Persefone is the first band from Andorra I came across and their album Shin-Ken was really impressive. So I took the chance to send over some questions.
Hey Claudia! This is Miguel Espinosa. Thank you for giving us the chance of answering your questions! We are now on our first day off of the tour and we have some time to answer them! Thank you for your patience!
With Shin-Ken you have a new album. This time you lyrically deal with Japanese war stories. How did you get into that?
In Persefone, we are always looking for different concepts on every album and we came from a Greek mythology story and we wanted to do something different. We had several concepts in mind by finally, Carlos came with the Japanese option since he and Marc Martins love it. He explained the option, how to manage it and where should we have to check info to learn about it. So we went on that, checking different sources like The Book of Five Rings from Miyamoto Musashi and Hagakure. We learnt a lot before start writing.
The artwork - and your website along with it - are now light colored... like turning from the dark to the light now... Who had the idea for the artwork?
On Core we was telling a story about kidnapping. So the full artwork had to be obscure, oppressive, and, if you check it, the cover looks that is being watched from a hole. Now, with the Japanese concept, we wanted to explain some stuff about meditation and the way the samurai lived, and this is totally different from an oppressive and obscure concept. We wanted to go on white colors, opened ambiences, nature, and in general, maybe the complete contrary from the Core color and idea.
Your new album is released by Kolony Records and it seems that outside Japan you have to find a new label for every release... How did you find your new home at Kolony Records?
This is always the great job from our manager Claus Jensen and the promotional director on Intromental, Lars Larsen. These guys have been struggling for Persefone for years and now, after A LOT of work, they have got a great label for us. Kolony Records is a house in which all of the artist that are in there are being treated with care. There are not a hundred bands and so we are not one of that the end in a drawer forgotten. We are more than happy with Kolony and the recent success of the band on releasing albums and touring demonstrate that not always is necessary to end in a major to get a nice exposure.
In Japan Soundholic takes care of Persefone, did this help you to get Shin-Ken realized?
The Soundholic story is sad. We have been with them on our three albums but in November we received the news that the owner passed away and the company stopped activities. We don't really know how Shin-Ken worked there. Now we are totally focused on Europe promotion. Anyway, we always keep them in our hearts.
It's been a few years since the release of Core, a concept album which is also linked to the bands name. As far as I know you do have a new band member... Please tell us a bit about what happened after the release of Core and before you started working on Shin-Ken!
Several changes occurred after Core. First of all, Aleix left the band and Marc Mas arrived to the band. I have to say that Marc is, by far, the best drummer I have ever seen. Maybe, he is not the fastest, or even the more technical drummer, but he has a great talent to combine a lot of styles of music. Besides, he is extremely technical and fast, so we are so happy with him in the band. After Core, we spent the worst time in the band. No label wanted, and the one that took it, just didn't work it enough. No reviews, nor interviews for the band. No touring and in the end, a bad promotion. But we continue working and believing on the chances of the band.
As you all have day jobs - I suppose you have - the process of writing and recording takes more time. When did you start writing songs? Have you had the topic of Japanese war stories right from the start?
Yep, we have all daily jobs. Only three of us are living from something related to music. Carlos, Marc Mas and me are music teachers and maybe we have more facilities to work on music. But anyway we had to work REALLY hard to get Shin-Ken out. Some day in December we were asked to finish the album before May. By that time we had only two songs and a half. So we organized ourselves and wrote the whole album in that period. We finished mixing and mastering on April 28th, 3 days before the deadline!
The album was mixed and mastered by Tommy Hansen, and you produced it together with Tommy Hansen. Was Tommy Hansen your first choice? Will you work with him again, if schedules allow it?
Actually we was going to mix the album with Jacob Hansen in the beginning. I have to say that earlier we did it that stuff by ourselves, by Aleix's studio and from the moment he left the band we had to do it ourselves, without an studio. Some of us have recording material but not material enough to mix it. So we contacted Jacob and he agreed to do it but a week before going to his studio, he called us with a big problem and he simply couldn't do it. Once again, Claus made a quick called and he got us Tommy's Jailhouse studio. His work was simply professional and of course, we would work with him if he has the availability and we are looking that sound.
And why did you turn away from Greek mythology? Will you possibly pick up a Greek-related topic again?
Every concept we take for an album is something we are interested in for us to learn. Most probably the next album will be a new topic, but we can't say we won't turn over an old concept. The longest life Persefone has, the more chances to get an old topic. Let's see what happens on upcoming years! :)
Musically you offer complex, atmospheric metal and I guess you listen to a large range of different bands... What bands are you listen to at the moment?
In Persefone we are six people and besides, we always say that there are three different generations in it, since Jordi and Toni are over 35, the two Marcs are around 25 and Carlos and me, we are on our thirties. So you can imagine that we listen a wide variety of different kinds of music. From Cynic, Pantera, Lamb of God, Dream Theater and not so metal bands or music like Smashing Pumpkins, The Doors or movie soundtracks from Zimmer or John Williams.
And who or which band inspired you to start making music?
Metallica. By all means, most of us was inspired by them and what they represented when we were really young.
Beside playing some shows in your home country Andorra as well as Spain and France you played at Dong Open-Air in Germany. How was it to play outside Andorra? Did the metal fans in Spain and France welcomed you?
For most of the underground bands, going out their country is something really special, and so it is for us, but you have to think that Andorra is very very small and going out represents a necessity. So we have been visiting France and Spain in the last years! When Dong Open Air chance appeared it was something amazing for us. It's like our country has always been Spain / Andorra / France and then we had the chance of going abroad. We had a great audience in there that we will never forget. First time to get the chance of sharing a backstage with BIG bands like Dark Tranquillity, Sabaton, Sadist and our friends Raintime.
Now you are on your first tour and with Obituary, you'll play places you haven't been yet. What do you expect from your first tour?
Due to our complete unexperience on touring we didn't really know what to expect. Now, after 7 days on tour with Obituary I could possibly answer this question more accurately. To Learn! We have learning on every step of the road. The audience is becoming better and maybe this is because we didn't know how to connect with them initially. And besides, we have been speaking a lot with Ralph Santolla, and he has given us a lot of advice about the future. He is a wise man and we are really taking their advice in mind. The guys from Obituary are really fantastic people and they know all that stuff we need to learn. To learn on every step and connect with our fans all along the tour. That's what right now we are expecting.
In May you'll play at MetalFest Hungary and you'll share the stage with bands like Death Angel, Vader, Marduk, HammerFall and Sonata Arctica among others. Beside playing MetalFest I guess you'll look forward to see some bands... Which bands do you want to see at MetalFest?
Undoubtedly Nevermore! But it's a real pity because we will arrive to the fest the day after they play. I guess we will have the chance of checking some other shows that really deserve watching!
Are there any other festivals on the way? Or do you look for another tour later this year?
Yep! This year we wil come back to Dong Open Air. It's the 10th anniversary of the festival and we are willing to go there and kick asses! About some other festivals, we are applying for almost every summer fest, but we don't really know what we'll happen.
Your previous releases shall be re-released in 2010. Can you tell us a bit about the re-releases? Will they have bonus tracks?
Well, actually this is not sure. We have created some kind of a label to release our own material, like merch and old releases but as always it all depends on money. As soon as we got some money we will re-release Truth Inside The Shades, maybe with the Japanese bonus track that was released only in Japan earlier. About Core we have some cool ideas but we will see how to do. You'll get further news in the official site on upcoming months!
What's on your schedule for the rest of 2010?
For the moment we are focused on Shin-Ken promotion. We want to do as much promo as possible and so we will play some festivals on summer. If nothing else appears on autumn / winter months, we will start writing new songs for an upcoming release for the next year that it will be our 10th anniversary as band! :)
Thanks for everything! Remember checking our site at www.persefone.com. We are also on Twitter, Facebook, Last.fm and Myspace! Hope seeing you on tour! :D
I have to thank Miguel for taking time on an off day to answer my questions and I hope to get the chance to see them live - and talk to them personally. All the best for Persefone!