Agathodaimon interview (08/2004)
- First, for the ones who don't know you yet, could you present the band in a few words ?
Well, the band was formed in 1995, since then we released 2 demos and 4 albums through Nuclear Blast, had a lot of gigs and hopefully some more in the future! The band consists nowadays of five members: Frank "Akaias" Nordmann (vocals, guitar), Sathonys (guitar, clean vocals), Darin "Eddie" Smith (bass, clean vocals), Felix (keys) and Matthias (drums).
- How would you qualify the evolution of Agathodaimon's music through the years?
Well, when we started, we weren't quite sure in which direction the band should go. We (at least the majority of the band) had a passion for Black Metal, but didn't want to follow a certain style or copy certain bands. During the years, our influences varied and partly changed, and we had some line-up changes which also influenced our sound. We surely became more open-minded, we didn't want to limit our music to a certain style since the beginning already, but it takes time to become self-conscious enough to experiment with other influences. Nowadays, I think we found a good mixture of everything we like, but I suppose we might have some surprises for you on upcoming albums..
- It's clear in my opinion that the music of the band has taken a new direction with your last album "Serpent's Embrace". Could you explain why and how you decided to change your musical style? Why do you have more and more clean vocals for example?
I'm not sure if I can agree with you. We always have had a certain evolution in the band. No album sounded like any other album so far. And almost all elements that you can find on our new album were already used on "Higher Art Of Rebellion". The biggest step was taken from the debut to the 2nd album. But between Chapter III and Serpent's Embrace, there's not such a big difference. We even used the same producer, the same studio, and the same songwriting approach. Yes, there's more clean vocals, but the reason is simple: There's more melodies in the new songs, and then our new bass player is a good vocalist… so we shared some parts here and there. We didn't decide to change our musical style. Just the mixture is a little different, the ingredients are the same, only the amount of them, the way they are mixed together, that's different.
- Your music is more and more melodic and soft, do you think that this is the way that the all bands should take to have a real success today?
I don't think that songs like "Rebirth" or "Limbs Of A Stare" etc. are soft.. but how would you define "real success"? I suppose we're talking about "getting commercial" here. Let me tell you something: We don't make a living with this band. Everyone of us either studies or has a job to pay his bills. We never get any money from record sales. Everything we get is invested into the next album, into new equipment, into the rent of our rehearsal room etc. I'm really fed up with discussions about us getting commercial, I've had these since we signed to Nuclear Blast, it's always the same. We have a strong passion for music, and we simply do the music WE love. Let me tell you this: I bet we'd have a bigger fanbase if we simply kept the style from our debut album. Nothing scares the average metal fan faster away than a band that changes its style during the years. Imagine Marduk getting "soft", or AC/DC changing their style. There's no effective, clever slogan such as "oh, they might lose a few fans, but they'll get tons of new fans now that they play more melodic music". Yes, that's a mechanism that works in the mainstream scene or with bands that already have a big status, with huge financial support of course. But we're just a metal band that is only known to few people. So, no need to complain about us getting "commercial" or having "success"… We simply want to work out the songs we enjoy ourselves. We'd become a commercial band if we would release the same album under a different name year for year… hope you understand what I mean
- Tell us a bit about your new album "Serpent's Embrace", its music, its lyrics… What are your sources of inspirations?
Well, we always try to avoid direct inspirations. If there's something that reminds of another band, we really discuss whether we should use the idea or not. There's this keyboard melody in the title track, which reminds of Soilwork, and usually we'd have skipped this part. But it was proposed by our keyboarder, who really isn't into the metal scene that much, he doesn't even know this band. So it was okay in my opinion… especially as it's quite impossible these days to have songs that don't remind of others here and there. There's so few notes but already so many songs out there, hehe. Concerning lyrics, it differs. In my case, it's some kind of psycho therapy, I do write about things that I somehow want to get out of my mind, I guess it keeps me mentally balanced, hehe.
- How were the recording sessions? Some anecdotes maybe?
Oh, the sessions went smooth this time. As mentioned earlier, we already knew the studio and the producer, so it was really relaxed to work on the album.
- How was the response from the audience for that album so far?
I'm happy that the response was really good so far. Of course, there are always people that complain that the new album doesn't match their individual expectation, but we can't please everyone. I collected all reviews that I read so far, and the big majority is very positive. Also the response from our fans was great!
- How it is for a band to work with a big label like Nuclear Blast? Could you explain the advantages and maybe the inconvenients to work with the label number 1 ?
Well, you have professional conditions, that's the advantage. The problem of course is that you're no big priority, there's a huge budget for bands like Nightwish, and therefore of course the efficiency is different. I'm a realistic person, but sometimes you imagine how it would be if someone would really invest lots of money into the promotion of your band… I mean, not only the promotion is important, but also the working budget. It would be a dream to have the same resources a band such as COF has, we could work on a much higher level etc, but well, we're happy with the way it is right now. In the beginning, we didn't even expect to sign to a label, and now we already released our 4th album…
- What are you up to now? Have you planned to tour in Europe? Maybe also in Japan and America?
Well, as we're no professional musicians and have to keep an eye on our jobs or studies, we can't go on tour that easily. But well, Japan and America, that would be dreams come true… we'll see how we can get this done.
- What are your plans for the future of the band?
Well, continue what we're doing, and always try to give our best!
- Is there a question nobody ever asked you, but that you'd like ? [you'll have to reply to it as well of course ]
Nooo I'm not sure. Most important questions concerning the band are usually asked, and private things don't belong into a magazine, hehe.
- Thanks a lot for this interview, one last word for our readers, and for your fans ?
Thanks for your support! We hope to see you on tour somewhere…
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