Interview: Diabulus In Musica

After a month-long tour supporting Leaves Eyes, Diabulus In Musica are home. Ritchie caught up with the band to discuss symphonic metal, what’s next for the band, and to reflect on a month on the road.

 It has been quite a long tour for you. Will you be glad to be going home, or do you miss the road when you get back?

“The feeling is always bittersweet. On the one hand a month is quite long so you obviously miss your home, family, friends, food, habits… and you get tired of being day after day on the road. I was really happy to come back home and I enjoyed a lot the small details of daily life, but on the other hand, playing and meeting our fans is what we like the most, so we couldn’t help missing the shows while being at home too.”

What has been the highlight of the tour so far?

“I’d say that the last show of the tour. We played in our hometown with a symphonic orchestra and a big choir, we were almost 100 people on stage. It was amazing, like a dream come true as this is the way our music has to sound, this is how we conceived it. It was so great to be able to play our songs live with the real instruments and voices! Besides, we played in the biggest opera house of our city and it was almost sold out, it was a fantastic experience.”

You have posted some photos on facebook of some of the cities you have visited. What was your favourite city to visit?

“Unfortunately we couldn’t visit most of the places and it’s a pity because we played in so many countries! When you are on tour you don’t have the time to do it as you have to do the sound check as soon as you arrive to a city and then drive to the next place as soon as you finish the show. We could only see a little bit of Rome, Hameln and Dresden, Paris (only the tour Eiffel), London Tower and bridge and Glasgow Cathedral. I had already visited Paris and London before, but I’d never been to Rome and being also a Historian I especially enjoyed this city, even if I could only be there for some hours. Same with Glasgow Cathedral. Hameln was also charming!”

What has it been like touring alongside Leaves Eyes? Have their fans accepted you, and do you feel you have picked up a lot of new fans on the tour?

“Touring with them was great because we were already friends, so everything flows really well between us!

Regarding the fans we were very happy to see that some people in the audience was wearing our t-shirts too and singing the songs, so that means we also have some fans in common already. The reaction in every show was great and the sales too. We also received some feedback after the shows and through messages from some people that had never listened to us before, so for sure we picked up new fans, that’s great!”

Seeing both yourselves and Leaves Eyes together hits home how symphonic metal is latching onto female fronted bands. Do you feel there is plenty of room for everyone? Why do you think this genre, more than any other, has a high percentage of female singers?

“It should be room for everyone as there is in the rest of genres. I still don’t understand why symphonic metal should be different from other styles in metal or outside the metal field. Nobody doubts there is room for different pop, jazz or trash metal bands for example, then why it should be different when it’s symphonic metal or when the singer is a woman? This so called “female fronted metal band” tag is something I don’t like at all and still don’t get to understand. As I said before, does someone talk about “female fronted pop or jazz band?” No, why? Because the sex of the singer doesn’t define the style of the music, it is pop, or it is jazz, that’s all. Then metal is metal. There are plenty of different metal bands where the singer is a girl, from rock to trash, from grunts to operatic vocals…

In my view the tag “symphonic metal” talks about the music, not about the voice. It is called “symphonic metal” because it mixes metal and classical music, usually an orchestra and sometimes classical choirs. There are male fronted symphonic metal bands too (Kamelot, Rhapsody…) and female fronted symphonic metal bands with rock voices or classical voices.

Regarding why there are more females in this genre, I suppose it is because it’s still one of the only genres where females are “allowed” to stay. Unfortunately we are no so welcome yet in other styles (even if this is changing little by little), but it is more than clear that women can grunt, sing with a broken voice or sing in a more classical way. I also wonder why there are not more male classical voices in symphonic metal, maybe it is because people is still thinking about the old Nightwish style and they associate symphonic metal with that, but I think symphonic metal it’s much more than that, there should be room for more.”

Symphonic metal is a very popular genre, with a lot of European bands. What do you feel you have that makes you stand out from the others?

“We never think about “genres” when we are composing. Of course we will always use choirs and orchestra, because it was our aim since the beginning. I mean, we come from the metal and the classical scene, so it’s the natural way to go for us, but we never say “no” to any new sound or style and you can easily see that if you listen to our three albums. We have more influences: world music, folk, soundtracks, electronic stuff, medieval music… and all of this is present in one or another of our songs. For me music must be eclectic, otherwise I can get easily bored. I conceive an album like a soundtrack, with different moments and different feelings, that’s why you can find from very soft or even mystic passages to very aggressive ones in our albums. Music has to make my imagination travel, this is what I like when I listen to a band and this is what I also try to do with my music.”

When the band was started, it was said it was done as an outlet was needed to create your own musical ideas. Do you believe you have fully achieved this? Have you been given the artistic licence to take your music where you want it to go?  

“If the time when I cannot do what I really want arrives, then it will be the time to leave the music business. I cannot say neither I have fully achieved the goal of creating my own ideas or taking my music where I wanted, because I have always something new in mind and it must be like this if I want to carry on. This is what moves me to keep on composing. I feel that music is alive, it’s pure magic. You sometimes start with an idea and it can happen that the result is totally different at the end. I like also when this happens, because music becomes spontaneous and reflects something you were feeling in that moment.”

‘Argia’ will be 2 years old next year. Are there any plans to start recording again?

“Yes! Actually we are working right now on the new production. There is still a lot to do, but we enjoy a lot the creative process as well, we cannot wait to listen to the songs finished!”

Will you be looking to play in any festivals next year?

“Sure! We have already confirmed Femme metal fest in the Netherlands in September and we will also play a couple of festivals in Spain before the release of the new album. We hope we can play much more after the release!”

When do you think it is likely you will be back in the UK?

“It will be great if we could play a festival there, it is always easier than doing a complete tour alone, but if the chance comes we won’t hesitate to come back on tour! We had a fantastic time there, it was the most enthusiastic part of our European tour and we cannot wait to see you all again! We keep fantastic memories from our fans in UK.”

If you could put on your own festival, what bands would you chose to play alongside?

“I couldn’t tell, I love playing so I don’t care very much with whom. I’d probably choose a festival with varied bands, from different styles within metal or even more folk oriented too, I really like the atmosphere of medieval or other thematic fests for example.”

Interview: Ritchie Birnie

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