Traíra: heaviest death/thrash hailing from Minas Gerais

Author Flavia Andrade - 21.11.2021

With a very interesting harmonic structure to their songs, great guitar riffs, tribal drums and perfectly executed harsh vocals, Traíra brings aggressive and heavy music for all metallers out there. Interestingly, they don’t make use of guitar solos ̶ and we don’t miss them, so perfectly crafted their brand of death/thrash hits the listener. Their first effort, the EP “Cura”, released digitally in late October, impresses for its weight and energy. Marcelo Cameron (vocals, bass), Madness Malown (guitar) and Hugo Moutinho (drums) have carved their own space in the realm of heavy metal, with a uniqueness that comes from an interesting mixture of influences, and years of experience as professional musicians. Hailing from Juiz de Fora, in Minas Gerais, the state that gave birth to bands such as Sepultura and Sarcófago, the heaviness of their sound does not disappoint at all.

Chaoszine had the opportunity of talking to Marcelo Cameron about Traíra’s debut EP, their influences, their creative process and, of course, how the pandemic affected them, as well as their plans for the future.

Hello and thank you for talking to Chaoszine. How have you guys been during this pandemic?

Cameron: Thank you for interviewing us. We have been okay, thankfully. In fact, when the pandemic hit, Traíra was in the drawer as a project, with four songs ready. So, I started to write more music, and instead of directing the depressive feelings that the pandemic brought to drinking, or something else in that direction, I put those feelings into music. So, Traíra was like a healing thing, like a cure for me. Thus, our debut effort, the EP, has that title, “Cura”. So, Malown, our guitar player, called me and said he had 6 songs ready, with riffs and all. But no lyrics. That is how the first song, “Lobó”, came about, with lyrics my wife Laura Cameron wrote, which fit perfectly into the song Malown sent us! In the end, my wife wrote lyrics for 4 of the songs, and did the graphic design of our logo, with the three fish heads. And that song was first performed in the state of Roraima, in the Amazon region up North. Moutinho, our drummer, joined us at around that time, early 2020, and we started taking part in lots of online festivals. Then, people that we have admired for a long time, like Pompeu, from Korzus, some members of Claustrofobia, a couple guys from Krisiun, and also Igor Cavalera started following us! And now, in 2021, we have been part of many more online festivals, all over Brazil.

Traíra was founded in 2018, but you guys started working mostly after the pandemic hit. Can you tell us a bit more about the beginning of your band? How did it all start for you guys?

Cameron: I have made a living exclusively from music since 1995, which means it’s been 26 years. My wife also works with art, so, basically that’s how we support our family. I have worked with music doing everything related to it: I have been a producer, sound technician, drummer, guitarist, bassist, vocalist, percussionist, keyboard player, over all these years. My dad used to say that if I wanted to make a living out of music, I had to work hard, because it was not easy, and I had to be versatile. So, I studied music, went to the Conservatoire, then to Villa Lobos Institute in Rio, so, I always studied and played all styles, but my heart has always been heavy metal. And the word out was that here in Brazil you couldn’t make a living out of that, Sepultura was one in a million, and if one wanted to work with music, it had to be some other way. So, heavy metal was a hobby, and I made my life playing everything that came my way. I even played with Cássia Eller, O Rappa, Nando Reis… all these great Brazilian artists. But it came to a point where I was not happy anymore. So, I decided to live my dream, and put together a heavy metal band. The band name came to me as if someone was whispering it in my ear, no kidding (even though I am not a very spiritualized person). Then a song came to me, and I wrote it down right away. This was in 2018. Traíra is the name of a fish, but we also use it as slang for someone who betrays and is a hypocrite, right? So, I thought it was a brilliant name for a metal band! And our songs are aggressive towards people who are like that: backstabbing and no good.

What are your main influences and how do they inform your sound?

Cameron: Our guitar player, Malown, likes groove metal, like Skindread, but he is also influenced by Pantera, Sepultura; he also digs Slipknot. Our drummer likes a more technical metal, like Gojira and Meshuggah, and other bands that have lots of details in the drumming. I bring the dirty element  to our sound, the thrashy stuff, like Slayer, Pantera, Sepultura, Claustrofobia, whose singer Marcus D’Angelo, told me I can do something he always tried on the harsh vocals, which is to interpret the song: he says he hears a dialogue in the song “Lobó”, and man, imagine, someone I’ve been listening to since I was seventeen years old telling me that! Wow!

How does your creative process take place? Does every band member contribute to the songs? How do the lyrics come into being?

Cameron: Basically, the guitar riffs are written by Madness Malown, our guitar player, and that is the basis of a song. He has his own home studio, and he records that with some pre-recorded drums. Then, our drummer builds upon that, creates his own drum fills and all. Then, I write the bass lines and the lyrics with Laura, my wife. So, the songs for “Cura” were done like that. But the second EP that will be out soon, was written differently: it will feature the first four songs that I originally wrote for Traíra in 2018, plus new songs, written by all of us together. It is even heavier; demonically heavier.

On Halloween you released the music video for “Whispering in my ear”, which really fit the date. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Cameron: The theme is present in another one of our songs, “Light the Candle”, this thing that an idea comes to you as if someone is whispering it to you, pouring an idea into your ears. So, for this video we had the idea of using an actress to represent that, a beautiful woman, but at the same time, characterized as a demonic figure, so people would be both drawn to her and afraid of her. The video was shot last September. A critic interpreted it as death circling around us throughout the whole video, and I thought that was brilliant! The production was family oriented: my wife and daughter did the makeup; my wife and mother-in-law designed the costume for the actress. The cameras were operated by us. In fact, we started a professional video production company during the pandemic and have been hired to produce quite a few online music festivals since then.

What inspires you as artists besides musical influences?

Cameron: Films and TV series have always inspired us. Even for our music video we drew some of our inspiration for the costume design and make-up from movies. And also the determination, the drive of people in sports. So, I would say the creativity people show through cinema and the drive of sportsmanship are huge inspirations for us.

What has been the audience’s reception to your music?

Cameron: We’ve got great feedback from our audience, and from many different parts of the world, like Argentina, Indonesia, Portugal… so many different places, it’s amazing. We never even imagined that our music was getting literally everywhere like that! We heard back from people who told us that our music represented a type of healing for them. So, the fact that our lyrics have made a difference for someone out there, it really blows our minds.

And how is the rock and metal club scene now in Juiz de Fora, especially due to the pandemic?

Cameron: The scene was really booming in the 90s and 2000s. But since then, it kind of died away, especially for heavier bands. There isn’t a metal/rock club in town anymore. But we are in talks with one of the places out here to stage some concerts in the near future… we are the ones who have to bring the scene back, all the bands out here; we cannot depend on promoters anymore. And we will bring bands from other cities and states as well.

What about governmental incentives to assist the arts and culture in their recovery from the blow suffered during the pandemic? Any chances of that happening in Brazil?

Cameron: It’s really difficult to talk about culture nowadays, especially in terms of incentives. The bigger artists that already have loads of money, they always win these incentives. But the smaller artists that really need it, sometimes don’t have access to them. I myself have been the recipient of incentives in the past, on municipal level. But it’s not an easy thing to make happen, and incentives are always great when they are directed towards the artists that actually need them.

What’s in store for your future?

Cameron: We intend to tour with some other bands who are our friends, and play in São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Rio de Janeiro, Bahia and Sergipe.  

What other Brazilian bands do you listen to? Any suggestions to our readers?

Cameron: Suck This Punch, Síndrome K, Desalmado, 100 Dogmas, Nick Angus, Muqueta na Oreia, Cervical, The Giant Void, Pure Hate, CORJA!, Charles Souz, Tchandalla, I know I left many people out, these lists, I mean, we always forget someone… but look for these bands, seriously, they sound great! Also worth mentioning is Axis Mundi from Paraguay.

Thank you again for talking to Chaoszine.

Cameron: Thank you for the interest in talking to us, especially because Traíra is a project based on friendship, we don’t worry about numbers; instead, we are based on honesty and sincerity. We are truly grateful for this space you granted us!

Check Traíra out on social media: