-- Nervosa gets shredded --

Stijn Daneels
Summerrock 2015 was memorable because I did my first interview during that event and Summerrock 2016 was even more memorable because I was surrounded by several people who'd discovered and supported my fledging webzine in the past year. I also had interviews with Drakkar and Think of A New Kind that day but to top it all off, I also had the chance to speak with Nervosa!

Yup, Nervosa! Three thrashing girls from Brazil who've been relentlessly touring the world for the past couple of years. A prime example that women can thrash and that they are even capable of putting some of their male thrash metal counterparts to shame! And with over 181 thousand Facebook likes, it's not hard to see why either! It's the biggest band I've interviewed thus far and I couldn't image a better way to celebrate the 1st anniversary of the Belgian Metal Shredder!

And talking to Nervosa was a blast, discussing their love for Belgium, their new album AGONY, traffic jams in Belgium and São Paulo, Nervosa's relentless touring schedules, sushi, their show with my friends from Bloodrocuted and singing in the shower! No topic was safe for the Nervosa Shredder tag team!

But before I begin, I want to say thank you to Nervosa for talking to me, thank you to Hardlife Promotion for arranging this interview and several others I did in the past and for sending me lots of great material over the past twelve months. Thank you to all the bands I've already got to interview and thank you, dear reader, for making all this worth doing! The Shredder has only just got started and the next twelve months will be bigger, better and badder!

But enough talk! Ready, set, INTO THE MOSHPIT!

BMS: Hi there! I noticed that you've played a couple of shows in Belgium last year and now you're already back again! I guess you like it here!
Fernanda: We do! Our earliest memories was the show we did with Hirax in Ostend last year. Great atmosphere and an awesome afterparty with lots of wine and Duvel beer. A month later we were in Havelange for the Metal Méan festival supporting Sodom. Same scenario there! Awesome gig, even better afterparty. And now we're back and we hope to have fun time here as well.
BMS: I'll do my part and try to ignite a mosh!

Nervosa from left to right: Pitchu Ferraz (drums), Fernanda Lira (vocals, bass), Prika Amaral (guitar).
BMS: Yesterday I saw a video of you visiting Brussels? How was the trip?
Fernanda: We didn't have much time for sightseeing but we were impressed by all the tourist attractions we saw during our visit. Brussels easily is one of the most beautiful cities we've ever seen! Such varied architecture, great food and beer, friendly people. Next time we'll be going to explore Brussels more thoroughly!
BMS: I agree! Brussels is a magnificent city. My first job was located in the heart of Brussels and during lunch breaks I always went outside and explored the city like a real tourist.
BMS: How did the production of AGONY out?
Fernanda: AGONY's predecessor, Victim of Yourself, was a big success for our band and we wanted to improve on that album as well as trying some new things. For AGONY we made more aggressive and technically profound material. The album was recorded in the US, produced by Brendan Duffey and mastered by Andy Classen, who is a master of mixing thrash metal. So all things considered, I believe we've achieved in making a worthy successor to Victim of Yourself.

BMS: I listened to AGONY in preparation for this interview and yeah, it was heavy (damn, that's cheesy). BMS: What's the next big ambition for Nervosa?
Fernanda: We're now focusing on promoting the album the best way possible and that is to go out and play everywhere we can. We've still got forty shows to play here in Europe and then we immediately proceed to east coast USA and Canada. And after a week or two break in Brazil, we're going back to Europe and play alongside Enforcer, Destruction and more.

Prika: We've got a lot of shows to play this year all over the world!
Fernanda: Damn right! And in 2017 we want to explore new territories like Asia, Oceania and Africa.

BMS: I noticed that you haven't played in Japan before. What's the matter? Don't you like sushi?
Fernanda: (laughs) Oh, but I DO like sushi a lot!
BMS: Great! Me too!
Fernanda: Our last album was licensed in Japan. And yes, if it was up to us, we would be playing there straight away!
BMS: I wish we all could teleport. It would instantly solve our Belgian traffic problem.
Fernanda: Yeah, it would also help make touring a lot less grueling. But in fact, Brazilian traffic, particularly in São Paulo, is downright horrible. You could easily get stuck in traffic for like three hours straight. I'd say it's even worse than here in Belgium.

BMS: I read on your website you've got plenty of other activities aside from Nervosa. Tell me something about it.
Pichu: I used to play drums in other bands as well but now it's just Nervosa. Nothing else.

Prika: Since Nervosa has had much success the past few years that me and the other band members don't have much time left for anything else. But I don't mind, I love playing with Nervosa and I hope to do this until the day I die!

Fernanda: Same here. I used to give English classes but I quit the job since otherwise I couldn't afford to spend that much time away from home as I do now. I loved my students and enjoyed teaching them English, but I had to make a decision and giving the success we've had thus far, I'd say I made the right choice.
BMS: How do you cope with all that relentless touring?
Fernanda: It's not an easy life, but we knew that right from the start. Sure, we're constantly on the road, we can't sleep or eat when we want to, we're away from home for months but we don't care. As soon as we're on stage, we forget all those troubles and we give in to the adrenaline.

Fernanda: Personally I do attempt to form certain routines when on tour. I eat healthy food when possible and I "try" not to drink too much alcohol. I frequently do simple aerobic exercises as well. That way I don't suffer from back problems and I'm able to play for a longer time without getting exhausted.

BMS: I also do some exercises during the week like running, swimming and full body strength training. I don't visit the gym because I prefer to exercise wherever I want. That way I can more easily survive the mosh pits where I constantly throw myself in!
Fernanda: I see. Good idea!
Prika: Do you play soccer?
BMS: No, because I suck at soccer. I did play basketball back in elementary school and that went a little better. Besides, I don't watch soccer a lot, I prefer to watch boxing, wrestling and MMA.
BMS: Now a specific question for you, Fernanda. You have a profound philosophy concerning the role of the bassist in a metal band. Tell my readers something about it.
Fernanda: I believe every instrument in a band is equally important. When it comes to bass, I know many bands who make the bass sound almost inaudible. Before I joined Nervosa, I made it my mission to make the bass stand out just as much as the other instruments. I've learned a lot about bass playing during my pre-Nervosa days.

Fernanda: In Nervosa I also sing in addition to bass playing, so I've made my bass lines more simple but still audible. Like every other self-respecting bass player I get frustrated when I can't hear my own bass. That's why I love legendary bassists like Iron Maiden's Steve Harris and Rush's Geddy Lee who make their basses sound crystal clear. And I don't want my bass colleagues to feel frustrated either.

Prika: I agree with Fernanda. We feel it's important that every element of every instrument is audible. The drums' cymbals, double-bass, the guitars, the vocals and of course the bass. Since we're a three-piece band, we individually have plenty of freedom to make our respective marks on the songs.
BMS: I also feel that the bass is widely underappreciated. And when you think what legendary bassists like Steve Harris, Geezer Butler, Lemmy Killmister and Cliff Burton were able to crank out of that thing, I'm disappointed that not every band treats the bass with the respect it deserves.
BMS: I hope you, Fernanda, will do a bass solo in a future album or maybe during tonight's gig.
Fernanda: Actually Prika suggested to add short instrumentals during our tour's set but that idea is put on hold for the moment.
BMS: Just be sure, Fernanda, that you start your proper instrumental by saying the iconic phrase: "bass solo, take one."
Fernanda: I certainly will. In honor of Cliff!
BMS: For Cliff!

BMS: The final track on AGONY, Wayfarer, has clean vocals. What was the motivation to come up with that song?
Prika: Wayfarer was my idea. In addition to metal I'm a huge blues fan. We originally intended to have a blues inspired song in our previous album but that was moved over to our current release because of time constraints. In addition, our producer wanted to have a bonus track on AGONY so that eventually became Wayfarer and it's one of my personal favorite tracks on the album.

Fernanda: I originally was a bit shy of singing like that because I do clean vocals when I'm in the shower.
BMS: Oh, were they spying on you?
Fernanda: I guess so, because one day Prika suggested me to sing cleanly for a bonus track and I was like "how did she find out about me singing in the shower?" But eventually I did do the vocals and I'm satisfied with how it all turned out to be. And I still sing while taking a shower! (laughs)
BMS: The track Wayfarer was a fun surprise and a great way to wrap up the album.
BMS: Yesterday you played alongside my friends from Bloodrocuted. How did you get along with them?
Fernanda: A bunch of incredible guys, these Bloodrocuted folks. They shared their equipment with us and we'll always remain grateful for that. We had a fun party with them after the show, drinking and stuff.
BMS: I've known the Bloodrocuted guys for a couple of years and I agree, they're funny, generous guys. And fucking beasts on stage!
BMS: A couple of hours before our conversation I saw you girls shopping around the Doctor Steel Mail-order stand. Did you find anything of interest?
Fernanda: My dad gave me a list of over 50 albums he wants me to buy. It's not easy to purchase albums in Brazil but since I'm on tour, there's plenty of opportunity. Today I managed to buy 5 albums from his list.
BMS: I was very happy to have found and bought Mayhem's debut album De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas as well as Judas Priest's Screaming for Vengeance at their stand today. These are two albums that I sought for a long time.
BMS: Is there anything else you want to say before I let you get all geared up for the show?
Fernanda: Thank you for the talking to us and keep supporting metal. Every contribution helps, no matter if you're in a band, have a webzine, or if you just go out and see us perform and buy some material.
Prika: I also want to thank you for the conversation.
Pichu: Playing in Belgium is always a great time so thank you for letting us come over here to Summerrock.

Nervosa - Hostages