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Nervosa Vocalist Fernanda Lira Discusses Music, Brazilian Metal History And Social Injustices

Photo of Nervosa

Band Photo: Nervosa (?)

Back in August of this year, myself and Zora (also of Hyperfocal Fotos,) were fortunate enough to attend a show in London co-headlined by Cryptopsy and Brujeria.

Though the second of those bands grabbed peoples attention with bandannas, stage invasions and machetes, the opening act, an all female thrash metal band from Brazil named Nervosa, caught the eyes and ears of the head bangers who turned up the earliest. Their aggressive take on the genre reminiscent of the likes of Destruction and Kreator earned them several new fans on a trek which mostly featured them headlining shows on their first tour of the United Kingdom.

I was fortunate enough to meet with the band's very talkative and very friendly, vocalist/bassist, Fernanda Lira before the show and after welcoming her to London in my broken Portuguese and Fernanda speaking about her love of Amy Winehouse, we discussed the tour, their album "Victim of Yourself," and the state of the world today:

Diamond Oz: You're currently on your first headlining tour of Europe is that right?

Fernanda Lira (Bass/Vocals): Yeah, yeah! This is actually our first time ever here in the U.K. This show is really important to us because it's always been a dream for us to come here to the U.K. and Europe and playing the first gig with Brujeria and Cryptopsy and bands like that is just so awesome for us, we can't wait for that. I'm just too excited! I'm even drinking some Jack and Coke to see if I can calm down! We still have lots of other shows too, after the U.K. we're touring in Russia but it's been pretty cool so far. I'm pretty sure the U.K.'s gonna rule!

Diamond Oz: I was looking at your previous tour schedule and you first came over to Europe with Hirax. Did they get in contact with you? I know that they're quite big in South America.

Fernanda: Yeah. Some years ago I used to be a metal journalist in Brazil and I got to interview Katon (de Pena, Hirax vocalist,) and all the band and we stayed in touch during all this time and when they had the opportunity to come to Europe they said it would be cool to tour with us and we said it would be cool to tour with them and everything went well. We toured for maybe two and a half weeks with them and did some festivals together like Metal Days and stuff it was super cool. I love those guys though and I miss them!

Diamond Oz: Speaking of festivals, I saw you did Obscene Extreme and Summer Breeze as well. How did that go?

Fernanda: We did Obscene Extreme, Metal Days, Brutal Assault and Summer Breeze. These are some of the fests we played. We didn't know exactly what to expect from these fests because we knew we had a certain fan base here but we really didn't know what to expect. I knew it would be cool but I didn't expect it to be as cool as it was because it was... really cool! Obscene Extreme was the first show of the tour and we were like super stoked, super happy and there were a lot of people. Actually at all of these fests, for example Brutal Assault and Obscene Extreme, we were on at like midday and we thought no one would be there, but there were A LOT of people there! It was so cool and it was a great opportunity for the band to show our music to a lot of people, because it's not every day we get to play to thousands of people. The feedback was awesome, after the shows we like to get down and speak to people to hear what they thought of the show and they had just cool words to say about us. I usually say, and I probably will say tonight, that it's just a dream come true for us being here and playing these fests, and it really is. Believe me when I say that. For a Brazilian band to come far away and tour here get thisawesome feedback for the shows is mind blowing.

Diamond Oz: Sweet. You must be very proud to be part of the Brazilian metal scene because I think it's more prestigious than any other South American country. You have bands like Sepultura, Ratos de Porao, Sarcofago and Korzus, who I believed owned the studios you recorded your album in?

Fernanda: Yeah. First talking about the metal scene, I'm really proud to be part of that scene because for me it's a special scene, Brazil is a continental country, it's huge, but I feel proud because wherever you go there you'll find a solid metal scene with very passionate heavy metal people, with a good press trying to do something for the band and loads of really awesome bands. I could be here for an hour just listing awesome bands! It's also pretty common now in Brazil to have all female metal bands but wherever you go there, you'll find awesome bands. I just think our scene isn't bigger than it is because we don't have much money or opportunities, but quality we do have. We have lots of original bands and of course the older and traditional bands, they influenced us too, like Krisiun too and of course Sepultura, (you see, I even have a Sepultura tattoo,) they are so inflluential to us and every Brazilian band, they were the ones who showed that it's possible to be from Brazil and tour the world and I actually told that to Andreas (Kisser) via Whatsapp I said, "If I'm doing this tour, it's because of you! [Laughs]

Diamond Oz: [Laughs] Yeah, it's like you can be from Brazil, tour the world and NOT play football!

Fernanda: [Laughs] Yeah exactly! And I really can't play football or Samba or whatever! The only thing I can do which is typical in Brazil is to drink some Caipirinhas, that I can do really well! But about the studio, yeah we recorded with the Korzus guys. We recorded our EP there and we really like the sound they have there so we decided to keep it for the album. It was really cool because they are one of the most famous Brazilian bands, they're thrash fans so they know exactly what to do and the singer, (Marcello) Pompeu, I love being produced by him because he has such cool ideas, he has a very open mind and he really helped me out and he was such a wonderful person.

Diamond Oz: Wonderful! So, the name, I believe means "angry woman," or "angry women," correct?

Fernanda: Exactly. We chose this name because we wanted a short name that's easy to remember and in Portuguese because it's our language, and girly! Though it's aggressive too so that was the perfect name, like, "angry women," that's what we are!

Diamond Oz: I was going to ask, what is it that makes you so angry?

Fernanda: [Laughs] Actually, that is a good question because when we hit the stage, I do lots of faces because we really feel the aggression in our music, you won't recognise me when I'm on stage! Because when you go up there and when you're writing your songs, we write mostly about society and manking and Brazilian society and problems we have there like corruption, which is the cancer of our country and politics and stuff and when we get on stage I sing the lyrics, I remember the reasons why I wrote these songs and that's why I get so fucking angry on stage! But outside, we're pretty cool, average girls.

Diamond Oz: Well, I haven't felt in danger during this interview yet!

Fernanda: [Laughs] Well, we wanted something like Sepultura or Metallica or Brujeria, just one word and it's easy to remember.

Diamond Oz: Yeah, there's too many bands now that have like, sentences for names and it gets a bit silly sometimes.

Fernanda: Yeah, I can't memorise those names so that's why we didn't go for something like that.

Diamond Oz: And you can't even shorten those names properly. You never hear someone say, "Have you checked out AAAABBBBBTPTP?"

Fernanda: Especially when you come from Brazil for example, if you have a huge name in English, no one will be able to pronounce it. This one is cool. Everyone can pronounce it and try to imagine what it is.

Diamond Oz: So, you were talking about the problems in Brazil. I think, in Europe at least, people were aware that there are problems in Brazil, but I don't think many people knew exactly what the problems were until last year when the spotlight was on Brazil for the World Cup and of course next year when Rio hosts the Olympics. As it stands in Europe, there's a lot of talk about the problems in Greece, Portugal and Spain as well but I think in Brazil it's maybe a little more frightening?

Fernanda: It's totally worse. I've been telling everyone I meet that touring here is like touring another planet because in Brazil, though I fucking love my country, I wouldn't like to be living anywhere else, the country's not the problem, the people in charge are, so we have tonnes of band things there. The World Cup and the Olympics got people really pissed off, we went to the streets to protest it, because we have lots of problems with basic stuff! For example we have no education, the public education is very poor. Health system; completely poor. Infrastructure; Poor. So we have lots of other priorities than the World Cup and the Olympics, which needed to be solved before because it's not fair. At the front of all the problems is the politicians, which I know is an average problem in most countries but in Brazil it can be really bad. They rob a lot and we all know they rob a lot and there's over two hundred million people living in our country. Can you imagine the money it generates from taxes? We should be a First World country because we have money, natural resources, we have lots of stuff but people just rob a lot there so people don't have the basics. Though of course it was awesome to have the World Cup in my country, though I didn't get to see any matches because it was too expensive.

Diamond Oz: Well, at least you missed the semi-final with Germany!

Fernanda: Let's say that was cool to miss. If I had paid for that, I would be real pissed! I would have invaded the field! [Laughs]

Diamond Oz: At least you did better than England!

Fernanda: Well, I don't think 7-1 was better. I wish we were eliminated before that! Getting back to the social relevance, it was cool to have a World Cup, but we have other priorities, lots of other things. Believe me, we have much bigger problems than Europe, but I'm not underestimating them. I know what Greece is going through, but in Brazil it's a little bit different because of the violence and drug trafficking. But let's not talk about that, I love my country, let that be said, but I wish all the politicians were dead.

Diamond Oz: ... That's fair enough! I really hate to do this but that's all we have time for. I'm really excited to see you on stage later on...

Fernanda: I hope you like it!

Diamond Oz: I'm sure I will! Have a fantastic tour and I hope to see you back in the UK soon!

Fernanda: Thank you and to all those watching/reading/listening to this, keep supporting metal! Keep supporting the bands and you the metal heads and you, the press are the only ones keeping this word of metal alive!

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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