Deafkids: Full Interview

Last year, Cvlt Nation posted the headline “This Band Sounds Like No Other!” which, even without the exclamation point, screams hyperbole that needs to be shut down hard.  Usually, it’s up to internet trolls to knock down shit like that, but in this story it’s Steve Von Till (of Neurosis fame) who decided to push play with shrugs locked and loaded.  And this story has another twist, in which Von Till was blown away by everything the band had created on Configuração do Lamento, and he knew he wanted to get involved in exposing more people to Deafkids.

If you’re looking for some seriously talented percussion blended with noisy experimentation and true punk attitude, Deafkids needs to be the next thing you hear.  The band have been at it for years, and Configuração do Lamento is just one of their most recent assaults on musical conformity.  We had the chance to interview the guys a couple months ago for a piece in Issue #159 (January 2018, Morbid Angel cover), but as always, only a small portion of the interview made it to print.  Catch the rest of the band’s thoughts here while you fill your ears with the album.

When did Deafkids start playing music together?

Full band: The band started in 2010 as a solo effort by Douglas (guitar/voice) in his hometown of Volta Redonda. A demo was released and posted on MySpace and said demo attracted some attention, generating some buzz around it. A little bit afterwards, a live version was assembled with Marcelo (bass) and Robinho (drums), who lived in nearby cities. Some months after Robinho had to quit and at a concert in São Paulo, Mariano was asked to take the seat behind the kit from then on. Marcelo and Douglas met each other on shows around and we met Mariano on the road, and he was already interested in the band since the beginning (even with the fact that he lived in another state), so we already had some contact beforehand.

What kind of music first got you excited and interested in being a musician?

Marcelo: I became interested in rock when I was a teenager, but when I met punk I was identified with the energy and crudity of the sound, the direct and urgent way of expression, along with the simple, marked chords made me want to learn to play and have a band with my friends.

What goals or intentions are important when you create Deafkids music?

Douglas:  For me, the most important intention when we create Deafkids music would be about personal evolution that the path through music (and all that this implies) can teach us and sharing these vibrations with other people through an expression of all the negative things we all have in common. It is like an experience of sonic discharge in communion and it is also a celebration of resistance against all the wickedness we mention in our work.

Are you a part of a wider musical community where you live, a group of local musicians who work with and support each other?

Full band:  I guess we’re not part of a ‘scene’ on a strict sense, for our sound harbours many different elements and that’s quite hard to fit on any of those scenes…  Instead we like to transit through them, being part of a network. Of course there are many people and friends from many styles of music with whom we trade and collaborate, and that are producing awesome stuff – labels, bands, artists, people putting out shows, and so on… We’ve played with all types of bands and projects in all kind of gigs you can imagine. Also when we’re putting out a gig, we’re really into mixing it all, from techno and electronic artists to noise and experimental stuff. So the right answer would be that we’re not part of a scene nor operate separately.

This album feels primarily based on percussion… Do you start creating music with percussion, and add other layers later?

Full band:  We generally have a beat or the main structure of one and we go from there. Sometimes a riff comes beforehand, but that’s rare – the beat always tends to come first.

How did you get in contact with Steve Von Till of Neurot Recordings? How familiar were you with his work before getting hooked up with his label?

Full band:  We were featured on a’top albums of 2016 list of Cvlt Nation ranking 3rd, and Neurosis were featured as well (in the 1st position)… Steve met us in this list, checked our sound out and liked it, so he emailed us and that’s that. Yes, we were familiar with his work in Neurosis, so you can imagine what a blast that was!

How has the band changed or progressed in the years since you started Deafkids?

Full band:  Experimenting with sound and exploring aesthetics has always been a boost to innovate and a goal as a band/project through our releases, not sticking ourselves to a modus operandi from any specific genre or structure, naturally adding new ideas and influences to it. We always produced and did everything the way we wanted, not giving a fuck if someone thinks that we should sound or fit into something they’re used to. The goal is moving forward, always. Now that we’re living together in Sao Paulo for almost three years, and with the culmination of the creative process of Configuração do Lamento, I think we can say that we progressed to discover our very own sound.

What’s next for the band? Do you have tour plans in the next few months, or any plans to write and record more music in the near future?

Full band:  We are heading for a Brazilian North/Northeastern tour in the beginning of November, and this is uncharted territory for us, so we’re stoked! Plus, we are playing with Neurosis in their first South American show ever, and we’re really excited for it! Aside all of that, we intend to travel and play as much as we can and create new music for the future. Mostly, we want to continue spreading the message, meeting places and people that change us (and that are changed by us in the process) through the power of the beat!