Affäire is a Portuguese sleazy rock band with edgy songs that came together from various members of other semi-well known bands from around the country. They are debuting with a surprisingly catchy album in the genre that leaves quite a bit of promise... J.P. Costanza was contacted and he lets us on some of the band’s “secrets”...
Affäire band pic
Hi JP… it’s nice to have you on Grande Rock…
JP: Hey Dimitrios! My pleasure, first time chatting with a Greek magazine!
Firstly a sleaze/glam/hair metal band from Portugal... How come?? You know it ain’t so usual huh?!
JP: It’s not usual at all! Unfortunately there was never a tradition for hard rock bands over here. There were some worthy attempts but the only band I think that caught some attention back in the days – although in an underground level – was Joker with their 1992 “Ecstasy” album, which is a collector’s item nowadays. They played a kind of Whitesnake meets Tesla meets Queensryche melodic hard rock. The came out a little too late to make it in the international scene but if you never heard of them, you should check that album out on YouTube!
You seem to be comprised of members from other bands, tell us a bit about the band’s story...
JP: All of Affäire band members have our past, releasing albums and touring in the Portuguese rock and metal scene. We’ve played in several bands like Attick Demons, Dawnrider, Divine Lust, Iberia etc. In my particular case, I’ve been in bands since the mid-90s but I never had the chance to play in a 100% hard rock project. As I told you before, there was never a tradition of hard rock bands in Portugal and, besides that, I always wanted to give 100% to the bands I put up and it had to be the same way when I finally had the opportunity to create a hard rock band. I didn’t want it to be a side-project just for kicks. In 2010, my previous band disbanded. Back then, I had already been writing and recording some ideas at home so it was the right time to bring them to life and create a proper new band. Next step was finding the right musicians to complete the band and finally in the summer of 2011 we were presenting ourselves with our first single “Born Too Late”, a 7” vinyl limited edition of 300 copies.
How did you come up with the name “Affäire” and why the “e” at the end? Is it the Portuguese spelling of just, stylization, to tell you appart from bands called “Affair”?
JP: We wanted a strong name that would fit this sleazy identity of the band but also that wouldn’t hold a language barrier. Truth is, since this name came up, we felt it was it and never gave a second thought about this subject. This word doesn’t exactly exist in Portuguese but it is commonly used here in its English form and everybody knows the meaning of it. If I’m not mistaken it has a French origin, and it includes the “e” at the end and I definitely prefer it that way.
Give us a hint about each track…
JP: “Devil’s Cross”: Opening track of our album and brand new official video for this album. Check it out!
“Thug-In-Law”: I’d like to stand out the lyrics here. This song is about police brutality, an issue here in Portugal that the media chose not to talk about and most of the people tend to think it is a normal or inevitable thing (Portuguese people could learn a lot from Greek people here). These are perhaps shades of half century living in a dictatorship still fresh in the memory…
“Running in Quicksand”: This is one of my personal favorites if not my fave song from “At First Sight”. It’s the only “co-written” song of the album (all the others were written whether by me or by Rick, the guitar player) and one of the last that we threw in before entering studio.
“Cash 4 Flesh”: First single for “At First Sight” (we released it as an advance lyric-video one month before the album release). A song about the glamour associated with luxury escort lifestyle…
“Seven Hounds, One Bone (Midnight Hunger)”: Probably the song that shows in a more obvious way our NWOBH influences. Listening to the song intro, with that cool harmonica and calm instrumental part, one can never expect what is coming next. The first part of the title is “forced” translation of a Portuguese saying and, in this context; it refers to desperate nighttime hunting…
“Busted!”: Another love song, this time about a toilette quicky gone wrong…
“No Room for Romance”: We’re definitely not a ballad type of band. On the other hand, we all love Blues Rock. Having said that, this is the slower song of the album, bluesy to the bone, one that I had a particular pleasure to watch growing in studio and also at home, where I recorded this Hammond-type organ that you can listen through almost the entire song. Our producer called it the “alien” song of the album as it is a mellower moment but it sure makes perfect sense here.
“Roadkill”: Pedal to the metal again! If you thought for a moment that things were getting slower with “No Room for Romance” then this one will put you back on track!
“Secret Lives”: We used to begin our first gigs with this one. This is about another social disease so common in Portugal (I’m sure it happens in many other places too): the lake of integrity and true standards that leads shallow people to comfortably hide it behind a façade of so-called accepted and recommended social standards.
“N.S.T.M.B.”: What better way to close the album than with another love song with a happy ending (pun intended)? For those who haven’t listened to this one yet, it stands for “Nothing Stronger Than a Morning Boner”. It’s a kind of booze-filled party anthem and it carries a message of hope for those too drunk to “perform”: there is always a morning after!
Give us a few details about the recordings (mixing, production, mastering) of your debut “At First Sight”.
JP: Recordings took place at Lisbon’s Pentagon Audio Manufacturers studio, one of the most reliable places to record for those looking for a proper rock n roll approach yet sounding professional in Portugal. The producer behind these studios is Fernando Matias, who has worked with many well-known bands of our scene, like Ironword or Moonspell. Then the album was mastered in California, more exactly at The Groove Room in San Rafael. This is a studio that works mainly with vintage gear in the good old analog ways and it’s run by sleaze-rock legend Davy Vain, who oversaw the whole mastering process himself. This last step proved to be an asset for the record. It was our goal, since the recording stages, to have our record sounding clear but also organic and warm. We didn’t want it to be another digital-plastic-super modern sounding album full of triggers and pseudo-hi tech bullshit!
After a 7" you got signed to Demon Doll Records. Did they seek you out, or was it the other way around and are you happy with what they’re doing for you?
JP: When it was time to go for our first album, as we were an unsigned band, we decided to put all our efforts in recording the album the best we could and only looking for a possible record deal after the album was finished. When we had our first master ready we showcased it to some selected labels and Demon Doll had to be one of them, as they are one of the few that are keeping the glam/sleaze rock flame alive, by releasing cool new bands as well as bringing to the light cult bands from the 80s and early 90s that, by one reason or another, had their old recordings shelved and kept away from the daylight. So, as I was saying we sent them an email with some of the tracks and the next day they were replying us saying they really liked it and wanted to release the album. They have been honest with us since day one and we feel they’ve opened new horizons for us especially in the US and in Japan.
What are your influences as a musician and who was your idol growing up?
JP: I sure fit much better amongst the iconoclast type than with the idolater. But, musically speaking, I began by learning piano and organ as a child, so I was always open to classical music and to the blues. As a kid growing in the 80s I have to admit that I like a lot of 80s pop… but the real deal came as a teen being exposed to band like The Cult, Guns n Roses, Aerosmith, etc and, soon after that, to heavy metal giants like the inevitable Iron Maiden or Helloween. That’s when it became clear that Hard n Heavy and Metal was a point of no return as far as what I wanted to do as a musician. It’s not that it would be impossible to play other styles (I also played in doom and prog rock bands), but those will always play the main role.
Is there much of a “hard rock” scene in Portugal (bands similar to you, live shows etc.)?
JP: There is not a big hard rock scene, but there certainly there is a relevant number of die-hard fans and a rock club in the Lisbon area open since 1973 called “2001”! Some say it’s the oldest one still kicking in Europe. Unfortunately it is an exception in Portugal nightlife. In Lisbon there are some live shows now and then, not often enough, mostly when classic rock bands are booked on their tours. 90% or more of the bands touring Europe won’t go any further west than Spain. That has something to do with our geographic position but also, let’s face it; Spain has a strong hard rock scene when it comes to a devoted fanbase. If you ask me about bands similar to us in Portugal, I mean, 100% hard rock band with no compromises, I’d have a hard time trying to name one but I do hope this situation may change in the near future.
Is the internet helping or thwarting bands efforts to make a living? Or a bit of both?
JP: I don’t blame internet if 99% of the bands of today can’t make a living out of it. I blame it on the industry standards and also on the mainstream media. Look what was MTV in the beginning and what it is now: white trash reality shows and hip-hop videos featuring all type of retards. If some kids start a band with the purpose of being wealthy then they’re doing it for the wrong reason. Internet is there and you have to try to make the most out of it if you want your band to grow. It is what it is and it sure is a pain in the ass trying to keep up with all this social media work but there is no other way: whether you do your best to adapt or, if you don’t want to worry about it, you might as well play for your friends and family!
Are you going to tour, to support this album?
JP: Sure! That’s the best part of it! So far, we’ve played two album release shows in December in the two main Portuguese cities, Lisbon and Porto. Until March, we have about a dozen confirmed shows in Portugal and we’re also working on a few others in Spain.
Where do you see Affäire, a few years from now?
JP: We have so much to think about for the near future that I honestly don’t make long term plans. It has always been about working hard, taking one step at the time, making sure we do it the best we can and being always very demanding with ourselves. But don’t take this for lack of ambition!
Affaire band pic
Weird questions time!!! If you were a God for a week, what would you do?
JP: Now I know what it feels to be crowned Miss World! Haha! Well, I guess I’d probably kill myself and take as much gods as I could with me! This world would be a much better place without religion!
Which are the top 3 hard rock albums of all time, according to you?
JP: It would be easier if you asked for “30 hard rock albums”! This is almost as hard as naming my 3 favorite bands of all time, but these would be serious contenders: Richie Blackmore’s Rainbow – “S/T”, Aerosmith – “Rocks” and Guns n Roses – “Appetite for Destruction”.
Out of the seven deadly sins, which one would you identify with?
JP: Lust.
Who deserves to be bitchslapped in the world today and why?
JP: This would be an endless list but, these days, I would pick religious fanatics for sure. Their god should make a special appearance in their lives and tell them there is no such thing as a heaven with seven virgin girls waiting for fundamentalist psychos!
If you could be any Rockstar from the 80s who would it be and why?
JP: I was born too late to be a Rockstar from the 80s and I never really wished to be someone else. There’s no point in wasting time wandering “what if”…
Fill in the phrase… “Hard Rock wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
JP: … Sex & Drugs & MTV!
What’s the worst thing you can say right after sex?
JP: “Do you accept Visa?”…
Who is the sexiest female Rock Star of all time?
JP: Sandi Saraya.
You have the opportunity to sleep with the movie-celebrity/porn-star of your choice. Who would it be & why?
JP: One of my band mates heard this one and promptly picked Érica Fontes, a Portuguese porn star. Why? Because she could understand every single dirty word he would call her while doing it! (i.n.: Hehehe…)
What’s the naughtiest thing you’ve ever done?
JP: Is sex in the zoo naughty enough!? (i.n.: WTF?…)
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
JP: This is such a predictable answer but I’d gladly give both of my pinkie fingers to have witnessed, in the flesh, the Sunset Strip scene in the 80s.
If your gf/wife sold your record collection to get herself an expensive ring, how would you react?
JP: Honestly, music and rock‘n’roll in particular are a passion that we have in common so I can’t imagine such a tragedy happening to me!
Thx for taking to Grande Rock JP. Wish you the best for Affäire. Keep on rockin’ dude. Any last words before we close? Take care!
JP: I had a great time during this interview! Thanks, we really appreciate your support! Everybody into sleazy rock‘n’roll pay a visit to our pages on the web, listen to our stuff and watch our new video “Devil’s Cross”! Feel free to drop us a line! To Grande Rock: keep up with the good work, all in the name of Rock. I couldn’t finish without sending our best wishes that all of you Greek brothers. Here in Portugal we’ve been aware of the hard times you’ve been through, much thanks to this European Union mafia, and we sincerely wish you have better times ahead in this New Year!