FiveĽ out of ęfiveĽ in Terrorizer. Then "They are a band to be worshipped" in Chronicles Of Chaos, then... What the hell? How can a young band make so much noise in metal underground with its second demo? And now they have just released their debut album on Nuclear Blast. Oh please, donít say that Nuclear Blast is the major label for sell-outs. May be you are right, but these Nuclear Blast dudes donít release cheap shit and we all know it. We got the debut album of AGATHODAIMON "Blacken The Angel" as soon as we could, and thus realized that this band must be on this page. I donít want to describe the album that you all have already heard. So, Iíd tell about the history of this young cool band from Germany. And one more thing: big thanks to AGATHODAIMONís manager Martin Wickler. The band was found in the pale days of September 1995. All the band members had musical experience before, but still AGATHODAIMON became their first serious experience. Sathonis and Matthias R. were the first two souls who gave birth to this hell spawn. Soon after they met Vlad Drakul and Marko Thomas who played together in several bands. Two months later Hyperion was found and the spell of mastery was cast. This sinister world was doomed to meet "Carpe Noctem", AGATHODAIMONís first demo. It was April 1996. Their second demo "Near Dark" was recorded in February 1997 and it was quite popular among people involved in the underground. More than 1000 copies were sold and the band could choose a record deal. They decided to sign to Nuclear Blast. Now everyone may buy their debut album "Blacken The Angel". One more detail: Vlad, who did all the lyrics for the band, has Romanian origin and unfortunately, he canít play in the band any more Ďcos he wasnít allowed to return to Germany. So the line-up changed but youíll find more details below. Letís get started. I talk to Sathonys, co-founder of the band and the guitar player.
Nuclear Blast has released a lot of good bands during the last months, and itís easy for people to get lost among all those releases. What was the reaction of public and fans on your album? I know the press enjoyed the album.
Well, it doesnít matter so much that Blast has such an enormous output as they arenít limited to certain style, so they can give good support for all their bands. That includes us as well, as you said the press liked our album and luckily also the fans.
I know that a quite sad story happened to your band member Vlad Dracul... Any details for our readers?
Well, the problem was his Romanian origin; after he had lived seven years here in Germany, he decided to visit some friends and relatives in his native country. After he wanted to return to the band, he wasnít allowed to come back to Germany, as he doesnít own a German passport (thatís because Romania doesnít belong to the European Union). So, weíre still trying to get him back after several tries already failedÖ until then, Akaias will replace him. As the return of Vlad seems to be unlikely due to the harsh German immigration laws, Akaias is now a permanent band member. (N.: it wasnít the wise decision to go to Romania with all this war shit around. I prefer to watch NATO solders on TV).
When and how did AGATHODAIMON come about?
AGATHODAIMON were formed in September í95 and we released two demos, "Carpe Noctem" and "Near Dark". Both with the same line-up, Hyperion and me, Sathonys, on guitar, Vlad Dracul on vocals and keys, Marko T. on bass and Matthias R. on drums. For the album, we had to use the talents of Vampallens (keys, also guitarist in NOCTE OBDUCTA, another great band in which Matthias and myself are also playing in) and Akaias.
Are you satisfied with your debut album? If you could change anything about the new record, what would you change? What makes it different from both demos?
Yes, weíre quite satisfied Ďcause we have to consider all the troubles we had to face concerning the recordingsÖ Especially the problem with Vlad Dracul forced us to improvise a lot in the last minute. If we could change something on the album, weíd re-mix it again.
How long did it take you to write this record? Do you write music often, or is it only when you head into a studio to record the material?
I canít give an exact answer on this question. But concerning songwriting, weíre working constantly on new songs; we only enter the studio when everything is ready to record. Our studio budget isnít that big that we could use studio time for composing.
Are you really busy doing a lot of promotional work now?
I was, but at the moment things are getting a bit more back to normal. As Iím doing all of the promo stuff, I was quite busy the last weeks, but after our album is out for almost three months now, most of the interviews are already done. Anyway, compared to other bands, we received quite few interview requests, but I guess this will change with our next album. But still it was sometimes quite hectic; four interviews a day, etc.
Promotion means a lot of interviews and questions. Do you get a lot of dumb questions? Are there any funny enough to share them with our readers?
Of course, but I think that the standard questions are getting more on my nerves. Slowly but steadily. If you have to repeat the whole band story every time or explain the meaning of the band nameÖ itís so boring! But sadly I canít remember any really funny, stupid questions. I just remember the better, intelligent interviews. The questions of Mikko Mattia from Isten magazine were the most interesting so far; it was a pleasure to answer them. But I canít give an example at that moment.
Anything that bugs you about being in this industry and being on a ęmajorĽ label like Nuclear Blast?
The only thing that really sucks are people who call us commercial or hype just because weíre on Blast. Blast is still an independent label, which isnít able to "hype" its bands. They donít pay to have their bands featured in magazines, etc. For example, there wasnít even one single title story in ten years for any (!) Blast band in Rock Hard, the biggest German Metal publication. Doesnít look like hype, Iíd say. Blast does what all other labels are also doing, they publish advertising and send Promo-CDs to magazines and radio stations. What makes them better is their enthusiasm for their bands; they work a lot for and with their bands.
AGATHODAIMON is only three years old and it got a deal with one of the best labels in metal genre. Itís quite impressive. Could you give a piece of advise for our readers who play in bands, concerning what should they do to achieve success?
First of all, itís the music that matters. On the other hand, outfit and image also important, but this doesnít bring you anywhere when your music sucks. So practicing is highly recommended, and of course you have to deliver something original which makes you differ from other bands. Nowadays, itís not that hard to get a record deal than it was some years ago, but itís getting harder and harder to sign to a good company. I would suggest that a band should concentrate on the underground in the first years, without forgetting about mailing their stuff to known, established magazines. A good underground reputation is always a strong help to attract labels.
What about your side projects? Is there anything new there?
Well, Matthias and me are playing in the band of Marcel (Vampallens, who helped us out on keyboards), called NOCTE OBDUCTA. We released a demo so far and received interest from labels such as Listenable, Head Not Found, etc., but in the end we decided to sign to GSM which is the label of our (AGATHODAIMON) A&R Manager. So the distribution is also handled by Nuclear Blast. A debut album is currently in the making; weíll enter studio this weekend. Vlad had a solo project called DRUSUS and released three demos and a 7" so far. Also Hyperion has a solo project, but it has nothing to do with dark music. Our current vocalist Akaias is also playing in a band called ASARU, worth to check them outÖ
You play live a lot. Do you like to do that? How do you see the "perfect" live show for AGATHODAIMON? The "perfect" fans behavior on your shows?
Of course. But I couldnít imagine a perfect live show in the true sense of the word. Anyway, it would be nice if we could combine the physical energy of a band like SAMAEL with the intensity of a band like SLAYER, plus the entertaining qualities of bands like OVERKILL, enriched with a very dark atmosphere. There are lots of good live bands around, but still I havenít found a perfect live band, always thereíre something missing which makes it ultimate. Weíre of course also far away from being perfect, but we do our best to get better, concerning stage acting and show. About the perfect fans behavior, well, thatís up to them! As long as they like our show, I donít mind if they prefer stage diving or just standing there and seeing the show. But of course, we always hope for good feedback, I mean thereíre nothing more frustrating than a silent crowd, which shows no emotions/ reactions.
How do people react to the band in a live situation? Any weird fans come out to your shows?
The better known the band gets, the more crazy people turn up. It often happens that people come to shows with face paint, spikes, etc. And Iíve noticed that there more and more stage diversÖ also more girls, he he. But thatís a development which can be seen in the whole black metal genre, it seems that black metal gets also more interesting for women. Perhaps, because the gothic/ darkwave scene is often connected with black metal also.
Youíve played together with a lot of great bands. Who is the best to play with?
It was great to play at Waken, Ďcause the audience was great and there were lots of other, interesting bands. Apart from this experience, we shared the stage with numerous bands such as DIMMU BORGIR, BENEDICTION, HYPOCRISY, ABLAZE MY SORROW, BEESECH, THERION, OLD MANíS CHILD, CANNIBALS, etc. Dozens of underground bands like CRYPTIC WINTERMOON, DESASTER, ANCIENT CEREMONY, NIOBES IVORY DREAM, DUNKELGRAFEN, SECRETS OF THE MOON, etc. It would be impossible to tell which ones weíve enjoyed the most.
When can we expect your new album?
I guess this will take a while, currently weíre working on some conversations for tribute albums, mainly for the Japanese market. Weíre rehearsing "Victim of Fate" of HELLOWEEN and also an ACCEPT-cover, perhaps "Son Of A Bitch". After this, we continue to work on new songs. Just be patient and listen to our debut album meanwhile! Thanks for interview!