CALAMITY (from l-r): Benny Santos (vocals/lead guitar), Gonzalo Ortiz (rhythm guitar), Eduardo Acevedo (drums), Fernando Rivera (bass)
INTERVIEW by ZAK SLOMAN
ALBUM ARTWORK by FULTON HOOBS
The Caribbean island of Puerto Rico isn’t particularly well-known for its metal scene, but four-piece Calamity are determined to put that right by unleashing an aggressive sound that effectively combines the best possible elements of classic and more contemporary metal outfits, and with their second album ‘Kairos’ – which the band began to record in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, which left a trail of destruction across their native country in September 2017 – coming out shortly, the quartet spoke to me about its at times problematic recording process, what can be expected from the upcoming release, and a host of other collective-related topics.
How did the band initially form?
We all came together in 2009, started making noises, and eventually some Metallica covers. After we did our first show, we decided to start making our own stuff, and so we did, and the name Calamity came in 2013 when Benny started singing in the band.
How did the name Calamity come about?
It was a long process…we spent like three weeks deciding how to make a perfect mix between the way we sound, the way we deliver on stage, the content of the lyrics, and to make reference to atmospheric or natural disasters. No regrets on the name we choose!
What would you say was your approach to songwriting?
At the beginning, we wrote a lot about political and social problems such as corruption, drug addiction, and violence. Right now, we keep addressing those problems, but are also focusing on the way we feel about being alive, you know, and in the latest songs, there’s a lot of self-exploration and existentialism.
What inspires the band lyrically?
We would say we are inspired by strong feelings and thoughts. If we think something is completely wrong, then we will definitely write it down…if we feel like shit for a few days, there will be a song about that too. We always trying to fix the things that we don’t like by using music.
You’re from Puerto Rico. How is the metal scene over there?
We love it, it may be small compared to a bigger country, but it is intense, supportive, and very diverse. There is a band for every metal sub-genre in Puerto Rico, and there is a lot of musical talent for a small island.
In 2015, the band brought out their debut album, ‘Imminent Disaster’. How was the response to that?
Everyone who listened to it was hyped and surprised. I think we made a statement with that one, that we was taking the bad stuff seriously, and we were aiming for the best, even though we didn’t have all the resources needed to make it possible.
And shortly, you will be unveiling its follow-up, ‘Kairos’. How was its recording process?
It was a wonderful process, because we had to overcome a lot of difficulties to make it possible. We started recording during the recovery process from Hurricane María (Sept 2017), there was no electricity in most parts of the island, and our recording studio (Mistique Red) was completely destroyed by the storm, so we had no studio, no money, no internet, we had only the vision.
We could make a full interview on all of the calamities we faced to make ‘Kairos’ a reality, and you will feel that in the album because we’re sure that we released all of the tension, passion, hate, and love on the music.
Also, how will the upcoming release differ stylistically to ‘Imminent Disaster’?
In terms of sound and productions, it is way more complete and professional. It terms of lyrics, we went deeper in our thoughts and emotions, so you practically can understand the whys of every song on it, the complete story behind them just by reading the lyrics, listening to them, and feeling them, and it is the truest we can get as a band so far.
The band have toured the US twice, and have supported the likes of Skeletonwitch, Nervosa, and last August performed at the Full Terror Assault festival in Illinois. How were they as experiences?
It is always something unique and meaningful to share stages with bigger acts, and in front of different crowds. People always vibe with the music everywhere we play, and we all have a good time, and get to know some new bands and new metalheads. There are always great experiences!
And how is it – for you all – playing live?
It is our favorite thing to do, as we always have been a live band, before any demo recording, before any social media presence, and we have also always been a face-to-face with people kind of band. That’s the core of Calamity.
And finally, album aside, what are the band’s plans for the near future?
We would love to put together a new tour to promote ‘Kairos‘, will continue to release videos, and keep on promoting this new era of Calamity, so expect a lot of great things for the upcoming months!
‘KAIROS’ – THE SECOND ALBUM FROM CALAMITY – WILL BE RELEASED ON MAY 10.
FURTHER INFO ON THE BAND CAN BE FOUND THROUGH THE FOLLOWING SITES: