Thursday, August 8, 2013

... Interview with ABSKE FIDES : “Extreme edges of depression in Sao Paulo concrete jungles”

Abske Fides is an original band from Sao Paulo, Brazil. The band consists of Kexo (drums, bass, vocals), Nihil (guitars) and Necrophelinthron (guitars, keyboards, violin, vocals) and this trio plays sophisticated blend of death doom metal with post and funeral touches. Well, it’s really easier to tell you just click “play” button into YouTube than try to explain in one verse of this foreword that kind of music guys play.  The band was founded in 2003 but their first full-length album was released onto Russian label Solitude Productions, and I still think that such fact is both funny and interesting. Kexo and Nihil are here to answer few questions about problems of urban depression.

Hello comrades! How are you?
Nihil: Hey thanks a lot for the interview and sorry for my bad english.

Don’t worry man! I’m from Russia and we’re doing this interview for a French web-zine, so who cares in the end? :-) Don’t you mind if we start with the question of band’s origin? I see that all of Abske Fides crew play in other bands, and also it’s a matter of fact that Abske Fides first demo “Illness” was recorded in 2003 as your first full-length self-titled CD was released only in 2012!
Nihil: Abske Fides was formed in 2003 in São Paulo as a project idealized by a past member (Bruno Klein, a.k.a. Cokkhammer) and me with the main idea of making black metal in the misanthropic vein of bands like Bethelhem, Shining, Forgotten Tomb, etc. We started some compositions, made some rehearsals and soon K. and several other members joined us even for a brief time. At the end, they all left except K., who determinated to continue the project together with me, what resulted in the first demo Illness (2004). After that the approaches of Abske Fides with doom and death metal became increasingly evident as it is possible to see in our next two Eps – Apart of the World (2006) and Disenlightment (2009), but that’s another story…
The fact of all current members being involved in other bands have nothing to do with our CD being released only in 2012, but just because we work basically as project without systematic rehearsals nor big compromises, moreover we live in different cities.

May you introduce Abske Fides crew? Who's there behind those names – K, Nihil and Necrophelinthron?
Nihil: Of course yes! K. is best known as Kexo, a well known musician in the metal scene of São Paulo and Brazil who leads an old school death metal band named Infamous Glory since 1999, and also play in bands like Horns of Venus (death/grind) and Death by Starvation (black metal) aside other past bands like Jackknife (heavy metal) and Shall Suffer the Eclipse (black metal). K. is also audio producer and currently works with recordings and editions of several bands from the underground scene.
Necrophelintron is Marcos Felinto, a musician, photographer and educator who works at the Afro Museum, and always have been involved in different scenes (hardcore, gothic, electronic) and leads an amazing band named Noala (sludge/experimental metal) and had a black metal project in the past named Au Sacre des Nuits. He is also involved in Horns of Venus and in an electronic project named Afro Hooligans.
About me, I’ve always been involved in minor bands from the hardcore to the death metal scene but since 2003 Abske Fides is my mainly musical way of expression. In 2008 I created Shyy, a shoegaze/black metal project with the purpose to record some old stuff (and that couldn’t fit with the Abske Fides concept) and of which participates K. and Necrophelintron too. Apart from that I´m a History researcher.

Man, so is that the band’s current crew? Do you plan to write new stuff with that line-up?
Nihil: Yes, the current crew is K., Necrophelinthron and me. I have forgotten to say in the first question that since Necrophelinton joined the band in 2006 we became perfectly stabilized like that. Nowadays we are preparing some rehearsals with a guest drummer seeking to play some gigs in the end of this year and in the beginning of next year here in Brazil. Moreover we are writing some new stuff for the next release, we have about 5 or 6 songs being prepared.

It seems that three of yours are really artistic persons, does it change anything? I’m meaning – can you say that working with Abske Fides is something different considering working with other bands of yours?
­Nihil: For me it's an unique experience. Abske Fides is where I feel totally free to express and subject all of my emotional state in a subjective and objective way through the music. I believe that no other activities I'm involved in or other bands that I played could offer me this kind of experience.
K.: Well for me is different for sure. In my other band Infamous Glory we have a "straight" view of our sound like we play old school death metal. So in that way we will always work in that direction. On Abkse Fides the "window" is a litle more wide. We have an idea of what shape our sound should have, like shoud be intense, slow and heavy but also clean and atmospheric at some point, but its way more open to diferent ideas and experiments.

On that moment you have 4 releases – demo of 2004, two Eps and one full-length. True to say I’ve listened only your last work, therefore I wonder how Abske Fides grows and develops through the time…
Nihil: That´s a good question. I would say I can feel some changes by one side but for the other no one. I mean it is clear we migrated from black to death/doom metal and have been adding some elements and ideas to our music, but in other side we are the same guys meeting each other to play and express something the same way we always did.
K. In my opinion that is the beauty of it. We do what we feel like doing. In a way its very spontaneous. We left aside our black metal influences a long time ago, still we have some black metal atmosphere in some songs.

All of Abske Fides art-works are very bleak and cold, are these grey colors and their shades enough to embody leitmotivs of your works?
Nihil: Yes, but I would say our care with the visual aesthetic of the band is a secondary point. The photographies of our full-length - Abske Fides - for example were taken by Necrophelinthron. He make several works with images and in a certain way he expresses through it some of the general sense Abske Fides has with it’s aesthethic.

What is a place of faith in this conception? Abske Fides means “Without Faith” so I wonder from what kinds of disappointments was this name born.
Nihil: I think Abske Fides raised inside a segmentation of metal and art in a large sense which expresses the very pessimistic side of human being. It is very subjective and imprecise to identify the source of this pessimism and our identification to it, but of course there's a mutual interest and our individual beliefs (unbeliefs) and our experience of life with the "common-place" in the themes of the most extreme metal genres.

I guess that we may establish that you play death doom metal with bit unusual approach, it’s hard to say that you just follow some certain bands as some guys do. How did you get such results as we could see onto “Abske Fides”?
Nihil: Thanks for your impression. I really don´t know in what point is possible to delimit a clear specificity of the band. We have different influences and don´t theorize very much about the way we have to sound. I mean, we just play and talk about what we are doing,
K. As Nihil said we are very different regarding to music influences. We all came from the same, metal and hardcore background but through life we went on different paths. I think that Necrophelinthron is more experimental, Nihil is more "melodic" and I am more traditional specially about doom metal. So we sit together and start playing and working some riffs and the result is the combination of that factors.

And so I wonder how did you meet each other and work out such great full-length album! How it was men?
Nihil: Before this all, we're a long time friends, I think this is the main element that keeps us in tune. Therefore, the musical paths that we follow was always similar in a certain way the same way we respect the influences other may have and try to absorb some of it, I mean, we were always interested in what each other was listening, thinking or doing. When we are composing at rehearsals or recording on a studio, all this tune between us becomes evident and flows naturally... and that's it, I guess.

Your last work was released by Russian label Solitude Productions, it’s a common situation now, but I still find it’s very curious how for example Russian label supports Brazilian band. How did you get in contact with them?
Nihil: I am very curious about that too. I think it’s very interesting these approaches between Latin America and East-Europe. I guess that Solitude knew about us when we were signed with the French label Ostra Records, that released our first EP, Apart of the World. Some of those copies went to Russia and I supposed that started an interest by them, who contacted us and proposed a full-length record. We got surprised, cause we wasn’t looking for a label, but we were planning on releasing a full-length.

As “Abske Fides” CD has some elements which could be considered as “experimental” or even “avant-garde” can you predict the way of band’s further evolution? Do you already have some new songs?
Nihil: I don´t know if those “experimental” or “avant-garde” elements will be kept or increased for the next release. When we did it we were all very excited, but it doesn´t mean this would represent an evaluative line of the band. Actually, the way we are getting points more to a raw and simple kind of music than to an “experimental” or “avant-garde”.

Okay, what do “raw” and “simple” mean in your situation?
­Nihil: In a large sense I think that means a kind of musical creation which is guided by a free state of mind, spontaneous, with no preconceptions and no great pretensions to sound like this or that.

May you tell us about positive and negative sides of living on Sao Paulo? Where do you live there?
Nihil: São Paulo is a “concrete jungle”, a chaotic megalopole populated by 12 million people, full of social problems and suffered by state oppression. K. and Necrophelintron live there. I´m also from São Paulo and lived there for a long time but also lived for some years in Curitiba (a much smaller city in the south of Brazil) and actually I´m living in Rio de Janeiro (in general the same shit of São Paulo, with the difference here’s  much more touristic and has beaches).
K. In a way São Paulo had a major influence on shaping some atmospheres of our sound. Back in the day of Disenlightment we did a lot of demos of new songs at the time and we always recorded at night, late at night. And driving around Sao Paulo at night can be an introspective experience, specially in the winter coz here it rain a lot during that season. The city is wonderful at night but also have a desolate feeling. Like if almost as you are completely lonely among 12 million people.

And what’s about these riots which took a place in Sao Paulo in June/July? Do media lie as always or did people really have serious reasons to go out on the streets?
Nihil: Things are still happening, every week we have riots, strikes and acts in some place of Brazil leaded by different groups of society with different claims. In my opinion people have serious reasons to go out on the streets and to protest. The main problem of big medias like Globo is that they don´t cover all the facts. They manipulate and also distort the real meaning of them. Now they are trying to reduce the visibility of all the riots in the news giving us impression that things are returning to their places, but the fact is that things are still happening and we are living a moment of changes.
K.: In my opinion, people always have reasons to take the streets. We live in a time of social inequality. So in a way or the other you are opressed by savage captalism. Here in Brazil we have countless reasons to take the streets and demand our rights. It all started with a moovment called MPL (portuguese short for "Free Pass Moovment”), an anarchist moovment which claims that public transportation should be free of charge. The bus taxes raised this year so they took the streets in protest. The police, as always, came and beat up everyone. Then on the next protest one million people were on the streets for the taxes and for better public services in general.

Thank you for the interview men! That was my final question for today, I hope that the situation in Sao Paulo will be adjusted soon and Abske Fides will get few more songs for underground citizens of our doomed world. Good luck comrades!
­Nihil: Thanks a lot dude, soon you all will hear news from Abske Fides, songs, videos, photos. Hope someday we meet in somewhere of this world!

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