Interview with Brazil’s Desalmado

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Desalmado - BandInterview by Jason Guest

Jason: Hi. Thanks for taking time out for this interview; the album is a great piece of work (Ed: Jason’s review is here). What have the responses to the album been like from fans and critics?

Bruno Teixeira: Thank you so much Jason! It’s an honour for us to be interviewed for Midlands Rocks! We had a great response from most of the critics here in Brazil and worldwide. There were a few bad reviews, but we accepted it in a good way, ’cause we step out of the comfort zone. Overall, the fans really enjoyed the album; we had an awesome response!

Jason: In 2010, all of the recording files for the album were lost and you had to begin again with (ex-Sepultura drummer) Jean Dolabella  in 2011. With all of the difficulties you encountered in finally getting the album recorded and released, there must have been times when you thought the album wasn’t going to be completed. How did you persevere?

Bruno Teixeira: In the end, it was much, much better record the album again. We didn’t have a lot of time to work on the songs with Jean, but he helped us to find the right tempo in some tracks. At that time, we were tired of all those songs, but recording all over again, with someone that really wanted to be part of the process, was a reason that motivated us to put our hearts on the album. I can’t describe what I felt when Greyhaze Records released Desalmado on digipack, it was a dream come true.

Jason: Working with Jean Dolabella was clearly a very positive experience as he helped out with not just production but some of the drums and rhythms. Do you plan to work with him again on future releases?

Bruno Teixeira: Without a doubt! Right now we’re doing pre-production at Jean’s studio. This month we’ll record 6 songs there, and then we will listen to them and start doing some changes, adding vocals etc. We uploaded on our YouTube channel a drum take of this pre-production. You can check it out here.

Jason: Napalm Death, Extreme Noise Terror and Brujeira are influences on the band. Are there any other bands that had a significant impact on the writing for the album?

Bruno Teixeira:  There are a lot other bands that inspire us, old bands, and new bands. I could mention a few bands like Ratos de Porão, Krisiun, Sepultura, All Pigs Must Die, Converge, Slayer, and Terrorizer

Jason: Do you have any favourite tracks on the album? Are there any that stand out as Desalmado at their best or are indicative of what to expect from you in the future?

Caio Augusttus: I will base my opinion on the songs that we always play live: “Canibal Social”, “Ceifador” e “Juízo dos Fracos”. These songs show what to expect from an upcoming album. You know, it’s hard to tell, but there is a consensus among us that we’ll take a major step in a future release.  In the end of 2012 we started to write new material, a transitional  EP that will have six new songs and has a great meaning for us, it starts to show this new era. I believe that after this stage our sound has reached the level we want, it will have a greater identification where listeners can hear and know who is playing that song.

Jason: You’ve been together since 2004. How has the band evolved since its inception?

Bruno Teixeira: You can say that it’s two different bands. When we started we had six members in the line up and now it’s just the four of us. Now we’re more focused on our sound, we really want to create our own identity. We grew as musicians, human beings and we have much more experience now. We’re in our best moment and I’m pretty sure that this is just the beginning.

Jason: How do Desalmado work together to create songs? Is it a collaborative effort or do you write individually? Do you discuss ideas about what you want each track to be about or is it an evolutionary process?

Desalmado 2012Bruno Teixeira: It’s a collaborative effort. In this new line up, everybody contributes with ideas, there’s no ego shit, or something like that. We just want to create music that we enjoy, always trying to find our own sound and I think we’re achieving that. There are no rules, but most of the times we do some jams at the studio, record everything and listen to it in the following rehearsal. Then we start to shape it in a way that we think that sounds like Desalmado.In the lyrical perspective, we discuss concepts and Caio writes the lyrics.

Jason: When writing new material, are you consciously seeking to push the band’s sound forward, to keep it evolving?

Bruno Teixeira: Yes, we do. That’s the fuel we need. If you listen to all albums that we recorded, you’ll see a big difference between them. The great thing about being in Desalmado is that we explore elements from different styles of music. If you listen to a song like “Ceifador”, you’ll hear elements of thrash, grind, death, crust… All of them in one song, but not sounding as a “patchwork music”. As you said, that’s our main goal: to keep it evolving!

Jason: Desalmado’s music contains a very serious message about which you are clearly very passionate. Thethemes of your album are based around moral decline and the greed of the privileged few that continue to oppress the lower classes. What’s your view on capitalism and its effect on the world (globalisation, for instance) and on the individual?

Caio Augusttus: It’s cool to know that our main message is understood beyond the music itself, establishing a reflection regarding the system in which we live. Unfortunately, Capitalism has won. It embodied itself and tamed contemporary society. A collective hypnosis effect was created. Those born after the rise of North American culture have come into this world with the simple idea of being a product from a machine. It’s a constant exchange which uses exploitation as its basis. The capitalist model taught people to win and obtain success at all costs. The result is that, in case of an eventual failure, we will have a part of the population which will revolt, another part will be enslaved, and a winning minority which will make a great effort to indoctrinate and oppress the classes who have been vanquished in this race. From the anthropological standpoint, I believe that there has been an alteration of technologies. The individual person always had his or her self-well being as a base. Deep inside, we’re still the same after more than 10,000 years.

Jason: What’s your view on the ‘Occupy’ movement? Does its spread around the world indicate the end of global capitalism, or is it more a case of false hope?

Estevam Romera: The end of global capitalism definitely not. Capitalism is here to stay and it the only thing we can hope for is for it to be fairer and less exploitative. I don’t think ‘Occupy’ can change that. That will take generations to change. What we can hope from ‘Occupy’ is for it to create the awareness of the capitalism as it is today as a problem. The majority don’t see it as an evil thing. So it’s not a problem for most people. If we can create a generation that sees this as a problem, then we can hope for change. I personally think capitalism is the way to go. It’s ok to make money, as long as you don’t steal and exploit people. Capitalism today is speculation. They’re dealing with money that simply does not exist. That just can’t last forever.

Desalmado - LiveJason: Why do you think that humanity is so weak and gives in to domination by capitalist ideology and the church? Do you ever see this changing?

Estevam Romera: Because it’s easier to accept that. It works out for your neighbour, it works for Donald Trump, why bother? Just join it. And if doesn’t work out for you, you go to church and pray. It’s the perfect plan. It gives you hope. It takes your responsibility away. It makes you act as a puppet and you just go with the flow. We see Europe turning churches into libraries, venues. That’s very positive. That’s hope for change.

Here in Brazil people are walking the opposite direction. In some neighbourhoods you count 7 churches in the same block! It became a way to get away with things. You cross the red light, you double park, you cheat your wife, then you go to church on Sunday and you even the score. Ready for next week!

Jason: A lot of bands are writing protest songs concerning the state of the world, the environment and the economy in particular and rock music has long been the music of protest. Do you think music has the power to affect a significant change, particularly in relation to the themes of your album?

Estevam Romera: Yes, music has the power to change. But not music alone. We see music as a movement. People we relate, bands we play with. They all think the same way as us. And we are aware of the fact that we think differently from the rest of our friends and family that are not related to our music. We think differently because of the music and for the music. If you’re not in it just for the cool guitar riff or because your friends dig it, you can learn and evolve from it.

Jason: What’s your opinion of the internet and its impact on the music scene?

Bruno Teixeira: Only the mainstream bands were really affected by the Internet. For bands that are part of small labels or independent, the Internet was a great facilitator. I can use our case as an example. If not for the Internet, you hardly would know Desalmado. The internet is a democratic way to distribute our music, it is the market and the major labels have to adapt to this new reality.

Jason: Despite the argument that the internet and piracy is having an impact on the music business, bands are being very creative in packaging their music. For instance, vinyl has made a welcome return to the market and all kinds of packages are appearing such as digipacks, picture discs, booklets, etc. Do you think this approach is becoming a necessity for bands to survive?

Bruno Teixeira: It’s a different approach, but besides the package, the most important thing is music itself. No matter if it’s vinyl, CD, tape or MP3, what makes us go forward is the music. Especially in the extreme metal scene, the fans are really loyal to the bands and to the music.

When I started listening to Metal and Grindcore, it was all in vinyl. It was an extraordinary experience to open the vinyl, see a big cover art, read the info about that album. We didn’t have Google to help us out. This new generation is discovering this feeling and it think it’s pretty healthy, to the bands and fans.

Jason: Which do you prefer: CD, vinyl, or MP3?

Bruno Teixeira: I prefer vinyl, because you can really see all the details of the cover art and the music sounds much more alive. I think that CD and MP3 are really important too, ’cause you can easily listen and share music. Sometimes it’s really hard to find some albums on vinyl, so CD and MP3 are a democratic way to listen to different bands from anywhere in the globe.

Jason: What’s the underground scene like in Brazil? Are there any bands out there that have caught your attention and we should be aware of?

Bruno Teixeira: It’s ironic, here in São Paulo we have lots of great bands from all different kinds of music, but I think that our scene could be more organized. It’s really hard to find places with a good structure to play, but these bands and a few people are starting to change it, with a DIY attitude.

You guys should pay attention to bands like Facada, Defy, Expurgo, D.E.R., Test, Huey, Homicide, Subterror, Subcut, Andralls, Oitão, Claustrofobia, Forbidden Ideas, Meant to Suffer, Angry… I think it’s a good beginning to know a little bit of our scene.

Jason: What does the future hold for Desalmado? How do you see the band developing?

Estevam Romera: I see change in our music. We want to sound heavier and heavier and we’re really learning how to play our instruments and ways to explore it, as well as how to play as a group. We definitely don’t want to keep writing the same music over and over. And I see us getting slower as we get older, haha.

Jason: You toured Europe in late 2011. How was it? Any plans to tour Europe again? And will you be coming to the UK?

Bruno Teixeira: The European tour was the most important thing that happened in our career. We grew up as a band, we’re playing better live and we learned that’s the stage is the best school that a musician could have.  You can see a little bit of it here.

Yes, we will tour in Europe again, and a great new is that it will happen in the first semester! In the second semester we intend to do our first tour in North America. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to play in UK this time, but we really want to go there. You know, the godfathers of it all are from Birmingham!

Jason: Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Any closing words for our readers?

Bruno Teixeira: Just want to thank you Jason, Midlands Rocks and all the fans/friends for the support! It really inspires us know that there are people from all over the world that are curious about us and enjoy our music. Check out Desalmado and Greyhaze Records pages to know more about Desalmado (below). Hope to see you guys soon, maybe in 2014! Cheers!