Barcelona not only hosts a great soccer team, it is also home to a rather good Symphonic Metal band AGE OF DUST. I enjoyed their recent album 'Messenger In A Soulless World', so much so I chased the band for an interview, here it is!
Hi from England and it is a real pleasure to be given the chance to interview you. Can we initially be introduced to the members of the band?
Maria: Hello, this is Maria, the female vocalist.
Sergio: Hi, I'm Sergio, the guitar player
Marta: And Im Marta, bass player, hi!
And how did you all come together to form what it seems is an awesome band?
Sergio: Thank you for the compliment! I started the band many years ago with other musicians. Then our bass player left us so we were looking for bass player and Marta was looking for a symphonic metal band. A friend in common told her about us so she joined us. We have very similar points of view when it comes to music. Together with some other musicians we kept on playing but we had a difficult time having an stable line-up. At some point we needed to find a female singer. I told Maria who was (and is) my singing teacher. She had a very suitable voice for this project but I did not know she was into this kind of music. But she was! Then she decided to join us and we are very glad she did.
Awesome! Are any of you involved in any other musical projects?
Maria: Well besides being a music teacher, I also sing in some classical choirs. Right now I'm at the Opera Choir in Sabadell and I sometimes sing as a support for the Liceo choir in Barcelona.
Marta: I play bass in a cover band, we still haven't played live though. But we are preparing a cool show!
Sergio: I don't play or sing anywhere else right now, but who knows in the future. I am exploring the operistic side of singing on my own.
For those unfamiliar with your music, how would you describe your music?
Maria: Well, it's symphonic metal. We mix the typical metal sound, agressive instrumentation and vocals, with classical elements such as the orchestration, the lyrical and clean voices and the choir.We especially like to contrast different kinds of vocals, lyrical, melodic, agressive, grunts, male, female, choirs etc. We like contrasts and equilibriums.
Can you tell us more about your debut album, that after having listened to it is damn awesome!?
Sergio: Hahaha, thank you! It's the result of a lot of hours of dedication and hard work, and of course of love and passion. There is only the three of us producing it, so it took a lot of time and effort. But we are extremely proud of the result. Also, it's not only the time we spent producing and recording it but the years before we spent dreaming about it. It is a very complex recording featuring female vocals, male vocals and a choir among others.
What was the studio experience like, and how long did it take to record the whole album?
Marta: Yes indeed, there are a lot of elements to take care of. We recorded at the Nowhere Music studios We brought almost everything prepared from the rehearsing room,. The orchestration and all the vocal and instrumental arrangements were already prepared because we could not spend too much time at the studio. Each of us spent one or two days recording, and the choir spent one day. But we recorded when our jobs and obligations allowed us so it actually took nine months since we decided we would record an album until it was done. Exactly the same nine months Maria spent being pregnant, actually that is one of the reasons the album is dedicated to her son! The experience was awesome since none of us had recorded in a real studio before, so we learnt a lot of valuable things. Also, the sound engineer, Marcel Graell, helped us a lot. He was very motivated with the album and gave us great ideas, and did a very good job.
And who are the main songwriters?
Marta: Segio has written most of the songs, and I have also written a couple of them, but the three of us contribute with ideas for all the songs. Sergio and I have writen together many of the lyrics, I think we work together very well for this matter. We have a similar vision. Both of us have also written some lyrics on our own and Maria also wrote the lyrics for one track.
Do you have any personal fave tracks on the album?
Maria: Yes! My personal favourites are 'No Shade of Grey', 'Genesis' and 'Someday'.
Sergio: For me it's very difficult, all of them have something personal, I could not chose!
Marta: My personal favourites change every day because I am a libra and can't decide! Haha just kidding. But well, honestly, everytime I think about it I chose a different one. I'd say 'Moon for a Poet' is very special because it is extremely meaningful to me. I also love 'Someday' although I do nothing during that one, and maybe 'Trial' is the one I enjoy playing the most.
Regards the title of the album, can you explain its meaning?
Maria: It's related to the name of the band. Well, first of all, the concept 'Messenger in a Soulless World' appears on the track 'No Shade of Grey' and refers directly to the Dead. But as the title of the album, and conecting it with the meaning of the name of the band, it's the being or concept responsible for supplying our world with spirit, for carrying the souls from one body to another.
Marta: It has to do with the platonic idea of two different world or realites, one of ideas, one with
And can you tell us how you came to call the name of your band AGE OF DUST?
Sergio: We officialy describe “Age of Dust” like this: when a living creature dies, its outworn soul,turned into dust, leaves the matter to return to the ideal reality that is its origin, where it will regenerate and merge with the rest of the spirit, only to split again. This journey, this process of destruction and creation does not take place in space or time, but in a certain point sustained in dimensions unknown to human beings. This instant is the ‘Age of Dust’. Basically, it’s the journey of the soul from a dead body to a new one. We are into science fiction and like to reflect on the philosophical ideas behind it haha.
And what qualities does Age Of Dust have to make them stand out from the rest of the crowd?
Sergio: It's very hard to tell because it's the audience who can answer to this question not us! Our aim is to create music that speaks to the people. All the song are made of personal experiences, some of them metaphorically but we expect the listener to feel related to them since they are very human. Besides, we put a lot of effort in getting the best sound we can get and in the production. Everybody who has listened to the album knowing the lack of resources we had has been very surprised, we are very proud of it. Whe are also very happy with the vocal and orchestral arrangements.
You are from Barcelona? Apart from having a great soccer team, what is the metal music scene like there?
Marta: There are great bands around here, I enjoy the local scene a lot. There is for example very good folk metal. But unfortunatelly it does not get as much attention and support as it deserves, in my opinion. The bands themselves organize a lot of gigs, festivals, etc in small (and sometimes not that small) venues but it is extremely difficult to get the attention from big crowds. People usually are into big well-know bands.
A question for Maria, how do you take care of that awesome voice of yours?
Maria: Well, besides being a singer and a teacher I am also a specialist in speech disorders so this is what usually tell people to do: you have to be very responsible, you can't go out at night (unless it's for rehearsing), and you have to be very strict with your own technique. The most important thing is to sing healthy, so technique is very important. I do not take any extra meassure for my voice.
And have you Maria had any vocal training in the past?
Maria: Yes. I studied in the Escuela Nacional de Música of the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, and I graduated as an Ópera professional singer at the Escuela Superior de Música of Instituto Nacional de Bellas Artes in Mexico. After that I moved to Barcelona, and there I studied early music at the ESMUC.
Musically, who or what has inspired the band to produce such awesome music?
Sergio: For me, the first time I listened to Nightwish and to After Forever was when I decided I wanted to do this kind of music. Although I already had No Shade of Grey written to be honest, it's a very old song!
Marta: Wow, symphonic metal has always been my favurite genre. Now I am more open minded about music but there was a time when I would basically listen to Xandria, Stream of Passion, Epica, Nightwish, etc so it was the kind of music I always wanted to do.
What hobbies do you have when not making music?
Sergio: I like to watch movies, specially science fiction and horror. I also like to do excercise.
Maria: I like TV shows, specially the crime, historical and romantic series. Also reading.
Marta: I like to just hang out with friends or go on long walks on my own, while listening to music. I also like watching series and reading but don't find much time for it. And I also love the internet, to be honest.
And what music do you listen to when chilling out?
Maria: I like classical music, which is actually the same music I listen to when working since most of my students sing classical. I usually listen to Mozart to relax. And I also specifically enjoy Gowdeski's Third Symphony which you should totally check out. Besides, I also like to listen to musicals and rancheras.
Sergio: When chilling out, besides metal, I like to listen to opera and musicals.
Marta: I like almost any kind of music, like my bandmates I like musicals and classical stuff but also almost any kind of metal, pop, rock, folk, spanish music, latin music, etc. I can't really say anything specific haha.
If someone was to offer you a support slot with ANY band of your choice, what band would that be?
Sergio: AI would really like to play with Avantasia, that'd be a dream! And of course Nightwish too.
Maria: I'd say Stream of Passion, because I knew Marcela back in Mexico and i realy like her band, I think it would be very nice to share the stage with her!
Marta: I'd say Stream of Passion too, they're my favourite band.
Are there any gigs planned in the near future?
Sergio: We have just incorporated a drummer to the band and we are rehearsing the songs with him. We still can't say exactly when but we plan to start playing in our city real soon and let's see where we can get!.
Many many thanks for answering these questions for us. Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of this website before we sign off?
Marta: Thank you for giving our CD a chance, we hope you enjoy it.
Sergio: And thank you for your time!
Maria: Yes thank you! And remember to listen to the symphony haha
Check the band out here.
Dave Smith (Nov 13, 2015)