Sunday, 12 August 2012

Interview: Azoic (Iceland).

Icelandic bands have been continued to surprise us with their uncompromising attitude to create the profound music. We've experienced majestic Svartidaudi and Chao before. Here Slaying Tongue presents an exclusive interview with Azoic from Reykjavik. A pure Icelandic terror! The band is already well-known across the globe for its debut album called "Gateways" which was released this year and it sounds cavernous and horrific dissonance on the senses. Thematically and stylistically the band marks a new chapter in the oeuvre of Iceland's metal history. The band members are unveiling the musical depths of Azoic. Behold! A fine experimental black metal group. 

ST: When you started Azoic, there were some comparable types of music in underground. So I think it was not difficult to find fans for your band even though your influences are still obvious, there is a lot on this album that is either Deathspell Omega or Dodecahedron but still rather pure Azoic. Was this album a conscious effort to make people to understand that "this is the main essence of Azoic" or was that just a chance outcome of your writing?

Probably a mix of both, it would be lame to completely mimic other bands but it’s also fairly hard to be completely original. But if you take some time to consider your own musical direction, influences, etc., and put ideas into new and fresh perspectives the possibilities should be endless."

ST: "Apeiron" is essential. It’s simply a masterpiece. Black metal with chaotic death metal riffs and relentless drums making it big through an insane atmosphere. There's also a chorus in the song and it comes off as point and needed. My question is what were your feelings while composing "Gateways" and what were your expectations after the release of it? As I said before "Gateways" contain elements already heard from bands Deathspell Omega and Dodecahedron. These bands offer a different, more structured and consonant vision but there are some similarities with the sound of Azoic but on "Gateways"’s each track its own identity and feel. I’d say "Gateways" is primus inter pares. 

"Wow thanks! The only distinct feeling put into the writing was to make music that I would like to hear myself. My expectations after the release was not high but it has really spun off with over 1000 downloads worldwide which is amazing to us."

ST: Nowadays, I'm not so excited whenever a death metal or black metal album is released. Maybe, it all seems like it has been done before or may be I’ve heard too much but Azoic are odd. It’s really good to see bands like Azoic and a few others who are shaping an aesthetical and conceptual format of this genre. Even though I don’t like when every band which slightly experiments with disharmony is automatically compared to Deathspell Omega.

"I agree, the extreme music genre is a relatively young one and it grew with such rapid speed creativity vice until the last years of the 90's and the first years of a new age. In recent years you cannot name your band 'Morbid Death' or you'll be ridiculed, there is a vast sea of bands out there and it's hard to pick out the good ones unless they stand out."

ST: "Skywatchers" is a maelstrom of hybrid technical blackened riffs played at some of the most addictive relentless pace; "A Portal" is a bizarre form of experimental that progresses so supremely with dissonances and sick structures and it continues on with "Monasterium", which is mind blowing and it's not entirely predictable. Of course these majestic tracks are intelligently-crafted. Man, I want to know your overall viewpoint on extreme music!

"Extreme music as all music should be a portal for something not expressible by our language; Depression, melancholy, anger, and hate and all the other, never fully expressible by other means. The ones that fail to realize this and take on making music for some other causes, like the ol' fame and fortune thing won't relate to true music loving people."

ST: Explain the concept and theme behind the song "Wisdoms Prayer" which has a very dissonance and progressive structure which is bound to be compared to Mitochondrion and create spine-chilling atmospheres accompanied by prophetic lyrics. The lyrics tell a story of a man who is the leader as a solution of our future. Do you think our end is near? Are we facing doom soon?

"The concept behind that song is simply to practice reason, you don't have to look far in your nearest surrounding to find some fucked up things that should not, and don't need to exist. But I don't think the ‘end' is near, mankind is probably going to thrive for hundreds of thousands of years into the future practicing warfare and raping our surroundings."

ST: Are you a voracious reader?

"Yes just as you need to train your body, you need to train your mind and the only way to do that is to challenge what you feel is your own reality and concept of 'life'."

ST: The "Gateways" concept is lyrical interpretations turned into visual ideas with the whole concept intended to be dark and mysterious! The artwork represents elements of the lyrical content and the actual individual songs themselves all represented in some form in the final image! Tristan Barnes had the pleasure of creating the album cover for it. How did you guys find him as he’s a new brilliant metal artist from the abyss of Victoria?

"Actually he lived in Iceland for a few years and we met here. Seeing some of his work made it clear that he would be the right one for the job and he made the final adjustments in creating the albums concept. We could not be happier about what he brought into this project and he really took part in creating the final concept."

ST: Tell us the origin of Azoic.

"Azoic started as a one man project; the songs were created in late 2010 to 2011. Later the drummer from Atrum & Beneath offered his involvement in the project, and so the album was brought to life."

ST: Would you agree with me if I call you as “pretentious and pseudo-intellectual”? Because you are not ready to make public who you are, or are you trying to be like Deathspell Omega? Because very little is known about the members of Deathspell Omega, as the band does not have an official website and does not release information about their membership. 

"Ha ha, no, I hope we aren't 'pretentious or pseudo', man. For this album the idea was not to give out our names because they connect themselves to faces and once you've connected a face to a story you may get a 'distorted' idea of the whole concept behind that story, always picturing the faces and names. We do this automatically as it is the human nature. Taking away that human connection in my opinion enhances the whole experience, and yes, our names are easy to find just if people take some time to look by themselves."

ST: How do you see the future of Azoic and would you say that you have ideas in your mind for the next album already? 

"Gateways" is a self-released record and the debut has reached all over the globe. The plan is to play as many live gigs as possible, preferably all over the globe, and yes the writing of next album started when the writing of "Gateways" was done. There are some offers from labels being made but nothing has been decided yet."

ST: When I was listening to your band for the first time without knowing the origin I thought that Azoic was from France because it sounds reminded me some ominous acts from France. As well as France has been an amazing country for music especially for Black Metal. Is it important to you keeping the French sound?

"We don't really recognize it as 'the French sound', there are some similarities but bands all around the globe are scanning the obscure path of extreme genre mixing. But yes there are a lot of good bands coming from France, one of my personal favorites is Aosoth, you should check them out!

ST: Azoic are in the right direction but you still have a long way to go. Do you think black metal bands have become less important now from the days when you started your band Atrum? Do you think there has been a difference in the tastes of metal fans as well?

"Well the typical black metal bands singing about Satan and some goats are definitely not doing as great as they were 10 years ago. There is not much to be sought in that direction in my opinion anymore if you want to have a fresh sound. I think people are starting to see that darkness can be expressed through a broader variety of sounds and we are all about trying to expand that view."

ST: I have checked Chao and Svartidauði. Reykjavík music scene seems going to be pretty strong in coming ages. Some other bands to check out are Vanskopun, Abominor, and NYIÞ. And Carpe Noctem, they’re new music is very promising. How do you plan to fit in to the new generation wave?

"We are planning some concerts here in Iceland and there are talks about new members joining the band to make live performance possible. Our goal is to make the live experience the final piece in the concept and leave you rinsed in shreds."

ST: Since any besotted aficionados can take the technological advancement and start a band, sometimes it kills the true craft. Too many bands are doing everything perfectly on the click to the point where the entire album might as well be programmed. What are your thoughts on it?

"There has to be a human connection to the music, unless you can't relate to it as a human being. But as long as there is a true feeling behind the music it shouldn't matter, in the future music will be so fast and brutal only computers can listen to it."

ST: Let me conclude this interview here. Imhotep crews wish you all the best for Azoic and your future releases. Thanks.

"Thank you too and good luck with your project spread the terror!"