First of all, congratulations for your new creation, superb gothic - doom metal album, will you please tell us the story of the band, how it all start?
Thank you very much for being interested in my music, it is very gratifying for me to be answering your questions.
Firmament started as a personal desire to capture themes that I couldn't do in my other band (Lex Talion). Firmament began taking shape at the end of 2014, after the death of my father. I started with “The Loss”, which is a song that talks about loss, the grieving process and its stages. In 2015 I composed almost all of the songs in 1 week. Some songs were left out of the project and others were transformed musically over the years but maintaining their essence.
I also added “Incorporeal”, which was a song that I wrote when I was 16 years old. I made some minor modifications to it and it fit well in the album.
I'm not very fond of labels in music, but I think there is something of "Doom / Death" in various passages and a bit of that gothic atmosphere, which is partly given by “Incorporeal”.
How will you describe your new creations?
It's a bit difficult for me to describe my own work, since I can't see it objectively, but I think it was a beautiful challenge that I set for myself, it took time and a lot of mixed emotions and I think it shows in the trajectory of the songs throughout the album.
The first themes are more disruptive, rebellious, dissatisfied, and then it subsides and becomes more personal and symbolic.
Is there good compositions or bad compositions on it? (in my opinion they aren’t)
I really don't know if an artistic manifestation can be judged at all as ‘good or a bad’. I take this album as a small manifesto of my daily thoughts. In simple words, they are really sincere songs, they do not pretend to be something they are not, they have their own identity and I prefer the listener to be the one to judge.
I have the certainty that when you write a song it is yours, but when you let it fly so that others can listen to it, it ceases to be of oneself and becomes of the listeners and they resignify it to themselves.
Would you be so kind to explain what every song is all about?
Of Slaves and Masters, talks about the repressive forces of the State (also the private ones). It is a subject of social criticism towards the policeman who represses his equal, only to receive his filthy salary and the caress of his employer.
Comfortable Oppression, talks about imperialism, capitalism and conformity. The song refers to the oppression that the system imparts under the method of making us feel secure and comfortable while it sucks us in and shatters the world. At the end of the song I add a phrase from Engels and Marx about the class struggle, which is basically the history of humanity.
Dance of the Broken talks about the alienation of work that is only productive for the employer but not for the worker. It is the story of an alienated person who realizes that no one really sees him/her, that he/she is invisible because everyone is preoccupied with pursuing that fake success that makes them live like automatons. When this person realizes that he/she was brought up to endure, to be nice when people spit in his/her face and that his/her life sucked, he/she kills him/herself.
The Valley of the Weary is a bit of a more symbolic song, it talks about a kind of reincarnation but in a bit pessimistic way. It is an entity that does not want to return to the miseries of the human world, that in the face of the abyss of life, knows exactly how stupid this game is, but for some reason decides to return to the world.
Remembrances has a more nostalgic tone. It is originally a song dedicated to my father after he passed away. It talks about memories and absence, about how time is re-signified and in the end, when there is nothing left, the only thing that lasts is memory as a sign wandering around.
The Loss, is a personal description of the different stages of the duel. Talks about loss, from feeling the world shattered to feeling nothing and then getting a little angry with the world and life, to finally realize that you started feeling again.
Incorporeal speaks of the archetypal images that are given to the figure of death, that silent cry of those who no longer have a voice and the images that are imposed and raised in a cult form around death.
En el Hospicio, It is originally a song by an Argentinian band from the 70’s called Pastoral, I decided to remake it and give it my style, in this version my partner, Estefanía Ballerena, contributed with her incredible voice, who –in my opinion- did a magnificent job and gave it a more melancholic atmosphere.
The song talks about a friend of the band who was locked up in a neuropsychiatric clinic and his vision of the world.
Slave to the Endless is a song that I wrote while at work, doing a 24-hour watch, as I usually did in the early days. It is a reflection and a description of everything I felt being locked up there. It consists of three parts, the first one talks about the ideas, thoughts and reflections that are increasing dangerously every minute, the second part is a questioning of myself and the third is an assertion that the world is blind in its routine while slowly perishing.
End of Loop is a disruptive instrumental that I just did it to make it more difficult to label my album in a single genre (laughs).
Eternal Absent Sky I prefer everyone to interpret it to their liking and not reveal what it talks about and what topic it addresses. The only thing I can say is that it’s about a person who dialogues with him/herself.
What themes do lyrics approach?
Topics range from social protest, nonconformity, symbolisms, and philosophy.
I really like reading Hegel and I think that "The master-slave dialectic" has been a good influence on the themes that are dealt with in this album.
The production is also very good, did you have a good time in the studio?
Thank you very much for your appreciation. To tell the truth, I recorded half of the material with a notebook from my workplace, while everyone was sleeping. The rest I finished recording and producing in my own home studio. The mastering process took me a month, since I was never quite satisfied with some technical issues, referring to the general mix.
What can we expect from your new album, will be in the same line with your latest?
I haven’t thought about anything yet, I am still struggling to publicize this material and waiting if some label wants to do a physical edition. However, I have several new songs in mind, although some follow the line of this album, others will address other themes, the idea is to express as many things as life allows me.
From all this experience I learned that next time I will optimize mixing times and release material in a more immediate way.
What hobbies do you have except music, by the way your favorite musicians are?
Although it is almost impossible for music to be profitable and to be able to live only from this activity, for me it is not a hobby, but a job that I really take seriously. I have two jobs: the one that feeds me and the music that makes me happy. I hope I can keep just the second one day, as impossible as it sounds.
So my time is quite limited between my formal work and my musical projects (which are several).
It would take quite a long time to name my favorite musicians or bands, but I think Candlemass is one of the bands that I enjoy the most.
The cover illustration is interesting, who’s ideas were and the meaning?
Initially it was based on a photograph of Lucila Murro Ahuntzaina (the protagonist of the album cover), with whom we are good friends. She had a self-portrait that seemed fantastic to me to close the album idea, but for technical (measurements) reasons we couldn't use that cover, so she decided to take some new self-portraits, with the same theme.
It's her submerged in a bathtub, covered with plastic and we both agreed that it was a good cover that represented the content of the album and its songs.
She is covered in water and plastic but serene. It speaks of that systematic oppression that is terrible and shocking, but at the same time it is so naturalized that it ends up being comfortable. The rest of the artwork images follow the same theme and start getting more shocking.
In the end, you have the final word for all our readers…
First of all, I want to thank you very much for your interest in this little project that I did in an honest way. I sincerely hope that this album is to the liking of those who listen to it, it really is very difficult and takes a lot of effort to make music independently and on top of it having to waste time in a formal job that gives a small salary but no satisfaction.
In this first album I left a lot of myself to be appropriated and re-signified by each listener. Greetings to all and I hope that the future finds us full of music and less chained.
Interview by Ionut Dimitriev