Formed in 2009 and based in São Paulo, Brazil, Mad Sneaks are alternative-rock veterans who cite everyone from Nirvana and Alice in Chains to Local H and Helmet as primary influences. "We are Mad Sneaks and we make noise!" is how the band — singer-guitarist Agno Dissan, bassist Elton Reis and drummer Amaury Dias — used to introduce themselves onstage, and they recently had the golden opportunity to be joined in that noise-making by one of their heroes, Helmet main man Page Hamilton. The Nineties alt-metal trailblazer produced Mad Sneaks' punchy, catchy new single "Dead Killer" and also contributed vocals, bass and guitar to the song, which is premiering right here right now. Blast it above (you can also stream it now on Spotify), and below, Dissan reveals the story and meaning behind the tune.
HOW DID THE SONG "DEAD KILLER" COME ABOUT? WHAT WAS THE FIRST PART OF THE SONG YOU GUYS CAME UP WITH? HOW DID IT EVOLVE FROM THERE?
AGNO DISSAN When I knew that Page Hamilton has listened to our songs, liked and accepted to work with us, I got very excited! I joined Amaury and Elton in a rehearsal and we talked about what song would be good for that occasion and I said, "OK, give me a day and I'm gonna tell what song we will record." Everyone laughed about this, even me, but when I went home, I sat down, took my guitar, tuned it in drop D and started playing. At that moment, the only thing I knew was that I wanted the song to be in drop D, because I thought it had to be hard, heavy and dense.
I can't explain how, but the song just flowed as if I already knew how to play it and in less than 24 hours the song was already done, with solos and lyrics. I took a portable recorder, made a demo and sent it to the guys. They loved it and in some weeks we were in a studio recording "Dead Killer."
After that, we sent the files to Page and he recorded some tracks, too, including some guitars, bass and lent us his voice in the choruses. It was an awesome experience!
WHAT'S THE SONG ABOUT?
It's a figurative sense about depression. If we pay attention, we will notice that one of the worst killers of the century is within our minds, in the form of a disease, with three characteristics of the cruelest killers: It is painful, slow and silent. Even though it may not seem, the lyrics are motivating, because it speaks of the exact moment of transition where the "victim" escapes the "oppressor" and find a way to get rid of this personal killer. It's a situation we've all already faced at least once in our lives, when we just have to say: Stop! That is enough!
HOW DID PAGE FIRST COME TO BE INVOLVED?
Amaury contacted him by email, introduced him to some of our songs and he liked what he heard. He asked if we were looking for a producer for some new stuff and then we asked if he wanted to do it with us! As he accepted the invitation and as it all happened so well and natural, we also invited him to play and sing with us!
ARE YOU A BIG HELMET FAN? HOW DID YOU FIRST DISCOVER THE BAND, AND WHAT HAS BEEN THEIR INFLUENCE ON YOU?
Certainly, we really love them. In every interview which we talk about influences, we quote Helmet. We'd never worked with anyone we didn't really like. To be honest, I have no idea how or when I discovered the band, because I listen to them since I listen to rock, almost my whole life. I admire how solid and dense they can play their songs! It's almost unbelievable! The riffs, the punch, everything they make is very characteristic of Helmet and it is what I am always looking for when I'm writing my songs, something that be really organic and with our identity.
WHAT WAS IT LIKE WORKING WITH PAGE?
He is a nice and very humble person, a guy who really knows a lot about music. We learned a lot from him. He's a riff maker. He's the guy behind Helmet. When we listen to "Dead Killer," we can notice many things with his personality in the arrangements. I think this partnership worked very well and we managed to blend our personalities into it, making it a really enjoyable experience to be listened and felt!
Page formed Helmet in the 1980s and at that time we were just being born, so while we were just helpless babies, Page was already rocking the world with his music. Can you imagine how many cool things he lived with the band all this time?! Having a chance to work with him was a great pleasure for us. Our respect for him has grown even more since then.
WHAT DO YOU HOPE LISTENERS GET OUT OF "DEAD KILLER"?
Just enjoy it, feel it, let it take you with this nice experience! Always remember that this is a song made by humans to be enjoyed by humans. It has failures, has fears, has beauty. It's real! This is the kind of art we trust. We hope to be with you in this journey and that you have a really cool travel. Welcome to the Mad Sneaks family! See you on the road.
"Dead Killer" lyrics:
Hey, you killer
Scream for freedom
Feel my cold gun
On your forehead
Stay down on your knees
You'll hurt no one else
I'll become a killer too
There's no way back now
Hey, you slayer
Cry for your rights
Feel the headsman
In your cold mind