Tuesday, 8 January 2019

Interview: Diagoras

Swedish progressive death metal quartet Diagoras is a newcomer on the scene, releasing a debut EP titled "Enigma" back in October last year. The EP was mixed by legendary drummer and producer Hannes Grossmann. Here is what the band had to say about their work, the EP, and more. You can read our review of the release here.

Every band has to introduce their music to new people. What is it that you want people to get from listening to you guys?

Metal is a hugely diverse and constantly growing genre, and we want to take our favorite style of music and try to create our own unique way of interpreting what is considered “progressive” in the modern day. Modern music is very saturated, having so many great bands out there, so our goal is to create something unique and recognizable to pay tribute to the genre we all live and breathe.

How hard was it for you guys to pick “Diagoras” as a name?

The band naming process is always a headache, and surely every musician hates it. A lot of browsing Wikipedia articles and various books, reading song lyrics and checking thesauruses for the right word to set off an idea. Ultimately, the band discovered a philosopher named Diagoras of Melos, who is often called “The First Atheist”. The title was short and strong, easy to remember, matched our beliefs and represented our way of thinking and hoping to stand out from the rest of the world, so upon discovering the name it was easy to choose it over the other ideas we had.

Everybody is influenced by certain things. What band(s) was it that turned you on to the kind of music you play? What inspires you today?

So in the very beginning a lot of us started with thrash metal, bands like Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and moved into the progressive death genre with bands like Death and Cynic, but also prog bands like Dream Theater. We feel Diagoras is largely influenced by modern tech and prog bands, bands like Alkaloid and Obscura, Beyond Creation and countless others. That said we all dig into many different genres in our own time, both inside and outside of metal. To name them all would take the entire interview!

When you formed, did you do so with the intent of knowing what to play or did you do so from the point of having a band name and then picking a sound? How did you settle on the name/sound combo?

Simon and Mitchell knew from the formation of the band the general style they’d be going for, and the influences they’d be incorporating into the songs. However, the execution is something that has to be done over time and we feel having too much of an exact vision of a band’s sound can be really limiting. The name came after the entire EP had been written, so I suppose the naming process was a search for both a good title, and a good name for what we had created!

I believe that digital is killing the album format. People’s changing habit of how they listen to music will result in there being no albums. What’s your take on it?

So we think it depends largely on the artist, there are major acts just releasing in digital format, and small independent bands putting out full albums. While we do feel it’s a shame to lose that process, playing a physical CD and looking at the album art and booklet while the music plays, metal musicians are often very active fans of other bands as well. Due to this, we believe metal will hold onto that album format for much longer than other styles, as the musicians making the albums know firsthand what fans want and value in a musical experience.

You have an EP titled “Enigma.” What went into writing and recording this fine piece of music?

The whole band spent an extensive amount of time trying to bring in new and more progressive/technical ideas than we have in past projects. A lot of time went into the composition and making sure the songs flowed properly, to be sure any odd ideas or technicality didn’t restrict the quality of the song itself, and rather used those aspects to further the musical experience of listening to Diagoras.

What part does art-work and lay-out play when you release new music? How do you best catch people's attention?

Our drummer Simon was mostly in charge of the artwork, and we all think an understated cover can be much more effective today, but of course it depends on what the genre is. A more extreme and brutal band may need something not so understated for instance! We’re really happy with the straightforward cover we have, there’s still a lot to look at but it will stand out in a collage of various releases and their artwork.

Has social media re-written the rules on how to promote your music? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way?

So we’re all rather young, and relatively new to the music world. We all grew up during the rise of social media, and while we all remember the days before the internet, we never really had to be active musicians in that time. However, we’re sure promotion is much less difficult now, it’s never been easier to be seen than it is today. That said, it’s significantly easier for everyone to be seen, making standing out in a sea of bands and musicians much more the issue than just promoting your act.

When you play in a band, does that make you feel like you are a part of a scene, of something bigger and grander?

To be honest, we always imagined taking part the scene to be much bigger and more glamorous. While creating and playing music is a great experience, being in an active band promoting itself and creating new content isn’t as different from practicing and writing at home as one may expect. This may change when we’re touring and on a bill with other active bands in our genre, but in the beginning it’s not the big world of rockstars we imagined as kids.

How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?

We’ve yet to do any touring, but we’re looking forward to spreading the word about Diagoras and our EP as much as we can. With that, we’re aiming to play everywhere we can, and tour anywhere people want to see us! In the hugely digital world we live in, other methods of promotion are rising more and more, but we feel being active and touring is still the main way of a band validating itself as part of the modern metal movement.

What will the future bring?

We’re writing our first album now, and we have no plan to stop after that. Diagoras will release as many albums as we can write, and play anywhere we can possibly go. That said, the future as a whole is a false opportunity for positive thinking. Nothing happens for a reason, we’re all gonna die. Thanks for reading!

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