Not just the music of Descend into Despair is deep in thoughts and emotions, but the answers of Xander Coza (vocals/guitars) too. He talked about the new album, its lyrics, possible live shows, the local scene and plans for a future video clip among others. Read our conversation below and have fun!!!
Greetings to all at Descend into Despair!!! Your new album "Opium" has been released by Funere in May, 2020. How do you feel about it after the passed time? How's the selling and the reaction of the fans up to now?
- Hello Kornel and Encomium and thank you for considering us for this interview. We're very happy with how our latest album turned out. Every time we listen to it, we are certain that we did our best and that it is an honest journey from start to finish. Let's just say that we are a bit disappointed, as the album didn't get to as many ears as we would have liked.
"Opium" is the first release with Funere. What kind of deal did you sign with them? Are you satisfied with them so far and will Funere be responsible for future releases of Descend into Despair?
- We have a pretty standard deal that goes on between underground bands and labels. So far, we are very pleased with how our collaboration has went, they did really good in respecting their end of the deal. We aren't exactly sure on what our future releases are going to be (if any), therefore time will tell.
Descend into Despair was founded in 2010, since that time you've been through a few member changes. Please list the current musicians and also tell the readers a little about the process of creating. I mean, name the ones who are in charge for the new ideas and/or full song structures as well as how and at what point the arrangements appear in.
- Currently Descend into Despair is: Xander Coza (vocals, guitars), Sergo Stanley (guitars), Liviu Pop (guitars), Alex Costin (bass), Flaviu Rosca (keyboard), Luca Breaz (drums) and Florentin Popa (lyrics plus extra non live stuff). In most cases I (Xander) try to paint the bigger picture and provide a sort of general framework for the rest of the team to work on. If any good ideas are provided, then we try to incorporate them. I consider myself to be quite competent with concepts and broad ideas, but not that skilled when it comes to the finer details and this is where everyone else steps in.
Could you please enlighten us more details about the lyrical conceptions of Descend into Despair? What themes were touched and covered on "Opium"?
- Our lyrical themes kind of moved on from album to album. The first one, "The Bearer of All Storms", had more or less your typical funeral doom themes, juggling between depression, heartache and suicide. We did try to tell it as a story though, as each track represented one moment in a journey towards ruin. Hopefully we did succeed with at least some listeners. Our second album, "Synaptic Veil", was an attempt to tackle the walls of human consciousness. I say attempt, because it indirectly (due to a very unfortunate personal event) turned into something else, which is beautiful and far more sincere than its original target.
"Opium" is a colossal effort at abstraction. In a sense it's our most minimalist work yet: three songs, each focusing on a theme. The first song, "ensh[r]ine" represents light or the colour white, the second, "antumbra", represents transformation, and the final track, "dis[re]member", focuses on darkness or the colour black. We've used plenty of symbols and motifs in order to convey the desired meaning in each song and it wasn't easy to do so, but I think that we did a really good job. From the opening lullaby which brings you, the listener, into the light, to the constant shifting eclipse of the second song and until the Alzheimer's clouded end of the album, I think that there are plenty of interesting things still left to be discovered by each listener.
In the knowing of the actual worldwide situation will you start performing live shortly or if it is going to happen in the nearest time it will be strictly online?
- I am a strong believer that art is one of the few things that actually matters in life. We might record a special performance one day, but that would only come in the form of a music video. I don't really enjoy what most bands are doing now, I find it cheap and dishonest. Metal used to be about rebellion and seeing even black metal bands perform on a live Facebook stream is quite disappointing and pathetic.
This is not a compromise I can make. Even faced with the possibility of having to do it illegally, we will still strive to perform our music in a live setting.
You are from Cluj-Napoca. Can you please talk about its underground scene and bands in general? Do you have some constant or beloved places for outdoor or indoor meetings? If so, which ones are those?
- Well, we're the only funeral doom metal band in the country, so making connections is pretty tough. The local scene in this city is, as far as I know, mostly made up of the -core variety. There are a couple of nice pubs, where we enjoy hanging out from time to time. There is also Form Space, a large venue, which has seen plenty of great bands play and has become quite the hotspot for touring bands.
Along the physical CD releases do you have other merchandise (like regular T-shirts, long sleeves, sweatshirts, hoodies, etc.) for sell? Where the fans of Descend into Despair can purchase those trophies?
- As we have done with our previous release, we will also have a t-shirt for sale soon enough, same artist as before. Expect nothing less than an amazing design, fully encompassing the theme of the album. We aren't planning on having any other merchandise, as we think that musicians should focus on making music and not running an outlet store. Orders should be handled as before, by contacting us over Facebook, Instagram, or email.
I've noticed that almost each member is involved in other musical projects as well. Would you be so kind to name the active ones and speak a little bit about each of them?
- At the moment Luca and Liviu are active in another band, a local death metal group called Marchosias. Flaviu is also part of Deirune, a local symphonic metal act.
Well, maybe the next is going to be not an obvious question at all as the songs for the "Opium" album are very lengthy ones, but still do you have in plans to make a video clip for any of those?
- We did, but due to the quarantine we were unable to do so. We had everything planned for a very unique video for the second song, but two days before the actual video shoot it became illegal to leave our own homes. It's highly unfortunate as it would have been a considerable boost for the album promotion. We might still consider it in the upcoming months.
Thanks a lot for the answers. Final introspections are yours. Please share all the latest news and upcoming plans at the end.
- Thank you once again for taking the time to talk to us. We really hope that we can bring our latest album to more people, have others listen to us and hopefully come to enjoy our music. We're living difficult times when it comes to creating music and a lot of times doing your best is simply not enough. We've all invested everything we could, both financially and emotionally, into making this album a reality. We tried to create something completely sincere and unique.
At the end of the day, having a chance of being heard and giving everyone a chance to hear you is far more important than the number of albums one would sell.
We just want you to listen to us, that's all.