EVOKEN (Eng.)

– Hello, lots of thanks for answering our interview. How is everything going into the EVOKEN’scamp right now?

A. I think we’re quite well at the moment. Although we are dealing with the aftermath of what is being called “A Perfect Storm” or a “Super-storm”, which is a combination of a Hurricane (Hurricane Sandy) and a Nor’easter. Essentially majority of southern New Jersey, parts of Northern New Jersey, NYC, Long Island, the 5 boroughs and numerous parts of the Northeast are under water, no heat or electricity, an extreme shortage on food and gas. So, the situation in this area is quite volatile at the moment.

– Your new album, “Atra Mors”, has come out 5 years after your previous effort, “A Caress of Void” was released. What have you been up to during these years? Could you say taking your time has helped getting a solid final outcome?

A. In between Caress and Atra Mors, we went through a couple of line-up changes, were part of a split cd with Swedish doomsters Beneath the Frozen Soil, completed a 2 week tour of Europe, including Roadburn Festival, as well as various other shows.

As with every album we release, we always take our time. It’s absolutely beneficial for us because it allows us to make sure each and every song is 100% solid to our ears. We’ll never compromise the music or the writing process just so we can release an album every 1 to 2 years. If it takes even more than 5 years, then so be it.

 

– And how has been the feedback for this new record? Are you personally satisfied with the final result?

A. The feedback has been overwhelming. The response we have received from the fans, as well as the new fans has moved far beyond expectations. So yes, we’re quite satisfied with the end result. Althoug has with every album we have released, it’s inventible that we find things could have been done better.

 

– Anyway all your albums have gotten overwhelming reviews and I can personally consider them all true Doom Metal classics. Does this good acceptance and high expectations make you work under more pressure? Do you try to top over your previous release?

A. It does, but we also place a tremendous amount of pressure on ourselves, far more than the fans do. As with anything in life… be it art, music, writing etc., you’re only as good as your last effort.

I think as amusician/band, you should always strive to improve upon each release. If you come to a point where you’re completely satisfied with your work, and you feel you have expressed every idea you have, then there’s no reason to continue on.

We’ll always continue to attempt to improve upon our previous work. We always have new ideas, as well as ways of trying to record a certain atmosphere.

 

– “Atra Mors”is a really dynamic effort, which I think shows a clear progression for the band. Is evolution a constant process for EVOKEN?

A. It is aconstant process, since like I mentioned, we always wish to improve upon our last release. But, we also make it a point to avoid any “planning” before we begin writing any new music. The music has to come naturally, not forced to conform to any preconceptions.

What this did was allow “Atra Mors” to become a more dynamic album, and allow more progression toward the writing, no matter how small a progression it maybe.

 

– In fact on this opus drum work really manages to stand out. For instance in tracks as “Descent into Chaotic Dream” the combination between the drums and fragile strings is just fantastic. Did you approach your drum patterns differently? Or are you simply still evolving and experimenting as musician?

A. A little of both really. I’m always trying to experiment and evolve as a drummer, especially within the doom genre. As do the others in the band regarding playing their instruments; we’re always looking to improve.

With regard to the song “Descent into Chaotic Dream”, that song was originally written to be played completely with distortion, being loud and heavy. John had demoed the song at home, adding in the other instruments using a small keyboard he has. So, once we started to play the song as a whole, everyone else began to add their own writing, which of course morphed the song from its original concept.

As I listened back to a rehearsal recording we did of the song, I started to hear it in a completely different way. I was hearing the song in a more ethereal way for majority of the song, and then completely changing its atmosphere more than half-way through, as if peace and tranquillity fell away into utter chaos, anger and sadness. So, I mentioned the idea to everyone in the band, we worked on it and it really came out exactly how I was hearing it in my mind.

 

– As I said, this CD is quite versatile but, is this how you envisioned the album since the beginning or you don’t plan how you want each record to sound like?

A. We never plan how each album is going to sound. We write as ideas come to us, and the recording the same way.

 

– Keyboards provide an interesting melody to a really thick effort. Is thiscontrast/balance something important for EVOKEN?

A. It’s VERY important to Evoken, and always has. The keyboards are such an important element to the music that if you remove that one piece of that foundation, the whole idea falls apart. The keyboards although are always there to enhance a riff/song, they are so much more than that.

 

– Atmosphere is also impressive this time round, it has an enormous role. What do you want to depict with such big ambients?

A. All of our albums have always included various atmospheres, but the one atmosphere that dominated the songs was a very dark atmosphere, which is absolutely what we are all about. For this album, once the songs were written, and we could listen to what we have before us, these songs felt as if they naturally needed a more varied approach regarding its atmosphere. Instead of focusing all of our attention on surrounding a main riff with 95% darkness, we wanted to bring in other atmospheres in a more extreme way. In other words, in any song you can go from extreme anger to extreme sadness from one riff to the next, which accentuated those darker atmospheres.

Most important of all was having Dave, Chris and Don also writing the music. Bringing in all of their own influences, combining them with ours really allowed this album to create very diverse atmospheres.

 

– And with your lyrics? What do they deal with?

A. I actually tend to stay away from allowing what I had in mind when writing the lyrics. I always leave that up to the listener to interpret, instead of allowing my ideas get in their way, only to blockage their experience.

The lyrics Chris wrote of course he would have to answer as far as his are concerned.

 

– Your music has always had a big emotion, and you manage to transmit it with the music itself and not just with your lyrics. You express emotion with every detail, as a whole. But, what made you form a band performing such sombre music?

A. It was music that physically affected us. The music felt as tangible as any piece of music can be. It served as a sort of therapy for us, giving us the outlet to express the frustrations we feel, which are beyond just anger. All of us just enjoy writing and listening to this genre of music. To be able to absorb the music while playing it is something we all embrace.

 

– All this about “Atra Mors” being said; how could you compare it to your previous “A Caress of Void”?

A. I know this may be an answer most bands typically provide, but it’s being very honest. I cannot compare them because they were written under completely different influences. Everything from the writing, to the recording, to even performing them are on completely different levels. The only difference would be the band members….haha

It’s like trying to compare you children against each other. Each one is unique to each other, with their own personalities. So, each of these albums has their own personality I cannot compare to each other. I know… a lame answer…..

 

– And how could you describe your new piece in just 3 words?

A. Haunting, Visceral, Reflecting.

 

– You have been changing your music label constantly; is there any concrete reason behind this?

A. No other reason other than signing with thelabel that would benefit us the most. In this case, Profound Lore is by far the best label we have worked with for various reasons. I’m not trying to minimalize what the other labels did for us at all, in fact we’re appreciative for the opportunities they provided us, but Profound Lore is something very special and I really hope we can continue working with them until the day comes where the earth ceases to spin.

 

– In fact this time around you have worked again with a new company; Profound Lore. How has everything worked with them so far?

A. Profound Lore has exceeded our expectations and then some. Chris has really shown why Profound Lore has gained the respect that increasingly grows year after year. Plus, to have “Atra Mors” be their milestone 100th release is an absolute honour for us.

 

– And finally, what are the near-future plans for EVOKEN?

A. As of this moment we preparing “Atra Mors” for release on vinyl as well as the second printing of the cd since the first run I believe has or is close to being sold-out. We are also working on a new shirt design for the album which is taking a bit longer than I think Chris at PL would like…. hahahah, but we want to make sure we are 100% satisfied with the design. This again, shows how cool Chris is by giving us this freedom and time.

We’re also beginning to plan out touring plans for Europe and the US. Once we have all of our nails laid-out forthe tour, we’ll hammer them into the coffin, and then announce all those tour dates.

 

– That has been everything from my side, thanks once more for taking your time. If you now want to add some final words; feel free to do it.

A. Just our thanks for supporting Evoken and taking time out of your day/evening to interview me. There’s plenty in store for Evoken for the year 2013. We’re definitely glad to see things finally opening up for us now. BUT, the most important is our thanks and appreciation to our fans old and new. We WILL see you on tour.

 

Tania Giménez

tania@queensofsteel.com

 

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