After all, the frontman of the São Paulo-based band is a thoughtful interviewee, and at times his considered answers to questions about playing music, the gruelling nature of touring and his band’s sonic direction moving forward become genuinely inspiring.
Not that there’s much chance of Parras packing in his work with Armored Dawn, mind you. The group has been his main focus since its inception in 2011, and only this year Parras and co dropped their new record, an anthemic collection of classic rock tunes called Power Of Warrior that has already been received with rapturous approval from fans and critics alike.
The reception the record has received so far is even more striking considering the band knocked it out in an incredibly short space of time. “I wrote the songs in 60 days,” Parras says. “It was all stored in my memory, so when I decided to make the album it didn’t take much time. The musical arrangements took 90 days and we recorded the album in 30 days. I think [that] was a reasonable time.”
Parras evidently loved every moment the band spent laying down the album, and he stresses that hitting the studio is his very favourite step in the creative process. “I [love] recording,” he says. “I love to think about music and then build it [up]. I can stay recording up to 12 to 18 hours and then after that I keep listening to the recorded music over 200 times.”
Although a lot of the speed at which the band work and record comes down to Parras – he is the principal songwriter, after all – it helps that he’s surrounded himself with some singularly talented collaborators. “We have our peculiar way of developing the songs,” Parras says.
“First of all, I present the melody and the theme to the band and after that, we develop the idea altogether. First I create all the melodic lines of the music on the piano: I develop the concept and lyrics and I show the band my ideas. Then the musicians develop tones, arrangements, solos. As each musician has their own influences, we end up going through several styles of rock. “
Parras’ own influences are wide-reaching, and his all-consuming creative appetite is reflected in the band’s ever changing melodic style. Though Armored Dawn are often described as a heavy metal group, it’s more difficult than one might expect to pigeonhole their music, and Power Of Warrior in particular nimbly leaps from balladry to cock rock to hair metal and everything in between.
“In the ‘70s when I was a child, I was mainly listening to Brazilian popular music because of my parents’ influence,” Parras says. “I also used to listen to a lot of classical music because my mother was a classical piano teacher. At the age of 15, I discovered heavy metal and fell in love with the intensity and the sound of it.”
That sense of intensity is the defining characteristic of Parras’ own work – even though Power Of Warrior might be hard to define, it’s never nebulous, and every single song on the record actively encourages a good old bout of headbanging. For that very reason, one can imagine that touring the record has its own distinct challenges – playing music that heavy for such an extended period of time would leave one both emotionally and physically drained.
And yet, though Parras admits that it’s not always easy, he tackles the challenges with the resolve of a heavy metal saint. “It is really tiring,” he says. “[Nothing] in your life can go beyond your own limit and everyone should know this. I try not overcome my limits: for example, I don’t accept very long tours because instead of making me happy, they would leave me tired and bored. I do not inflict that on myself.
“But when you really want something, you can overcome difficulties and do better the next time. Today, in spite of having played in many shows, I still get excited with the shows. I am a very enthusiastic person.”
By Joseph Earp