Despot (Brazil) 14/03/2011
Despot is a band from Brazil, they have released three demos and that thing that catches your attention is that they play European Black Metal and they play it well. We spoke with the only member of Despot, B.A.V., and we got information not only for the band but also for the personality behind it. So meet Despot…
1. Hails B.A.V. thanks for the interview. Do you want to give me some information about your latest project, Despot?
B.A.V.: Sure! Despot "officially" started in 2008, and it's a Brazilian Black Metal one-man-band. I've been recording tracks for quite a while for what would become Despot, but it wasn't until 2008 that I decided to create the band.
2. You have participated in some other projects in the past. Tell us about that experience. How that experience helped you with Despot?
B.A.V.: I played in Unholy Massacre and Necrocult from 1998 to 2000. The experience was OK I guess, but the premise of both bands was very limited in scope. If you consider one's life as a continuous progression, then you can probably say that the experience was somewhat relevant to Despot. However, after I quit the two bands, I dedicated myself to studying music and playing the guitar and I think that was a lot more relevant to how my songwriting evolved than my old bands. I've also jammed with many Metal and non-Metal bands and these have been very interesting experiences.
3. I think your music is clearly influenced by the European scene. What do you think about that?
B.A.V.: I'd say you're about right. I won't pretend to be some sort of über true banger here and deny the fact that I've been listening to (mostly) the same (mostly all) Norwegian bands ever since I got into Black Metal. I do like to get in touch with underground bands new and old alike - don't get me wrong - but the Black Metal that really speaks to me is the Norwegian Black Metal from the 90's.
4. Your lyrics are very personal and very poetic. What inspires you to write lyrics?
B.A.V.: I usually write lyrics that fit the songs somehow and since I write some rather harsh music, the lyrics tend to follow suit. I normally write very pessimistic lyrics that deal with my general disappointment with humanity. Not that I want it to be fixed; it's not a political thing about trying to fix the world. I want the laymen and their offspring to go get fucked. It's more about how the world could be fixed by nuclear warfare, rather than by peaceful manifestations.
5. Finding good – artistic lyrics is rare, I think, in Black Metal. Many bands support the idea that lyrics aren’t so important and they don’t care much about them. Your lyrics show that you don’t support that thought. What do you say? Do you think that lyrics are as important as music?
B.A.V.: Yes and no. I don't care much about the lyrical content of the bands I listen to, as long as they're not religious, political or downright stupid. However, for my own songs, I find the lyrics to be one of the most important aspects, even if most people won't bother reading them. It gives the music a lot of character. And Despot is a very personal thing.
6. You play all instruments in Despot. Which is your main instrument?
B.A.V.: I've been playing the guitar for about 16 years now, so I'd say I'm a guitarist. I can play the bass as well, but I'm very limited with that instrument. The drums are all programmed and I do spend a lot of time trying to make them sound good and writing drum scores that match the guitar riffs or the bass (depending on the effect I'm trying to create). It's a really hard and demanding work, but in the end, I think it still sounds better than if I had to hire a session drummer that couldn't play half of the stuff I've written (I haven't found one who can play the stuff, was willing to record stuff for me and was available for hiring).
7. What do you think about the underground scene of Brazil? Do you cooperate or are you in contact with other bands?
B.A.V.: To be honest, I have no idea how the scene is faring nowadays. I do occasionally talk to some bands that I find interesting, but that's really rare. Most Brazilian Black Metal bands tend to think either we need another Venom/Motörhead/Blasphemy/Sarcofago clone, that you don't need any song-writing/instrumental skill at all to play Black Metal, and/or that I'm going to overlook those things and become a supporter of theirs because they're poor and uneducated -thus somehow justifying the half-assed music they play. They're wrong.
8. Are there any groups that you admire for music and/or attitude?
B.A.V.: Yes there is a handful. However, I don't care much about what the people do outside of the bands they play in - be it burning churches, stabbing people, or fucking each other in the ass. I think a band has a strong, admirable attitude if they are dedicated to honing their skills and continuously improving their music. I can appreciate that even if the music doesn't quite click with me.
9. What kind of music do you listen to?
B.A.V.: I've been listening to the same stuff for a long time, with the occasional new band here and there. Right now, I'd say the shit I've been listening to the most is Ulver's "Bergtatt" and "Nattens Madrigal", Candlemass' "Nightfall", Celtic Frost's "Into the Pandemonium" and Forefather's "Steadfast".
10. I think that Brazil is a very religious country. What is your opinion about god and religion?
B.A.V.: People think that Brazil is a religious country but it actually isn't. Most people here are Catholics - a number that is steadily decreasing - but they don't really practice the religion. The poor are being each time more attracted to Baptist and Protestant religions and they do tend to be a bit more dedicated to their beliefs. More than the Catholics, at least - but that isn't saying much. I'm an atheist and I'm also very liberal in my beliefs, both personally and politically, so the ultra-conservative views of the Abrahamic religions really do clash with mine. I'm not one to try and convince others of my beliefs though, and I mostly keep them to myself.
11. I know that for an one – man band it is very difficult to find members for live shows. What do you think about live shows? Will Despot play live in the future?
B.A.V.: It's hard, indeed, for a bunch of reasons that I'll try to enumerate: 1 - The candidate must have the skills required to play the songs with as little slop as possible. Despot's music isn't particularly complex or technically demanding, so there's absolutely no excuse for turning it into a slopfest; 2 - The candidate must be into the music Despot plays and respect its material; 3 - The candidate mustn't be an obnoxious pseudo-conservative right wing headbanger, otherwise he/she will be seriously offended. 4 - The candidate must be professional. I'll pay what's due of course, but he/she must do their part, and that includes being always on schedule, practicing, not being drunk or stoned or high or whatever during practice sessions and live concerts. There are other things I would consider before hiring session musicians, of course, but those are the ones I have at the top of my mind. Since I haven't met headbangers in town that are mature enough or that would be interested in teaming up with Despot for a couple of shows, the possibility of seeing Despot live is rather slim.
12. The new songs of Despot that I listened are fantastic. Are you working on a new album? Do you want to give me some information about it?
B.A.V.: Thanks for that! The songs you listened to are probably going to be featured on a split album - most likely a 10" disc. But as soon as they're 100% ready for distribution, I'll upload them to the website and I'll also add in a website-exclusive bonus track that won't be featured anywhere else. Besides that, I'm also working on an album right now. It's still sort of early in the process but it's already shaping up very well. Once all the engineering details are set, the composition and recording processes tend to flow really fast, so you should expect to find it on the website some time this year. The distribution will be done online, through my website, since labels don't seem to be interested at all in releasing and distributing my stuff.
13. Tell me about your near future plans and if you want to add anything for conclusion.
B.A.V.: Despot has 2 new members now: my wife and an old friend of mine, both of which will help with the arrangements and engineering bits. They're both awesome people to work with and have had similar experiences in the past, so things should work pretty smooth with us. I'd like to add that the work you've been doing with your website is commendable and you have gotten yourself a special place in Hell for that. Keep it classy, and keep it METAL!