Greek newcomers Immensity are blowing up the metal scene with their demo The Lonely Aquarelle released in late 2012. This short doom record has received many positive reviews from the metal press including an honor from YOU, dear readers of Metal Storm, when you voted them Clandestine Cut Of The Year in the 2012 Metal Storm Awards. Since you liked their debut demo so much we thought it'd be a treat to get to know the band better!
I've been emailing vocalist Leonidas Hatzimihalis about Immensity. Enjoy listening to their music while reading our conversation:
Susan: Congratulations on winning the Metal Storm Award for Clandestine Cut of the Year!
Leonidas: Thank you so much, Susan. At times like these when you cannot find the exact words to express your gratitude, along with the element of surprise, only one word comes to your mind: "Speechless"!
Susan: So, what initially gave you guys the inspiration to form this band?
Leonidas: Well the founder or the architect behind the overall Immensity structure is Andrew Kelekis (guitars/keyboards). I believe he came up with the very first idea back in 2007 but prefers to consider the actual formation of the band with proper members to be from 2009 until its completion in 2011.
Susan: Did you make a conscious decision to write doom metal or is that just what came out when you began composing?
Leonidas: We never really like to use stereotypes in Immensity's music. We all, in fact, love listening to expressive, emotional and moving music, beyond terms, whether some will call it doomy, dark, moody or crestfallen. Within the scenery of changes we simply let go with the flow, not really aiming for something drastic but depending actually on how the music itself creates an atmosphere towards that direction. In other words we simply follow the path of doom metal and our hearts bring in our influences but remain focused on our own brand of emotional music.
Susan: Please tell us about the name The Lonely Aquarelle as well as its haunting cover art. Is there a story?
Leonidas: The title The Lonely Aquarelle owes a fortune to the artwork. Andrew, along with his brother Alex, who in fact is a professional graphic designer, were working at the time on several concepts for our first official demo release and came up with a few nice ideas. Then it just happened, we knew the "soul searching" was over just by looking at a picture which ended up being the official cover. The name was already there and we felt it from the very beginning when we first lay our eyes on it. Through my mind's eye I saw a picture as if an "aquarelle"; the images were subtle almost like in a layer of watery colours, the figures were like souls drifting/departing clearly in a field of imaginary, a time and place painfully lonely and weary but always under the vigil and watchful eye of the crow resting on a withered and lifeless tree. A still yet dismal "guardian" or perhaps the reaper himself in different form "escorts" the transparent souls to their final resort, regardless of what awaits beyond, they drift apart without question towards the unseen.
Susan: What other music do you guys enjoy, metal and non-metal?
Leonidas: Of course we all love all kinds of music, the core is always metal since we began to understand ourselves. There are far too many styles to mention, such as doom metal, progressive metal, even "extreme", experimental, and easy listening. No boundaries is our belief and we share just true love of interesting sounds and music.
Photo by Lia V. Fotiou
Susan: It looks like you have sung with several progressive and power metal bands. What convinced you to front a death/doom band? Can you also talk about switching between clean and growled vocals?
Leonidas: Well, I always had the love for melody and emotion despite the style or mood. If the music was moving and emotional I'd just sit back, listen, and dream awake and enjoy but search at the same time. Just because I happen to sing doesn't mean I don't focus on the music as well: if the instruments themselves "speak" I can hear their voices. I find in many cases "extreme" music to become rather transcending and filled with emotions. The prime element, in my opinion, is not the technicality or the extremity of "shredding", it's those little invisible "drops" that fall on your shoulder that make you feel warm and engaging.
When I became friends with Andrew a few years back the first thing I wanted to hear was his music to understand his personal viewpoint and to see if we are sharing a common ground, which I immediately realized shortly after that we were. This would be my "breakthrough"! As a great admirer of doom/death metal for years I always kept in the corner of my mind the idea of touching the "unthinkable" and that was to bring to life a new side I never dared to use before. This was actually exchanging "light and darkness", not just plain aggressiveness mingled with harmony but true emotions coming from within which differ from the emotions of just singing clear in high scales which I did all my life and still love doing. With Immensity that is not the case; it's all this, nothing and a whole lot more. Not easy to explain, I know, but horizons were always meant to expand. In other words, and as long as I have a voice I will never stop evolving and expanding!
Susan: Do some of the band members have any interesting hobbies outside of metal?
Leonidas: Well, we all differ in age and occupation. Some are still students striving for their degrees and others are hard workers but always find the time for Immensity which will always be our prime target, despite crisis and bitter times in a cold world of reality. Time stops when we get together and we bring out the best we can for our music and ourselves.
Susan: Has The Lonely Aquarelle been getting a positive response in Greece? Abroad?
Leonidas: It surely has, almost since the day it was released. We try not to get overwhelmed with rave reviews and we are more than grateful that Immensity's music and especially The Lonely Aquarelle has touched the hearts of many and hopefully will continue to do so, but this fact makes us realize this is still only the beginning. We are working hard and staying focused on just one big and important thing and that is our first full length release due for sometime in late 2013 or the beginning of 2014 if all goes well. In the meantime we continue to evolve and let inspiration and good music take control.
Susan: Could you talk a bit about the metal scene in Greece? What's it like for young bands just starting out?
Leonidas: When crisis is the only thing one hears about coming out of our small country of course than means many problems and discouragement. But despite the overall negativity, young and talented bands along with some older ones of all kinds of metal genres or beyond simply come out of nowhere as if bringers of the hope we all need... I guess the saying "what does not kill you makes you stronger" fits pretty well to this case!
Susan: What is next for Immensity? Touring? Writing new material?
Leonidas: As I mentioned above the prime task is to continue writing and perfecting our music, a lot of material is in the process of completion, different yet always under the Immensity wing, all in good time to be revealed and never a moment too soon. Then we can bring up topics like touring and promoting.
Susan: Where do you hope to see this band in the next 5 years or more? Do you think you'll continue in the same musical style?
Leonidas: We will continue to evolve, as long as the will, spirit and ourselves are strong
Susan: What do you hope to communicate with Immensity's music?
Leonidas: We hope to touch the hearts of many as possible, if we succeed we know deep down inside our efforts will not fall in vain.
Susan: Thank you! Feel free to add anything else you want to tell us!
Leonidas: We would like to thank you deeply Susan and Metal Storm for believing in Immensity and wish you the best for the future, our warmest greetings and support goes out to all the bands that took part in the voting, for us they are all winners. Keep the banners high. Doom on!