|Interview:||DIABULUS IN MUSICA|
|Title:||In the name of naturalness!|
On their equally eventful and interesting musical conquest, these courageous Spanish Symphonic Metal explorers from Pamplona went in 2006.
And even if the theatrically striking opulence ensemble around vocalist Zuberoa Aznárez is now on another important career goal with the new and second operatic album-spectacle „The Wanderer“, the astonishingly aesthetic creation of this band shall carry on.
Because Diabulus In Musica knows it with intuitive certainty to give this musical direction sparking impulses of enormously enriching appearance. As the currently so splendidly shining publication as successor to the already very successful 2010 debut album „Secrets“ also reveals, the participants of the quintet do not have any limits when it comes to reaching immense depth in all creative styles.
The latter also includes a healthy core of hardness in the bombastic overall sound of Diabulus In Musica. But not only on „The Wanderer“, the events seem almost to be overruled, also the group itself is anything but sluggish in its own marketing.
I am talking to Zuberoa.
Why did Diabolus In Musica switch so surprisingly ‚quick‘ from Metal Blade to Napalm Records?
„Things turned out this way, not sure why... Maybe we felt that Metal Blade’s promo was more oriented to a different kind of ‘Metal audience’... We were the only Symphonic Metal band in Metal Blade’s roster, so we were like ‘isolated’. Our agency 2wild4 started to deal with Napalm and when we knew they were interested in us, we felt really excited about and directly say ‘yes!’ to the signing.“
When you think about these record label change, what's going through your head?
„Now we are very happy because we feel that we are where we have to be. Napalm was one of the first labels to support this kind of style in Metal and there are quite big names there, so they are for sure doing a great job! Besides, we are also friends with some other bands from Napalm, so we feel more like in a family now.“
What can Diabulus In Musica do for the worldwide Gothic Metal fans with the new music that other candidates can’t?
„Well, it would sound too much pretentious if I say that we can do things that other bands can’t! Haha! But if I have to defend what we offer, I would emphasize that we don’t have only a musical influence, we like different stuff and we have no boundaries in creating music. You can expect anything from us. It sounds like a cliché but we do what we want to do and we don’t think whether it’s going to be too hard, too poppy... We only think if we like what we have done or not. We are lucky that the five of us are very open-minded in this matter. We all like to experiment with music and sounds and you easily can see that when you are listening to ‘The Wanderer’. On the other hand, I really love Early Music, Folk and World music, so it is easy to find some ancient and ethnic winks in some of the songs. I actually played some Celtic whistles and the Baroque flute in this album and our friend Maite Itoiz from Elfenthal is playing the Renaissance lute in one of the songs. I haven’t seen these influences in other bands of the genre.“
Do you have any ‚idols‘ in Gothic- and Symphonic Metal?
„I wouldn’t say we have “idols” in this genre, although there are many bands we like, but not only in Gothic or Symphonic Metal. I listen to many different kinds of music and the guys in the band come more from other styles within Metal. If I have to give some names in Symphonic Metal for example, I would say maybe Nightwish? When I was a teenager I discovered them and I must say that for me it was a great discovery as I was being classically trained and also was Metal-head, so I really enjoyed that mix. I had never listened to something similar before, although in the band I used to sing by then, we also used some orchestral arrangements. Anyway my approach to the genre came more from some Power Metal bands such as Rhapsody, who used many orchestral parts. Now there is much more musical offer than before, so it’s difficult to have idols or have them in only one style, at least for me that I like many!“
Did you ever got vocal-lessons?
„Yes, since many years now. I started my music studies when I was 8 and joined several choirs in my childhood. Afterwards I started to learn classical singing and I still continue doing it nowadays, as I think that learning is a never-ending process. I always feel I have many things to improve! I also complete my learning singing in a classical choir as well as some Early Music ensembles.“
The new song-material sounds partly surprisingly pretty ‚cineastical‘ and theatrical - how were developed the new songs until that overwhelming gorgeous result?
„Wow, thank you so much for the compliments, I’m happy that you perceived that, as it was exactly our aim! Before writing any song we sat all together around a table and we discussed about how we wanted the next album to be. We didn't want this album to be just a "collection of songs", but a complete "opus". We thought about the story and which feelings we wanted to express on each song, like a film soundtrack. That cinematic sound helps to achieve the target, but just as you can find this bombastic sound you can also find from the hardest guitar riffs to the sweetest acoustic song. Every song has its own and precise place within the whole album.“
Which kinds of movies do you prefer?
„I love movies and I go to the cinema each time I can. I like fantasy and historic films mostly, but I don't reject any film if the argument is good.“
I guess, it's pretty difficult to bring such complex compositions and arrangements together! Be so kind and tell about the songwriting process for „The Wanderer“!
„We started early with the idea, even before "Secrets" was released. As we knew which kind of songs we wanted to write, it was usually one of us who chose which song to write. We did alone our own song or songs and then forwarded it to the other band members. It was in that moment when we started to work together again, to arrange the songs until we considered they were completely finished. We also had very clear that all the songs in an album are very important and it is necessary to keep the interest through it, that's why we took care about and we listened and re-listened the songs in the right order to be sure that the end and the beginning of consecutive songs was nice and interesting (just as a good book that you cannot stop reading, hehe). As for the lyrics, it was me who took care of them, except one song that was written by Alex.“
Are any new facets in the music to discover on these 2nd album release?
„I would say that this album is more eclectic, the orchestra and the choir are bigger, the guitars are harder and there are new instruments (lute, flutes, percussions, acoustic guitars …). We tried to give space to each section in order to be heard in the right moment and let sound the other instruments when needed. We have also special guests on it: we feel happy and honored to have Mark Jansen from Epica ‘grunting’ in a track and our friends John Kelly and Maite Itoiz from Elfenthal once more. They are singing a duet each and as I said before, Maite is also playing the lute in one of the songs as well as singing in the choir.“
Why you didn't use some Spanish traditional melodies as noble nuances for your new songs?
„Well, it would be really hard to define what’s typically 'Spanish’, as Spain is a very big country with different cultures and languages inside. Maybe the most known traditional music is the "Flamenco", but this is only typical from the South of Spain and we come from the North, from the Basque region. Our culture and folklore is more similar to the Celtic one. In our region, Spanish but also Basque is spoken. We actually included some texts in Basque in the new album. You will see it’s totally different from Spanish. So we can say we have something typical from our region. On the other hand, we included some Spanish typical instruments, such as the cajón drum and the lute. Even if the lute is used everywhere now, in its origin it was an Arabic instrument that was introduced in Europe through the Islamic Spain (VIII-XV). It was the ‘star instrument’ in the Spanish medieval and Renaissance music. Anyway, we thought about what fitted the songs the best and included some ethnic touches to some of the tracks that maybe remind more to the Celtic culture and also the Middle Easter one (some perceive some Spanish overtones here). It was the effect we wanted to transmit because it fitted better the story.“
Please tell about your proudest own achievement on the new album!
„Being a conceptual album, the way we worked was totally different from what we had done before. It was much more challenging and I think we really achieved what we were looking for. We wanted something more like a soundtrack. Music had to fit what we wanted to tell in each song, it had to recreate the atmosphere we had in mind in each ‚scene’. I think ‘The Wanderer’ is a very passionate album. All the feelings are perfectly captured. I would say that ‘The Wanderer’ is denser, more bombastic… but also more refined than ‘Secrets’. The arrangements play a very important role in all this, so we paid special attention to them and I think the result has been great!“
Does have „The Wanderer“ a special lyrical core?
„"The Wanderer" is a conceptual album. It talks about a girl who has something ‘special’, ‘different’, ‘spiritual’ and somehow feels isolated. She wanders searching for a place where she can finally be accepted. The whole concept is an allegory of Mother Earth, Humanity and Corruption and the shock between people who stays ‘pure’ (and linked with nature) and modern society. It is not easy to reconcile this way of being with all the changes that society is suffering, and above all, with human corruption. All these ‘special’ people are unfortunately starting to disappear and in my view, they are the last hope to change the World. It is so sad that human beings are forgetting where we come from! It is also kind of odd that after thinking about the concept, I’ve seen many artists talking about something similar in their works. It seems that many people perceive that society is not walking towards the right way… It is clear that some of us have this kind of 'apocalyptic' thoughts… Maybe that’s a good sign and we can still change?“
Can you name a song, whose lyric are touching you more than the others?
„"Hidden Reality", I have felt that way sometimes, these lyrics have a special meaning to me …"
Which bands are you listening most these days?
„Well I should maybe say which ones I don’t listen to, hehe, as I have a wide variety of bands and styles in my music player. It also depends on my mood... Within Metal, now I mostly listen to Folk and Symphonic Metal, but I also like some modern Metal and traditional Heavy. Apart from Metal what I listen to the most is Classical music, World music, soundtracks …"
Which is fascinating you mostly at own live-gigs?
„The instant feedback from the audience, for sure! We like writing songs, but we think that the songs aren’t complete until you don’t play them live. It's really impressive how people react to each song. You can vibrate with the audience and when you "connect" with them, it's the best thing you can experiment! Without any doubt, a special and indescribable energy flows… I would add that it's not only a matter of playing the songs, but it's also important the theatrical side of them, so that people gets more involved and receive more than only listening to the songs. That's why, apart from a little theatrical performance, we sometimes try to travel with a small choir because it helps giving this extra to our shows (it would be great to play with and orchestra too!). We really enjoy sharing this experience with the audience and additional musicians, although unfortunately we cannot do it always due to logistic and economic issues.“
Do you see your life and others existences mainly from philosophical aspects?
„Any time you think about the existence itself you are doing philosophy, so ... yes. I’m a very nonconformist person and always think a lot about every aspect in life, although I rarely arrive to a clear conclusion, hehe. I consider myself as a complicated personality, with sometimes rare ideas rounding my messy brain (I suppose this is normal among artists?) Anyway, I don’t think an interview is enough to explain my philosophic points of view about life... Besides, it would be quite boring!“ [laughs]
Which are your biggest hopes with the band for 2012?
„That people like ‘The Wanderer’ as much as we do and above all, to play as much as we can! We feel very comfortable on stage and as I said before, feeling the heat of the crowd is something really magical.“
And what are you still looking for in terms of development of Diabulus In Musica's musical style?
„It’s a bit early to be specific about that, but what I’m sure about is that if you are a true artistic spirit, your inspiration will guide you towards the right place. Evolution is a natural thing. You need to follow your musical instincts, trying to do your best, of course… What in my opinion it is totally necessary is to stay true. If you are changing only because you think you are forced to change (because of the market for example), you'll never give the best of yourself.“
© Markus Eck, 12.02.2012
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