Beyond the Embrace's guitarist Oscar Gouveia took some time out before a show in support of Therion on September 13th, 2005, to answer a few questions and get a breath of that fresh Worcester air.

Allright, so I’ve got Oscar from Beyond the Embrace here with me, how are ya man?
Cool man, very good actually.

Allright, I’m glad to hear it man. How’s it been touring with Therion so far?
Well, we actually haven’t been on the tour that long, and we’re only doing a couple of shows with them. Six shows in total I think, and this is… the fourth show. Yeah this is the fourth I think. The worst part about these first two shows was that they were in Canada. I actually like playing in Canada, but getting through the border is a bit of a struggle sometimes you know? Depending on the guards of course, but sometimes they wanna hassle you and they can pretty much fuck you over.

Oh I’m aware man, last time I went through they made me put my hands against the wall and stay still while they searched my car for about 15 minutes.
Oh man, that’s just wonderful.

Yeah, I’m sure you can imagine. So Therion’s a pretty unique band, what are they like in person?
They’ve very cool, very cool. We had a chance, after the second show I think, to well… we got a little tipsy with ‘em, and they started to try to teach us some Swedish and Russian and all kinds of different languages you know. Granted we didn’t really remember any of it the next day, but you know, it was fun. Good times man.

Drunken language lessons usually end up that way.
Yeah man, you got that right.

All right so since we’re outside of Boston I’m entitled to ask a few questions concerning it. First off, what can you tell us about this “Freedom Rally” you guys are playing at?
Well, for the longest time I’ve known it as… just the “Pot Festival.” I think everyone just goes there and smokes pot and shit like that. Now I’m not a pot smoker myself and no one in the band really is either but…

Playing it for the hell of it?
Yeah, I mean, there’s a lot of people there, it’s gonna be good exposure and I reckon it’s for a decent cause. So why not?

Fair enough man. Second of the Boston questions, what’s your feeling regarding your nomination for that best hardrock group in the Boston Music Awards, or something like that?
I’m totally honored about that man. Lately, we got nominated for best local act in the Boston Phoenix, and now the Boston Music Awards which is a pretty big deal… well as far as Boston’s concerned you know? Hell it’s not like we’re ever gonna make it to the Grammy’s or be nominated for something like that, so I’m pretty excited.

Definitely, take what you can get right man?
Of course, so yeah I’m really happy we got the nomination, whether or not we get the award.

Right on, so did you ever expect publicity like that, or was it a total shock?
Oh no way, no. I checked my email one day and had an email from some guy saying “Hey! Congratulations on being nominated for the Boston Music Awards” or something like that. And I was thinking, you know, “who the hell is this prick, how did this get through the spam filter.” But then I went to the website and sure enough there we were, so I was like “Oh wow!”

Haha I can imagine your surprise. You’ve got some tough competition as far as local popularity is concerned though huh? Unearth’s on there I think.
Oh yeah man, we’re not gonna win. I can tell you that much.

So anyway dude, unless I’m mistaken, Ken Susi from Unearth produced your last record right?
Yeah, that’s right.

What was it like to work with him?
Ken’s a really cool, funny guy, and he did a decent job on the record you know. We had a good time doing it overall.

I remember reading that someone in the band said that it was really different from the production of the first album, could you elaborate on that?
Yeah sure. With the first album, it was just us (the band) and my good friend Aaron Clay who was the Chief Engineer at the studio. It was just us and him.

That’s it huh?
Yeah, and we didn’t really have any big producer or anything like that. We actually started recording before we even got hooked up with Metal Blade. It was just coming along alright, I mean I look back at it now, and think like “eesh.”

Not on par with what you accomplished on the second album huh?
Nah not at all. But then again, if you listen to your own record enough times you’ll find all the friggin’ flaws and things you might have done differently. But that’s to be expected you know.

So reading your website I saw that most of your influences are earlier heavy metal acts like Iron Maiden and early Metallica and shit. Are there any influences that might be unexpected, any outliers or something?
Yeah definitely, we’ve got some influences other than metal. Jeff in particular has some very different interests. Oh look, Jeff’s walking up right now.

Haha perfect timing.
Oscar - Hey Jeff, what are some of your influences other than traditional heavy metal? Jeff – Yeah, lately I’ve been listening to a lot of Neurosis, Isis, stuff like that.

Ah ok, Neurosis is a refreshing band.
Jeff – Yeah, that’s one of the reasons I got turned on to them in the first place.

So what have you been listening to Oscar?
Lately? Hm… well I just picked up the new Opeth.

I still haven’t heard it, I’m a little disappointed in myself.
Yeah man, they’re one of my favorites. I just love those guys.

It’s hard not to.
Yeah, hopefully we’ll get to tour with them sometime you know. That would be awesome. Well they’re coming down in October, and I think we’re up for that, but it’s still uncertain. Gotta play it by ear at the moment you know. But as for music, I also really like the last Mastodon record. That’s a little different for me, I don’t usually get into more experimental stuff like that, but they really grew on me you know?

They’re really talented man, probably why they grew on you.
Yeah totally.

You heard the latest Therion albums?
Not in their entirety, but I gotta tell you man… seeing them live is just… amazing.

I can hardly wait man, god knows I’ve waited long enough haha. Are they traveling with the choir or what? Who’s actually here with the band?
They have 3 female singers and 2 male singers… aside from the front-men that is.

So just for a little humor, what are the funniest backstage going-ons that you’ve experienced lately?
Oh geez, there’s almost too many to name just one haha. There’s always the getting stranded in the middle of the desert with a flat tire or something like that. Those are always fun.

Yeah I heard you guys have one bitch of a bus.
Oh yeah man. I’ve pretty much become a sidewalk mechanic, I guess you could say. I’ve gotten my unofficial mechanic degree. Changing alternators, fixing steering columns…

Pretty much everything conceivable huh?
Yeah. I’m becoming a jack of all trades.

So back to Insect Song for a minute, do you guys think you made the most out of having three guitarists? Or do you think given more production value and time you might have done a little more?
No definitely not. There are a lot of things I would have done differently if we had more time. It was just a bit rushed you know. But as I said before, there’s always things that you’ll think of later that you would have liked to have done differently. But even Ken was talking to me the other day saying “Oh man, I was listening to the album I really thought we could have done so much more if we had had more time.” So hopefully on the next record we’ll be able to take a little more time you know. After whatever tours we book near the end of the year I think we’ll just settle down and start work on the next album.

Sounds good man. Just to satisfy my own curiosity, what inspired the artwork? Or was it the artwork that inspired the album.
Well, the artwork came from the album actually. The artist was Travis Smith and we were just really happy the way it came out. He did a really great job.

Do you guys have a headquarters of sorts? I think I read that it was in New Bedford or someplace like that?
Yeah, we’ve got a club down there that we usually play like 3 or 4 times a year, but we try not to lay there much more than that so people don’t get sick of us. But we’ve been playing in the Boston area a lot, and the response is really good. Sometimes the crowd is kinda weird, a lot of hardcore and punk kids showing up and everything. I mean, we don’t really fit into that, but a crowd is a crowd right?

Yeah, besides the Boston hardcore scene has been expanding its interest a lot lately, lot of Suffocation fans, etc.
Yeah man, totally. There are a lot of people into different styles coming out to shows lately, and as far as I’m concerned that’s really a good thing.

Well, that’s just about it dude. Any closing comments? Can I get a “buy the album?”
Haha of course, and you know, vote for us for the Boston Music Awards if this comes out before then. (Sorry guys!).

Thanks a lot man, I’ll see you in the show.
Alright dude, thanks.

Thanks again to Oscar for taking some time out and for helping organize the interview itself.

Links of interest:

Beyond The Embrace
Metal Blade Records
Travis Smith