piątek, 13 listopada 2015

Interview with Rafael and Mendigo/ ROT!

I contacted Marcelo from Rot around 16 years ago, we traded some tapes and 7 inch split with No Prejudice and I became their fan straight away. After couple of years they become a grindcore legend. Rot has been quiet for a long time but it was worth to wait. They're coming back with new 7 inch Nowhere. My good friend, Carlos James, a former and bassplayer of another Brasilian grindcore legendary band Facada, and I decided that it's good time to talk to them. Carlos James became my partner in global grindcore propaganda and here you have his first interview for EveryDayHate grindblog. I would like to thank Carlos James and Rot for being truely grindcore maniacvs and their scene's support since forever! Andy EDH
      Tell us a little bit how the ROT started.  What were its beginnigs and what bands really influenced the ROT? What Brazilian bands do you listen to? I know you have a song on your first EP which sounds almost like a cover of Fear of God. Was it deliberate or just a coincidence?
     Mendigo: It began with the end of Rigidity Cadaveric, which was a death metal band in the vein of Death, Morbid Angel, Autopsy, etc. Then we invited Marcelo (who had a fanzine called United Forces) ­ who used to go to almost every Rigidity Cadaveric rehearsal ­ to do the vocals in a new band that we were willing to form. According to Marcelo, the guy who named the band was Babú (ex­bassist), who helped Marcelo in making our logo as well. I'm mentioning this, because when I got to Marcelo's place to talk about this new band, they already had almost everything done. We only had to write the songs. Everything got done in four or five months. There were many bands who influenced us, like Celtic Frost, Fear of God, Napalm Death, Sore Throat, Agathocles...Those bands really made us to form our own band. Brazilian bands that influenced us were Psychic Possessor, Atack Epiléptico, Nada and probably Ação Direta in some way, as we used to listen to their demo all the time. Now about that Fear of God thing you asked...It was not intentional, it was not coincidental, I like to call it as a homage. It was a reference we got. Almost every brazilian band in that way had that kind of thing. It was very normal to hear bands who had similar riffs with those bands we liked. I can mention "Russian Roulette", for instance, which sounds very alike to Blood's "Dogmatized": a band that we really liked in the beginning of the 90's. I guess that from all the bands we mentioned as influences, the only band that is still playing grindcore is Agathocles, right? But that doesn't matter, does it?
Rot 2015, pix shot by Guilherme Ferreira

      The Rot has an extensive and fairly consistent discography. Which album according to you is the most important in your history?  The record that would define the Rot, if it's possible at all.
     Rafael: Well, it’s hard to say a record that would define the band. Even though the band is still playing grindcore for all this time, it has changed a lot over the years. “Cruel Face of Life” is way different compared to our side on the Yacopsae split, for instance. Anyway, my favorites are the split 7” with Psycho, the split 7” with Agathocles, “A Long Cold Stare” is probably my favorite Rot record nowadays, the split 10” with Yacopsae, “Cruel Face of Life”, the split lp with Intestinal Disease, the split 7” with 2 Minutos de Odio...These are the ones I like best.
Rot in action, pix shot by Elaine Campos

      You've just recorded 12 songs for an EP, right? How much time passed since the last album? How your process of composing looks alike? The music is composed in the rehearsal by all members or someone comes with a ready idea? The lyrics are already written? Tell me more about the release.
     Rafael: It’s been 8 years since our last record, but the band had a hiatus from the
beginning of 2008 until the middle of 2013, we must not forget that. Well, as I said, 2013
was the year we got back to together, but even though we were writing new stuff here and
there, the band as a whole were way more focused on playing live. To this day, we have
two rehearsals per month, so we don’t have a lot of time to write new stuff and all, we
need to focus in playing live, or in writing new material. But in the meantime, me, Mendigo
and Bucho were working on new stuff for two Wednesdays per month too, counting from
the middle of 2014 until the end of the last year, I guess. So right in the beginning of this
year, we had to stop playing live to focus on writing new material only. The writing
process is very simple: Mendigo or Bucho comes with some riffs, they show them to me,
and we start working on them. After all the instrumental is done, both Marcelo and
Marcolino starts to write the lyrics. That’s it. “Nowhere”: a 7” with 12 songs is already out
here in Brazil through Absurd Records, and it’ll be released by Selfmadegod Records in
Europe. The european version is planned to be released on January 2016 and we’ll have that material released on cd through Selfmadegod Records as well.

      Some members played in anarchist bands and had contact with liberation movements - does it has any impact on the writing process and/or interfere? Does Rot stands for any ideology? Does anyone still participate in these movements?
     Rafael: The only anarchist guy in the band is Marcolino. He used to play in two anarchist
bands, which were Deadmocracy and Desecration. It’s been a long time he’s been
involved with several projects regarding anarchism. It’s been two years he’s one the
people behind a library called Nelca Carlo Aldegueri, which is an anarchist library. Well,
as we stated a long time ago, Rot were never a political band, even though that are some
lyrics that can be considered as political. We don’t stand for any ideology, and Marcolino’s
stand on anarchism hasn’t interfered in nothing regarding the band.
Rot in action, pix shot by Marina Melchers

      Everyone in the band is active in some way in the underground scene, tell us what each one does in the underground outside the Rot? Labels, shops, other bands?
     Rafael: Both Marcelo and Bucho are the ones who are involved in other activities besides
Rot, when we talk about underground. Marcelo is the guy behind Absurd Records and
has a record store called Extreme Noise Discos. Bucho runs a label called Bucho Discos
and he plays in Cruel Face as well, which is a crust/grindcore band.

      How do you evaluate the present and past grindcore scene in Brazil? The quality ( of the bands , fanzines , contacts ) has improved? Do you think the scene was better in the past than nowadays?
     Rafael: Well, I don’t think I’m best person to say something about that, but from the time I
got into it until now, and from I’ve been told from people I know that were in the scene in
that time, there are some things that were better in the past, and there were some things
that are better now. A lot of stuff was made in the 90’s, for instance. Lots of bands,
fanzines, record labels and distros. There were lots of people doing something back in
those days. Right now, there aren’t that many people doing something. Even though there
are a nice number of people who are into it and I want to clear that I’m talking about
grindcore/noisecore only. Now about the quality of the bands? It depends. There were
great/terrible bands in the past, and there are great/terrible bands nowadays too. But one
point that it was definitely better in the past compared to what’s happening now, it’s the
amount of things that were made back in the days. We can’t even compare to nowadays.
Nowhere 7 inch, artwork by: LaHell

      Give us names of 10 Brazilian records (may include Rot) that you would recommend people who do not know the Punk / Crust / Grindcore / Death Metal scene of our Country.
     Rafael: 01­ Sub: 4­way lp with Ratos de Porão + Cólera + Psykóze + Fogo Cruzado / 02­
Brigada do Ódio: s/t 7” / 03­ Ratos de Porão: Crucificados Pelo Sistema lp / 04­ Grito
Suburbano: 3­way lp with Olho Seco + Cólera + Inocentes / 05­ Olho Seco/Brigada do
Ódio split lp / 06­ Armagedom: Silêncio Fúnebre lp / 07­ Sarcófago: I.N.R.I. lp / 08­
Noise/Industrial Holocaust split 7” / 09­ Industrial Noise: Pacíficos/Hostilizados 7” / 10­
Helvetin Viemärit: Kauhea Melu Oksennus 7”.

      The Rot has changed his line up a few times, always staying with Marcelo (Vocal ) and Mendigo (guitar) . Could you say that q recent formation is strong and stable and that it may have interfered in the compositions ?
     Rafael: Well, the only thing I can say is that I’m quite happy about what we are doing. We
are very, very happy with the new material and the gigs have been amazing so far.

      When you're drunk / stoned , what are the first things you think of listen to?
    Rafael: SS Decontrol, Minor Threat, SOA, Negative FX, The Teen Idles and GG Allin.

      Cooperation, not competition . Do you enjoy the grindcore scene today? Do you think the Brazilian grindcore scene is united and sincere or it's more like metal scene that has been always based on empty achievements, the pursuit of  "fame" and media attention?
     Rafael: No matter in what scene or whatever, we’ll have good and bad things on it. We’re
talking about human beings, so what can we do? I don’t see grindcore as a separated
scene or something. First of all, when we talk about Brazil, and you don’t need to take a
deep look on it, the amount of bands/labels is not that big, especially when we compare to
I don’t know, Czech Republic, for instance. But the amount of people who supports
grindcore bands and labels is ok, I guess. Second, at least for me, grindcore was, is and
always will be an extension of hardcore. This is the way I see things and I’m quite aware
that there’s people who don’t agree with me. That’s fine. It’s just my opinion and nothing
more than an opinion. I know that it might not happen in some states here in Brazil, but
grindcore in its essence, it’s just an extension of hardcore. I think we’re passing through
some ok times. United? Of course not. You should unite with people who you like, that’s
it. I don’t think you should unite with someone only because him or her is a punk,
headbanger, grinder, noisehead or whatever. But I think the cooperation among people
has been alright here in Brazil. Quite far away for something really active, especially when
you take of what happened here in the 90’s as an example, but it’s not that bad. It’s ok, I
Rot in action, pix shot by Guilherme Ferreira

      Through all those years of touring what was the worst food you've ever eaten and what was the worst bathroom you've ever seen ? (Ze Misanthrope)
     Mendigo: Well, that's a hard one...I can count in my fingers about some squat
bathrooms that you can go and feel confortable with it. I'll point two cases: in 1996,
we played in a gothic church in Breda/Holland, a church that became a cultural
centre. We played along with Hiatus, Intestinal Disease and a folcloric band plus
an english or scottish band that had "flog" in the beginning of their name...They
were a bunch of assholes. Can't remember the band, anyway. In the middle of the
Hiatus set, their singer had some problems and he went to the toilet, but when he
saw the condition of that specific bathroom, he refused to use it. So he went to the
bushes and did it right there. We had some pictures of that bathroom, I don't know
where they are now. In 1998 in a tour with Absuso Sonoro over Europe, we were
in Czech Republic and we went to sleep in a squat called Ladronka. They didn't
have a bathroom and it was disgusting. You could smell the stench from some
improvised bathroom who was placed outside the squat. So Angelo (Abuso
Sonoro bassist in that time) used that improvised bathroom and advised us to go in
the bushes instead. Everybody was somehow surprised and laughing about what
Angelo said, because it had to be terrible indeed, as he'd always use those kind of
bathrooms and never complained.

Thanks to Rafael and all the band for the answers!
Rafael: Drums | Marcelo e Marcolin: Vocals | Mendigo: Guitars | Alex Bucho: Bass

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