Monday, August 27, 2012

an Interview with ANTHEMS OF ISOLATION, 1st FUNERAL band from IRAQ

When Karam (voc) contacted last week to present me his band ANTHEMS OF ISOLATION, my first surprise was the origin of the group : Iraq... I knew there was a few DM and BM that emerged from this part of the globe over the past few years but this new project including Lord Erragal (all musics, already known for several Black Metal releases) is the first from this country into Atmospheric/Funeral/Drone stuff... Even if there's still room for some improvement in their identity (the only use of keyboard and samples is not a problem in itself at all but some more variety in the moods would be welcome in the future), their debut demo "once I lived" is worth listening if you're into ultimately Ambient, funeral and ritualistic atmospheres with blackened vocals that recover either hate, despair, melancholy in a rather impressive and soulful way.
Without any awkward voyeurism, but still curious about their motivations, living and playing  conditions, I thought it would be interesting to ask them a few questions :

* First I'd like to know when did you form exactly ? Did you know Lord Erragal (from Erragal and Amelnakru) for a long time or did you contact him specifically to form the band ?
- "Karam" :  hello..  Our band was formed in July 2012.  I didnt contact him specifically for the band, we were friends for some time before forming the band, we had a common interest in depressive music like death doom, funeral doom, depressive black metal and similar stuff, one day we were having a random chat and i was telling him that i have written lyrics an i would like to sing them for a doom metal song,, so he said i alrealy got some music composed that might suits this , so at first it was a project of a song , not a demo or an album,,, i put my final touches on the lyrics , i found that his music suitable for me and he also liked my lyrics, the song came out pretty good and we eventually agreed we make a demo consisting of 1 instrumental and 3 songs.

 * In which part of Iraq are you living ? Is it a rather safe territory at the moment compared to hottest points that still subsist ?
- "Karam" : for me i live in Mosul city in the north of iraq, Lord Erragal lives in Baghdad and we meet from time to time, generally most of iraq is better now than before when it comes to safety, and my city spicifically have been quiet for some time, another thing... Do not believe everything u hear on TV, they mostly exaggerate in broadcasting events way too much !

* How and where did you record the demo ? Can you find instruments and recording material in your own country ? On which instruments exactly does play Erragal on the demo ?
- "Lord Erragal" : i used to record all my music in a simple home studio with cheep equipments , old instruments , and the same goes for Karam , i might find good instruments here and there , but according to the lack ov money , i kept it this way , we would never be able to record in a decent record studio here in baghdad according to the fact there is no metal studios at all , basically music has been created by cassiotone 610 70's wooden edition , distorted digital guitar , as the main musical touch in the whole composing , with sample of guitars , drums and ambient sounds as i used to create in most ov my projects .

* I've seen on your FB page that you're a fan from almost all forms of extreme METAL (black, death, thrash, doom), why didn't you play any of this style which can also be a way to express hate, despair, melancholy... ? why do you consider that atmospheric/funeral/drone stuff correspond better to your musical expression ? was it also a question of line-up when you formed, I mean it's certainly not easy to find other guys to form a classic Metal line-up ? 

"Karam" :  well, I can say i have a wide taste in metal music, im not the type of a metalhead who listens to specific genres of metal only, i like almost all it forms but off course i have my favorites which are death and doom metal
and i'll leave the rest of the answer to Lord Erragal ..

- "Lord Erragal " : as a musician i have a strong influence to ambient and black metal music , it might be the 1st time to form something rather than black metal , though atmospheric music used to be spiritual , touching and overwhelming , i deal with this sense in my music as karam agree with such touches , though we would not prevail all our upcoming plans , cuz AOI is not a band can be define from the 1st demo , we have upcoming completely different , back to the question , it's not easy at all to find musicians as i am as an individual musician preferred to create all my projects as a one member , but u can say i found the musical and the mental abilities that i can work with in Karam's musical personality , so here we are, AOI.

 * Those Metal influences can be heard in your way of singing (blackened, but also throaty, a bit US Death Metal like) but not really in the music, what's your opinion about that and which have been the keywords for your musical orientation ?
 - "Karam" : for my vocals, i can say im mostly influenced by the death/funeral doom metal vocalists and also melodic death metal kind of vocals even though the last one might not be that obvious in this project; but overall i think my vocals fit the music in AOI and the lyrical themes i write about
in most of the parts in the demo i used 2 pitches but in each song i added something different for the other ones, for example .. the spoken part at the end of the song "...And My Name Will Be Carved in Stone"  or the distorion effect in the middle of the song "Drowning In the Sea of Grief"
i didnt plan for any of them , they just came out spontaneously , that's why i have no idea what im gonna do next with my vocals; ive learned not to think too much about every single detail and just let the things flow and i have tried it with other songs i performed before we form AOI.
also my mate Lord Erragal gave me this advice since he has been in the scene for longer time than me.  but i assure u if u liked my work here u r gonna like my work in the future.

* Is it preferable for you guys that the existence of ANTHEMS OF ISOLATION remains kind of secret in your own country or do you feel there's no radical a-priorism towards you ?
-"Karam" :
No, there's no reason to keep it secret..  plus in iraq we have some extreme metal bands  who were formed even before us.  it cant be a secret cuz our music was created to be heard.

* You've been freshly signed by the new french label "le crépuscule du soir", is it to release the demo on vynil/CD first or directly for upcoming new stuff ?  
- "Karam" : yes , we signed with the label to release our demo on a CD and maybe we are gonna release the upcoming stuff through it too.. We'll see how it goes after releasing the demo.

* How do you see the musical evolution of A.O.I. ? shall we expect something always so blackened ?
- "Karam" : Yes, cuz that was one of the main ponits when AOI was formed, creating melancholic music than expresses us.  Our music will still be blackened but it in other ways maybe , as Lord Erragal mentioned above, we are not the type of bands that can be judged from the first demo.

 * Naturally with all the bands you listen, internet, FB, etc... you have a fair knowledge of the western world but I presume you're still attached to your own culture, how do you feel those differences ?
"Karam" :Of course i do, there's a big difference between our societies which makes it harder for us to aclimate with it here as extreme music fans for many reasons i dont need to talk about.
on the other hand, living in such society was one of the motivations for us to create something new and unfamiliar. And I wouldnt say im attached to my culture but we can't deny it's effect on us and our thoughts , AOI is a mixture of our social backgrounds and our influences from the western world.

 * Thanx Karam, add something if you wish...
"Karam" : I would like to thank you and Temple of Perdition for the support and giving us the oppurtunity for this interview.
And i ask everyone who's reading this to support extreme music in iraq.. Cuz it really needs it.

Follow this good advice :

1 comment:

  1. good interview guys! keep doing what your doing!!