GETTING TO KNOW: Ego Kill Talent, Brazil’s Heaviest New Band

Once a month, we like to introduce you to a band who you likely won’t have heard of but will definitely enjoy once you hit that play button. This time round, we’re focussing on a band whose popularity back home in South America is starting to know no bounds: the Brazilian Ego Kill Talent. The powerful five-piece are currently embarking on their first full European tour, taking on a handful of huge festivals as well as some shows with Shinedown. We caught up with guitarist-slash-bassist Theo van der Loo as they travelled back from Copenhagen to Eindhoven to discuss their first full EU tour, touring with Foo Fighters and what’s next for a band whose live show can’t get much more exciting than it already is.

Hey Theo. How are you?
I’m good! We’re currently heading back from Copenhagen to Eindhoven. 

Let’s go back to the very start. Outline me the history of how you got together.
The full story is a very long one, as we’ve been friends for years. We’re talking around 15 years here! The band really started around 2014, which is when Jean (Dolabella) left Sepultura after a spell of 7 years. We were already friends, and that was because Rafael and I had a band who toured with Sepultura. In 2014, Jean left Sepultura and we were both living in Sao Paolo. We called each other up to grab a coffee and he told me that he wasn’t sure what he should do now, suggesting that we jam. Some ideas came about and then Rafael joined us. System of a Down’s John Dolmayan – who is a friend – was in Brazil for vacation in 2015, so I brought him to the studio without telling him we had a band so that I could surprise him. He’s the kind of guy who will tell you straight up if something is bad. He was the first person to ever hear the band, and he was enthusiastic. He told us to move forward, and so we recorded our first EP which we released at the end of 2015. It got us a Top 50 Viral Chart hit in Brazil, the UK and Spain. And that was with just three songs!

In the time since, you’ve played a handful of shows in Europe, including your first full tour this month. How have the shows been so far?
Well, we did Rock am Ring and Rock im Park at the weekend, and that was so cool. We were very overwhelmed by the crowd reaction, and it was so crazy to see people singing the lyrics back. That’s probably because of Spotify and other digital platforms. There were some Brazilian people there too, and after both shows were done the crowds were absolutely packed! We just played in Copenhagen with Shinedown too, and we’re doing more shows with them this month as well. It was insane, because some of us are huge Metallica fans and we were playing in the same city where Lars Ulrich was born! After the show we were talking to fans at the march stand, and a guy came to us who said that we’d just played the same stage as Metallica did back when they were on the Ride the Lightning tour with Cliff Burton, which is so cool. 

How does it feel as a Brazilian band to be touring here in Europe properly for the first time?
Well, it’s the second time we’ve played in Europe. We did a couple of shows with System of a Down last year and also the Upstairs room of the Melkweg in Amsterdam. It wasn’t a proper tour, but it was really cool for us. Now we’re doing a full tour over more than two weeks, and all of the shows are really big which is great. We’re a Brazilian band, so it feels like breaking a barrier. You usually don’t think about Brazilian bands singing in English apart from Sepultura, who also opened the door for bands like us. We’re very proud of the country we come from. 

You recently toured with Foo Fighters and Queens of the Stone Age. What were your major takeaways from that run?
The Foo Fighters was a run of extremely big shows. There were five stadium shows, and then also shows at Lollapalooza Chile and Lollapalooza Brazil. Before we started we told ourselves that we needed to operate on a high-level production here, so with a full crew who have International experience. We went into this tour with that mindset, and we rehearsed a lot! We were also concerned about the structural aspect as a support band, though. We needed to be professional, so that’s the mindset we went in with. The whole crew was like that too, we all took that same step. We had this vibe, and we learnt a lot in many senses. I think the crew did a great job, because we were able to connect with everyone from the Foo Fighters camp, such as their tour managers and the band themselves. It was a whole learning process, and there was a lot of great connecting in the sense that the vibes really matched.

Do you notice a major difference in the types of crowds who come to shows in Brazil compared to what you’ve experienced here?
In Brazil we are more well known because we’ve played more and done a lot more stuff there. We already had a crowd there and people cheering for us, which is a great feeling that we’re really blessed with. When we came to Rock am Ring and Rock im Park it was a different situation for us, as it was new territory. It was a matter of gaining their respect and – in a sense – gaining their love so that they in turn would love our band. When we’re in Brazil, we’re in a situation which makes us feel at home, and when we’re in Germany this is different because we want to meet new people and make new friends. It’s really, really cool. 

Talk me through the Ego Kill Talent songwriting process. How does a typical song of yours come to life?
So, there are two parts to this process. Obviously we have the instrumental parts, and then the lyrics. Both of them are very organic. The way the songs come to life essentially revolves around us playing, and it could then really become anything. From that, we develop the full song. What some people may not know is that we have two drummers in the band, so we switch up the line-up during the show and change our instruments all the tine. It’s the same as how we do it in the studio, because there one person will record something on a particular instrument and live they will play that instrument on a song and then switch. We like to sing about the things which we talk about as friends, the conversations we have on the bus, the things we talk about. We’re committed to talking about things in the same way that we do as simple friends. We are so blessed and we like each other as friends so much. We’re also very free creatively. 

That leaves us with the future: what’s next for you?
We’re already writing the new album! We’re very happy. With the new songs, one of which we’re playing on this tour already. We’re planning to record the album before the end of the year in Los Angeles, and there are also talks of a European tour in the fall which would bring us back in November. We’re also in talks with some festivals in Latin America. That’s how it’s looking.

Catch Ego Kill Talent on the road with Shinedown this summer, including a night at the Melkweg in Amsterdam on 21 June. They’ll also appear at the Blue Collar Hotel in Eindhoven this week Friday, details of which you can acquire by emailing this address.