De La Tierra smashed onto the scene with a self-titled album in 2014—but each of the four guys already had his own faithful following. The metal supergroup is built on the chops of Andreas Kisser, the Brazilian guitarist of influential shredders Sepultura; Sr. Flavio, the Argentine bassist of the genre-hopping Los Fabulosos Cadillacs; Andrés Giménez, the Argentine guitarist/lead singer of the bruisers known as A.N.I.M.A.L.; and Alex González, the Miami-born drummer (nicknamed...Animal) of Cuban and Colombian descent. He drums for Maná, the four-time Grammy-winning Mexican pop-rock group that exists alongside the world's most famous acts.
And De La Tierra genuinely slay. These guys, with a median age of 49 years old, are masters of their own corners of music, yet show no trouble pouring all they've got into a pot and coming out with cuts—sung in Spanish and Portuguese—that 20-year veterans can headbang to in awe. 2014's De La Tierra was professionally punishing, and today's sophomore LP, II, is, somehow, better by leaps and bounds.
Fuse is happy to premiere the intimately intense video for "Señales," above. We also had an enlightening conversation with Alex González.
Fuse: Do you still feel momentum off the last album, or are you starting the engine cold again?
Alex González: Obviously every time you do a brand new record you're starting from zero. I mean, we still have the same adrenaline and the same passion as we did with the first record. Obviously we're very excited with this new record, especially having the opportunity of working with Ross Robinson [producer for Korn, At the Drive-In]. That was amazing. At the same time, I think we even found...we got closer to having our own sound. The first record was more of us starting to get to know one another as a band, because we know each other very well, but we never had the opportunity to play and write music together. So that in itself was like the first experiment, and eventually, and thankfully, everything worked out great. We immediately saw that we had a lot of power, a lot of energy. All four of us write, we compose, so it really worked out the first time. Even though we're at a, let's say more mature age, we still have that same passion and drive like when we were 15-, 16-year-old kids.
How did that translate to playing live together?
We really got to vibe each other out on stage and live the tour lives, hanging out and stuff. We really became a unit. And now we know each other a lot better, so going into this new record, the process was a lot more relaxed, but at the same time more ambitious. We're trying to found our own sound, our own essence. With Andrés in A.N.I.M.A.L. and Andreas in Sepultura, those two guys are the main songwriters in those two bands. So it's important that De La Tierra has its own unique sound, even if you can hear a little bit of the influences of the writing that comes from either Andrés or Andreas. And at the same time, Flavio and me both participated in writing some songs. We're very, very happy with the outcome and we just hope everybody loves the album when it comes out.
You joined Maná as a 15-year-old; you're 47 now. Was your first show with De La Tierra your first time as a metal drummer?
Yeah. Talk about being thrown at the lions, our first four shows were opening up for Metallica in South America. The first show was in Bogota, Colombia, there was 50,000 people there. And man, it was incredible, because it looked like we had played together all our lives. Obviously we rehearsed, and my band members, they're so professional and have so many miles, kilometers of traveling and touring, so they really have that level. You get together and just by looking at each other, or maybe a hand gesture or something, you know that something's gonna go on. Or if you have to continue playing the chorus another two times, there's just a chemistry and a language that's naturally there.
You guys know this being-in-a-band thing really well, but not together. Are there little things you're used to doing differently as individuals that become sticking points? Who gets their favorite bunk in the bus, anything like that?
No, no. There's no egos, there's no rock star attitude, nothing, man. Like I said, we come from a generation of...we used to do that. And if we have to do it again...I did it. I slept on the floor in Flavio's house for 10 days when we were working, and I did that when I was starting. When you don't forget from where you come and how hard it was when you were starting, I think eventually even if you're successful, you will always be able to accommodate whatever situation.
So with Maná, you're on a tour right now called the Latino Power Tour, and you guys have a foundation that supports endangered species. With De La Tierra, is there a bigger, global, activist picture in mind, or is it more just about the music?
We all have our approaches individually, but eventually we can do something in the future and participate, be it in the environment or human rights. We will.
Who do you think your audience is and who else would you like to reach?
Our audiences right now are mainly Latinos and all Latin America, but obviously we would love to have more fans in the United States and in Europe. That's something we're eventually going to achieve by touring, so hopefully next year we'll be able to kick up a really big tour and play here in the States.
Get De La Tierra's II on iTunes, and stream below via Spotify: