Based out of Spain, Diabulus In Musica present Symphonic Metal at it’s most mesmerizing. Their latest magnum opus is entitled The Wanderer, a magical work of artistry that is sure to enchant fans of such entities as Nightwish and Epica – now available from Napalm Records! Songs such as Sentenced To Life, Hidden Reality, and Sceneries Of Hope will remain with the listener long after the disc spins to its spiraling conclusion. Here is an interview we conducted with vocalist Zuberoa Aznárez to find out more about Diabulus In Musica and their wondrous masterworks. Read on…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Diabulus In Musica, and how long the band has been together.
I’m the singer and founder of the band. We’ve been together since 2006, but before I used to sing in a band with Gorka (keyboard player). I decided to start the project with him after our previous band disappeared.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
We all are from Pamplona, which is a small city in the North of Spain. Almost all the metal-heads here know each other; we were friends before we founded the band.
Metal in general is not the most popular style in Spain. I guess the same happens in the rest of Europe… Also Spanish metal-heads like better the national ‘old school’ heavy metal, sung in Spanish. Nevertheless, there is a rising new metal scene, although these bands aren’t well-known.
How did the cooperation with Napalm Records come about, and why did you not go with Metal Blade this time around?
Things turned out this way, not sure why… Maybe we felt that Metal Blade’s promo was more oriented to a different kind of ‘metal audience’… We were the only symphonic metal band in MB’s roster, so we were like ‘isolated’. Our agency 2wild4 started to deal with Napalm and when we knew they were interested in us, we felt really excited about and directly say ‘yes!’ to the signing. Napalm is a label with much experience in bands like ours. They were one of the first labels to support this kind of style in metal and there are quite big names there, so they are for sure doing a great job! Besides, we are also friends with some other bands from Napalm, so we feel more like in a family now…
Is there any story or concept behind The Wanderer CD title?
Yes, it is a concept album. The story talks about a girl who has something ‘special’, ‘different’ and somehow feels isolated. She wanders searching for a place where she can finally be accepted. It’s related with people who somehow feels or is ‘different’, specifically all those who are specially linked with Nature, who still stay ‘pure’, ‘different’ and the shock this way of living or thinking sometimes provokes when living in modern society. It is not easy to reconcile this way of being with all the changes that society is suffering, and above all, with human corruption. All these ‘special’ people are starting to disappear and they are the last hope to change the World.
Please select any two songs from The Wanderer and what inspired the lyrical content.
My inspiration comes from the World itself. I usually write about my personal worries, which are mostly related with nature, freedom, spirituality and social problems. All this topics are reflected through the whole album, so it is difficult to choose. Anyway, I would maybe pick up ‘Hidden Reality’ because sometimes I have felt that way; these lyrics have a special meaning to me, it’s like an anthem to our ancestors and a lament of the lost spirituality. I also like ‘No Time for Repentance’ which is a kind of warning; it talks about the Karma.
How did the duet with John Kelly of Elfenthal (Sentenced To Life) come about and what was it like working with him and then performing the song live with him? That duet is breathtaking!
Thank you, I’m happy that you like it! I also love this song…
John and his wife and also singer Maite are very close friends of mine since years now. We live in the same city and we are together almost every day… We have so many things in common! One of those things of course is music. Maite already sang in our first album ‘Secrets‘, but in that album there were no song that could fit John’s voice. We had the perfect song for him in ‘the Wanderer’ and for me it was very special to count also with John this time… and so we did.
What could one expect from a live Diabulus In Musica show?
Much passion, energy and a band that really loves playing and sharing its music with the audience. We like writing songs, but we think that the songs aren’t complete until they are played live. It’s really impressive how people react to each song. You can vibrate with the audience and connecting with them – it’s the best thing you can experiment! Without any doubt, a special and indescribable energy flows…
Besides, when we prepare our shows we don’t think them as only music, I think it’s important the theatrical side so people gets more involved and receive more than only listening to the songs. That’s why, apart from a little theatrical performance, we sometimes try to travel with a small choir. It helps giving this extra to our shows (it would be great to play with an orchestra too!). We really enjoy sharing this experience with the audience and additional musicians, although unfortunately we cannot do it always due to logistic and economic issues.
You has such a stunning voice! What kind of vocal training have you had and what other bands or musical projects have you been in?
Aw thank you so much for the compliment, I really appreciate it!
I started my music studies when I was 8 and joined several choirs in my childhood. Afterwards I started to learn classical singing and I still continue doing it nowadays, as I think that learning is a never-ending process. I always feel I have many things to improve!
I also complete my learning singing in the chamber choir of my region as well as some Early Music ensembles.
Regarding rock and metal I started to sing in a rock band when I was 18. After that I started to sing in a power metal band called ‘Dragon Lord’ and when it disappeared I founded Diabulus in Musica.
Apart from this, I’ve also sung in a jazz duet and I’ve collaborated with a Belgian dark ambient project called Voidwork.
How has it been like for you to tour with a bunch of metal guys on the road so far?
Great! I guess that same than if I was a boy, I’m one more inside my band. I’ve sometimes felt uncomfortable with some people in the business, as there are some that unfortunately think that I’m only ‘the girl singing’ when I’m the founder and also one of the main songwriters in the band. There is still too much sexism in the metal scene and this kind of things bothers me sometimes… Anyway, the relationship with my band mates is very good, we are friends since years and I have my couple there too! They are my second family ; )
How does Secrets compare to The Wanderer and what do you think of Secrets now?
I think The Wanderer it’s a big step forward. We kept our main influences: classical music and metal, but the arrangements are more ambitious and there is space for more ’mystic‘ sounds as well. I’d say this second album reflects a clear and natural evolution and maturity.
The main difference between Secrets and The Wanderer is the concept, as the new album is a conceptual one. We first thought about what we wanted to tell and then start to work on the songs, having a very clear idea about how they should sound. We maybe were searching for something more like a ‘soundtrack’. Music had to fit what we wanted to tell in each song, it had to recreate the atmosphere we had in mind in each ‘scene’. The Wanderer is a very passionate album. All the feelings are perfectly captured. I would say that it’s denser, more bombastic… but also more refined than Secrets. We tried to join different music influences in the best way and at the same time, let each instrument having its own ‘space’.
Anyway, every song in ‘Secrets’ is special and has its own story, collaborations, memories from the studio… Of course if I had written the songs now, I would have done some things in a different way, but this doesn’t mean I would change ‘Secrets’ now, because it represents a period, it’s a very fresh album and it wouldn’t express the same feelings if it sounded in a different way.
Has Diabulus In Musica ever played here in the States or plan to do so in the future? If you have played here, what was the experience like?
Unfortunately we haven’t been in the States yet, but we are really looking forward to it! We would really love to go there!! Any promoter interested? ; D
What was it like supporting Manowar, were they cool to hang out with and how did the shows go?
We didn’t spend much time with them, but they were very correct and nice people when we met them. The shows went great, people was surprised because they didn’t expect a band like ours to open for Manowar, but they liked our performance!
Since your vocals are so dramatic, would you ever want to do theater such as Phantom Of The Opera or Mamma Mia? Any secret acting aspirations?
Oh I would really like to do so! I’ve had similar experiences singing in some opera productions and really liked it! Anyway, I’m not sure if I would be a good actress hehe. When I was a child it was my dream, but finally became a singer. It would be great to try to do both… Who knows? If there is any chance of course I will try!
Do you have any messages for metal fans here in the States?
Yes, thank you so much for taking the time to read this interview. Special thanks to our beloved fans overseas, we really hope to see you all soon!!!
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions! I really hope to see your band here in the States some day soon!
My pleasure! Thank you so much Ken!! I hope to see you there too! ; ) )
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)