Symfonia's André Matos Talks New Album "In Paradisum"
Featuring a veritable treasure trove of melodic metal talent with members hailing from Stratovarius, Sonata Arctica, and more, the newly formed act Symfonia has revealed its version of paradise to the world with the debut album "In Paradisum" (reviewed here).
Vocalist André Matos recently spoke with Metalunderground.com about forming the project with Timo Tolkki, and how it eventually evolved into a full-fledged band ready to hit the tour circuit. André also discusses how the music stacks up against the members other bands, and the possibility of an upcoming second album.
xFiruath: Since Symfonia is a newer band, tell me a bit about how the group got together.
André: We knew each other for quite a long time, for many, many years. We’ve been together in other situations with previous bands and taking part in the same tours. We never had the idea of working together, so this all happened about a year ago, when I got a phone call from Timo Tolkki. Recently I moved to Sweden and when he gave me a call he said he knew I lived in Sweden, which was close to him, so why didn’t we catch up and start writing some stuff together. We didn’t know if it would be a project or just one album or what, but the whole thing started to develop in a different way as soon as we had some of the material written. In the end it didn’t feel like just a project, it felt like a band. I was looking forward to working with the guys to do tours and more albums.
xFiruath: How does “In Paradisum” sound in comparison to the bands you guys have been involved with in the past?
André: When we started to compose the songs and to produce the album we basically didn’t have any kind of pretense of reinventing the music style itself. It’s the musical style that has made our careers before and it’s very natural. Our interest is in the things we created back then and the idea was to join all those elements together and see what would come up from that. I guess you can compare the music you hear in Symfonia to what we’ve done before, and that doesn’t really bother us, because that’s even something we want. We are all people that came from such bands and it’s very obvious when we get together because it’s the kind of music you’d expect from us.
xFiruath: Where did you guys record the album?
André: In both Sweden and Finland we recorded everything. The mix was done in Italy in a mixing studio down there. Each studio was specific for every kind of instrument. We had a good studio for drums and another one for keyboards and another one for the voice. In the end I think the mix sounds pretty fine, you can get a little a bit out of each place and its specific for every detail we wanted to do in the music.
xFiruath: What’s going on in the lyrics of “In Paradisum” and who did the writing?
André: The songs and music and lyrics were written by Timmo and I and we pretty much shared our all our years and exchanged ideas to help each other to find solutions for everything. In the end it’s pretty much like 50/50. I think we did something that belongs to both our careers. We always intended to write about deeper subjects and this album is more exceptional, although we tried to keep it as simple as possible. I think we made quite an achievement with the lyrics on this album because we are kind of touching deep subjects but people can get a grip on what we’re talking about. The album isn’t itself like a concept album, but this is an outline all across the album, which is the idea of projecting paradise in the future. It was exciting to write about and I think that’s the main idea that leads the writing in the album.
xFiruath: Were there any extra songs leftover from the recording session?
André: Yes, the Japanese version of the album has one bonus track. It’s a great song. Some people just release anything as a bonus track like rehearsal sessions, but we had 11 songs that were all produced the same way and in the end we had to pick one for the Japanese bonus track. We went for criteria of was the one that fits the rest of the album. It was a ballad, and we already had two ballads in the album, so that one became the bonus track. So the Japanese get one great bonus track song. We have many ideas that haven’t been properly produced in the album and we’ve started to write something else, so there is absolutely more things we have kept for a possible second album.
xFiruath: Has there been any talk of a music video clip for any of the songs?
André: Yes, we are working on it right now.
xFiruath: Will Symfonia be hitting the road to support the new album?
André: We are looking forward to touring and there is already one festival confirmed in Europe, the Sonisphere festival in France on the 8th of July. After that we go to Asia for an Asian tour in Japan and China. We are looking for a real headliner tour in Europe from August to September and after that we’re looking forward to South America and North America.
xFiruath: Have you been to any interesting live shows lately?
André: Last weekend I went to Doro Pesch here in Sweden because I’m good friends with the guitar player and it was very interesting to see that show. Last year I had been to a Rammstein concert here in Sweden, which literally blew me away, that was an incredible performance. We try to attend things here and there, but it depends on the schedule and if we have free time, but sometimes it’s cool to be on the other side.
xFiruath: What else would you like to say about the new album?
André: We’re looking forward to touring all over the world and we want to bring this music live, because this is what it was planned to be, this was not just supposed to be an album thing. We believe these songs work out live very well and we’re just waiting for the right timing and we’ll be there.
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