Brazil is the host of the 2014 FIFA World Cup this year, but the country is also well-known for its rich metal scene. It didn’t really surprise us a bit, that one of the most talented all-female thrash metal bands is hailing from that beautiful country. Their debut CD “Victim Of Yourself” will definately remind you of the likes of TESTAMENT, EXODUS and DESTRUCTION and you will realize that these three ladies have created a wonderful album. Their influences are from bands, that had their heydays in the 1980s, when these ladies were born. All the more reason to find out how they got influenced by these old school thrash metallers and what exactly drives them to become one of the best all-female thrash bands worldwide without getting a victim of themselves. Let’s introduce you a bit closer to Brazil's samba metal queens, NERVOSA. Metal Maidens spoke to bassplayer and singer Fernanda Lira, who kindly answered our questions....
Before I start this interview we’d like to thank you very much for giving us the opportunity to ask you some questions and also congratulate you on your marvelous debut album. When did the band actually get together and how did you meet up with one another?
Fernanda Lira: “Hey, thanks a lot on the words about our album! This means a lot to us. So, when I joined NERVOSA it was only a project that was looking for members to get it started as an actual band. I had been kicked out from my previous band, then after a while apart from playing, I decided to get back pursuing my dream and started looking for girls to gather up an all-female thrash metal trio! When my quest was almost over, once finding committed girls to form a band is very hard. Prika got in touch with me in July 2011 and we noticed that the both of us had the same ideals and objectives, so we decided to join forces. I wrote some lyrics and vocal lines and made some adjustments on some of the songs which already existed and then we moved on as a professional and active band!”
You haven’t always been a trio, have you? What went wrong and don’t you want to add another second guitarist anymore or do you feel comfortable as it is now?
Fernanda: “To me, a trio was exactly what I was looking for since the beginning and I simply loved when we became a trio! What happened was that we had a second guitar player in the very beginning of the band, but she was from another city and couldn't commit to the band the way we needed, so she ended up leaving the band! When it was time to look for another girl to replace her, we actually ended up deciding we would be a trio, because of many factors. Firstly because everything is easier when there are only three people in the band: on the road, when you write songs, when we have to make decisions, everything is easier when there's only three of us, especially when you're dealing with women. Also, we didn't want to risk the band's harmony back then the same way we don't wanna do that nowadays: we're like sisters and it would be hard to find someone like us, with the same dedication and objectives! Also, I am a big fan of trios, they have always been inspirational to me! RUSH, MOTORHEAD, CORONER, DESTRUCTION… a lot of role models to be followed (lol).”
Why did you decide to form an all-female (thrash) metal band? Even in 2014, there’s still a lot of people in the music industry, who think that women don’t fit in and can’t play an instrument or they come up with other stupid reason. Please comment on this…..
Fernanda: “Since I left my last band I head this pretty clear in my mind, an all-female thrash metal band was exactly what i was looking for and I wouldn't have quit looking for it if NERVOSA wasn't active. I think everything has been already done when it comes to metal, so when you are forming a new band, you need to come up with something different. You don't see as much girl bands as male bands around these days, so I thought it would be something new and cool to be done! Of course we can't hold ourselves only to that label, because the headbanger audience is very demanding and they care a lot more for music than to labels or only image, so in the end of the day what really matters the most is and will always be the music that we play! Being all-female is just an extra feature! As for the second half of the question, we can't pretend there's no more prejudice in the metal scene anymore, because yes, there are, and it was really hard on the beginning, a lot of people tried to offend and harm us, but with time they saw there was nothing no one could - women are and will be more involved in metal in the future and this no one can help! I guess, we took a bullet for a lot of forthcoming all-girl bands which are about to come or have been on the road for a while, because many prejudice people pointed their prejudice and rage to us for a while, so i think in the future it will be easier for girls to be more involved in metal, people will have understood that women as as much headbangers as men are!”
Can you please introduce yourself to us as a band and tell us which instrument(s) you play, etc.?
Fernanda: “I am Fernanda Lira, I play bass guitar and I am also the singer of NERVOSA! Besides the band, I am a host of a heavy metal radio show, called Heavy Nation and also have my own audiovisual producer, which makes low cost videos for underground metal bands. We have Prika Amaral on guitars and backing vocals. She founded the label Sujo Records, promotes events and is always involved and organizing cultural projects. Pitchu Ferraz plays the drums for NERVOSA and has played with bands like AJNA and BLENDA, a hardcore band with whom she shared the stage with NXZero and GLORIA. She participated in an Edgar Scandura’s project called SMACK and performed with PROJECTO FARSA in music schools doing workshops.”
Did any of the band members play in other bands before NERVOSA and if yes, did they record anything with that particular outfit?
Fernanda: “All of us three have been in many bands before NERVOSA! I have been in other four all-female metal bands from different metal genres. But, from the three of us, NERVOSA is the first all-female thrash metal band we have all been before! So this is a quite new experience for all of us, even though we have been in many other bands before this one!”
How did you get in touch with your label Napalm records, home of HUNTRESS, GRAVE DIGGER, MORTILLERY, XANDRIA, etc. that released your CD?
Fernanda: “Right after we have released our first video as an appetizer to our forthcoming first EP at that time, a lot of people, supporters and friends started sharing it and then I ended up being watched and shared by people overseas and that's when I believe Napalm got to know us! They got in touch with us via e-mail and they seemed to be very excited about having us working with them! Since the beginning they seemed to believe in us and in our music as much as we did, so we decided we would ink a deal with them! We feel very happy about their work and also very thankful! They are very comprehensive and also very flexible, they have been doing so many things for us and for that we appreciate a lot the fact that we are together on this road!”
How many copies were sold of the “Time Of Death” seven inch and were they all printed on crystal clear vinyl?
Fernanda: “We have actually released five versions of that first EP: one Brazilian independent one in the format of CD and then four vinyl versions by Napalm: purple, blue, red and clear! Two of these versions have been sold out right after they were released of the other two ones can be found on Napalm's website's nowadays!! That was a dream come true when we happened, everything happened so fast and when we realized we were releasing our EP in vinyl outisde of Brazil! My eyes get teary, when I remember that! (lol)”
What’s the response of the press and the fans like towards your debut album “Victim Of Yourself”?
Fernanda: “The feedback we've been getting has been AWESOME! I guess many people were curious about listening to our album, cause no one how it would come out, and based on the feedback we got so far, it seems we could really fulfill people's expectations! Such support is nothing but a fuel for us to keep on making our best!”
Do you also get any negative critics and if yes, how do you deal with that? Do you try to forget about it as soon as possible or do you rather try to learn from it?
Fernanda: “I believe, that all bands are a target for negative critics and I think that's actually pretty normal! No one can please everyone around, once people are different, with different tastes and different cultures, so critics we can take and most of them are even useful! We use the bad critics to be better musicians, composers and people! We always learn from mistakes or critics! We only can't take clueless offenses!”
How would you describe your music yourself?
Fernanda: “I always say that we are the perfect mix of everything we listen to! I can't label our music to just one genre or characteristic, because we listen to a lot of things and everything we listen to ends up influencing us on what we write! So this means in our music you will find from traditional to death, to thrash and everything else metal there's out there!”>p> Can you name the main musical influences of NERVOSA and maybe you can mention the influences of each band member individually here as well?
Fernanda: “As a band, I guess we are very influenced by the classical death and thrash metal bands, such as SLAYER and other ones. I personally am very influenced by thrash metal bands such as SLAYER, NUCLEAR ASSAULT, D.R.I., OBITUARY, DESTRUCTION, CORONER, and death metal bands like VADER, DEICIDE, MORBID ANGEL, DEATH! All of those bands helpped me a lot to earn my own signature way of playing, singing and writing songs, so I believe they are my main influences!”
What’s your favorite track on the album and why?
Fernanda: “That's very hard for me to pick just one! It's like choosing a baby among all your children! I like them all, but if I had to pick some, I guess i would say “Victim Of Yourself” and “Justice Be Done”! Both of them have most of the elements and characteristics we use in all songs, like catchy riffs and choruses, blast beats, skunk beats and everything else!”
You must be very proud of what colleagues like Bobby Blitz, Max Cavalera and Schmier say about your album. Any comments?
Fernanda: “I am REALLY proud and actually honored about that! I always say, that when you are a teenage headbanger, you will never imagine you will have a band and that your metal heroes will get to know your band and who you are, and then that they will say cool things about it! I feel really, really happy and thankful for that. Sometimes, I think I'm such a lucky girl!”
Who writes the lyrics for NERVOSA and can you tell us what they are about?
Fernanda: “Me and Prika are the main lyricists and even we are different people with different opinions, the cool thing is that we have similar ways of writing lyrics, once the both of us like to write about realistic aspects, more human aspects! We write about everything we disagree with around, especially when you are from Brazil, which is a very corrupt, unequal country, so we use our lyrics to spit out all the hate and disagreement we feel about those things! I use my lyrics to unburden all the indignation I feel about some certain matters!”
How does the song writing come about in general? Do you start with the lyrics or does the music come first or perhaps you write while jamming? Please explain a bit more about this process?
Fernanda: “The music always comes first. I personally like to write the lyrics and create the vocal lines, when we are done with the whole music structure! Our writing process is pretty natural and organic! Me or Prika come up with a riff or a song structure and the other ones give ideas to improve that, then the polishing process starts and moves on!”
Are you a victim of yourself?
Fernanda: “I have to admit that I have already been, because you only get mature with time and with the experiences you pass through, and when you are immature you feel it's very difficult to assume your responsibilities and to be responsible for your actions. That's being a victim of yourself! Nowadays, I am pretty aware that whatever I do will come back to me, if I do good things, they will come back my way and if I do bad things, they will also be back my way. And when they do, I have to be responsible for that. If you're not capable to assume your own flaws, you become a victim of yourself!”
What has been your biggest gig so far?
Fernanda: “We have played many awesome gigs, but one to be remembered was, when we played in Roça N Roll a very traditional metal fest in Minas Gerais! We were the last band and even it was very late, tonz of people waited for us to play and made this gig to be unforgettable: a lot of people, a violent moshpit and a lot of support! It was super cool!”
You’ve shared the stage with bands like EXODUS, RAVEN, EXCITER and ARTILLERY. What is the coolest or most funny thing you’ve ever witnessed while being on tour. Please share some nice, cool or funny moments with our readers from the life on the road with NERVOSA is you please?
Fernanda: “All of those gigs were like dreams come true (I know, I say that a lot but that's a fact – it’s a dream!!!)! Each gig we make has a special meaning to us, but sharing the stage with your metal personal heroes is something really rad! I remember Tom Hunting, EXODUS' drummer watched the whole gig of ours from the stage, and when we left the stage, we met him and he was super happy signing one of our songs to us, it was really cool! The after parties are also cool, there are so many stories to remember!”
Do you also play covers during your live gigs and if yes which covers do you play then?
Fernanda: “Nowadays our main on unique focus is in our own songs! We only played covers live when we didn't have a complete set list to be playing live on the very beginning of the band! We used to play a lot of SLAYER and SUICIDAL TENDENCIES! If I had to pick up one cover to play live nowadays, i would certainly suggest the girls something like SEPULTURA or RATOS DE PORAO!”
What do you think of the metal scene in Brazil and why are there more all-female metal bands in Brazil, then in other parts of the world? I think of VALHALLA, SCATHA, FLAMMEA, PANNDORA, VOLKANA, to name but a few….
Fernanda: “The metal scene here in Brazil is very rich and wide! Everywhere you go here you will find a very solid local scene with many awesome bands and fans! There's tonz of bands i could be saying here to you guys, such as TORTURE SQUAD, CLAUSTROFOBIA, MX, WOSLOM, JACKDEVIL, EXECUTER and many many more. As for all-female or female-fronted band, besides the ones you said, there's also NECROMESIS, VUCIFERA, CAUTERIZATION, SINAYA, LOSNA, and many other more! I usually hear this on interviews, that we have more all-female bands than any other place and I feel not only surprised but proud of that! But I think, this is gonna be a worldwide tendency in the future, because women are getting more and more involved in metal!”
You recently recorded a video clip for the song “Death”, which can be viewed on YouTube. What can you tell us about the shooting of that video?
Fernanda: “It was cool in the end! But we had a lot of problems on the beginning because we were recording it in an actual abandoned cemetery! We had a lot of work but it was a very cool experience and the final result was very close to what we had in mind!”
We also found out that you have a custom pedal sponsorship going, maybe you can give us some more details about that here?
Fernanda: “Yeah! We are very pleased to have this partnership! These pedals custom made by Ed's Mod Shop are an essential part for us to reach moe and more our signature sound live! The pedals are very good and helped us improve A LOT the way we sound live! Can't wait to record an album with them!”
Where can people find you on the Internet (official website URL, facebook page, etc.) and where can people order your album? Please promote yourself here (it’s for free – LOL).
Fernanda: “haha. Thanks a lot for the space! So, we update our Facebook page a lot, so everything that's new will be posted there1 You just have to access www.facebook.com/femalethrash. If you want other info or material, just like our CDs and other merch items, you just have to access our website, which is: http://www.nervosaofficial.com”
Fernanda, you were once a member of all female outfit HELLGARD. What’s the biggest difference between HELLGARD and NERVOSA besides the music that you are playing with these different outfits? Is the band still active, as far as you know?
Fernanda: “I don't really know if the band is active, i lost contact with them as soon as i left the band! The differences are HUGE! Firstly, the music is completely different: I was really into traditional heavy metal back then, so we tended to write more heavy metal songs and we were a lot influenced by bands such as WARLOCK and IRON MAIDEN. Also, NERVOSA is a lot more serious and professional band, and the girls are way more committed! I guess, everyone in HELLGARD including me wasn't very mature to move on with the band. We kind of didn't know what we really wanted! With NERVOSA, it's a completely different story! We know exactly where we want to get and we work really hard and leave many things behind to devote ourselves to the band!”
We are a Dutch online ‘zine, that focusses on female musicians in the hard rock and heavy metal scene. Do you think that women still need this attention or do you feel while being an all-female thrash band, you already get all the respect, that you need?
Fernanda: “I think as it's still rare and new to be in an all-female metal bands, all support is helpful and necessary! The more support we get from everywhere and for everyone, the best it will be for all women! All zines, sites, magazines and other kind of supporters are essential for the female metal scene to keep growing!”
Like I mentioned here already, we are based in Holland (or The Netherlands, if you like). What else do you know about our country, besides the fact that we have colorful tulips and beautiful windmills over here?
Fernanda: “You also have many cool bands I like and very talented musicians over there! Also, my boyfriend, who plays in Brazilian thrash/death band TORTURE SQUAD, has been in the Netherlands many times and he always says that's one of the best places he has ever been, especially when it comes to scenery and people1 We say to each other that if one day we want to get married, we will spend our honeymoon in Amsterdam (lol).”
What makes NERVOSA so outstanding from the 795,373 other all-female or female-fronted metal bands?
Fernanda: “Wow, what an exact number! I think, we are no more and no less than any other one. Every band has its peculiarities and with us, that's no different! Each band has a different essence and that's the same for us! The only thing is, that we are one of the very few bands, that play extreme metal. Most of the all-female metal bands tend to be playing other metal genres. I hope, this tendency grows more and more with time!”
What are your plans for the future?
Fernanda: “We plan to be touring around the globe and soon to be writing a new album! We don't want the machine to stop!”
Is there anything you’d like to add to this interview, that makes the story of NERVOSA complete. Maybe there’s something we forgot to mention here?
Fernanda: “I guess people could have a whole complete idea of what we are with the excellent questions you asked.”
Do you have any personal messages for our readers?
Fernanda: “Thanks a lot for taking your time to read about us. This means a lot! Keep on supporting bands, because we and all of you guys are responsible to make the metal flame to keep burning so its legacy will survive on and on.”
The famous last words are for NERVOSA…..
Fernanda: “Thanks a lot for the opportunity and keep up the good work, you guys are essential to make th bands to move on! Thanks a lot!”
Visit the official website of NERVOSA at: www.nervosaofficial.com
or go to the Facebook page of NERVOSA at: www.facebook.com/femalethrash