The Past, Present and Coming Darkness: An Interview With Bode Preto

I would like to extend my thanks to Stefan (Deaf Forever magazine) and Josh (Bode Preto) for allowing us to publish this fantastic interview in full. This one really digs deep into both the history of Bode Preto and the Brazilian extreme metal scene as a whole and is a great read for anyone interested in some of the history of black metal in this part of the world..

Let’s start with a not so serious one – as you’re from Brazil how much Soulfly is there in BODE PRETO? 😉
Greetings Stefan, first thanks for the interview. Everything in us comes from Soulfly hehehe, not really. But that was a way of Max Cavalera to keep on working as a professional musician. He’s taking care of his garden. On the other hand for sure Sepultura has a huge influence in us as metal aficionados that were growing and witnessing a Brazilian band make so much noise around the world. 
 I’m just kidding of corpse, but let us know how important your national metallic extremism, particularly Sarcófago,Holocausto, Mystifier, Sex Trash is for the sonic DNA of BODE PRETO!
All bands mentioned here have place in our record shelves and in our life as inspiration. Today I have the honor to call some guys from those bands as friends. If we would name some ‘waves’ I would say that Sarcófago and Holocausto are from the 1st wave of extremists, while Mystifier, Impurity and Sex Trash are from the 2nd. Adelson also comes from the second wave, because of his work with The Endoparasites, while Rodrigo of course comes from the first. I’m from the 3rd as I’m the younger.
What other bands would you cite as influential? I thought in the fast played chords a bit of European black metal like Impaled Nazarene, Beherit, Bathory shines through, too…
You are throwing names of bands that I like a lot, they are few on the Metal world. My main influence is Tony Iommi and Black Sabbath, I can also add Rövsvett, Rattus and Maniac Butcher to mention few.
Adelson: As a drummer my influences include the definitive crossover bands like Cryptic Slaughter (Scott Petterson), Wehrmacht (Brian Lehfeldt), DRI (Felix Griffin) and Heresy (Steve Charlesworth). And the Brazilians Igor Cavalera (old Sepultura), Boka (Ratos de Porão) and D.D. Crazy (Sarcófago).

 Despite the blast beats and harsh riffing, songs like ‘Deep Reality’, ‘Absurds Of Violence’, ‘Seizures Of Fear’ or the thrashing attack of ‘Dirty Honey’ have a very catchy approach – is it important for you to have a memorable effect on the listener and hammer tiny hooks in his/her brain rather than brutalizing the listener into oblivion?

I’m always for the music, that’s the main thing for me. I search for the sound and riffs that make sense to my ear to come one after the other. You put it right, they are like capsules of sonic ideas put together in a mix of intuition and conscious choice.

 Speaking of ‘Dirty Honey’, the song title of that track as well as ‘Feet Of Clay’, ‘Parade’, and especially ‘Unknown Woman’ are rather odd since the music sounds more like ‘Blasphemous Slaughter Of The Vatican’ or something – what are these songs about?

When comes to lyrics I go to the symbolic aspects of communication. Unknow Woman for instance is a contemplation of the feminine aspect of nature. The fascinating witch that carry the key of life in her belly. Feet of Clay is about an individual that is tied to the past and memories, that is split in his soul. Making impossible to himself to enjoy life because there’s guilt coming from his actions of the past. It’s about how obsessed we can be with our own memories, even becoming slaves of it, and how we construct the false image of what ‘I am’ based on identification with experiences and feelings. The danger of loosing contact with what’s actually happening and closing the senses to spontaneity. When he realizes that, the fear starts to vanish…
With Holocausto’s Rodrigo “Führer” Magalhães you’ve got a real scene veteran in your ranks – how did that come into being? Even though he just played bass on “Mystic Massacre”, did he influence the sound of the album in any way or inspire you?
If it would be a war Rodrigo would be a general, but one that goes to the war field. First time we played together was in his hometown Belo Horizonte, we did it as a quartet with Fabio Jhasko too, it was october of 2014. After that we kept in contact and talking about ideas and how to develop them. I had the intuition to ask him if he would have interest in be an active member of the band. Of course his answer was ‘yes’ and we started to work immediately. He brought a perfect balance to the band. For sure his presence influenced everything on Bode Preto, including the album.

 I’ve seen some live footage of you guys with Fábio Jhasko (ex-Sarcófago) as live guitarist, is he still playing with you? Isn’t it an honor to share the stage with yet another legendary musician? Did he do leads again on “Mystic Massacre”?
I guess you saw videos from the gig in São Paulo, where there was also Israel Ferrão on bass. It’s a honor to be able to play and to communicate with Fábio. For sure I have learned a lot from his way of playing guitar and approach towards music and life. Jhasko is a classical trained musician and after we did some rehearsals together I felt a improvement on my way of playing, direct connected to the fact of interacting with them. Israel is also a virtuoso guitarist that accepted to play bass with us because of the combination of people involved, friends and die hard underground warriors. At the moment the lineup is fixed as a trio, Fabio is not playing with us and didn’t appear on Mystic Massacre. He doesn’t like to travel by plane heheheh.
Were you able to cut a line between being fans of Fabio and Rodrigo, and working together?
That line was cut on the first minutes of rehearsal, after that we could not do nothing else than to be a band together, the admiration will remain. I see that they truly like Bode Preto’s music, that’s crucial for being involved with the band on that level. The good thing is that we can talk good about the band members without sounding cheesy or pretentious, it’s all true.
Adelson: We all know each other since many years, after all, me and Josh also had other bands for years as well. I even share the stage with Sarcófago (The Laws Of Scourge times, January of 1992) in Rio de Janeiro, that’s when I was part of The Endoparasites. With that band we recorded an album for Cogumelo Records, which released in 1993.
Tell us a bit more about the striking artwork which has a very macabre, surreal feel to it due to the irritating, almost ritualistic arrangements of the cut off leg and head, and crucifix. Who created it and how much input did you have in it? If it’s a classic painting, well…then I’m a moron, haha!
It’s a classic painting from 1893 heheeh, by a Brazilian artist called Pedro Américo. It’s actually a painting of a true man, Tiradentes, that was hanged and quartered for the public in Brazil. He was a martyr, a scapegoat, of the republic. We don’t use it to talk about his specific case only, it’s about the human being that is so lost and far from it’s nature that even chopped in pieces keep on unaware about the conditionings of his/her ways of perceiving reality. And keep on ‘expecting a thrill to ratify their games’ (part of the lyrics of The Stage and the Meadow). It’s like the people that are the subject of the joke but cannot see it, so they laugh and applause the joker. Even the joker is unaware of himself.

To what extent did you change the way of recording the album compared to the debut? How come that you mixed and mastered in the UK with Ajeet Gill instead of finding a local option?
For the new album I added a guitar equipped with a Floyd Rose bridge, there was also changing in the room that guitars and bass were recorded. Drums were all recorded live, with no editing. The other instruments also were recorded in one take, as much as possible. But the process of writing was more detailed and took longer time. Ajeet also mixed and mastered Inverted Blood, the communication with him is easy and clear. I do all the technical work of recording and editing, then prepare all files to send to him, with ‘sketches’ of how we imagine the mix, after that we worked during 45 days of intense exchange of files and words. To have such technical quality in Brasil we would have to deal with studio ‘stars’, what would make the communication go wrong. I’m very glad to have found a technical partner like Ajeet, that is also someone that understand the ideas on a personal level. During the mixing of Mystic Massacre he experienced the lost of his father, but in spite of that he only paused the work for two days, hats off to the guy.

I really like the fact that “Mystic Massacre” has a certain transparency to offer sound-wise and differs from the often rather muffled bestial black metal sound of bands like Blasphemy, Proclamation, or Black Witchery. It develops a very high level of aural fury while keeping an ancient charm alive – what is important for you in terms of sound and would you mention any certain equipment or gear as crucial in achieving the sound you’ve wanted?
I keep the umbilical cord with the birth of Rock’n’Roll, so I want my guitar, and all the band, to sound good and organic, with dynamics and creating a mood. I was catch by the music, not by ideology, I keep it on my heart. There are some times that I only listen to classical music, for sure that influences me on how to create sounds that fill the entire space. I know the bands you mentioned and had the chance to see all live. I like Blasphemy and Black Witchery, but I would never limit myself to follow rules of a specific genre or period of time. I think that more than the equipament itself is how it’s used, I mainly use a simple solid state Marshall amp.

What plans do you have regarding playing live? Will there be chances to see you in Europe?
Now that the work on the album is done and it’s ready to be release we wish to tour as much as possible. At the same time we are not in hurry to anything, if there’s a tour great, if not we will keep on writing and recording. Right now is happening a proper conversation involving the guy on our label (Iron Tyrant) and a tour agency in Europe, I can see it happening in 2016.
 You got a bachelor of laws, right? Are you working as a lawyer or what do you do for a living? How does job, family (?), and the band work out? Where do you make compromises?
That’s quite impressive that you know that much about me! I don’t work as a lawyer, but I use a lot of that knowledge for the deals and papers related to the band. For instance we keep the rights of all our recordings, we deal with licensing it to labels, and all the digital distribution of it are administrated direct by us. We are not looking for the ‘El Dorado’, I’m like a painter that is working in silence with my brushes and colors, if people enjoy the work then it’s like a dream fulfilled, if not I still can sleep in peace as the product is coherent with our view and the process to make it brought a lot of new perspectives to our lives. I live with my girlfriend and our two dogs in a house owned by my family. I also work in physical theater performances, as creator and performer, mainly concerned with audio and music, and as a sound technician. Since 2005 I have been deeply interested on the Feldenkrais Method, having started a proper practitioner training in 2013 in Amsterdam. I try to keep as much as possible of my time around ideas and people that inspire me. Music is the main thing for me and nothing will interfere on that.
When I discovered bands like Sarcófago or Sepultura back in the days I always thought these guys were metalheads coming from the favelas or other slums, which added a lot to the adoration and exotic charm of such bands. How do you look at this cliché? Did the Brazilian metal scene profit from it or is it a curse?
None of those bands where coming from favelas, but like us also not from the rich. Well, Adelson told me that him and his friends used to think that Quorthon lived in a cave and ate raw meat. I would think that The Beatles would dress like Sgt. Peppers in their daily life when I was 10 year old hehehe. I guess it’s quite natural to fantasize about our heroes. As a matter of fact the guys in Sarcófago and Cirrhosis used to eat raw minced meat with salt and ‘ cachaça’, true tales from Fábio Jhasko.
What is your personal feeling towards Brazil these days? What’s good, what’s bad, and what do you like about being in Europe at times?
I’m very sad and concerned about the near future of our country. We just had that huge shit happening with Rio Doce and even worst we have religious fanatics and vultures in suits taking over the parliament, we always had the scum in politics that’s not new, but the fanatics now have big lobby and are using it to change laws and rights, limiting freedom and brainwashing children. I think that laws should be connected with the development of us as human beings, not the repression of the organisms in the name of dogmatic old ideas. I love Brazil and the great possibility of understanding differences that we have, but we keep on following foreign models of politics, racial and economic hate. We keep on looking to christianity as religion, taking for granted, for instance, the wisdom of the native indians, they are mocked and even used as a deprecative adjective by the morons here. I see humanity, including myself of course, as the old peoples that in the future will be seen as the crazy people from the past that would make so much stupid things in the name of greed and the ego. I see that there’s plenty of space to develop conscious thinking and acting, we normally use 5% of our potential. I trust life, death being part of it, and for sure it will keep on developing with or without human beings. For now we are in a state of plague, it’s not my opinion, it’s a fact. My idea is that would be better to go slower and not proliferate as we have been doing, the concern is that there’s a lot of people that procreate without thinking for a single minute about the future of the children that they are bringing to life. Humanity is sick everywhere, people in Brazil are loosing the chance to live slower and less worried, we have human and natural resources for that. At this very moment Europe is being invaded by muslims, I would not like to have more religious people coming to the neighborhood. Chernobyl is an area where the wild life is doing very well, maybe it’s a clear indicative of how humans are being the pain in the ass of the planet. When I go to Europe is always related to work or studies, I like to visit museums and to experience as much as I can of the local culture, it’s exotic for me the flat lands and the bikes in Holland, the clear and ‘objective’ thinking and actions of the Germans, the way French people deal with cooking and their affected manners, the magical and fairy tale aspect of cities like Prague and Krakow, which I have visit when they were covered by snow. Here in Brazil we think that we are ‘malandros’, it can be true in some aspects but watching the big picture it’s clear that we are naive, like Johnny Blade.
Is it true you’re also playing in a Samba group? How much does playing such stuff hone your skills for BODE PRETO?
From 1993 to 2000 I was pat of a death doom Metal band called Monasterium, when the band split I went on with the drummer, Julliano Lima, as a duo to keep on creating music together. We had this band/duo called Lado 2 Estéreo from 2000 to 2006. I see it more as a free band like a Wall of Voodoo. We were also interested in studio possibilities, how to use the electronic devices to create new sounds. Some people in the press would find relation of our sound to bands like Can or the Black Keys, but instead of dealing with Blues Rock we were interested in Samba and in the almost infinity of rhythms and sounds that we have in Brazil and specifically in Nordeste (northeast), that more than only a physical space is also a state of mind and feeling. Like when you say Mississipi Blues, it’s not only about a musical genre. For sure this has a huge influence on my way of doing things in life, of course in Bode Preto too. And being more specific during that period we had a partnership with a french producer, Hubert Souchaud, with him I had the luck to have what I call a 6 years workshop in music production, what made possible for me to produce all material of Bode Preto. Because of that band I could experience the professional side of music, we played in the greatest music festivals all around Brazil, the same festivals that artists like Sepultura, Kraftwerk, Dr. John, Wayne Shorter and Brian Wilson also were part.
There’s not a single slow song on “Mystic Massacre”, can’t you relax and slow it down?
When Adelson came to the studio he had listened to the demos that I did for Inverted Blood and he suggested that we could try it a bit slower, more like the morbid sound of early Samael. I said no, let’s go as fast as we can, he was sitting at the drum kit and asked, “tipo cachorro louco?”, and that was it. I love the Ramones, they were connected to Rock’n’Roll, they loved it, that’s the main difference of them to the other punk bands, like them we want to create something clear and strong. Maybe in the future we will also have slower songs, for now the thrill is speed.
What can you reveal about the EP with Goat (ex-VON / SIXX / VON GOAT) on vocals? How did that collaboration happen?
It’s like an extension of Mystic Massacre, the most evil and perverse side of it. I met Goat and Diego (Von Goat) on the Schipol Airport of Amsterdam, we were going to Berlin for the weekend of Nuclear War Now Fest II, where they would play and I would meet with friends in Mystifier and enjoy the festival. Goat already knew the ways to get to the hotel from the airport in Berlin, so we went together, it was evening time when I helped them carrying the guitar while we walked in thin rain from the metro station to the hotel. Of course we were talking as fellow musicians and metalheads during the way. After that we kept in touch and Goat suggested that we should do a song together, we were starting to record the demos to Mystic Massacre, so I sent a CD with 15 demo tracks for him to choose one to write lyrics and record vocals, he did it for 6 tracks. In the end it made sense to have 2 tracks on the album (Parade and Dirty Honey) and an extra EP. That’s what will come next year.
What got you into metal, what fascinates you still about this genre, and which bands are you enjoying at the moment?
When I was a kid music was something annoying, noisy. At the age of 8 I had contact with the music of the Beatles, that’s the first time that I could enjoy it. After that I started to dig everything that had the name Rock’n’Roll, so I went deep on Elvis, Little Richard, Gene Vincent and the Brazilian hero Raul Seixas. After that I had contact with Black Sabbath, there I saw a new lode of gold on the Rock’n’Roll mine, then it started to appear to me Metallica, Motörhead and the game changer Apocalyptic Raids EP from Hellhammer. For me to get a Heavy Metal album was something like getting a treasure, when you have a combination of great music and performance with strong lyrics and artwork, it creates a magic aura. I’ve been listening a lot to Beherit’s Engram, as I got it on vinyl.
Why should our readers check out BODE PRETO?
Because if they read until here it would be a total waste of time to not give us a chance hehehe. I would ask them to please check the lyrics too, as they are important part of the work.

Thanks a lot for your answers, I wish you all the best for BODE PRETO!
I’m always honored to talk about our band, it’s a pleasure to answer questions made by someone that knows about the subject and took the time to research about us. Thanks.

 Thanks again to Stefan and all the members of Bode Preto. Go and grab their new album Mystic Massacre from bandcamp.

One response to “The Past, Present and Coming Darkness: An Interview With Bode Preto

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