Nosunnydayz: Brazilian band explore soundscapes from bluesy rock to hard rock

Author Flavia Andrade - 28.2.2024

Rio de Janeiro-based Nosunnydayz came to its definitive form in late 2022, when Nina Pontes (vocals), Hugo Rosas (guitar), Raul Fontenelle (drums) and Rodrigo de Andrade (bass) came together. Some of the band members have been playing in recognised underground bands since the late 1990s, and Rosas and Fontenelle are long-term music companions.

Nosunnydayz brings heavy music that expresses freedom, creativity and deals with human nature. Their debut album “The gray, the black and what we expect” was released in November 2023, along with a music video, which you can check out below.

The album features denser, heavier songs, like “Meritocracy wears boots” and “Mantra,” but also brings a bluesy side, with “You have a piece of me” and “Guilt and shame.” The band has a distinctive care with their sound textures, melodic lines and rhythm.

Chaoszine had the opportunity to sit down with Nosunnydayz and chat about how the band started, the construction of their songs, the local music scene in Rio de Janeiro and their future plans.

Hello and thank you for talking to Chaoszine. How did Nosunnydayz come into being?

Hugo Rosas: Raul and I have made music together for almost 30 years. We were both in a prog metal band called Elhaz, back when we were in our 20s. Time went by, and so did our lives, with marriages, children, which made us reduce the frequency of playing music together and rehearsing, so we had a hiatus. And when we decided to get back on track, we had trouble finding other people that had the same level of dedication as we thought was necessary to make the music work out, and with enough interest in practicing their instruments as much as we think it necessary. Because we didn’t just want to bring whoever into the band. So, we released three albums as Working Men, the band we had when we returned to playing after the hiatus: the first one in 2018, in which we gathered material we had been making since 2014. I didn’t want to sing anymore, so we needed to find a singer. So, Raul found Nina on an app that unites bands looking for musicians with musicians looking for bands, I mean, we auditioned other people before her, but she’s the one that had the “wow factor” – otherwise I would’ve kept singing myself. No one else clicked with our sound until Nina; they all had great voices, great technique, but it wasn’t quite there. So, Raul sort of filtered the singers before sending them my way, and when he sent Nina’s material I was like: “dude… would you listen to that..WOW!” And the material was in a style completely different from ours, but it was great. Raul had already met her at a concert of his other band, Far Beyond Empire, his extreme metal band. She also wanted to start doing something different musically, so we auditioned her. And it was through the same app that we met Rodrigo.

Your band was Unnature, right, Nina?

Nina Pontes: Yes. At the time I was kind of fed up with it, really. Because Unnature was a project from around 2013/2014 that I had with a friend of mine, and we released an album, played gigs, it kinda died away, then we returned with a different lineup, one that featured my husband [Arthur Chebec, currently in Lacerated And Carbonized], we made a music video, played a big gig at Imperator, but you know, I wanted to sing stuff that was more rock and roll – music that would take me in another direction. So I sent him an audio file singing Led Zeppelin, “Whole Lotta Love.” Raul and Hugo already had so many great songs ready to go, I really wanted to get in. And I remember thinking to myself: “If I’m not vocalist of this band, I’ll be at least their fan! They should be famous, they’re so great!” So, I auditioned, got in, and I’m really happy about it.

Raul Fontenelle: I actually met Nina at the birthday party of a friend at a pub near where I live. At the time Hugo and I had already discussed having a female vocalist for our sound, and when I saw her profile there, on the app, I thought that was fantastic. And Rodrigo, he was actually the first bass player that showed up on the app for us. With Nina, she nailed it in the first rehearsal. And Rodrigo was slightly nervous the first time, but he came in again and learned all the songs at a never-before-seen speed… I mean, was it 5, 10 songs?

Hugo Rosas: Yeah, these two were the only ones we took into the studio, everyone else we auditioned didn’t make it to that point. Because if someone tells me they want something really badly, they have to show it with their actions. Nina had some time to learn a few songs, but Rodrigo had only one day to learn the songs. And he said: “I can learn 5 or 6 songs.” For the next day, man! I mean… he did it! And I was really amazed.

And Rodrigo’s bass sounds really heavy. It helps make your rock and roll get that heavier edgy sound, which is amazing.

Raul Fontenelle: He takes up a lot more space soundwise than a regular bass player.

Rodrigo de Andrade: Actually, I hadn’t played bass in another band in a while, I was basically just recording the bass lines for my project Elefante Cinza. And it’s an instrument that I love playing, so I really wanted to get back into a band in that capacity. So, I thought, let me get into this bands app, and as soon as I joined, I saw Raul there. So we messaged each other, I heard the music, and I thought it was great. I realized our ideas were alligned. And I thought to myself: “I want to be in this band, so I must do great at this audition.” So I learned 5 songs, we played 3. I wasn’t even nervous, but I was too focused and I couldn’t relax and have fun with it. So, for the second rehearsal, I brought my pedal board, and I was more relaxed. It worked out, they told me right after the rehearsal, at the pub. Once I was in, I started laying down bass lines for the music they already had, and developed them until we got to the final product we have on this album, which has my stamp on it. They were really open to me changing anything they had written before, so long as it worked.

How is your creative process, from the first idea to the final product?

Raul Fontenelle: So far, it has started mostly with one of the string instruments, maybe sometimes I send them a groove… and the lyrics also comes from an inspiration someone has, and the others pick it up. There is no formula, sometimes it even starts in a rehearsal, during a jam session.

Rodrigo de Andrade: Many of the songs already existed from their Working Men days, although we kind of jumped in and changed a few things here and there. And now we are writing new music, and this time it’s really all the four of us together in rehearsal, and feeding off of each other’s ideas. We are all very open minded to each other’s ideas, which is a rare thing in rock bands…

How do you get to your lyrical themes, which span from human nature to social criticism?

Raul Fontenelle: We come up with songs very much based on the moment we are living, like in our lives, things we feel, and the reality of society. There is no directive as to what themes we are going to write about. If it seems right to our minds and souls, that’s what we are going to talk about. There is no planning, so far there has been no idea as far as a concept goes.

And what about the lyrics, are they written by all of you, collaboratively?

Raul Fontenelle: Thus far, Hugo and I have been writing the lyrics. We’ve been making music together for longer. Some of the material of course had Nina’s and Rodrigo’s insight, but mostly it had been the two of us. But now, yeah, for the new stuff, if Nina and Rodrigo want to write lyrics… of course!

“The gray, the black and what we expect” is a great album title. How did it come about?

Raul Fontenelle: It was Rodrigo’s idea.

Rodrigo de Andrade: No, it was Hugo’s idea.

Hugo Rosas: In fact, we were discussing the title. And picking names is always shitty. So, we decided to try to understand what the album was about, and who we are and what we do with our sound. So, fortunately there is a pub next to our recording studio, and we always sit there for a drink, and we are always debating our ideas there. And this is one of the things we debated. We came to the conclusion that our music is about human matters, including our views on meritocracy, misoginy, violence, politics, break ups, loss, sadness, sometimes even happiness. So, at a given moment, Rodrigo said: “This is an album about indignation.” This is when I thought of nuances, “The gray, the black, and eveything else,” which evolved into “what we expect.”

How was the production process for the album?

Rodrigo de Andrade: I mixed the album myself, and, as this was the band’s first album, I didn’t want to go overboard and do a lot of stuff to music that was practically ready. There weren’t a lot of changes made.

You have a piece of me” has a second version in the album, in Portuguese “Você tem um pedaço de mim,” and the audience seems to have received well both versions os that song. Do you plan on writing more songs in Portuguese?

Hugo Rosas: We haven’t really discussed that yet. In this case, it started as a song in Portuguese, in 2014. All our songs were written in Portuguese back then. For us, it wouldn’t be difficult to do that again. But yeah, the Portuguese version was really well received. But we will talk about it for the next album.

How is the rock and roll scene in Rio de Janeiro at the moment?

Nina Pontes: It’s really improving nowadays. There is a collective of producers, journalists and musicians called RIO+ROCK, and we can see more spaces opening up for rock and roll in the city and state. The bands are discovering one another, and this is what makes for a real scene in our niche, people are uniting their forces. The other night the guys from LOWD were on stage and they all had Nosunnydayz shirts on! I mean, I don’t see that in the heavy metal scene, the bands embracing each other. To me, even though some metal bands are part of this movement, there is a difference in the commitment of people towards the music, and the scene as a whole. There was a similar movement specifically in the metal scene a few years ago. I was part of the production team. We worked with bands from Rio and from other states as well. Back then, it was really common for bands to have to sell tickets for the events they were playing, otherwise they wouldn’t get paid. It was not cool. So, that movement we had back then kind of fought this policy, which was not fair to bands. We even produced the Brazilian selection rounds for Wacken Open Air here. But that movement ended. And now, I can see RIO+ROCK doing something similiar. There are good events every weekend now, in all the venues that are open to the rock and metal scene. And we can see it building up. And it will be one year in May, since the movement started.

Rodrigo de Andrade: When I started to play concerts, I was living in Minas Gerais. I came back to Rio in 2019, so back then it was a very weak scene for rock and metal. And now, RIO+ROCK is making things happen. The other music scenes, like trap, rap and funk, they have a scene that they kind of built like that, going to each other’s events, then it got bigger. I see a lot of ego in rock music. And I see this new movement as a reaction to that, and very important to the rock and metal scene.

What are your future plans? You spoke of a new album to come…

Hugo Rosas: We have been producing some of our own shows, inviting other bands to play with us, and we see this is starting to happen more often. We also have the “coverground” project, where we and other musicians from local underground bands record and share covers of each other’s songs online. Now that we made a name for ourselves in the city of Rio and recorded and released our album, we will start playing outside of the city, and also keep playing here, of course. And we keep a tight rehearsal schedule, with eyes set on making the band our sole source of income some day in the future. São Paulo is also in our plans. We plan to release our second album, which we have started to write. And we also want to take our music to other countries, at first online, starting to have some focus in the foreign market. Although we have already perceived through Spotify’s analytics that we have indeed reached some other countries, we will turn our focus towards that. And it is important to note that we have never spent any money trying to buy any kind of engagement online, everything we have is organic growth in our social media, our music as well. Everything done in a sustainable way, and hoping to reach the hearts and minds of foreign audiences, outside of our beloved South America.

You can check out their Instagram account here and their YouTube channel here.