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Articles Home » Interviews » Marvel (Portugal) - 2003 Interview with Ricardo Fernandes (Jun 2003)
Marvel (Portugal) - 2003 Interview with Ricardo Fernandes (Jun 2003)
INTERVIEW: Marvel (Jun 2003)
Absolutely Marvellous..says Ricardo Fernandes..

WRITTEN BY: Gdazegod

Here's an interesting situation: a Portuguese band, a German label for their brand new debut album 'Everafter', a worldwide audience, and a New Zealand interview. Talk about getting around! Strange mix yes? Not so according to Marvel guitarist Ricardo Fernandes. 'Well its not such a strange mix if you consider that the world has became considerably smaller due to the large presence of the Internet in our lives.'

And he'd be right too - the barriers as presented in past years within the recording industry slowly being whittled away like floss onto plaque. 'Today its very easy for even small countries like Portugal to showcase their bands to the world using the Internet and to establish valuable contacts' says Ricardo. 'Its kind of like a snow ball effect, news on the Internet spreads very fast and wildly.'

Which is appropriate really, as Marvel have gathered momentum like the proverbial snowball since their arrival onto the scene (albeit in a minor way) during 1999. There are only a handful of bands coming out of Portugal, but it's enough to get excited about this burgeoning scene. At the head of the Portuguese Fleet of melodic rock is Marvel, though the guys themselves aren't altogether convinced. 'We are not aware of that, mainly because there are only a handful of Portuguese bands known outside of Portugal and in the melodic rock genre, even fewer.'

That might be true, but to the informed listener, there are other contenders: Nordica (signed to Italy's Adrenaline Records) and Faithfull (Vinny Records) are two others we're aware of. 'Well besides the already known bands like MoonSpell and Tarantula (playing in the power metal style, but now known as Barros), we've got new bands like Evidence and as you've mentioned Faithfull.' adds Ricardo.

Portugal is a country with many hard rock fans. But the strange situation continues at home for Marvel, where to be big locally, you have to be recognised outside of it first. Seems rather 'arse about face' to me. Ricardo explains. 'Yes most definitely. Maybe it will change a bit now that we have an International Label and now have a deal with a good distribution company here in Portugal. But the audience here accepts foreign bands better than Portuguese bands when it comes to all forms of rock music. It seems we need to be noticed outside of our own country to be better accepted.'

Though the history of Marvel is relatively youthful, it's also been relatively fruitful, and they've come a long way in a short space of time. 'The band came together as we were trying to get a record deal with a Portuguese label' says Ricardo, 'so the first CD was sung in Portuguese and with a more poppish approach due to the restrictions we know the major labels here have with melodic hard rock.'

'Since there was no interest from Portuguese labels, the CD (even though it was sung in Portuguese) started to get great reviews in international magazines and websites. We decided to do something in English, while settling on our major influences within melodic rock. We then released the EP 'Long Way to Go'.

Not only that, but Marvel's popularity soared on MP3.COM. In fact, thats where HOTR first heard about the band, back in 2001 I think. So that exposure must have been good for them. 'Yes MP3.COM was very good for us' agrees Ricardo. 'We got 2 or 3 songs several times into the Top 10 and that gave us a lot of exposure. We had a little push because our MP3.COM NMA 'Valkyria' gave us lots of help with the promotion of the band. That's what's good about the Internet - you can meet great people and working together you can achieve so much more!'

On top of that, Marvel entered into, and won The Battle of the Bands contest with UK mag Powerplay. I understand Ricardo was behind that venture. 'Well yes it was my idea to enter, I talked the rest of the band into it' he says. 'We never thought we would win. We just thought it would be good to have a song on the CD of a well known Magazine, that would make us climb one more step in the band's evolution. So we were amazed not only to win but because we got letters from many of the bands in the competition stating that they really liked our song and in the final rounds that they were putting their votes on us!'

Marvel - Everafter (2003)

Marvel eventually settled with Robert Pancur's label Target Records, their reputation already growing within the European scene. material on the album to cover all bases. 'Well we wanted to do an album that not only had heavier songs but also some songs that would allow the album not to grow monotonous after a while. So I think the diversity we added was beneficial in the long run' says Ricardo.

Speaking of songs, Ricardo tells me he likes tracks such as: 'Way Out', 'Someday' and of course 'FingerPrintz'. And then there was that other interesting title 'Bag Of Bones'. Thankfully Ricardo clarified it for me in a later email. It relates to a Stephen King book as I understand it. 'Yes, this was written by Ivan after he'd read the book of the same name. The song is based on details of the story, hence the cinematic effects in the middle instrumental part. I think it came out pretty nice. Its one of the songs the band liked the most when it was completed.'

I asked whether Ricardo was encouraged by what he's hearing out there in the rock music world. Is the scene alive and well? 'It would be nice to have more radio stations and TV shows for the melodic rock scene' he says. 'I can't understand why TV music stations that broadcast 24 hours a day can't find a single one-hour show per week dedicated to melodic rock, and the same for radio! Its a shame. As for other bands there are always new bands breathing new life into the genre as well as the bigger bands that we all love so much.' The unique thing with Marvel, is that they could go off in a number of different musical directions if they so choose, considering their position, they could compare themselves with any number of artists. But with whom you might ask? 'We really don't like doing comparisons' says Ricardo. 'What really matters to us is that people enjoy our music and that we are able to continue to release records and to reach more and more of a large audience that I know is out there.'

Summers coming up, and the opportunity to get out there and play in support of the album presents itself to the band. 'We've got some shows coming up. Mainly showcases to promote the album, though the gigging scene here in Portugal is kind of slow for this type of music. But we'll have more opportunities ahead during the summer. It would also be nice to be able to do an European tour, and to do some shows in Japan is one of our dreams.'

Actually, while we're talking about gigging, touring etc. Is there a remote possibility for Marvel to venture over to Brazil to play? They're just as mad about hard rock, and of course the Portuguese connection is always there. 'It would be very nice' ponders Ricardo. 'We're in contact with a brazilian distributor, so who knows, if things go well we might have a chance. We would quite enjoy it for sure!'

Thanks for the brief opportunity Ricardo. All the very best to you and Marvel for the immediate future. We'll check into the website and catch up with all the news concerning the band. 'Thanks for the great job you are doing promoting bands and for the nice interview, hope to hear from you guys soon. Best regards, Ricardo Fernandes.' [GT]

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