With the kind of finess that would leave any progressively minded music fan drooling, Germany’s Downfall Of Gaia skillfully temper tension and serenity, beauty and the beast, ending up firmly entrenched in their own artistic niche, somewhere in the neighborhood occupied by the likes of Isis or Red Sparrows, even at times nearer to post-black metallers Wolves In The Throne Room. Conjuring immensely evocative sonic storms, the first time I listened to this band was enough to send a shiver down my spine. While each song traverses a soundscape most could only hope to travel across the course several albums, the band themselves have been on a journey all their own from their early days experimenting in the crust punk and d-beat realm of the spectrum. But while they’ve done a 180 musically, they’ve maintained their fierce dedication to their craft and to constantly reducing boundaries to dust. Heading to Bloodshed Fest, October 12-13 at The Dynamo Club in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, vocalist and bassist Anton Lisovoj stopped off to speak to ZT prior to the launch of their upcoming Metal Blade Records debut.
ZT: You’ve said evolving as musicians and as a collective is one of the most important aspects of this band. What can we expect from your forthcoming album and how would you characterise your evolution?
DG:The new record is like a melting pot. We have processed a much wider range of various influences and have tried to combine them harmoniously with each other. As a result, many different styles blend as much better than before. The individual parts have more time to unfold [in their] story which makes them more interesting. Besides that, the music has become more aggressive and dark and has a more experienced musical maturity.
ZT: Why is it important to you as a musician and as an artist to keep changing and moving forward? When do you think art and music become stagnant?
DG:Our goal was to develop ourselves musically, to challenge and to create something new with the record.This was the demand we have set ourselves.We were very pleased with the development on the split record and wanted to go from where we left off, and not just to copy. In this respect, the development of the one was planned, but on the other hand, we couldn’t say before the songwriting where we would end up.
ZT: I read the album is going to be a concept album. Can you tell us what that will be about?
DG:The record tells the story of a person who goes down and loses himself because of a rapidly rotating society, the ever-increasing pressure to perform (interpersonal as capitalist nature), insomnia, and other factors associated with it. This story is a representative of the present day in which more and more people lose their footing and break down under the pressure from the outside.
ZT: On ‘Epos’ you speak of a ‘viable alternative to mainstream culture’, in what sense do you mean ‘mainstream culture’ and how do you envision this alternative?
DG: We all grew up with DIY. We organized shows for touring bands and we tried to keep autonomous places alive, helped as a volunteer etc… Those places are an important alternative when it comes to so called ‘mainstream culture’. Those places are home for touring bands, artists, political happenings and more – happenings which wouldn’t find that easy a place to stay and which are not that visible at first view. As simple as it is, it’s just the fact that there is much more out there than the stuff you get to know by a nice commercial or a big sponsored festival. You don’t need the mainstream to have all of this. It would be too easy and not right to say that you’re wrong when you are following the mainstream. But the problem is, that nowadays a lot of people just stopped thinking for themselves.
ZT: To me, your music plays out much like a catharsis, and I imagine it’s pretty powerful for you on stage. Can you tell us a bit about what you experience when playing and how does the audience’s presence add and interact with the energy of your music? As in, do people around amplify your experience or do you tend to go all out even when just rehearsing?
DG:Live shows are always really intense. That is probably the case with most bands. We try our best to capture the best possible sound and atmosphere from our records and to integrate it into our live performances. And it is always a great feeling to see the audience got caught by this intensity even if it only affects just a few individuals.
ZT: You just signed to Metal Blade, how did this come about and other than obvious added distro, what did you think the advantages are of going major?
DG:It was really unexpected. One day we got an email from Metal Blade with an obvious interest in our music that had been expressed in a collaboration. We all were and still are excited and looking forward to the future. We can not tell much about the benefits of a major, because it’s a completely new experience for us with which we are dealing with and we also first have to learn as a band and as individuals to deal with it.
ZT: What will you be doing in support of the release? Do you plan to tour extensively? Are you the type of band that’s always working on new material?
DG:Yes, we are really a band that works a lot. But that’s a good thing. Otherwise we easily get bored. And yes we will defintely support our new release by touring a lot. We are just planing some tours. Russia is probably gonna be next.
ZT: Bloodshed is a more grindcore/punk oriented festival. How do you you see yourselves fitting into the bigger picture of extreme music? I know you guys have a d-beat/crust history, do you feel that comes out in your music now at all?
DG:Actually we don’t know if we fit in this picture of extreme music though we all grew up with this kind of music you are talking about. But otherwise we as a band are not into it to fit in any cliches. Each of us listens to different kind of music as long as it is good. Thus, there is obviously a lot of influences, which we import automatically into our songwriting. Besides that, we are really pleased to play this fest with this many great bands.
ZT: Who are you looking forward to seeing at the fest? Do you still listen to a lot of the d-beat/crusty stuff?
DG:Well, most of all we are all looking forward to see Wolfbrigade, Dropdead and Heartless. For some of us it is the first time seeing those important bands playing live. And yes we defintely still listen to a lot of d-beat/crust bands. As a matter of fact, I just got into the new Martyrdöd record which is just great.
You can listen to their EPs HERE and check out their website HERE.
I highly, highly suggest you check out the incredible line-up at Bloodshed Fest and get yourself a freaken ticket! Are you really going to miss Wolfbrigade, Dropdead, Kill The Client, Jig-Ai, and the rest of it? Don’t be a moron!
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