- Posted By: Dark Emperor
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After 5 years of having disappeared Agathodamion is back with a vengeance to recover their lost ground in the Symphonic Black Metal scence. We had the opportunity to have a few electronic word with none other than Sathonys himself, and here is what he had to say about the new album and the new band members:
Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions. So, let’s get started:
Infernal Masquerade: It has been 5 years since “Serpent’s Embrace”. With an almost completely new lineup “Phoenix” has been recorded and release. Why did it take this long for a new release? How did the line-up change affect the writing process of this album?
Well, you already mentioned it- we had a lot to of struggles with the line-up. And to us, it’s not use to release an album without having a steady line-up, therefore we simply had to wait that long until we were ready to go into the studio again.
We didn’t want to recycle too many of the old stuff that was in work after the recording of SERPENT’S EMBRACE, also because the new members were very productive and motivated. And this creative process also helped to strengthen the chemistry of the band. People who followed the progress of the band know that all musicians are involved into the songwriting, so everybody can bring in his ideas. Of course, therefore line-up changes also affect the songs, but we also have an eye on certain aspects that I’d say define our sound, even though we don’t try to follow a certain style.
I.M: How you compare “Phoenix” to all of your earlier releases?
This is a rather tough question as I can’t give a proper answer. Comparing your own works isn’t fun, it’s like comparing your children. They might be dumb or ugly, but you can’t help loving them, hehe. But honestly, there’s a few things I can say that are facts, it’s surely the best album concerning musicianship. Our new members know how to play their instruments (Manuel is drum teacher, Jan finishing his studies at the university to become guitar teacher etc.), and the first gigs we did with the new line-up really felt a lot better than the gigs we had in the past years.
Concerning the music, it’s somehow in the vein of SERPENT’S EMBRACE, quite melodic, but the songs are more structured. We spent a lot of time on the pre-production for PHOENIX, while we did the previous album quite spontaneous or did more changes in the studio. The amount of clean vocals became a little more, as new vocalist Ashtrael also sung a lot of parts. He also knows how to do vocals Death Metal-style, so he’s not limited to typical Black Metal.
I.M: What is the concept behind “Phoenix” is it somewhat related to the band’s return like ‘a phoenix rising from the ashes’, is there a different story behind the album?
You’re quite right there, that was one of the reasons for choosing the album title. But as always, our lyrics differ a lot from each other. So, we don’t have a concept album. Some songs like “Heliopolis” loosely base on the saga of the phoenix, but we didn’t want to focus on just one subject. Also, we’ve got different lyric writers again. Our new vocalist contributed some stuff, and he’s very much into the style of bands like Dissection, then we also worked on some lyrics of our ex-vocalist Vlad, and even Jan and Felix contributed lyrics. My stuff is again more or less free of a certain topic, I’m rather into describing feelings and emotions into words, play with them, try a little poetry.
I.M: How do you think/hope “Phoenix” will be received by the fans of the band?
Well, the reviews from fans were really good so far! We expected more discussions concerning the album, but it seems most of them do really like it. I mean, music is always a matter of taste, you won’t be able to release an album without getting also negative reviews, but so far, we’re happy.
I.M: What is Agathodaimon going to do in terms of recovering the ‘lost ground’ from being away from the scene for 5 years? Is there anything that you think, will be the hardest thing to do?
Well, 5 years is a damn long time for today’s scene. Trends come and go faster than in the past, and of course a lot of old fans might have forgotten about the band, while lots of others probably never have heard of the band so far.
Best thing in our opinion is, of course besides interviews, to play live as often as possible. We’ll try to do a tour in summer/autumn, and then of course we don’t want to wait long until we produce our next album.
I.M: As the years passed, Agathodaimon releases have been moving from a symphonic black metal style to a more dark /gothic metal style, what are the reasons, influences, etc behind this transition?
Well, the most important aspect: You grow up, get older, and therefore experience that other music styles are interesting as well. Maybe you become bored of always doing the same thing, want to progress, do something new. We’re talking about music, which is an art form, and therefore an artistic way to express yourself. Does it make sense to stick to a certain subgenre of a certain music style forever? Well, in many cases it does, but in our case, we not only love Black Metal, but other styles as well. And of course it’s the mixture of favorites and influences of the individual musicians combined to one team that affects the sound.
I.M: Was there a reason for leaving Nuclear Blast to Massacre Records to release “Phoenix”? Are you pleased on how is Massacre records is handling this release?
Actually, the album is licensed to Massacre, but this album still belongs to the deal we made with Nuclear Blast. The next album will be released through Massacre. We talked with our A&R at Nuclear Blast and the guys of Massacre about it, and we felt it to be a good cooperation for the future. Nuclear Blast is a great label (I did work there for many years), but they’ve become too big for a band like us. We’re not making a living with the music and therefore can’t take every offer for a tour etc, so they need bands that push hard and also have an eye on the commercial output of their work, while we prioritize the artistic value of the music. But back to your question, Massacre is doing very well, we met a few times now and think they do a great job and support their bands a lot. We’re looking forward to the next album, which will be a proper Massacre-release.
I.M: How are the new gigs going with the new lineup? Any tours planned to support the release of “Phoenix”?
Well, cool! We had technical problems during our last gig in France a few days ago, but apart from that, the gigs went real well with the new line-up. As mentioned earlier, it feels like playing with a new band- well, which it partly is of course. About tours, yes we’ll try to tour, and also do some festival shows here and there.
I.M: What do you think bands and labels should be doing in order to deal with the shift in the music industry going to a more ‘digital age’?
The internet has become more and more important, and the ways fans consume their music. MP3’s or new digital storage mediums replace the CD, and of course due to the easy way of exchanging and downloading albums via the internet, the album sales decrease- but I think this can’t be blamed on the illegal downloads in general. Years ago, we copied to tape, then we burnt CD’s, and now people store music
I.M: If you had an unlimited budget for props and stage materials, what would your guys
use for creating ambiance, and why?
Well, I think the most important aspect is the lighting system when it comes to club gigs. A cool lighting system always adds a lot to the show. Plus, some nice pyro-effects would be awesome. That’s nothing so special, but without having a big budget, it’s hard to realize. If there’s an unlimited budget, we’d also try to have some stage props that change, the way Iron Maiden does, to fit to the specific song and to create a unique atmosphere.
I.M: Thanks for the interview, are there any other things you guys want to add for our readers?
I’d like to thank you for the interview, and I hope those of you out there who didn’t check our new album out, go and listen to some tracks on our myspace-page at www.myspace.com/agathodaimon! Besides, we hope to see you at some gigs!