Infernal Masquerade: Seven years have passed since “Fire” and only two original members remain in the band. What has happened since the last release in terms of lineup changes and writing/recording “Songs Of The Lost”?
AYL: It is a really long story… After “Fire”, the promotional and the festival tour that followed, it was obvious that we needed to change the label. Our former label didn’t meet with our demands anymore, so we needed a fresh start. It was a long and hard process and since we are not a band that makes a living from music, it was only a matter of time when some members couldn’t or wouldn’t manage both the touring life and the regular job. But as always, good things come out of bad situations. We managed to find musicians that could fill the shoes of the previous band members and also become good friends.
I.M: How would you say “Songs Of The Lost” reflects the band’s previous albums combined with the personal influences of the new band members?
I think that this is our best effort so far and the fresh blood was something that we needed to make this album sound like this. The changes in the band, as well as the problems we had finding a new label, set us in the right mood to write this album. The lyrics are the darkest in the bands history and the music has a vibe that the fans of our early works will really appreciate.
I.M: Before “Fire” the band had a more traditional ‘doomier’ sound, now it’s more focused towards Gothic Doom metal, what made you change the original band sound to this more refined (and excellent) modern sound?
AYL: I think that the changes in a band’s style are natural. All bands grow as people but also as musicians. We never tried to think too much about the music we are going to write we always tried to be honest both to ourselves and our fans. I’m just glad that the majority of our fans recognized this and remained loyal to us.
I.M: There are no more flutes in “Songs of the Lost” what made you drop this characteristic element of the band?
AYL: The main reason behind this decision was the fact that the flute was played by our first singer Dunja. When she was replaced, it was a decision not to bring an extra member in the band just to play the flute. I don’t think this was a bad choice. The flute parts were a great era in AYL’s history, but our new singer Tamara, aside from being a great singer, is also an amazing piano player. So these days the songs have more piano as well as keys parts that didn’t play a big part in our music before.
I.M: What is the concept behind the album cover? How is it related to the album lyrics / concept?
AYL: The cover artwork, as well as the booklet and the design of the entire CD, was done by one of the finest Swedish artists, Andreas Soderlund. We sent him our album and all our lyrics and he came up with the concept idea for the whole CD that, in my opinion, completely represents our music. I can only say that we are thrilled with his work and we are really looking forward to our mutual collaboration in the future.
I.M: Over the years many bands change (some very drastically), but AYL has managed to keep their sound through out the years and transition within genres in a very subtle way. Why do you think this is? Have you musical influences have changed much since the beginning of the band?
AYL: Well, from the very beginning what differentiated us from the other bands is the fact that we played doom, but had a female lead singer and a violin player. This remained a constant in all the phases of the band’s music. Since we are from Croatia, the folk music of our country is somewhere in our music roots and combined with the female vocals and violin, we managed to create a pretty authentic band sound.
Of course, our influences changed throughout the years. You don’t listen to the same bands with 15 and 30 years, you develop as a listener too, but we still listen to the bands that were the main influences to us, as My dying bride, Anathema …
I.M: “Songs Of The Lost” has been released by Sleaszy records from Greece, why the decision of selecting this label for the release of the album?
AYL: Since our former label, German Morbid records, focused on death metal only, we needed a label that could fulfill some of our needs that Morbid couldn’t any longer. From the labels that were interested and that we negotiated with Sleaszy was the most concrete and closest to what we sought in a new label.
I.M: Is AYL back for good? Or we will have to wait other 7 years for the next album?
AYL: No, you will not have to wait that long. We already have some new material and we plan to record the first demos this Fall.
I.M: How is the metal doom/gothic metal scene in Croatia, we haven’t seen many bands of this genre come out of the country? How do you think it has changed since AYL was conceived?
AYL: There aren’t that many, either gothic or doom bands, but things are certainly changing. When we started playing we were basically the only band in the genre but nowadays there are new, young bands emerging every day.
I.M: AYL is scheduled to play at the T-mobile INmusic festival are you guys psyched to share the stage with the first class artists that this festival will feature? How did you guys scored this gig? Do you think the band will reach a broader number of people since the festival has mainstream artists as well as few other ‘bigger’ metal bands?
AYL: Yeah, we are really happy to be able to perform with such famous artists, but this is not the first time we play on mainstream festivals. We performed on EXIT festival in Serbia, as well as Hartera in Croatia.
The festival organizer chose to add a metal stage, which is sponsored by Tuborg Green, on an already established festival, and since we are one of the oldest metal acts in Croatia, they contacted us and asked us if we were willing to perform.
Well, it is always a challenge to play before an audience that is not solely oriented on metal music, but I think that it can only be a positive experience, because some people that normally don’t attend metal concerts will be able to see some off the best Croatian metal bands, as well as some big international acts such as Dimmu Borgir, Anthrax, Hatebreed, God dethroned…
I.M: Any local (and/or favorite ‘unknown’ bands that you guys would like to recommend to our readers?
AYL: I can speak only for myself, my favorite bend is a not so famous band from Sweden called Cemetary (later Sundown) which I highly recommend.
There are some great young bands from Croatia, just to name a few; Machine Insufficiency, E.N.D., Rising dream, Gorthaur’s wrath, Embrio, …
I.M: Anything else you guys want to add to our readers?
AYL: I would like to thank you for the interview and extend my regards to all the readers. Check out our band and our new album “Songs of the lost”, you won’t be disappointed.
Keep the doom flame alive!!!