An Interview With The Members Of Auvernia
Band Photo: Auvernia (?)
Argentina based progressive power metal band Auvernia released their debut full-length album "Towards Eternity" last year through Nightmare Records. Drummer Juan and vocalist/guitarist Fernando spoke with me about the new material they are working on and what the metal scene is like in Argentina.
xFiruath: Give me a quick rundown of Auvernia’s history. When did the band originally form and how did the members know each other?
Juan: It all started back in 1999, we were three high school friends who wanted to have fun and play some covers, so we decided to form a band. It was Fernando Varela on vocals and guitar, Guido Quaranta on bass and myself on drums. This line-up didn't stay together very long, as the next year there were some changes. Pablo Lurbe was the new bassist, Sebastián Olivera, who had played with Fernando when he was a drummer in another band, takes place on rhythm guitar and Eric Roldan was the new keyboardist. The latter we met at the conservatory of music. In the next couple of months, Pablo Lurbe and Eric Roldan leave the band, although Eric continues to contribute to the band's music, and finally in 2006 Leonardo Boan joins the band as the new bass player. In 2008 Maximiliano Vaccaro enters the band as the new keyboardist, and, although he contributes with some parts on the album, doesn't stay long in the band due to some differences.
xFiruath: How long have you been involved in music and what made you want to become a musician?
Fernando: I was born in music, my grandfather was a Tango director, then my father worked and played with him. When I was little I tried every instrument I had on my hands. First piano, then bass guitar, after that I spent many years being a drummer till I finally found the guitar, and later I realized I could sing too. I love music, I think that more than a decision to become a musician, it was a vocation with which I was raised.
Juan: Music always had an important role in my life, I was interested in drums since I can remember, but of course, it's not an easy instrument to have in an apartment, so I started playing drums relatively late, when I was in high school. I bought the best drum kit I could afford, crap, and played with a friend who was starting to play guitar. The rest is history.
xFiruath: What’s your local metal scene like and how is metal received in general in Argentina? Are there many other bands playing your style or anything similar?
Juan: Metal scene isn't the best down here, you might be familiar with the actual economic world crisis, but this country is always in crisis, we're used to it, so there aren’t many people willing to pay for a local band show. Luckily there are many international bands coming to Argentina, but, again, people aren’t willing to pay unless we're talking about the big ones, such as Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, etc. Apart from that, a couple of years ago, specifically on December 2004, there was a huge fire on a local venue called Cromañon, near 200 people died. It shocked the country, then many things happened, it was almost impossible to find a place to play live. On the good side, the scene is starting to change, there are great emerging bands right now, taking things seriously, taking care of their sound and compositions, investing to create a professional product. That's a good sign. There are some other local bands who like to blend styles, but I guess I haven't heard any that play our style, yet.
xFiruath: Congratulations on getting signed to Nightmare Records for the release of “Towards Eternity.” How did that come about?
Fernando: Thanks. We recorded and produced our CD independently. There aren’t many argentine labels dedicated to metal, and the good ones are more interested in bringing CDs from international bands than producing locals, which is understandable from an economical point of view but we wanted more. So we tried our luck and sent it to some labels, being one of them Nightmare Records, and after a couple of weeks they contacted us and made a distribution deal. Thanks to them now we can reach USA territory among others.
xFiruath: What is different about “Towards Eternity” from the previous demos you released?
Juan: Well, many things, first off, we've grown as musicians and that lead us to perform better on the album compared to our previous demo EP. Improved the sound and compositions, added influences and new ideas. I think it helped to define our sound and style.
xFiruath: I’m a pretty big fan of how you guys have melded the power metal and black metal elements together. Did you originally set out to put both types of sound into your music, and how do you go about putting together any particular song?
Juan: We've always been very open in terms of the music we listen, we try not to talk about styles or put labels, but focus on the sound of it. Having that said, I guess it's fair to say we started as a power metal band, and gradually started to add different elements and sounds that we thought would add "that thing" that we wanted to hear and still wasn't in our music. In general, Fernando brings the basic guitar structure, and from that, it can go anywhere when we add the other instruments. There are just so many options and combinations you can create with the same piece of music, it's really challenging, but it's so much fun. We pay particular attention to arrangements and details, for we think it's the one thing that can turn a regular song into a great one.
xFiruath: I saw that your keyboardist Maximiliano Vaccaro left the band just after the recording of “Towards Eternity.” Are you guys able to play live at this point without a keyboardist and are you currently seeking out a replacement?
Juan: I don't know why, but it has always been really hard for us to find a proper keyboardist. After Maximiliano left the band, we gave up on finding one and decided to compose the keyboards ourselves. We play live using samplers, of course it's not the best in terms of image, but it just works for us, at least for now. Time will tell.
xFiruath: Now that the album is out what are you guys up to next? Do you have any live shows or new recordings going on? Any chance we’ll get to catch you in the U.S. soon?
Juan: We're finishing the recordings for what will be our second album, which will see the light sometime this year, and let me tell you we're really excited about it. We were hungry to create after “Towards Eternity.” We've been playing the same songs for so many years, but we didn't want to compose till we recorded it. Once we had “Towards Eternity” out, we started composing new music, and you can tell we've grown in this years, there are many new things. It sounds different, we're really satisfied with the result, hopefully people will like it as well. There are some shows scheduled in Argentina, but being the fact that we're still a pretty unknown band, chances that we play outside our country aren't much. It would be great to play in the land of iconic bands such as Dream Theater and Symphony X. We hope this will be possible with the release of the new album.
xFiruath: What albums are you guys personally listening to the most right now?
Fernando: Right now my playlist is stuck with In Flames and Disturbed, but there are also a lot of other bands I'm hearing, such as Blind Guardian, Symphony X, Devildriver, Diablo, COB, etc. And when it's not metal it's Hiromi Uehara, an insanely gifted musician, to name a few.
Juan: Buckethead, Ghost in the shell 2 soundtrack, Textures, Blotted Science, Coldplay, Riverside, Lamb Of God, Agua de Annique, Ayreon, Toto, and a never-ending list.
xFiruath: What do you like or dislike the most about the state of metal music today? Is there anything you’d like to see changed or any bands that you feel are really helping to take the genre to the next level?
Fernando: What I like most is the diversification of genres, every time there are more bands willing to add influences and do what they want without being afraid of stepping out of the style. I think that opens new doors and helps to take the genre to the next level.
Juan: I usually ignore what I dislike, there are plenty of great bands to listen to and that surprises us when we thought it was all done, everyone can find something they like.
xFiruath: That’s all my questions, so is there anything else you’d like to discuss?
Juan: No, that's all. We want to thank you for this interview and for helping the underground metal scene, Salud!
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