Let us all burn together with the talented Brazilian artist Alcides Burn, from Burn Artworks, in this exclusive interview where he talks about his work, his passion for drawing and heavy music, and more.
The Headbanging Moose: Could you please start by telling our readers who Alcides Burn is? When and why did you decide to become a graphic designer, and when exactly did your passion for heavy music start impacting your work as a designer?
Alcides Burn (Burn Artworks): Hi, at first I would like to thank The Headbanging Moose for the opportunity to present my work.
Well, I’m Brazilian, from Belém-PA, but I’ve lived in Recife for many years, I always liked to draw and I’ve always been a fan of horror movies, giant monsters, and stuff like that. In the 1990s it was when I started listening to metal, I remember the first time I saw an Iron Maiden album cover, I was impressed with it and from that time on I decided to create arts.
I started drawing art for bands of friends until I’ve got a computer from an uncle and went digital.
THM: Did you have any idea of what you were doing in your early days as a graphic designer for metal bands? How did things work in the beginning for you? What were your biggest challenges as a rookie in such competitive market?
AB: In the beginning there weren’t as many artists as nowadays, and I really wouldn’t have imagined that I’d become a well known artist as now. As I said, I was lucky to have a very good computer at a time that it was very expensive and difficult to get one, and I always studied a lot, I used to burn the midnight oil learning and studying hard, then I made an album cover for Queiron, a band from São Paulo. That opened doors, that was when I actually started this work, after that other bands came up.
THM: You were also (and still are) a vocalist for a few Brazilian Death Metal bands like Inner Demons Rise, Next Pain and Subinfected. How did you manage your duties as a musician and a designer at the same time with your previous bands, and what lessons did you learn that you can apply to your active band Inner Demons Rise nowadays?
AB: The bands were not my top priority, I’m also an advertising professional and a concert producer, so these projects came up during my spare time and they were getting harder to manage in my busy schedule. Due to that reason I’m not in a band anymore. I’ve spent 10 years in the band Inner Demons Rise, I had a lot of fun, I learned a lot, a lot of the production experience I’ve learned I used to apply to the band, but unfortunately my work as a designer started to grow and I had to leave the band, but I still talk every day to my bandmates that are also my personal friends.
THM: While checking some works you’ve done for several bands from different parts of the world, I noticed most of the time there’s a lot of chaos, fire, death, demons, darkness and other obscure or evil elements in your art. What attracts you in those elements, and do you think that can limit your reach, I mean, what if a Symphonic Metal band or a Hard Rock band approach you to hire your services?
AB: Well, my mind has always been a little devilish (LOL), I’m a Death Metal fan, mainly from the 1990s, and album covers like Monstrosity (Imperial Doom) and Dismember (Like an Ever Flowing Stream) have always impressed me, creatures, the scenarios, and like I said, horror movies, monsters, I think I couldn’t follow a different path. However I’ve already designed for Melodic Heavy Metal bands, like “The Black Knight” from the band Wizards here from Brazil among other artists, sometimes I feel even lacking in creating such works.
THM: What are your favorite bands, as well as favorite artists and designers? How much have they influenced your work since the beginning? And can you list your favorite album artworks of all time, telling why you like them so much?
AB: That’s a trick question, but let’s go:
Some of my favorite bands are: Paradise Lost, Moonspell, Monstrosity, Deicide, Gorefest, A-HA, Dream Theater, Angra, I think these are the ones I listen to most.
Favorite artists: Seth Siro Anton, Wes Benscoter, Dave Mckean, Travis Smith and Braisl I enjoy many works by several artists, Marcelo Vasco, Gustavo Sazes, Rafael Tavares, Carlos Fides among others.
About favorite albums: Paradise Lost – Gothic, Moonspell – Wolfheart, Deicide – Legion, Gorefest – False, Monstrosity – Imperial Doom, Dream Theater – Image and Words, Angra – Fireworks. There are many (LOL)
THM: Apart from heavy music, what else serves as an inspiration for you? Any movies, books or other things that are worth mentioning that had a significant impact in the way you draw or paint?
AB: Movies, lots of movies, I’m a movie buff, I watch at least 2 or 3 movies a week and everything around me, if I step on the street and see something that I know can turn some art, I quickly snap a picture.
THM: If I have a band and I’m searching for an artist to design the cover art for my new album, what should I do to contact you? And how does the entire process work, from the very first contact until the final version of the artwork is ready?
AB: Well, you can contact me through my email: firstname.lastname@example.org or by my Facebook and Instagram: @alcidesburn.
The process is very simple, I usually create the art based on the album title or from a song lyric or an idea that the band has in mind. I have a conversation with the band to understand the idea and then just go for it, I present a draft of the idea to the band and as soon as they approve I finish the artwork.
THM: Your list of clients is quite extensive, including underground bands from distinct parts of the world such as Neuroticos (Japan), Zerozonic (Norway) and Iconoclasm (Belgium), renowned international acts like Keep of Kalessin (Norway), Obituary (USA) and Tim “Ripper” Owens (USA), countless underground Brazilian bands and even some big names in the Brazilian scene like Krisiun, Nervochaos and Torture Squad. From all those bands and artists, which ones do you think were able to extract the best of your art?
AB: I think the one that has had the most repercussions so far was the Keep of Kalessin, that one people still talk about, this art will be part of the second edition of the book Arte Arcana – Lucifero, where I will be among the great artists of the world.
The book can be purchased at this link: https://heavymusicartwork.com/arte-arcana-lucifero. There is an art that I made for Rebaelliun band shirt that I also like it a lot. I recently created another art for them and I liked the result. The ones I made for Krisiun, total respect to the band, I like it a lot and the guys are very good people and Nervochaos that despite being something simple it was a very cool experience.
I have a special affection for all of them, they are important bands that I like so much.
THM: There was no social media and the access to the internet was extremely limited when you started around 20 years ago. What are the advantages and disadvantages for you of the advent and unstoppable growth of social media in recent years? How do you keep up to date with everything that’s going on, new techniques, new software or anything else that you can apply to your work?
AB: I usually say that the internet is a necessary evil, and you have to know how to use it in your favor, I try to use it to show my work to the world, I try to forget other subjects, I open my Facebook to advertise my arts and talk about movies.
Other than that the internet made it very easy for people who work with arts. Today you have a multitude of images, plugins, textures and software that helps a lot, but as I said: the real world is there, and if you have a good point of view you can bring a lot for your art.
THM: You were born in the city of Belém, in a region of Brazil not very famous for its metal music (in the state of Pará), and you currently reside in the Northeast of Brazil, where although there are several metal bands the scene remains completely underground. How does that impact your work? And what bands can you recommend form those regions, especially the ones you’ve already worked with?
AB: I left Belém at the age of 1 and I do not know the city until nowadays, but I hope to do it so soon.
The coolest thing is that I have several friends there, I’ve done arts for bands there like Disgrace and Terror, Anubis and Eternal Darkness, the latter two I’m creating for their new work at the moment.
The Northeast is strong, there are lots of bands that I have worked with and I like them a lot like Decomposed God, Pandemmy (both from Recife), Headhunter D.C., Malefactor (from Salvador), Sanctifier (from Natal), there are a lot of fucking good bands here.
I think it’s a little bit hard for me to live in Recife, an example if you live in São Paulo, you have a lot more contact with this world because it’s a metropolis, there are a lot more shows, more producers and more bands, you see. But I love the Northeast and Recife.
THM: What does the future hold for you as a graphic designer and also as a metal vocalist? Do you see yourself working with more and more international bands, or do you prefer becoming a reference in the Brazilian scene?
AB: As a vocalist I only intend to have some projects, I need them, but nothing too serious, just recording, maybe going on stage a few times nothing more than that, nothing that takes my time.
As for the graphic designer, absolutely. I want to show my work to the world, to have more international bands in my portfolio, that would be great!
THM: Thanks a lot for your time, Alcides. It’s an honor for us to interview a metal artist like you for the first time on our webzine. Feel free to send your final message to our readers, including the best ways for bands and musicians to contact you if they’re interested in having your art representing their music.
AB: I’d like to thank you so much for the opportunity to talk about my work. Spaces like these are of extreme importance for the Metal world. Every zine, blog, website is a source of information that never must die.
To contact me, in addition to the social networks I’ve mentioned, my site is: www.burnartworks.com. In it you’ll find my works. Thank you!