DROWNED is a Brazilian band that dates back to the 90s. With a new album released recently they are back. Answered by Marcos Amorim. Anders Ekdahl ©2018
We all come into music with our own baggage. We want different things from the music. How does the vision you had for the band when you started compare to the vision you have for the band today? What is this band really all about? What do you want with your music?
-First, we wanted to sound innovative. We wanted to have a sound that no one band had. This searching assumed that this would obviously be possible. The world today has too much information, a lot of people doing similar things everywhere. We are aware of this nowadays. And with that, we know what we can expect from music today and enjoying it, celebrating with fans and friends. The band today is a source of our creativity. It is a way of venting our feelings and exposing our way to face the world. We want to do what we like as much as we can, as long as we feel creative to share what we know how to do. We are not in this for fame or money. These will never come.
Is there a difference in people’s attitude towards you if you don’t come from a cool place like LA or NY or London?
-Of course there is. Sepultura opened many doors in its time, but these doors were closing slowly. The geographic issue has an impact on the Brazilian scene in relation to the world heavy metal market. Possibly we would have been lucky if we were a band from the North Emisphere. There are audiences here, but he does not hold a scene. A heavy metal band needs to internationalize, to get something decent for itself. If the band does not get that, it stays in stagnation. It is what we feel about our reality. The band is good, in our perception, it could be in the best stages of the world, but it is not cheap and has complicated logistics. And so it is better to forget us in the basements of the third world …
When you release an album that get pretty good feedback, how do you follow up on that? How important is that I as a fan can identify album to album?
-The feedback we expect is from the fan. Reviews in magazines are important too, many are fans and write in too, but direct contact with people at concerts, on social medias are rewarding. I think it is very important that we get this contact, this closer relationship with the fan. We are not the type of band that is guided by the repercussion, we are satisfied with it, because this is natural of the human being, but we do not guide our agenda by this. An album can be very good and have a poor repercussion. Another one, not so good in our own evaluation, may be a relative success. For us, it’s worth the fans liking the album, but our opinion (of what to do soon after) is not defined by that.
What is the biggest challenge in the creation of an album? How do you write the really cool songs?
-I believe the greatest challenge in musical creation is not to repeat itself. Then, do not repeat anyone. The first part seems simple, but often it is not. You can build a myriad of ideas, but often they are too alike or even not relevant compared to others you have already done. No longer repeating other bands is less difficult if we are talking about plagiarism. However, when we enter the field of musical influence or the preponderant musical style, it is not so simple again. I say it because there are millions of bands nowdays, some extremely influential and, consciously or not, something they have already tracked can also be our trail. The challenge here is to try to find your own footprints, even if the path has already been covered by another.
I saw Dave Grohl’s documentary about Sound City and it made me wonder what it is about analogue recording that you don’t get with digital? Have you ever recorded analogue?
-Yes, I did. Not with Drowned (in the beginning ADATs and now hard disks), but with other previus bands (late of 80’s, beginning of 90’s). I already had a tape recorder, too. I believe that the vibration and the way of working the music is more organic. On the other hand, digital recording allows to finish your music better. They are different perspectives. I hear Judas Priest, for example – Sad Wings of Destiny – and feel the authenticity of the band. Maybe I will not feel it in a high investment band today, I will not mention names, etc., but it’s not difficult to hear a band that is fantastic in recording and medium alive. I believe that the previous generation could show their music with more authentically than the current one, because it was good and showed how good it was without any trick. However today it is very difficult to record analogue, I have tried to buy equipment like that and it is very complicated.
What is it like to sit there with a finished album? Do you think much what people will think of it?
-Sometimes I think. I can often think of how people would react to songs that I think are best and which ones they would choose as weaker ones (and try to find out why). However, it is not always on all records this occurs to me. Many times we have already finished an album and were already planning shows, the next record and did not go through our head any external evaluation, we simply went on. This last CD had a production process very long, may have generated a little expectation, but it seems that everything is going well.
How important are the lyrics and what message do you want to purvey?
-We try to pass on our lyrics some perspectives that we have in relation to the world. They are not always propositions, but often visions out there. One fact may be good or bad, I may or may not agree with it, but it is there. The lyrics have the importance of indicating something that may be relevant or people need to observe or simply our interpretation of the universe around us. In this light, the letters are an important complement.
Ever since I first got into metal the art work has been a main motivator in buying a record. What part does art work for album covers play in the world of the band?
-In fact, the cover can sell an album (even being shit hahaha). This is a concern for all the bands that grew up with this scenario, where the physical cover was a seducing factor for the acquisition of an album. However, in the days of streaming music, I do not know if the cover is so relevant. Maybe a pyrotechnic video is more important than all… Something that sells a band like a superhero, that will remove of all the humanity the evil caused by all the other musical styles that don’t sound Metal enough hahaha I do not know well what will be in the future, but until now the covers were object of our analysis, always we spend a significant part of our time producing a new release with it. How we would introduce ourselves to people through the product. Some of us guess more than others, of course, but this subject has always been there.
When you play live do you notice a degree of greater recognition from the fans with each new time you pass through town?
-Yes, in many cities we can easily perceive this. Others,
perhaps by the ethylic grade of the audience, it gets more complicated hahaha However, because we have had a career in Brazil for more than 20 years, the public renews itself and this ends up making a difference. The public also changes, in fact.
What do you see in the future?
-I foresee a new Drowned record in 2020, we are still wondering how this work could sound. We also thought about a tour with more dates than the previous ones. I also hope that we can expand our distribution, resume contacts and make new ones abroad, because our horizons need to be expanded. Playing only in Brazil at the current stage of the band does not seem to be the best, we have the ability to diverge audiences from various places in the world.