Gisele Marie Rocha: Murdering Stereotypes
She’s one of the most interesting and inspiring people you’ll ever come across. She’s a Muslim Niqab-wearing Brazilian rock star; definitely a very unique stereotype-breaking mixture. Ladies and gentlemen, Persona is proud to present to you Eden Seed’s lead guitarist, Gisele Marie Rocha.
- Tell us more about yourself. Who is Gisele, besides being Eden Seed’s guitarist?
I’m just a simple woman. Like everyone else, I take care of my home, I have my family, and my friends, I shop, go out on the streets, walking; a very ordinary life. But I like to always create new things. I write a lot, I’m a songwriter, and music is my profession, my job.
- Who are your favorite bands or musicians?
This is a very complicated question to ask someone who is a musician, you know?
Well, I’m very eclectic and listen to music of all styles. I think that what matters to me the most is good music. The rest is mere convention for the market. In this sense, I must say that the musician and guitarist I love most is RANDY RHOADS. RANDY RHOADS will always be The Number One for me, but I also love PACO DE LUCIA, he influences me a lot on the guitar. In terms of metal bands, I love JUDAS PRIEST, OZZY OSBOURNE, MEGADETH, ANTHRAX, BLACK SABBATH, and many others, but I also like YES, PINK FLOYD, and many musicians who have no connection with metal or rock, as MILTON NASCIMENTO, ZAIN BHIKHA, ALLAN HOLSDWORTH, and others. I really like classical music too, especially baroque music.
- Any misconceptions about metal music that you’d like to clarify?
Oh yes, there are many misconceptions about metal music worldwide and it is always interesting to talk about it. The first thing I should speak about and most of the world’s musicians know this, is that metal music is the contemporary musical style closest to classical music, and it’s not easy to play metal. Metal is a musical style that requires a lot of dedication to the study of music, a lot of knowledge of harmony, time subdivision, and a lot of practice on the instrument. Another interesting detail is that many people around the world associate metal with satanic lyrics, however, many bands and metal authors are influenced by literature, and there are letters that are true poems in the metal music. I myself love books and read since my childhood and this often made metal easy.
- When did this all start?
Well, talking about myself, it all started when I was born. Alhamdulillah I was born into a family that has always had very strong connection to art, to culture in general, and especially music. I’ve listened to classical music since I was born, and I started studying classical piano when I was 8 years old. Then after 11 years I played the guitar and I never stopped. My mother plays piano, and all my brothers had involvement with bands and music in general. The only one who didn’t play musical instruments in my family was my father, but he had the best musical ear of my family. So, I grew up in a very favorable environment for my development as a musician, and in this environment, me and my brothers ended up choosing music as a profession. My brothers stopped playing, and I stopped for a while, when I studied psychology. Time passed, and I ended up coming back to playing guitar. I can’t live without music.
- So tell us more about Eden Seed.
EDEN SEED is a band whose project emerged from the musical experiences that I had with the band’s lead singer, CLÁUDIO MARCHESE, from August 2015, when I decided to leave the band in which I played before. The different professional ideas between me and the other members of the band in which I played for made me decide to leave the band and make a new band, a project of mine. EDEN SEED is indeed a very new band. In fact, until April 2016, it was still a project, and there was only me and Claudio Marchese. We spent eight months writing the band’s repertoire and developing the concept and when we felt that the project was solid, we chose the bass player, CAIO CARUSO, and drummer, GILBERTO MENESES. The band is a thrash metal band with an eclectic artistic and musical concept. Our shows mix several languages and artistic expressions with our music. We had an Arabic dance performance at the release show of the band and this element, together with theater and artistic performances, is always present in the EDEN SEED concerts.
- Tell us about the most challenging situation you’ve had to go through.
It’s strange to talk about it, especially considering the fact that I’m a Brazilian woman living in Brazil, who is Muslim, wears niqab, and plays metal; but the fact is that everything has been very fine with me! I believe this is because of the way I view life and relate to people. I’m always happy, peaceful, and friendly. I really like to talk to all kinds of people, and I think people around me can feel it. I never really went through something that I can classify as a challenging situation. Not that I remember of.
- And the funniest one?
One of the things that I think are the most fun is when I go out on the streets of my city and people want to talk to me. And this always happens, even before I became known for the music. People generally like to take pictures with me, like to talk to me, always ask about Islam, and I like to talk about Islam. Another very fun thing is that children approach me, and It makes me happy because I’m actually a child at heart, and I think I will always be a child, Alhamdulillah.
- What encourages you to keep going? What inspires you?
This is a good question. I believe I have a need to be myself, in my own way, and to experience life deeply. I thank Allah because He has given me a very rich life in terms of experiences, you know? I could also never be anything else. I only know how to be myself. I think that this is it. The need to be myself, combined with my love for life, for the sun, the sky, the world.
- What was the most negative comment you got and the most positive one?
Many things happen in this time that we live in. I look and feel that, in some way, mankind in general developed a lot and has steeped in radicalism and prejudice, which prevents some intellectual evolution. But I honestly don’t care about comments and what people say. My focus is only my music. I read a review on the internet that gave me a lot of laughs. In this review, a man of Northern Europe defended the thesis that I was fake, and that it was AL JAZEERA who set it up, and paid me in cash to wear niqab and say that I’m Muslim. I found it funny because the media around the world publishes articles about me since 2013. So I must be rich! And the other funny thing is that FILHA DA ALVORADA (DAUGHTER OF THE DAWN), my Islamic blog, is online since 2010, always talking, thinking, and writing exclusively about Islam. AL JAZEERA published a story about me just recently. About positive comments, I must say I feel happy when people tell me I inspire them. And if they are women who are our sisters in Islam, then my happiness is complete. I feel especially happy when people feel that I am contributing to the empowerment of Muslim women around the world. This is something that involves me. I think all of us, Muslim women, need to make a difference, to show who we are, and shine. Shine on behalf of all, on behalf of our sisters scattered around the planet who have both talent and beauty, and some of them end up being victims of prejudice because of the negative image that is spread by the media around the world. But also on behalf of all of our sisters, whose basic rights are denied because of some archaic societies, outdated and backward mentalities that unfortunately still exist on our planet.
I also like it when people say I play well, but I never feel that about myself!
- What’s the best thing that has ever happened to you because of your music?
Till now, the best thing that happened to me because of my music was to get to know people around the world, and see people going crazy at our shows, but EDEN SEED is a very new band, and I know many good things are still gonna happen.
- Where do you see your music career in ten years?
In ten years, I want to have played all over the world, and to be with my musical career consolidated. I also want to have the opportunity to play on my solo project too. I have many new ideas that I want to put into practice in music, and some of these ideas are not limited to metal as a musical style. And with that, EDEN SEED and my solo career, I hope to put in place also some interesting projects especially geared for children, in terms of aid and access to culture and learning opportunities in my country and around the world.
- Anything you’d like to add or messages you’d like to send?
I always say in interviews that my message is only one: BE YOURSELF, AND PEACE TO ALL!
This is my message to the world, but I also want to leave a message for the brave and valiant people of Great Egypt. I really love Egypt and I know that the young people of Egypt are preparing a new country, a new horizon. Keep the faith, strength, and hope in a new era for Egypt, and for the world. I really hope to play in Egypt as soon as possible. There are some countries that I feel connected to, and Egypt is one of them. Assalam Waleikum.
For more of Gisele’s and Eden Seed’s work, Check the following links:
Facebook: Eden Seed
Sound Cloud: Eden Seed
Youtube: Eden Seed