AGATHODAIMON

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TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE

This phone interview with the German / Romanian gothic black metal band Agathodaimon was done in June 2004 by Cseke Róbert.

Ok then. I understand you are not in Germany right now...
Oh, we ARE in Germany. At least I am.

Oh, sorry. I was under the impression that you aren't. Anyway, how are things currently working out for you and the band, you know, generally, gigs, concerts stuff like that?
We are working real hard on the album, as the last one was released like three years ago, so it's a tough situation to somehow know what to expect from the new release and if people will like it or not. So far the reactions were very enthusiastic, and it seems that many people like it and we just hope that, yeah, we basically have a positive feeling about it - at least we are very satisfied with the way the album turned out - we had a lot of time concerning the production writing and getting the new line-up, yeah, into good shape therefore we're quite positive concerning the things to come.

Ok, thats cool. You know, I wanted to ask you about latest recordings, releases, cos I'm sure many would really like to hear something from you guys.
We recorded "Serpents Embrace", the new album, a few months ago, yeah, i think its a few months now, and the release will be on 21 of june, at least in Europe, I guess, it should be more or less in all countries in Europe and I think - you live in Romania but work for a Swedish webzine, Tartarean Desire?

Yes, that's right.
I dont know if our new album will be distributed by Rocris Music again. The last ones were released to Rocris, it was thought to get them into Romania, I guess it will be around either June or July when Romania would see the new album and yeah yeah yeah...

Heh, ok, great to hear that! The first thing I've heard from you guys was "Carpe Noctem", the demo, and it really kicked ass, and I liked everything ever since so its really cool to hear this. Hmm, how did the recordings go, you know, songs came together easily? Producers had a lot of input? Such...
Yeah, we followed the tradition of our last album, "Chapter III", because, like then, we realised that it's much easier for us to work individually on all songs. It was something like, everyone, at home, worked on song structures, brought them into the rehearsal room or instantly went to the studio to do some kind of pre-production, and then everybody gave their oppinions about it, and we worked as a team, together, on time structures, details and it was more or less new for us, because, umm, during the first two albums we, more or less, worked together in the rehearsal room and everything, and this was quite a long process. It was somekind of thing like, i dont know how to translate it into english, but it was something like too many cooks preparing the same food, or something like that. We realized that it's much more fruitful and productive for us if someone is taking care of the songstructure, then the others are able to eighter give their critical oppinions or add some detail. It's like, if I do a song, I have the guitarstructure and maybe some ideas for keyboards and drums, but, of course, it's up to the keyboarder and the drummer to just add their own style to the music, and then, of course, the band, together, would work on the structure to, lets say, give it some final polish, and, yeah, some additional detail. That's the way we worked on "Chapter III" and now we try to progress with this kind of work for the new album but we recorded like, hmmm, 10 songs, and on the album there will be 9 songs, and also a bonus CD wich I think will only be available through the band directly, through the website, or through Nuclear Blast because it's limited to only 1000 copies, but it will feature the second "Demonia Dark" and some pre-production songs from the last recordings. The regular CD will also feature some multimedia parts for PC, like a screensaver, and also clips from making the video for "Seprants Embrace", and aslo some kind of Making Of for the album. I think there will be a lot to explore once the CD will be out in the stores, yeah, and I think I should also mention a few things about the songs themselves: the new songs are more or less in the tradition of "Chapter III" and generally of everything we did so far plus some, yeah, we always try to have some new influences with every new album so you probably get to hear some traditional stuff and, of course, some fresh elements as it was done more or less with every album.

So I think you're expecting it to do very well on the market. I suppose. With both traditional and new stuff on...
Hmm, hmmm - I hope so, but, of course, everything is done on a, lets say, natural base because we dont try to push ourselves into a certain category, we dont try to focus our music on a certain market and, I guess, the positive aspect about being in the band is that none of us is trying to make a living out of music. We're free to do everything we want, because we dont have to have an eye on, lets say, record sales and were just free to do anything we like to, and if it happens that a lot of people will like our stuff, then, of course, we're happy about it, cos I think every musician, more or less, releases music and hopes it will be available to as many as possible, but we just do the music to be pleased with our selves and be happy and content with what we realized. That's what matters to us, at least.

Very glad to hear that! So are you planning on touring very soon? You know, promote the new release...
Tour, of course, but, as I mentioned, we're not professional musicians, as some of us are either in University or following a day job, and one has different time-plans and we have to get some kind of "time-window", when everyone is able to go on tour - quite problematic on one hand - and one other aspect is that, let say, we are quite well known in certain regions, and other people have never heard of the band, so we would probably have to support a big band, but this is something that is very expensive usually, as you have to pay a lot to be able to go on tour, and, to us, it's a little difficult, because we feel that we already have a fanbase but we're not big enought to be headliners for a european tour. Take Sweden for ex. We've never played in Sweden, so far we don't know if anyone would come to the gigs, we do get a lot of fanmail, but I dont know anything about the record sales there for example. So we'll just have to see if there is a possibility to go on a full European tour, and we just have to figure things out but of course we would be very happy to play in countries we've never played before, like Romania as well, of course, it's always a matter of money - the bad aspect of the music-business, can't do anything about it, I guess.

Yeah, but I remember you opened for pretty big names in the past, like Cradle Of Filth and such... but anyway you just stick to the metal festivals, right? I see you have a couple of those on your agenda.
I would say we're quite known in Germany, but, of course, when it comes to countries that are far away from Germany, it's always hard to do gigs - in the weekend for ex. - so a full tour would be needed to, lets say, get to Romania, and you can't just drive thousands of km for just one gig. We usually take most possibilies to play live and with the new album we hope to reach new people, which will allow us to play in more exotic locations, so I'm just crossing my fingers that this might happen next.

As U remember, you came to Romania to record an album. The second album I think.
You probably know that our old vocalist is still living in Bucharest, and I visited him there, and we also recorded our second album in Bucharest, and it was a very cool experience, yeah.

How come you came all the way here, cos I really don't know many bands that are so much devoted to one member... so it's all respect from me... but again, why?
It was a really tough decision, because it wasn't very cheap to fly all members there and it was a very risky thing to do, because, when it comes to Germany, I know a lot of studios that are experienced concerning metal bands, of course Sweden is also famous for great studios, but when it comes to Romania, we didn't know if we would get good working conditions and sound there and it was our romanian vocalist who had some connections. Although it was fun recording there, it was also very hard, because the working methods just weren't similar to the ones we have experienced here. For ex., when we recorded in the evening and came back the next day, the settings on the amplifiers were different, cos there was another band in the morning there who recorded some stuff, and used your amplifiers, and, of course, it held back the entire recording process, as all of a sudden another band uses the studio at the same time, and uses our equipment that we already had soundchecked on. These were all obstacles in our way. But anyway, the essence of Agathodaimon is that it is really important to have a good friendship between current and old members. We're not the band that would kick someone out just cos they are not able to participate at a certain period of time and, concerning Vlad, I consider him one of my best friends, and so I really wanted to have him back in our line-up. In all these years he couldn't really come back to Germany and in the end it was his decision to leave the band, because in all those years he just lost the motivation for Agathodaimon, and his personal musical taste has changed also, and, basically, that was the reason, but he also contribuited with some lyrics for the new album, so we haven't lost contact, and maybe there's a possibility to work again in the future, who knows...

Ok. So, basically, what your saying is, that playing in Agathodaimon is difficult. Do you ever get sick of everything, you know like, wish you got out of the music-business entirely or do you love it so much that you could never leave?
Yeah, I would say that I'm, more or less, addicted to the music-business, because most of my activities are connected to it, uhmm, I work as a freelancer for german Metal Hammer, for ex I contribuited with a lot of photos for different books and magazines, like A-Z of Black Metal , A-Z of Death Metal and so on, and I think I'm more or less actively involved in the scene for, I think, 10 years already, and it has influenced me a lot. I couldn't live without music. I was very surprized when yesterday I received an interview in which they asked me, "oh, what will you do for your tenth birthday?" - I had just remembered that we had founded the band back in 1995, and it's almost 10 years, and to me it's like it happened yesterday. It's hard to realize that I've been working with this band for almost 10 years, so I just can't imagine that I will lose the enthusiasm for music in general somehow - just much of my life I would say.

Thats cool! One thing I wanted to ask you: every review I ever read, you know, about anything that you did was very positive. Do you ever get criticism, I mean harsh criticism from media or fans or such, do they ever get to piss you off?
Usually yes. There are reviews here and there that are quite negative but when it comes you have to see it in an objective way, cos when someone really has criticism that is based on objective review then you're fine with it. We are not a perfect band, there's lots of things we can improve and will always try to get better with every release, of course, but you could say the sound wasn't very good and the songs were too progressive or whatever, but the press usually likes it and the fans give us good reviews. There's always the matter of taste, of course, because if you heard "Blacken The Angel", the first album, and you liked it, then you're getting into trouble when you listen to the new album, cos an awful lot of time has passed since then and the band changed a lot in that period, and the 2 new members we have gave a new direction to everything. We are not a band that tries to keep a style going from album to album like, let's say ac/dc, they have their own style, and they're doing cool music, but we just try to add new elements with every album, so I really respect the opinion of someone who says, "oh, I really liked the first album, but the third I didn't like very much", or whatever, it's a matter of taste. When someone says the new album sounds like shit or the songs sound like they had been written in 5 minutes, or something, I wouldn't worry about it, cos I really know how much effort we put into it and therefore those kind of negative reviews, or whatever to call them, don't affect me at all.

Any major changes forseen in the bands life? Something that will really knock Agathodaimon off its current path? Stuff like line-up changes, changes of style etc... in the future I mean, not now of course...
I would say that we found our working method when recording "Chapter III". We have the same kind of approach concercing songwriting and concerning the feel we want to express. For me, "Serpent's Embrace" is kind of a progression from "Chapter III", we just took all the elemts we had and tried to work on tone elemetns in our music and the weaker aspects of the band, and the biggest difference would be in vocals this time, and our new keyboardist is very much into progressive keyboard sounds and strings and other new sounds, but people really like the new sound - it's not really a style change, it's more like a progression, as I've said, we used the same studio as with "Chapter III", and the producer knew us, so, I guess, we will more or less do the same with our next album. There probably won't be any big changes with the new one.

I really wanted to ask you something: who are your main musical influences, and are there any personal heroes out there in music-world, you know, a band you'd love touring with more than any other, someone who has had so much effect on you, that you consider them your idols? Any such bands out there?
It's tough to say, because most bands I really enjoyed are, more or less, split up, like, let's say, Celtic Frost, Autopsy, but it would be a real honor to play somewhere where Slayer would be playing as well... One of my favorite bands, and it would be really cool to play together with Dimmu Borgir for example or In Flames, but other musicians I really enjoy are King Diamond and all the black metal stuff generally... Emperor don't exist anymore so it's a really tough thing, but there are a lot of new bands like In Flames or... Samael, if they would do a tour, I would be really happy if we could do something with them.

Yeah, so this is practically the kind of music you're listening to at home. Are your children, grandchildren going to be listening to the same kind of things you think? Are they going to be growing up to dark, explosive sounding metal music?
I would say, they will probably enjoy hip-hop or something like that, because, usually, children dislike what parents like ... if we will go, "this is cool", they'd probably say, "oh, that sounds awful! I want to listen to, I don't know, MC Hammer", or I dont know what will be the trend then, but who knows what will happen.

Yeah, you're right - uhhm - what would you say is the best thing about playing in Agathodaimon?
Well, uhhm, I would say that the chemistry in our band is quite cool and we like all the other muscicians. It's not like going to the rehearsal room and saying, "oh, I don't want to go through all this again", so - umm - the recording, the playing and just being in the position of playing music and recording it is a very cool thing, because when I, let's say in 88, listened to bands like Iron Maiden, Slayer, I never thought that I'll ever be someone playing in a band and being able to go on stage, or even on tour, or release our own album, so it's a really cool thing to be able to do all this and, yeah, especially I'm very happy with what we made with Agathodaimon.

Ok. Let me tell you something, you might not be aware of: around these parts, actually me and all my friends and everyone I basically know, we appreciate your music a lot and we consider you one of the "bigs", even if you don't have the name in all regions of the world.
Hey, that's great!

Yeah, Yeah. How do you feel about interviews in general?
Oh, it depends. I really like to talk about the music, but somehow it's always a little difficult to find the right answers to some questions or giving interviewers fresh answers when I've already answered some of the same questions before. All in all, it's a cool thing to be able to talk to the people who are listening to the music and ask their oppinions and, that's a cool thing, to just get some feedback about your work.

Hmmm, ok, ok. That's basically it, I think. I kinda ran out of questions, so I'd like to thank you for taking the time to do this interview for us, and if you might want to share anything with the readers of our zine, your fans, I'll just leave the final words to you.
I'd like to thank those who supported the band in the past and who listened to our music and are interested to have a listen to our new album. Of course, we will have a lot of information about it when it comes out, on our website, and, yeah, I think I saw a review a few weeks ago on Tartarean Desire, and I hope everyone who's into dark metal will give the band a chance and just check it out...

I'm sure they will! I wish you loads of luck from now on in touring and concerts and everything, and I'd like to thank you again for taking the time to have this talk.
Have a nice evening.

Oh, you too, bye!


Links of interest:

Agathodaimon
Nuclear Blast