Interview: Downfall of Gaia

On March 26th Downfall of Gaia played a show at Het Paard in Den Haag, together with The Ocean and Herod. Before the show DutchMetalManiac’s Tim van Velthuysen spoke with Downfall of Gaia’s Dominik Goncalves dos Reis and Anton Lisovoj.

Hey, how are you?

Both: Good, thank you.

You recently released your new album, Ethic of Radical Finitude. It’s really nice!

Both: Thank you.

How are the reactions you got on it so far?

Dominik: So far pretty good, from the press but also live. Of course this tour is the first time we are playing this material live. It’s great to see that people are also into it when it’s live. So far there is nothing we could complain about, it’s very positive.

How is this tour going so far?

Anton: Super good actually, it’s really smooth. We get along with the guys from the other bands pretty good. Everybody is helping, it’s a great crew. It’s really smooth and nice actually.

How do you like the other two bands, The Ocean and Herod?

Anton: They are great musicians. I’ve never heard of Herod before, but their sound is pretty amazing. So I am glad I had the pleasure to meet those guys. We know The Ocean for years now.

Dominik: They are delivering every night, huge show. That was what we expected.

Your music is very intense, but it also has some atmospheric, more instrumental parts. Is that something you do on purpose during songwriting?

Dominik: It’s the way we are doing it since years already. It’s a natural development, each record a little bit more and more intense. The more time flies the more and the better we know how to connect these two worlds, the aggressive ones and the more silent ones, to each other and to make one huge complete thing out of it. It’s not on purpose, I guess it’s something we don’t pay that much attention to, but it’s happening without thinking too much about it.

It’s great, it makes the heavier parts even more intense.

Anton: I agree.

The track titles in this order can be read as a poem, did you do that on purpose?

Both: We did actually.

Anton: Besides the Atrophy record, actually on every record the track titles together can be read as a poem. On Atrophy we made a break with this, but now we felt that we wanted to do this again. Dominik wrote all the lyrics and I usually try to get a poem out of it. That’s what I did.

Dominik: That’s how it usually goes, yeah. I am presenting the lyrics to Anton and he’s taking care of the track titles and the title of the record.

What’s the meaning behind the lyrics?

Dominik: Basically it’s about discontented minds and the never-ending pursuit for more in life. It’s a story about people being always on the hand for their special place, for something to arrive, to have a good place, to find inner peace. Maybe at some point all of us, at least a lot of people, need to accept that they will never find this place and that it always will be a constant struggle. So there are different chapters in life and each one has maybe some little points of peace, but I guess you will never arrive in total somewhere in life. That’s what it basically is about.

Do you also have a message to the people in this case?

Anton: The message is probably that people have to accept what they have and make the best out of this situation instead of trying to get more of this, more of that. As Dominik said, not always, but more often it’s like a waste of time to search for something bigger, newer. People should focus on what they have and make that situation better instead of trying to be like someone else.

Dominik: It’s about more appreciating the here and now instead of focusing too much on the future.

Anton: It’s about the tiny stuff in life.

In the press release you (Dominik) also mentioned that you believe that death is the only thing that makes the time you have worthy since everything would be forever if death wouldn’t exist. How does that make you look at life?

Dominik: As you already said, I guess we are all well aware of the fact that we are not here forever. In the end there is death and it’s the only thing that makes you to want to use your time in the best way possible. If there wouldn’t be any ending, you could always say to do things on other moments. Your body also gets weaker with time. Time is limited, this is the only thing that makes it worth to use. You have to make the best out of it all the time.

That actually is a pretty positive message.

Dominik: Yeah, somehow. Of course, death is a sad thing, but it also has its good sides.

One of the songs on the new album, As Our Bones Break To The Dance, has German lyrics, which is your mother tongue, while the other lyrics are in English. What made you decide to do this specific song in German?

Dominik: In the beginning I am just playing with words and things that are coming to my mind. It’s the same as with our music. We don’t want to limit ourselves too much, so whenever I have got the feeling that I can tell something way better in German, then I do it in German. If it flows better and feels better in English, I do it in English. There isn’t really a formula, it’s more a feeling about all of this.

You just do what feels right?

Dominik: Yeah, exactly.

When listening to music, what language do you prefer?

Dominik: I don’t care, as long as it is good and there is some kind of emotion that gets me, then I don’t care in what language it is. It’s more about the emotion.

You also have four guests on the album, two of them being former Downfall of Gaia members. How was working with them again?

Dominik: Super easy and relaxed, because we already knew each other. It was no big deal to get in contact again and do this again. This time was a bit different, because they didn’t play their old instruments, they did something else, more electronic kind of stuff. It was smooth and easy. We’re not living in the same cities, we did this back and forth via mail. It was like back in the days, but just with different influences.

You also have two other guests, Nikita Kamprad from Der Weg Einer Freiheit and Mers Sumida from Black Table. How was working with them?

Anton: Also pretty easy. Mers now lives in Berlin, so it was pretty easy to get in contact with her and to make an appointment for the studio, which is also in Berlin. That was pretty easy. We know Nikita pretty long now and he was totally into it. It was similar as with Peter and Hannes, also via mail and it all worked pretty well.

While you were creating the album, did you know that you wanted them as guests on it?

Dominik: No, it was just something that happened intuitive. It wasn’t planned to have guests on the record, but it just felt right when we were listening to the final songs. We wanted to add more nuances to everything. It was something new we wanted to try, it’s the same with the clean vocals. We wanted to go a little step forward, to expand.

Looking forward to tonight’s show?

Both: Yeah, totally.

Anton: The stage is awesome, sound is awesome, food is awesome, we are good to go.

Dominik: Great venue, good presets.

You already are announced for another Dutch show in the future, on the Into The Void festival. Looking forward to playing that one?

Dominik: To be honest, we still don’t know if we are able to play that one. There were some changes with everything that wasn’t in our hands, so we don’t know yet if it is happening. If we are playing there we of course totally look forward to it. Who knows?

The festival already announced you.

Dominik: Yeah, I know. Their promoters were a little bit too early.

You are also already announced for two other festivals, Wacken and Summer Breeze. Since your music is very intense, do you have a different approach on a festival-show compared to a club-show?

Dominik: Of course, at a festival most of the time you play during daytime. There is light and sun, that already is a super huge difference. We also aren’t that kind of classic metal band that people want to see at a festival, some kind of party- or drink-metal or something like that. It’s more atmospheric, so people need to be in the mood for that. It also can be really good. For example, the last time we played Summer Breeze it was at night and people were totally into it.

What do you prefer, festival or clubshow?

Dominik: For me it’s clubshow.

Anton: I agree.

Dominik: Festival is just stress, most of the time.

This tour still has four shows. After that you’re going to tour with Mantar in Germany and you’ll have two shows with Vanum in Russia, right?

Dominik: Unfortunately Russia is canceled. This just happened on this tour, because two of us got visa issues. It isn’t possible for us to do the visas again, because we are on the road. It will be postponed and we will do it later this year.

The tour with Mantar is happening as planned?

Dominik: Yeah, that’s happening.

Looking forward to that?

Both: Yeah, of course.

It’s in Germany. What do you like more, playing there, in your home country, or playing elsewhere?

Dominik: It depends, but most of the time Germany treats us the best, because that is our main market. We are known best in that country, so those shows are the best for us. That however doesn’t mean that shows in other countries, like for example in The Netherlands, are less good. It always depends. We also can get bad shows in Germany, we already had those. Compared to other countries, Germany, Austria and Switzerland are where we have the best shows, at least for us when it’s about sales and things like that. Not from emotion-side but from the marketing-side.

How do you look at Mantar?

Dominik: They are a good band. We never shared the stage before, so we don’t know what to expect. They are super hyped right now, I guess their last record was number seven on the top 100 album charts. We are excited to see what we get.

I’ve seen them before, it is a great show.

Anton: I hope.

Besides all those shows, are there any other future Downfall of Gaia plans you can already tell something about?

Anton: We do have future plans, but it still is in the making and nothing safe yet. Our booking agency is working hard and there definitely will be more shows in the second part of the year.

And are you also already working on new material, or not yet?

Dominik: No, it is too early. Now we are just enjoying the release. It just released one month ago. We just want to enjoy it now before we get back to the creative process. We need to recharge batteries with playing music instead of writing music.

Thanks for your answers! Is there anything else you want to say to our readers?

Anton: Thank you for your time and your interest. I hope you will enjoy your night.

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