The latest album from the Spanish symphonic/power metal band Diabulus In Musica is Euphonic Entropy. Vocalist Zuberoa Aznárez gives us the scoop on the album, doing a song in the Basque language, touring and other subjects.
Chad Bowar: There was a little more time between Dirge For The Archons and Euphonic Entropy than your previous albums. Was there anything in particular that led to a longer gap between records?
Zuberoa Aznárez: Yes, the main reason is that we became parents for the second time and besides, I had an intensive working period as a singer in the classical field and studio projects. We didn’t have the time to sit together to plan the new album and we also were a bit tired, to be honest. When you feel like this it is always better to wait until the inspiration and motivation comes again and fortunately it happened. We felt the need to write songs again for DiM, but we didn’t want to work with any pressure. We wanted to write a great album and to be totally convinced of what we were doing, not just write an album because it was the time. We didn’t mind if we had to wait longer. It is amazing to see how quickly all the ideas emerged. Then we worked a lot until we felt the songs were totally “round” if you see what I mean.
Was there anything unique about the songwriting process for Euphonic Entropy compared to other Diabulus In Musica albums?
Everything was different. I compare the process with the writing process of Argia, for me one of the best albums we have written after this new one. Before Argia, a drastic change happened, as all the band members left so we had to write everything Gorka and me alone. Before the writing process of Euphonic Entropy another drastic change happened, this time a beautiful one, the birth of our second child, but very hard also when you have to combine motherhood and an artistic job that requires all the mental energy. It seems working in these conditions makes imagination and inspiration works at its best. Nevertheless, the process was really chaotic as we hadn’t enough time to sit in the studio for hours as we used to do before. We had to take advantage of every minute and we were really focused on what we were doing when we had the time.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
I remember everything as a haze, I suppose because of the few hours of sleep, my brain was messy. I don’t remember anything in particular apart from some takes that had to be removed because of the baby crying on it. (laughs) We had to ask for help from our families so that they took care of the children for a couple of hours to record. So, maybe a day we recorded two songs and then nothing for some days, then a song again and nothing the following days… It depended on the children, our families and the situation, that’s why it is difficult to know how much it took the whole process and to remember each moment of it. On the other hand, I think this way, we could be more objective with the songs, as we were not doing everything in a row, so we could relax the ears and come back to the song again with a cleaner view. For example, with “one Step Higher” I remember we had to change the verses three times until we were convinced and liked 100 percent the result.
What inspired your lyrics this time around?
The main inspiration was our new situation as parents and artists. Most of the songs talk about overcoming oneself. The final message is very positive: if you really want to do something and if it does just depend on you, you will be able to do it. Willpower is the key, despite the difficulties.
What’s the meaning behind the album title?
Exactly what I told before. The “Entropy” would be this chaotic situation we are living at home with a three-year-old child and a newborn baby. We do everything at our home studio and the kids are here with us, so sometimes working is a hard task, but despite all the difficulties and this apparent disorder we managed to write and record good songs achieving an “euphonic” result. (laughs) This is the “worldly” explanation of the title, but there is also a more symbolic one, that refers to duality in the universe and in the world in general. Duality has always been represented in our music and in our band name and this title refers to that too.
How has your sound progressed/evolved from Dirge For The Archons?
In my opinion Euphonic Entropy is very different from Dirge For The Archons. EE is much heavier and energetic, with a wider variety of genres mixed. In this album we continued exploring in the line of some songs as “Ring around…”, but we added new elements as some electronic stuff, the swing, a full orchestral operatic track… We are very happy with the result. We find it our strongest effort so far. Each album is a new process of acquiring new tools and knowledge, so on each album there is an evolution. Sound wise, although we have been working with Jacob Hansen for four albums now and he always does great. I think he achieved an even more powerful sound in this one!
What are your goals and expectations for the album?
We would like to get more chances to play live. We like the studio, but the magic also happens live and the songs gain a new dimension. The connection with music and audience is something magic and we enjoy live shows a lot. We would love to get more exposure as we think this album deserves to be spread. Our expectations would be that people like the album as much as we do and increasing our fan base, but anyway, we have always lived the moment so that each achievement is like a gift for us. When we recorded Secrets we just wanted to write and record a good album, with no other goals than being happy with it, and then, we signed with a label and played abroad for the first time. We would have never imagined that would happen, so sometimes it is better not to have many expectations but just doing your best which is the only thing that is really in our hands, this way you don’t get disappointed if your other expectations don’t happen.
How was the video shoot for “Otoi”?
The video was recorded in an ancient (16th century) and typical house of the Basque country. The place is magical and very special. The recordings were great as the company is specialized in cinema and we worked with a really professional team, so the quality of the video is high, above all the photography which is impressive in my view. The script is symbolic and talks about the connection with the ancient Gods of Basque mythology, our ancestors and Nature. It is a prayer to two of the main gods (Urtzi and Amari) who represent the Sky and the Earth. It is also a kind of lament because of the loss of our cultural identity through the years and due to different circumstances, that makes the song a video special and very close to us.
What led you to do this song in Basque?
As we are the only Spanish band in the label, they thought it would be interesting to sing again one or two songs in Spanish. I proposed to sing one in Spanish and another one in Basque as it is our co-official language here and mostly an unknown one for most of the people in the rest of the World. As I said, the song talks about the loss of our cultural identity through the time. Here we speak Spanish and Basque, but Basque is still a minority language in the Basque country and Navarre. Being one of the oldest languages in Europe which is still alive, we felt the need to spread the world about this important heritage we have.
How important are videos these days?
Videos are essential as we are living in an audio-visual era. If you are not on YouTube nowadays you just don’t exist. Also, people rarely share songs but they do share videos so it is very important if you want to reach more audience.
Do you have plans to tour this year?
We were working with a booking agency for this, but they suddenly decided not to work for us anymore with no logical explanation (which is weird as they were the ones who called us!), very unprofessional by their side! We are really upset as we were informed only a month ago or so, when the tour started to be booked. We relied on them for that and now we have to deal with all this and start from scratch alone or to search for another booking agency. This has been a hard mishap for us just when we are starting to promote the new album, which we think is our strongest one. Anyway, we cannot wait to hit the stage again and we will do our best to build a European tour. We have already booked a special show in November in our hometown. It will be a big thing, a kind of celebration of our 10th anniversary since the release of our first album. We are very excited about it!
What has been your most memorable Diabulus In Musica live show?
The one we did with a full symphonic orchestra and choir four years ago. This one was like a dream come true. We played in the biggest opera house in our hometown. The venue was full and we were 100 musicians on stage. It was amazing, because our music is conceived to be played this way. All our songs are written for a real orchestra and choir, with all the scores and tracks. This means a lot of work; it is not just a keyboard with sound of violins as some bands do calling it “symphonic”. For obvious reasons we cannot play normal shows with the full orchestra, but that time we had the chance to do it and it was amazing. There are a couple of videos of that show on Youtube and two live audio tracks in our previous album.
What are some of your non-musical interests and hobbies?
I have a lot, as I am a very active person. What I like the most is losing myself in nature, walking for hours in the mountains. Apart from hiking, I also like and practice yoga and fitness. I love reading, cooking, making natural soaps, make-up, knitting (just some basics, but I find it relaxing!).
What’s currently in your heavy musical rotation?
My playlist is a mix of genres, so I don’t just listen to metal. I have my iPod with a mix of metal, classical music, folk. Inside the metal scene you can find a little bit of everything too. Some of my latest additions have been Alter Bridge and Ice Nine Kills.
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
We want to thank you for the interest and this interview and thank our fans for being always there. They are the source of our energy, above all in difficult moments of doubt. We cannot wait for you to listen to Euphonic Entropy and we hope to meet you all in the road!
(interview published February 14, 2020)