DISXEASE interview

by Jean

Ola a todos!

If you’re into catchy and aggressive late 80s straight edge bands, Sao Paulo’s DISXEASE was definitly formed to satisfy your ears and your mosh pit urges! Their first LP – “The End”, released on True Spirit Records, Criminal Rights Records and Strength In Hate Records – is a killer one, and that’s the main reason why I wanted to introduce ’em to DROIDxRAGE .

I assume to be quite ignorant about Brazil hardcore scene, that’s pretty much what this interview’s actually about : to satisfy my own curiosity and worldwide hardcore knowledge!

1/ Thanks for sharing your time Athos, Pedro! First of all, congrats for your first LP – “The End” – these songs featuring on bandcamp testify to listening to an awesome piece of record, extremely catchy concerning any point of view: singing (especially on “Dead”, plus these excellent lyrics “Living a hopeless life Just to fade away In a selfish system With No fucking chance There’s no plan for you We’re already dead And the only purpose is to rot and die…”) guitar riffing (especially on eponymous track “The End” which reminds me a lot of Al Barile’s (SSD) style), drumming (fast and increasingly heavy as the songs stream “Burning Flags” for example)… Anyway what’s your personal feeling about this first LP? Do you feel proud or enthusiastic for DISXEASE future? Athos: Hi there! I loved the result of this record myself. It’s been a while that we recorded and it’s great to see that we got a positive feedback from it. DISXEASE’s future is pretty much unwritten since I’m living in a different continent from the other members but we will do as much as we can to remain “active”. Not sure if we can use that therm though. Pedro: -I’m very proud of the musical output, for sure. It’s one of the best releases I’ve ever played on, musically speaking. It was cool writing and recording these songs, they’re like a synthesis of my favorite hardcore bands, stuff I grew up listening to. The SSD influence you mentioned is huge, I’ve been almost religiously devoted to this band since I was about 16 and they’ve been a huge influence on my songwriting and guitar playing. The record will be released by True Spirits Records, Criminal Rights Records and Strength In Hate Records. Can you introduce these different labels and tell us why did you decide to trust them for release of your first full-length record? Athos: True Spirit is a label based in Brazil and the owner it’s been around forever. He always loved the band so I was sure he would enjoy being part of the release. Strength In Hate is a label based in Russia and I’m friends with Vic Frolov since I toured Europe in 2012 with my older band STILL X STRONG. He also loves the band, he is young and his label just started and I think it’s awesome that we’re part of the team now. Criminal Rights is based on the USA and I actually never met Matt in person. But they released our brother’s band B’URST (which you should DEFINITELY check it out) so I know he is a good person to trust with the release. By the way, check his band called DRUG CONTROL, they just released a 7″ bia Straight & Alert Records from France.

(freaking awesome!)

(the band released a their first EP earlier this year but I prefer the demo!)

For those who haven’t listened to the record nor red the lyrics yet, for what type of hardcore fans, what kind of people would you recommand “The End”?

Athos: If you’re into SSD, BROTHERHOOD, CONFRONT and new bands as NO TOLERANCE and such you will probably enjoy DISXEASE’s sound. If you’re don’t know these bands yet you should definitely check all them out as well. Pedro: Just rough, aggressive music. I have no interest in being retro or emulating anything in particular, and I think there’s been amazing bands from every era, but you can’t go wrong with early/mid 80’s NY, Boston and Midwest American hardcore. So if people who are into this stuff enjoy this record, I suppose it’s mission accomplished. 2/ Can you tell us how DISXEASE was born? Why and when did you decided to form a hardcore band? Why did you chose that name? For some reason is that a play on words between a “Dis-band” name and a straight edge tribute to? Pedro – Some years ago I used to work with our original bass player and we talked all the time about starting a hardcore band like this. We couldn’t find a drummer, but Rafael Madeira moved to Sao Paulo from Portugal and wanted to play, so we just did it. We didn’t know who was going to sing, but I saw Athos singing a covers set at a gig and was very impressed with his voice and he was a friend of ours of many years, so there you go, problem solved. Currently I play in FUTURO, which is a punk rock band and MODULARES, a power pop/mod revival type band. The name DISXEASE has nothing to do with any sort of “dis-band” thing at all. We were having a brainstorm and Athos suggested DISEASE, which, fortunately unbeknown to me at the time, is a song by the amazingly bad band BIOHAZARD he was listening to at the time for some masochistic reason. I thought it was a catchy name and associated it with the UK SUBS song S.O.A. did on the Flex You Head compilation and suggested we added an X to it in order for it to be easier to find on Google.

Athos: Exactly what Pedro said. I used to play in bands like STILL X STRONG (2000’s Vegan Straight Edge Mosh), INNER SELF (90’s NYHC Inspired) and STAND X HARD (Straight Edge Youth Crew as well) Rafael also plays in STAND X HARD and played also with POINTING FINGER, CRITICAL POINT, MAD RATS, TIME X and NEW WINDS PS: Biohazard’s Urban Discipline RULES! [I totally agree.]

3/ I’ve paid a lot of attention on COKE BUST first Brazilian Tour in 2014 which seemed to be an extremely intense tour experience as to them (singer Nick is actually writing a lot of stuffs in Portuguese (or so-called Portuguese ) on social networks) – I don’t know if Brazil is like the new Promise Land of hardcore punk but the scene seems so friendly and united here, I remember for example this video shot by someone from COKE BUST with his cellphone where we can see many people from local scene travelling in train/subway with them. What’s your point about that?

PEDRO – I don’t think Brazil is any kind of promise land as far as hardcore (or anything else) goes. It’s neither friendly nor united, and to be honest the last few years it’s become a huge pain in the ass, generally speaking. Despite who’s right or wrong on particular issues, there’s just too much fighting and conflicts for it to be a healthy environment, I feel there’s too many people on all sides more interested in shitting on each other than actually trying to resolve things or move on. However, among the ruins, there are friendly people who are united with each other and make an effort to do constructive things. And that’s probably what you saw on these videos.

The country seems to know increasing political evolution since Lula Ińacio Lula Da Silva and Dilma Rousseff presidential terms of office. Since 2002, do these political and economical changes had an effect on the Brazilian hardcore scene? Does Brazil’s contemporary Political History has an impact on DISXEASE writing process? Otherwise, what motivates you to write hardcore songs? And what are your musical influences? By the way, why did you chose to cover “Enemy” (featuring on 1987 “False Power” LP on Statement Records) from American band STATE?

Pedro: Well, politically speaking I’m not as enthusiastic on this so called “evolution” as some people in Europe seem to be. In a way, previous governments were worse, but that’s setting the bar really really low. What happened was that in the Lula era millions of people were included in the economy and developed their consuming power. Abject poverty was diminished, which is a good thing. But there’s been no real raise in class consciousness or real political awareness. Most people are just as apathetic as before, and most political demonstrations are actually these horrifying right wing chauvinistic orgies of stupidity, full of disgusting hysterical middle and upper class people protesting against a vague notion of corruption (as if their favorite politicians weren’t corrupt and their system of choice isn’t inherently corrupt) and demanding a “military intervention”. The apparently progressive situation you mentioned only lasted while the economy was growing. Now that it’s not, the vibe of the country haven’t been as negative in decades, the government is breaking promises and doing what every bourgeois government always does, which is making the working class pay for the crisis. Dilma Roussef explicitly promised in her latest campaign that there was no way she was going to mess with worker’s rights and that’s precisely what she did when she was elected again. They’re cutting pensions and trying to make the law for hiring and firing people more “flexible”, which of course is going to be a disaster for workers. The workers party is left wing, but it’s the left wing capital, not a real workers party. As far as it impacting our writing, I don’t think it did. Not directly at least. Maybe indirectly, as we wrote some pretty negative songs which I feel is a consequence of this whole hangover and disappointment the country is facing now after years of optimism. I suggested THE STATE cover because I’ve always felt they’re one of the most underrated hardcore bands ever and their 1983 demo is just perfect hardcore – that’s where I first heard it, not on the album, which I think is not very good. And this song in particular has always struck a nerve with me, it’s very tough and catchy and I felt it would fit the rest of the songs very well. Also, I wanted to cover an obscure band, not a famous one. To be honest the choice was 100% based on the music, it had nothing to do with the lyrics, the name of the band or anything of the sort.

I guess before that time, bands like RATOS DE PORÃO or SEPULTURA (just to name a few – I’m a big fan of Brazilian black/thrash metal like SARCOFAGO first LP) had a real mission towards Brazil’s cultural openness? What is your personal opinion about that? Pedro: I think this 1980’s generation of punk and extreme metal was more about creating their own functioning niches than actually influencing the countries culture as a whole. The previous generation of rock and Brazilian popular music artists in the 60’s and 70’s really did have this mission. Some of them had to leave the country , others went to prison and all were censored by the military regime and so on. There were some who were more openly political (CHICO BUARQUE), and others who were culturally subversive (CAETANO VELOSO, OS MUTANTES) and I suppose they were all really trying to build a more open minded country. By the time punk and extreme metal arrived in the early-mid 80’s however, the situation was very different, the military dictatorship was on its last legs and also these bands probably had no illusions about reaching wider audiences. In a way, they did leave a mark on Brazilian culture, in that they started underground movements that were internationally relevant and brought a new ingredient to the mix. But I don’t think it was a “mission” to them at the time, they were just doing their own thing. As the saying goes, they didn’t know it was impossible, so they went ahead and did it. 4/ DISXEASE will tour Europe this summer – an appearence to 2015 Ieper Fest is already foreknown – what do you expect from that tour? Athos: I just expect to have a good time, meet new people, play good shows. I toured Europe in 2012 with an old band I had and I had the best of times. I expect this one to be just as good as the other one. Although Pedro can’t join us for this tour we will enjoy those moments in his memory, hahaha Pedro: -I’m not going, but I hope they have a great time. Some of the best times of my life were spent on tour with other bands. Some people have terrible stories about touring, but as far as I’m concerned it’s one of the most fun and enriching experiences one can ever have.

5/ To conclude this interview, I would like to ask you why Brazilian restaurants seem attached to promote the vegan diet? That’s another thing I’ve noticed checking COKE BUST tour photos – it seems Brazil is more open-minded than France, for example, concerning food and ethical choices?

Pedro: -Brazilian restaurants in general don’t even know what veganism is, but in the big cities vegetarian or even vegan places are becoming more popular all the time, which is a good thing. I became vegetarian in 1995 and back then it was not a common thing at all. Since then it’s become much more popular and there are tons of different products and options available that didn’t exist at the time. Also, everyday Brazilian food is very easy to adapt to a vegan version. It’s usually rice, beans, vegetables and meat. If you replace the meat with some kind of vegetable protein, you have a great vegan meal that’s not exotic or weird to the common public. So I suppose that’s why there are so many vegetarian restaurants here, even meat eaters are not that weirded out by them. French food on the other hand is pretty much based on animal products like butter, cheese and animal fat, so it’s probably very hard to adapt to a vegan version. I remember it was the only place in Europe I’ve toured (with other bands) where even in the hardcore scene people sometimes didn’t give us vegan food or didn’t even understand what it was sometimes. It’s a good thing you have lots of middle eastern restaurants, otherwise I would have starved…

If you wanna add something, it’s up to you!

Thanks for picking us for the interview. It’s always good to share opinions and situations with people who live far away from us. We’re touring Europe this summer, if you’re around check our dates on our facebook page and join us. For further questions you can contact us via the e-mail disxease@gmail.com Thanks for your time!

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