Ed Ford sat down with the beautiful and very talented powerhouse front woman of Nervosa, Fernanda Lira whilst on tour supporting Venom Inc. and Suffocation to talk all things old school Thrash and beyond.
Thank you for taking the time to have a chat with us, for people who read Rock ‘N’ Load magazine can you introduce yourself and the band and explain a bit what your all about?
Alright, I’m Fernanda, singer and bass player for Brazilian Thrash Metal band Nervosa, we are a Thrash Metal trio, its all-girls in it and yep now we’re touring with Suffocation and Venom Inc.
And are you enjoying the tour?
Definitely, I mean it’s like we’ve know the Suffocation guys for a while now and we’re friends and also Tony Dolan (Venom Inc.), he loves the band and he put us on this tour so it’s like touring with friends, you know it’s pretty nice.
So, as a band who’s the major influences for you all?
Well, I think each of us in the band have different influences, because we play different instruments. In a general way I think Old School Thrash and Death Metal, you know like, bands from the Bay area and the German bands from the 80’s, as for Death Metal we like Death Metal from Florida these kinds of things. Our drummer comes from more like new school, she likes new bands a lot but the root of the band and the main influences would have to be like old school metal.
And what about the history of the band?
Nervosa was born in 2010, Prika (lead guitar and backing vocals) had a drummer and she was looking for a bassist and a singer and I was a bassist and a singer looking for a band and we hadn’t met before and we weren’t friends at the time, but we got to know each other through friends in common and yeah, we really started there. So the band started to exist in 2010 but it was July 2011 when we started rehearsing, writing songs and playing and recording everything. We released an EP in 2012, and in 2014 we released our first album, in 2016 we released our second album and this year our third album is coming out.
Tell me about the third album.
We recorded in January and February and we like the album very much and our label like the album very much which is good, they are really happy with it. I think if you compare it to the last album its way more mature, the songs are more mature, its more aggressive, definitely more aggressive because we’ve got a new drummer, who has been in the band for a little over a year and she’s got another band which is Death Metal so we used all the technique she has for this new album so that’s why it’s more aggressive.
What is the process for writing the songs, how does it come together in the studio?
We start with riffs or I come with the riff and Prika improves it or Prika comes with the riff and I improve it and then when we’ve finished all the melody and the riffs and everything then we go to the drummer and she listens to it, adds some ideas sometimes to the guitar and then she puts drums and then after everything’s done, then we do the lyrics and then the vocals on it, but first I like to have the melody and you know like the proper way the song is built, I like to have the structure of the song before so I know how much lyrics can I have and stuff like that.
Is there a specific theme around the new album?
It’s the same we always do, we just talk about stuff we don’t agree with, there’s not a specific theme on the album, just like the other ones its related to the same things, Politics and we always use our country a lot as inspiration for the songs, like corruption, the public health system sucks, the education system sucks, everything sucks, so at least by living there the only good thing is having inspiration to write song. I love my country, I’m proud of being from Brazil but Politicians ruin everything and that gives us a lot to write about. In this album also there’s a lot more protest this time.
So going on from the politics side of things, its recently been International Womens Day, who inspired you to go into Metal?
Well there’s many, I’ve always been into girl bands and stuff like that but I think the two most important to me are first of all Girlschool, definitely, I fuckin love Girlschool and you know they’re from the 70s and they have always been really inspirational to me, really like definitely. I love them, they’ve always shown girls that you can be a girl and you can do your thing and live your dream and be a badass because they’re badass and they’re party animals and they’re just a huge inspiration. Also Doro Pesch, she is the metal queen, I love her, she was always a metal symbol to me, if one day I can be like her, that’d be awesome.
Going on from that do you think you’ve experienced any difficulties as a female band?
Oh definitely, we come from a very sexist country, so it’s been tough. At the beginning of the band it was pretty tough. We would read and listen to all sort of shit, from ‘they only play gigs because they fuck promotors’ and stuff like that, the usual thing, and many other things like that and ‘we haven’t recorded the albums, it wasn’t us playing on the album’ and stuff like that Now we have respect more, we’ve earned the respect, it was not easy but with time it happened. Now it’s just like slight things that happen like for example, this happens a lot actually, when we are in festivals or in venues they never believe we are from the band, they always think we’re groupies and stuff like that, that happens a lot, especially in festivals they always triple check our passes like that’s not possible, , in fact it happened the other day at the venue. The guy was like “so why are you coming through this door” I was like “I’m in a band” and he was “your in a band?” and then I came back with the drummer and he was like “who’s she?” and I said “she’s my drummer” and he questioned that. That happens a lot.
So how do you think the metal community can help change that?
Well first of all we need to change our minds, we need to be more open, I think here in Europe, in the UK its better, in Brazil it needs to change a lot. We always think that Metal is a super open minded scene, that we tolerate stuff but we don’t, it’s still that there are people who are very narrow minded and that doesn’t help at all, the scene, it doesn’t help girls, you don’t see many girls playing, everyone asks why there’s not more girls playing, I hear it all the time and it’s because we get discouraged, because of attitude like that. Not every girl wants to hear these kind of things, you know? You only have shows because you fuck promotors, not all girls stand this. First we need to change our minds, be more open, be more supportive to women in metal and in whatever they want to do and this is how.
Do you think that it is a positive horizon?
It’s getting better, I mean it’s not that terrible, it’s not like ‘oh my god’ it’s not that terrible but it’s getting easier and easier for girls now.
Do you think the profile raising of issues in Hollywood helps to raise and talk about the issues in this kind of arena as well?
Yeah, yeah, yeah I thinks it’s good because women are having a voice more and more and it’s also important that people know that its changing and that women are talking and stuff like that because also this helps because some of the stuff that happened there also happens in the Metal scene, behind the scenes and stuff like that so it’s better that people know that women are talking and so they’re afraid of doing shit. So I think it influences in a good way, definitely because actually the more society as a whole now, not only the music and movie scene, the more society as a whole starts respecting women more it is all going to get better.
So you mentioned the new album, when can we expect to hear that?
The new albums going to be out in June so by the time we’re back for the summer tour it’s going to be out already.
Although the tour has just begun is there anything that stands out already as a highlight?
I think everything is a highlight for me. It’s the beginning of the tour but were having a lot of fun. Tony has been taking care of us so to me everything’s cool, but I think the gig in Manchester was really nice and I’m looking forward to tonight. To me it’s always special to be here, where Metal was born, I thinks it’s going to be nice tonight.
And what about the rest of the tour, do you have any specific dates your looking forward to?
Well I’m very excited to play cities I haven’t played before, we’ve got a couple this tour, I’m also excited to play Katowice in Poland because last time we were there we played with Destruction and it was amazing, it was one of the best gigs of the tour and I can’t wait to be there again.
What can we expect from your set tonight?
Wel its only going to be short unfortunately, its going to be 30 minutes because its many bands on the bill but its going to be in your face and intense. We choose the faster songs it’s going to be very in your face.
As a band what are the long term goals?
We work a lot and we always expect to get what we want, but I’m not sure, we just want to keep playing summer festivals we haven’t before like Waken and Hellfest and stuff like that, touring with awesome bands, maybe one day tour with Slayer but that won’t happen now. We don’t have one fixed plan we want to get more and more comfortable and get more and more people to listen to our music and get to play to more and more people.
Any final message for the people who are going to read this?
Just keep supporting Metal, keep supporting your local scene, support bands, support the press, we are the soles responsible to keep the metal flame burning, I know it sounds a lot like Man’o’war or something like that but really, if metals alive till now its because of all of us so lets keep on supporting it as long as much as we can.
Thank you very much for your time.