Ephel Duath's Davide Tiso Explains New EP "On Death And Cosmos"
After the release of 2009's "Through My Dog's Eyes" (reviewed here), Ephel Duath was to go on hold while mastermind Davide Tiso headed off into solo territory. But much like the band's music, the unexpected will happen and change will come, and now Ephel Duath has relocated from Italy to the U.S. and comes with a newly revamped lineup.
Featuring drums by Marco Minnemann and bass by Steve DiGiorgio, the band's newest output is the three song dirge "On Death and Cosmos," to be followed soon by a new full-length album. With the North American release date just on the horizon, I had the opportunity to chat up guitarist Davide to discuss how this EP and album combo has been coming together, what it's like to work with his wife in a band, and how the metal scenes differ between his previous and current locales.
xFiruath: What’s Ephel Duath doing right now?
Davide: We are at home doing the next album and we’re going to start playing live once the album is finished and recorded. Right now we are recording the drums. It’s going really well. We’ve got Marco Minneman on drums and Steve DiGiorgio on bass.
xFiruath: You’ve got a bit of a new lineup for this EP and the upcoming album. How did this version of the band come together?
Davide: Marco Minneman already played in the 2009 album “Through My Dog’s Eyes.” So when I was doing something new I immediately asked him if he was interested in this collaboration. His contribution is something that makes me extremely proud, he’s one of the best drummers out there, and the fact that he continues to like playing with me fills me with such pride. The fact that I came here to California makes things easier for me to get in contact with local musicians. In terms of bass playing, Steve DiGiorgio is one of the bass players I respect the most, I’m a huge fan. He lives like an hour away from where we are, and we got in touch and met. He decided to join the band, which I’m grateful for. As for Karyn, I met her in 2009 in Italy when I was asked to play the guitar on her solo album. So we started a duet and we’re focusing in that now.
xFiruath: She’s actually your wife, correct? There aren’t too many husband/wife duos like that. The only other ones I can really think of are Ihsahn and StarofAsh, and then there’s a band called Hallowed Butchery. How does that change the dynamic in the band?
Davide: There were some aspects of that that were worrying in the beginning. We are both fans of each other. She likes me as a guitar player and I love her as a singer, so far we haven’t had a single problem working together. Actually it’s making things even better for us as a couple. Personally I don’t see it becoming a problem in the future. Who knows? While you are on the road things can change, but it’s going fantastic and we respect each other more seeing how hard we are both working. It’s really inspiring to keep working with her.
xFiruath: This latest EP was released through Agonia Records. How did you get hooked up with them and how is it going so far?
Davide: The label manager of Agonia was trying to get in contact with me and just recently we got in touch and we were talking about having my solo band coming out through Agonia. In time we reconsidered returning with Ephel Duath. I was thinking of taking a break from the band, but then one year ago I had a personal tragedy that made me decide I need to return to compose with my primary band. I mainly thought of Agonia because of the enthusiasm of the label manager, which I haven’t seen anywhere else. He’s a huge fan of my band, and he offered me a deal I believe few musicians out there are lucky enough to have today. It’s extremely fair and every press release is double-checked by me, every move for the band is approved by me, so it’s a huge relief to have someone have your back and believe in us like they do.
xFiruath: How are the EP and the album connected? Did you write all the material for both at the same time?
Davide: I actually never stop writing. When I was recording the EP, I was already working on the new album. So now that the EP is coming out in the States I’m way ahead in terms of the new album. Every song is pretty long. The new album is going to be even longer, with more riffs and a much wider spectrum of emotions. The EP was pretty mournful in terms of arrangements and music, and the new album has so many chords emotionally speaking. I’m very happy with how it’s coming out. It’s the fastest album I’ve ever composed because it’s really pouring out of me. Just a minute before this interview I was playing something, every free minute is arranging and putting things together. The album is an evolution of the EP, it’s more adventurous.
xFiruath: Is there a music video coming for anything off the EP or album?
Davide: We are about to shoot with the guy who did the last Cattle Decapitation video. He wrote a fantastic script for a song that’s extremely ambitious. We’re about to shoot and we’re really excited. He’s a very talented director and he’s going to do a very theatrical video with us, I can’t wait.
xFiruath: What was your local music scene like when you lived in Italy?
Davide: The local metal scene over there is very fragmented. I see much more support for bands here in the States. In Italy everyone is trying to create their own mini-scene. They are protective of the little group they are able to reach. I never felt any support from the other bands, so we just kept going by ourselves. I would love to be part of the scene and have a bunch of bands around mine that hang out and get along, but that never happened for us there. I hope that will change once we start touring here in the States.
xFiruath: What sort of music are you listening to lately and what are you looking forward to?
Davide: I bought the new Baroness and I don’t know how I feel about it yet, but I’m listening to it a lot. I love the new Cattle Decapitation, it’s one of the best I’ve heard in a long time. I really like Hate Eternal. I’m about to buy the new Gojira, I’ve always liked them and I’ve heard it’s very good. What else? I’m listening to a lot of death metal, I like the new Cannibal Corpse. That band makes me happy somehow. I love that new EP from Deathspell Omega from France. That new Ihsahn, the singer from Emperor’s solo career is even more interesting than the last things Emperor did. What about you, what have you heard recently?
xFiruath: Well I do also like that new Deathspell Omega EP a lot. I think what I’m most looking forward to coming soon would be the new Tiamat and Katatonia albums.
Davide: Katatonia, I’ve followed them since the very beginning, I’ve seen them live and played with them too. That band has a really interesting evolution in my opinion. There was a moment when they went extremely simple in like 4/4 rock, it had fantastic songs and was from 2001 I think, and then they changed the drummer and started evolving the sound again so that was very interesting. One album I really like is the new Storm Corrosion, which I think is better than the new Opeth. I know people are talking shit about that album but I really love it. I love the new Steve Wilson solo album, it’s really fantastic.
xFiruath: Anything else you’d like to say?
Davide: I’m excited about the fact that I’m living here in the States now, so the band is probably going to finally enter the American scene. I’m very respectful of the amount of work that every American band seems to put into what they do. It seems the competition is much higher here and I love that. It’s important for a band to be challenged all the time.
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