Thursday, April 19, 2012

Interview with Zuberoa Alvarnez of Diabulus in Musica!

Diabulus in Musica is a “symphonic gothic metal band that perfectly combines a passion of classical music with heart-wrenching and modern metal.”  I had the wonderful opportunity to interview the band’s lead singer and founder, Zuberoa Aznárez, for The Metal Pit.  We talked about DiM’s new album, the music industry, 2012 being the year for Apocalyptic Metal albums, Sexism in Metal, and other fun things!   

  First things first, please tell The Metal Pit about the band!  How did Diabulus in Musica come to be?

Zube:  DiM was born in 2006. I started the project because I wanted to develop my own ideas (I sang in another band where I didn’t write the songs) and express myself through the music I liked: metal and classical. We all knew each other from the local metal scene of Pamplona and most of us were friends before creating DiM. After winning some contests we decided to record our first album, Secrets, which was released by Metal Blade Records in 2010. It received many great reviews and we had the chance to play in big fests. Now we have just signed a contract with Napalm Records and our new album The Wanderer has just been released by them on February the 29th.

Since your first album, “Secrets”, you’ve signed with Napalm Records.  How has that changed your overall experience compared to your first label?
Napalm is much more oriented to our music style than Metal Blade, so I think the main difference is on promotion; I mean, we are more likely to reach new fans that may like our music than we were before. We are very happy because we think that we are where we have to be now.

What was the creative process like for writing songs for “The Wanderer”?  Was the whole band involved?
Yes. Xabi and Alex couldn’t be involved in the writing process of ‘Secrets’ because they joined us later. We started all together with the main idea of ‘The Wanderer’, even before ‘Secrets’ was released. 

Regarding the writing process, we decided that we would write a conceptual album, so the first thing we did together was to think about the story and which feelings we wanted to express on each song. That’s the way we started to work. 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. After this, we started with the recordings in our home studios.

You’ve mentioned in previous interviews that “The Wanderer” is a concept album.  Can you tell us more about the concept and how the band came up with it?
We only knew we wanted to tell an ‘intense’ story that gave us the chance to express different feelings. Then we started to think more or less what each song would tell and after that I started to write the lyrics.

The concept 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 story is an allegory of Mother Earth, Humanity and Corruption and the shock between people who stay ‘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?

“The Wanderer” is your second studio album, and your first with a music video!  Describe the experience of making a video!  (I also loooove your outfits! :D  Are they from your personal wardrobe?) 

It was very funny but also exhausting! We recorded everything in one day and a half and in four different places. Besides, it was really cold that day, it was raining and I had to walk in the forest barefoot. The recording in the quarry was also very funny. There were people working inside and they didn’t believe that a band was going to record a video-clip inside. They were really surprised when they saw 4 guys in black leather and a drum-kit, and a girl in white running in the cave hahah they thought I was a spirit or something paranormal! haha
Thanks! The outfits are mine, yes. Taken from here and there… I did my own disguise heheh

Many folks are saying that this is a rough time for the music industry, and one band in particular has stated that their debut album next month will be released on USB stick instead of Compact Disc.  What is your reaction to this?
The industry is falling down or at least changing, that’s for sure, so it will have to adapt to the new times if it wants to continue alive. I’m not sure about which would be the best thing to do, but what I’m sure about it’s that new generations don’t have the same view about music than we had before. On the other hand, we are lucky that in the metal scene fans are still very faithful and most of them still prefer to buy cd’s. I think cd’s will disappear anyway and all of us will have to adapt to the new technologies. Anyway, being cd’s, USB sticks or whatever, I only hope that fairer times will come for musicians because nowadays it’s really difficult for most of us to continue making music due to the lack of money and support…

As a female, I know first-hand that there is still much sexism in metal.  How does that affect you and other women you know in the genre?   
As you say there is still not much, but unfortunately too much sexism in the metal scene. I’ve learnt not to give importance to some comments, but sometimes it’s really hard to deal with some people… and not only men, that’s very sad!
There are many things that bother me. For example, in general, the ‘girl’ in the band is always considered only as ‘the girl singing’, but no more than that, when a lot of us are founders of the band, composers, producers, etc… And there’s no need to say that besides of that, we are most of the time criticized by our physical appearance. It seems that this is the primordial condition to be successful… My God, we are musicians! I don’t like neither the so called tag ‘female metal’. It seems that we still live in a world apart. We cannot make metal, but ‘female metal’… what the hell is that? For what I know there are girls singing in many different metal bands, from rock to death! I suppose that this is the reason why in big metal fests there is only place for 1 or 2 ‘female metal bands’... To be honest, I sometimes feel embarrassed of being a part of this ‘circus’… If you take a look to other music styles, these kind of things don’t happen…

What was it like to perform at Metal Female Voices Fest?  It sounds like a dream come true! 
Zube:  It is! Playing MFVF was an amazing experience, we shared many great moments with fans, organizers, stuff and other bands. We are very grateful that Phil gave us that chance. There is a very special atmosphere there, a very direct contact with the audience. Besides, everybody at Oktoberhallen is so lovely! We cannot wait to come back for the 10th anniversary, it will be a blast!

Have any crazy/weird things happened to you and the band while touring?
Definitely! The guys are totally crazy, so only crazy things can happen with them haha. You can see some examples it in our studio-reports on our youtube channel…

Do you have any special personal rituals for preparing your voice before a show?
Not really. I only try to relax and do my regular exercises to warm up the voice. I like to be alone to do that, but unfortunately that’s not possible in most of the venues. 

Tell us a little about yourself!  What kind of hobbies do you have?
I’m a biiiig nature lover!! I usually go trekking or climbing in the Pyrinees. When I feel my batteries are low, I need to walk and walk for hours in the mountains or forest. I also love animals, especially dogs. I have three and I love to take them with me for the long walks.

I also love to eat ! I really enjoy big meals and dinners with friends (as everybody I guess hehe)

Reading is another of my passions, cinema, gardening… And all of this besides my main interest that of course is music, so as you can imagine I have little time for my hobbies.

And what kind of movies and music do you enjoy?   I feel like you’d be a big Dark Moor fan.  I love me some Dark Moor :) 
Do you think so? Hehe not really… I discovered them long time ago, when Elisa was singing. She had a very powerful voice and I enjoyed power metal by then, but after I got interested in other styles. I haven’t listened to any of their albums lately, but maybe I should? I will check them out! ;)

The music I listen to the most is classical music, especially Early Music. I’m involved in some classical and Early Music projects and I still study classical singing so it’s what I listen to the most. Apart from metal and classical what I like the most is World or ethnic music, folk and soundtracks.

Regarding the movies, I especially like historical and fantasy films, but I don’t reject any genre as long as the script is good.

Will we ever see the band in North America? :D 
I really hope so!! That would be a dream! I’ve never been there yet and I really look forward! Any promoter interested? ;D 

Is there anything else you’d like to add?
Thank you so much for the interest and questions; it has been a pleasure to answer them. Thanks also to the readers and fans, we are very grateful for your support! Hope to see you soon on the road!


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