Mourning Lenore | Interview with João Arruda

A mere two years on from their inception, Mourning Lenore quickly became one of the most respected and talented groups within the Portuguese metal scene.
Fuelled by their aspirations and driven by a hard-work ethic, the four-piece recently issued their debut full-length record “Loosely Bounded Infinities”, which is garnering excellent responses.
Scratch the Surface had the chance to trade a few words with guitarist João Arruda thru e-mail to discuss the band’s origins and their future plans.

[Mourning Lenore]

From the genesis of Mourning Lenore to the release of their debut album “Loosely Bounded Infinities” there was a short span of time that comprehended merely two years, I guess it was fairly easy for the band to find the right cohesion and step into the recordings of their debut album right?

“Curiously it was! (Laughs) Without great delineations of what our music would be and each one with a different musical background, even with this recipe our compositions started to flow in a very natural way.
As such, it was easy to gather some themes that we’ve found suitable to feature in our first record. It was a conscious decision, since we knew that with such little time of existence we could have an album a little immature or seen as rushed in so to speak. But we looked at the songs that we had in our hands and we thought that whatever Mourning Lenore comes out to be within the next ten years, this record would always be something that we could be proud of, so we decided to step forward and take our chances. We will always see the album as a representation of what the band is today and not what could have been… So far the balance is very positive!”

Comparisons to groups such as Anathema, Paradise Lost and November's Doom are common in the press. Are these the bands responsible for shaping the sound of Mourning Lenore?

“Sincerely, I wouldn’t say there was an intentional decision to follow the sound of this or that band. It’s obvious that, as fans of doom, many of the bands that we get compared to are bands that each one of us listens to, so in a way or another they will eventually influence our work in an unconscious way.
But the fact is that, we never talked about defining our style according to the sonority of any of such bands. As passionate people for what we do and about this project, one day we would like to hear that “Mourning Lenore sounds like Mourning Lenore” (laughs), and therefore, doesn’t make much sense to us to try to glue or search for major influences in X or Y band.
We can admire, like and listen, but we do not want to sound like them! There’s always a question of respect for the bands we admire… One more time, without wanting to sound cliché or politically correct, we’ve meet, started to play, to write and it came out this. We accept and find normal those comparisons, is something natural in the human being trying to find some familiarity, but from our part it was neither intentional nor premeditated.”

The album was produced by Fernando Matias, vocalist of F.E.V.E.R in cooperation with the band at Pentagon and Urban Insect studios. Are you satisfied with the end results?

“We already had worked with Fernando in our previous release, therefore we knew with what we could count. He already knows us and understands the sound we want, aside from being an excellent producer, engineer and friend. It was logical option to work with him and we are more than satisfied with the results. Looking in retrospect, there’s always a detail or another that we’d make in a different way, but from my perception, nothing that pinches the quality and potential of the album.”

Which songs are you most proud of?

“Complicated question… Although we like and believe in all the songs that we brought to daylight, I’d say the first two themes, “Rain's Seduction” and “Patterns of Emptiness” will always occupy a special place in the still short career of Mourning Lenore.
They had been our first and only “business card” during a long time and with them we gained some recognition and good reviews, not to mention that these two songs raised some positive expectations on the band and opened the doors that had allowed us to achieve what we have today, a record, opportunities to play live, etc.
I think it’d be legit to say that, in a certain way, it’s a pride to think and understand that with only these two songs we were able to give our first and most important steps to date.”

Despite the short span of time that separates “Loosely Bounded Infinities” from the split-EP with the Insaniae released in 2008, there’re noticeable differences between the two releases, especially in pace and vocal melodies. I’d say the new themes tread a more, wouldn’t call it up-tempo line, but definitely a darker and melancholic rock path that’s not too far removed from Katatonia are doing at the moment. Was there any special circumstance that led the new songs to develop in that way?

“Not exactly… If I to try to find a justification for such observation I’d say that after we assimilated the split release and get back to a writing phase, the songs have grown in that form. On one hand, we started to give more attention to the singing parts that give another dimension to the songs, and will be something we certainly explore again in the future. On the other one we tried to take the melodic and catchy features of the split-CD even further. Also we gave a special focus to atmospheres and textures that can enrich music, even if they take us through a path more distant from metal. However, in nearest future at least since we never known what will happen, we’ll continue to focus on heavy sounds!”

Your lyrics deal mostly with feelings of pain, misery and solitude, but could they also underlie a message of hope and redemption as well?

“The lyrics deal with abstractions around the themes you’ve mentioned. They are the result of episodes filled an emotional turmoil that simply leave you disoriented, without knowing what to do, where you are and what you are. There’re times when you question the reality and essence of your existence. The only weapons you can grab are your experience, your memories and your hope, yet even them can betray and confuse you, raising more doubts on which way to follow. The only thing to do is carry on until you can define some contours in your mind. It’s that we’re dealing with here. To live in this kind of limbo where there’s no certainty of anything.”

Now that the album was released, what kind of challenges stands before Mourning Lenore?

“At the moment our principle goal is trying to introduce the album to the biggest number of people we can. We want to play throughout Portugal, especially at north and south regions, given we never left our town, with the exception of one time when we played in Azores, which was an amazing experience. But, we want to do all this and still try to keep our philosophy of “few but good”.
Clearly we want to play aboard and we’re working for that to happen. Deep down and overall, we always want more and the best for the band and will always work in that direction. We are never satisfied. Bring on the challenges ‘because we’re ready. Doom on!"

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  1. Nice! Happy new year to everyone, and a great 2011!

  2. It seems that you’re spamming miss!