Iron Fist Magazine

WHIPSTRIKER INTERVIEW: “BRAZIL IS FUCKING WILD AND SAVAGE”

Pinpointing a certain sound to a geographical place has become almost impossible, mainly thanks to the internet and how it globally manipulates trends. So, it may be with some skepticism that people would meet WHIPSTRIKER, a Brazilian band. If someone told you that some of the most brutally honest metalpunk came from Rio, albeit tinged with the elixir of the metal gods, you’d probably tell them the next classic TNBM record would come from rural Ireland. However, living in Rio seems like living out a Discharge lyrics sheet, and Whipstriker mainman VICTOR took time out from his hectic recording schedule to talk about metal and life in Rio’s favelas. Historians can write what they like in their textbooks, but musicians (usually) tell the truth in their songs…                                                                                                                          

How did you get the name Whipstriker exactly?
Victor Whipstriker: I really don’t remember. I only remember that ‘Whip’ comes from Venom’s track ‘Sadist – Mistress Of The Whip’. It was just a nickname I started to use in Diabolic Force [Whipstriker’s “other” band] in 2001. Then when I decided to start a one-man band I choose Whipstriker because it seems like a band name.”

It’s a great band name! So, for the readers of Iron Fist, can you give a bit of an introduction to Whipstriker and your new record?
“Well, we started in 2008. The first idea was only to record some stuff and work like a studio band. But I really love to play live, so we started to play some shows after the first release [The ‘Midnight Crust’ demo in 2010]. We recorded a lot since 2008—two demos, two albums, and six 7” EP splits. Some more stuff is coming, like new splits with Apokalyptic Raids, Bulldozing Bastards, Raw Poison, Kriegg, Alcoholic Force, etc.
“About the new album, we recorded it very fast. I think there was only four or five sessions. It was released in partnership with four labels – Kill Again, Hell Music, Urubuz, and Fuck The Mainstream We Are The Mainstream. The LP version will be released soon by Evil Spells in Germany and the tape version by Muerte Negra in the USA. Basically, the plan is keep on recording and playing gigs.”

You planning any tours to promote the record?
“We want to play in the USA next year, 20 or 25 shows would be nice, but we have problems with visas. If some of us are denied, we cannot go. And if that happens we will play another European tour, perhaps playing in some countries we didn’t play last time.”

So you will only play Europe if you can’t guarantee access for everyone to USA?
“Yes. We’ll go to Europe if some of us cannot get the visa for the US.”

Right, fingers crossed. Do you play all instruments on the record?
“No, I play bass, rhythm guitars and vocals. The guys from Farscape [thrash metal on Metal Inquisition Records] play drums and guitars solos.”

Ah, I thought you only had them play live, cool. So, hey, what is the track ‘We Came From The Wild Lands’ on the new album ‘Troopers Of Mayhem’ all about exactly?
“It’s simple; we really live in the wild lands. Brazil is fucking wild and savage. There’s a civil war in my city, Rio de Janeiro. You know, the state against the drug dealers. Many people die everyday here and there are many dangerous areas where you can see children holding guns. Is it not wild? The track ‘Troopers Of Mayhem’ is a track about this war we live in our everyday lives: blood, corpses, guns, mutilated children. It’s our landscape.”

Have you ever been a victim of crime in Rio? Aren’t things getting better with the World Cup next year and the Olympics in 2016?
“Yes. I have been a victim for many times and my friends too. About the World Cup, I am totally against it. They are not solving the problems. The violence has stopped only in tourist areas. The government is wasting money with these things and we don’t have good schools and hospitals.”

Yeah, that is exactly what is being told on the news here in Europe – nobody wants a World Cup in a country where the infrastructure needs attention more. How bad have the protests been?
“People are destroying everything downtown. Nobody is happy with the World Cup. Now the city is more expensive to live and we are still without the basic infrastructures. I am going to all the protests that I can.”

Shit, sounds crazy. Do you think this is what is the driving force behind your prolific music career?
“Yes, for sure. I like to talk about these issues in some lyrics, but I don’t think it is an influence for the music career. It’s hard to be a headbanger here. Everything is expensive. We usually play in shit places with horrible equipment. The promoters have no money to organise a good underground show and the headbangers have no money to pay for an expensive ticket. The good venues are exclusive for other styles like samba, bossa nova, jazz, etc. Brazil is a big country, so it’s hard to play tours because the distances between the cities are so vast. There are many problems. Believe me, we are diehard headbangers.”

So you still watching football or totally boycotting it altogether now?
“No man, I don’t give a shit for football now.”

Do you think people look down on metalheads in Brazil?
“Yes, there are many preconceptions in Brazil. Everybody looks down when you pass. Brazil is totally conservative and people think you are a drug junkie if you have long hair, tattoos, leather jackets, etc. But we don’t give a shit about them, it keeps us strong!”

You love the true ‘80s sound and it shows! Who is doing your artwork these days?
“Each release was done by a different guy. The artwork for the new album was made by Jeferson Pizoni. He is a punk guy so his price is fucking good; he asked me for around 25 Euros for this art. There are other guys like Marcio Blasfemador, Umberto and others too.”

Some Whipstriker stuff has a way more d-beat/Swedish punk Anti-Cimex-vibe and some not at all? Like, the demos seem to have almost a totally different sound to albums and one or two splits, is that deliberate?
“I always try to mix all my influences, that’s why each release has a different identity. The demos are more Swedish crust, like Anti-Cimex and Crude SS. On the other hand, the albums and EPs are more in the UK vibe; Venom, Motörhead, Warfare. I like many different styles from rock ‘n’ roll to death metal. At the same time, I’m a big fan of Thin Lizzy and Sarcófago. Indeed I don’t want to be trapped in only one style. You can see these different influences on ‘Troopers Of Mayhem’. You can find Venom, Tank, Thin Lizzy, Celtic Frost, Black Sabbath, Bathory, and Discharge.”

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