|First off, I’d like to congratulate you
on the new album! I’m sure you have awakened many eyes with
what Requiem Aeternam can create. Lets start the questions…
1. “Philosopher” is dynamic and technical and
it’s an amazing treat for you ears. What got you interested
in making music of this caliper?
José Romero: Till now, we have worked in a
way that our deed has been done without rushing it in excess. For
“Eternally Dying” album, we spent about 3 years to produce
11 tracks; for “Philosopher”, we needed over 5 years to
produce 8 tracks. This shows that we haven’t forced our music;
our music has been freed to come out. In my opinion, it takes a lot
of time to do something very interesting, something that might be
able to change the standards of the kind of music we are involved.
We truly believe this. Therefore, to rush could be to delay, and we
don’t have too much time left to prove what we are.
2. As you listen through “Philosopher,” even the
first time, you can tell there are many influences that make up each
song. What are Requiem Aeternam’s main influences? Include anything
from music, movies, books, environment, etc.
José Romero: We have called our style “Dialectical
Metal”. Dialectic is a sort of method of coming up with the
truth of something through oppositions. Heraclitus thought in this
way over 26 centuries ago. Through contradictions is doable to find
the real meaning of things. Why is it not possible to apply this idea
into music? We have tried to do so. Requiem Aeternam’s (RA)
music exhibits this idea. Oppositions, contrasts, inequalities exhibit
it; harmony is gotten through an apparent disharmony.
Main influences (?)… I spent almost three years without listening
any kind music so as to compose as free as possible from others, knowing
that being pure is an illusion though. Notwithstanding, we have tried
to be out of influences… dreaming to have an authentic sounding
in our music and lyrics (in the latter this is more clear).
3. I believe I may have noticed some parts that incorporate
styles from the bands original home in Uruguay. Did you take any native
guitar from Uruguay, like Spanish guitar, and incorporate it in your
José Romero: Your belief is correct. I personally
like “Rio de la Plata” folk music, that is to say, Uruguayan
and Argentinean folk. “Milonga” and “Tango”
are the best items of it. Because we are descendents of Spaniards
and Italians mostly, this music doesn’t go away from this origin.
Spanish guitar is very present in tracks like Philosopher or even
4. Could you explain a little on how the original lineup was
formed and how the band morphed into the current lineup? Did you know
Alex Hernández of Immolation before the new line-up was formed?
José Romero: RA was product of a track named
“Emergent from something inexplicable”. We recorded it
in 1995. At that moment, Martin Lopez (now in Opeth, ex. Amon Amarth)
was the drummer, Martin Mendez (now in Opeth) the bass player, Pablo
Magallanes guitarist, and myself, guitarist and vocalist. The today
well-known bands of Sweden and Norway were coming out, for what our
idea was to emigrate to Sweden to go on with the band. Nevertheless,
I personally decided to stay in Uruguay because I was trying to complete
my studies on Economy. The other guys were to Sweden and did a nice
career. I had to stay in my country until getting my degree. About
three years ago I came to USA and I had to get new members. Maciej
(bass) and Alex (drums) were picked out. About the last one, I knew
he was out of Immolation, not to mention that he lives in NYC, where
we all live. So, I met him and I showed him our material and ideas.
He decided to help us out with the recording, and now he is a full
member of RA.
5. “Philosopher” expands on the death and black
metal genres. You are self-described as “Dialectical Metal.”
What would you say makes up “Dialectical Metal”? How would
you describe “Philosopher”?
José Romero: Following Hegel’s dialectical
view, “the process is one of overcoming the contradiction between
thesis and antithesis, by means of synthesis; the synthesis in turn
becomes contradicted, and the process repeats itself until final perfection
is reached.” So, RA’s music is a synthesis of myriad contradictions,
oppositions, inequalities; nonetheless, there is a compact result
out of this apparent anarchical description.
“Philosopher” is a title that very few in the history
of thought have been able to get. Pythagoras was the first to call
“Philosopher” to the one given into Philosophy as a “way
of living”. “Philosopher”, even locking as a generic
attribute, cannot be it. Conversely, “Philosopher” is
all what is ungeneric. Every great thinker in this area was able to
show his viewpoint of what is called “life”. Every new
philosopher is a new way of life, a resurrection. Now, “Philosopher”,
as the name of the second album of RA, is no more than this…
a resurrection – of a long time of silence –, an ungeneric
outcome of almost six years of hard work. Music and Philosophy are
summed up in unity under a closed conception that would be opened
in every opinion of it.
6. The intensity changes on each track, how were you able
to create something so dynamic, yet have it flow nicely through the
album? How do you start the writing process to create something so
José Romero: The change: track by track,
and inside of every track, is part of the general idea of this album.
The structure of the composition is based in a constant variation
in the music, but without losing its line of development. “Creation”
is something that comes from the innerness of any individuality. Distinctiveness
is an ineludible characteristic of it. It is extremely difficult to
explain how, for what I think the result operates as consequence,
and the cause goes hidden through it. It started already having the
end in it; the end is fundamental part of its commencement.
7. It’s really quite a journey from songs to song. Is
there any certain message you wanted to convey? Is there a title for
track 8 on your disc?
José Romero: With this album, we got the
balance we wanted since the beginning. It has power and melody in
a descent and concluded amount of them. I don’t know if we wanted
to spread a message, notwithstanding, the album itself shows something
very different of what one is accustomed to listen in this style.
“Names can be named, but not the Eternal Name” has said
Tzu. The last track (number 8) is based in his book, the “Tao
teh Ching”. There was no better way to reflect his idea of the
Eternal Tao than this one, that is, “ ”.
8. Everything is amazing on this is disc, “Rectitude,”
“Liberty,” “Logos,” and the title track “Philosopher”
are my favorites. What are the bands favorite tracks? Are these tracks
models of the direction that Requiem Aeternam may take on future releases?
José Romero: I know that Maciej likes “Logos”
and “ ” and “Wisdom”. Alex “Logos”
and “Rectitude” and “Wisdom”. I personally
always change, but I like them all.
“Logos” was the last composition. It might be said that
this could be the direction of the band’s sound, but this doesn’t
have to be strictly true. But I’d say that next RA’s album
will be very different from Philosopher or Eternally Dying, specially
in what music concerns.
9. Since Requiem Aeternam is relatively new to American metal
fans, can we expect a tour any time soon? Any festivals planned in
Europe this summer?
José Romero: “Eternally Dying”
was thought to be promoted in Latin America; “Philosopher”
to be promoted in USA and Canada, and going on with the promotion
in Latin America. Hence, Europe and other parts of the world are out
of our plans, at least for now.
For 2005, we plan to be part of quite a few festivals in USA. We think
that we might be touring next year around the whole country.
10. I really appreciate you taking time with Metal Fanatix
to answer some questions. I have just one more. Do you have anything
you want to say to the metal world?
José Romero: “Philosopher” is
the one that truly can say something to it, no my words. So, please…
listen to it and you’ll find out what I mean.
Thanks a lot for your support. We do need it.