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A few years ago a new sensation emerged in metal land under the name Nervosa. Now do not think these Brazilian ladies where an overnight success. It took quite some work and travelling the world before they got any attention, but when the buzz started it was obvious these ladies where bound for more glory ever imagined. Now here's their third album entitled ‘Downfall Of Mankind’, and we got in touch with singer/bassist Fernanda Lira to tell us all about it.

By: Koen W. | Archive under speed / thrash metal

Hello Fernanda, how are you?
Very well. Nice to hear you.

Where are you calling from? Last post on the Facebook page of the band was in Peru?
I am home now in Brazil. Just recovering from a very bad food poisoning that I had.

This interview is about the new album ‘Downfall Of Mankind’. Was it a hard one to deal with?
Well, it was because we were touring all the time. But still we had the responsibility for doing a new album once and a while. Because we were touring sometimes it is hard to write songs and going to the studio. There were a little rush an a little pressure. So we were writing one song a week. But when we came at the process of recording it went all ok. But the process was really crazy. Very fast to write one song a week.

The album sounds dark and really fast. You make now compromises. What did you had in your mind while writing the album?
We never expect how we will sound. We will never say before how it has to sound. We really want to write in an organic way, doing it natural. We let the vibes roll. But I and the girls listened a lot to death metal. And also Luana (Dametto – drums) who is our new drummer before she joined the band, she played in an extreme death metal band. So we knew that there would be more death metal or darker stuff. And also because Luana’s way of playing and drumming. It was more related with death metal so we wanted to explore it she would bring it more. The obvious result is darker faster and more aggressive. That was what we were looking for.

When I compare it with the predecessor, you follow the same style but the songs sounds stronger during the polyphonic choruses and even stronger riffs.
I think that all the albums are pretty much sounding as Nervosa. They all had that old school vibe and that has always been there. All our influences on the albums are based on old school stuff. Because that is what we listen at. And off course there is always been a lot of thrash metal in the albums. And catchy choruses. This is our identity and it was there in all the albums. But I think we found our favorite way of writing the songs. This is pretty much how we like it the most. But off course it could change in the future but right now this is what we like to sound. There is thrash metal, there is death metal, catchy choruses and there is a lot of more aggressiveness. It is faster and it is darker.

How dark and evil you see the world?
It is not that there aren’t good things in the world. I can see many things every day in the world that are positive. I am a contributor for Médecins Sans Frontieres. You know the organization who is giving health care in the world. And they send me letters and emails with all the projects and the good work like saving lives. So I know there is good stuff. But thrash and death metal and mainly thrash metal it matches with protest songs. And that is the best opportunity. Our music is our thing for expressing ourselves. Thrash metal is very connective for protesting. We combine it with the things we see every day in our daily routine. And we get angry about and sad about. So we see the things that we don’t like and we combine everything we see and we don’t like and with the combination with our music. So we spit out everything we don’t like. By example the world these days has a lack of debating. People don’t debate about stuff. So we allowed many bad things to happen. And we want people to show what is wrong in our world and make it a way to see that, think about that and start talking about that and start changing stuff. The things that we write about are the things we see in the news happening all over the world. But you know we are living in Latin America and life is pretty though in many ways. And unfortunately, living in Brazil gives us a lot of fuel the write about in the lyrics. We have so many bad things around here in society. Like violence and corruption and poor basic systems like education and health. It is good because we always will have a content for our lyrics but it is also a bad situation. But I don’t’ have always a negative approach. It matches the aggression of the songs and special the thrash part.

Ratos De Porão and Korzus are two legendary Brazilian metal bands. Where they friends with Nervosa?
João Gordo (vocalist Ratos De Porão) is an idol and a friend. We know each other for a couple of years now. He loves our band and we love his band. So once upon a time we were backstage when they played a gig and we start talking. And he said he loved to write a song for our new album. Writing some lyrics and put some vocals on it. And off course we accepted because he is an icon and we like him very much. And then there is Rodrigo Oliveira, the drummer from Korzus. We also know him like forever. We love him and he loves us. He is a good friend. And he has a heavy metal band Armored Dawn. He plays in a thrash metal band and a metal band. So he knows the vibe very well.

Was the end result of 'Downfall Of Mankind' what you had in mind when you started the writing?
To be honest, it is way better than we thought. We had a pretty positive way how it had to sound but in the end it was really good. We only heard the songs in a pre-production in the studio while the rehearsing but when we heard it with the details and the intros and everything it went like wow, it sounds even better than we thought. Like the details of the bass and the variation I tried with my vocals. I was really really happy.

The artwork is very dark. Is it like God that is holding the two skulls or did you had another person in thoughts?
We wanted to have something darker because the album sounds really dark. So we thought that a colorful cover wouldn’t fit with the darkness of the album. And the idea for the guy holding the two skulls. We live in such a chaotic world like mankind is going so bad like killing each other and bombing and hating each other. There must be a demon or very bad figure to control the world. That was the thought behind it. We wanted it dark to fit the album sounds.

band image

There are a lot of South American thrash bands and they all sound a lot more aggressive and darker than our European thrash scene. Can you talk about a South American wave of thrash metal?
The things that I told you about the lyrics that we have so much to be angry about, so we have so much content to write the lyrics. That you can feel in the music because our Latin American death and thrash metal bands sound angrier for some reason. That is because our music is the only way to express yourself. It is very stressful to live here. Very corrupt and hard to live in. We use our music to release al the anger we hear in our daily routine. That is the main reason.

You toured in Europe with Venom Inc. and Suffocation. The blood stained earth tour. Can you learn still new things by touring with such legends?
Definitely. We are a new band comparing with these guys. We have always something to learn as band and as human beings. So touring with these guys gave us a lot to learn. So for example, Suffocation is probably the most tighten band I ever seen alive. If not it is probably one off the most tight bands. The play super brutal technical death metal. And they sound just crystal clear. I just watched them every night and I was thinking how they could play so tight. How could they sound so good? And I was learning a lot by watching them. And as with Venom Inc., those guys are legendary. And Tony Dolan has such a nice stage presence. And he is the most fantastic human being that I know. So there was such a lot to learn from him. From humbleness and kindness and awesomeness till kick ass on stage.

Raise Your Fist! Starts with some speeches about human rights and mainly feminism. In the media it’s clear that there is still a lot of anti-feminism. How is it in Brazil? Do you notice that when you compare it with man bands?
It is a protest song but not only from Brazil. In Brazil the situation is pretty weird. Because we have a president that nobody wanted and some people who got arrested without many proves. So we have a political instability and economically it is pretty fuck up right now. But it is not only in Brazil. That I made sure with those speeches in the beginning. The song is more against activism, being against the system. It is against what people want you to force and to act. So it is about feminism, about equal rights like gender rights, like race rights. So that is why Martin Luther King is talking and Malcolm X. Malawi about education. Gandhi about peace and Mandela about equality. This song is about all those things together. I think we have intolerance and equality everywhere in the world. About race, religion, gender about many things. Socially the world is going pretty bad. Not only my country but everywhere human rights are not respected.

Look what happened in the movie industry in the USA. With the #MeToo were there was the outing of a lot of sexual aggression against woman in the movie industry. Now all three members of Nervosa are women. Did you had some nasty experiences with men that are behaving badly?
O Yeah. Not sexual. People in metal are very respectful. But off course when someone asks for a picture, there is one who wants to touch your boobs or you butt. It is just like one percent. But when we were starting the band it was tougher. We come from a very sexist country and it was hard. We heard and read comments that we only got shows because we fucked with promoters and things like that. But after a while we earned respect because we were metalheads only try to live our dreams. Now it is easier but there is still some sexism. But that will take a few years to change. People don’t know they are sexists. Sometimes at festivals people don’t believe we are from a band. They think we are with a band like groupies. Sometimes we are not allowed to go in our own dressing room. Or we were not allowed to go backstage because promoters didn’t knew us. But we never had anything serious or pretty heavy.

While touring, the man bandmembers have a lot of fun during drinking and farting in the bus. Is that the same for a female band?
Off course. We are also human beings. We like to drink alcohol, we fart, we shit, we pee and we even vomit. It is definitely the same. But when we are travelling with guys they are very respectful. They want us to have a comfort zone. They don’t walk around naked. But is pretty much the same way. We party together. We and the girls just want to have fun. Not the girly stuff like make up. We are more relaxed. It’s really no big deal.

So I thank you for your time. What lays ahead now for the band?
We have a tour in Mexico. A huge fest. Then we play some gigs in Brazil as album promotion. And in September we will be back in Europe. Touring, touring and touring.

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