Title: Substantial challenge

As the Spanish Symphonic Metallians published the second album „The Wanderer“ in 2012, many lovers of this kind of sounds got faced with a new revelation.

Now the outspoken theatricals Diabulus In Musica tie in seamlessly to their previous epic heady flights with the third longplayer „Argia“.

Female singer Zuberoa Aznárez and the four musicians of the noble formation from Pamplona, founded in 2006, are proving once again to be great and passionate aesthetes.

Uplifting opulent arrangements and a contagious visionary magnificence of sound together with finest ethno components crowns powerful compositions, their adorable heavenly refrains can pamper delightfully even the most demanding ears.

Hi Zuberoa, please describe the main musical character of the newest album release!

„That's difficult because it's quite an eclectic album where many musical influences are present and many different feelings expressed as well. I can think of a few adjectives that could describe the music of "Argia", some of them opposed, because of the duality of our music: harsh vs sweet, modern metal vs an ancient and ethereal flavor, passionate, deep, mystic, cinematic... In one word, this is symphonic metal, but always full of contrasts. Contrast is always necessary when you need to communicate different thoughts.“

„Argia“ - a typical Diabulus In Musica output?

„I wouldn't say it's typical, because it responds to the need of expressing myself more than ever. It's the most personal album so far, the most "honest". For me, this release has been a cathartic therapy and musically wise I think it's not difficult to catch all those feelings. You can find anything from aggressive metal riffs to electronic sounds, sweet melodies, acoustic instruments... We have tried to make this album richer and search for new sound colors. For example, we have recorded many natural instruments such as the woodwinds and percussions of the orchestra, some ancient instruments such as the "txalaparta" (a Basque wooden percussion instrument), apart from singing I've also recorded different kind of flutes and the Celtic harp. So there are new elements that help to express all that range of emotions.“

Your vocals are of finest and partly touching dreamy appearance. Surely you have invested a lot of time in the vocal arrangements!

„Thanks a lot for the compliments! To be honest when I start to write a song, I'm generally more focused on the music. I just record a very soft vocal line while I'm working on the orchestra for example and when I have to record the final vocals it's when I realize I sometimes make difficult things to sing! So it has been a challenging album vocally-wise because of that: from very low to very high notes and also many different styles of singing in each song. I always promise myself I'm going to be aware of that in the following compositions, but I never do, I always finish giving myself over to music! Anyway, it's true that there is a lot of vocal work, choir and backing vocal arrangements.“

Did you ever got vocal lessons?

„Yes, I've been taking classical singing lessons for many years now. It's something that you can never stop doing in my opinion. I always feel there are things to improve and new things to learn. It doesn't matter if you play an instrument or you sing, in music (well, in life in general I guess!) you never stop learning!“

How much time took the complete songwriting for „Argia“ and who were the main composers of these new stuff?

„I'm the main composer and then our keyboardist Gorka Elso. In the case of "Argia" I've made most of the songs and then we've worked together on the arrangements. We both are the core of the band and a very good team because Gorka is more patient than me and he gets along with technology better than me too, so when I compose a track, he usually has to invest some time putting everything in order! Regarding the time the songwriting took, I don't remember exactly, but I would say it was quite fast. As I told before, I had many things to tell and as I'm not very good with words, those "things" came in the shape of music. Muses came and stayed with me for a few months and then we spent more time with the general arrangements. The whole process took about a year or so.“

Is it allowed to ask you about nowadays special musical and personal (spiritual?) influences?

„It is! Regarding my music influences, apart from metal (which I have to admit I don't listen to that much lately) my main musical influences are Classical music, Early music, soundtracks, World music, folk and ethereal stuff. As for my personal influences, my brain and heart is a real mess! I am a restless and curious soul and quite a spiritual person too. I can easily adapt to new believes that sound convincing to me, so I can believe in the karma force, in Mother Earth, the power of energies, the real word of Jesus, Rave chart and Human design... I think that although we humans insist to create and take different spiritual ways, the final goal is the same, or so should be. In conclusion, I think I would fit in the spiritual new age... You see? A mess!“

The new song material of Diabulus In Musica is more theatrical than ever, as it seems. How does it came?

„That's nice! It wasn't deliberated, but as I told, this is the most personal album for me and the music that helps me to express all those feelings must be different, from rage to happiness, sadness, tenderness, withdrawal... What I search when I'm listening to music is that it takes me to a different dimension, I search for different emotions, different places, dreams, images... So I try to do the same when I write music, it has to make me dream and hopefully others too.“

Are - one or some of - you guys deeper into the theatre topic in private matters?

„Not really, any of the guys and neither am I. I'm a very shy person and although I think I would have loved to act, I have never dare to do so. Anyway, I've taken part in some small opera productions and there you have to act too, so maybe that has influenced me. We musicians are somehow actors when we are on stage. In our case, we always try to do something extra than just playing, because music is also a way of communicate. Above all us, singers, we have to express what we are singing so after all, the music concerts and the theatre are not so different.“

How do you gonna represent these new songs on stages? Special historic clothes in focus etc.?

„We are working on that now. Although we would love to accomplish everything we have in mind, that's really difficult because we can rarely count with the necessary means, mainly due to a lack of money and technical resources. Anyway, we always try to do a complete show, no just a concert. When we have had the chance, we have even taken the choir with us and represented some scenes of the songs in a theatrical way. Our dream will be to one day have the chance to play with the orchestra, full choir, dancers... to better represent the stories behind each song.“

Do you have a personal favorite unto the new songs to date?

„No, that's difficult when they are so different. Each song has its therapeutic function, so depending on the day I have my favorites.“

What counts most for you in making music with Diabulus In Musica?

„Honesty. Being consequent and honest to yourself when making music. I suppose if I wasn't honest I would do mainstream music and probably that would have made me earn some money too (just kidding!), but I cannot, just because music is a necessary way to express myself. It's very important that the other band-members feel something similar, so that we can build a special connection among us, otherwise this would never work.“

And what is your greatest dream regarding the band?

„I prefer not to dream a lot, but to be realistic. We are not living a good moment in the music industry and I would be a dreamer if I expected to live on the band. I have always lived hand to mouth, so that every achievement has been like a gift for me. My dream is to be able to continue making music and that our music is able to touch some hearts out there. If anything more comes, it would be a fantastic gift.“

Please describe what stands behind the new album's title.

„"Argia" means "Light" or "clear" in our regional language, Basque. This title somehow reflects how we feel now. In this album, many stories that we have lived these last two years are reflected. Gorka and me had to start from scratch when the other band-members left. It was very hard at the beginning, but we 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 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 clear, but I'm trying!“

Please report about the main content in general of the new lyrics!

„The lyrics are directly connected to what I've just told. Some of them refer to our new situation, some others are more critical and the rest are much more personal and are related to some of my spiritual experiences and ideas. I could talk about some of them a lot, but on the other hand I also prefer that each one tries to explain them under his/her point of view and personal experiences. I think it's beautiful when you can identify or relate yourself to a lyric you are reading. Writing these songs was therapeutic for me, but I would be happy if they can accomplish the same function in others.“

Do you have a personal favorite unto the new lyrics?

„I would answer the same than before, I wouldn't be able to choose because it depends a lot on my mood and each lyric in this album has a personal content, a small piece of me is in every song of "Argia".“

Personal question: what's your greatest wish at all for these socially unfortunately partly pretty rotten planet?

„I've got mixed feelings about this... Now that you ask me this I will go back to the previous questions because three of the lyrics are related with what I'm about to say (Maitagarri, Mechanical Ethos and Indigo). I am so angry about all the bad things that are happening! It seems that humanity drove totally crazy. I don't know if we are really more rotten than before or if we are just more aware nowadays of all that it's happening. I can think about many atrocities that humans have done through the History... I have always thought I didn't fit anywhere, just because I have never been able to understand certain things about nowadays society; how is this possible if I'm also a part of this? If I'm supposed to be a person, too? But on the other hand, I refuse to think human being is so mean! If I think like this, probably other people do the same. Social medias are hard headed trying to anesthetize us towards all kind of violence, so that we finish being just puppets of their system. They never show us any good news, but I'm sure there are. I'm pretty sure there are still good people out there, maybe in the shadow, but there are and some of them are working hard to change this World. If you are familiar with the New Age theory, you would have heard that the next step of Human evolution is close to arrive, here is my answer: my greatest wish is that this is true.“

© Markus Eck, 14.03.2014

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