Diabulus In Musica

Interview date

8 Juin 2010




Interview Zuberoa Aznarez (by mailer)

As "Secrets" is your first album, can you introduce the band?

Diabulus in Musica was born in 2006. I started the project because I wanted to develop my own ideas and express myself through the music I liked: metal and classical. All the members knew each other from the local metal scene of Pamplona and most of us were friends before creating DiM. Gorka (keyboard player) played in two well-known power metal bands in the city. I started to sing in one of them and Adrián (guitar player) started to play the guitar in the other. Both bands disappeared so Gorka and I decided to invite Adrián to join us in the new project we were about to start: DiM. Xabi (drummer) joined us while recording "Secrets". He was Adrián's friend, they also played together in a cover band and Alex (bass player and the most recent member) also knew Adrián because they had worked together in another rock project. We had another drummer and bass player before, but they had to leave the band due to personal reasons.

Does the name Diabulus in Musica is a reference to the medieval music interval, or to Slayer's album or Mago de Ozs' song or you choose this name for another reason?

To be honest, when I thought about this name I had no idea about Slayer's album and neither about that Mago de Ozs' song (actually, I thought the name before starting with the band). Diabulus in Musica is a Latin mediaeval word which means "the devil in music". It was like that they called the triton or the interval of the augmented fourth. The medieval ear was used to hear perfect fourths and perfect fifths. The augmented fourth, being half-way between these two most common intervals, was about the worst discord imaginable. That's why they thought that the devil was inside the triton.
As Early Music is my favorite style in classical and actually is what I usually sing in the choir, so I chose this name. It was perfect for us not only because of the meaning it has to me, but also because it sounds a bit dark, as our music sometimes. We like this "dark romantic aesthetic" as well as Early Music, so we thought Diabulus in Musica was the name that fit us the best.

You worked with Sascha Paeth on this album. Was it a way to leave nothing to chance?

Working with Sascha has been a great opportunity for us, we never thought that could happen! Actually, we were going to do everything (recording, mixing and mastering) with our producer Iñaki Llarena. When Iñaki was mixing the album, we realized that the mix was not exactly what we were looking for. The first mixes were good, but there were some aspects that weren't as we expected. Iñaki contacted with Ad (we knew that he was interested in producing) to ask for advice related with the mix of the choir and the orchestra. He thought that thanks to his experience with Epica, he should know how to mix all our classical and metal elements. After mixing the album, Ad told us that Sascha would be the right person to do the mastering. He called Sascha and when he answered he was going to do the mastering we almost couldn't believe it! Sascha is a very busy person, so we were lucky to work with him and Simon Oberender.

Some orchestrations and metal part as on "Come to Paradise" make think of Epicas' one. Do you think it's because of Ad Sluitjers' work or for another reason?

Well, maybe soundwise there could be some things in common with Epica, because obviously an Epica member did the mix, but only soundwise. All the arrangements and music is made by ourselves. Both Epica and Diabulus in Musica make symphonic metal and there is a female singer and a male grunter, so is logical to find some similarities.

There are a lot of different ambiances on this album. Was it a deliberate choice to show everybody what you are able to do or it just happened?

Not really, we just follow our instincts hehe We are open to almost any kind of music as far as we like it. We really like to experiment with sounds and are open-minded in this matter, that's also why we didn't need to make any decision about our musical direction.
We were three people who wrote the songs for "Secrets" and all of us have our own musical background, so there's definitely a mixture of influences in our music.

What were your states of mind when you wrote and recorded "Secrets"?

We passed from happiness to sadness, euphoria, desperation hahaha. I think that we have experimented all the possible states of mind when writing and recording "Secrets", as it took a long time. Maybe is because of that, that songs are so different one with the other. It might be a reflection of our minds during the writing haha.
Anyway, we had to select some songs to be included in "Secrets", 'cause we had more than twenty since we started with the band until we started to record the album, so songs were written in different periods. The same happened with the recording, it was a hard recording, we had to cope with the departure of our former drummer, with the different timetables of the musicians, each member's jobs... it's because of that that the recording took a long time.

The last song of this album is special: it's the longest song and there are a lot of rhythm changes. How did you work for this song?

St. Michael's Nightmare is the last one we wrote and I think it can be like a summary of all the ingredients of Diabulus in Musica. We had a lot of fun writing it. We wanted St. Michael's to be longer because the subject of the lyrics was clear before we did the song and also because we had many musical ideas for this track. We felt like doing a long song to finish "Secrets".

You invited a soprano and a tenor singers on this album. Why?

Maite Itoiz (soprano) is a very dear friend of mine and a wonderful singer. She proposed to sing in one of the tracks and I was very happy about the fact she could appear in "Secrets". We sang a duet in "The Forest of Ashes". The rest of "guest voices" (the tenor, the bass, the mezzo-soprano and additional sopranos) appear in almost all tracks. They were my colleagues from the choir I sing in.

You have a rock singing but also an opera one. According to you, are these two side of singing one of the strengths of Diabulus in Musica?

Dibulus in Musicas' music is eclectic, so in my opinion, the voices have to be so as well. I try to adapt the voices to the music and lyrics and choose what fits the part of the song the best. I would feel bored if I had to listen to exactly the same kind of voice along the whole album haha.

At least, you are three singers in this band. How did you know how to share the singing on this album?

Yes, there are clean vocals, grunts and screams. It's usually myself who ask for the grunts or screams. I like them and don't know how to "sing" like that haha. We don't want to push anything in our music, every element flows naturally in every song, so I would say that the songs ask for different voices, we need the "aggressiveness" of the grunts sometimes. I also like the idea of the duality and the lyrics are plenty of double senses, so the two voices were necessary to express this idea.

Your album has been reviewed and has been really welcome by the press. Does it something important for you to be recognize by the press?

Of course it is, the press can help a lot to spread the music. The heart of the music is the listener and if music lovers read a good review, they'll probably become listeners of our music and even fans.

What is the maining of Secrets' cover?

You should ask the designer hahah. He is Xabi Angós (www.petitxabi.com). I think he takes perfectly the essence of every band. He achieved a kind of "corporative image" that really fit us. We told him that we wanted to transmit an image inspired in the Romanticism but with a modern touch, a kind of mixture between the past (from Middle Ages to XIXth century)and the present, with the mysterious halo of the kept "Secrets" on them. I think he did a great job!

To your mind, which are the three words that describe the most the universe of Diabulus in Musica and why?

Only three? That's a tricky question mmmm... Don't know! Hahah
Maybe duality, feeling and mystery...

You have been confirm at MFVF before the release of this first album. This trust form this festival, is it something important for you?

It is almost everything for us, as the promoter of MFVF, Philty, became our manager after listening to our demo. He relied on us and our music from the very beginning and that confidence meant and means a lot to us, we are really grateful. Now he and the crew of MFVF are members of Diabulus in Musicas' family.

You have abandoned your projects to be completely involved in Diabulus in Musica. Does it mean you won't have any other projects in the future?

We abandoned the bands we were playing in before to focus on Diabulus in Musica because we wanted to work seriously and a band requires a lot of time, above all at the beginning, but it doesn't necessarily mean that we cannot do other things. Actually, we like to collaborate in other projects and for example, I'm also a member of our region's Chamber Choir. We never know what could happen in the future, there could exist some parallel projects, but not at the same rhythm as Diabulus in Musica, because if you have to tour, write new stuff and record another cd, there’s no time for more, at least not now that we have also current jobs. For the moment, Diabulus in Musica is the most important thing for all of us.

What would be the best event that could happen to the band and to you as a singer?

Until now it couldn't be better! We have just released our first album and are already confirmed to play in two great festivals. We are even going to play at Mexico city in a week! I suppose that the next best thing that could happen to us and would be like a dream become true it's to have our own tour and manage to live on music.

What else can you say to people who have or will discover your music with this album?

I would like to thank them for taking the time to listen to our music. As I said before, listeners are the heart of music and I feel really happy when someone tells me that he likes our songs, that's the best gift :-)