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Ava Inferi

Dreigende, donkere wolken verschijnen voor de zon van het warme land aan de Atlantische oceaan; in Portugal komt gothic doom wederom tot leven. Nou ja, eigenlijk prachtige doom met een kleine injectie gothic. Inspiratie genoeg ondanks de stralende omgeving waarin de band zich bevindt. Oprichter, gitarist en songwriter Rune Eriksen verteld ons er alles over.

Door: Kim | Archiveer onder doom metal

Season Of Mist have just released your new album 'The Silhouette'. What's the most special thing about the new CD?
Well, I believe that the album is unique in many ways. I also believe that our style is a bit different from what you generally hear these days, especially in the so-called 'Gothic Doom' genre. I think that we have some pretty unusual influences and that itself is an important factor in our sound. For example: we use sometimes our nationalities as background for the music if you know what I mean. There are passages of Portuguese folk in there and I also believe we have some Nordic touches in all this. Maybe even a nod to 'Twilight of the gods' era with Bathory. Interesting mixes Id say. That being said, we have 4 totally different backgrounds within the band. From more extreme metal, old classic metal through Gothic Rock and neo-classism. Apart from the music itself, I believe the digi pack with the booklet is an interesting journey also. Sixteen pages with words of wisdom to revel in and get lost in, hehehe.

Where do you get your inspiration from for Ava Inferi? Because you have a lot of sunshine in your country during the year, unlike the depressing rainy and cold climates in the north :-)
Well, I don't think sunshine is the foundation of happiness really, but of course it helps. There is no denying in the healing aspects of the sun and the light. But I really think that the inspiration is the same as in any other form of art. Just life itself. I believe the music to a certain extent to be a result of what you have been going through in your life. Or perhaps are going through for the moment. It's all a part of becoming something close to perfection, if not perfection itself. There is a lot of darkness and negativities around in everyday life. It's all there to touch and feel if you are aware of it. I believe our songs are touched by these things, by these dark essences. But at the same time I would like to say that there is hope in our music as in contra Black Metal for example. Here it is the striving for something, to overcome the obstacles Id say. We all know that there is sun above the clouds don't we, hehehe. But for the record, we would probably sound even more miserable and sad if the band was formed up in the Norwegian mountains, hahaha.

Your bandname sounds like it is Latin or something. Where does it come from, and what does it mean?
It was something that Carmen and I came up with. We were searching for a name and suddenly the word Ava came up in a search. It means 'eagle' or 'something above' and that mixed together with Inferi, which means 'Those below' or 'underground' we came up with our own yin/yang. It means the balance for us. Taken further into a musical context I guess you can say that Carmen represents the sun with her beautiful and passionate, warming voice whereas the rest of us (or me) would mean the darker aspect. This is the foundation of everything and also for us as a band, both musically and spiritually. For the origin of the words, I believe it's a mix of Latin and ancient Greek. Its words with meaning so why can't we use it as we like… I hold no things aside when creating a magical name with an easy diction.

What are the changes compared to the former album? Are there a lot of changes do you think? And can you describe the atmosphere?
I believe this album to be a bit harder actually, as in musically speaking. It's more in your face and more 'metal' Id say. I also believe the production itself is the main reason though as it has some kind of Americanised sound, if you get my point. Further I see 'The Silhouette' as a more band composition where everybody had their own inputs etc. During the days of 'Burdens' it was mostly me who did everything. It worked out then, as I am very proud of that album, but I wanted something a bit more 'up there' on the next one, so 'The Silhouette' became. I believe our style of progressive and gothic doom is starting to really take shape now, and I can't wait for the 3rd album. I believe we are a never-ending well of creativity and passion for our art, so there won't be anything stopping us now. That's for sure. Regarding the atmospheres I believe they are also very different. Ids say that our debut album is more introverted and almost 'shy' to a certain extent. It's very gloomy and melancholic, and its best taken advantage off by you, alone as the listener. It's definitely not a party doom album, hehehe. (If that exist anyway). The Silhouette is harder and quite possible more Doom Metal as in the word. Maybe also it holds something for a wider range of people. It's more accessible in sound and vision, but nevertheless, I believe it's quite demanding as well. Its not background music as it really demands your attention. A definite soul search!

Can you tell me something more about the lyrics? Are they important compared to the music?
Actually, the lyrics are more Carmen's aspect of things and unfortunately she is not available when this is done, but I can reveal that it's a spiritual journey indeed. It's more about the pains and the sufferings of the soul, and also the search for hope. But we also have songs with different topics. For example the song 'Viola' which is mostly about the ever turning wheel of life and death, the rise and the fall of everything. We have another topic in 'Pulse of the Earth' whose subjects deal with the call to the pure essence of Mother Nature. Id says its Carmen's more Wicca background or influence that comes out there. Follow the sound of the true essence, the drums are pounding underground. I believe the lyrics to be a part of the product, so yes, it is highly important for us. It defines us I think, and it gives more bases for the songs to float on as vice versa.

Again there are some lyrics in Portuguese. Why did you decide to use your mother tongue?
Actually there is only one song in Portuguese on 'The Silhouette' and that is 'Danca Das Ondas', which translated means something like 'The dance of the waves'. It's a traditional fado (Portuguese folk) lyric that mainly deals with the loss of something or someone. Especially at sea actually, as Portugal is indeed a 'sea nation' and that's where most of the influence comes from in this particular genre. As for 'Burdens' we also had a song in Portuguese. That one was 'Vultos' and dealt with the shadows around a lake we were camping around when we recorded that album in Norway. Good memories.

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You're making a video clip of the song 'Danca Das Ondas'. On the website there was already some information about that it will be in 3D. Can you tell me about what will be shown in this clip? And why did you choose this particular song?
We thought it would be a good idea to bring out something really Portuguese on the clip. We did it for the exotic and original concept as well I believe, as it seemed easier to convey that down here. More real perhaps. The clip is based on the story of a woman who loses her loved one on the sea. It is quite a dramatic clip really and also a highly vivid and surreal one id says. The first time I saw it I must confess it reminded me the most dramatic scenes of 'Lord of the Rings' actually. Strong and highly effective. I believe it is one of those videos that really bring out the best in the song that really brings out the essence and the grief that we present there. I am very excited about it.

What is your favourite song of 'The Silhouette'? Can you explain why?
It's a bit difficult to say, but perhaps it would be 'Pulse of the Earth'. I think that song really represent everything what we can do and everything that we are about. I believe it has it all> the heaviness, the sorrow, clever arrangements, witchcraft, classic metal riffing, acoustic guitars and fantastic vocals. It's our kinder egg, hehehe. Then again, I guess I could go on with mentioning songs…

How many times do you spend with the band? And what kind of job do you have besides Ava Inferi?
We are now rehearsing a bit again as we have recruited a session guitar player for the up coming shows. But besides that we only rehearse heavily when we are creating something new. The four of us has obligations elsewhere as well so we are using our spare time to gather, even just for a few drinks and a dinner. I believe that it's important for a band to hang around in everyday as well. Not just pretend to be friends on tour or whatever. I myself have another band whom I m touring heavily with these days, so whenever I m off, its time for Ava Inferi. Hopefully, with some time, this band will become a fulltime work as well. That's what we are aiming for.

You've planned two gigs in Spain (February 2008) as a support act of Christian Death. Did you approach them or did they ask you? Will there be more shows coming up? And will you visit The Netherlands?
Actually, it was on my initiative as we are on the same label in Europe, Season of Mist. Our album was released at the same time and I got in touch with them via MySpace actually at that time. I dropped them a line and soon it became evident that we could do something together. Since I got partly involved in putting up some shows with them as well, we decided to join forces in Spain. Let's see what the future brings, as we would be more than happy to go further with them. For the moment it's actually only those 2 shows confirmed but we are working on a few more. As for The Netherlands, we would really like to do something over there. I have only positive memories from the different places I have been visiting over there, so that would be our pleasure indeed. Actually, I just came from a small visit in Rotterdam, and it was a really splendid stay. The fantastic 'brown bars'…

Which country would you like to visit with Ava Inferi? Or which venue do you dream of playing?
We are actually interested and willing to play wherever we can. We are 100% behind this band and we want to promote it as good as possible. It would also be good for us to show what we can do on festivals etc next summer. I'm hoping for at least a couple of alternatives so that we can justify our music and its expression to its fullest.

At the moment there are a lot of gothic bands in The Netherlands. For example Within Temptation, After Forever, Epica, Autumn and many more. How is that in your country? Besides Moonspell, are you guys on the lonely top or what?
Well, to be honest, I am not really sure about the Portuguese scene that much. I believe there are plenty of good bands but I think the major problem is that they somehow don't manage to get 'out there' as of various reasons. Maybe it's the lack of commitment, or maybe it's because the scene in Portugal is kind of closed, so that it is difficult to convey their musicality abroad. No interest from labels with enough money etc. Obviously Moonspell are the exception. They are really good friends of ours and hopefully with time we can also join forces with them on tour or something. As you probably know by now: Carmen is after all doing the female voices on their re-recording of 'Under the Moonspell', namely: 'Under Satanae'. And there are further talks of her participating on their forthcoming album. This in itself is a good chance and a good opening for us to do something more extensive with them in the future,

Why do you think there are more metal bands in the north of Europe than in the south?
More money, more support from the state for rehearsal rooms, scholarship etc. I don't know. There are many reasons for sure. Also, the mentality is different in the south, and I believe there, more than any other place, a musician is synonymous with being unemployed, hehehe. It's hard to really point out the revealing factors, but I am glad I found people more than willing to rehearse and create. It's a good feeling to be backed by equally hard working musicians.

What are your favourite metal band and non-metal bands? And in what way have they influenced you?
For the moment I am listening to a wide variety of music. For the non metal bands I can mention Royksopp (Norway), Beck, Dead Can Dance, Fields of the Nephilim, The Doors etc. For the harder and more aggressive mood I prefer King Diamond, Machine Head, 1349, Candlemass, Electric Wizard, Dead To This World etc. Diversity and open-mindedness is a key.

Is there something that I forget to ask? Feel free to add anything I left out.
Thank you very much for the interview and the great review we got. It means a lot with the support. Hope to be visiting The Netherlands in close future to win over a new bunch of fans.
Also, stay tuned on www.ava-inferi.com or on Season of Mists webpage for our new video coming shortly.

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