Enter the bizarre but brilliant world of Brazilian art-punks Deafkids

Deafkids promo pic

Having accidentally shot his wife in a William-Tell party trick gone wrong, infamous Beat writer William Burroughs decided that it was because aliens had infiltrated our information culture, language, and subsequently his brain, relaying instructions. His response was to jam the signal – inventing the ‘cut-up technique’ and Chaos Magic, inducing visions and invoking dream states - to free himself from outside control.

Brazil’s Deafkids are clearly sympathisers to the cause. A bewildering yet utterly exhilarating sensurround, their debut album, Configuração Do Lamento, ulitises looped grooves, noise, echo chamber hollers and all-round punk-fired chaos both as an act of resistance and a psychic snapshot of their native Rio de Janeiro, so enthralling Neurosis’s Steve von Till that he immediately signed them to the band’s Neurot Recordings label and been shouting their praises ever since.

Not only do we have some exclusive live footage of the band at their brain-melting best - after which the chances are you won’t be able to find your own bathroom - we also have an interview with band founder Douglas explaining the method to their madness. So prepare to speak pandemonium to power, get repeatedly punched in your third eye and cross the event horizon that is Deafkids below!

Seeing as you’re new to most readers, can you give a brief history of the band?

Douglas: “Deafkids began as a solo project in 2010 in Volta Redonda, Rio de Janeiro. Until 2014 it was I (Douglas) who composed and recorded all the material of the band, as well as all the graphic part. The live format was a band at a distance, because the drummer (Mariano) lived in São Paulo while me and Marcelo (bassist) lived in the state of Rio de Janeiro. At the end of 2014 we moved to Sao Paulo to live together, and of course the project that was solo became a trio, composing and creating as a single unit”

What were the major motivations and influences that went into the creation of this record?

“The initial idea was to follow with the creation of increasingly frenetic and rhythmic sounds, something more bodily than mental, as a natural continuation of the path taken in our previous release (which contains the song Configuração do Lamento). The theme to be explored on this album came naturally and together with the idea of the sound we wanted to create – corporal, with the dense energy of the flesh and mental fragmentation, confusion and fear, violently psychedelic repetition, inspired by contexts and realities that we live and share – as human beings and as Brazilians in all the nuances that are implied on it.”

(Image credit: Jean Ribeiro)

What does the album’s title mean/refer to and what is the significance or story behind the title?

“The title was inspired by a song from our latest release, which was inspired by the movie Hellraiser. When we were thinking about a name for this record, we realised that what we were doing was a deepening of this theme we brought in our latest release – the eternal induction of our mind and flesh coming from the evil forces who programs and control our minds – and for us, this naturally came to do with our third world, Latin American and Brazilian context and points of view. It is basically about deprogramming our minds, and the reflections of our entire historical context and about how we perpetuate the culture of exploitation that is where that nation was born and that is where our people suffered most and are still suffering, repeating socially and psychologically all this fragmented, chaotic, schizophrenic, violent and competitive structures.”

Looking from the outside, Brazil isn’t exactly known for producing very many bands like yours. Is there much of a scene in your home country for the sort of d-beat/noise rock/experimental/punk you play?

“Yeah man, Brazil is a very rich country musically and culturally speaking, and by obvious contexts, the country is not known for such things. And this is one of the things that makes me think that when something is done heartily here, it will be very very good. First of all, because it it’s usually done without half of the access, conditions and quality that other people from other countries would have when they start playing an instrument, you know what I mean? But if it’s made from the heart, you’ll have the blood in your eyes to do whatever it needs for doing what you want to do besides all difficulties, so that’s one of the things that made Brazilian and Latin American music so powerful and awesome for me. Music and rhythm is in our blood, but we’re always forgetting that as we’re always being told that we need to be like a ‘poor version’ of the United States. Anyways, for sure there is a scene with a lot of good bands here all over the country, and to name names, I would say: search for the bands Rakta and Test.”

How would you characterise Configuração do Lamento when compared against your other recordings?

“For us, it is by far our best work in every way. In comparing to the other recordings, I think that with Configuração do Lamento we finally found our very unique sound, which is something very special for us.”

Configuração do Lamento has been out for a while already, but have plans changed about what you want to do once Neurot releases it throughout other parts of the world? More touring? Try to get on as support to a bigger tour or get to new places locations? Or simply do more recording?

“More touring for sure. We’re a travelling band, so we’re always trying to play the most we can to bring and spread the sound and message all around the globe. We’re totally up for trying to get on as support to a bigger tour or get to new places locations, so let’s see how it goes. Next year we’ll be heading for our first North American Tour. So friends from all over, help and invite us to play in your festivals, venues and squats. Peace!”

Check out Deafkids’ Facebook page here!

Order Configuração do Lamento in the EU and UK here

Or order it direct from Neurot Recordings as a t-shirt bundle here!

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Jonathan Selzer

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.