Brazilian band Malvina have just released their new album Hybrid War. Frequent readers of these pages will already be familiar with the themes explored on the band’s new album. Adam Garrie recently interviewed brothers Vini (bass/vocals) and Berman Berbert (guitar/vocals) about the band’s history, future goals and the new album. Below are the joint answer from the Berbet brothers.
AG: How did Malvina form?
Berbets: We were very young kids when we started playing punk rock under the name Malvina. It was 2003 when we had the first lineup of the band, playing some NOFX covers and trying our first songs. We did some demos which sounded laughable because we were like 13 years old at the time. We started playing around in some really underground, scary venues, and that’s how we got contact with more political content, through bands like Solstício and Capetão América and through the anarchists and punks. There were so many changes on the lineup from 2003 to 2009, when we recorded our first official material – the full lenght “Claustro”, released in 2010 – with the same lineup we are today.
AG: Who were some of your earliest musical influences?
Berbets: We always were very influenced by the Ramones, and beyond that, the main influences in the beginning were skatepunk, melodic hardcore bands like NOFX, Pennywise and the great Brazilian bands Dead Fish and Reffer.
AG: How would you describe Malvina’s style of music?
Berbets: We use to describe it as a progressive hardcore/punk. There’s a lot of thrash metal influences too. With time, we noticed a natural tendency towards anarchy in terms of the song forms, the presence of fleeting sequences that brings some tension to the tunes.
AG: What is the significance of your band’s name?
Berbets: Malvina is the name of a handmade bomb. We like its association with subversion, action and chaos. It was a 13 years old decision though.
AG: Your latest album ‘Hybrid War’ takes its title from geopolitical expert Andrew Korybko’s book of the same name, how did you first discover his writings?
Berbets: Korybko gave us an enormous contribution with his writings, we think every Brazilian should read his book, right or left, it’s like putting together all the pieces of the puzzle. We first heard about Andrew Korybko from Pepe Escobar’s interview with TV 247, the Brasil247 YouTube Channel. Pepe said that Korybko had the most complete analysis of the Hybrid Wars strategies. By that time the book didn’t have the case of Brazil and wasn’t even translated to Portuguese, but Pepe told the host Leonardo Attuch that he could ask Korybko to send a copy to Brazil, given the importance of its content.
AG: Would you consider ‘Hybrid War’ to be a concept album?
Berbets: Yes, we address ourselves to the task of pointing out the socio-political chaos and its various dimensions throughout the record, from the 2013 Color Revolution and the present institutional game of lawfare to the series of attacks by US imperialism in Latin America throughout history, on [the tracks] “XIII” and “Hybrid War” for example.
On “Nowhere at Home”, we fight the wave of dictatorship’s glorification with a homage to the activist Ruy Carlos Vieira Berbert who was tortured and murdered by the Brazilian dictatorship.
We have drawn a parallel between our present and the bloody years of Pinochet on “Chicago Boys”, with the US proxies working to deepen the perverted essence of neoliberalism while the government uses violence as a tool to rule the country.
The sequence “Scenario – Herakleion” refers to the takeover of the public goods by the private sector through the related phenomenons of Celebration Capitalism and Disaster Capitalism, and addresses the policies for the 2016 Olympics and the tragedy of Mariana in 2015 – which also explains Brumadinho’s tragedy in 2019 – speculative capital.
We explore media’s role on the rolling coup and the effects of the organized chaos, or the Mann’s virus – as Korybko describe it, on “The Anomie” which also denounces the Globo’s protagonism one more time in Brazilian history, due to their role on 64′ military coup.
The cultural attacks by the alt-right in Brazil are covered with themes like “cultural marxism” and the dangerous of knowledge to capitalist tiranny are adressed on “Hairesis”.
On “The Cypher”, we have some flashbacks to the 2013 scenario from the perspective of a bus driver, an underrated labour worker who’s in charge to supply the demands (human beings) of this system.
We finally address the environmental crisis on “Biped Goodbye” as a global perspective of the exploitation made in name of the profit of a few. While the studies points to a near collapse, the pace of destruction has been accelerated by the financial fundamentalism represented by Trump and Bolsonaro’s policies to more quickly conduct deforestation of the Amazon forest
AG: Is ‘Hybrid War’ an optimistic or a pessimistic album? Is it neither?
Berbets: We would say that “Hybrid War” is a realistic look at a very scary scenario. The primary goal is denouncing the imperialist orchestrated attack. We believe that by exposing these hidden and somber facts and recommending relevant authors to our public we are providing people the ammunition to fight. The album ends with the phrase “We may wave bye or be reborn, now!”
AG: Are you optimistic about the condition of the world as a whole?
Berbets: Honestly, is really hard to say yes. It doesn’t change our will to fight, but we can’t see the so called “human progress”. Our feeling is that achieving a more humane standard of society means being ready to be thrown back to a barbaric structure.
As the planet gives constant advice of its incapacity to handle the aggression of our neoliberal system, the multinational companies increase the exploitation and destruction of our natural resources, we elect world’s leaders, as our president, who work to dismantle the environmental laws and quit climate agreements.
We see a really dark horizon for the future generations,
AGL The wider world paid close attention to Brazil’s recent presidential election, what are your thoughts on the result and on Brazil’s political future?
Berbets: The latest Brazilian elections show the successful plan of indirect attacks by the US on Brazilian democracy. The propaganda disseminated against the Workers Party since 2013 by the traditional media, Operation Car Wash, think thanks and so-called social movements like MBL created an unconditional feeling among Brazilians. Finally, the imprisonment of Lula made Jair Bolsonaro’s election possible. For some reason, the use of fake-news in Bolsonaro’s campaign will be kept secret until 2023.
However, the artificiality of the whole process is coming to light. The May 15th mass protests has shown the fast decay of the government, which tends to face larger manifestations on the next days.
AG: Do you have plans to tour internationally in support of the album?
Berbets: Yes, until the last month of the year we will be focused on Brazil, there are a lot of cities where we never went, this country is really big.
There’s an European tour scheduled for December, it will be like twenty days or something, we are really excited.
For the next year we have in mind to play in some countries of Latin America and then United States and Canada, but we are still working on this plan.
AG: Who did the artwork for ‘Hybrid War’?
Berbets: The artist is Rodrigo Rezende, we consider him a member of the band, he is responsible for all the artworks since ‘Claustro’.
We are really proud to have him working with us, we feel that his arts complement our music, like the combination of both makes our band. There’s an interesting thing about him, both of us came from an inner town of Rio de Janeiro, Nova Friburgo, a really small town, far from the scene of the capital of the State. He is some years older than us, and when we were children he already had his band which sounded like a mix of grunge and punk. That influenced us so much, they were one of the first bands we ever saw playing alive, so he also represents a huge musical inspiration for us.
AG: What message do you have to music lovers just discovering your work?
Berbets: We hope you enjoy the ride on these tracks.
Let’s keep art sacred and revolutionary, much love!
Hybrid War can be purchased here as a high quality digital download, standard quality digital download or as a classic vinyl LP. The album is also available on all major streaming and download services.