Agon is an avant-garde atmospheric black metal musical project from Miami, Florida. As part of our “Introducing” series, we spoke to Agon creator Andre Basora (vocals, guitar, bass, drum programming) about what you can expect when checking Agon out…
What are the origins of the band, how long have you been playing together?
The project was created in 2018 when I was wanting to make a moniker for the music I was writing. I was writing material for a release throughout the years since I began college, but I wasn’t satisfied or pleased with the music I was writing. It wasn’t until 2017-2018 that I was writing music that really interested me and made me feel confident in releasing the body of work as a full-length album. That was when I was trying to find a name for my music and I ended up with Agon after searching for an interesting but memorable word/phrase in Tolkien’s Black Speech.
How did you feel performing your first gig? And how was it?!
Well, I have not played a gig yet under the name of Agon since I am just one single musician but I plan to do so in the future. All I can imagine is that it will be an awesome and fun experience when I finally play my songs to a live crowd.
What should people expect when they check Agon out? How would you describe yourself?
I try to change up my sound for each of my new releases so there shouldn’t be any big expectations for the releases other than hoping that the music would still be enjoyable to the listeners. My two main releases so far have completely different tones and aesthetics that are practically polarizing. If you check my debut album, it is very atmospheric and experimental, being slow-paced and methodical. The latest EP I released is very fast-paced, explosive, and relentless. My fans could expect something completely different depending on which project they listen to first, but all I can say is that my future projects will incorporate the stylistic choices that I have already used and blend them with other genres that I am intrigued in implementing.
The new music scene is bursting at the seams with fresh talent, in what ways do you feel that a band has to stand out from the others trying to build a name?
A band has to stand out through many aspects. A band’s image could make them stand out apart from other bands, or the music they create can make them different from their other peers. Those that have both the unique imagery and sound have the golden ticket to blow up and become huge, the only thing that has to be done correctly is the marketing and promotion of the band. If they are able to reach out to a wide audience and have their unique image and sound resonate with them, then the road to success will be easy.
What are you working on at the minute that people can check out?
I have just dropped my latest EP by the name of Engraved Power and it could be heard on Bandcamp, Spotify, Apple Music, TIDAL, etc. It is a hard-hitting set of songs that are fast-paced compared to the more methodical and atmospheric songs of my debut album. I am also writing material for my next album which will be a mix of both elements plus other genres, so keep your eyes and ears out for it.
What band out there at the minute do you feel that you would be best suited to open for?
The best bands to open for depends on what material I am playing, which means I can open up for a multitude of bands depending on the subgenre and aesthetic. Right now with the release of my EP, a band that I can open for would be for either Nails or Dying Fetus since Engraved Power has a lot of death metal and grind elements into it that would be suitable for those type of bands. But if I were to play my first album material or the material that will come in the next album, I will be a lot more suitable for a band like Imperial Triumphant, Portal, or Oranssi Pazuzu, delving into my atmospheric, experimental, and avant-garde side.
Who do you feel is the next band to break out?
Two bands that I mentioned in the previous answer are such spectacular musicians and I am surprised they haven’t broken out yet to the greater metal scene and audience. The two that I am talking about are Imperial Triumphant and Oranssi Pazuzu. Both bands released new records this year which I think are the best albums of the year so far, and I am glad that they are getting more attention from these releases. I can see that these two bands will become even bigger in the future.
What are your first musical memories? And what was the light bulb moment that made you go “I want to do that”?
I recall when I was very young that I was having lessons on how to play the piano, but I grew uninterested in it and decided not to do it anymore. The same thing occurred between elementary and middle school when I was trying to learn how to play classical guitar. There was something in me that made me not feel intrigued by playing music or be interested in music. It wasn’t until the end of middle school around 8th grade that I began to get into classic rock such as AC/DC (a great thank you to Guitar Hero) and I started to get motivated to want to pick up the guitar again and learn how to play it. As a graduation gift, I got my very first electric guitar, an Epiphone SG. I just began to listen to more and more music, going from rock to metal, then expanded my genres and different musical styles. This embrace of all kinds of new music made me want to begin writing my own material for all to listen to.
What was the last gig that you attended as a fan?
The last show I attended was for Portrayal of Guilt at our local dive bar called Churchill’s Pub back in March. It was such a fun night with my friends and the band performed amazingly as well. It is just sad to recall because we did not expect for that show to be the last we would attend before the implementation of the lockdown and quarantine.
The album that you have in your album collection/Spotify playlist that would surprise most people?
My close friends truly know how much I love and worship Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” but I can imagine that a majority of my fans or metal listeners would not imagine me being into that 70’s Motown R&B. Not only am I fond of the album, it is one of my top 5 albums of all time. Everything about that release is beautiful: the songwriting, the performances, the lyrics and theme, and of course the singing from the man himself. It truly is a record that EVERYONE needs to hear at least once in their lifetimes.
What are your plans for the remainder of 2020?
I just accomplished my main plan for 2020 of releasing a project within the year and I am glad I was able to achieve that. Due to the virus at hand, there really aren’t any other plans I have for the year especially with how terrible it is in the United States. I was going to want to play shows and perform this year, but all venues are closed and it is for the best intention that no shows should occur to keep everyone’s health at top priority.
How active are you on social media and where can people connect with you?
I am on social media a grand majority of the time, but I am rarely active in posting. People have been connecting with me through Facebook and Instagram for more exposure of my music and opportunities to grow, and I am always open for more people to contact me through those ways since it is a lot more amiable and relaxed compared to emails. Search up agonmusician on Facebook and Instagram and you will find me. If you want to contact me through email, you can reach out through firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll be glad to respond!