Interview with vocalist and guitarist Prika Amaral
Interview conducted by Luxi Lahtinen
Date online: April 29, 2023
Nervosa, an all-girl thrash metal unit formed in 2010, with origins in São Paulo, Brazil, could be considered one of the hardest working metal bands nowadays. The band has done several tours since its inception, crisscrossing the world and gaining a stable fan base as a result. This requires a lot of commitment, hard work, sacrifice, and so on, and it's not for everybody. The road hasn't been easy for Nervosa as they have faced some lineups changes over the years. As the old slogan goes, "What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger" and this applies to the Nervosa camp. In 2023, the Nervosa train is unstoppable.
Having four studio albums already released and a new, as-yet-untitled album recorded, one thing is certain, these ladies are determined to prove the best is yet to come. The more experienced you get, the better and more professional you become, at least if the band's newest single, "Endless Ambition," is anything to go by.
The Metal Crypt sat down with the always cheerful Prika Amaral in Helsinki, Finland, on April 12, 2023, who is the only member left from the original lineup, to talk about the band's ongoing European tour, the new lineup, new album, European festival season, etc.
Without further ado...
Hey, Prika! First of all, welcome to Finland again!
Prika: Thank you so much.
Last time you toured here in northern Europe was in 2020. What kind of memories do you have from your show here in Helsinki in February 2020 with the Finnish heavy metal band, Tyrantti?
Prika: Yes. That was right after the COVID situation started, more or less. I think there were no COVID cases here yet but there was some in Italy, something like that. It was one of the last shows on that tour, actually.
I remember the club. I don't remember the guys, so sorry my memory sucks. I really have a problem with my memory. I'm also the vocalist of the band these days, and I think the biggest challenge for me is to memorize the lyrics. Memory really is not one of my best assets. However, I do remember the place. I remember the people were super happy there, doing mosh pits and enjoying the show a lot. The show was good, so at least I have that memory.
I guess the Finns in the crowd were doing their usual stuff, i.e., getting drunk, headbanging, and cheering the bands and stuff.
Prika: Hell yeah, this is thrash metal, I love it.
How was the show in Tampere yesterday? Did you get a good crowd response?
Prika: Yes, it was great. It was really great. The venue was great, too. It's a new experience for all of us in Nervosa. The people are receiving us well and giving us a lot of support. It was amazing.
That's really cool. Was the venue fully packed?
Prika: Not packed exactly, but it was not empty either, haha! Remember, we played there in the middle of the week, and those shows are always a bit harder to do. We didn't have much time to promote this tour. There were lineup changes, last-minute things and everything so it's not normal but was definitely better than I was expecting.
You released a new single and video called "Endless Ambition" on March 28 and, without bullshitting one bit, to me, this song is one of the best Nervosa has penned so far, with perhaps more death metal flavor than the band's previous works. Will the band's new material pretty much follow the same recipe?
Prika: Yes. First of all, thank you so much for the kind words because they mean a lot for all of us. I agree it's got some of those death metal vibes in it, but I think it's more about the vocals because I do some low vocals in that song. Some parts are more thrash-orientated in the song because of the way the song has been arranged. We also have some blast beat stuff going on in that song but in general I think the song itself is a good mixture of thrash and death metal. That song alone does not represent what the new album will be all about musically. We have a lot of different things going on in our new songs. The basic core sound will be based on the same thrash and death metal, the usual Nervosa way, but we have thrown in something new for good measure.
Lyric-wise, I believe anyone who follows what's going on in the world right now with its many different conflicts, abuses of power, and such, can also read between the lines as to what "Endless Ambition" is all about, right?
Prika: Exactly. It talks about humans in general. Ambition is something good if you keep the balance, but if you go to extremes, then it turns out to be really bad. I was talking more about the companies that are basically enslaving people and manipulating the minds of their employees. They have a chance to go higher in the company; they make you work three, four times more and you never get paid for all that hard work. People are killing each other just to try to have more.
Let's calm down once and for all. Life is short and people are getting colder with their feelings because of that shit, so this is the endless ambition. It's something that makes you addicted. People blindly go further and further... it's just horrible. It makes you a slave that way.
People are getting blinded by all the power they get. The more power you get, the more blinded you become, and unfortunately, people lose their humanity, in a way. They don't think about the people around them, only themselves, and it's one hell of a vicious cycle...
Prika: Exactly. This is the whole point of the song.
Yes, cool. May I ask what stage your songwriting process for the new album is at?
Prika: We have been working on the new album at the same studio in Málaga where we recorded our previous album, Perpetual Chaos. We have been composing the songs together, me and Helena, the other guitarist, at her home studio, and some songs were recorded at my home studio. We had to work this way due to the distance.
When we arrived at the studio, 90%-95% was composed on guitars. Our drummer composed and recorded everything in Málaga because it was a last-minute thing, and she did a really great job. She recorded and composed her parts in just one week.
Is your current live lineup the same as recording lineup or is Mia Wallace also involved?
Prika: No. Mia didn't participate in the recordings because she did not have time. Helena recorded all the bass lines except for one song that Hel Pyre, the bassist, played on. Hel Pyre joined the band after we had already recorded almost everything.
What would you say each of these new ladies brought to Nervosa, besides their personalities, energy, and all that, of course?
Prika: Well, Helena and I have pretty similar tastes for music. We sit down and we start talking and the ideas start to come. We play guitar, recording some pieces, then we put it all together and each song has a different composition style and vibe. We let everything flow normally. We were not thinking, "We want one song that sounds like Motörhead." We just let the inspiration come and felt freed to do whatever felt good and fit the band's sound, you know.
Would you say it's been easy to be working on this new album? Of course, everybody is supposed to be a part of the process with their own ideas, but then again, I guess there also needs to be some sort of filter so that all this new stuff meets Nervosa's criteria at the end of the day...
Prika: Yes and no because I think we have grown as musicians and as a band and we have some new influences. Otherwise, everything would be a tad boring for us. I like it when each of us brings in some of their personality into new songs. For example, Michaela, the drummer, has a lot of influences from progressive modern metal, so she brings bits of that into Nervosa. We still want to stick to our thrash metal roots and what we are musically all about, but we also keep the doors open for other ideas.
At the moment, she has a very tight schedule, so she could not do more. We are waiting for the next album to come out and after that all the doors are open for everyone's contributions, and I think it's necessary because a team effort makes our songs so much richer, so to speak.
PLUGGING IN – PLUGGING OUT
When can the fans expect this new album to come out?
Prika: I cannot say much because our album will be released in September. There's still a lot of waiting, but that's the estimated schedule from our label. I can still say that we are going to surprise everybody with what's coming. We are very happy with the results. With two guitars now, it's different. Nervosa has never recorded an album with two guitarists. We did have two guitarists in the very beginning, but we never recorded with two guitars. It has opened doors and we will use two guitars even more in the future.
I think that is super cool. For me, it was a huge challenge as a singer because basically, I have to learn how to deal with my new role in the studio, doing the vocal parts [*laughs*]. It was like a cool learning experience for sure. We are really happy with the results. I am confident that everybody is going to like it.
This show here at On the Rocks, Helsinki, will be your last show on the first leg of the European tour and then you'll take a 5-week break from touring...
Prika: Yes. In the second half of the year, we will start promoting the new album and we'll have the tour for this new album. For now, it's just promoting Perpetual Chaos and finishing all the things that were already booked.
In May this year you will do seven dates in the UK?
... and after that, you're going to Italy to do three dates where Mia Wallace is going to join you again?
Prika: Yes. Exactly.
100% FOCUS IS ESSENTIAL
I am curious to know how you actually manage all this? It seems like the Nervosa train never stops and is pushing forward all the time. Is it hard to find a balance between constant hard work and having private time in order to maintain optimal balance in your life? No one wants to have a burnout by doing too much work, right?
Prika: Yes, I hear what you are saying, but this is life. Life is music. I think all musicians understand that if they really want to make a living from music, they have to keep on playing. We survive by doing live shows. It's just something that people have to understand. It is not easy. I understand that some people want to play less, but if we want to keep our heads above the surface and survive, we have to play live. I have sacrificed 13 years of my life for this band and I'm totally happy with the current situation. I'm not complaining at all, it is part of being a musician. I understand this very well. When you understand how to get the good parts out of a musician's life, then you can absorb better the bad parts, too.
We have to do many things ourselves and I'm still learning all the time. I think we never stop learning. I am trying to see what works for us. If it works, I will keep it. If not, I will see how we can make it work. There's no reason for change when you find that balance in life that makes you happy.
If you don't want to put 100% focus on the band, it doesn't work properly. You cannot jump in for a moment and then leave to do other stuff, like coming in to just play music and enjoy. This is not my case. All the girls that I invite to play with me in the band have to know that this is my lifestyle. I will not change my lifestyle. I am 100% dedicated to Nervosa. If this doesn't work for them, I understand that as well. If they want to leave because of the way I have chosen to do everything for Nervosa, it's fine. There's no problem at all. It's very clear how this band survives. In the contract, Nervosa has always been a band that plays live a lot and we will keep on doing this.
I have been following the band since the very beginning, with its ups and downs. It's been great to realize that despite some setbacks the band has faced over time, you have kept pushing through those bad times and believed in the band 100%. By doing so you have gained success, little by little, taking baby steps for your success...
Prika: Exactly, we never stop going forward to reach a certain point where we can really be happy with the band. We are always there so that people won't forget us. "Don't forget me. We are still here." [*laughs*] Nowadays, we have millions and millions of amazing bands, artists and musicians in general. The harsh reality is if you take one step back, you lose your place. There is a place for everybody, though. It's hard when you gain one spot through all your hard work and then you take a step back. It can be very hard to get that spot back.
Do you believe that if a band records a new album every 5 or 6 years, it's easy to lose some of your fan base? Some bands actually work like that.
Prika: Yes, but then again when a band is already big, that is another thing. They have more freedom. Classic bands like Metallica, for example, can have a break of 10 years if they want and then come back with a new album. This is possible for a band like that because they are so well known. Metallica has influenced so many bands around the world, and we actually exist because of bands like Metallica. This is not our case. We are still a new band. We don't have that big of an influence on others. You have to live for the music. If you are already a millionaire, you can stop playing music if you want. Metallica has certainly achieved that position in their career.
But it's not our case at all. We have to keep doing this, working hard for this band. As I said earlier, if it's working, why should I do any differently? There is no reason for that.
My memory isn't serving me too well right now as I am speaking with you, but have you already played in Japan?
Prika: Yes. Before our tour here, our previous tour in Europe in 2020, we also visited Asia. We played in Thailand, The Philippines, Singapore, and Japan. We were also supposed to have a show in Hong Kong, but it was canceled because of COVID.
PLAYING AROUND THE WORLD
Nervosa has already played in many countries, so are there any places left you'd still like to go, to play for your fans there?
Prika: Oh, yes. We have a lot of places we have never played, like Australia.
Oh, you haven't been there yet?
Prika: No, and New Zealand, too. Also, I must tell you that there's one important country where we have never played and it's Greece. We have two Greek members in the band. This is absurd [*chuckles*]. We have to fix that. Probably this year we're going to play there. We have to. Come on...
We've played in places that bands don't typically play, like in Malta. We've played in Malta. We have played in Serbia, Kaliningrad in Russia, Ukraine, Estonia, Lithuania, all of those places. Why haven't we played in Greece yet? It's a shame. We simply have to do that at some point, absolutely!
Do you believe you have material for the Asian markets, as you know by now, the Japanese fans always seem to get some bonuses?
Prika: I don't know yet. Yes, we are working on this extra stuff. Probably yes. The Japanese always seem to find a way to get something special for their market. And speaking of that, we have a nice special Japanese version of our album, Downfall of Mankind available on this tour, with a few copies left. We managed to grab some copies of it for this tour, in case you are interested [*laughs*].
Of course, I need to check your merchandise booth after this chat. Summer is coming and you have a string of summer festivals. Those are great places to get some new fans as you get a chance to play in front of potentially tens of thousands of people, right?
Prika: Yes indeed! Festivals in Europe in summer, it's one of the best things that we can do really. Everything looks perfect, there are a lot of people and everybody's happy. It's like one of the maximum goals that we can achieve. Summer means happy times. The sun brings smiles to people's faces [*chuckles*] We are super excited about this festival season. It also will be something new for some of the girls in the band. I think, except for Hel Pyre, it will be a whole new experience for Michaela and Helena because they never played at summer big festivals here in Europe. I love to see people happy around me and, of course, I give value for that.
What kind of plans do you have for the autumn-winter period of 2023? Quite obviously, get your new album finished, then tour for that and all that jazz?
Prika: Yes, for sure. We have some tour plans for the new album. At least for the second half of the year, we will do two tours for sure. I cannot say exactly where because those dates are not confirmed 100% yet. The second half we will focus totally on the new album.
OK, that's all I had in mind for this chat. It was a pleasure to have this talk with you and, of course, all the best for tonight's show.
Prika: Thank you so much.
|Other information about Nervosa on this site|
|Review: Victim of Yourself|
|Interview with vocalist Diva Satanica on December 15, 2020 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)|
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