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Agathodaimon

Het gaat lekker met Agathodaimon. Hun onlangs verschenen vierde album 'Serpent's Embrace' wordt in Europa goed ontvangen en in Nederland staat hen eind juli het optreden op Stonehenge te wachten. Naast al deze bandactiviteiten blijkt gitarist en zanger Sathonys ook erg bevlogen te zijn met het wel en wee van de metal wereld, en daarnaast is hij ook nog eens schrijver bij het Duitse Metal Hammer. Gesprekstof genoeg dus…

Door: Tormentor Erich | Archiveer onder black metal

Sathonys, the new album 'Serpent's Embrace' (SE) has got some different styles of metal in it. Why is this?

During all the years we've been a band with black metal as our roots, but we also never set any limits. We feel good about experiments, as long as they fit the songs. We want to keep our artistic freedom alive. If you are open-minded you will find a lot of great music, not only in metal. But I have to admit that SE is our most experimental album so far.

Isn't it also some kind of marketing?

I did expect these questions. No, it has nothing to do with marketing or being commercial. It's like I said, we want to keep an open mind. Maybe it is even the opposite of marketing and commerce. I mean, a lot of people sit only on the black metal chair, or only on the death metal or gothic chair. They will not be interested in our album. Again, SE is just what we wanted to do.

How did you develop the songs for this album?

We normally worked in the typical way of jamming and rehearsing together, getting ideas and transform them into songs. But for SE we worked the same as for our last album 'Chapter III'. Everybody did some personal songwriting at home. When the song was far finished we fitted the others in and recorded some rough versions, and together we transformed these rough version into the songs as you can hear them now.

What does SE mean in a deeper sense? Is there a general message that you want to express via this album?

Hmm, the red line is actually the artwork. Agathodaimon always works with the same color of blue. There are in the cover similarities to the old albums. About the deeper sense, there are many deeper thoughts in the work of Agathodaimon. Check for instance our website for the meaning of our name. You will find some interesting stuff there. But okay, let me name you one deeper thought about SE: it is all about the positive and the negative, balance is very important in life. This can be explained by the bible. There are some parts there that tell us that Jesus and the snake are one person. Think about that, there is the balance again.

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You already mentioned the 'Agathodaimon blue'. Why do you use this as a trademark?

We always wanted a trademark. It gives the band a basis, a bit of roots. On one hand we could change the band sound, but on the other hand this trademark will give it still the Agathodaimon feeling. I like the blue because it gives a dark feeling, compare it to the blues. The black is also in there because I think this fits our music as well.

Okay, what can you tell us more about the song: 'Cellos For The Insatiable'?

This one is the ultimate opening track. It is catchy and it has nice grooves. It is also a raw track. The lyrics here are contributed by a fan from Portugal. He is teaching English over there and he wrote us if he could do some lyrics for us. We give him a chance and it worked out well.

That's cool. What are these lyrics about?

Hmm, I cannot tell exactly. He had written a whole story, but we had to make it shorter otherwise it would not fit. But in the end the meaning is background. The poetry in this song is what really matters. It adds more value to the atmosphere of the song.

What about 'Faded Years'?

'Faded Years' is one of my favorite songs. It summarizes all we did so far. Clean vocals, dark and moody and also some fast parts.

So if I should explain about Agathodaimon via one song this is the one?

Yes.

And what about the ballad 'Solitude'?

For this one Ophelia does the vocals. She is a guest member of the band and she worked with us for many years. You can also here her on the 'Beauty In Darkness Vol. 6' album with us and she did some vocals on our past albums. In the beginning it was tricky to let her do all the vocals. I am not so fond of all these high female opera vocals nowadays. I am happy with the result, although I do not think that it is Evanescence-like, like you said in the review.

Well, what can I say? Let's talk about 'Feelings'.

Our new bass player wrote this one. Normally the lyrics of Agathodaimon can be read in different ways, but these lyrics are very direct. This song tells about a bad relationship in which he was involved. To write this song was therapy for him. The music has some melodic and heavy parts, it is a cool song to end the album with.

Agathodaimon seems to have a strong connection with Romania, although you are a German band. What is the story here?

When we founded the band our vocalist was a guy named Vlad. He was from Romania but he lived here in Germany. In 1997 he went back to Romania to visit his family. And then the troubles with Caucescou started, and he was not allowed to go back to Germany. He was stopped a couple of times at the border. So when we wanted to record our second album we decided to go with the complete band to Bucharest, instead of keep on trying to get Vlad back to Germany. This al was very frustrating but we did record the album there. After this Vlad decided to quit. It was no good to work like this. We still are in touch with him although; he can be seen as a member that works with us every now and then.

That is some story. Everybody looks to the Far East and meanwhile we have this shit at our back door. But let's talk about the person Sathonys now. At the Agathodaimon website you have a personal page filled with interesting background stuff. Why is there for example a letter posted by the late Euronymous from Mayhem about underground?

When I started this website I wanted to have some other thoughts on it. Let's face it, the most sites by bands are all of the same standard. At that time there also was a big discussion going on between black metal bands. They were fighting each other instead of working together. Al these discussions about who is more underground, Burzum or Darkthrone, that didn't work for me and it is interesting to read what Euronymous has to say here.

You also have a standard record contract posted there. Why?

Because I wanted to help out other bands and I wanted to show the people what it all is about.

Please explain?

A lot of German bands approached me with questions about deals and about what to do and don't. With this contract on the Internet they can see what they should ask for. On the other hand a lot of people said to us: “Now that you have a deal with Nuclear Blast you will get rich”. They can see now also what the truth is about this. Agathodaimon always thought that the underground is important, you know, to help each other out. We learned a lot about the maffia that is called music business, so why not share it?

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Indeed. Do you also want to share something about you passion for Vampirism with us?

Well, this is a personal thing. We keep this away from the band because it is so cliché nowadays. I have put down some things on the Internet that you can see as homage to the real person Vlad Dracul. In Romania he was a hero for a lot of people. But this info is different compared to the Hollywood stories. I am very interested in immortality, mythology and stuff like that. I read a lot of books and I just wanted to give some info, but this can be tricky. People seek too much behind it. After all it is only a hobby.

Another hobby of you was working for Ablaze. (Ablaze was a German Magazine that was around for a couple of years in the late ninetieths, early 2000. It was completely in black, silver and white and it featured only black/death and thrash metal – TE). Why did Ablaze stopped so suddenly?

When Ablaze started I was the co-editor. I remember that we started the magazine with 1000 copies and it quickly grew to a copy of 16.000. I did also do reviews and my goal was to write about all the bands of whom I thought that they deserved it. Unfortunately my boss at Ablaze was only interested in bands from the bigger labels. So it did no longer work out between us and then I received an offer to work for Metal Hammer. So I quit Ablaze and nowadays I still do some writing for the Metal Hammer. I do not know exactly why Ablaze disappeared so suddenly. I heard something about problems with the distribution.

So, working for Metal Hammer means that you are kind of a colleague. Please tell me, isn't it sometimes hard to write a good review?

Well, I think being objective is difficult. Before I wrote for Ablaze I did some work for a lot of underground magazines, and I think that there is always some artistically value within a band. You should not write a review after only one time listening, a band doesn't deserve that. Pay attention to details and don't write things like: I don't like this band.

Okay, now if I understood correctly you also worked as a model once?

Ha ha, yes. I had a one time job as a model for Extra Fashion. I was asked to do this, and I thought: “Why not?”. Photography is also a hobby of mine and this was an opportunity to see how it is on the other side of the camera.

And what can we buy at Extra Fashion?

Extra Fashion is one of the biggest gothic mail order companies in Germany. They also have some stores but their mail-order is huge. You can buy almost every gothic label/brand there.
Check out there website!

All right Sathonys, that's it for me. Do you have any Famous Last Words?

I want to thank all the people that support Agathodaimon. We will be playing this years Stonehenge festival so we hope to see you there, and if you are into the darker metal: Try the new album!

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