- First of all, I am very happy for as a great Agathodaimon fan to do this interview and thanks all of you guys for the chance. The band was freezing for a long time, that was very upset for fans like me and the news of re-union made us all very excited, how it´s happened, can you give us details?
Well, in 2014 I announced the band would split, but there’s a good chance of us coming back together- I put the band on ice due to my family; 2nd child was on its way. And I don’t like doing things half-heartedly, I already made the experience in 2009 that it’s VERY complicated trying to be a good daddy and also try to work with a band “professionally”. Therefore, family first. The plan was to re-unite years later. Sadly, some members of the final line-up already decided just a few days later that they’d leave the metal scene or would stop being an active musician (both our bass player Till and guitarist Thilo). That was quite disappointing- also Manuel, our drummer, soon found a new home in The Spirit, and when we made the first plans to reunite in 2018, we understood that he didn’t want to leave the band. So it was Ash and me who held a bunch of auditions to test new musicians. In late 2018, we found the first new members, there was another change on bass guitar in mid 2019, but after a few months, we were quite sure that the lineup we had was stable, and that we were ready to announce the return.
- You announced in the social media the new members, how were the reactions from the fans and media?
Quite positive I’d say- of course, everybody now only knows their faces, but not their “musicianship” and how they will contribute to the band’s sound. But I’m very happy with the current line-up; our guitarist Nakhateth’s style is somewhat similar to his predecessor, he’s a very talented guitarist, plus he’s very experienced as audio engineer. We actually recorded some demo tracks recently, which to me are very much a continuation of the sound on “In Darkness”, a mix of old-school elements of our early phase, a somehow timeless, classic Black/Dark Metal, with some more sinfonic touches here and there to improve the overall atmosphere. Oh, and I think it’s most exellent that Ash is still with us, of course. Having the change the vocalist always is a rather drastic change as the color of the sound is impacted a lot, plus we know each other since… 2008, so it’s a very great and comforting fact that he’s with us. About Mortos and Von Yanesh, they’re both very excellent musicians; we recently made the plan to release playthrough videos of our songs every now and then; and you can check them out on our Youtube channel at youtube.com/agathodaimon for a first impression!
- New members bring new elements to the music and sometimes lead it in a different direction. Will there be a deviation from the musical line that the band has we see so far, or will we be listening to an Agathodaimon as we know it in the new album? The reason I asked this question was that some of the bands former fans, with “Serpent’s Embrace”, it was difficult to accept the changes. With the reunion, will there be return the roots( As more gothic elements, female vocals..), or will the band move from where it left off in ‘ In Darkness’ album?
While I still like “Serpent’s Embrace” and a lot of songs on it, from today’s perspective I’d say we began developing in a “wrong” direction with this album. I’m a child of the80’ies, and do actually like analog synthesizers etc., but our keyboard player did bring a lot of sound tones into the songs that nowadays I wouldn’t want to use again- that development continued with “Phoenix”, and I let things happen too much at that time- as mentioned initially, my first son was born that year, and I probably gave others too much freedom in terms of songwriting while I was “busy” otherwise, which ultimately was the reason that we parted ways with our guitarist and keyboarder later on. Well maybe to put things in relation- “Phoenix” isn’t a bad album, but it’s not 100% fitting to our previous work. So, I’d see “In Darkness” as the album that brought us back onn track. It’s a continuation of the old, original style, but with a momentary approach, not trying to force anything by recycling the old days. It even features elements of songs that were done before we recorded our first demo, by the way. So, we’ll try to continue in this style, basically having the first 3 albums in mind, which already feature a wide range of styles to pick from.
- How is going the production process of the new songs progressing, has the new albums release date been clear?
Haha, well we officially just returned last month, give us some time. Of course, we did work on new songs already, and recorded a demo to approach record labels. We got some positive response so far, so chances are good that we have great news soon. But until enough songs are “done” and ready for a full album, that will still take a while.
- Many concerts and festivals have been canceled or postponed after the corona crisis. Do you have a concert or tour plan for after the virus crisis? Eastern European countries such as Turkey to be included in this plan?
Well, we are currently working on some gigs in summer and afterwards. It’s hard to foresee how long this situation will last, but I hope that the festival season will be ok again- though there are doubts when it comes to big festivals, in my opinion. But I think at least some small club shows should be possible, we can’t halt life for so many months, there must be other ways to deal with this..
- -You made great performance in Turkey Ankara in 2004 October. That was a very special day for the Turkish fans, left in your mind you have memories from this show? How was the communication between fans and the band?
You’ve been there? That’s great- we liked the gig itself, but it was our last venture to Turkey back then. The fans were very enthusiastic and nice, but, we’ve been ripped off as we did not get a cent for the show. It was actually the last time I took things eas when it comes to the contractual part- lots of excuses were made that evening, why they couldn’t pay us after the show, and lots of promises we’d get the money afterwards- in the end we got nothing.
- Where do you prefer to play? At big open airs or in small clubs?
Well, both are cool. Open Air has the positive aspect that you can present your band to people that haven’t heard you yet. But that usually means you have limited playing time, most likely no soundcheck and often have to play in sunlight. So, from a personal preference, I like small clubs more. Also because you’re closer to the audience- I hate the big distance between the stage and the audience (photo pit, security crew etc.), that makes it harder to connect in my opinion.
- Internet being spread rapidly in homes in the early 2000s, and at the time in Turkey , ever metalheads was trying to reach their favored band live videos and “Banner Of Blasphemy (live at Wacken 1998)” was a video that many Melodic Black Metal fans shared each other. Many of us have dreamed of being at that concert. What is the difference between the concerts, stages organizations in the 90s and the today?
I didn’t think the event/organization-aspect changed much. But, something worth to mention that maybe isn’t recognized by the audience, yet I feel is important- the switch from light bulbs/xenon lights to LED. Actually if you were playing in small clubs, with the lighting system close to you, that could be quite annoying, as these were damn hot. So you started sweating right away, basically. But it was beneficial sometimes, too, because you didn’t need to worry that you’d freeze on stage. I remember playing at a club in Helsinki after they switched to LED lights, and of course they dind’t radiate any heat, and it was damn cold. Yet the LED technology makes lighting systems more affordable, and we’re currently checking into investing some money to have some special effects here and there.
- So far we have seen that Darkness, Occultism, Romance, Mythology subjects are worked as lyric themes in the Agathodaimon´s songs, how will the lyric themes be in new Album?
Hmm it’s a bit soon to speak about this topic I think. But we’ll try to keep the same “aura” and feeling. At least the lyrics that I deal with, I always try to have them in the vein of those lyrics that our original vocalist Vlad contributed. We spoke a lot about lyrics back then, and he introduced me to a lot of romanian poets like Eminescu, Bacovia or Minulescu, and I try to keep that style a bit. We’ll probably have a loose concept surrounding some “christian” topics, aspects connected to religion, and are already working with a talented group of artists on the artworks.
- 4. track “Ill of an Imaginary Guilt” in the Album “Blacken the Angel” is a special piece of Agathodaimon for me (We played this song with my band in Uni years at al concerts), It is a track that is different from the general structure of the Album and has different variations in itself. Is there any possibility that this kind of piece will come in the new Album?
That’s interesting to hear, because I was very surprised when I met a girl years ago who told me that this is her favourite track. Because I never liked it very much, as it feels like something is not right or doesn’t fit together- it was a bit “progressive”, with the pacing of the 2 main riffs, and somehow it didn’t make much sense to me, although I liked the riffs themselves individually, I wasn’t sure they’d blend together. But, the song was written by Vlad anyhow, so I doubt we’ll recreate this “style”- I would need to “feel” it, but as mentioned, I’m still unsure even what to think of that song!
- There are 6 full-length albums in the band career, you worked with Nuclear Blast for the first four albums and Massacre records for the last two albums. Is there a label that you are in contact with for the new Album?
Yes, we do have a preference, but as mentioned, nothing is signed, so it’s too early to confirm anything.
- Cult albums of many bands were released again in 2019, “Carpe Noctem” and “Near Dark” are two demos that I like so much and it is very difficult to find physically form today, for example;The presentation of the first two demos and the first three albums as limited edition would be great, do you have such a plan?
Oh well, we could do something with the demos. Actually, Carpe Noctem was officially “re-released” as a pro-printed cassette version, limited to 100 copies. And we had songs of Near Dark on the bonus disc of Serpent’s Embrace. But I also thought of making it available to the public again, especially the 2nd demo turned out quite fine. We recorded and mixed it in 3 days, almost 30 minutes of music; given this, the result was good. But as for the first 3 albums, we don’t have the rights to use them, Nuclear Blast own them. I’d love to see them repressed, but I think there’s not enough interested to print.
- If we look at the cover design of all 6 albums, blue color tons are very dominant, is this bands special choice? And if we go back to the new album theme, Will we see blue dominance on the new album cover too? Who will design the new album cover? Kristian Wåhlin (Necrolord) would be a great option.
Yes, I always liked liked it when bands stuck to a certain visual identity, like the green tones or symbols that Type O Negative used. Blue is a fitting color I think. And yes, we’ll stick to this. And the cover artwork for the next album is already done- as mentioned, we’ve been working on it for quite a while, so we don’t need to look around for an artist anymore. Of course, Kristian does a great job, but his style is quite unique, and you’d always draw comparisons to other artists he worked with earlier. I do prefer to work with more “unknown” artists. I was quite happy with the guy that did our previous artwork, but sadly he completely vanished years ago, not sure what he’s up to Anyway, I guess we’ll shortly announce some more news regarding the artwork of the upcoming album.
- Who influenced you? Which bands, musicians?
In the early days, it surely was Iron Maiden, Samael, Morbid Angel, Entombed, Emperor and Alice In Chains. Basically anything dark and “evil”. But we usually try to avoid copying style elements of other bands. Yet, it does happen that you have a riff, and then the drummer pops up with a rhythm, and all of sudden there seems to be a reference to an existing riff- for example, we currently work on a song that we’re not yet sure about, whether we’ll continue or throw it away- but there’s a part which reminds us of “Rammstein” due to the straight, teutonic rhythm, so we call it the “Rammstein”-part. That might be a bit misleading because the new material of course doesn’t sound like Rammstein, I am just trying to give an example how hard it is nowadays not to sound like any other band- there have been thousands of bands and albums meanwhile, it’s hard to create something totally new. But on the other hand, artists might be too picky about this- I can give another example, regarding Banner Of Blasphemy. The opening riff back then reminded me of “Black No. 1” from Type O. If you compare both riffs, they’re quite different, but in the rehearsal room, I immediately thought of that song and was about to throw it away. Luckily we didn’t, because it’s still one of my fave songs, especially live.
- All over the world is ruined by the Corona virus crisis, some musicians or bands turned crisis to the opportunity to produce new stuffs these days, what is Agathodaimon doing for the future in these quarantine days?
Luckily we can work on new songs without rehearsing all together. Currently we’re also focussing a bit on social media, and released some “playthrough” videos. I just recorded a guitar playthrough for “Banner Of Blasphemy” which we’ll upload in a few days. I also think about some “tutorials”, showing a bit in detail what the guitar is actually playing. Not that the songs are overly complex or difficult to play, but I remember having checked a bunch of guitar tabs of our songs that are online, and I think all of them were incorrect. Might be different now, but I thought it could be nice to show how it was originally played, in case someone’s interested.
- This question is for Martin, I follow you from your social media accounts and you share very special photos that were catched to the your lens at concerts in the past years, you have witnessed many unforgettable memories at the shows. before the performances, during performance and after the stage. Can you share a memory that comes to your mind from these times?
Well, I had a typical “career” back then- I was an enthusiastic fan who tried to smuggle photo cameras into concerts. We didn’t have tiny smartphones back then, but rather bulky cameras. But I often managed, so I took pics from the crowd, at first as souvenir for myself (Overkill, 12.02.1990 was my first attempt). As I was also a tape trader and into fanzines, I soon contributed pics for some of those (very honoured that legendary mags like Slayer, Isten or Voices From The Darkside used some pics), and later I joined “bigger” magazines like Ablaze, since 15 or 20 years (I don’t remember) I’m mainly working for german Metal Hammer magazines. But, the first gigs and tours were most interesting, especially the 2nd black metal wave, the time between 1993 and 1996 was awesome. Usually these gigs took place in small clubs, and often there was no dedicated security. So you could just go backstage and talk with newcomers like Anathema (I was in close touch with them between 1992 and 1994), Cradle Of Filth, Absu etc. Sadly, back then photos were expensive, and film (and my budget) limited. Speaking of Cradle Of Filth, as mentioned I met them during their tour with Anathema (support were At The Gates, and COF being the opener). They didn’t have an album out at that point in time, so I didn’t know them- but knew even before the show that it would be interesting, when Dani did his vocal warm-up. So I took a bunch of pics that evening (09.01.1994) that are still circulating around here and there. A lot of stuff happened on other gigs of that tour, mostly typical “we’re on big tour for the first time”-stuff. I might reveal one harmless anecdote, as the club meanwhile doesn’t exist anymore- Cradle didn’t like the catering in the Röhre-club in Stuttgart and spread meatballs and sauce on top of the shelves in the backstage room. I’m sure it smelled funny after some weeks. Anyway, there were many great moments for me as photographer, especially when I had the chance to take pics of my fave artists. I remember when I was in the photo pit of Iron Maiden for the first time, seeing them so close was awesome. Plus sometimes I took official band pics or met bands during interviews, which also very often was a great experience. Visiting Samael during the recording of “Passage” in 1996 at Woodhouse studio was one of the finer moments. Or Tiamat, when they recorded “Wildhoney”. Or the first time I met Obituary– well, lots of good memories.
- Thank you for the interview. Would you like to say a few more words to our readers?
Well thanks for the interview! Guys, check us out, it’s been a while since we last released an album, so it’s likely you haven’t heard of us before. But if you’re into dark, atmospheric music, Dark/Black Metal, chances are good you will like it.