Rust Proof & Worst: Southern Hemisphere Hardcore

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The hardcore community is one of the best examples of comradery I see in the musical world today. I think one of the many examples of this community was the recent 7” split between Geelong’s Rust Proof and Brazil’s Worst.

Violent Assault From The Southern Sphere’ is the name of the joint release from the two outfits, and it’s a ripper of a release. Two bands, four songs, one great release. There’s your fucking pull quote, boys!

With some help from Peter Worrall over at 10-54 Records, I was able to get in touch with Worst’s Fernando Schaefer (drummer/songwriter), and Rust Proof’s Ryan Pett (drummer/lyricist) for this piece about two bands, who despite a vast distance between them, have one common passion; hardcore. Now, if you don’t know who Worst are (and hey, fair call, they’re from Brazil, after all) look no further than the group’s latest single, ‘Born In The 3rd World’ just below.

Likewise, if you aren’t aware of who Rust Proof are either, then check out the ‘Rip‘ video and educate yourself, especially if you’re an Aussie. You can thank me later.

Now, Worst’s main songwriter and heavily tattooed drummer Fernando Schaefer, who also runs a drum school for kids back home (that’s code word for ‘absolute legend’), told me what he thinks hardcore music and being in a hardcore band is about, and I’m inclined to agree with him.

“I think as a hardcore band we need to tell the truth”, states Schaefer.

Simple, really.

With songs like ‘Born In The 3rd World‘, the band is speaking about the everyday truths of a country like Brazil, and they’re representing what many Western, suburban-orientated hardcore bands haven’t really experienced. But its songs like these that allow for people to share their worldly experiences, and with the help of YouTube channels like Hardcore Worldwide (H.C.W.W), bands like Worst can get their music out of South America and into the ears of the rest of the world. The very same goes for Rust Proof right here in Australia, which as wel know, can make it tough for new bands to grow. RP’s Ryan Pett spoke about the strong comradery between hardcore bands, regardless of their geographical location and ethnic backgrounds.

“It certainly is unique the sense of a larger kinship the music can have. I think a lot of bands really put aside narrow mindsets to make it so cohesive and really find something in a scene that is impelled by others with a similar passion and drive as them. In saying that, there are some divides and differences like with any human collective.”

He also tapped into Rust Proof’s lyrical content (or rather, his own lyrical content) and how the band understands the target audience – the wider hardcore community – when writing their songs and lyrics. Which is always handy to keep in mind when writing, I think.

“Lyrically, we intend to have some very specific messages, as well as some broader strokes in relation to philosophy and humanity, and likewise for the delivery to be at times direct and at others making inventive stylistic choices. Overall we try to write lyrics you want to scream, that evoke positive aggressive and that match the tone of the music”. He adds, “We also like to write a bit of funny shit occasionally that we probably do for ourselves more than anything.”

It’s clear that both bands want the listener to feel empowered through their music and not dwell on the negative bullshit that goes on in the world. Even if that’s a given in the genre and their music. Oh, and speaking of negative bullshit…

If you’re an avid watcher of Vice News, seen City Of God one too many times, or if you’ve played way too much Max Payne 3 (as I have), then your perception of Brazil and its various cities may not be all that positive. Schaefer understands this and was able to self-analyse the prejudice towards his country, as well as the “bad instinct” many people living in Brazil have.

“I think the prejudice against Brazilians is about what they do and did in other countries. We have inside each Brazilian what we call ‘Instinto Ruim’ [their third album]. It means “bad instinct”. It’s a survival way to make things work. This is not good. We talk about that to try to change this! But if the government still fucks with the people, it’s gonna be difficult to change this mentality.”

He continues, “I guess everyone has their own struggles. Living in Brazil…it’s fucked up. We pay the highest taxes in the world and we get nothing back. I mean, nothing! All goes to corruption. That’s why we are so pissed off about this situation. In some of the Portuguese songs, we sing about murdering these fucks. We don’t care.”

You know, something tells me that that pissed-off aggression makes for harder-hitting music, and even if hardcore ain’t really your cup of tea, you can’t deny there’s both aggression and passion driving these guys. Likewise, from an Australian/outsider’s perspective, Rust Proof’s timekeeper had some really interesting things to say about Brazil, the band’s overall perception of it, and how they deal with it in their music.

“If anything it’s a motivation. Music can be a voice and an outlet and hardcore music had always dwelt at it’s best as a release of anger and frustration as well as in doses of hard realities and calls for action both individually and collectively. So to go to Brazil and give something we hope fans of heavy music there can get that voice and that outlet from is worthwhile.  The corruption and subsequent poverty and crime in Brazil isn’t new, it’s an age-old evil for a people to find itself subject to. So the motivation there comes from not just wanting to write about and voice these human blights in a general way but to also recognise them where they exist today. With tracks on ‘Civil Treason’ and tracks like ‘A Mortal low’, off the new split, we were working thematically with ideas a lot bigger than ourselves. The writing is mostly allegorical and intended to be universal but certain societies like in Brazil are living some of these cruel truths.

Pett also concludes this sentiment with what is perhaps a grand universal truth in life and now perhaps one of my favourite quotes. “On the flip side, for every altruistic reason, there’s a selfish one.”

Just as Nails proclaimed with their new album, ‘You Will Never Be One Of Us‘, the global hardcore scene is for those who give back and who wish to see it grow; not for those wish to selfishly take from it. For us Aussies, we can, figuratively speaking, look out our front door and see the local hardcore scene thrive with local events like Strong Fest For Kyle, a benefit show for BeyondBlue that’ll be held on July 10th at The Tote in Melbourne (info for that show here). With Rust Proof on that show’s lineup, among many others, they’re putting their money where their mouth is by supporting the local community and its members.

“We’ve played a lot of great shows over the last few years but it’s always incredible to play one like Strong Fest for something important like Beyond Blue. There has definitely been a resurgence of activity in the Australian hardcore scene that we’ve been lucky enough to be apart of, however, we’d always love to see a lot more growth and support, but heavy music in general is in as good a shape as ever in Australia,” says Pett.

Now, I’m not saying that those kinds of benefit shows don’t happen over in the Brazil, they very well might! But by going off what Schaefer says, things don’t seem as prosperous as they are over here…

“The scene in Brazil is ok”, states Schaefer. “Not big, but we are trying hard to make this bigger! We are in a very fucked up crisis now because of the government. We are selling less merch and there is less people at the shows because they don’t have money. It’s sad. But we’re gonna struggle to the end.”

That struggle seems to be where Worst get a lot of inspiration from, too (if you couldn’t already tell). And as you may or may not have guessed, English is indeed their second or even third language. However, hardcore is most definitely their first language. A huge portion of Worst’s lyrics are written in Portuguese, and touting your native tongues is more than fine by me. I mean, I love Dir En Grey and FJORT, for Christ’s sake. But I don’t think that lessens their musical impact, and neither does Pett, in that hearing a band in their native tongue shouldn’t detract from the overall music.

“Bands like Brujeria and Nueva Etica have given us some killer records in Spanish, as well as Worst in Portuguese that are vocally savage in their native tongues so that has never been a barrier for us”.

Right on!

However, it’s good to see Worst starting to write in English, as that hopefully means more listeners, more people at the shows and therefore, hopefully, more money for the group. I think that crossing over into English songs will help them out when other parts of the Americas and when touring places like Europe, as they right now.

“This is the first time we’re touring another country. We felt that Brazil is getting small for us. We are talking about doing more songs in English than Portuguese for the next one”, says the drummer.

All of that touring will definitely come in handy as there are plans for the two bands to tour each other’s respective countries within the next year or so. Those tours, if they go ahead, should be a blast for both acts and Schaefer keeps his enthusiasm about hitting up Australia short and sweet.

“We hear just good things about it! We can’t wait!”

“Brazil is a beautiful place that loves its heavy music and travelling to South America will be an amazing experience”, comments Pett.” Also, we can’t wait to get there and party with the guys from Worst so there are plenty of positives to off-set any negatives”, adds the drummer on Brazil, a country that is nearly always featured in any “The Top X Most Beautiful Countries In The World” lists. Not that I read those or anything.

Finally, with this new split out, I wanted to know what were the drummer’s favourite songs from their label mates. Schaefer’s favourite Rust Proof track that he spins is ‘Cretin’ (nice choice, mate), off of the new split. Suss it out below.

And what was Pett’s choice for his favoured song by Worst?

“I’m cranking the new tracks from the split at the moment, but I’ll say Vencedores. Tough as fuck, groovy and Fernando’s killer tub work make it an awesome track”.

Yeah, I can see that. ‘Vencedores‘ does go fucking hard, man.

Review of this new split incoming, people.

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