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Intemperia Interview

Intemperia Interview
Performed via Skype in July 2011 

Imagine a female-fronted hard rock band – then add healthy doses of power metal, keyboards and electronic elements, and strong melodies. That’s what you can expect from Intemperia. This young female-fronted band from Caracas, Venezuela is gaining popularity in their local metal scene because of their unique sound, enthusiastic live shows, and the exceptional quality of their recordings. And with the recent release of their first full-length album The Mothman Prophecies, Intemperia is starting to receive the same recognition from other areas of the world. (Just goes to show that the Internet is a powerful means of spreading the word!)


Recently, Sonic Cathedral staff writer Sara Letourneau talked with Intemperia singer Juls Sosa and guitarist Carlos Robles (and Juls’ dog!) for Intemperia’s first English-language interview. The following conversation proved to be highly entertaining and emotionally revealing. So, would you like to know more about Intemperia’s history? Or, where they got the idea for the album title? Or, why it took Intemperia three long years to complete The Mothman Prophecies? Then, you ought to read on to discover more about this resilient and hard-working band from South America.


Sara:  Hi, Carlos and Juls! Welcome to Sonic Cathedral. And, congratulations on the release of your first full-length album, The Mothman Prophecies!

Carlos:  Well, thank you very much!

Juls:  Thank you!

Sara:  You’re welcome! In case any of our readers aren’t familiar with your band and this interview is the first time they’re hearing about you, could you tell us a little about how Intemperia got started?

Juls:  Well, it was back in 2006, at the end of the year. I met the guys when they were still an instrumental band. They were looking for a vocalist, so I went to meet them. We had a keyboardist and another drummer, but they soon left. So, Rony joined in January 2007. That’s when the band really got started as it is now. Later, we evolved and the music changed. We had a [new] keyboardist who is on the album, but he left before finishing the album. So, that’s the story. (laughs) The basic story.


Sara:  How did you come up with Intemperia as the name of the band?

Juls:  Well, it’s complicated, because it has a lot of meanings. At first, we read somewhere that it meant “without mercy” in Italian or something like that. But, we weren’t that sure because we had only read it somewhere. And then, we took it from another point of view, because the word intemperia in Spanish and, I think, in Italian, too, means “out in the night” or “without a roof.” I don’t know if there’s a word in English to explain it. It’s like “out in the open at night.” And that worked for us. Also, there’s a character, a witch called Intemperia in child stories. It has a lot of meanings. So, we kind of take it from different… meanings! (laughs)

Sara:  (laughs) That’s very interesting! Now, you were saying earlier that your music has evolved. I managed to check out your older songs online. You started off as more like a power metal band. But now, it still sort of sounds like power metal, but it’s also a little bit rock, and you’ve got the electronic influences. So, how would you describe your music to people who are just learning about your band?

Carlos:  Well, in the beginning, we were five members. We had a keyboardist and another drummer. And that’s when we recorded the demo, Aurora. When Rony came and another keyboardist came into the band, the sound of the band changed a lot.

Juls:  We were more epic at first.

Carlos:  Yeah.

Juls:  And more symphonic. The girl who played the keys, she was a classically trained pianist. So, she gave that to the music. But after she left, we kind of started to compose songs [that were] more heavy, more power to the guitar, more presence to the guitar, since we didn’t have the [keyboards]. And later, we started working with Johan [Mena], the keyboardist who played on the album. He added the first electronic influences to the music. It was like an experiment at first, and we kind of liked it a lot. So, it stuck with us.

Sara:  Juls, why don’t you tell us a little about your singing history? When did you start singing? What kinds of music did you like to perform before you joined Intemperia?

Juls:  OK. Actually, I started singing in The Little Mermaid the musical.

Sara:  (laughs) Awww!

Juls:  I love musicals and cheesy things! I also worked in musical theater. So, it’s like my main influence ever. After that, I enjoyed more powerful music, like Meatloaf and Queen. I love Freddy Mercury. He’s my personal singing god. I get influenced by so many different styles of music. It’s hard to choose just one. But, I love metal and rock because it gives me the chance to be more theatrical when I sing. And, I think that’s the main influence in my life. (laughs)


Sara:  A few months ago, you released The Mothman Prophecies. How have things been going since then? I know you’ve played a couple shows since the release, and you’ve started getting feedback on the album. What are you hearing from people?

Carlos:  Well, it’s kind of difficult to play this style of music here in Venezuela ‘cause it’s not mainstream.

Sara:  Yeah.

Carlos:  The people who hear music here, maybe 80 percent of them listen to another style of music.

Juls:  We’re a very tropical country. (laughs) People here, they mostly listen to salsa or Latin stuff. Rock has a very little space in the musical industry – if there’s any big musical industry here in Venezuela. So, metal is left a little, little, more little space for us. So, there’s no much places to play. Sometimes, there are festivals, or bands will come and tour in Venezuela, and we get the chance to play with them. But, it’s HARD. We don’t have much support.

Carlos:  Well, from the people who come see us –

Juls:  Oh, yeah, the people who come see us, yes, they support us. But, I’m talking about the organizations, and...

Sara:  The community?

Juls:  Exactly. But, our fans are great here. They’ve shown a lot of support to us, and they love our music very much. So, we’re happy about that. The album has been very well-received. There’s a lot of pages and media talking about it here. Of course, it’s very underground. We’re unsigned, we’re independent – totally independent. We don’t even have a manager! (laughs) It’s just us.

Sara:  How about online? I know you’re starting to get reviews on the album and a lot of people commenting on the album there. How does it feel that people around the world are starting to hear about Intemperia?

Juls:  We’re very proud of it. It’s a big thing for us, and we’re very grateful. We try to use social networks a lot because that’s our only big weapon to achieve more global acknowledgement of the band. So, the feedback we’re receiving, it lets us know that we’re kind of making it. It’s in a small way, but it’s very rewarding.

Carlos:  Definitely. That’s our goal. When we were recording the album, we had to choose between singing the songs in Spanish or English. Here in Venezuela, everyone speaks Spanish. But, we wanted to make the album for everybody in the world. So, we made the lyrics in English.

Juls:  So more people could get the music.

Carlos:  Yeah.

Sara:  I had looked at the press kit you sent to Sonic Cathedral. If I remember correctly, The Mothman Prophecies tells a story or is a concept album. Is that correct?

Juls:  Yeah, it’s a concept album. It tells a story of evolution on the outside and in. It’s a story about good and evil, not just about the outside world, but also inside a person. I think that in everyone, there’s a lot of things that are good, but there are also things that are dark. We need that balance. The Mothman Prophecies talks about it, that balance of what’s good and what’s bad and about finding yourself in the way.

Sara:  OK. And when I looking up information about your band, I Googled the name of your album. Did you know there was a movie called “The Mothman Prophecies"?

Juls:  Oh, yeah!


Sara:  Because I was reading about [the movie] and thought it was too coincidental! So, did the movie inspire the name of the album or even the story of your album?

Juls:  Well, it is linked, but not totally linked. Because, first of all, the moth has been the symbol of the band since the very beginning. And when we watched the movie, we thought it would fit as a title for the record. The songs are very powerful, about things that can happen inside anyone of us. It’s like that struggle we face between good and evil that I was talking about. And “The Mothman Prophecies” [the movie], I believe, has a man with a moth or wings or something like that that appears, and tells some people when something’s about to happen, to warn them. So, we kind of linked that story to our album. It’s like … I don’t know. (laughs)

Sara:  (laughs) It’s OK! I think I get the idea. The movie inspired the album, but the album’s not totally based on the movie.

Juls:  No, not really. We didn’t base the album on it. But it made us think about our lyrics as warnings to ourselves and to other people. We thought of the album as the Mothman, and its content would be his prophecies. We loved the concept of the urban legend, the man, the thing about the warnings, and the big thing happening, and the mystery of the Mothman telling people about the things that they’re supposed to know to be happier. Or to protect themselves. So, yeah! The album, it’s like a warning from the Mothman.

Sara:  Got it! Now, when you were in the studio recording The Mothman Prophecies, how long did it take you to make the album?

Juls:  Oh, it was a long time!

Carlos:  Yeah. It was three years.

Sara:  Oh, wow!

Carlos:  Yeah, yeah. We started back in… 2007?

Juls:  2008.

Carlos:  Yeah, 2008. We had pre-production, and then we started recording the drums, the bass, and the guitars. We recorded additional vocals and added some effects to the songs.

Juls:  Yeah, but above all the work, we had a lot of things that slowed us down. Johan left the band. And, the engineer who was working with us in the studio got sick and almost died in a car accident.

Sara:  Yikes!

Juls:  But, we didn’t want to work with anyone else. So, we waited for him. That stopped us a lot. But in the end, it worked OK because we had more time to work on the songs and to develop the identity of the band a little bit more.

Carlos:  We could have finished it in one year, but we weren’t totally happy yet.

Juls:  Yes, we weren’t sure if the sound we wanted was there, since we didn’t have an outside producer or record deal rushing us. We took it slowly because we had the time. It came out slowly, thoughtfully, and good, I guess. (laughs) As we wanted it to be.

Sara:  Wow. That’s…

Juls:  Yeah. It took us a lot of time.

Sara:  Yeah, it did.

Juls:  At one point, I was desperate to get it done. I was hating the songs, and I was saying, “I want it to come out now!”

Sara:  You were like, “I just want to get this done!” (laughs)

Juls:  (laughs) Yes, exactly. Sometimes Carlos would tell me, “Breathe! We’re going to get it right! We’re going to get it RIGHT!” (laughs) I was going crazy at one point, but it all turned out OK.


Sara:  Well, that’s good. Now, out of all the songs on the album, which one would you say was the most challenging one to write or record?

Juls:  To write… I don’t know. The writing came out very fluidly. To record…

Carlos:  Maybe “Unbreakable.” Because it’s a different song from the rest of the album.

Juls:  Yeah! Exactly. That was the hardest one to achieve like we wanted it to be.

Carlos:  It’s a lot like an experiment. It sounds totally different from our other songs.

Juls:  It was supposed to be [different] from the beginning. And it changed a lot because we weren’t sure if it worked right for the album. At one point, we thought about leaving it [off the album]. But we worked on it and worked on it, and in the end it came out great!

Sara:  Yeah. That song does have a different vibe than the other songs on the album do.

Juls:  Yeah. We wanted something very different. But not THAT different. It still sounds like us, but it has a very different approach. It’s more like rock or soft rock or electronic, but I think it still sounds like us.

Sara:  Speaking of “Unbreakable,” that’s a duet between a male singer and you, Juls.

Juls:  Yeah.

Sara:  Who is the male singer on that song?

Juls:  The male singer is Jose “Chego” Cabrices. He’s from Puerto la Cruz, a town here in Venezuela. He has an amazing voice. I’m a fan! We met him three years ago when we played with him here in Caracas with [Athlos,] his band at the time. Now, he sings in a band called UnosInfames. We fell in love with his voice, so I asked him to participate in that song. I wanted [“Unbreakable”] to be a duet. So I asked him if he wanted to participate in the song, and he was very happy to do it. So, we did it. He came here to record the song with us. It turned out really good. I love that song. It has a lot of deep meaning, and it’s sweet. It’s the romantic song on the album.

Sara:  Which songs would you say are your favorite ones on the album? If you’re able to pick favorites. (laughs)

(Juls and Carlos laugh)

Carlos:  I really love “Vulture.” And maybe “Aphanas,” too.

Juls:  I love all of them. It varies a lot from time to time. Sometimes I love one better, and the next day I’m a fan of another song. But right now, I think “Believing You” is my favorite because it has a lot of changes and a lot of moods. And it allows me to change, to have more fun at the end and be happier, but at the beginning it’s more deep. It’s fun. And, “I Hold On To You” is very personal to me because I wrote it when my two best friends left the country to start a life somewhere else.

Sara:  Awww!


Juls:  So, I was really sad. I kind of cry all the time when I really listen to this song! (laughs) We haven’t played that song live yet. We haven’t gotten the chance. I don’t think I’m going to be able [to sing it]! (laughs) It touches me very deeply. So, I love that song, too.

Carlos:  We have songs that we love to hear, but there are also songs we love to play. Songs that are fun to play.

Juls:  Yeah! “Embrace the Night” is very fun to play. I get the chance to dance. (laughs) It’s very fun. “Chains of Gold” is fun to play live, too.

Sara:  Carlos had mentioned the song “Aphanas.” What exactly are aphanas? Or, what is an aphanas?

Juls:  (laughs)

Sara:  I’ve never heard of that word before! Is that a word that you made up? (laughs)

Juls:  It’s a Russian word.

Carlos:  I’ll leave that to Juls because she writes all the lyrics. (laughs)

Juls:  Well, aphanas means “immortal” in Russian.

Sara:  Oh!

Juls:  It’s based on a character I developed for a graphic novel. I’m an illustrator, and I work a lot with those things. I make up characters and draw them and make stories. So, Aphanas is a character, and [the word] means “immortal.” And the song talks about that. It tells about a being that’s able to live forever and live by hurting other people. It tells about the inside, the transformation of the character. And –

(dog barks)

Juls:  Oh! My dog is barking. Sorry!

(Sara and Juls laugh)

Juls:  Carlos is going to shut him up.

(Sara and Juls laugh)

Juls:  OK. Where was I? Oh, yes. [The song “Aphanas”] talks about that character overcoming that challenge to live forever and take it in a positive way, to free the world from bad guys and hurting. It’s a fantasy story. It kind of takes the bad things in your life or the bad things you’re supposed to do at one point and take advantage of that, to focus them in a good way.

Sara:  OK.

Juls:  So, yeah, aphanas means “immortal.” (laughs)

Sara:  Now, correct if I’m wrong, but when I was listening to your older songs [from Aurora] online, there was one song called “Vespera.” That song was in Spanish, correct?

Juls:  Yeah. It was our second song ever written. We were still trying to still find our sound then. And we wrote that in Spanish to experiment, to hear what it sounded like. And we decided to keep the Spanish lyrics in that song.


Sara:  Would you ever consider doing more songs in Spanish? Or, maybe write a song that has English and Spanish lyrics?

Juls:  I don’t know.

Carlos:  Maybe.

Juls:  Yeah, maybe. I wouldn’t say “no,” but I wouldn’t say “yes.” So, let’s just let it flow and see. That song [“Vespera”], a lot of people like that song. It’s in Spanish, and some people here [in Venezuela] always give us that question: If we’re a Venezuelan band, why don’t we do our songs in Spanish? But, I don’t know. It’s just something you feel when you write the music. All of our influences are mostly in English. We started listening to music, to this genre, in English. And it’s more comfortable for us. So, I don’t know if it’s going to happen, but I think we’re open to that.

Sara:  OK. Now, when people go to your shows, what can they expect from the band? What kind of show do you put on?

Carlos:  Well, it’s a very personal show. Like we told you earlier, the public here for us is very small but very…

Juls:  Energetic.

Carlos:  Yeah.

Juls:  And supportive. We’ve played very different kinds of shows: small ones in pubs, and very big ones on big stages. But, they all seem to be very energetic. People give us that feeling. I haven’t seen myself [on video] or the guys, but when I’m onstage I feel a lot of energy going on. We fool with each other a lot. We dance. You can expect a lot of fun with us. We have fun onstage. And I think we give that to the audience. Because we’re having fun and enjoying our music and trying to give our best. They can expect a lot of energy. (laughs)

Sara:  What are your favorite songs to play live?

Juls:  “Embrace the Night,"  I think, is my favorite. It’s very challenging, too, because it has a lot of… I don’t know if “lyric” is the right word, but it has a very high chorus with the kind of voice I use.

Sara:  So, vocally it’s challenging?

Juls:  Yes, it is. It’s kind of high. And I like to move a lot when I’m onstage. So for that song, I think, “Calm down. You need to do this. You can’t screw it up!”

Sara:  (laughs)

Juls:  So, it’s more challenging. But, I also think it’s my favorite because it has a lot of fun moments in there, even some Latin influences. So, it’s good. I like to play that one a lot.

Carlos:  Well, I love to play “Vulture.”... It’s a very powerful song. It has a lot of low-end guitars. And it’s really the most…

Juls:  Heavy?

Carlos:  Yeah, it’s the most heavy song on the album.

Juls:  I get to almost growl in that song. (laughs) So, it’s fun too.

Sara:  When I was doing my research on Intemperia, I found out that you opened for Lacuna Coil when they played in Venezuela last year. So, what was that like?

Juls:  It was great! We felt very supported because it was like a popular contest. The… I don’t know the word, but the people who brought the band here, the organization?


Sara:  The promoter?

Juls:  Yeah, the promoter!

Carlos:  They had a popular contest to decide the supporting band.

Juls:  They wanted to know which band the people wanted to see. And there was a LOT of people voting for us.

Carlos:  There are a lot of good bands here. And at the end, there were five of us. So, we all played a show.

Juls:  And there was a jury.

Carlos:  And we won!

Juls:  It was fun! It was like a game for us. And we won! And the chance to open for Lacuna Coil was great. I had a girl-crush on Cristina [Scabbia, singer of Lacuna Coil] when I was younger. (laughs) She’s a very hot woman, and I loved meeting her.

Sara:  You know, it’s funny, Juls. When I listen to music, I have a tendency sometimes to pick out in a singer’s voice their possible influences. So I’ll think to myself, “Their voice kind of reminds me of this other singer.”

Juls:  Yeah!

Sara:  And when I was listening to your music, there were a couple points when I thought, “She kind of sounds like Cristina Scabbia did on the In a Reverie album.”

Juls:  (laughs) Well, that’s a compliment for me! I think she’s great. She’s very good at what she does, and the band’s just amazing, too. So, thank you! (laughs)

Sara:  You’re welcome! So, now that the album’s out, what are your next plans? Book some more shows? Anything else interesting or exciting that you want your fans to know about?

Carlos:  We’re going to try first to spread the album here in Venezuela. Try to hit the social networks so people can know the band. And, we’re going to knock on the doors of some record labels.

Juls:  We don’t know what’s going to happen because, at this point, we just wanted to get the album out so people can know about and listen to us. Now, we’re at that phase, I think. We’re trying to reach the world’s ears to our music. We’re always available to do gigs here. As far as this moment goes, I think it’s going very fluidly. We don’t have a big plan right now. We’re still trying to make things happen.

Carlos:  We were in a lot of pressure trying to get the album out. So, we’re breathing a little bit now. And now, we can make those plans.

Juls:  We want to play. We want to let people know us. That’s the big goal right now: To let the world know about Intemperia.


Sara:  What would you say is your biggest dream or wish for Intemperia? What would you like to achieve together as a band?

Juls:  I’d like people to know our work and to appreciate it and to reach every corner of the world. That would be our biggest reward.

Carlos:  To let people know Intemperia.

Juls:  Exactly. It hasn’t happened yet at a big scale. But, I think I will die. If I play a show and the crowd sings along with the lyrics, I will die! Really! (laughs)

Sara:  (laughs)

Juls:  I’ll fall flat on the stage, and the guys will need to get me up.

Sara:  (laughs)

Juls:  That would be the closer-term goal for me: To have people sing our songs like that. It will be fantastic.

Sara:  All right! Well, muchas gracias [“thank you” in Spanish] Carlos and Juls for your time tonight!

Juls:  You’re welcome!


Sara:  Is there anything you’d like to say to your fans and to our readers at Sonic Cathedral in closing?

Juls:  Well, thank you so much for taking the time to read the interview! And check us out! Check our album out! We really hope you like it. We worked a lot on it. We put our souls into it. We hope the future holds more for us and more opportunities to share our work.

Carlos:  Yes, let all the people that read the interview know that we put our hearts into the album. We don’t have a producer or a record label. It’s just a work from the band.

Juls:  Yeah. It was just us, literally. Just us. Everything. The art, everything. So, it’s very personal, and we’re very proud of it. And we hope you really like it!

Check out Intemperia at the following links: