How Brazilian alt.rockers Ego Kill Talent defied a nightmare 2020 with big riffs and tequila

Ego Kill Talent
(Image credit: BMG)

If you think the pandemic has scuppered your plans, spare a thought for Ego Kill Talent. 

“We were supposed to be on a stadium tour of South America with Metallica,” guitarist/bassist Theo Van Der Loo sighs, “then supporting System Of A Down in Europe. We also had dates with the Foo Fighters, and Faith No More in the UK. The album was meant to be out in May, our first international release with a big label behind us. We couldn’t do any of it. It’s so frustrating.” 

Many a lesser band would have thrown their tour diary on the fire. But the Brazilian five-piece rallied, and that postponed second album, The Dance Between Extremes, is finally coming out this week. 

Led by vocalist Jonathan Dörr, with the other band members swapping instruments as the mood takes them, anthemic crunchers like Deliverance could have fallen out of Dave Grohl’s back pocket – their sound presumably a factor in the fan poll that saw them open for the Foos and Queens Of The Stone Age across Brazil two years ago. 

“Dave hugs you for real,” Van Der Loo says of Grohl. “And Josh [Homme] can drink tequila like it’s a bottle of beer. The thing I learnt from him is that Californian tequila is way better than what we have in Brazil.”

None of those breaks seemed feasible in 2014, when former Sepultura drummer Jean Dolabella started jamming with a cautious Van Der Loo, who had laid down his guitar some years earlier after too many dead ends. But with Dörr, Raphael Miranda and Niper Boaventura in the line-up, something clicked. 

The following year their debut single Sublimated went viral. More recently the rock press has bestowed perfect 10s on the band’s sets at Download Paris and Brixton Academy. 

“That was insane,” Dörr says of the latter, “because it’s the same iconic stage that Faith No More played [captured on 1990’s You Fat Bastards live release]. We listened to that album so many times.” 

In the studio, meanwhile, there’s a maturity to Ego Kill Talent’s new EP material, with Sin And Saints’ dichotomy-exploring heavy roll described as “a mix between Soulfly and Lenny Kravitz”, while Silence and Deliverance deconstruct life regrets and stalled relationships. 

“You can either hold grievances or go with the flow,” says Van Der Loo. “But don’t be a victim in your own life.” 

True to that philosophy, the band won’t be spending any more time licking their wounds. Instead they’re preparing for the day when they can play these songs to live audiences. 

“In this band it’s really about the live performance,” says Van Der Loo. “That’s how we deliver the message.” 

Dörr is more succinct: “Despite the fact we talk about deep things in our lyrics, we love to rock the shit out.” 

Ego Kill Talent's The Dance Between Extremes is out this Friday and can be pre-ordered now.

Henry Yates

Henry Yates has been a freelance journalist since 2002 and written about music for titles including The Guardian, The Telegraph, NME, Classic Rock, Guitarist, Total Guitar and Metal Hammer. He is the author of Walter Trout's official biography, Rescued From Reality, a music pundit on Times Radio and BBC TV, and an interviewer who has spoken to Brian May, Jimmy Page, Ozzy Osbourne, Ronnie Wood, Dave Grohl, Marilyn Manson, Kiefer Sutherland and many more.