About Me

Interview with Persefone

This band will come to Portugal this Sunday to Comendatio Music Fest, at Paço da Comenda, in Tomar, on Sunday, 16th of June. A band that has always loved its culture and even one of the guitarrists is Portuguese. The new EP: “Lingua Ignota: Part I”, was released this February, most precisely on the 2nd of February 2024, via Napalm Records. It has Mayan influences.
A band that deserves to be seen live, as well as this festival! 

M.I. - Hi there, guys. Thanks for taking your time for answering some questions. How are you?

Thank you very much for having me! We are very excited to visit Portugal again and perform for everyone there.

M.I. - Your new EP: “Lingua Ignota: Part I”, was released this February, most precisely on the 2nd of February 2024, via Napalm Records. What can you tell us about the name for this work? What’s the meaning and story behind it? Who came up the idea for it?

Philosophy and spirituality have been our main source when it comes to lyrics and concepts for the albums as we’ve been exploring that path for the majority of our releases.
“Lingua Ignota” is about the idea of the existence of a universal language that bring everything together. A universal language that we can feel, we know is there, but is out of reach as we cannot manifest it physically at will. 
We had a several meetings and discussions within the band where we tried to shape the concept up. So, I think it was a common effort to came up with the idea.

M.I. - It’s clear that new sounds can be heard on this project. What new influences were important to bring up those sounds to life? What are your main influences?

The whole “influences” game is a tricky one, since it’s almost impossible to answer that question deep enough to reach to a proper conclusion, and a vague answer plays with the expectations and prejudices of the listener as I’ve experienced myself during all my years listening to music.
For the new EP it wasn’t about adding any specific new influence but trying a different approach to create the whole thing. Writing music depends on a number of synergies that go from the members skills, relationship with their instruments, vision and communication capabilities, so the moment you change or manipulate any of those steps, everything may change. And we aimed for that on this new release. 

M.I. - “One Word” evolves into a semi-operatic clean singing, with magnetic chords. Was the music writing for the EP more complex than the previous works? What elements and instruments did you use this time?

If anything, I definitely feel that the music is way straighter forward for “Lingua Ignota”, and it was definitely a conscious effort since the very first moment. We feel very comfortable with complexity in music as we have been aiming for that way of expression since the creation of the band, but for this one we just tried to strip down the music of every element that could feel not 100% necessary for the song. It has been way more difficult than expected, but we can see the impact the new songs are having on everyone we are meeting after the release, and it looks like we have been able to find the right balance for this one.

M.I. - This is your first release with new vocalist Daniel Rodríguez Flys, though he’s been in the band a while. What was it like recording with him? 

It’s been very easy to work with Danny for this release, although it’s been the first one with him on vocals.
As you mention, we have been working with him in the past, but it’s been only in a live environment, so we were very curious about entering the studio together. I have to say that he has been very professional and committed with the new music. Always happy to work on different ideas and also very focused in delivering the best performance on every take, and I think you can feel that by listening to the final result.
Also, his voice and Moe’s match very well together and complement each other in a very nice way, so that is another asset we have been able to use and will be using in future releases. 

M.I. - You worked with producer David Castillo for this album. He has a long history with notable Melodeath bands—did you learn anything from him and his studio approach?

Plenty of things I must say. We worked together first on “metanoia” and, since that album, we knew we wanted to keep working together.
His approach on tracking and his inputs on how to approach the recording have been so useful for as throughout the whole process. Everything feels organic and not rushed, and you start feeling the actual sound of the music way before the mix stage. Also, all his experience working with top level bands is a major factor when it comes to understand what we try to create with our music.

M.I. - You are very popular in Japan, due to your 2013 album: “Shin-Ken”. You’ve toured with Scar Symmetry, this May. How important is the Japanese culture to your work? Did you add some of it into this new EP? How did the tour go?

Personal wise, Japan has been very important for me since I was very young for a number of reasons. Because of that, I pushed for what is now “Shin-ken” and that album have a very special place in my heart.
Also, my all-time guitar inspiration has been Marty Friedman, and everyone knows his deep connection with Japan, personal and musical wise, so I’m sure that had a major impact when it comes to my love for Japan.
With that said, it’s been our third time visiting Japan with Persefone, and all of them have been a dream come true for us. I can’t explain how special feels for me and for many other members of the band to be able to perform there. It’s been a great time there.

M.I. - Persefone is planning a concert with an orchestra. Is it difficult for you to mesh Extreme Metal and classical music?

By the time I’m writing these words, the show has been already performed. Mix both worlds it’s been quite a challenge. Of course, the “Extreme Metal” – “Classical Music” dilemma was there the whole time, but the challenge was more about the actual complexity in the arrangements and trying to find the right number of orchestral arrangements to create something that feels right.
Thank God we have been working with the Andorran National Orchestra, and they are just elite players and musicians, so we all managed to understand the challenge and create something unique for the Persefone listeners.

M.I. - “Metanoia” was released on the 4th of February 2022, with guest musicians including Einar Solberg from Leprous, Steffen Kummerer, Angel Vivaldi and Merethe Soltvedt. How was the writing process of that album and how did you choose the guests?

Writing a Persefone’s album is always a very long and hard task for all of us. Not only because we really try to pay attention to every little detail and put a lot of effort in avoid repeat old ways and musical habits so, the writing process was, as usual, a complete nightmare, but we are very happy with how it came out and now we have songs like “Katabasis” and “Merkabah” that are very welcomed in every show.
When it comes to guests, again, it is a very organic process. We have our favourite musicians to work with of course, but we are also lucky to be in contact with many musicians we already look up to, so, when we find some passage where some of those artists would shine, it’s very natural to just ask them to collaborate and then just hope for the best.
We are very lucky for all the talented people that have been happy to work with us.

M.I. - “In Lak'Ech” in Mayan, means “I am another yourself” or “I am you, and you are me” and it’s a greeting. It’s a single that was released on the 23rd of March 2018, featuring Tim Charles from Ne Obliviscaris. How did you discover that culture and what do you like about it?

The pursuit of spiritual knowledge leads you to many different and amazing paths and, although we of course knew already about aspects regarding the Mayan culture, the meaning of “In Lak’Ech” sparked something that made us want to write about it, and that’s how the song happened in the end. 

M.I. - You’re coming to Portugal to Comendatio Music Fest, at Paço da Comenda, in Tomar, on Sunday, 16th of June. Coincidently the last time you came here, was during the Exuul tour, with Ne Obliviscaris at the same festival. What can fans expect this time? What do you think about the country?

We always felt that we didn’t play in Portugal as much as we would like to. We have plenty of Portuguese friends here in Andorra, Filipe (Persefone’s guitar player) is actually Portuguese, and every time we have visited the country, the shows and crowds have been nothing but amazing. We can’t wait to come back to meet old friends and meet new ones in this visit, and we definitely aim to play in Portugal way more often in the future!

M.I. - Thank you so much for your answers, guys. Could please, leave a message for your Portuguese fans that are coming to the festival and are reading the interview?
Thank you very much for having me! 

It is a great pleasure to return to play on a land so beautiful and so present in the history of the place where we live. We are impatient to see you smile again.

For Portuguese version, click here

Listen to Persefone, on Spotify 

Questions by Raquel Miranda