In a few days the third record of Persefone - 'Shin Ken' will be released. A band from the little country Andorra. We got the opportunity to ask them some questions about the new album and of course about the metalscene in their country.
Could you please introduce the band to our readers?
Persefone: Hi everyone! We are Persefone a death metal band from the tiny country Andorra, located between France and Spain in the Pyrenean mountains. We started the band in 2001 and we have been working hard releasing albums like 'Truth Inside the Shades' or 'Core', that is our second album. We would like to thank you in advance for giving us the chance of answering your questions!
Andorra, not the first country you would think about when you are talking about metal. Are there a lot more metalbands?
Persefone: Indeed! We are the first band going out from this country but of course, there are a lot more bands, one of them is right now recording and they are more than a promise! They are called Nami. During this year they expect to release their debut album.
Is the name Persefone named after the Greek Goddess 'Persephone'? If so, isn't it strange that a band from Andorra has a Greek name and the new CD 'Shin - Ken' is about a Japanese subject?
Persefone: Persefone is the Latin speech for Persephone. Well, actually our second album is based on the story about Persephone, who was kidnapped by Hades who felt in love with her. We thought on the idea of dedicating that album to the Greek goddess. Once we have made that we changed our direction. We love Japan stories about samurais and the philosophy behind them. So I think it's not that strange actually that the band is telling something about what we like.
Could you tell a bit more about the lyrical theme?
Persefone: The main theme about 'Shin-ken' is the philosophy that ancient samurais used to carry on during their life's. In fact, the expression 'Shin-ken' in Japanese means doing things very seriously and true sword. It's curious that a same expression are tied to what a samurai represents. So we decided to go onto themes like discipline, zen, purity, the fury of samurais on the battle, courage and so on...
Musically the band seems to be inspired by lots of other styles and has influences of many different bands, what are the biggest influences?
Pf: Nowadays I don't think we could say we have a direct influence. Of course we are usual music listeners and because of that, maybe the last kind of music we are listening can influence directly on the music we are composing, but in the end, I think that the musical formation and musical tastes in general, can affect the music. We just sit down and think on what we want to say with that particular song, if it has to be fast, rhythmically heavy, soft, nice, dark, and depending on what we decide, we look for a riff, a chord progression and so on...
How is the writing process for a Persefone song?
Pf: Well, maybe I have answered part of the question already, but not everything. Once we decide what we want to do. Actually, there's a part we do before sitting and writing a song. We constantly look for individual ideas and we record them. We need to get material before starting the composition, because it's not every day that you get inspired while composing. In fact, composing is a 2% of you lifetime and you simply can't expect getting inspired in that moment. Sometimes it happens,... sometimes not. Once we have ideas we can easily start thinking on a song structure or whatever. Finally we write the lyrics.
If you have to describe your style, what would it be?
Pf: We are not much friends of tags, because there's so much different ideas that finally people tend to create weird ones for every music. Anyway, if I should have to add a tag to Persefone, I'll use progressive death metal, since it's what people mostly says about our music.
Are there a lot of Persefone fans in Japan, and is that the reason for the Japanese concept?
Pf: Yes!, actually it's a lot of people bearing in mind that the band is not big at all, so, any quantity of people following the band is big for us hehehe. Numbers in Japan have been always good. Unfortunately, the demise of Soundholic, the Japanese label, has been a big punch for us. They have always been a great support for the band and we will miss them. Anyway, it wasn't big much a reason for going with that concept. We simply love that thematic and we learnt a lot on the way.
How did you get the deal with Kolony Records and what are your expectations from the label?
Pf: It was the big, great job of our manager Claus Jensen and Lars Larsen. They seem to never give up on the efforts to make Persefone bigger every day, and because of that, the band hasn't stopped growing from the moment we met them. We owe a lot to them!
A nice album-cover, it expresses the album title very nicely, who made it?
Pf: On earlier years we worked with amazing artist but, due to the thematic we wanted to work with someone who directly know about Japan, and if possible, someone who could write Japanese kanjis (one of the way of writing in Japan). So we contacted Yushi Onishi, a producer in Japan, and he contacted Wi, a guy that end to be one of the very best artist we have ever met. We explained him the idea and he seemed to be in our heads, because he drew exactly what we couldn't explain with words. Every image on the artwork is a work of art!!
The album was produced by Tommy Hansen, was that your idea, or did the label come with the idea?
Pf: Well, to be true we had one other name in mind but due to some schedule problems in the last moment, we went to Tommy. He's a personal Claus- friend. I have to say that I personally, never have met such a great person and professional producer!! He is just AMAZING. He taught us a lot of things about music productions and shared with us experiences about Helloween-Keepers, and many other bands and great artist that have passed by Jailhouse Studios!! Besides, I had a shock when "Kusanagi" started sounding (the first song we decided to listen first once the production was prepared. I was used to listen the album with no production, and suddenly it became HUGE. I loved that experience and we hope meeting Tommy again in the future.
It worked out very well, did he have a big influence on the songs?
Pf: He had a lot of influence on the mixing and mastering, what is a big part of the final product. We didn't record the album in Jailhouse but in several studios around so he hadn't got the chance of expressing his opinion about the songs.
You are going to tour with Obituary, how do you think their fans will react on you?
Pf: I don't really know! It's our first European tour and we don't know how they will react. We know Obituary's audience is kinda older than ours, but it's a great chance for us to promote 'Shin-ken'. I'm sure we will spend a great time and it will be unforgettable!
A new year has started, what were in your opinion the 5 best albums of 2009?
Pf: Some cool albums for us in any order:
- Dream Theater - Black Clouds and Silver Linings
- Megadeth - End Game
- Adagio - Archangels in Black
- Freak Kitchen - The Land of the Freaks
- Be-lakor - Stone's Reach
Any wishes for 2010?
Pf: Of course! For the band, we wish to get a successful tour and play a lot around the world!!!
Anything else you want to share with our readers?
Pf: You are invited to visit our site www.persefone.com. There's a bunch of photos there, soundclips to listen and even full songs from 'Shin Ken' we hope you like it.
Interviewed by Reinier de Vries