BBM: Who the hell are Norte Cartel?
Longo: I am Longo and I play bass. We have Felipe Chehuan on vocals, Daniel Portugal on the guitar and Dudu Manel on the drums.
BBM: Why did you form Norte Cartel?
Longo: We love playin' Hardcore! We all had other bands before but we really felt that nobody was doing this specific kind of Hardcore we enjoy in our hometown Rio de Janeiro. So we got together around 2006 and started the band.
BBM: For those of us not up on Brazilian Hardcore, what does the name Norte Cartel mean?
Longo: “Norte” means both north and guidance- in the sense of conducting, of directing in a certain way. And “cartel”, as in English, means a letter of challenge! It may sound pretentious, but we like to think it as a way of challenging people into bringing some values we feel are essential not only for Hardcore but for our lives in general into our scene again.
BBM: What sets your music apart from other Hardcore bands?
Longo: Nothing new... We are 100% DIY and our music and our lyrics come from our heart. Indeed, sometimes it gets very personal. And we love doing it. We love it as a form of art, as a form of culture, as a form of expressing ourselves. We are not in it for fame, we are not in it for money, we are not in it for the hype. We do it now and always did it back then because we love it.
BBM: What do you aim to do when you sit down and write a song?
Longo: To give something to people they can relate to. As I just said, sometimes it gets very, very personal. But, despite that, it is interesting and, in a sense, satisfying when you go playing in a far- away town and a young kid shows up and tells you the lyrics you wrote means something to him. It is then when you realize that our emotions and the feelings that bind us together as human beings are much more intense than the differences that set us apart.
BBM: What do you hope people take away from your music after hearing it?
Longo: Integrity, self- esteem and the idea that there ain't a single way of life or set of beliefs that is right for everyone.
BBM: Does Norte Cartel have any particular goals or is it just about having fun?
Longo: It is about doing what we love and letting younger people know they can be whatever they wanna be and do whatever they wanna do as long as they stay true to themselves and have full respect for their surroundings. To be honest, sometimes it gives you more headaches than fun!
BBM: There's a lot of good noise coming out of Brazil right now- how do you feel about the competition out
Longo: There's a lot of great bands in Brazil, indeed. But I do not like to think of a prolific scene as one with competition amongst bands. That’s much more symptomatic of an envious environment than a healthy one. The more great bands we have the better the chances our scene will grow wider and more and more people will get into it! It is as simple and obvious as that. Bands should not compete but work together into building a wider scene. When you play in an alternative small band like Norte Cartel you should compete with yourself, not others, and give your best efforts to make the band stronger every day.
BBM: What are you working on right now?
Longo: We are jamming and writing new stuff for our next album.
BBM: Do have any plans for the near- future?
Longo: We released the album “FIEL À TRADIÇÃO” in 2010 and will release a new album in the near future- possibly a split.
BBM: Which Hardcore bands have inspired you the most?
Longo: Ratos de Porão and Sociedade Armada from Brazil. Acts such as Warzone, Breakdown and Madball from the US. I personally enjoy a lot of old English Punk/Hardcore like The Varukers and Disorder.
BBM: As a no- nonsense Hardcore act, what do you think of the way high- pitched Emo groups have tried to claim Hardcore for their own?
Longo: I don't worry about such idiocy. I think it’d a scenario in which teens- in- crisis consume whatever fashion comes along! Trends come and then go when they are not profitable anymore. The phonies disappear and abandon what they used to say was the “meaning of their lives” without guilt or remorse! While that the real ones will still be here doing their thing. It happened in the late 90's when that so called "nu- metal" showed up. It will most likely happen again in the future when another commercial type of music infiltrates the underground…
BBM: What do you think about mainstream "pop" music right now?
Longo: I really can't say since it is not what I listen to- but the industry has been manipulating the masses into passivity for a long time. And the easy pleasures available through consumption of mainstream "pop" music make people docile and content- no matter how difficult their economic circumstances. So my best guess is that it sucks...
BBM: How vibrant is the scene in Brazil?
Longo: It is growing wider every day. New bands, new venues and more and more people are getting involved with it- not only in big cities like Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, But even in the countryside! I would like to say that not only the Brazilian scene is growing, but the South American scene as a whole. Through the internet we have also been seeing that a lot of cool stuff is happening in Asia too, especially in Indonesia. So I guess it is definitely a worldwide thing nowadays and not only a local phenomenon.
BBM: If you could say anything to the world about Norte Cartel, right now, what would it be?
Longo: It ain't about Norte Cartel. It’s about Hardcore: SUPPORT YOUR LOCAL SCENE!!!
BBM: When will you be touring to Europe and the UK?
Longo: I really got no clue, but we would love to.
BBM: Longo, thank you for your time- any last words?
Longo: Thanks to you too! Check us out at www.facebook.com/nortecartel (there are translations for lyrics and songs plus lots of photos there) and www.twitter.com/nortecartel.