Interview with Fernanda Lira from Nervosa – August, 2015

Nervosa is very ambitious thrash metal trio from the heart of Brazil, which started their way as the band five years ago. Very energetic and expressive girls – Fernanda Lira, Prika Amaral and Pitchu Ferraz had their debut album released one year ago and are in the middle of their very first world tour.
I met Fernanda just before the Nervosa gig in Glasgow and we had a sincere chat all about the tour, the struggles and success.

Hello, Fernanda, great to meet you. How are you?

Oh hello! It is so cold here!

With Fernanda Lira (Nervosa) in Glasgow

Well, welcome to Glasgow! I know, everywhere else in Europe is pretty warm…

Yeah, in the end of every show I was soaking wet and well, I’ve got even a little ill because I was really sweaty and when we left the show, it was windy… But now I’m cool.

So how is the tour going?

So far it’s great, we’ve been loving every minute of it! You know, I always say that on stage, that for us the dream came true for us to be here. We worked it so hard to be here and for us it’s like vacation – we’re having fun, we’re doing what we love, so it’s really like the dream came true.

Any remarkable events during that time?

Lots of, I would say. Each show, each day is special in a way for us, because everything is so new for us –  it’s like touring in another planet because it is too different from Brazil and South America. If I have to say what something remarkable happened, I would name the festivals we played: Obscene Extreme, Brutal Assault, Metal Days – they were incredible, beyond our expectations! When we came here we didn’t know what to expect, you know, we knew we have a fan base here but we didn’t know how it’s going to be. In some of the festivals we played really early, like at noon, we thought no one would be there but when we climbed the stage all the times it was packed and it was really surprising and cool for us.

Now you are headlining a gig in here, do you know anything about the the other bands playing before you?

Actually, no I don’t. The thing that I like playing with other bands is that sometimes they give us their CDs and we can try to get to know… To be honest I don’t know many Scottish metal bands. There are a lot of bands playing today (four – reviewers remark), this band that is playing now (Damaj – rev. rem.) has that real new wave of British heavy metal vibe, I was really enjoying it, because I really like this kind of metal. We don’t really have time to make a research – try and listen to them, as touring can be really tiring and crazy and time wise we have time for nothing except for sleeping in the van all the time, so it’s hard for us to get to know the bands. But I like when the dressing room is near the stage so we can hear some of that. Oh there was the lasagne in this dressing room, ahhh! Greatest dressing room ever! (laughs)

You are relatively young band, playing for only 5 years, what do you think is the reason of your fast success?

First of all, thank you! I wouldn’t say that’s success but I really agree with you that it was fast. It takes years for some bands to get where we are and we are really thankful for that. I have a theory, that metal is always renewing itself, there is always something new, like for example folk metal – when there was the whole boom of folk metal – flutes, violins and stuff. So I think everything that’s new in metal, in a certain way, catches some attention – positive and negative, of course. But I would say more positive because everything that’s new makes people curious about it. And what is quite new in our band is that we are three girls playing thrash metal – you don’t see much of that around. I would like to see more, I really like girl power supporters, especially metalheads. I think it’s a process, in some years it’s gonna be more natural, because I see more and more girls getting involved but it’s still something new. I think this helped a little. It’s not only because we’re girls but it helps getting attention. Of course, the metal scene, metalheads can be very demanding sometimes, so they won’t listen to your music just because of the label, for example, all female thrash metal – it helps to catch attention but that’s not everything. In the end, what matters is the music.

You probably get this question a lot, but still – why girls?

(Laughs) You know, I personally always felt like playing only with girls, all my bands before Nervosa were all female. All of them – and I had three of them. It was always a dream that I had, I always felt inspired by girls in metal. I wanted to have my own girl band, I would like to play with other girls and because I knew it was something new. If you want your band to stand out in metal, then it really has have to have something new to show because everything pretty much has been done in metal. It always been a dream to play with girls, to be like metal girls school or something (laughs). The other girls also played with girls before. I think it’s kinda natural – when you’re a girl you wanna play with other girls in the same way when men play with other men. For me it always felt like having all female metal band.

So what happened with the previous bands? You mentioned that you had three of them.

They were from different styles and I was very young – I started my first when I was 15 years old. It was melodic metal, we played Helloween, Edguy – this kind of stuff. Then my taste started getting different and ideas were not the same anymore, I didn’t wanna play melodic metal anymore, I got into traditional metal like new wave of British heavy metal and then I started liking extreme metal… My last band before Nervosa was melodic death metal band and I had some problems with the girls, because being in all female band can be really hard sometimes, ’cause some girls can be really difficult to deal with, so it’s not easy. Probably that’s why we don’t have many girls band around. I’m not saying that all girls of course… you really need to feel that you are playing with the girls, who are similar to you and that’s what happened with Nervosa. The three of us think the same way, we don’t care about anything, we are relaxed – our driver is a proof of that (driver turns to us – “Really?”, Fernanda laughs – rev. rem.). We are having fun all the time, we don’t care about gossiping and this kind of stuff and that’s why we can get along well. And I’m not saying that because other people say, it’s a common sense or something like that – I’m saying that because I had experience with that, I had troubles with other girls’ stupid things, that’s why I left all the other bands. Already before Nervosa I wanted to have all female thrash metal trio and I was looking for a band and Prika, our guitarist, already had this project she needed a bassist and singer, so we needed each other and that was cool.

Fernanda Lira in Glasgow gig

As for such a young band you had so many line-up changes as well…

Yeah… Well, I think in the beginning we needed time to adapt. For example, in the beginning of the band we were four girls, we had the second guitar and then she couldn’t be in the band anymore ’cause she was from another state and it was really difficult for her to practice with us. And we really wanted to be more professional – rehearsing and writing music all the time and she couldn’t be here, so she decided to leave the band because she said it was not working for her, she was spending a lot of money to be there with us. So it was her option and then when she left we thought that maybe it would be cool to be a trio, you know. We were like that for a while, then the other drummer left, three years ago – her decision, too. I think she got sick of it. She decided to leave the band and we found Pitchu, who was the best – our current drummer – we love her, she is exactly what we needed, the person who could really play, very humble, she has a beautiful soul and we love her. So I think it always happens in the beginning of the band, when you need to adapt, to find yourself in the band and that’s why we are trio today. And I think it is perfect. Everybody is asking why we don’t get the second guitar, nooo, we’re fine! It’s easier this way – its is easier to make all the decisions in the band, the leaving is easier, to write songs is easier, to travel is cheaper – everything is cool this way. But I think we needed all this experience with those other members, what led us to what we are today.

So talking about girl power and girls in metal – there are a lot positive comments about you and then there still some guys saying that metal is not for girls. What can you say to those people?

First of all, we don’t actually care abut it because we know that it comes from the very few people. You know, having all female thrash metal band in Brazil, which is a very sexist country, it can be really hard. In the beginning we had a really hard time because of course there were more positive comments than bad comments but the bad comments were really bad. People were saying a lots of shit like “they’re only getting shows because they fuck promoters” and these kind of things.. From there to worse, for example “oh, I’ve heard that to get shows they send pictures of them naked to the promoters” – can you believe that? (laughs) you can laugh – it’s really stupid. In the beginning it was it was really hard. I’m very emotional girl and in the beginning I even cried: “why the fuck they are saying all this stuff about us? They don’t even know me!” but then I noticed that it’s just prejudice, you know. We have prejudice, unfortunately, nowadays we still have it everywhere against everything and it wouldn’t be different with us because it is something new, guys are so machos who think that girls should be in the kitchen and this kind of stuff. The only kitchen I love is bass and drums (laughs). But in the beginning it was hard and I didn’t exactly know how to deal with it but nowadays we just don’t give a fuck at all. Sometimes we even laugh because people can be really creative when they want to say bad things about someone. The best way to deal with that is just don’t care, we know that these are just shallow comments, that people are spitting out their rage.

That’s really good attitude! Let’s talk about your debut album “Victim of Yourself”, which was released year ago, what do you about it now? Are the feelings the same about it?

Yeah, they can change a little, for example, because when we were recording this album we had really hard time because we had deadline with the label and were already delayed so we had to rush a lot. Then Prika got sick during the recordings, she had tendinitis and she needed to put a cast on her arm, so we had quite few problems during the recording process. And because of that now we think that maybe some things could have been better but we are still happy about the album. That’s the best we could do because before getting into studio, we were writing a song for week in order to meet the deadline. Sometimes when I say that it took us two rehearsals to write a song no one believes that and it’s completely true. I  feel really fulfilled with this album because we had hard time but were able to overcome it with the music we like and we still like it. I think it was the best we could do at that time.  I like the fact that the songs are not similar to each other, that each song has it’s vibe – we are really proud of that. But we are already thinking about the next album, we don’t think about the last one anymore, we are already planning the next album…

… and that’s exactly what I was thinking to ask about!

(Laughs) We have some songs written already but during this tour we’ve been listening to a lot of things and this helps us, getting new ideas for sounds.  I think when we’ll get back to Brazil, we will finish writing the album in a month. Our plan is to finish writing it till the end of this year, then record it in the beginning of the next year and release it maybe in May or something like that, so during the summer we could come back to the Europe! That’s the plan and we will work really hard for it to happen, so it would be the perfect timing and we have lots of ideas in my mind just ready to be written down.

That’s great! And now I have a funny question – if you could be a drink, any drink, what would you be?

I love funny questions! Hey, (Fernanda turns to the driver again – rev. rem.) if I could be drink, what drink do you think I should be? Based on yesterday? Jack Daniels? Of course I love Jack Daniels and I’m saying that because yesterday I drank a lot of it… but if I could be a drink I would be Caipirinha! Firstly, because it’s typical Brazilian and it’s the best – it’s sweet and it’s cheap and it can drive you really funny – that’s what I like to do – I like to be funny with everyone around me. And Caipirinha does the same – if you drink three or four, you will be the funniest person ever! (laughs) and oh, because it’s my favourite drink! I could say something more rock’n’roll like Jack and coke but Cairinha is so me, that I couldn’t say anything else!

Is there anything you’d like to pass on to our readers?

First of all thank you for this opportunity! We, the bands, really need it – thank you for the good work. And for everyone who is reading – just keep supporting your local scenes, keep supporting metal because we – the bands, the fans, the press – we are so responsible  to keep the metal flame burning and alive. So just keep supporting the music.

Thank you a lot!


The review and images from Nervosa Glasgow gig are here:




About Jurga Kalinauskaite

Photographer, journalist, curious wanderer.