuguese hordes with a very interesting pack of visions from Lusitânia (ancient name of a part of the western Iberia, today part of Portugal's lands and a small part of Spain). And for that I worked in an article called "Pre-Romanian Lusitânia" taking the reader to deepen the knowledge on this land and some important native aspects before its Romanization. Also featured are Age of Agony (Hun), Convivial Hermit Magazine (USA), Eterna Penumbra (Spa), Einsamtod (Svk), Veér (Hun), KRV (Bih) and Evil (Bra). Besides the usual reviews I include also a tribute to Defuntos, a unique horde and unmistakable identity from Portugal. TOMO IV (the 4th issue) is close to be completed as well and it counts with Dér (Hun), Egg of Nihilism (Por), Mandatory (Ger), Empty (Spa), Dér (Hun), The Frost (Cro), Moder (Ger), Annthennath (Fra), Mandibula (Por), Entrails (Swe),Taaken (Odal, Wolfsschrei, Barastir, Salvation666, etc) (Ger) and Grotesque Communion (Bra). I have also another Tribute but I don't want to disclose it yet as the article to include. I will share this information in a more appropriate occasion. Concerning your last question, I can tell you, very honestly, that the best interview ever published by Escritas do Subsolo it's going to be one published in TOMO IV. If you want to know the answer you will have to get it to find it by yourself. It may look really smug but it's unbelievably amazing interview, not exactly by the questions but by the answers, the best I ever read in worldwide fanzines.
Caverna Abismal
Caverna Abismal
Caverna Abismal
Can you recommend any of your new discoveries in the fucking UG? What bands you would mention that only a few know? And now, the classic question, how do you see the current scene?
Underground has always good values around, waiting to be good discoveries. New springs of evil madness and original attacks are coming from all over the world. From Portugal I recommend true hordes as Dolentia, Defuntos, Cripta Oculta, Dun-Tur, Infernal Kingdom, Satanize, Nortada Gelada, to mention a few, and recently I've discovered Cult of Erinyes (Bel), Heldentod and Hexenwood (Hun), Vinterkrig (Rus), Tomhet (Can) and Toreva (Svk). All of them present a unique feeling, a singular approach, an own sound really worthy to mention. I consider the international scene, presently to be a huge catalog of uninteresting, unoriginal and monotonous bands, albums, etc, where a lot records come into this world with an extraordinary lack of musicality, personality and quality. On the other hand, there are more treasures to be found and appreciated, that deserve the dedication one needs to seek them and explore them. Of course, the birth boom of bands and labels/distros was/still is another consequence of the modern times, where everything seems to be easier (to the bad and good) and the unavoidable paraphernalia of musical amplitudes has reached an almost ridiculously unbearable point. Thousands of labels with any advantage to exist, tons of titles waiting in distro to be purchased due the lack of clients and followers (or the excess of bands – excess of demand), make the act of simply exist be a unfortunate epic fight to survive. Sooner or later many labels will die, tired of keeping records at home, rotten and dusty, forgotten and useless, traveling back to the times of supportive attitude, leaving the task of "well release" to the best men. Everybody has a role, we just need to accept the differences, and all of them have the same weight! Caverna Abismal was born from the wave that deflowered in the early century and, till now, it's searching for it's own place. Life or death, only the future will tell. As all of us are human, for now, the scene is moving towards the same destiny of human kind. Times of prosperity bring new art forms and cultural values, while death brings not only the wind of change as the affirmation of the strongest.
And a question a bit fucked... What do you prefer a good magazine or a webzine like ours? What do you think honestly about webzines? (well man, you know our castle is terribly isolated and nobody can hear you... haha).
It's not a fucked question, it's simply a risky question. Naturally, I prefer a good magazine to a good webzine, as I prefer a good book to a great pdf that I can read on the computer. I can not nor want to read pages and pages in a row looking at the monitor. It's unnatural and anti-cultural. Then, the final result of a fanzine is the culmination of a manual effort, which does not exist in the webzine. The work of journalism may even be equal, because I see little difference between composing an interview or write an article between both types, but it's definitely the end result that focuses people's attention: is like materializing the concept, magnified forever into something tangible. A fanzine has on each page a drop of sweat, from design to texts. Next, we must do the printing, stapling, and hand number it. In more old-school, the fanzines have the design cut n'paste, all handmade! Nothing can beat this! Then the fanzines have to be distributed and make sure it reaches those who are really interested in saving the artifact with due diligence and value. The words of the artists, the main figures of all this work, will be forever etched with just one open page. Note that if one day the website of Castle of Vampiria goes down, these same words that you read now will be forever lost...
We are finishing dude... If you let me I steal one of your usual questions in "Escritas". What do you know of the Spanish scene (or of Spain in general). What bands from here turn you on?
Right now, I think that Spain has a handful of bands with very distinct characteristics from whose I highlight regions such as Galicia, from where I hail great hordes as Xerión, Balmog, Aboriorth, The Last Twilight, Nocturnal Hell or Dantalion, then the Basque Country have Nakkiga or Mortinatum. For the rest of the country there are also great values as Empty, Amnion, Omission, Graveyard, Eterna Penumbra, Korgull The Exterminator, Incorporea and Akerbeltz as examples. I think it is natural to follow Spanish scene tightly, when we've very close contact and proximity becoming very easy to have a good panorama of what is going on out there.
For ending a question a bit tricky? How do you think are the current relations between Portugal and Spain in general? I don't know man, we are neighbors countries and for better or for worse both are living in the ass of Europe. Don't you think it's time finally to overcome disputes and historical animosities that actaually haven't reason to exist? I really would love a type of "Iberain Brotherhood" between our countries dude.
I think this already happens today a bit all over the place. You have Spanish people who have a very close relationship with the Portuguese and vice versa, for example, Galicia and northern Portugal, as you know have a cultural root pretty much connected and today still observable, since the proximity of the tongue to the folklore mainly in smaller and isolated villages, where the contact with the modern world has not been made strongly. And then of course there are remoter regions, in all senses of the word, such as Catalonia, which you know better than I how much independent they are. If they want nothing to do with Spain, then is needless to speak of Iberian unions. Throughout our history the two countries had their ambitions and it's clear that in another time and cultural context, it ends to move the shadow of conflict. Nowadays, quite honestly, I think there is still some feeling of unconscious resentment, never lived but present that is reflected in a healthy way in various fields such as, for example, the economy. The truth is that it makes no sense to have some kind of negative feeling between two great nations that have done so much around the world and, instead, we must know how to recognize and understand side-by-side the existent similarities and differences and accept them as a humanitarian heritage that makes Iberia a so special corner of the world and, particularly in Europe.
Justly I saw recently a fim based in a tale/fable of your great writer Jose Saramago that make me think a lot about the previous topic. It's "The Stone Raft". Have you watch it? It is about the Iberian Peninsula brokes off the European and fleets freely in the Atlantic Ocean. I like that idea man... What do you think?
I never saw the film but I've read the book. I can't remember of an example to mention you where the film is better than the original book, and concerning Saramago I guess that would be a very ungrateful task to me, as he writes in an unmistakable way, fully detailed in an unusual eloquence, requiring all your attention and feelings. As he died few time ago I just want to pay a tribute to him as a fan of his intellectuality and free spirit. The main event of the story, the separation of Iberia from Europe, in fact has to be framed in the period he wrote it: the approaching date to Portugal and Spain join European countries, in EU. Saramago's vision is about the previous question, the singularity of both countries and the distance observed between Iberia and Europe. Parameters like cultural and social characteristics are the base of such difference and the base of the story itself. Honestly, I don't like the idea of being navigating the ocean as an island. It's a way of isolation and docking in the breweries of stupidity. It's true we belong to a piece of land, far from everything in Europe, but we got used to live like that. We got our own horizons perhaps because we had no elsewhere to go but the ocean. Though, our roots are European and I like to think that way. I can't feel far or remote from European origin and, furthermore, I just can feel proud for being part of it and, simultaneously, for being part of a country with almost 1000 years of history, designing natural and several distinctions.
That's all Nuno. Thanks a lot for your time in this interview. Best wishes for you and your projects from the fucking Vampiria! Tha last words are you brother...
Muchas gracias Skelos! I just want to stress, once again, the importance of supporting the underground. If you like a band, support it buying their releases, if you care anything about art, don't let it die and be converted in some other piece of museum. Support also fanzines, a piece of the testimony in person from people who creates the music you worship. Music is empty without a context, a concept, a message. If you don't understand it, you won't be able to dominate the music you listen. You are nothing but a reckless mind, with no power of judgment. You have a brain, USE IT! Concerning Caverna Abismal and Escritas do Subsolo, there will be many news soon so, if you're interested keep tuned. For last, I wish you all the best my Spanish friend and honestly I hope I can join you one day in some bar in Andalusia to taste some good beer! Saludos!
: Band's website: :
: Origin: Portugal :
: Publishing date: 15.12.2010 :