Good afternoon, Michael! Give us the latest news from Doomocracy’s camp. How things are going with the album so far? What are the fans and critics reaction? And how was the concert with The Temple?
Hello, Apostolis and thanks for your hospitality. The news in Doomocracy’s camp is great! The feedback we have received from webzines and magazines inside and outside Greece regarding our new album Visions & Creatures of Imagination, is amazing. Still the thing that gives us real pleasure is the public’s response that has really embraced our effort. We daily receive messages of support complimenting us regarding our new album and asking when we are going to play live in their city. Especially in Germany where we have received fantastic reviews, the reaction of the public is stunning! We have performed there in the past for Hammer of Doom festival and I really hope we can manage to play there again to promote our new album. We already have some suggestions and I hope we will have more to say in the matter in due time. Our performance with The Temple went really well! The guys in the band are very friendly and we were really glad to have hosted them in our release performance. We wish them best of luck, hoping we will have a chance in the future to share the stage once again. The crowd’s reaction regarding our performance was fantastic and that is really important for us, because it is essential to have a devoted local base of fans. We thank them for supporting our every step.
Let’s talk a little about the album. First of all the technical-procedural: I’m reading that the mixing and mastering were done at Morrissound. The sound outcome is to say at least exceptional to my ears. What experience did you obtain from your collaboration with the one of the most historic heavy metal studios?
Visions & Creatures of Imagination, was recorded at Mad Hat Music studio with Nikos Vogiatzakis, except the drum parts which were recorded at Devasoundz studio with Fotis Benardo. The sound was already great during recordings still we wanted the best possible sound, so we decided to do our mix and mastering with one of the best, Jim Morris and Morrisound recording. We gave him some general guidelines regarding what we wanted the album to sound like and from the first “Test mix” everything sounded amazing! Each instrument had the necessary space and sounded clear and live. We wanted to try something different as some Scandinavian productions nowadays sound over compressed, so we decided to try a taste of the American sound which gives a more live approach. I think our choice was justified 100% as our partnership with Jim Morris was impeccable on all levels.
How much time did it take for the new material’s composition, processing and its recordings?
We started composing music for the new album around December 2015 and finished around August 2016. The composing process was different than The End is Written in which we first recorded the music and then rehearsed it in the studio. This time the composition took place in the studio with all band members contributing riff melodies and patterns. The result of this different process finds the band more mature and tight. The mix and mastering took place on January 2017 and as we had already come to the decision to continue our successful partnership with Steel Gallery Records, the remaining steps towards the album release were swift and professional.
Visions and creatures of Imagination. For the time being I don’t have the lyrics in front of me, consequently i’m going to have to settle with the titles. Imaginative, personal elements, first person experiential storytelling, escapism are some of the thins that I see with a first small interpretation. I need a comment on the lyrical content if you please.
There’s no certain concept behind the lyrics in the new album. Besides all band members contribute lyrics and music and have their own personal concerns so the concept of lyrics is quite broadened. In the new album one can find experiential lyrics that discuss human concerns and emotions, but also fiction stories from Greek and international mythology.
The cover has an Egyptian aesthetic, I think there is a corresponding with Lucid Plains of Ra, while there are also a few cattered oriental themes(Maybe the base line and the theme of the ‘A Taste of Absinthe’). In general the musical orientalism, which we meet in quite a few bands, from the classical 80’s and the Maiden uo to the modern and dark 90’s, of Solitude Aeturnus, Mercyful Fate, Death, etc. gives a mystical element that fits with the soundscapes that Doomocracy also are being tested. I want a musical comment on this and a wider one: are there any other mythologies that trigger your interest, any readings that potentially are going to be a source of inspiration?
There is indeed an Egyptian feeling in the cover of the album, which was made by Belgian designer Sonnet Jean Philippe for Threadbare Artwork and the cover has elements from the song Lucid plains of Ra as you mention. Still if someone takes a closer look he will identify elements from almost all the songs in the album. The new album features eastern and Arabian melodies as you say, but that doesn’t mean that it is solely based on these scales. Personally I adore eastern and byzantine scales and I think this shows in my vocal melodies. Besides the bands that use this orientalism are usually my favorites. I love the Egyptian feeling of Iron Maiden’s Powerslave as all the albums of Death, Solitude Aeturnus and Mercyful Fate. There is one band though not widely known, that uses these scales in the most masterful way and they are called Lord Bane. Their album Age of Elegance is for me one of the best metal albums of all time. I think the blending of the lyrics with the music scales we mentioned, creates a mysterious and unearthly feeling for the listener. I love Greek mythology and I know Angelos Tzanis our guitarist adores Egyptian mythology, which sometimes we use when writing lyrics, just as we use pieces and stories from the Bible. I personally get inspired by playing certain video games such as Diablo and Prince of Persia.
How easy is for a band like Doomocracy, that comes from the greek periphery, in the middle of an economic crisis, to chase and carry out its artistic vision? In another era it would have sounded rather as a joke for a Cretan band to come in contact with an emiment and renowned studio abroad, you would have moved across the borders in order to have a serious proposition. The greek reality has made it clear that is of no help. How Doomocracy are coping?
I have recorded at Fredman Studios in the past, and although it was an amazing experience it was very costly. I think what we do in Doomocracy works perfectly. We record everything in Greece and we do the mix and mastering abroad. Of course for us to do the mix and mastering abroad costs more but the end justifies the means in this case. So since recording and mixing is no longer a problem, I don’t think we face any other problems coming from Crete. I mean okay, if we were living in central Europe we might have had more chances to play live, but the internet has helped us a lot in being widely known and as I said before the new record is doing very well in central Europe, so I think we will have some dates to announce soon.
There is a guest appearance in the record by Miguel Robaina from Memento Mori. Apart from them, which bands are raw material influences for Doomocracy? Give us also a list of ten records for the list-psychos!
We decided to work with Miguel Robaina right after we completed all compositions for the new album. Still, Miguel’s keyboards and harmonies helped the songs in which he participated to develop in a magical way. Miguel is a fantastic keyboardist and composer and it was a real honor for us to work with him. I hope we will have a chance to work with him again in the future. Memento Mori is one of my favorite Metal bands, because they feature all my favorite metal genres: Progressive, Epic and Doom Metal. Also the personnel featured in this band throughout the years is stunning! Snowy Shaw, Messiah Marcolin, Tom Bjorn, Miguel Robaina and of course Mike Wead all played in of the best Doom Metal bands of all time. So yes Memento Mori is an influence for Doomocracy, as is Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Solitude Aeturnus and Lethal. We always filter these influences and try to take our music a step futher. I believe that if someone listens to the new record, he will clearly identify it as Doomocracy. I must say I enjoy reading and making lists with my favorite bands and albums. So here are my ten favorite metal albums for the time being:
- Fates Warning – Awaken the guardian
2. Heir Apparnet – One small voice
3. Crimson Glory – Transcendence
4. Candlemass – Nightfall
5. Psychotic Waltz – Into the everflow
6. Metallica – And justice for all
7. Solitude Aeturnus – Beyond the crimson horizon
8. Lethal – Programmed
9. Death – Symbolic
10. Queensryche – Rage for order
You have shared the scene with great bands of the genre, first in mind (as expected) come Solitude Aeturnus. But not because I consider Doomocracy imitators. How do you assess the progress and the presence of the band in a difficult genre like the one of epic doom metal;
Early in our career we had the luck of sharing the stage with doom metal legends such as Saint Vitus and Trouble. Hammer of Doom festival was a great experience for us and we made a lot of friends there. I still remember the thorough conversation we had with John Perez from Solitude Aeturnus who is a good friend of Doomocracy. I sure hope they will release a new album soon! There are people who say that Epic Doom Metal features 2-3 major bands and that all other bands are several steps below. My wish and desire is for Doomocracy to climb this ladder and stand worthy next to the best bands of the genre.
Having a quick summup I find that lately I listen to more and more Greek bands. But I don’t want to brag about ourselves, I would like a comment on the Greek scene, which in my opinion, you are one of its strong cards.
The Greek Heavy Metal scene has made serious steps towards recognition. Besides Rotting Christ and Septic Flesh which have a long career outside Greece, we now see more bands playing successfully abroad such as: Sacral Rage, Dexter Ward, Inner Wish, Diviner, Need, Wardrum, Suicidal Angels, Chronosphere and Universe217. Greece lately features great bands and albums in all Heavy Metal genres. In the past Greek albums lacked good production and composition, but nowadays we can say with no hesitation that Greek Heavy Metal scene is here and has a loud voice!
What are your record’s promotion plans? Any concerts? When should we expect you back in Thessaloniki?
Like I said we played in Heraklion on the 18th of March with The Temple and next we visit Sweden for Doom Over Scania festival with Memory Garden. We are discussing dates for Athens Thessaloniki and other Greek cities and a mini tour in central Europe.
You can close this interview anyway you like. Your album got easily in my personal list, of this year’s favourites. Keep up the good work!
Thank you Apostolis and Metal Invader for the hospitality and constant support. We in Doomocracy will continue pushing our limits to create beautiful and dark music.
See you on tour!