Diabulus in Musica interview, March 2014

Ahead of the release of their fourth album, Argia, Diabulus in Musica singer Zuberoa Aznárez took some time to answer a few questions for us…

OK for anyone who isnt familiar with Diabulus in Musica, can you tell us a bit about the band?

diabulus in musicaWe are an, I would say “eclectic”, symphonic metal band from Spain. Gorka and I founded Diabulus in Musica back in 2006. After wining some contests we decided to record our first album, Secrets, which was released by Metal Blade Records in 2010. It received many great reviews and we had the chance to play in big fests. Afterwards we signed a new deal with Napalm records to release our 2nd album “The Wanderer” in 2012 and our 3rd effort “Argia” will be released by the same label on April the 14th.

Your new album, Argia is due for release soon.  Can you tell us a bit about the album?

“Argia” is our most “honest”, mature and personal album so far. It directly comes from personal experiences Gorka and me lived these two last years. I think the real essence of Diabulus in Musica is now more present than ever. Musically wise the eclecticism and contrasts that define our music are even more evident.
“Argia” means “Light” or “clear” in our regional language, Basque. This title somehow reflects how we feel now. Gorka and me had to start from scratch when the other band-members left. It was very hard at the beginning, but we both alone managed to write new songs, find new band-members and play some live shows in only one year. We saw the light in our path again and we had a clear view that we had to continue making music, just because we love it so much that we cannot live without it.
On the other hand, this situation and others I’ve also experimented at the same time, made me wonder about some human behaviours and made me try to understand others and myself better. I’m not sure if I have things so “argi” (“clear”), but I’m trying!

What’s the song writing process in the band – is it a collaborative thing or are there one or two main song writers?

In our previous albums, usually one of us used to write a complete song and then forwarded it to the other band members. It was in that moment when we started to work together, to arrange the songs until we considered they were completely finished. We work a lot at home with our personal computers. We record our ideas in the computer and usually the one who does the song, adds all the instruments and arrangements. Then we share mp3’s of the songs and we share our thoughts, propose changes, etc… I think it’s a good way to work and test new things.
Nevertheless, for “Argia” the process has been quite different as Gorka and me were alone. I have been the main composer this time, except for a couple of tracks where I have only written some arrangements and the vocal-lines. With the rest of the songs I made almost everything and then Gorka and me have worked together on the arrangements.
We were in the middle of the writing process when the new guys joined us, so we preferred them to focus on learning the old songs for some live shows we had at that time, that’s why they didn’t take part on the writing process except for a couple of riff structures. Anyway, we hope we can work again as a team in the writing process of our future albums, as we used to do before.

What are your inspirations for writing the lyrics?

My inspiration comes from the World itself, above all from my personal worries and thoughts about it (which are mostly related with nature, freedom, spirituality and social problems) and personal experiences too. I’m a nonconformist person and always think a lot about every aspect in life, I sometimes have rare ideas rounding my messy brain (I suppose this is normal among artists?) although I rarely arrive to a clear conclusion…
“Argia” is not a concept album as our previous album “The Wanderer”, but the lyrics are directly connected to what I told above. All the lyrics come from personal experiences and feelings we have lived lately. Some of them refer to our new situation, to human behaviours, some others are more critical and the rest are much more introspective and are related to some of my spiritual believes. All of them have in common that they come from reflexions derived from happenings that took place after the rest of our band-mates left.

You have a couple of guests on the album.  Can you tell us who they are any how you came to choose them?

Yes! We are very honoured to have Ailyn from Sirenia and Thomas Visktröm from Therion in a couple of songs.
The song where Ailyn is singing is called “Furia de Libertad”. When I created this song I knew the lyrics were going to be in Spanish as the song talks about the Spanish situation nowadays. The song is dedicated to all the victims of the political and economical crisis (and also crisis of values) in our country.
I immediately though about Ailyn to sing this song with me because we became friends and we both are from Spain. Besides, we have different voices that complement each other very well, so I asked her if she would like to take part in this song. She likes a lot the band, so she immediately accepted and I was very happy to have her beautiful voice in one of our tracks!
Regarding Thomas, he is singing in “Encounter at Chronos’ Maze”. We needed a very special voice for this duet. We wanted a versatile singer who could give to the song a “music theatre” touch, even operatic. Thomas is an amazing singer, he has actually sung a wide variety of styles from classical to metal, so he was the perfect candidate. I contacted him and sent him a rough demo of the song. I was so excited when he accepted and he told me he really liked the song and my voice! It has been such a honour for me to sing with him!

You’re due to play the Metal Female Voices Fest in October.  You’ve played the festival several times before so I guess you enjoy it there?

Sure! We are very happy to come back to Belgium and very grateful to the promoters and all those who want us to come back, as they do it possible! There is always a great atmosphere there and we always try to offer a very special show when we play at MFVF. The atmosphere, the stuff and audience at MFVF is always so great that we have always felt like at home. We are looking forward to come back!

Have you got any other live shows or tours planned this year?

Yes, for the moment we are playing at “Masters of Symphonic Metal” in Switzerland the 5th April and then I think we will also play in France, Spain and probably Russia and Holland, although the dates are not confirmed yet. We are working on finding more dates right now.

What’s the metal scene like in Spain?

Metal in general is not the most popular style in Spain. I guess the same happens in the rest of Europe…  Also Spanish metal-heads like better the national ‘old school’ heavy metal, sung in Spanish. Nevertheless, there is a rising new metal scene, although these bands aren’t well-known.

Are there any other Spanish bands you can recommend people to listen to?

To be honest I’m not listening Spanish metal that much, so even if I know some names, I’m not familiar with their music, so it wouldn’t be fair to give an opinion.

When you buy music, which do you prefer and why – Vinyl, CD or legal mp3 downloads ?

I still buy CDs, when I listen to music at home I prefer to do it on my CD player, but I’ve started to use I-tunes a lot as well. When you are travelling it’s the easiest way to listen to music.

What was the last album you bought?

The last one, well it’s very different from metal actually, Early Music. It is “Alma Mia” by Raquel Andueza, she is a soprano from my home-town and she  is specialized on Baroque repertoire.

About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.
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