It´s been a long time since I heard the last album of ABYSSOS. We´ll begin with ABYSSOS before we start chating about ANGTORIA, ok? I know, there´s a lot of info on your website, but not everybody has an access, so please, write as much as you can.
Hi Deather, and thanks a lot for supporting us by doing this interview with me! ANGTORIA is a completely new orchestral metal band formed by Sarah Jezebel Deva, myself and my brother Tommy Rehn. We´ve only existed as a band since the summer of 2004 when we recorded our demo and we´re aiming to secure a record deal as soon as possible to be able to record and release our debut album.
When, where and why was this band given a birth? And who gave the impulse? Or did you just meet one day and decided to make some music – and succeeded?
ABYSSOS was formed back in 1995 by myself, Söderlund and Meidal. We were friends that went to the same school and went to the same place to reherse with our other bands at the time. We got to know each other and I was invited by Söderlund and Meidal to join their current band called Insalubrious. After a while we started to make music that we felt was too far away from the music of Insalubrious so we simply decided to form a new band to not interfear with the music of Insalubrious. Söderlund came up with the name ABYSSOS and we decided to name the new band just that.
Before „Together We Summon The Dark“ album, were there any earlier recordings? And if, is it possible to get them? How did it sound? Did you have a clear concept of how you want it to sound?
The first recordings by Abyssos was our demo that lead us to get the record deal with CACOPHONOUS RECORDS. The demo was called Wherever The Witches Might Fly as one of the ABYSSOS songs, and contained 7 songs, 5 of which were slightly changed and re-recorded and put on „Together We Summon The Dark“. So other than rehersal recordings, the only other earlier official recoring is that demo.
How come you made the contract with CACOPONOUS? And with the distance of time, what do you think, was it a good choice, did you have any other offerings? Even though they represented CRADLE OF FILTH, GEHENNA, etc… but in the end, most of them desereted somehow, and after some time, another album called „Fhinsthanian Nightbreed” was released... But before we start brooding this album, tell me something about “Together We Summon The Dark”, please – how did the recording go, do you have some special experiences? I was given this album by Söderlund and yet at that time I was very satisfied with it.
We simply sent out our demo to various labels and got several offers. We decided to go with the best offer we got at the time, which was made by CACOPHONOUS. At the time we were quite satisfied with working with CACOPHONOUS. Work was smooth and we got to make two full leangth albums with them. We had a contract on four albums, but after the second album CACOPHONOUS started to go bad and they had to let most of their bands go. The recording of both our albums went very smoothly because we´d all been playing together for quite some time and had a lot of fun together. Söderlund and Meidal are both very talented musicians and it was easy to work with both of them since we worked so well together.
Didn´t you mind that many of those „so-called“ reviewers compared you with CRADLE OF FILTH, obviously because of the „vamp“ sleeve design, even though you were playing something completely different… Somebody doesn´t even trouble himself to listen the entire album, and sentences it only because of the cover – it would be pissed of, too!
No, not at all. Whatever you do whenever you do it you will always be compared to someone or something else. I couldn´t care less about people comparing me or my work to anthing else, quite the contrary actually since being compared to a great band to me is quite nice.
I think that „Fhinsthanian Nightbreed” album showed that you are very individualistic, and that you have no need to act like copycats, contrariwise, by doing „Fhinsthanian Nightbreed” you developed your own idiomatic style; compared to “Together We Summon The Dark”, „Fhinsthanian Nightbreed” appears more professional, more balanced, more “heavy” and has much better production! There´s somehow more symphonic tirades, just splendid! What´s your opinion?
Thanks a lot! As always you go grow with time as you get more experiances and more knowledge about everything around you. “Together We Summon The Dark” was our first album, and it was our first “real studio album recording” experience. When we got back home and started to work on “Fhinsthanian Nightbreed” we´d gotten much more experience. We´d also gotten a bit older so the music and the way we handled the compositions for the second album were a bit different. Obviosly we also got a bit more time in the studio for the second album which helped with getting a better overall production.
And what was the final result of this album? I mean, if the album succeeded commercially more than “Together...” – as I could see in magazines when you released “Together...” , you were in every magazine, whereas with „Fhinsthanian Nightbreed” it seemed that CACOPHONOUS was already down, not giving a fuck about a promotion, there was poor advertising, but if I am wrong, tell me the way it was...
At the time we basically didn´t know anything about what CACOPHONOUS was doing. Internet didn´t really exist the way it does today so we didn´t get a chance to see much of what they did as far as advertising goes for us. But you´re right, as soon as Fhisthanian Nightbreed was released it was as if they went underground. We didn´t hear anything, didn´t get in touch with them as often as we used to, and never got any answers to our questions. Obviously they had a very rough time and was most likely ashamed to admit the fact that they had to let most of their bands go.. But when we finally were told about it, we weren´t really surprised since they had acted the way they had..
After releasing „Fhinsthanian Nightbreed”, there was a dead silence around you... What happened? Don´t you think that such a perfectly-situated band with great kick start went into seclusion out of sudden... Why?
Yes. When CACOPHONOUS let us go we tried getting a new label interested in signing us but it was very difficult. After some time Söderlund felt he didn´t have the energy to keep on trying since nothing happened and he wanted to focus on other things, so he left ABYSSOS. I had all the songs for a third album composed and just awatiting to be properly recorded, so I kept on trying to find a label interested in signing ABYSSOS, but had no luck. I got several offers from various labels around the world, but none of them were good enough to work with unfortunately. All offers basically included no studio budget at all, which makes recording an album quite difficult since I don´t have that kind of money myself. If I´d had that kind of money to pay for a studio recording myself I would have done it a long time ago and released the album on license instead.. So I just have to wait and keep on trying to get a label interested enough in ABYSSOS to want to invest in the recording etc.
Söderlund – what has been doing lately?
Söderlund and Meidal re-started Insalubrious a couple of years back which was really great since I really liked Insalubrious. He´s an amazing art and graphic designer and he´s been working with doing album covers etc. for many bands. Meidal is also an amazing art and graphic designer and is also working with that today.
And you Chris, what have you been doing since ABYSSOS, have you had any other bands or projects, or is it only ANGTORIA now?
Except for the orchestral project with Sarah I have no other projects or bands at the moment. I simly don´t have the time to be a part of anything else if I´m going to be able to focus on ANGTORIA which is my main priority.
How did the band come into being? Did Sarah begin, or the brothers put it together...?
It was Sarah and I who started talking about forming a band together which we both wanted to do. I started to compose the songs and when recording them in my brothers studio came up I asked him to join. We actually composed “Deity Of Disgust” together in the studio.
How do you get along with Tommy in your private life as a brother and a band companion? Does it work? Would you change anything?
Everything works absolutely perfectly and both Tommy and I am sorry that we havn´t worked together in a band prior to ANGTORIA actually. We get along just fine and we work extremely well together since we think so alike and know eachother inside out since we are brothers. I wouldn´t change anything for the world when it comes to having my brother in the band. I just wish we could include our other brother Michael in the band as well since he´s also a very good musician and songwriter, but he´s busy with his work.. But who knows what will happen when we get a record deal..
Sarah sings quite differently than I expected, but I mean it in a good sense of the word. I like her natural and emotional speech. Do you think that Sarah´s membership in ANGTORIA is without problems, is she able to manage all the things she´s got around, or has she dedicated herself completely only to ANGTORIA?
All our intentions are to be able to focus 100% on ANGTORIA and not do anything else. But for that to be possible we have to earn money from ANGTORIA obviously since we all have families and children to take care of and bills to pay. Until we get a deal, start touring and hopefully is able to earn our livings from ANGTORIA all of us obviously have to do other things in order to survive and earn our livings..
Honestly, your materials surprised me nicely! I don´t want to look like a fucking ass-licker, but I do love them! Tell me something about this unique recording, how would you describe it with your own words... if anybody ask you what is it? Ha ha...
Well, as always it´s quite difficult to try and describe your own work since there will always be someone out there who disagrees with you. But the best way of putting it would simply be that we play orchestral metal with female vocals. We´re all very interested in both metal music and orchestral movie type music which is exactely what we´re trying to mix with ANGTORIA:
If I got it right, you and your brother provide music composing, so that you´re responsible for all of this?
Yes. Before I asked my brother to join the band I was writing all the music myself. But when I asked him to join I wanted him to participate in writing as well, so we wrote “Deity Of Disgust” together in the studio when we were about to record our demo. But it will be Tommy and I who´s writing all the songs for Angtoria and when a song is done we send it to Sarah for her input and she writes the lyrics to them.
In some parts it sounds like if you had there a whole orchestra! Do you have any special guests there? Did you make the music with a little help of computer, keyboards, how? The horns, whistles, it all sounds monstrous, huge, like in a movie, wonderful!
Thanks for noticing! Our intentions with the music is to mix orchestral movie type music with metal music. Both my brother and I work a lot with orchestral music as well and all type of orchstral music is a big passion of ours. Our goal is to be able to use an entire orchestra for some of our recordings, but as you can imagine that´s very expensive. What we will do for the proper album recording thou is to use a selection of authentic instruments that play on top of the sampler and mix them together to make it sound more authentic. On our demo thou there is no real orchestral instruments, all are from our samplers which we´ve simply played and orchestrated ourselves on the keyboard.
The male vocals were provided by Martin Häggström, so was it him who sang the heart-breaking reffrain and then the song actually finishes with the duet together with Sarah in “Deity of Disgust”? Who composed this great song? Tell me something about it please... The exotic beginning of the song is very impressive, too. What story does it tell?
Thanks! Yes, Martin Häggström is an amazing singer and we´re extremely grateful that he wanted to participate on “Deity Of Disgust”. Me and my brother composed that song together in the studio just after I´d asked him to join ANGTORIA. Since I had composed all the other songs already, I wanted to write something with him to also bring him in to the constructive part of ANGTORIA, so we composed “Deity Of Disgust” together. The oriental beginning riff was composed by Tommy and arranged by the both of us, so I give all credit to my brother for the great beginning of that song.
Does Martin Häggström sing in any other pieces? Do you plan to record some more vocals with him? Didn´t he sing in any of „Fhinsthanian Nightbreed“, I mean the song „Worthless Soul For Sale?“
Martin was the vocalist in Tommys earlier band called Moahni Moahna. They played symphonic rock in the vein of DIO, RAINBOW and DEEP PURPLE etc. So it was simply natural for us ask him if he wanted to sing on the chorus of “Deity Of Disgust” since we composed it for a male vocalist. Martin did not do any work on any of our ABYSSOS albums, that´s another singer..
How do you share out work, you and Tommy? Didn´t you ponder over putting Söderlund in the position of drums player?
We don´t have any specific rolls in ANGTORIA. We both compose, arrange, orchestrate and play all instruments on certain parts in certain songs. We don´t decide which of us does what in a specific song, we simply work together to get the best result. It would have been great to have Söderlund play drums in Angtoria, but he´s very busy with his own things these days which would make it very difficult. But it would have been great thou…
In ABYSSOS, you had a vampire-like image, and now you don´t seem to give a damn about it anymore. Are you still interested in it? You looked so scary on pictures! Ha ha! Personally, I like this image and I think it belonged to your style.
I´ve always been very interested in everything that´s a bit more extreme and have always liked the darker sides of things. I love dark and vampiric artwork and of course still do and will never stop doing. I have not in any way abandoned anything when it comes to my personality. The reason why we don´t use that image for ANGTORIA is simply because it doesn´t fit with the concept of ANGTORIA. But I´m exactely the same in private, and if I ever get to do another abum with ABYSSOS, which I sincarely hope, the artwork and image will be as vampiric as before.
The black colour remains, right? Would we find a piece of light-colour cloth in your wardrobe? Ha ha... I stepped out of line a bit...
Ha ha.. Don´t worry :-) The black colour still remains and will do so, simply because I´m not at all comfortable in any other colour than black, not for any other reason than that! As a matter of fact both my wife and I don´t own one single piece of clothing in any other colour than solid black. With our daughter it´s a completely different story thou. She the most beautiful little princess you can imagine, and her favourite colour is of course pink, so basically all of her clothes are in pink.
And what about your parents – what´s their opinion on their sons doing such music, have you ever had their support, help, I mean moneywise, or so...?
If there were an award for the absolute best parents of the century, my parents would win it. They have been nothing but supportive throughout our entire lives, and you couldn´t ask for better parents!
Back to ANGTORIA! A rarity of our demo is a cover – version of Kylie Minogue´s “Confide In Me” – why did you choose right this song?
Sarah and I talked about doing a cover version of some song. She came up with the idea of doing “Confide In Me” by Kylie Minogue, and since I think Kylie is a great artist and I really like that song I didn´t hesitate and started making a metal version out of it instantly.
In my opinion, “Suicide On My Mind” and even the others are pretty well-done, too. But what are they about – for those who can´t speak English, but fell for the music which just goes along with the singing?
It is Sarah who has written all the lyrics for Angtoria, and they are all very close and personal to her. The meaning of the lyrics I leave up to Sarah to explain another time…
I think that your demo was well-accepted and what I have read in reviews, you were mostly blessed, that must be a cheer-up! There were few negative reviews, but they were really a nonsense, you had to laugh, like in the ABYSSOS era, when they were saying you played like CRADLE OF FILTH...
Yes, we´ve gotten great respons for our demo which of course feels great. There is of course nothing better than to get good respons for something you´ve put your heart and soul in to creating. It´s totally impossible to please everyone so there will always be people who think what you do is absolute crap and pure shit. There will always be bad reviews and people trying their best to make you look bad and talk shit about you. That´s just the way it is and I actually couldn´t care less about it. In order for good things to exist there of course needs to be bad things, otherwise everything would just be the same. So bad reviews doesn´t bother me at all, quite the contrary I´m often very amused by reading how much shit people have the energy to write about something they don´t like..
Well, some time passed by and I would like to know what are you going to do now? Are you planning a new recording, do you have any contract, any live – gigs planned? By the way, have you already played “LIVE” and if, what was the result? I guess that you did not have a tour in the ABYSSOS era, once I wrote to Söderlund whether you wouldn´t like to play on our festival and he replyed that it is impossible for personal reasons... Are you just a studio-playing band? And if you had the chance, would you go touring? Out of Sweden, too?
Our main goal at this point is to secure a proper record deal so we can record our debut album, get it released and start touring worldwide. We´re currently talking to various labels, but nothing is decided yet so I´m sorry to say that I can´t reveal anything yet. But our intentions with ANGTORIA is to treat ANGTORIA as a full line up band and tour etc. We didn´t tour anything with ABYSSOS unfortunately. It simply wasn´t financially possible at the time when we were active.
Tell me something about yourself – what does this Chris Rehn ordinarily do, how does he live? How old are you, how old is your brother, and do you have any other occupation apart from playing in the band? Where do you live, and what would you recommend me to visit if I came into your city/town? /Except for Playstation 2, bars and Swedish meatballs! Haha!
Well, outside of working with music I spend as much time as I possibly can with my family. My daughter Saga is almost 5 years old now (born summer 2000), and she´s the most beautiful, wonderful and intelligent child you can imagine and I´m an extremely proud father! Besides spending time with my wife and daughter my main hobby is skydiving! I jump as often as I can and one of my dreams is to be able to afford to take a year off of work and bring my family to travel round the world and skydive in all the various dropzones and from all various types of planes in the world!
What would you tell and offer to people who are interested in ANGTORIA? What souvenirs do you have for sale and where can those be found?
Since ANGTORIA is such a new band we don´t have any souveniers or merchandise people can buy yet, but I assure you that there will be a lot of that kind once we get started. Visit our official site at: www.angtoria.com for all information and progress.
And here´s the end... If I forgot to say something, now you have the chance to say it now. I want to thank you for this detailed interview and your time. Take care of yourself and may your band have a lot of success!
I don´t have much more to add other than thanks a lot for supporting us by doing this interview with me, and check out www.angtoria.com for updates about us! Dark greetings