Interview: Rodrigo “Shakal” Loreto, from MOFO (Thrash Metal)

Interview by Steven (Aeons Abyss)

Since I’ve rekindled my music adventures with my Aussie Death Thrash band, Aeons Abyss, I’ve loved connecting with the underground metal scene, especially in Brazil. This country, most famous for its Football, in my books should be just as famous for its Metal. I’m proud to say that I now have many great friends and unbelievable supporters of my own band coming from this country (although getting any merch sent there is a nightmare, due to import taxes).

So when Rodrigo from Brazilian thrashers, MOFO, reached out to Noob Heavy with an e-mail that clearly demonstrated genuine passion for his music, I gave them a listen, and really enjoyed their brand of Thrash … old school, with a modern, punk edge.

Here is my interview with MOFO.

Introduce yourself, your band and tell Noob Heavy how & when it all started.

My name is Rodrigo Loreto, nickname Shakal (a stylized writing of jackal in Portuguese). I’m from Recife, capital of Pernambuco on the northeast region of Brazil. In 2010, I moved to Brasilia, Brazil’s capital, due to my father being transferred and here MOFO started. We were all still in high school and that’s where I heard this guy behind me bragging that he could play “Fight Fire with Fire” by Metallica flawlessly. So, I turned around, called him a liar, haha, and we started talking about metal, bands, music… That was Lucas Werner, co-founder of the band and that was the first day of MOFO.

In the beginning, we only played classic covers, like, Metallica, Iron Maiden and Anthrax. Soon we started writing some horrible original material, attending some local gigs and playing some of our own.

Through the years some lineup changes happened, Werner is no longer on the band, some new influences came along, like, Coroner, Death, Havok and so our sound developed to a bit more technical thrash with some hardcore and death metal influences. The latter started on the riffs, when Pedro and Arthur joined the band, but now more so on the drums, due to Mancha’s, our drummer, background in death metal.

To us, the stage is where we need to be. It’s where we feel like one can really experience MOFO and what we’re all about. We get to have the best of times and sure hope that you do too. We have an EP (Empire of Self-Regard, 2017), a full album (Sick and Insane, 2020) and a need for gigging.

That’s me, that’s us and how and when it all started.

Your recent album, Sick and Insane (2020) is a great example of modern thrash, with plenty of nods to the old school.  What are 3 things listeners should know about this album?

Well, I can’t think of any characteristic to highlight over others, but, I can say we poured everything we had on it. Blood, sweat and tears… and hard-earned cash, haha, it’s all there. As you said, we have a modern thrash sound with nods to the old school, but also some nods to Brazilian music sprinkled around. We had great fun in the studio making this record. So, yeah, three things, a record done independently, modern thrash with old school and Brazilian spice and we had a blast doing it.

What is your favourite track and why?

My favorite tracks would be “Frank”, “Brothers of Death” and “Sick and Insane”, but since you’re forcing my hand to choose a favourite child… It would be “Sick and Insane”. Personally it is great to play live and it was great fun working it out in the studio. Everybody had their say in it, a nice spice added by each one of us.

What other bands would potential listeners of your album enjoy?

Warbringer, Havok, Evil Corpse, Claustrofobia, Cangaço, Vektor, Revocation, Korvak, Degola… a ton of bands!

What is it like to be a Metal band in Brazil?

It’s a challenge as it is in every corner of the world. I mean, sure, Brazil is different from Australia, which is different from European countries, which is different from the US and so forth. But, maybe the greatest challenge here is the distances we need to overcome. Specifically talking about Brasilia’s bands we’re in the middle of the country, far from São Paulo, Rio, Recife, Fortaleza, Belém, Manaus, Curitiba, Porto Alegre… So it’s a big trip when we go play outside of Brasilia or Goiania (the only other big city close to Brasilia).

And right now there’s also the currency exchange thing. One dollar used to be two, three Reais maximum. Now it’s 5.50, getting close to 6 reais. An euro is already over 6.50 Reais, almost 7, actually. And instruments, strings drumheads, drum sticks, cables, everything is getting absurdly expensive. Even national brands, ’cause we still need to import some materials. Aside from the Covid situation, which is nothing to be overlooked, but I hope it gets taken care of in at least a couple of years, any intention of international tours or paying for anything abroad (advertising, mainly) is completely out of the question for a long time.

Thank you, Bolsonaro, the shitiest President we’ve ever had, for really fucking up the country. Economy, healthcare, education, religious liberty, political liberty, cultural liberty, it’s all gone or going into the bog. I mean, it’s not all his sole fault. There’s a lot going on, a lot of people helping him to fuck things up, but, either way, fuck you, mr President. Apart from that I guess we’re all on the same boat. As AC/DC once said “Gettin’ old, Gettin’ grey, Gettin’ ripped off, Under-paid, Gettin’ sold, Second hand, That’s how it goes, Playin’ in a band”.

Tell us one funny story about your band

Oh there are so many! There was this one time I bet I could jump through a small 1’3″ open window at about 5′ high right before we hit the stage. Needless to say I hit my knee on the window frame and the pendulum effect almost sent me face first through the closed window under it. That time we played for 2 homeless guys and a fan that biked around 4 miles just to see us and the bass amp gave up after our first song. That time we played opened for Torture Squad and wore swimsuits, jackets and fanny packs. The time I met Paul Speckman backstage as he was having a little break during the drum solo in Master’s setlist and offered him a banana completely throwing him off his focus, which wasn’t my intention, obviously!

What have you got coming up in the near future

In the near future, unfortunately, we’ve got nothing planned. I’m thinking about an instrumental single or maybe an EP, I don’t know. Let’s see what happens. But we are writing new songs either way. Maybe the nearest thing is a video for one of Sick and Insane’s songs.

Tell us about your merch, and where people can support your music

We’ve got shirts, hoodies, shorts, patches, stickers, CDs, picks, posters and you can contact us through Instagram or Facebook to purchase any of this. You can also buy digital copies through Bandcamp or stream us at Spotify, Deezer, Tidal, Apple Music, all the music streaming platforms.

Last question, being Brazilian  how does your football skills compare to your metal playing skills?

Great question! I do play football, futsal actually (the hard court variation), but I haven’t ever given this any thought, haha. Some people have called me “Shakal, o tanque”, or “Jackal, the tank”, in english. Because I stop at nothing when I’m playing. Not in a violent way, but in a “never give up” kind of way. Little to no flare, a lot of sweat, nonstop drive, not very much competitive and a team player. I guess that sums up my football and metal playing skills.

About Steven - Aeons Abyss 42 Articles
I do the music for the band Aeons Abyss, and also co-host The Metal Podcast on Spotify. I have been into Metal since the mid-80s, growing up in country Victoria, Australia. Some of my favourite bands from back in the day include Morbid Angel, Slayer, Obituary, Bolt Thrower, King Diamond, Megadeth, Sabbat and Iron Maiden. I am a massive fan of Aussie Metal, and underground metal in general, and for me, nowadays the scene is very much akin to the tape trading days when metal first started; but instead of tapes we have Bandcamp, websites like Noob Heavy, and Social Media platforms. These are the tools to network with other underground metal bands and metal fans from all over the world. A little about my band: Aeons Abyss formed in 2017 and we play our own brand of Death Thrash Metal. Our music is on all streaming platforms and Bandcamp, where we also sell our merch directly to fans. Also, our lyrics are a very important component of our music, so much so that our vocalist is known as "Death Metal Poet".

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