N.O.W Alec Mendonça interview – Force Of Nature (2010) – Escape Music – HEAVY SOUND SYSTEM
Le brésilien Alec Mendonça apprécie déjà à l’âge de six ans le premier album de Boston et les Beatles. A dix huit ans, sa grand-mère lui offre le choix entre une voiture et une basse. Il choisit la basse (instrument qu’il pratique intensément à l’époque depuis quatre ans déjà). Des soucis familiaux le coupent dans son élan et Alec se doit de mettre de côté sa passion pour la musique. Quatorze ans plus tard, il revient à ses premières amours et crée N.O.W. Il compose en trois mois douze chansons et souhaite trouver la voix qui convient le mieux à sa musique typée Rock FM.
Il saisit sa chance en contactant via internet Philip Bardowell (ex-Peter Criss, Ace Frehley from KISS, ex-Beach Boys, ex-Unruly Child, Places Of Power). Ce dernier accepte d’interpréter les chansons d’Alec en lui promettant : ''Alec, I'll pour my heart into your songs''. Alec vous présente FORCE OF NATURE...
At first, can you introduce yourself and tell us in few words your own career ?
Hello HSS guys,
My name is Alec Mendonça, born in New York and raised in Rio de Janeiro countryside. Well, I started playing the bass at the age of 12 and more professionally at the age of 14. My first bass was a home made bass, a crappy one made by a friend. When I turned 18, my grandmother asked me : ‘’Do you want a car, or a bass’’, well, although every single hormone in my body craved for a car, I went for the bass and that was my first professional bass, a Black Japanese Fender Jazz Bass. Then I started playing gigs with cover bands, all melodic rock cover bands of the 80’s in Brasil, but here, we don’t get much airplay or attention with Melodic Rock, but I persisted and got some some gigs in bigger places, but nothing worth mentioning, but that helped me built my skills and love for melodic rock. I even got to record an album in 1996 through Sonopress (SONY from Brazil) but due to family illness I had to stop playing for good for more than one decade.
What are your own favorite styles and influences ?
My favourite style is melodic rock and progressive. I grew up listening to The Kinks, The Beatles, Magna Carta, Fleetwood Mac, Alan Parsons, Camel, Pink Floyd, Caravan, Supertramp, Boston, Foreigner, Wings, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Trapeze, The Hollies, etc…
About the band :
I got to know Jean Barros through Leo Mendes of Highest Dreams, who introduced me to him. He is a keyboard wiz, on par with any big name in the world, being Keith Emerson or Rick Wakeman, Jean Barros is as good as any of them. So I was amazed by all his talent and I had most of the melodies, arrangements in my head, so we started working on the tunes, putting them together and recording the basis to them. After that, I got in touch with a childhood friend, Carlos Ivan, who is a guitar teacher, graduated in music and he’s been playing all kinds of guitars since he was 12, he’s 43 now, so do the match….J The rest of the band came naturally but the outcome was so great, that I decided to send the material to some big shots outside Brasil. I can sing, that’s why I do all background vocals in the album and some leads on Midnight Call (you didn’t know that, right? But I do sing some leads at the end of the song). But I wanted a person who could interpret the songs as they were in my head, and since Lou Gramm is one of my idols, I contacted Philip Bardowell and he loved the songs so much he decided to sing them along with me, he even said and I quote : ‘’Alec, I’ll pour my heart in your songs’’ and by what you can hear on the record, you can be sure he has. The rest is history, I hope… funny thing is, I constantly read some people say, I don’t know anyone on this band, only unknown faces, etc…. but now I ask you, what does it have to do with creativity or talent? I know like 100 people graduated in composition, arrangements, famous but that can’t write one single decent song. Talent has nothing to do with knowlegement, this I can guarantee to you. And this is an answer for some prejudice we receive from time to time from the ‘’know-it-alls’’ around….
Which artist you work with or you worked with impress you the most ?
I can surely say that Jean Barros, Carlos Ivan and Philip Bardowell the most.
What about your promotion work and your relation with press at the moment ? Do you get a good feed back about your new album ?
My relation with the press couldn’t be better, I get no animosity at all from anyone, some snotnose critics (around 10%) keep saying that the band is formed by unknown people, musicians no one ever heard anything about, but the rest are very positive! I am receiving excellent feedback and the MOST IMPORTANT melodic rock sites and webzines are loving the album and I feel humbled by it and very happy too. I am getting reviews I could never think of. You know, recording in Brazil, with the little resources we have, the little time we have, between work and family is a Herculean task, it’s not like recording your album in Sweden with all the top artists and songwriters and the best amplifiers and instruments. I did practically everything alone, the arrangements, production, put down the tunes, wrote everything, transported the heavy amplifiers, some I had to send to be fixed in the middle of sessions, sang backing vocals until losing my voice night after night. I drove more than 3.000 miles in total to get this album done, I had also to be very pushy with everyone to get things done the way I felt it should have been done and now I am very happy with the result. Martin Kronlund’s mixing was superb too.
What’s the mood of it ? What would you say to make people listen to it and buy it ?
It has a very diverse and somewhat dark mood to it. It reflects real situations of my life and of lives of friends I miss or lost for good. Something everyone can relate to and I can certainly say that you will find a particular situation/music that has everything to do with you. There’s no lame lyrics and the recording, as I see, is very mature.
Where do you find your inspiration for music and lyrics ?
In my life and in my self. I sometimes tell my students that my life could have been a great book If I ever had released one, well, now I released an album and it tells some stories……. Oh yeah it does.
What’s your favorite new track ? Why ?
‘’You’’, because it’s about a dear friend that went through a terrible situation in his life out of the love he felt for a rich girl, he was black and the girl was white and I was amazed to see so much prejudice in a small town like mine, it’s really unbelievable.
Do you think you will bring something new in music with your new cd ?
Yes, because at least I was kind of tired of the over produced records with little soul. Lots of production and just little soul, very lame lyrics I can’t relate to in no way, I am not a teen anymore you know, so I can’t get to relate to being drunk and partying all night, there are so much more important things to think and to do with your life. My record in my point of view, of course brings something different to the market, as some reviewers said ; it’s different from the lot, from what we are used to hearing. Who knows in ten year’s time it will be considered a classic somehow? Wow, that would be a real dream coming true.
Will you be touring soon and what can the audience expect from you on stage ?
They can expect a very energetic bass player that love playing his instrument, singing along and running all around the stage. If it sells very well in a place, who knows I can be part of some festival there, it’s not impossible. Since I am American, it would facilitate my traveling abroad to play with Philip.
Message to HEAVY SOUNDERS :
Continue doing what you do, listening and supporting this amazing and everlasting style of music that is Melodic Rock. Trends come and go, but melodic rock stays for good, always. Also, buy your artists records, this will support them and prevent them from stopping creating the tunes you all love so much to hear.
N.O.W Alec Mendonça interview 03/2010 – Force Of Nature (2010) – Escape Music
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