José Romero of Requiem Aeternam - Back
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 music?

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 Desperation.

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 dynamic?

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.
José Romero