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Deafkids Defy The Rational On “Configuração Do Lamento”


Deafkids are a punk band, at least on paper. Cue up any video of the Brazilian trio playing live and the scene might appear pretty familiar: three young musicians wailing on their instruments, simple chord progressions bolstered by distortion, and a whole ‘lotta heart. If you wanted to get more granular about what Deafkids are actually doing, you might point to their use of d-beats, or you could draw the line from their riffs to other “crusty” acts the world over. The further you dig, however, the harder it gets to pin them down. On Configuração Do Lamento, Deafkids leap off of the page entirely. In eight short songs (only closer “Distopia Permanente” breaks the five mark) Deafkids careen from idea to idea, finding up pieces of krautrock, clanging sampled sounds, digitally manipulated noise freakouts, and percussion jam sessions like some kind of demented globe-trotting katamari. No matter where the music takes them, this group uses the material at hand to hypnotize and entrance. Configuração Do Lamento is a whip-smart record which breezes past the conscious mind and straight for your instincts. I talked with the group via e-mail about their relationship to the world of punk, the effects of colonialism, and the power of rhythm.

In the press release for Configuração Do Lamento you stress that you want the listener to approach the music “non-rationally” in order to avoid ascribing false narratives. What kind of “irrational” response do you aim to provoke from the listener instead?

We feel that music is a form of art which gets its strength from a physical, bodily sensorial stimulus, and it’s way harsher and more violent than other forms for not depending that much on previous experiences related to it. You can’t prevent sonic phenomena from reaching you — it invades your body. Therefore, we believe there’s a different type of teasing caused by music (and by sound itself) that can’t and shouldn’t be read rationally – while words on it may spread a message, a big portion of it is not completely decipherable. While the classical European narrative inscribes the body as a subject of the mind, African and African-related narratives (religious, musical) are based on the mental experience as a physical one as well, and that is the type of relation we want to inscribe, by using rhythm as a fusing unit.

At the same time, you also mention that the music is inspired by a “sense of fracture” that comes from living in a country that experienced colonization. Could you elaborate on what that means to you and how it factors into your music?

With such a complex and chaotic history when it comes to social structures, miscegenation and manipulation surrounding us, we believe that this so called “sense of fracture” is both our main strength and weakness – we are both European, African and Indigenous when it comes to our repertoire – music, vocabulary, imagetic and so forth. But at the same time we fit none of these categories. This can be observed in basically all of the 20th century’s cultural manifestations from here… All of them carry the virtue and proudness of unity and encounter, and at the same time they mourn for the shaky feet, longing for a sense of clear origin and destination. Poor people here (especially those who descend from African and Indigenous communities) have no right and access to their history for it has been erased, while the representatives of the old power try to conceal their own history so people don’t see them as links with the old colonial power – this can be observed if we look at the Congress or other bigger instances of power, where you have families who virtually own their states or specific regions for generations.

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While the band could be classified as a punk group, that feels reductive on the new record. What other styles or artists inspire Deafkids?

I guess we feel connected to punk as a working ethos – as a way to do and deal with things, rather than a specific aesthetic to follow. Of course we are deeply interested in the powerful groove of d-beat as a primary element, and as so we feel very close to forms of music which explore this mind-numbing, psychedelic quality of rhythmical invective, like African/Afro-Brazilian and Latin music, Reggae and Dubwise music, Indian music and its deep roots with the pulse of a song, a lot of 70’s music like old school Funk, Krautrock (both the hard hitting hard rock bands and the electronic, kosmische music-oriented ones), some Spiritual Jazz acts, early Industrial outfits, 80’s Brazilian and Japanese punk bands, as we try to portray a feeling instead of a specific sound, the list goes on forever.

Your music is incredibly rhythmic. Do you start writing with a groove and work from there? If not, where do the songs start?

Generally yes, as someone generally has a specific idea for a beat (or the basis of one) and we generally go on from there. Sometimes songs come out of a riff, but mostly the songs are quite rhythm-oriented. I guess that delving too much into percussion does that to you, hahaha.

Do you see Deafkids as being part of a global music community, or is your music rooted in a more regional context?

This is the ironic thing – Being rooted in a more regional context (for reasons that were quoted beforehand) means that we are oriented towards the clash of influences and different “sounds.” Since the band was a solo effort from Dovglas and that this live lineup was set up, the band was pretty much a road band, and that didn’t change when we moved together – it has just increased! Of course we see that there are acts which are putting out fresh and new stuff which we feel related to, with bands like Rakta and Test, but at the same time we feel that it is the movement that will tell us if there’s a global music community to be part of (something we feel inclined to think there is, since almost everything that we love musically carries this worldly feeling and notion).

Now that Configuração Do Lamento is being released on Neurot records, what’s next for Deafkids?

THE ROAD! Playing’ as much as we can, writing new stuff and meeting new places and people to bond with through intense rhythmical intercourse! Invite us to play!


Configuração Do Lamento will be re-released on Neurot on 10/6. Follow Deafkids on Facebook.

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