"Unfortunately, metal is no longer a very listened and appreciated genre in Brazil. Today we face a more restricted scenario for our style."
Christian rock / metal is often overlooked as a legitimate music genre, despite the fact that music has no lyrical boundaries. Either way there is a thriving scene for religious heavy music and perhaps, arguably there is a sense that religion can be conveyed through music without the feeling of indoctrination or being coerced into following a specific religion or set of beliefs.
Therefore it's not surprise to see Brazil having a strong rock and metal scene across the decades, with the belief that the music genres can convey messages of hope and awakening, something that quartet Athos 2 are striving for, they spoke to Global Metal Apocalypse about the power of religion through music, the reasons for choosing a sensitive topic for their lyrics and their recent single 'Refúgio'.
For those who have not heard of Athos 2, please explain how the band was formed and its history.
"Athos 2 is a Christian alternative rock / metal band formed in January 2018. The band is from Belo Horizonte - MG, Brazil. It was formed by guitarist Raffael Tavares and has released 4 EP's (our fifth EP "About Me" is due out later this year):-
How did you decide to play Christian alternative metal; evidently Brazil is a heavily Catholic country, so was it natural to include religion in your music?
"All band members are Christians, and that's our greatest asset. We have Christ as our lord and saviour. With that in mind we decided to follow a line of compositions in the lyrics that talk about what we love most, Jesus Christ.
The band was created to talk about God and take his word to everyone in the way we love to do it the most, rock / metal."
Do you feel all religions are better expressed through music? How did you get into playing music?
"We believe that music has the power to express our deepest feelings. Some of our members have had music experience for a long time, and others have always wanted to but not always been able to.
Despite many ups and downs in the life of a musician, we started with the intention of making a living from music, and we continue that way until today."
You recently released the single 'Refúgio', what is the meaning behind the song and will it be included on a future release?
"The song "Refuge" talks about a person who feels weak and alone inside. She seeks 'Refuge' in God, who is the one who can embrace her and bring her out of this terrible darkness. Soon we will have more news about this song!"
Gabi, have you received sexist remarks for being a metal musician? What is the general attitude towards females in the Brazilian metal scene?
"No, whenever anyone knows about my work in the band, I hear a lot of praise for the fact that I'm a woman and I'm representing on the front line of Christian rock / metal".
What challenges do metal bands face in Brazil these days, is metal music still as popular as back in the 1980's?
"Unfortunately, metal is no longer a very listened and appreciated genre in Brazil. Today we face a more restricted scenario for our style, some bands give up continuing due to this. We know we have barriers to break but we won't give up because we know our purpose is bigger than just making music."
You recently played with Apogeu, Liquens and Antidemon, what was that like - was it a sell-out crowd?
"This event was just amazing. We have a very special affection for each of these bands that played with us. The structure of the venue and the whole organization of the show was impeccable, the people who were there really supported the bands and really enjoyed the sound. It's always an honour to be with such dear people."
Have you played outside of Brazil before now? Do you have any planned shows for overseas?
"Yes, we did a tour of Argentina and already performed several shows in Brazil, soon we will be in Mexico for the Exodo Fest event."
What plans do you have for the rest of 2022? Do you have any greetings / thanks that you wish to send out?
"For 2022 we have more songs to release and clips too. There's still a lot of news coming!
Thank you for the opportunity to participate in this amazing interview! May God bless each of you mightily!"
Ever since Sepultura emerged on the scene, Brazil has been churning out metal bands left, right and centre and whilst a vast majority rarely break out of the wider South American Metal scene, they do in the own right build a name for themselves on their own continent. Mind, one could argue that with globalisation as it is, the novelty of discovering the first ever metal band from a country soon dies off when the scene reaches the echelons that the Brazilian Metal scene has done.
However bands like Leatherjacks are ensuring that the vibe doesn't die and that rock / metal carries on thriving. GMA spoke to vocalist / guitarist Mauro Cordeiro about the band's history, their debut album, challenges of being a Brazilian metal musician and what sights / attractions should metalheads check out in São Paulo.
"I keep on persisting and fighting for what I believe, ´cause THIS is Rock ´N´ Roll!"
What was the inspiration behind the band, what does the band name mean? Why Modern Hard Rock / Metal?
"Hey Rhys, hello everyone at the Global Metal Apocalypse and all of our readers! Nice to meet you all! Well, the inspiration behind the band name, came from lots of names I was trying to experiment during my name elections, you know? At first it was something with Hawks. Then something with Leather... LeatherHawks, Hawkstones, LeatherBones, woof... lots of names ha-ha!
Finally I reached LeatherJacks. It´s the abbreviation for Leather Jackets. It came from the most obvious and simple idea. It was right in front of me ahah! I always used a brown leather jacket. All of a sudden, the little cartoon light popped out in my mind, and it came on. Step by step, I got the idea for the Jacker Army, the Go Jackers scream, hashtag, slogan and stuff.
Modern Hard Rock / Metal, is a term that I use when I define my project. I mean... It´s Hard Rock and Metal. But it sounds modern. So I always entitle LeatherJacks as a Modern Hard Rock / Metal band / project. Dunno if it´s right or not. But it´s cool, isn't it? haah!"
You released your debut album "The Lost Arks Of Rock And Roll" last year, what was the reception like? Was there any attention from outside of Brazil?
"Absolutely, Rhys! It´s been amazing! The album is having a bigger reception outside then inside Brazil, unfortunately. Here, people are not listening so much to Rock or Metal. And those who do, only search for little cover bands, and don't open themselves up to NEW bands you know? But everything is going very well outside Brazil, and people are receiving so much well. I feel very thankful and honoured for it, and it´s extremely gratifying to have this amazing repercussion."
What are the challenges of being a metal musician in Sao Paolo let alone Brazil? Are the authorities supportive of metal music?
"It´s tough... It´s really tough. Because as I said previously, the genre is kinda "dead" here in Brazil, ´cause people don't care about original bands, and the crowd don't search for new stuff. Of course there are people who do like new things and stuff, but... It´s really really rare and difficult. The authorities respect metal and rock music, but they always say it´s not a Brazilian thing and stuff, so... It´s not a priority genre here, you know? But... I keep on persisting and fighting for what I believe, ´cause THIS is Rock ´N´ Roll!"
Are there any areas in São Paulo you would suggest for metalheads to visit; what sights and attractions are there?
"Here In São Paulo, we have great places to visit to listen to a great Rock music. I love these pubs: Manifesto Bar and Stones Rock Bar. Both are really amazing places, great bands, great drinks, and amazing girls (the best part haha!). I also like to go sometimes to Augusta Street, ´cause sometimes there are some cool spins to do. But... Only to drink some stuff. If you guys love IPA or another hand-crafted beers... I totally recommend a place called Cervejatorium. Simply AMAZING!"
What are some phrases metalheads should be shouting at a Brazilian Metal concert? Any phrases you could teach us?
"Yeah! Lea ther jacks! Lea ther jacks! Go Jackeeeeers! Oleeee ole ole ole, Leather, Leather - Kiddin´ hahahah! But I always scream things like: AAAAEEEEEEEEEEEE PORRAAAAA / CARAAAAAALHOOOO (it´s like: OOOOOOOOHHH FUCK! but it´s dirty words haha)"
What do your parents think of your music? Are any of your relatives musicians?
"Yeah! My mom doesn´t play piano any-more, but when she was younger, she was an amazing classical piano student. My grandpa never played any instruments, but he loved jazz and drums. And me too! Then my mom´s cousin (I call him "uncle") - He is responsible for teaching me acoustic guitar, MPB, Bossa Nova and stuff. I was 10 years in 1996, and I never stopped! Here I am now haha!"
What plans do you have for 2018?
"I´m searching for musicians to make a definitive line-up and I think I will write more songs, and release a new album, but nothing 100% sure. Only some thoughts, ´cause I need to tour and to promote the first album. But any news, you will be the first ones to know, for sure!"
Finally are there any greetings you wish to send out?
"I´m really thankful to you Rhys and everyone for the interview! It´s an honour, ´cause I like Global Metal Apocalypse a lot! I thank all of your readers too, and I really hope you guys headbang with LeatherJacks! Let´s F***ING ROCK!"