StampKase's Nuno Costa Talks Debut and Future Activity

Metal act StampKase got together in 2003 and since then has written and recorded material for their debut release "Mechanorganism" with even more material underway. Drummer Nuno Costa discusses the debut efforts and future plans.

1. Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.

Nuno: Stampkase made its first rehearsal in February 2003. So, this is the exact date when we really became a band. However, it took us some years to gather someone to play, as there aren't that many in a small place like Azores. Me, Ruben Bento and André Viveiros kept that dream of having a band on hold for some time, until I actually bought a drum kit.

Two years after that, Bruno Moniz left Kaos (a really popular band out here) and then came the click and everything started moving. We made some rehearsals without a bass player, until we found a lovely person and player like Pedro Valério [ex-Nableena, First Commandment]. Ideas started flowing very quickly and we got about ten songs done to show live in the following months.

Fortunately, things went very good and fast and 2005 became a turning point for the band as we won the most important heavy/rock music contest in the archipelago. From that point on we suddenly became much more respected and started playing in pretty much every important metal festival (and even non-metal) out here. This is when we start thinking seriously about recording our first album (despite a demo was also recorded in, I think, 2004, but in a very homely environment). We would also highlight the opening slots for Mnemic , Dagoba, Exilia, Switchtense, Concealment, Morbid Death and some other great bands (I think everyone deserves our respect). In 2008 we had our first setback with Pedro Valério leaving the band for personal reasons.

In that time, we were also going through the recordings of our debut record, which ended up in a very troubled story. Basically halfway passed of the recordings, the studio where we were working in, broke up for some stupid conflicts between their owners. With that setback and several months passed, we thought it would be better to start the process all the way from the beginning, which would allow us to include a new tracklist. So, this is why we took so long to get a record out.

2. How did you guys come up with your band name?

Nuno: It was Ruben's idea. When we started the band we built a very small place in his parents garage with styrofoam so we can rehearse and avoid neighbors complaints (which turned out worthless). Anyway, that place inspired the idea of a small box or a small case and stamp was meant to refer to ourselves and the personal mark we would try to leave on our music.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Nuno: Surely we have many great bands here, though they were many more some years ago. Many things changed social and financially lately in the country, as I think in the whole world, but it had a stronger effect on us as a very small community. If metal stands as a minority overall, things gets worst in a place like Azores with about 200.000 people (referring to the nine islands). However, some brave warriors are resisting and carrying the torch. I would say Anomally, Sanctus Nosferatu, Carnification, WeParasites, Spank Lord, Zymosis are the most notorious today, but we have some names that made history as Morbid Death (the biggest one indeed), Classic Rage and Tolerance 0. Despite that, some other relevant bands as In Peccatum, Nableena, A Dream Of Poe, Psy Enemy, Neurolag, Trigger Made Solution, Gods Sin, Carnification... well, they were so many, but actually they are all on hold or split up. Sorry if I forgot some other good ones.

4. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?

Nuno: Well, I think everyone in the band has its very own background. André grew up with punk, I grew up listening to more extreme things, Ruben still loves some nu-metal bands, Bruno listened very much to Pantera and Metallica, Pedro was into grunge first and Nuno (our latest bass player) grew up with death and black metal. But this is not a very accurate look into what we are and play. The truth is that we are all very open minded concerning music. This is why we all understand our different "languages" while rehearsing. Meanwhile, there are some elements we preserve in our music: melody, groove and some experimentation. This is why we always loved to try odd signatures. It started inspired by Dream Theater and then we fell in love with Textures, Mnemic and Meshuggah. Anyway, we are incapable of setting any barrier towards our writing process.

5. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Nuno: Basically we appeal to calm and order, though we have nothing to do with emocore or Christian metal. We like to approach the human condition and social behaviors in a more philosophical way and sometimes creating fictional scripts. But I'm not sure we will keep that as a guideline forever. We believe that things change and people as well. So we may be spreading other visions in the future.

6. Tell us about the writing process for Mechanorganism.

Nuno: I think it flew out very easily. I mean, we became more aware and mature through the years, so the process were sometimes slow, especially in a song like "Mechanorganism", which has more environment, samples and odd structures.  Nevertheless, we just do what we feel it's better to make our music more dynamic and less predictable.

7. Which song would you choose off Mechanorganism to show potential Stampkase fans?

Nuno: For the reasons I mentioned, I think it's hard to answer. We have some really melodic and calm moments but in the other hand we can be very aggressive and progressive. But I would say that "Dodge Fire" sums up very well what we are about.

8. Is there any story or concept behind the Mechanorganism title?

Nuno: Indeed we tried to keep a guideline through all the lyrics and artwork, which focus on human condition and how we are step by step losing our sensitivity and becoming violent, greedy and hollow beings. Based on this, we even create some sci-fi lyrics like in "Angular Plasma", remembering something like "The Terminator" or "Hostel", or "Scintilla", which recalls me of "Edward Scissohands" or the dilemma of a scientist while creating the perfect being. On the other hand we have some quotidian subjects - but no less important - like "Random Shot", which is about game addicts, Russian roulette, and so.

9. Who produced Mechanorganism and what was it like working with them?

Nuno: I would say we ended up being our own producers. In a first stage we had many great arrangements made by those guys on the first studio we worked in, but due to the studio change, we started a new pre-production and many things were rebuilt. However, of course that everyone who was in the studio with us gave an important contribute to the songs. They were Pedro Mendes in Ultrasound Studios (where I recorded the drums, in Braga), José Miranda in Estúdios Castanheiro (where we cut all the other instruments, in the islands) and finally Daniel Cardoso [Anathema, Angelus Apatrida, Switchtense] who mixed and mastered the album back in Ultrasound.

10. Why should a metalhead buy your releases?

Nuno: To support metal? I really don't know... strange thing to say! Because we are the best ones out there? Of course not! I just hope people believe in all the dedication and love we put in our music. I hope people understand that what moves a band to survive playing metal in a place like Azores for ten years is because they really love what they do... and I think they can feel it in our songs. But okay, I would say we have a very good physical version of the album - made by Colin Marks [Exodus, Strapping Young Lad, Kataklysm] - and some killer grooves and melodies. Fans of Textures, Lamb Of God, Meshuggah and modern sounds should like it.

11. What plans do you have for the near future as a band?

Nuno: I must confess that the next step is to restore our line-up, once André and Bruno quit in the last months. It is not an easy task because there aren't too many people playing metal around. But I'm sure that won't be a problem. What doesn't kills you makes you stronger. So, we survived until now and we won't give up. Then we will certainly start writing new stuff, what is actually happening though slowly. And in the last days we started auditioning a new guitarist, so I hope things will get back to normal soon.

12. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Nuno: "Mechanorganism" was a self released album, so people interested on buying our CD and merchandise can get in touch with the band by The other choice is Rastilho online shop []. Meanwhile, we are celebrating one year from the edition of "Mechanorganism", so everyone can download and listen it for free via Bandcamp [].

13. Any last words for your fans?

Nuno: Keep supporting metal and keep in mind there is passionate people playing this music all over the world. Check the Azorean scene, I'm sure you won't regret.

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