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NERVOSA's Eleni Nota: "We are trying to remain connected with our fans, because they are what keeps us alive, emotionally and in every other possible way.”

Interview with Eleni Nota from Nervosa
by Thomas Kumke at 20 January 2021, 6:32 AM

In 2020, all female Thrash Metal band Nervosa endured the most difficult and also the most exciting year in their career. In April 2020, two of the three members left the band with only founding member Prika Amaral remaining. Within four weeks, Prika established a new line-up and since then, NERVOSA never looked back. With the revamped line-up, NERVOSA is going to release their 4th studio album “Perpetual Chaos” on the 22nd of January via Napalm Records. A good reason to speak to Eleni Nota who joined Nervosa in May 2020 as their new drummer. Long time fan and Metal Temple writer Thomas Kumke was fortunate to speak with Eleni about her career, her start at Nervosa, and the new album.

Hello Eleni, it is a real pleasure to have you here and I am really grateful to perform an interview with you today for the Metal Temple online magazine. First of all I hope you had a great start in 2021, and you and your family are safe.

Eleni: I am very well and really excited to be here. Everything is fine with me, my family, and my close circles. I hope everything is alright with you.

Oh, yes. We have to stay at home most of time because of the lockdown. With Covid-19, everything has changed. For fans, it is a very difficult situation to handle the current Covid-19 situation without live shows, how is it from a musician’s perspective? How much do you miss your fans and how do you keep connecting with them?

Eleni: For us musicians, it is pretty hard because we miss live shows. Most musicians have not played live in more than a year. It is the feeling that you really miss the stage, you really miss the crowd, and the empowerment of the fans. This also is a burden financially of course, because the musicians need to survive. So we have to find alternative ways to survive, like lessons, merchandising, or our live stream concerts. You have to be really inventive to find stuff to add some money. So yes, it is a bit tough. Thankfully, we have found ways to connect with the fans such as doing interviews, Instagram live streams, video chats and so on. We are trying to remain connected with our fans, because they are what keeps us alive, emotionally and in every other possible way.

When did you start playing drums and when did you decide to make a career out of it in a Metal band?

Eleni: I started playing the drums when I was 12 years old. I actually discovered drums as an instrument when I was 10 when a friend introduced me to Slipknot and I saw Joey Jordison play for the first time. But yeah, it was pretty hard to convince my mother to learn such a loud and big instrument. So it took a couple of years and with 12 I finally started taking lessons. The main reasons I wanted to start in the first place were Slipknot and Joey, and also because of the feeling of power and strength. When I saw a drummer perform, I viewed him as a superhero. I wanted to become a superhero myself and feel powerful. That is the reason I began in the first place. It came naturally to me when I was 16 years old, one day I just woke up and I said to myself okay, I don't like anything else, I am bored of pretty much anything else than music. I could not think of myself as a lawyer, as a secretary or a doctor or something. I really had to do this as a job, otherwise my life would be miserable. I started working really hard, practicing like crazy, and worked crazy amount of hours. With 16, I decided that I want to be a professional musician in metal because I loved metal since I was a child. My preference has always been metal. I have worked as a session drummer with other types of music, but my love is always metal.

How did it work when you were a child? Drums are a big instrument and very noisy. Did you have a drum kit at home?

Eleni: Yes, it was a problem because we lived in an apartment with my mother and at first she bought a drum kit for me. It was really nice but our neighbors wanted to kill us. So after a few months, I stopped playing on this drum kit because there were a lot of complaints and my mother bought me an electronic Roland drum kit. So I spent most of my life playing on electronic kits, I actually got my first serious real drum kit two years ago. Before, I spent my life playing on the Roland kit. Two years ago, I found a place where I can rent a kit nearby my house, so I can go practicing on real drums and do all my lessons there. Yes, it is pretty hard when you play drums and there are neighbors around.

During the early stage of your career you played in a couple of Progressive Metal/Progressive Metalcore bands, most notably Greek outfit Mask Of Prospero. During that time you released one EP and one full-length album. Did you do a lot of touring and what were your highlights during that time?

Eleni: My most notable band before Nervosa was Mask Of Prospero. Actually, we did not do that many tours together. Most of my touring have been with other bands, either as a session member or as a permanent member. For example, I toured with Ghost Season, which is one of my favorite bands. We played Alternative Metal and we toured around Eastern Europe, and all around Great Britain. With other bands as session member, we toured around Germany, Italy, Poland, Cyprus, mostly in Europe. Actually, I have never been outside of Europe. But yes, I have done plenty of tours in Europe. I actually cannot compare it to touring with Nervosa, because I have not toured with them yet. The types of tours I have done in my life are pretty small with five to ten shows per tour. The venues were pretty small. We were sleeping either in hostels or inside the Van. It was a lot of fun because it was not 100% professional, so we were like children running around and it was crazy fun. But I cannot compare it with professional touring I have to start touring with Nervosa to say something about that. Yeah, with Mask Of Prospero we did a lot of stuff, the second album is about to be released. I finished the work on that album and then I left Mask Of Prospero. We had a great time together.

In April 2020, I was left devastated when my favorite band Nervosa decided to split up and only founding member Prika Amaral was left. In May 2020, Prika introduced the new line-up. Eleni, you are part of the new line up, and since then, Nervosa never looked back and has been very active. How did it happen that you joined Nervosa and what was the process?

Eleni: Prika found Mia Wallace \[the new bassist], Diva Satanica \[the new vocalist] and myself right after Fernanda Lira and Luana Dametto left the band. From what she told me, Prika quickly made up a list of the potential new members, one list for bass, one for vocals, and one for drums. She was looking for people, regardless of their country and origin that could fit in to Nervosa. I was on her drumming list because she had seen one of my Slipknot drum covers. She really liked it and still remembered me. So I made it in that list. And one day, all of a sudden, out of the blue, I received an email from Prika asking if I was interested in auditioning for Nervosa. I said yes of course. Since we both were in lockdown, we did the audition through Skype. There was no other choice. I played one song from the old Nervosa material, we did an interview and we spoke a lot. She wanted to get to know me, since we have to match as characters. After that, she told me that I am the new drummer of Nervosa. I did not expect that really, I was expecting to wait for one or two weeks. It was really quick. I think she liked something.

I personally was very excited by the new line-up. I have seen Mia Wallace with three different bands before, I listened to Diva Satanica before, and I was blown away by your drum playthrough of “Kill The Silence”. How did the fans react to the drastic line-up change?

Eleni: The reactions were extremely positive. We were expecting some hate comments, but actually the opposite happened. The reactions were 99% positive and the comments of the fans were beautiful. Everything felt really warm. Like it was the next natural step for Nervosa and the fans did not find it weird. Personal speaking, after my drum playthroughs were released, the reaction to that was even crazier. All the comments were positive. I guess, pretty much everyone liked them. So I have to say thank you to the fans for accepting me so quickly.

You have been in the studio over the summer to record the new NERVOSA album “Perpetual Chaos” which will be released on the 22nd of January via Napalm Records. You basically did not know the other band members and spent together 4 weeks locked away in a recording studio in Spain. How did you develop a relationship and understanding to the other band members and how did the recording process work?

Eleni: As you said, we did not know each other before. Only Prika and Diva knew each other in person. Apart from that, no one knew anyone. In August 2020, Prika arrived in Malaga and after two days, I joined. At the beginning, the two of us started alongside our producer Martin Furia and we recorded all the drum tracks. We had already done some pre-production from home separately, so 70% of the song structures were ready. When I arrived there, we experimented a lot with Martin and some songs changed drastically. After a week, I had finished all 15 songs that had been on the album including the bonus tracks. Then, Mia arrived and did her part and after that Diva arrived and did her part. After Diva finished, we also did the video shooting of “Guided By Evil” as well as the photo shoot. We actually did a lot of work in Malaga. It was a great time for me because I had the whole month at least with Prika and Martin. I was the luckiest because I arrived alone and had enough time to get to know all of them one by one and get easily adapted to everything. After that month, we all became friends. I think we have a special chemistry between us and we formed a really strong bond in just a month. So I think we are going to do great in touring because the chemistry is already there. We have a crazy chemistry between us and had the time of our lives there. I think the result is pretty killer and the album is killer.

How much time did you spend all four of you together?

Eleni: All four of us spent 10 days together in Malaga. We met later once again in Milan, Italy to spend a bit extra time together for another five days.

“Perpetual Chaos” was produced by Martin Furia. How much was his influence to bring all four individuals together and to function as a band?

Eleni: Martin was basically everything for us: psychiatrist, sound engineer, he did pretty much everything. He was our Guru because he had a lot of things to deal with. Most importantly, he had a band of four strangers to record the entire album. Everyone of us has an own story with Martin, but speaking for myself, I owe many things to Martin. He created a safe place for me in the studio. I was really anxious when I arrived in Malaga because I was the least experienced member in the band and I was the youngest one. So I was really afraid at some point that I was not experienced enough to deal with all of this and do my job really quickly. But Martin created a safe space for me where I felt safe and calm and it just took me one day to adapt. After that I just felt so natural that I was recording the songs really quickly and relaxed. We experimented a lot with our ideas and that really pushed my limits so much that I played stuff I could not imagine I was able to. All of this is thanks to Martin because he really unlocked my brain and myself. He was my psychiatrist and therapist. Martin is the best person.

All four members have basically a different background: Prika comes from Thrash Metal; Diva from Melodic Death Metal, Mia from Black Metal, and you from Progressive Metalcore. What can we expect from “Perpetual Chaos”?

Eleni: You can expect that what you already have loved with Nervosa but with new elements. It is Thrash Metal in there, there is Death Metal, and there is Black Metal. Black Metal is really there for the first time in Nervosa. My Progressive Metalcore roots are not so much in there because they do not fit 100% with the other genres. So I did not want to change everything all of a sudden. In my drumming you will hear them though. You will hear some progressive parts, a lot of ghost notes, and a lot of bits that you would not normally hear in Thrash Metal. My influences can be heard only on the drumming, but not on the entire songs. In general you can hear a bit of each one of us everywhere on the album.

Nervosa had quite a few drummers in their history. With every drummer change, also the style of Nervosa changed a bit. For example, with the change from Pitchu Ferraz to Luana Dametto, Nervosa went a bit towards Death Metal. The last album “Downfall Of Mankind” is a lot driven by Luana’s blast-beats. What can we expect with the change from Luana to Eleni?

Eleni: In general you can expect faster drumming, there is faster double-bass drumming. As you said, when Luana came to Nervosa, the vibe became more Death Metal oriented with the blast-beats. I kept the blast-beats, but they are not my signatures as Luana’s. So I do them not that much. I added a lot of my fast double-bass drumming, because it is the signature of me playing with really fast feet. It is that what I love the most in Metal drumming, so you will hear the feet speeding up like crazy on the entire album. I think this makes it also more Death Metal oriented because Death Metal has really fast double-bass. It is still Death Metal drumming in a way but with faster feet.

Okay we learned how Nervosa had to adapt to your style. How much did you have to adapt to the style of Nervosa?

Eleni: I had to learn blast-beats and skank-beats. I had played blast-beats and skank-beats in the past. Skank-beats are a signature in Thrash Metal. I had played skank and blast-beats but not that often, because I never played Thrash Metal before. In Progressive Metalcore, you will not find blast-beats that often, so I was not very familiar with them. I was not blasting every day while practicing. When we auditioned, I told Prika that I have never played Thrash Metal before, she was okay with that. She told me that I will learn how to play and I will learn fast. So I started practicing a lot of blast-beats and skank-beats. It took me about a month to get comfortable with them. Yes, I had to adapt to the roots of Death Metal drumming, I guess.

Did you follow Nervosa before joining and what is your favorite album and song of Nervosa prior to “Perpetual Chaos”?

Eleni: Yes, I already knew and followed Nervosa before joining them. I have never seen them live before because they had never come to Greece. I watched all of their video clips and I really loved the band and I really like the whole idea of female power. My favorite album is “Downfall Of Mankind” and my favorite song is “Raise Your Fist”. I really love this song. I love the groove, the baseline, the groove. I am in love with the song. Yes.

You released two videos so far: “Guided By Evil” and “Perpetual Chaos” as lyric video. How was the response from fans and public so far?

Eleni: Both of them had extremely positive response, especially “Guided By Evil” because it is a video clip and people pay more attention to video clips naturally. When “Guided By Evil” was released, the response was insane. My phone was buzzing every two seconds. It really was insane. I was trying to read the comments on the video, but most of them were in Portuguese. So I had to put them in Google translator to understand what people say and all of them were so positive. They really loved the song, they loved the video clip, our performance, everything. People were extremely kind. The response on “Perpetual Chaos” was also really warm. So I really can't wait to see the response on the whole album.

Nervosa used to be a Brazilian Thrash Metal band and they have a lot of fans particularly in South America. Given that the three new members all coming from Southern Europe, what are your expectations regarding the new fan base of Nervosa?

Eleni: Naturally we expect our European base fan base to grow as it already has, especially in the countries of our origin. We have a stronger fan base than before right now in Spain, Italy and Greece. It is also growing in the rest of Europe. The Brazilian fan base and the whole Latin American one also remains really strong.

Looking a bit ahead, it is obviously difficult to make plans for the near future. Normally, you would go on tour with Nervosa to promote “Perpetual Chaos”. What are your plans for the next months and what can we expect from Nervosa in the future?

Eleni: This is kind of weird for us, because we do not know how to plan. Everything is uncertain. If we knew for 100% we are not going to tour for the entire year, okay then we will think of something based on that. But for now, we still do not know whether there is a chance that we are going to play live shows in the summer. So, we are just waiting to see what we are going to do. We have some plans about content videos, playthroughs, and stuff that we are about to release. We also want to meet each other again, probably in the spring and do some more rehearsals. But apart from that, we cannot make 100% solid plans, because everything is so uncertain.

Eleni, it was a great honor to perform this interview with you for Metal Temple magazine. I really enjoyed it talking to you and I count down the days to see you live on tour when we all do that again what we love most. Thank you very much.

Eleni: It was a pleasure. Thank you for having me. And probably we will meet each other in person backstage in the future. I really hope so.


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