I like my Rock n Roll to sound dirty. Gimme a heavy guitar crunch, a fat and steady rhythm, and a good dose of “fuck you” attitude, and I’m generally sold on what’s going down. Black Drawing Chalks have plenty of it, so I’m putting my money on them to make some noise at this year’s SXSW marathon.
Hailing from Brazil, this quartet makes me want to crack open a cold beer, hit on someone’s girlfriend, and get nice and rowdy in a dark club that allows smoking indoors. The urgency in their songs and dirge-ridden tones coming from their axes is like vying for a speeding ticket, and don’t forget to slip the handgun under your seat before the cop gets to your window, if you stop at all.
Proudly representing their home country at this year’s SXSW, I caught up with the band to talk about when they started, their favorite songs and memorable moments, and how the wonderful state of Texas has been treating them during the festival.
Please note: For ease of reading, some grammar has been corrected.
G- Hi there and thank you very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five!
Band- Absolutely. Thank you!
G- For some of our readers who may not know who you guys are yet, let’s start off with an introduction… Who is everyone, what do they play, and where does everyone come from?
V- I’m Victor from Goiania on vocals and guitar.
S- My name is Sergio, and I have to say that I’m not a band member. I’m here because the bass player got his visa denied.
S- But I’m here… Rocking!
G- Good, and you’ve got a Soundgarden shirt on to boot, so you’re ok in my book.
E- I’m Edimar. I’m the guitarist in the band, and I’m from Goiania, too. It’s really hot now in the middle of Brazil.
G- Right on. How’s everything going at SXSW this year for you guys? Any stories, moments, or drunk debacles to talk of thus far?
V- We’re just getting drunk at the Econolodge so far.
Everyone cracks up
G- Drunk at the Econolodge. What better place to get drunk at than an Econolodge?
Earl jumps in.
E- I’m Earl, and we’re living it!
G- Excellent! So, you guys played 2 shows last night, right?
G- How were the shows?
V- It was pretty exciting for our first time here in America playing. When we were kids, I would say ‘I’m gonna be in a band and play the USA,’ and it happened yesterday!
It was pretty cool! The first show was at 6pm in a bar, and it was kind of a strain because we were out late, and we didn’t have the car until half an hour before the show. So, we had to get all of the backline and all the stuff for the show in the car.
E- (We had to) buy a guitar and…
G- You guys had to buy all of your gears, too!?!? See, you have all these hipster bands from Austin who’s mommies and daddies pay for all their gear, and you guys fly in from Brazil and have to buy all your gear, take care of everything, and get drunk in an Econolodge.
E- In Brazil, the tax is really expensive, so we had to buy everything here.
S- Yesterday was my first show with the band, too.
G- How was it? How did you feel about it?
S- (laughs) Very pressured.
G- I can imagine! This is no small feat to jump into!
S- The real bass player kicks ass, so it’s hard to fill his shoes.
G- How do you guys feel about it?
E- At the beginning of the show, I couldn’t hear everything. So, I just put my guitar on loud and said ‘Let’s do it!’ I said ‘I know how to play the song, so I don’t need to listen to those guys!’ So I put it loud, and I played. After the show, we looked at each and said ‘How was the show,’ and nobody remembered. (laughing)
V- It just happened so fast that you can’t think (about) anything.
G- You shouldn’t remember when you’re playing your shows! You should be so caught up in the music that you don’t remember. Play for you, always!
E- Yeah! Just listen for your instrument, look for the girls in the crowd, and then the shows is over and let’s go to the next show!
V- Everybody says ‘Did you see that girl?!’ I’m like ‘No I was blind.’ Whenever I get on the stage, I go blind.
E- But she was naked!
G- That’s a good thing, too!
So, you guys are making noise all over the place in Brazil. You’re here now in a bigger market, so for some of our readers that don’t know, tell us about how you guys got started. How long have you been around, and when did you feel the band really start to click?
V- (We’ve been around for) 7-8 years. We’ve played in all the states of Brazil. It’s a big country. So, we travel a lot and play 80-90 gigs per year. We get a lot of experience every year, so I think 3 years ago we got more serious.
In 2009, we had our first tour in Canada at Canadian Music Week.
S- And you guys also played in Brighton.
E- We had to get to the USA, man! I hadn’t joined the band before because I was the FOH engineer.
G- From engineer to guitar player!
E- Yeah, and in 2009, when the band got 3 VMA’s on MTV Brazil, things started to be more serious. (We were like) ‘Are people really enjoying what the band is doing?!’ We didn’t have any feedback, because we were just playing and playing and playing, too busy to look at the internet. But after 2009 and 2010 when the band was playing a lot of shows and playing a lot of huge festivals, we started thinking it was a serious band. So, I joined the band during the last album.
G- Dude, it’s a serious band! You guys are definitely a serious band!
E- Thank you!
G- And that’s what we like! So, you recently released a video for “Famous,” which is awesome, you’ve received all types of praise from Rolling Stone magazine and MTV Brazil… Tell us about your latest release, and how are people digging the new songs, and how do you feel about the record?
V- I think, now that we’re getting older, we don’t want to make all the songs just ‘Faster Faster!’ I think it (the record) is ok! If it’s good, we record it. If it’s not, we don’t. That’s the only way… We don’t want to make heavier or lighter songs, we just want to do the best we can with our style.
Sometimes people in Brazil say ‘Make a heavy song,’ but we don’t go by that. We don’t care because we have a lot of good songs, and this made us happy! You can hear our cd without stopping or skipping, because we have a lot of different songs on the same album.
E- For me, it was kind of scary to do the new album. I was the engineer, and then the guys called me to join the band, and they said ‘we’re going to the studio in 30 days to record the new album.’ I said ‘WHAT?!’ I hadn’t even jammed with the guys before, and then we’re right in the studio with new songs for the album.
I said ‘What will I do in a band where the guys have been together for 7 years? What is my place?’ But we did the album in around 60 days, just jamming and playing in the studio, and I was just immersed in the process of the album. I don’t know if all the songs will hit the ground (running,) but we’re really happy with all the songs.
S- And since I’m not a member, I can tell that it was really impressive how people received the last album because, like I said, Rolling Stone put them together with Cata Velozzi, and that’s huge!
S- Cata Velozzi is like Brazil’s Johnny Cash!
E- Bruce Springsteen!
S- So, our of this approach that Viktor mentioned, of being really immediate with the music, people really identified with that. Kids went crazy!
G- I would to! I’m excited to see the shows, and you guys are better than about 90% of bands in the US right now, so I just hope it catches on. It’s strong, strong material.
V- Thank you!
G- So keep going with what you’re doing, because it’s awesome!
E- Thank you, Greg!
G- Now, what I’d like to know is… Do you have a favorite song you have ever written, or if you could only give 1 song to someone who’d never heard of you before, to try and make a new fan, what song would you give them and why?
V- I always change my mind about that answer.
G- That’s ok. What about right now?
V- Right now, it’s called “Black Lines” from the new album. I think it’s the most mature song we’ve written. We worked hard for it.
S- That was the first song I heard from them, and I fell in love immediately. Would you agreed, Edimar?
E- I really like the song. Viktor did a great job. It’s a really good Rock and Roll song. I really like a song from the new album called “The Stalker,” which we never play at shows! It’s Douglas (the drummer’s) song.
G- Are you going to play it at SXSW?
E- No. We’ve never played the song live. We’d have to rehearse it to play it live.
S- (laughing) They didn’t show me the song!
E- Another favorite song is “No Encore.” It’s a very powerful Rock and Roll song. I think I like that song most right now.
G- I dig it.
S- It’s nice to see nice colorful girls dancing.
G- It’s a Rock and Roll band, and we’re here at SXSW drinking beer and talking about chicks… What’s better than that? We’re guys… As ong as we have a heartbeat, we want girls and beers!
G- Now, you guys have played shows with Rage Against The Machine, Guns n Roses, who else?
S- They played with Eagles of Death Metal. They’re playing with them again today!
V- And Motorhead. We opened for Motorhead.
G – And Motorhead. So, in my eyes, you’re all jerks! Big jerks!
G- But, are there any bands or artists that you hope to share a bill with in the future? If you could put together your own 3 band dream lineup to be on, who would you wand to go on tour with and share a stage with?
E- Oh man…
V- I like Faith No More.
G- Good call.
V- Another one is Queens Of The Stone Age.
S- I would say Soundgarden, of course. And Tool! I’m a big Tool fan!
E- And if it’s possible, because it’s a package situation, I’d choose Jimmy Paige. It could be a Led Zeppelin show, or if he’s just there drinking something, I could die the next day and be very happy!
S- And that’s totally possible, because Jimmy Paige lives in Brazil!
E- And Pete Townshend from The Who, as well.
G- So we’ve got Faith No More, Soundgarden, Motorhead, Jimmy Paige, and Black Drawing Chalks.
E- That’d be awesome!
G- That’s a good $30 ticket… I’d go check that out, once or twice!
So, you’ve played 2 shows at SXSW so far, and you’re new to the states, and you’ve been playing a lot of shows… Give me your craziest or most memorable show that you have played to date? Where was it and what was it like?
V- I think at a place called The Clubhouse in Sao Paulo in 2010. Man…
S- It was insane!
V- By the end of the show, my clothes were off!
G- He got stripped naked, folks!
V- I think there were only 100 people there, but everybody was going insane!
S- I never saw anything like that! Stage diving, everybody altogether at the same time!
E- It was like 2 layers of people.
S- A wall of people! Yeah!
V- 2 layers of people having fun and getting crazy! Lots of drinks everywhere, beer all in my face, getting wet!
S- It was very intense. I was there as a stage diver!
G- The fill-in bass player was there as a participant, and now he’s playing with the band, so it sounds like he had a good time.
S- Back then, my ex and I used to have a booking agency, and she booked the show. I was just there drinking.
G- That’s not a bad thing.
E- He’s playing today, but he was the first to book the band out of our city.
S- Because I love them that much!
G- So, you’ve got somebody who loves the band, believes in the vision, and is ready to make it happen for you.
G- I think that it could go. I hope the US Market is open enough for the band. We love Sepultura here, and if Black Drawing Chalks could be the next Brazilian import, it’d work out great. We need it, because there’s not enough danger in Rock and Roll, and you guys bring the danger back to it.
The last question I have for you today is… You’re an internationally touring band, you play lots of shows, and you work very hard at your craft. There are lots of kids in Brazil and, once they find out about you, in the US who want to be doing what you’re doing…
G- What advice can you give some of the young, up and coming bands everywhere who want to be professional musicians, who want to tour internationally, and want to be on the road?
V- Man, you can’t hope people will help you. You have to do it yourself. If you really want it, do everything you can by your own hands. Try to do as much as you can by yourself.
E- It’s a really hard job. We’re playing here today at the same time Eagles Of Death Metal are playing, and then Tenacious D is playing an hour afterwards. How to deal with that? How can you get attention with this? It’s not just about publicity, it’s not just about what can you do in the market. If you can wake up, go to bed again, and dream to be a musician, that’s what you should do. Really work hard to do it!
If other things get your attention more than your band, call your band and say ‘I’m out,’ because if you’re preoccupied with something else, it won’t work. You have to love it most, dedicate the most time to it, and it has to be the most important thing in your life.
If it’s not, it’s no problem. You can do whatever you want with your life. But if you want to be in a real rock band or any kind of artist, you really should work hard everyday to make it happen.
S- Nobody will care about your music more than you, so you need to get on it, like Viktor said, and be honest. You need to do it yourself.
V- It’s really hard.
G- Yeah it’s not all rock n roll and girls taking your clothes off onstage.
E- Yeah because the next day, you have to wake up early and post photos from the show. If you don’t have money to pay someone, you should wake up early and really…
S- Have an aspirin.
G- (laughing) Have an aspirin!!!
E- You have to love it, and you have to dedicate all of your time to it.
G- Well look… Great interview and good advice!
E- Thank you very much!
G- Black Drawing Chalks from Brazil. They traveled a long way to entertain us, they’re a fantastic band, and they’re clearly fun guys, so check them out! Thank you guys very much for taking the time to speak with Live High Five today!
V- (hoisting a beer) This is what it’s all about!
G- Beautiful. Cheers!