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Eudaimony

This month we have discovered another outstanding debut album with ’Futile’ of Eudaimony, but this international collective is made up of eminent musicians from Germany and Sweden, all (been) active in well-known bands such as Dark Fortress, Naglfar and Secrets Of The Moon. Their collaboration gives us a deep-draught emotional album that will be the wet dream of fans of early Katatonia, Tiamat and My Dying Bride. That is why we want to present the band profoundly to our readers by means of this interview. Vocalist Matthias Jell was friendly enough to help us with that and he gave us a proper insight in his melancholic, tormented soul.

By: Vera | Archive under black metal

Hi Matthias, let us start with the beginning, since this is a new outfit for all of us. How did you, Matthias (Dark Fortress) and Marcus (Naglfar) meet each other and finally decided to form a new constellation called Eudaimony?
We met each other the first time at the PartySan Open Air in 2003. Naglfar played there as well as Dark Fortress. Already at that point we found out, that we had lots of respect for each other musical-wise. Later, when Jens left Naglfar, there were also plans for a moment, that I could be the new singer in Naglfar, but since I was still involved in Dark Fortress at that time, both sides decided to let it be. Yet it was clear for Marcus and me, that we wanted to create some music together and when I had to leave Dark Fortress in 2007 I felt, this would be the right time to start something new. So I visited Marcus in Umea/Sweden in September 2007 and there the first three songs for Eudaimony were written.

But all members are pretty well known in the metal scène. Please give us little insight in the other (past) activities of the four members?
I used to be one of the two founders and the singer in Dark Fortress from 1994 to 2007. Marcus is/was involved in Naglfar, Bewitched, Havayoth, Ancient Wisdom and Throne of Ahaz. Our drummer Jörg is also playing the drums in his main band Secrets of the Moon. He is also used to do some session drums for The Vision Bleak, Dordeduh and several other bands. Peter, who enriches our sound with the viola, plays in Nachtreich and Himmelsrandt.

Although mainly coming from a general black metal foundation, one can hear other influences on ‘Futile’. That makes sense, since organizing another band with exactly the same music would be odd. Well, how would you describe the style of Eudaimony?
Tricky question. I would describe it as a crossover between old Katatonia, old Tiamat, old My Dying Bride, Empyrium and Shining. For sure these are just little guidelines, because in my opinion we created something unique, that doesn't sound like a 100 % copycat of band XY.

Is it fair to say that other influences from your youth or days gone by have found a reflection in Eudaimony (like Katatonia for instance)?
Of course bands like early Katatonia have influenced us. When we founded Eudaimony, there were even plans to add Anders “Blakkheim” of Katatonia to our line-up. He was interested in joining us, but in the end he was too busy with Katatonia, so that he decided to focus on Katatonia only.

Who are the main songwriters in Eudaimony and what can you tell about the writing process? When, under which circumstances, etc.
The whole song-writing is Marcus' job. I do all the lyrics, send them to Marcus and explain to him, which feeling I want to reach or reflect with that particular song. And he did a fantastic job. In general I got to admit, that good music is all about feeling for me. And ‘Futile’ has a lot of it to offer.

I found out that recordings took place at different locations, but it was all merged into the amazing result at Studio E from Markus Stock. Can you tell a bit more about this process?
Since we all live quite far away from each other, it simply would have been a bad idea to record at the same studio. I mean, I live in Straubing (Southern Germany), Peter in Koblenz (Western Germany), Jorg in Berlin and Marcus in Umea (Northern Sweden). So, one can imagine, that it's almost impossible to arrange a common studio. Moreover it would have been definitely way too expensive with all the travel costs. In addition it's much more comfortable for Marcus and Peter to record in their home studios, while Jörg has chosen a studio nearby Berlin and since I know Markus Stock for twelve years already (we recorded the Dark Fortress debut ‘Tales From Eternal Dusk’ in his studio), it was clear for me, that I'll do the vocal recordings in Studio E. Each of us recorded his part and in the end it was all mixed together in Studio E. Not really the old-school-way of doing music, but it worked out pretty fine.

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And more precisely: how do you look back at the time at Studio E, since Markus Stock is one of my favourite artists/producers?
Since I know him for so many years, he's a good friend of mine. I trust in him and I am open-minded for his creative ideas. He knows my vocal style pretty well, plus he's a very experienced producer and musician. So it was a great time in Studio E. We were talking a lot about the good old days and had some beer together. Pretty relaxed.

He also did a guest appearance on the album. Any more details about this would be great…
He is doing the clean vocals in the song ‘December's Hearse’. I thought his style of singing would fit perfectly in the background of the chorus. In the end I think his vocals turned out a bit too low in the mix, but it sounds still good and adds even more feeling to the song.

Another remarkable guest on the album is the vocal appearance of Mick Moss, an underrating artist I have been following for so many years. Please tell us how you got to know him and tell a bit about his contribution.
I always admired his work in Antimatter. ‘The Planetary Confinement’ is probably the saddest album I've ever heard. When we wrote the song ‘Portraits’ it was clear, that this song needs clean vocals since my screams would only spoil the whole atmosphere of the song. So I wrote Mick, sent him the song and he liked it. He's truly an easy-going guy. He even added some more ideas to the lyrics.

Are there plans for playing live with Eudaimony?
No plans yet and I'm not sure, if we will ever play live with Eudaimony. Due to the huge distance between each band member we never rehearsed so far together. In addition to that, the organizers would have to pay all the travel costs and I doubt any organizer would pay that much money for a band, that just released one single album. Another point is that we would be only interested in one or two exclusive shows a year probably. Shows where our music would fit into the billing. Means, I don't really see Eudaimony performing in the afternoon at a summer Open Air between thrash- and death metal bands for example. That simply wouldn't fit.

What about the visual art? Can you tell something about the artwork and are there plans to make some videos?
The artwork is done by a friend of mine, with whom I am also playing in Sonic Reign. Ben is a very creative guy and he's doing an awesome job when it comes to visualizing ideas. The idea behind ‘Futile’ is, that we all begin to die from the moment on we're born. Death is always next to us. That's why we've chosen the concept with that little girl. She tells the story of life throughout the whole booklet.

Finally I think ‘Futile’ has been the result of a circle of friends, even long distance. What is your opinion about that?
I would agree on that.

Can we hope for a successor?
I think so. There are already some vague plans existing, but nothing I could already talk about.

Where does the name Eudaimony come from?
It has a Greek origin and stands literally for “good spirit”. Aristoteles for example used the expression eudaimonia for the state of utter happiness within a human soul; a state impossible to reach for a human being on earth. And we felt, this is the perfect expression for our music, cynical as we are.

What are the main topics in the lyrics? What are you inspired by and maybe illustrating with some titles/songs would be nice.
As mentioned already above, the whole album deals with the futility of life. In the end, it's all just a race against time. Clocks running down for all of us from the moment we draw our first breath. So all lyrics deal with experiences I made in life and with the view I see things. I'm not really a positive thinking guy. Therefore my lyrics are a good way for me to canalize all my negative emotions, all the desolation and sad memories. For example the song ‘December's Hearse’ is dedicated to my father, who died, when I was still a child. The lyrics of that song deal with the memories I have and what I experienced afterwards. One quote of the song is for example “They will never understand, even though they do pretend. They want me to exhale with another desperate smile.” I think that makes it pretty clear, what my lyrics are all about.

Thank you, Matthias for this insight in your new seminal band. Anything to add?
We're planning some limited merchandise stuff. More on that on our Facebook page: Feel free to join the desolation!

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