This Friday (1st), Brazilian thrashers Nervosa’s new album Downfall of Mankind will arrive. The record is a follow-up to 2016’s Agony and it includes their overall thrash style as well as adding a few death metal parts in the mix. Despite the group’s busy schedule, bassist/vocalist Fernanda Lira spent some time to discuss with us about the new album, how they recruited drummer Luana Dametto, Slayer’s retirement, and more.
Your music seems to share a bit of unfortunate truths about our present-day reality and Downfall of Mankind is no different. How did this one come together?
I always say my greatest tool for expressing myself is my lyrics! The world is pretty much fucked up, so we live, see, watch and listen to a lot of different negative stuff on a daily basis. So I think music is a good way of spitting out that rage and also make people acknowledge there’s actually bad things going on all over, and think about that, and debate about that so maybe we can start changing that. Our lyrics always come up to life the same way, in a very organic way, we just write what we feel and share that.
I was hooked from “Horrordome” on as I noticed more than just thrash metal to it. How do you think fans would react to having a few death metal parts?
I think they will like it, once our music is still pretty much Nervosa and pretty much thrash metal, there’s just some additions in some parts with those death metal influences. For thrash metal fans is just some parts where there will be more aggressiveness to mosh to and for death metal fans, something to please their taste even more! I think it was a nice step forward without changing our essence.
What was it like for you to create this one over 2016’s Agony?
It was basically the same thing too. We always try to make it nice and slow and calm when creating a new album, but due to our crazy touring life, in the end it always ends up being a crazy rush (laughter). We didn’t have much time to write the album exactly because we were always traveling, so conciliating almost 150 in a year with writing an album was pretty much insane. We’d take the lil spare time we had in between tours to sit down and write stuff, then we had a little over 1.5 months for the final details and pre-producing the album! It was pretty much the same thing with Agony.
I remember your last North American touring cycle happened at the same time when Pitchu Ferraz (former drummer) quit and you had to recruit the last minute live replacement, Samantha Landa who had, I believe, just a few days to learn the material. Now that it’s been two years since, can you share what that experience was like?
It was a really tough time, but at the same time it was good for the band, cause it showed how much me and Prika can do when we unite forces in hard times, our unity and strength helped us a lot. I think no one has to be in any situation, band, relationship or anything else where they don’t feel comfortable anymore, and for that i’ll always respect Pitchu’s decision to leave the band – she started having different objectives and didn’t like being in the band anymore, which is alright. What i don’t agree is the way it happened, which was very unprofessional and irresponsible and sometimes I even think it was a little mean. When she decided to suddenly fly back home, we already had 60 gigs booked, including a big tour with Destruction in Europe. Also, we were only a week away from the beginning of this North American tour you mentioned, so there was a lot of tension, not only because we had lost a lot of money (for visas and flights for Pitchu that were already paid and we lost them), but also because it would be extremely hard to find someone in North America who’d be able to learn a whole set in less than a week. That’s why we’re forever thankful to Samantha, she was an angel and I wish her the best. Tough times but we nailed to manage that and move on!
Speaking of drummers, can you elaborate on how you found Luana Dametto as well as if her style helped enhance the new album?
After we came back home from all those 60 gigs i mentioned, we started looking for a drummer and auditioning some girls. Our dear friend Edu Lane from Nervochaos suggested this, at the time, 19 year old drummer from a veeeery small town in Brazil, and when we got in touch with her and saw her videos playing our music, we knew she’d be the one.
When we finally rehearsed, we just confirmed it. We knew it would take some time to adapt her style and drumming to our music, but she nailed it with time, now she plays it really comfortably. But, her death metal influences were ESSENTIAL to reach our musical identity on this album. We always played thrash but feeling there could be a little more death metal on it, and then she brought so many nice new elements that now we really feel we got where we always wanted. If this album is way faster, darker, more technical and aggressive than the previous ones, she’s definitely the one to blame!
Despite showing a few different genres, how do you stay true to that raw thrash sound?
That’s the main root of the band and what we like to play the most. We’re huge death metal fans and we like to honor that by putting some death metal riffs and blast beats here and there, but we simply love to write thrash and go on stage and play thrash, there’s no funner energy than that on stage!
If you could, what band or bands would you love to tour with?
I’d say Slayer but they are doing their final tour this year, so i had to scratch that off my list hahaha I’d love to tour with all bands that influenced me somehow like Nuclear Assault, and D.R.I., and currently i’d love to tour with Kreator or Behemoth, cause I’ve been so much into them recently, but my biggest wish right now, would be to be in a bill like ‘Brazilian Assault’, with us, and Sepultura, Krisiun, Ratos de Porão…. how fuckin cool would that be? BOOKING AGENCIES, PLEASE. hahaha
Now that the album is almost released, is there anything you can reveal to us including touring plans?
Sure! This year we’re taking a little easier on shows, cause after 2 crazy years of intense touring, we felt like we needed a little rest! So now in 2018 we’ll have some tours in Europe and Latin America to start promoting our new album, then next year we’ll be back at touring extensively and we plan to do some more Europe, then finally be back to the US and Canada, maybe more than once, then try and explore new territories like Asia and Oceania. Stay tuned, you all.
What do you want fans to take from the new album?
I just want them to have fun, and I hope the album can be a relief and a source of fun to those who need, and that they can also get the message on the lyrics and debate about that so maybe we can start changing our fucked up society a bit.
What are your thoughts about Slayer retiring?
FUCK, I WON’T BE ABLE TO TOUR WITH THEM! hahahaha Just kidding, but honestly, it’s sad but it is a fact that this and many more bands will go the same way on the next years. These guys have all been touring for decades and you know what? They did their part and it’s ok to be tired. We just gotta honor and respect everything they did and do our best to perpetuate their legacy through the next generations, never forget them. BUT also, we need to take the responsibility off the new bands. There’s never gonna be another Slayer, or another Black Sabbath, the same way there’s never gonna be another BB King, or another Etta James or another Jimi Hendrix, and that’s cool and that’s not the end of the world. Their legacy will always be and there’s always gonna be room for new stuff.
As much as I hate asking this because it is unfortunate that this is still happening but, what would you say to the haters out there who don’t believe females can rock?
I’m just sorry for them, that they have such a narrow-minded way of thinking, but it actually doesn’t affect my life at all. I rather focus on the many people that support us and girls in whatever they wanna do and all the girls that feel inspired when they see us on stage. This is way more important than people who think as if they were in middle age. Girls are gonna be more and more around pursuing their dreams and we all have to get used to it.
Anything else you want to add or say to your fans?
Thanks a lot for your never-ending support, without you guys, we’re nothing. Together we are strong, so keep on supporting your local metal scene and respecting the bands, cause we’re the sole responsible ones to keep the metal flame burning, and kicking asses!