(added June 2008)
INTERVIEW WITH AS DIABATZ
( PSYCHOBILLY TRIO FROM BRAZIL )
made by Craig Brackenridge
Thee Merry Widows have been tearing things up recently with their own brand of garage-punk Rock ‘n’ Roll, and female singers are now flooding the scene in bands like Mad Marge & The Stonecutters, The Valentine Villains and The Creepshow but not since the demise of the short-lived Dypsomaniaxe has a band of ladies nailed the Psychobilly sound so authentically as the Brazilian trio As Diabatz.
Hailing from Curitiba, in the South of Brazil, they take their name from a combination of Portuguese and English influences which translates as something close to a wild mix of ‘devil dancers’ and ‘bats’ and is pronounced ‘As Dee-a-batz’. So far they have only released their ‘Witches Stomp’ Demo, a four-track CD that boasts a fine collection of songs far stronger than many bands have released on their debut albums. Skillfully avoiding the modern trend for ‘punk with a double bass’, As Diabatz have their own unique sound but one which has elements of bands such as Torment, Guana Batz, Ricochets and even The Vibes. With their lead singer now based in Rotterdam and a place in the line-up for the 2008 Psychobilly Meeting in Spain‘s Pineda De Mar, this year should see them really get noticed and unbelievably, given their established sound, they have only played a handful of gigs so far.
As Diabatz line-up is Baby Rebbel (guitar & vocals), Claudia Smith (slap bass) and Clau Sweet Zombie (drums). Check them out at.................. As Diabatz on MySpace
When did the band form and has the line-up always been the same?
As Diabatz : We started rehearsing in 2006, and our first gig was in 2007 one year after. The line-up has been always the same and we hope it never changes.
Were either of you in other bands before forming As Diabatz?
Baby Rebbel (BR):
I have been in 3 bands before As Diabatz, always
playing guitar but sometimes singing (either lead vocals or
What is the Psychobilly scene like in Curitiba and has Sao Paulo the biggest Psychobilly scene in Brazil?
CS : In Curitiba the scene is cool. There are some old bands like Ovos Presley who have been playing Psychobilly for more than 10 years and also new bands who are also good like Sick Sick Sinners.
BR : The scene in São Paulo is a bit bigger, yeah, although they don't have any big festivals there. But the thing is, in Curitiba there are two big festivals (Psychobilly Fest & Psycho Carnival) that happen every year, and foreign bands are always coming also besides the fests, but in small weekend gigs with Brazilian bands most of the people in Curitiba stay at home. In São Paulo they're always there for local bands and small gigs, and they also come to Curitiba for the festivals, of course.
CSZ : I think the scene here in Curitiba is great, we have very good bands here, and increasingly more bands are emerging. But the scene in São Paulo is bigger I think, there they are always meeting every weekend to drink a beer and talk, or enjoy a small gig, while the people here focus on the bigger shows.
Where and when were your first few gigs? Was it a good experience?
CS : We have only played 3 times until now, the first was in November 2007, the second in December 2007 and the third was in February 2008 (at Psycho Carnival)...All them in Curitiba. This last was full of people from everywhere, because Psycho Carnival is the biggest Psychobilly festival in Brasil. The 3 gigs were better than we expected, but we know we need to play more live.
CSZ : At the first show we were all nervous to play, but at the end everyone liked it, and we enjoyed it! But I particularly was more nervous in the Psycho Carnival, for having people from different places seeing As Diabatz playing ... It was a great experience!
Do you feel that people mention that you are an all-girl Psychobilly band rather than simply a Psychobilly band?
BR : Well, people always seem impressed by the fact that we are girls. In Brasil, an all-girl psychobilly band has never happened before, and in the rest of the world it didn't really happen a lot, either. So, that is indeed one of the things people comment about, and that`s actually good, when it comes to makes us different from other bands.
CSZ : I think the fact of us being a all-girl Psychobilly band can only draw more attention than normal because there are no Psychobilly bands of girls today. But we are here to make music, and this is what really matters.
Your demo has a real authentic Psychobilly sound, very similar to some of the pioneering Psychobilly acts from the UK and Europe of the early 1980's… are you influenced by bands from this period?
As Diabatz : Yes, we love the original Psychobilly from the 80's. Torment, Ricochets, Krewmen, Sharks, Meteors, Batmobile, Caravans, Guana Batz, Coffin Nails, Dypsomaniaxe (of course) and much more. We also listen to some different kinds of bands, but with As Diabatz we wanted to sound more like the old classic acts.
What sort of musical influences does each member have?
BR : For me is a bit too much to mention...I love Psychobilly, of course, but I also love ska/early reggae, soul/R&B, rock and roll from the 60's/70's, punk rock, blues, swing, etc, not in order of preference. With As Diabatz I'm mostly influenced by Psychobilly and Rockabilly classics, also introducing some other styles not too far from the billy, such as old country, 60's garage, surf music, etc...
CS :My influences all come from Rock and Roll. AC/Dc, Ramones, Motorhead, some metal bands, but lately I've been listening more country music and a lot of Psychobilly.
CSZ : My influences are from jazz, blues, rockabilly, punk, even the Psycho. This is due the fact that I have grown up in on a place where the music and rock'n'roll were always references. But lately I have heard too much of original pure Psychobilly ( I mean Meteors hehehe).
What age are each member and what was each members first experience of hearing Psychobilly?
BR : I'm 19 years old. The first time I've heard Psychobilly I was like 12/13 or something... My sister was working in a punk rock cd shop, and she's got a promotional cd from Os Catalepticos. I really liked it, but I was into a different thing back then, I had always been involved in more political underground movements, so I couldn't really get the feeling from Psychobilly at that time. Then I started playing in The Rising Scum, when I was 15/16. 60's garage/surf music but with a huge influence from Psychobilly. I got all excited about it, we were always playing for psychos, traveling all over. I started to understand the scene: everything was fun, nothing more, nothing less. And then of course I got hooked. (LOL)
CS : I'm 24, first time I heard Psychobilly was in the radio, an old program Transsylvanian Express which aired every friday at midnight, and in 2001 I went to a Psychobilly gig for the first time with the Cenobites from Holland and another local bands.
CZW : Well, I am 20 years old, and the first time I heard Psychobilly was at a gig. I went to 92 Degrees (an underground club in Curitiba) to see The Lurkers, and Os Catalepticos played before them. I enjoyed Os Catalepticos much more, even more than Lurkers!!! So, I realized that's what I was looking for...and here I am!