The night was one that legends and lasting memories are made of. The location was The Key Club on the legendary Sunset Strip – and opening for the highly revered UFO on this and all of their other recent US tour dates was the mighty MindFlow. A long way from their home in Sao Paulo, Brazil, MindFlow presented a stunning set of progressive rock from their recently released Nightmare Records CD entitled With Bare Heads. Included in the set was their grand anthem Break Me Out, a song signifying both the triumph and perseverance of this very hard working, impassioned collective. After the UFO tour concluded, we caught up with MindFlow vocalist Danilo Hebert to discuss their experiences on the road with UFO, their dynamic new album, a video game that was created based on their music, and much more…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in MindFlow, and how long the band has been together.
Hi, I’m Danilo, lead singer of MindFlow. We’ve been together since 2003… it makes 8 years on the road.
How has the tour with UFO been going and what have been some of the highlights?
Danilo: The tour was amazing! That’s the only word I can say about it. For us it was a great honor to be the supporting act for UFO. This legendary band that inspired so many others after them, including us. Oh Yeah, there were some great moments we will always remember… one of them happened when we were about to spend a day off in Phoenix, and on the night before just after the concert, their tour manager, Charlie, came and told us (for our total surprise) we had been invited for a special BBQ with UFO at Zuze’s house, a member of their crew. That day was memorable! To spend the whole afternoon eating lots of food, side by side with UFO, Vinnie Moore and Rob de Luca! Simply AWESOME! There we had the opportunity to get a little bit closer to the persons behind the artists, and I can really say that they are so kind, real gentlemen. And very funny guys too, we laughed the whole time. The vibe was incredible. That was a magical day for us and we will always treasure this moment! I got a lot of friends that would kill to be in my place on that day! Haha
Was this your first time playing Hollywood, and was Hollywood all that you thought it would be?
Danilo: We played there a couple of times before, but this one is by far, the most important gig we ever did in Hollywood until now. To play with a classic band such as UFO, at a classic venue such as the Key Club is a responsibility and we kind of feel a little pressure, not from the audience or anyone else but from ourselves. There is this whole atmosphere of “LA – Capital city of the world entertainment” and you got to show your work in the best way you can. But it’s not about taking 150% out of ourselves or giving our blood onstage because all of this is done every night MindFlow play, wherever we play our songs we want to deliver the best show of our lives. It is more about we wanting to make sure everything is working out great while we are onstage. Without any technical problem or adversity, which is most of the times an impossible goal. But it was indeed one of the best shows of the whole tour. The audience response was amazing. We definitely had a great time. By the end of the night we all had a good feeling of “Mission accomplished” on our minds. And of course, it is always awesome to play in LA, we hope to be there again as soon as possible.
For those who missed out, what could one expect from a live Mindflow set?
Danilo: Energy, honesty and of course, good rock songs.
Where is your band based out and and what is your local music scene like there?
Danilo: We’re all from Sao Paulo, Brazil. Our country is an ethnic cauldron full of different kinds of culture, therefore we have a wide and rich variety of musical genres. Sao Paulo as a reflex of all this mixture is a city that have all these genres living together. Among these genres we have an extremely huge audience for rock’n’roll and metal. It is a very strong and expressive scene. We have lots of great rock/metal bands from here and from all parts of the country, these ones have moved to Sao Paulo in order to get a bigger chance to achieve success. Some of them are internationally known.
Is there any story or concept to the CD title With Bare Hands?
Danilo: Not actually. This time we chose a title that summarizes the whole idea of being an independent band. Just like ourselves. All the struggle you have to go through just to make your work go further on the right way. All the things you got to take care only by yourself in order to make it in the scene. All the choices you have to make, sometimes pretty hard choices. Choices about your friends, your “real job” and sometimes even about your family. All the odds you have to go against just to follow your dream. This title is a celebration of all the things we have proudly done and conquered as a band through all these years of MindFlow.
Break Me Out is one of the best metal anthems I’ve heard all year! What inspired the lyrics for this song?
Danilo: Thank you for your words, man! Break Me Out is a song that carries the essence of the relationship between artist and fan. It’s that special feeling when someone gets onstage and finally meet the ones who share the same passion of yours. On that moment, something unique happens, a very special connection. Sometimes it is so strong, so intense that this moment, this bond, stays with you for the rest of your life. And it will always help you to go forward with this passion no matter what happens.
Select any two other MindFlow songs and what inspired the lyrics?
Danilo: We used to say that anything can inspire us to create a MindFlow song. I’m going to pick two of my favorite songs in this new album. One of them is Shuffle Up and Deal which simply talks about Poker and everything that happens inside this psychological game. I loved when Rafael (Drums) came up with this idea. He is a Poker lover. It was a very unexpected subject to be written about in a rock song and he did an awesome job with the lyrics. The other song is Thrust into this Game. This one has a much deeper and serious meaning. It is a protest song that tell us about all the corruption of our politicians, how they rule Brazil without fearing nothing pretending they are untouchables or even right for doing this, which is not true at all, and how we are forced to live with this outrageous sensation of impunity while this infection takes over everything and drowns our nation into poverty and frustration. The worst part is that it’s not a fiction piece, it’s the reality of our lives.
If you were invited to appear on a UFO tribute album, what song would you want to do by UFO and why?
Danilo: Wow, that would be great! Without any doubt I would choose Love to love. That song is a genuine progressive masterpiece! It would be a great honor and a privilege for me to sing it.
What was the experience like playing in South Korea?
Danilo: What can I say about playing in South Korea… It was Fabulous! Beautiful country, so kind and beautiful people, spicy food! Haha We really want to be there again. It is the most different country I have ever been until now. It was a real clash of cultures… I mean, not only because of the language but the cities, their habits, they are so different and so cool. I was enchanted, totally. The shows were great! To have the opportunity to play your songs in places like Seoul, Daegu and other amazing cities was simply incredible. We are very proud and grateful for this. It was definitely an unparalleled experience. We really want to be there again.
How did the video game Follow Your Instinct come about?
Danilo: One of the proposals of MindFlow is always try to expand our work beyond the boundaries of sound creating other ways to express our art to people making our albums concepts much stronger. We are always searching for new ways to be each time closer to our fans. The idea of creating a MindFlow game came from this. We have a song from our second album (Mind over Body) that is called Follow your Instinct and it tells the story of a serial killer. The CD has an extra comic booklet in the set only for this song and it comes with an ARG (Alternate Reality Game) hidden inside it where you play a detective so you have to find and follow the clues hidden in the booklet in order to catch the psychopath. The idea was a total success at that time, so we decided to bring this to something bigger with a sequel (Follow Your Instinct 2.0) on our third album Destructive Device but this time we created a game to be played online and again the results were awesome! It turned out great! And if you want to check it out you just need to access: www.mindflow.com.br/followyourinstinct there you can play the game anytime. Be the detective, follow the clues, find the evidences, catch the murderer! haha
What’s up next for MindFlow?
Danilo: Now that this tour is over and we are back home it’s time to work on the new songs. We’re planning to have all of them together and ready to be recorded by the end of this year. So there is some new stuff coming up probably soon!
Any final words of wisdom?
Danilo: I would like to thank You and Highwire Daze for the support and space and also thanks to all the readers, yeah: If you are reading this, Thanks a lot! Let your MindFlow… Always!
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions! Fantastic show at The Key Club! Hope you see your band back in the States soon…
Danilo: It was a pleasure. Thanks a lot Ken! We can’t wait for the next time!
Danilo Hebert- Vocals
Rodrigo Hidalgo – Guitars, Backing Vocals
Ricardo Winandy – Bass Guitar
Rafael Pensado – Drums, Backing Vocals
(Interview and Live Photos from The Key Club by Kenneth Morton)
Mindflow Official Home Page