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Ravenheart Music: Interviews

AGHONYA INTERVIEW


Ravenheart Music is two and a half years old, and in that time, I have come across some awesome bands. And I am totally aghast at some of the unsigned talent that I come across. AgonyA from Chile can be added to that list. A band for all lovers of melodic gothy femme rock and metal. And their debut cd 'Oxygen' is a superb record. I have had the real pleasure of doing an interview with their beautiful singer Cati...Read on....

Not many people here in the UK would have heard of you, although if I had my way that will change. Tell me a little about yourselves, and how did you arrive at the name AghonyA? It sounds quite gothy to me.
Well, thanks for trying to put us out there!!

About the band’s name, we decided we wanted to show a reflection of human race’s decay and society’s abominations along with the disasters that we are causing to the Earth with our conducts; at this rate, we will probably extinguish ourselves in a few decades, so we went for Aghonya, which empowers the word agony both in English and Spanish. So it is kinda gothy in a sense that reveals a certain darkness, the darkness of a world on its knees.

About ourselves, we started our band pretty much to have a hobby, but as we began to create our own music, we gathered the belief and conviction to try to do this professionally…we hope it works!
Also, we’ve had the privilege to open the shows of bands like Within Temptation and After Forever, and we’ve played in some of the best venues here in Chile thanks to that, so we’re very energetic about this.

In the band, we are all studying different careers, Sebastian and I study laws and the others are studying to become engineers, but still, we all have musical training, I had opera singing lessons for about 6 years, Sebastian studied classic guitar, Javier spent years learning drums, etc.

Not many bands seem to come from Chile. What is the rock/metal scene like there?
The scene here is quite “under”. Chilean rockers often listen to metal bands from the 80’s, a lot of power, speed, epic or heavy metal, doom and black metal. It’s not a massive tendency. That’s why the bands that perform in this scene follow those streams as well.The music we offer, (goth rock with modern sounds) is just awaking here, and we’re fighting to make it stronger along with a few more bands.

Have any members of AghonyA been involved with any other musical projects, that you would care to perhaps let us here at Ravenheart Music in on?
Andrés (Keyboards) and Sergio (bass guitar) are involved in a band called Dr.Clo, and I had a small participation in “Husar” which is a rock opera about Chile’s independence. Neither of those projects may fit in Ravenheart music’s profile, since they are both in Spanish :)

Your debut cd 'Oxygen' is to my ears totally awesome, picking up a 9/10 review on this website. I am amazed that a band of your calibre are unsigned! Can you tell me more about the songs on the record?
Thank you so much! Well it is hard to be an unsigned band, but we’re trying our best to change that situation. Besides, here in Chile, getting signed by a record company is extremely hard. So we’ll see how things go, maybe we get our chance in Europe, considering that Sebastian is German :)

About the songs, they have 2 main streams regarding their topics: one, the conduct of human race towards itself and the environment (shown in songs like “Oxygen”, “Fading Frequencies” or “As it Dies”), and also a more introspective path, that explores emotions and feelings that many people bare inside, which sometimes make them feel alone and uncomprehended (in songs like “Lead me Into You”, “How Can I?”, “Wish You Gone” or “Endless Illusion”). We believe in making a difference, and we believe we can do that through music, if only one person feels touched by one of our songs, and feels that something can be done to improve certain situations, it’s already a satisfaction.

I do hear influences of Evanescence, Within Temptation and After Forever (three of my fave bands) in your music. That is no bad thing. Was it intended?, or did it just turn out like that?
Well those are bands that we obviously like and listen to, on top of that, they are logical referents to our music style, but still, when it comes to writing and composing, our influences go more through Korn, Lacuna Coil, or even Rammstein, specially when it comes to the beats.
We love industrial and electronic sounds; that, combined with more romantic melodies and sweeter sounds, such as strings and orchestras. And I must say that when I find a good element in a singer’s technique, and I believe it will enrich the sound of the band, I adapt that to my self and apply it. You’d be really surprised if I told you some of my vocal influences!

Do you have any fave songs on this album? and by and large how would you describe your sound?
Naturally, every member of the band has a unique taste in music; therefore, each one of us has their favourite songs. In some of them, we agree, that’s what happens with “Lead me Into You”, “Oxygen” or “How can I?”, and also with “Wish You Gone”. Personally, I must add “Endless Illusion” and “One Last Lullaby” to that list. The sound we looked for as a band conceives very raw and direct elements; a lot of guitar and industrial-electronic sounds, yet always mixed and combined with others that are much more melancholic and harmonious, like choirs and orchestras. We believe that a good mixture of these elements can deliver interesting results.

And it has! Bearing in mind your cd is independently produced, and well produced too, was the recording process simple or did it give major headaches?
For the recording process, we were lucky to have Sebastian’s brother (Pascal) working with us, he’s our sound engineer, and he put his studio at our disposition for as many hours as we needed it, so that was a huge help! Still, it wasn’t an easy task; we needed many hours of work to be 100% satisfied, but I think we finally achieved the results we were looking for. In the case of the album’s production, we decided to work without a producer and do that job ourselves. Voice arrangements were mostly my responsibility, and musical production was in charge of Andrés Cruz and Sebastian Coulon, though the three of us worked together in most of the general production activities.

And although it may be too early to say, are their plans if at all possible to record a second album?
Of course, in fact, we’re already planning it. We’re gathering our lyrics, melodies, ideas and materials, and we’re trying to set a schedule to begin the process. With a second album, we can do a much better job playing live, and it will help us get truly defined as a band. It’s very exiting.

I know you are an independent act, but would there be any plans to tour in due course, if you were able get the tour machinery in place?
By all means starting a tour is one of our main goals. The ideal situation would be to have a record label that would take care of the touring, managing, distribution and marketing, but since we don’t have one yet, we do all those things ourselves. Still, we truly hope to be announcing a tour through Europe or USA as soon as possible.

Being an unsigned band and obviously with all the headaches of trying to get a deal, is the mood in the your camp generally upbeat?
We just try to stay optimistic, to enjoy this adventure. We take the headaches with the satisfactions and we never stop fighting. I think faith and belief are important elements to try to make it out there, because many doors get slammed in your face, and you can’t loose heart, you have to keep going. Besides, we have a good product to offer, and though we still have a lot to learn, we’re open to changes to keep on making progress.

The female fronted rock/metal scene here in the UK could be stronger although it is ok. What are your expectations of the rock/metal scene as a whole in Europe, the USA and indeed in your homeland?
In our country, there’s a strange phenomenon going on in the rock scene; there’s a huge amount of bands that have stuck to a bluesy hard rock sound from the 80’s. They are the most common tendency in the underground circle; there are only a few bands that really dare to break that mold in order to offer a more modern sound. Little by little these bands with a modern twist are appearing and we are trying to contribute to make this a phenomenon of bigger proportions. In fact we want to help built a great female-fronted rock scene. Still I think we’ll have to wait for a couple of years to see the results. We still have to learn a thing or two from the European and American backgrounds, for example, we have NO festivals like the ones you have in Europe or USA, and if we want to play in another country, we have to cross 7km-high mountains! That’s why we think it would be amazing to participate fully in the European scene and keep on making a contribution to empower our local circle.

Musically and spiritually who/what are your inspirations, and what sort of music do you listen too when you are chilling out with a bottle of wine, glass of beer or indeed a bottle of mineral water? :)
Excellent question :) I think we have many elements of inspiration; the world is full of them, positive or negative things surely can touch you deep enough to make you want to manifest yourself about them. I think that’s what art is, printing your mind and spirit into an object you can perceive by the senses, and we try to do that through our music.

Now, what do we listen to when we chill? Haha! Whatever the night brings I guess :)

But really, as I was saying we have very diverse tastes in music, we go from classic music to, I don’t know, Emir Kusturica! (Sebastian and Andres like his music a lot), passing by all styles of rock and metal. Personally, I love Loreena MCKennitt , and Celtic or Medieval music, apart from the rock stuff I listen to ( Korn, Disturbed, Lacuna Coil, Rammstein, Symphony X, Megadeth, Within T, etc!) We get united by our love for rock, but our differences enrich our music.

And what are your plans for the future?
For now, we’re playing live as much as we can here in Chile to show our first album “Oxygen”. That’s part of our short term plans.

In October we’ll be recording our first video, for our first single “Lead me Into You”. We’ll be working with an excellent director, who has also worked with bands like Lacrimosa, Vader and Tarja Turunen, among others, so we’re really exited!

Apart from that, we’re planning the first guidelines for the composition of our second album, to hopefully, record it within next year.

Besides, we’re trying to distribute our CD wherever we can, and we’re also evaluating the possibilities of an international tour, though that might happen a bit further in the future.

Well good luck in all what you do, and we at Ravenheart wish you all the very best with this totally awesome release. Finally is there anything that you would like to say to anybody across the world via this website?
First, we’d like to thank you for your time and support, for trying to help us and for believing in a tiny band like we are :)

We’d also like to thank all those who have gotten our CD and the fans who have manifested their support.

For now, you can get the CD through our myspace: www.myspace.com/aghonya (through paypal). Our official website is under construction, but soon we’ll have it in English, Spanish and German to share with you all our info and more!
Dave Smith (Oct 3, 2008)