Interview by Miriam “NocturnalConcerto”
With an aura of mysticism two world collides. The cold Nordic wind meets the Meditterean warm breeze and melts down in a strange formula made of harshness and calmness. I think that this phrase resume what Ava Inferi are. But turning back on the earth, literally, this time I had the oppurtunity to ask some question with Carmen Susana Simões, vocalist of the Portoguese Doom Metal band Ava Inferi about their brand new album “Onyx”.
Hi Carmen, thanks so really much for reply at our questions! How are you?
I’m fine, thank you very much.
Can you do a little band’s history resume for our readers that are not familiar with your band?
Ava Inferi started by Rune and myself in 2005 and our first album “Burdens” was released early 2006. We always had in mind our Gothic and Doomy expression on our path and continued with the release of “The Silhouette” in 2007. The biggest change happened with the period around “Blood of Bacchus”, our 3rd album, as we also went on a tour with The 69 Eyes and Tiamat. This opened a new side to the band and our 4th album, “Onyx”, is now just released. Due to the experience we had on tour it resulted in a bit more open album in my opinion, with a bigger potential. We also changed some members the last year and now we are a very stable and focused band.
Ava Inferi.. I like the way is pronunced, very mediteranean..who chose the name and what is the project behind the concept of the name?
The name was chosen by both me and Rune and it represents the duality in our music and our musical expression. Our music is a representation of our good and bad sides altogether and we believe that the connection of our diverse and diffwerent backgrounds enriches our songs. Harmony in disharmony I guess.
Ava Inferi‘s fourth album “Onyx” will be out on the 14th Febraury 2011. How was the recording process?
Some things were recorded in Norway, specifically the guitars and the bass, whilst the vocals and the drums were recorded here in Portugal. The process went fine without any big trouble and we are very happy with the end result. The reason why some things were recorded in Norway is due to efficiency, as we know the studio and the owner very well. For the vocals I chose to be home in Portugal to have a short way to my scheduled work in the studio. This way I could go home after each session and relax, and thats the way I like it.
Who’s the author of the “Onyx” cover album and what in your opinion want to represent and express?
For this album we decided to work with Costin Chioreanu, a promising artist from Romania. We talked to him about the concept of the songs before we started to record and this is what he came up with. I really feel the cover connects with the music and the lyrics too, its almost as if we painted a picture for the whole album content. For me it represents the rituals of spiritual protection. Protection against all negative energies.
What’s the main subjects that inspired the “Onyx”‘s lyrics? Or there is a common subject running through out the album?
Some of the subjects resemble struggles of the soul, while others can describe a diverse palate as pagan rituals, ghost stories, nightmares, darkness and light etc. I feel all the lyrics on the album is connected to each other actually. But I don’t see it as a concept album. It’s more related things all the way through.
What do you think is the main difference between “Blood of Bacchus” and “Onyx”? And how are your voice has grown?
Musically there is a lot of differences. First of all we don’t use the fado aspect in this latest album, in which we used a bit on “Blood of Bacchus” and also “The Silhouette”. Other than that, the songs are also a bit more straight forward on “Onyx”, and closer to a verse/refrain type of structure. I feel this could help to bring the songs to a more broad audience too. Ava Inferi was always considered as a challenge for me vocally, as the way I started using my vocals here was new to me. Since I come from a more Gothic Rock background it was not an easy task putting vocals on Rune‘s songs, for the first album. But I took the challenge and I had great fun in the studio at the time. It is also rewarding as a musician to realize all the development of my voice along the albums. I feel I have a better vocal range and stronger tone, and I also feel more confident with myself as im not scared to experiment with different vocal lines and melodies.
Talking about you now : what is your musical background? What are your hobbies and passions?
There are bands that are timeless for me, like Fields of the Nephilim, Sisters of Mercy, Dead Can Dance and Bauhaus. Not only do I consider it good music but these bands also gives me great memories from the past, the glorious 80’s, hehe. I also like some metal and classical music. I grew up in a family that was very musical in the sense that there was always song and laughter in the house. Long lunches that sometimes lasted until night, with family and friends singing fado and playing portuguese guitar in the backyard, till late hours. I have some fond memories from those times. For hobbies, I like to meditate, to do yoga because it helps me to maintain the balance of mind and body, helps me to deal better with the stress and the rush of the life I am living. I consider myself a spiritual person and I like to learn and collect gemstones and I also like to learn and read things about the sacred mother nature and its forces and deities. That’s me:)
Portugal is famous for fado music. Is Ava Inferi influenced by it? And what are the fado singers that you recommed to listen from starters?
We have some aspects of fado in our music I think, but only certain songs. Its nothing that we totally find influence in at all, but maybe we will do something in those lines again on a future album. I definitely recommed people to listen Amalia Rodrigues. She was the queen of fado, a lady with an amazing voice and a totally heartfelt expression.
You’ve also done a guest appareance in the latest Moonspell‘s album “Night Eternal”. How was to work with the whole band and have you in project any guest appreance?
It was a very easy process of recording, and everybody was friendly and supportive, so the whole thing ended very successful. I really like the outcome of the songs. I have also participated on the Sombra project which was an acoustic side of Moonspell. We did about 10 shows here in Portugal and it was a great success and lots of fun to participate on. Regarding other appearances; nothing is scheduled for now.
Is on working any videoclip? And what about an European tour?
We already did a clip for “Majesty” actually. It was shot in Romania under the direction of Costin Chioreanu, who also did the cover, and the clip turned out really amazing. I really love the feeling in the video and it connects perfectly to the overall idea of the songs, the album artwork and the lyrics. Its something we really are suprised by. For a European tour, we have some things in mind but its only shorter trips. We definitely hope to do a round in Holland, Italy and France now closer to autumn, but its still a bit uncertain. A great thing we have on the agenda, is the support tour for My Dying Bride in England and Ireland. We are very excited to be a part of that tour, because its also a band we like to listen to.
You were part also of the gothic metal band Isiphilon. Why the band split up?
I just left the band you know, and I don’t really know what happened to it, hehe. I’m sorry, I don’t really know what to say..
Is still active the ambient band Aenima? Any ideas for a new album?
I don’t know if Aenima is active anymore. They had a different singer the last time I heard about them but I don’t know exactly what they are up to. I dont have direct contact with the band so it’s not for me to talk about, I’m sorry.
Well, thanks so really much again for reply at my questions, hope you enjoy it. Feel free to leave a message for our readers and fans at Femme Metal Webzine.
Thank you so much for the interview. Always believe in yourself. Peace & Love.
Carmen’s single photo by Nuno Moreira
Ava Inferi band photo by Andreas Torneberg