What happens when you are left alone in a band? Do you give up or continue? Fortunately, Prika Amaral never considered the first choice. The Brazilian guitarist, after the departure of Fernanda Lira (bass/vocals) and Luana Dametto (drums) found Eleni Nota (drums) from Greece, Diva Satanica (vocals) from Spain and Mia Wallace (bass) from Italy and made an international line-up for her “child”, the thrash metal band Nervosa. My curiosity about what happened in the band considering the devastating new album “Perpetual Chaos” did not go unanswered and Eleni was on the other end of the internet line for the introductions. Interview: George Terzakis
Rockpages.gr: Hello Eleni and congratulations for the new album. Initially, in the video diaries that the band had released, Mia mentioned that the Nervosa had disbanded. Did it really happen that way?
Eleni Nota: Thank you very much. No, maybe Mia misunderstood or mispronounced it. He did not say anything bad but it never happened. The two girls left and Prika knew she would continue, so she looked for other members.
Rockpages.gr: So, about the new members. Did anyone approach Prika before she started searching?
Eleni Nota: She said she would continue and started looking right away. She told me that when it was announced, people approached her and as far as I know she auditioned some of them. But to us who finally ended up in the band, she sent us an e-mail and asked us if we were interested.
Rockpages.gr: Do you know if she wanted to continue as a quartet or it just happened?
Eleni Nota: I think that if she found the right member, she might have chosen to keep the band as it is. But it is difficult to find a person who sings and plays bass, so this was the most logical thing to do.
Rockpages.gr: As for Mia and Diva, they have an extreme background. You, on the other hand, have not had any experience before. So, how did she find you?
Eleni Nota: I have some drum covers on YouTube and one of them is Slipknot’s “Sic”. When we talked, I told her that I had never played thrash or death in my life but she liked what she saw and she thought I could do it. Obviously, I told her I would sit down to study and so it happened. I have worked a lot on extreme metal in the past months to get to the desired level.
Rockpages.gr: On what songs did you practice? Only Nervosa material or from other bands as well?
Eleni Nota: Only Nervosa. I heard a lot of thrash to get acquainted with the genre, like Sepultura, Slayer, Megadeth and other classics but I did not practice on them. Just to have some more influences before entering the studio.
Rockpages.gr: So, you went to a studio to do the recording. How long did you stay there?
Eleni Nota: We stayed for a month in total but we didn’t go all together. I stayed for a month because I went first and left last, along with Prika and our producer, Martin Furia. Mia stayed for twenty days and Diva for ten days. I was the privileged one because I went, I did my job and then I had my vacation until the girls finished and we left together.
Rockpages.gr: Where was this place?
Eleni Nota: In Malaga, Spain, in a secluded place.
Rockpages.gr: From what I saw, the band had the same producer on the previous album but it was not recorded over there, right?
Eleni Nota: Right, Martin did “Downfall Of Mankind” but went to a studio in Sao Paolo for this one.
Rockpages.gr: Did you choose this studio or was it suggested by the label? It’s no longer usual for a band to gather together in a secluded place for recordings.
Eleni Nota: Martin suggested it because he had worked with this studio again, as a good solution due to the coronavirus and because we had not met as a band yet, so it was convenient to stay together.
Rockpages.gr: And the costs of the recording? Did the label handle them or did you?
Eleni Nota: Most of them were taken care from Napalm and some came from the band’s bank. But the cost was quite reasonable.
Rockpages.gr: You have also released several videos from the studio, some diaries and some playthroughs. Your idea or the label’s?
Eleni Nota: We wanted to do it, the label did not oblige us and did not set it as a condition. The fans also were asking for it from us and Napalm was very happy with this move.
Rockpages.gr: About the songs now, at what percentage they were ready when you entered the studio? How much it was Prika’s work and to what extent did you contribute to the final result?
Eleni Nota: About 70-80% was ready from Prika and then in the studio we put our own touch. Some songs changed a bit with the help of Martin, we brainstormed some ideas at the time but most of them remain her own inspiration.
Rockpages.gr: However, I believe that it has more influences and more variety compared to the previous albums. Does it have to do with what you brought or was it again her ideas?
Eleni Nota: It is a combination. On the one hand she wrote it herself, she did not have the previous members. Maybe she put some ideas she always wanted but not all of them were accepted before. She was freer this time. She does not only listen to thrash, she also listens to death, black, Motörhead, so it seems that all this entered the album. But we also contributed to that. Mia comes from a black metal background and put her own touch. Diva sings death metal basically, you can tell it from her vocals. I also added my influenced where I could. But I did not play typical thrash drums, I did not even want to do it. I put a lot of Slipknot in, which I think it can be recognized easily.
Rockpages.gr: Let’s go back to the album, as you have three guest musicians. Did they come with you to record or did they send their parts?
Eleni Nota: Schmier (Destruction) and Eric A.K. (Flotsam & Jetsam) did it from their place. Guilherme Miranda (Entombed A.D.) who played solo on “Until The Very End” came because he is a very good friend of Prika and stayed in the studio with us for a few days.
Rockpages.gr: The songs that participate are similar to the style of these musicians, especially “Genocidal Command” reminds a lot of Destruction. Were they written for them or did it just happen?
Eleni Nota: No, nothing was done on purpose. Prika knows these musicians and wanted to have them on the album for guests. The songs just came out that way and we thought it was ideal to have these legends sing on them.
Rockpages.gr: About the line-up. You are from four different countries and that means that in order to be together you have to go on tour. The renewal took place at a time when the music industry is in a very difficult situation. Wasn’t it a big risk for Prika to take right now, regarding the future of the band?
Eleni Nota: Good question and the right one to answer this is her. Nervosa have a large fan base in Europe anyway and they do a lot of touring, so maybe it’s convenient to a degree that we’re all over here. Also, Prika does not live permanently in Brazil, she spends a lot of time in Italy. Even with the previous members they did not live in the same city, they had to travel distances even for rehearsals. At the end of the day, women musicians may have increased but they have never reached the number of men, especially in extreme metal, so she did not have infinite options. So, she chose to keep the people she wanted most. At least it is convenient that we are all in the Mediterranean. We are two hours flight from each other.
Rockpages.gr: If the band continues getting bigger and bigger, something that I really wish, have you considered staying together in the same city? As did Suicidal Angels who moved to Germany, for example?
Eleni Nota: This is not a bad scenario but we have not discussed it yet, especially in such a period. Personally speaking, I would have no problem doing it, my job is Nervosa now so I would go to any country for it.
Rockpages.gr: So, now that the album has been released, what plans are there if such can be done?
Eleni Nota: Plans are difficult to have, they are all very vague. We will release some more videos like playthroughs, but what we all want is concerts. We have some booked for summer but we do not know if they will happen. And for October we have the Mexico Metal Fest which we also do not know if it will happen. We cannot say anything official yet. We are talking about going to Latin America in the fall, where they don’t have so many bands compared to Europe.
Rockpages.gr: These summer festivals are European, I guess?
Eleni Nota: Yes, some have already been announced, such as Hills Of Rock in Bulgaria with Slipknot and Amon Amarth or Masters Of Rock in the Czech Republic with Judas Priest and Nightwish, as well as others in the Balkans that I do not remember now. But whether they will happen or not, it’s uncertain for the time being.
Rockpages.gr: Are you thinking about live streaming?
Eleni Nota: We’ve had some discussions but for the time being we have not decided anything yet. Depending on whether the summer festivals will take place. For a band that all members play together for the first time, the ideal is not for our first concert to be live streaming. Most bands that do this have played together many times under normal circumstances. But if 2022 doesn’t get us on the road, we might do it.
Rockpages.gr: Before we close, what about your activities outside of Nervosa? We learned about you from Lightfold and Mask Of Prospero.
Eleni Nota: I did some sessions with Lightfold in recent years but I have not been a member of them for a long time. Regarding Mask Of Prospero, I want to be right with them and because I will be missing almost all year with Nervosa, I decided not to continue. So, my regular band is just Nervosa. I also do session recordings where they need me and I work with guitarist Manos Kouris as an instrumental duet with drums and guitar. We have released a video and we will release more in the future.
Rockpages.gr: Thank you very much for your time. I wish all the best for the band and I hope to see you all together on stage.
Eleni Nota: Thank you for the invitation. Let’s hope it will happen soon!