Nervosa: Brazilian Thrash Banshees
Bassist Fernanda Lira opens up about the Brazilian metal scene, how here upbringing influenced her playing and drinking wine with Destruction's Schimer
Words: Paul Cooke
Following a flesh-peeling set of old school thrash vibes supporting Destruction across the UK, Manchester Rocks spoke to Nervosa bass player and lead screamer Fernanda Lira about the the tour as well as influences and future plans.
We also learnt that when a Mancunian says, ‘Fernanda’, all the poetry in the pronunciation is lost and also that she is also one of the nicest people on the planet.
How is the tour going so far?
It’s going like a dream. We tour a lot and are always on the road, but this is our first extensive tour and we are living the dream being on tour with some of our idols like Flotsam & Jetsam and Destruction. I get to drink wine with Schmier (Destruction bassist and vocalist) and it’s great to play to the bigger crowds because we are still a relatively new band. A great opportunity to make it big.
Are there other occasions you’ve been able to play alongside your influences?
We have been able to share the bill at festivals with some of our favourites like Kreator, Municipal Waste and Cannibal Corpse who all helped shape Nervosa. We would, of course, love to tour with all of them.
There are many genres of metal, so what is your particular attraction to thrash metal?
All of us (in the band) just agree that thrash metal is the most exciting to play. It’s the genre of metal that releases the most energy for us. We love all kinds of traditional heavy metal and death metal but thrash has that beat that makes me go crazy and releases a lot of energy.
What about parental influence? Were they metalheads?
My dad is a metalhead! I was born and raised in an environment where I was listening to metal with my dad, although his preference was for the New Wave of British Heavy Metal bands where as I moved into thrash and death metal by myself. But I get to introduce my dad to some bands now so it kind of works the other way round these days.
You’re from Brazil. Is there a strong metal scene there?
Latin America generally has a very strong metal scene. We are very passionate, and because not many bands play there the passions run higher. We take our heavy music very seriously. Heavy music fans are some of the most loyal in the world but because we don’t get to see as many bands we go fuckin’ nuts [when we do]!
Brazil, where I am from, has a very strong metal scene right now with so many quality bands that people should know about. What we lack is opportunities because making a living in Brazil can be so difficult. Choosing to be in a metal band makes you a warrior in Brazil. Mostly due to lack of money and support, it’s a real struggle for bands to get out there. Thanks to the internet we have the chance to make the world smaller and smaller and people are getting to know more about these Latin American bands.
Thrash metal particularly isn’t the kind of music that is known for great financial gain. Aside from obvious exceptions like the Big 4, many bands don’t make millions from this kind of music.
We’re just proud to be a part of this scene and getting to play the music we love and have grown up listening to. We play because we love it. Nervosa are basically just surviving right now but we are getting to play music from a genre that was always there for us.
Just quickly before we wrap this up who are your influences as a bass player? I observed a bit of Cronos from Venom as well as a touch of Gene Simmons in your mannerisms.
Ha, ha! (Reveals Kiss tattoo on her arm).
Kiss was the first band I listened to and started me on this path, but Kronos is definitely my biggest influence on stage. People notice that and I’m glad that they do. His character on stage is what appealed to me and although I don’t force a character on stage it feels more like a show to have all these demonic facial expressions and movements even though they are natural. My main bass teachers in terms of technique are Steve Harris from Iron Maiden, Sabbath’s Geezer Butler and Rush’s Geddy Lee who is an alien in terms of his skills. The main thing I learned from these musicians is how a bass player can be a focus in the band and not just hidden in the background.
If abrasive thrash delivered with passion and honesty is your bag for life then give Brazilian monsters Nervosa a listen now and definitely check them out live.