DEAFKIDS’ genre-spanning sound is so profane it might as well have crawled out of the depths of the Brazilian underworld. Their particular brand of heavy metal masters an ambience of static paranoia with a more minimal flair – but make no mistake, DEAFKIDS can trash as hard as the rest of them.
Their flair is found in the sounds of their native Brazil and Latin America being interwoven in the well-established genre. Looking both inward and outward, DEAFKIDS’ lyrics not only come from a personal place, but explore the societal inequalities that arise from their country’s colonial past.
We caught up with the drummer Mariano during their European tour to capture a snapshot of what it is to be DEAFKIDS right now, and the ambition they hold for what is to come.
S] How’s the tour, guys – how are you today?
We’re fine! It’s nice to be back to tour life, and all the dates have been really neat! We’re lucky to be travelling as friends on top of being a band so all the strenuous parts of it become easier to bear – more hands to do everything!
We had the opportunity to play at Roadburn, which was awesome. The reception was really warm, even though we’re a hard-to-describe band, and it’s always nice to meet new friends and old ones through new and old places!
S] What is inspiring you guys right now – outside of music, think movies, art, people and places?
We’re heavily influenced by the current political climate, both the Brazilian one, and it’s relationship to the right-wing leaning the world seems to be taking. I think it urges us to react somehow, and to reorganize our own lives in order to fully comprehend and counter all of that.
One thing that not only influenced the making of the record, but our lives as well, are the writings of Robert Anton Wilson, Timothy Leary and Gurdjieff, with their relationship to hidden structures of the mind, and the part they play in shaping our actions – we need to be aware of certain traumas to overcome ’em, and through individual and collective therapies we might transcend familiar, colonial and social issues.
S] How do you define success as a band right now?
Success is basically being and feeling alive, doing what we like with the people we like, feeling both appreciated and appreciating what we’re doing. It’s really lovely to take a breath and look to everything we’ve done in the past years, and all the effort really good friends make in order to help us doing our thing. If we’re here it’s because of them, whether it’s Steve and its endearing support, the friends from Test who are always doing things with us, or Rakta themselves for being such good friends and sharing the mystery with us.
S] What advice would you give to emerging artists coming out who might be inspired by your work?
That’s the hardest, haha! I would say they should believe and do their thing, to pursue their aspirations – not looking for commercial success or exposure, but for true realisation; to create a living relationship with what you do with your life, to unite body and mind in process. Always remember we are not in full control, but we can direct our energies towards what we want, and hope for the best.
S] What are the biggest challenges you face as a band at the moment?
Being Brazilian, that just rolls off the tongue easily – being a colonised country, we lack financial and social structures and support which are quite common in Europe. Instruments are expensive, life is expensive, and having a thriving relationship with music is made way more complicated – it feels like we’re always putting out fires when it comes to finances. It seems that the forms and the aspects explored by the ‘third-world’ (basically the non North-Hemisphere, non-white parts of the world) are always welcome as something exotic, but never as a valid force to be reckoned with in terms of the vanguard or innovation. This makes it harder for people to understand that a body-aware relationship to rhythm, such as the ones there are on cultures throughout the world (including ours) is something mundane, something primitive or ‘tribal’, both in Europe or back there. Even if the de jure colonization has ended, it still exists de facto – in our pockets, in our bodies and in our minds.
You can catch DEAFKIDS at their remaining tour dates:
FR28/04/2019 SWR Barroselas Metalfest 2019 – Viana do Castelo, PT29/04/2019 Mag4 – Bruxelles, BE30/04/2019 Bar Hic – Rennes, FR01/05/2019 Tri Martolod – Concarneau, FR02/05/2019 Léo Ferré – Brest Espace, FR03/05/2019 Les 3 Pieces – Rouen, FR04/05/2019 Het Bos – Antwerp, BE05/05/2019 Donau Festival 2019 – Donau, AT
Photography: JEAN RIBEIRO