La música se construye desde la innovación, desde el cambio y desde los pensamientos e inquietudes más profundas. Sin esta impronta todo sería plano y similar; es necesario que existan espíritus transgresores y rupturistas, aquellos que se conmueven por el devenir del siglo XXI y la angustia que se experimenta al vivir en el seno del consumo y de las complejidades que el neoliberalismo ha impuesto como forma normal de vida.
Es cierto, la historia la escriben los vencedores, pero los progresos tecnológicos han permitido que la voz de los sin voz suene fuerte por las diversas plataformas de comunicación. Ya no hay una sola forma, son variadas y con múltiples visiones de construir realidad. En nuestros días las diferencias se marcan con un paradigma que es propio de la realidad económica, política y social que nos rodea: somos nosotros contra ellos. El pobre contra el rico. El ciudadano contra el político. El trabajador contra el empresario; aquellos que hablan de que la lucha de clases es algo del pasado, desconfíen de quien lo dice.
La música, en apariencia ajena a esta realidad, es una construcción que se da en el seno de las desigualdades y del abuso. Es una forma de estructurar la espiritualidad y de denunciar y haber visibles las enormes diferencias. Aunque, también, es una forma de dirigir las reflexiones más personales sobre la vida, la muerte, la sociedad, la naturaleza y el devenir humano.
El hacer música es un tránsito íntimo, esforzado, trabajado, metódico y que muy pocas veces recibe siquiera la mitad del pago que merece. Son pocos los que pueden vivir de lo que hacen, menos en la escena del Metal Extremo, es un sueño y muy pocas veces una realidad. Sin embargo, siguen apareciendo soñadores que, queriendo dar rienda suelta a las influencias y a la espiritualidad, escriben música, graban instrumentos, editan discos y reciben comentarios. De dinero, ni hablar. El pago es un reseña, positiva o negativa, la publicación del álbum en diferentes portales y uno que otro review, igual de gratuito y fruto de inquietudes igual de individuales.
Las entrevistas se convierten en algo elemental. Casi que prioritario para fortalecer el trabajo artístico: ayuda, y mucho, para darse cuenta qué se quiere de la vida. ¿Se busca trascender o solamente expresar las influencias musicales? ¿Querer marcar una pauta y morir en el campo de batalla o hacer visible una pizca de arte para luego desvanecerse en el neoliberalismo global?
El que hace periodismo musical muchas veces no tiene las respuestas a estas preguntas, con suerte y mucho trabajo soluciona sus propios problemas, pero sí sabe una cosa: hay bandas que no merecen el silencio. Por méritos propios, sumado a un fuerte influjo subjetivo, el que escribe sabe (intuye muchas veces) que sin sus palabras una escena puede desaparecer. Necesita colaborar desde el lado que escogió, y que es igual de necesario que el que sube al escenario. Él es una parte relevante de la ecuación: protagoniza, con diferentes matices, la escena. Solidifica movimientos, renueva, masifica, introduce, elimina, amplia y descubre, todo por pasión y por sentirse uno más.
El entrevistar bandas es una satisfacción, pues muchas veces se trata de conversaciones con grupos que son del gusto del entrevistador y la idea de entrevistar ronda diariamente, solamente se requiere cierta valentía para hacer la solicitud, pues no existe una patente certeza de la respuesta. Uno cree conocer los grupos, pero esa definición se queda corta: la entrevista es lejos la mejor terapia de conocimiento. Un diálogo, muchas veces virtual, pero que rinde frutos, y de mucha calidad.
No quiero extenderme demasiado, porque definitivamente el protagonista de esta publicación no soy yo. Tengo un nuevo momento de satisfacción por el trabajo realizado, por el esfuerzo realizado y por una lucha personal conmigo mismo.
Una nueva entrevista para confirmar que el trabajo y el esfuerzo sí rinden frutos. En esta oportunidad se trata de una joven agrupación neocelandesa, SÚL AD ASTRAL, quienes con dos LP luchan diariamente por ser una agrupación propiamente. Sin haber tocado en vivo, son una banda de estudio, inició como un deseo personal de Stephen Fortune, al que después se unió Michael Rumple.
Stephen vive en Nueva Zelanda y Michael en Estados Unidos, y el trabajo se realiza vía contacto por las redes.
Con mucha satisfacción publico una nueva entrevista. Un saludos caluroso a SÚL AD ASTRAL, por la paciencia en soportar mi insistencia, y a quienes leen estas palabras, sigan con la lucha diaria.
Una abrazo, hasta siempre. Disfruten la entrevista y disfruten la vida.
FELIPE: Dear, thank you very much for wanting to participate. I confess a follower of the group. Thanks for your time.
STEPHEN & MICHAEL: Thank you for yours too!
FELIPE: Could you make an introduction to the group: path, members and albums.
STEPHEN: The concept for SÚL AD ASTRAL came about in 2011 when a friend of mine (Andrew Collett) and I decided to spend an afternoon writing a song each to show each other at midnight – the song that I wrote was the demo for “Allure” (which was to be released in the beginning of 2012). I decided to share the completed single on the Facebook wall of German band LANTLÔS and that’s where Michael and I met and started talking to each other. At this point we have released a self-titled album released through Pest Productions (limited to 500 CDs), a split with
Isle of Skye and another album entitled “Afterglow” all
FELIPE: Why that name? What does it mean? What does it mean to you?
STEPHEN: Initially, “Súl” was the title of a song from a project I started in 2011. I subsequently had an experience which left me feeling like I was a “soul of the sky”, I took that feeling and produced the band name. For me, it is a written embodiment of a state of mind that we can have about being human beings on this planet.
FELIPE: You are a relatively new grouping, from a country slightly recognized as Metal scene. However, you have been able to build an intricate, varied, powerful and innovative music. What groups can be named as an influence when building your sound?
MICHAEL: The biggest influences for me as the singer are DIR EN GREY, AMORPHIS, DEFTONES and STRAPPING YOUNG LAD. I mention these artists because of how the singers seem to custom fit their respective bands so well, and how they each take their sound to the extreme – whether that be extremely heavy, extremely crazy, or extremely beautiful and soft.
STEPHEN: I was initially inspired by my friend’s (James Parsons) Black Metal project as well as being showed bands such as AGALLOCH, LANTLÔS, ULCERATE and ALCEST. I also was inspired by seeing EXPLOSIONS IN THE SKY and GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR live in
Zealand and ULCERATE in .
My foundation influence for structuring our music is the Swedish experimental band
MESHUGGAH. Auckland, New Zealand
FELIPE: With what you consider relevant groups have been able to share the stage or a tour? Why include these groups?
STEPHEN: As this is (currently) an internet project, we have not shared the stage with any bands. I personally would love to do a tour with ČERNÁ.
FELIPE: The information gathered tells me that you are now living in the United Sates. It is true? Why the change?
MICHAEL: Since this is an internet project, I have always lived in the
United States while Stephen has lived in . New Zealand
STEPHEN: I was able to visit the
and meet with Michael
a few years ago. United States
FELIPE: Your music is defined using multiple and varied concepts (Post Black Metal, Atmospheric Black Metal, Shoegaze, Post Metal), these concepts often help and give an idea of a certain group, but as many hidden or hinder access to the truth. Then, there is no better truth than original source. How do you define your sound? How did you get to that building?
MICHAEL: I view our music from a sort of outside perspective as well. Since Stephen composes the music across the planet, I receive the music in a complete form, music and lyrics excluded. To me, this band exists to take any of our influences, which also include music from other styles such as Hardcore, Death Metal, Dream Pop, etc, and channel them into an aesthetic that ranges from melancholic to blissful. Everything I sing about in this band stems from real emotions, so I want to be as genuine and honest as possible when singing over the wonderful music Stephen lets me be a part of. In our early days I think we wanted to be a “Post Black Metal” band, but now genre is really secondary to honest expression.
STEPHEN: Our first album sits quite nicely with what I’d call “Blackgaze”. “Afterglow” was an experiment, pushing our efforts to all extremes. I agree with Michael in saying that now we focus on honest emotional expression.
FELIPE: Initially the group was made up of one person, then become both. What reasons were behind this inclusion?
MICHAEL: From my side, I just really liked the demos Stephen posted online and wanted to contribute. They really spoke to my emotions at the time, which is how I think the pairing worked out so quickly.
STEPHEN: I sent Michael the demo for “Amaurosis” and the vocals I received from him were just absolutely perfect, it was almost as if he knew what was in my mind. I gave him full freedom to do anything on the tracks that were planned to have vocals. After the release of the self-titled debut, I felt that he understood deeply what I was going for without any discussion. I think that this is very cool and I am very honoured to be in a band with him.
FELIPE: What groups of the current scene considered as a contribution and what music groups are you listening to at the moment?
STEPHEN: As for contribution from the scene: ALTAR OF PLAGUES, ALCEST, LANTLÔS and ČERNÁ although I haven’t spent much time listening to these bands recently. I’m currently listening to a lot of GOJIRA, MESHUGGAH, TIGRAN HAMASYAN, HIROMI UEHARA, THE CONTORTIONIST, DEVIN TOWNSEND and ANOUSHKA SHANKAR.
MICHAEL: If you’re referring to the Post Black Metal scene, I haven’t really kept up with it, but I am pretty stoked to hear ALCEST’s new album. ASTRONOID came out of this scene as well and their “Air” album blew me away. What I listen to is always changing, but over the past month or so it’s mostly been DEFTONES, T E L E P A T H テレパシー能力者,TYPO O NEGATIVE, SIKTH, FACT, and KAYO DOT’s two newest albums.
FELIPE: Are you guys working on new compositions? Can you anticipate something? How does the new album sound?
STEPHEN: Yes, we are! The new album sounds to me like an indigo-purple, dense, cold and turbulent fog.
MICHAEL: To me, the new album we are working on is more a continuation of our debut album, but with all the experiences we have gained as individuals since recording that. It’s a much more mature record, not as heavy as “Afterglow”, but still very intense. After that, we will dive into another record, which will probably be much heavier than everything else we have done.
FELIPE: Reviewing the facebook page of the group, I can see that you already have a name for your next album. What influences have for this new album?
MICHAEL: I have unintentionally avoided most outside influences, which is uncommon for me. My life experiences of the past few years have become the primary source of inspiration for my contributions.
STEPHEN: Being alive is enough influence to write this music; the past couple of years has been quite intense for me so that gets channelled directly into this music. It’s turning out to be quite an emotional body of music. Some songs have existed as long as “Afterglow”.
FELIPE: Are you aware of any American group, and more particularly a Chilean?
MICHAEL: I also sing in a Chilean group called FORESTFATHER, another online project like SÚL AD ASTRAL. Outside of that, I am not terribly familiar with the scene.
STEPHEN: I only know of FORESTFATHER due to Michael’s work with them, otherwise I know nothing.
FELIPE: Besides music, you develop some other activity?
MICHAEL: My job is my other activity. I work for a large video game company, working on game trailers for upcoming things. Between that and making music, my life has become totally filled with working on some form of media at almost all times, which is great!
STEPHEN: I study Social Services in
Otherwise, I play in a Death Metal
band “ABSTRACT SURVIVAL” and I am volunteering for a local record label
entitled “GLYPH Records”, producing and promoting bands from Dunedin,
New Zealand .
Above all else, I focus on spending quality time with loved ones New Zealand
FELIPE: Is it very difficult to want to live life playing Metal in
? New Zealand
STEPHEN: It is essentially impossible to live on playing Metal in New Zealand, which is very unfortunate but that is the reality at the moment, the market is small and isolated. Otherwise, if I could, it would be perfect.
MICHAEL: I have never been to
, but it looks really
nice. If I could live life playing Metal
there, it would probably be great. New Zealand
FELIPE: How was the reception of your albums by specialized media and fans?
MICHAEL: Our first album got a great response and our second album got a mostly great response. Some people didn’t like the breakdowns on “Afterglow”, but Stephen loves MESHUGGAH and we both play in Death Metal bands, so… oh well. Some people, intended as an insult, said my clean vocals sounded like Jared Let, but I love 30 SECONDS TO MARS so I was honestly stoked to read that.
STEPHEN: Unfortunately, “Afterglow” doesn’t have physical copies which irked some fans. My favourite response for “Afterglow” was a comment on Last.fm where the commenter said that we sold out and that the self-titled was much superior. I like it when people argue over this type of thing so I was quite proud of that! Otherwise I’m infinitely anxious and nervous when it comes to releasing music so any response I’m grateful for.
FELIPE: I appreciate the time, willingness and desire to want to participate in this space. Any news, music or news release, have open doors in this part of the world. This space is for personal reflection or farewell. Thank you very much and goodbye.
STEPHEN: I just want to say thank you for taking the time to contact us. Please check out the following bands: ČERNÁ, ULCERATE, LORELEI, ABSTRACT SURVIVAL and DUST.
MICHAEL: Thank you for the time to write these questions. We both hope that you enjoy our upcoming album “Oasis”.
STEPHEN & MICHAEL: Here is the first single from “Oasis” entitled Float: