Hugo Ferreira Not Down And Out For Long

A lot’s been happening in Hugo Ferreira’s world. Label issues, band issues, and the ever-changing music industry could not keep him down. Now, the reconceived Tantric is preparing to release a new album, The End Begins, on April 22, and they’re also getting ready to tour. Hugo took some time out his busy day to discuss with me just how he pulled it together to find new the band-mates that would help him create what could possibly be the best Tantric release to date.

T3M: How are you doing?

HF: I’m doing fantastic.

T3M: Thank you for taking the time to speak with me today.

HF: Well thank you for wanting to speak with me.

T3M: I’m going to start with the hardest question. When the bottom dropped out, the label changed direction and band members quit the band, how did you handle that? What motivated you to pull it all together and move on to create something new?

HF: Well I think I spent a few months just feeling sorry for myself and drinking a lot. But I think that’s natural. It wasn’t like ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ or anything. The first few months after everything dropped out and the guys quit, I was just like ‘Oh God, what am I going to do now?’ After that initial shock faded away, I just went and released all that type of energy into music. I went into the basement of my house where I have a studio built, and I just started writing. The funny thing about going through struggles is that struggles make you interesting. They may make you go places emotionally that you normally don’t go, and those places allow you to write stuff that sometimes you wouldn’t necessarily write. Ultimately I have to say that it all happened for a reason, and I survived it and put it back together again with the help of my new band members. And, I’m stronger for it today.

T3M: I read that you had a lot of songs written prior to this record, but scrapped most of them. Do you think any of those songs will ever see the light of day?

HF: There was a whole record that was recorded with the other two members. When that record was completed, it was never able to be released due to the label bullshit… they wanted all this money. And the fact the guys weren’t in the band, and they co-wrote a lot of those songs, and some songs were written completely by Todd, I didn’t want to disrespect them by going ahead and putting songs that I didn’t write, or have any involvement in writing and claiming them to be my own. I do think that in the future there’s a possibility that it could come out somehow. I would definitely like to see it come out in a few years as ‘the lost songs of Tantric’. There’s definitely a possibility.

T3M: With the new band, how did you go about determining that these are the guys you wanted to work with?

HF: I had already been writing music with the violin player as a side project during Tantric’s initial incarnation. When all the members of Tantric left, he was a natural choice because I had already been writing with him, and some of the music we had been writing ended up on this record. So, that was a done deal. I met my guitar player through a mutual friend. He used to play with guy who grew up with me named Nuno Bettencourt. He played bass in one of his bands. Nuno’s family and my family have been friends for many years. Kevin from Fuel; just before the band had taken its final death blow we had done a couple of one-offs. I had seen Kevin performing with his new band, Fosterchild, and I kind of snatched him right there and then. Kevin brought in the bass player. At the end of the day, as hard as it seems on the outside, putting the band together wasn’t really as difficult as it could have been. I was definitely very blessed. Everything just kind of fell into place. I was really lucky in that aspect and I’ve been really lucky in pretty much everything that’s been going on since then.

T3M: I knew that you had collaborated with Nuno in the past, but wasn’t aware you had a long-term friendship apart from that.

HF: I’ve known Nuno since I was the littlest kid. He’s about six years older than me, and we grew up in the same small town of Hudson, Massachusetts. Even when I was just a little kid, twelve or thirteen just playing in my first bands, he was already the local town hero. He was already touring and doing that big stuff. He was definitely a big influence on me, not only musically, but just to show me that you can come from a town of sixteen-thousand people… actually two artists can come from a town of sixteen-thousand people and sell a million records or more.

T3M: I know that Candlebox’s Kevin Martin does a guest vocal performance on the new album; are there any other performance or writing collaborations on this recording?

HF: No, not really. What I didn’t write myself, I co-wrote with my band members, and that’s really it. I just kind of kept everything private. By the time I was putting all this stuff together, I had had already written like thirty songs. When I got together with a band, we wrote another ten songs together. Even with the songs I wrote myself other band members collaborated in a sense. They would put their little changes and twists in, and it ended up adding more character to the music. Externally, no, I didn’t use anybody else.

T3M: What do you feel was the most challenging song to write and record for the new album?

HF: I guess the most challenging song to write and record was probably “The End Begins”. Because that’s one of those songs that wasn’t complete when we went into the studio. We completed and almost wrote in the studio. In that aspect, it not being completed and ready, it was more difficult and required more work. At the end of the day I feel like the songs fills in the spot that it needed to fill as accomplishment of the entire record. I’m really happy with it.

T3M: What song are you the most proud of how it turned out?

HF: There’s definitely more than one. I have to say that I’m really proud of the whole record. Extremely proud of it. Of course, there are favorites of mine. “Regret” is one of my favorite songs and “Something Better”, and “Wishing”. There are some songs that are more emotionally attached to me, just because of where I was at the time when I wrote them.

T3M: Are you planning to shoot a video for “Down & Out”?

HF: Yes, we are planning to shoot a video. We’re in the process of reading all the treatments, so that’ll be exciting to do that. I don’t think that these days rock bands are really dependant on videos, but I think it’s a cool thing for the fans, and it’s also a really cool thing for the band to have something like that… it’s almost a video historical thing that you’ll always be able to have. So it’ll be cool when we’re able to do that.

T3M: Any touring plans in the works?

HF: We will be touring, and something will be posted within a few weeks. The first week of March we’re starting to rehearse for the tour. I imagine that by the end of March we will be touring, and we’ll be out for a while. I’ve always been a big tour-dog, and I know my drummer, Kevin, he’s always been a big tour-dog. I think all of us just really love to tour. Once you get an opportunity, it can open up a lot of other avenues for us for touring. As soon as we can get started we’re not going to want to stop. It’s going to be really fun.

T3M: Have you had any live performances yet with the new line-up?

HF: Not in front of people. We’ve rehearsed many times and played together. We did do this one thing in L.A., but it was just acoustic, violin, and me. It ended up turning out great. All the musicians in my band are all veterans. I don’t mean that they’re all old; I just mean that they’ve been playing in bands for a long time. They know what to do with themselves. During a live show, they have the ability to pull their weight. It’s not even a minor concern to me.

T3M: Good chemistry?

HF: Fantastic chemistry as a band, in the studio, as friends… really good. I think that all of us have already gone through our own individual story of what I went through. Whether it’s Kevin with Fuel, and whoever with whatever, I think that we’ve learned enough from those previous experiences to not fuel the fire for similar things to happen in the future. I think we’re watching where we step a little bit more. We’re just all a little more seasoned and grown to know what it really requires to keep a project rolling smoothly.

T3M: It great to see that you’ve kept it going.

HF: Yeah.

T3M: Many bands have crumbled under the pressure from that type of situation.

HF: You really have to love it to do this, because it makes no human sense… common sense… any type of sense to actually want to put yourself through all this shit over and over again. The only guaranteed reward you get is listening to the music you created. Other than that, nothing is guaranteed. You can work your ass off, you can create a great record, but ultimately you just have to keep your eye on prize.

T3M: Any last words?

HF: Tell everybody that they can pre-order the CD a lot cheaper right now from our MySpace.

T3M: We’re looking forward to seeing you guys on the road.

HF: Thank you very much.