One might call them sludgy post-black metal, but that’s not really necessary. With their newest output Atrophy, the quartett Downfall Of Gaia released a new full-length last year via Metal Blade Records; it’s less post-metal and crustcore influences on the one side and a more atmospheric black metal attitude on the other. I sat down with Marco and Toni, the guitarist and bassist of Downfall Of Gaia in Wiesbaden, Germany on the first date of their latest tour. We talked about tour life, expectations and how they got ready for their run with Conan, Hark and High Fighter!
It Djents: As I know you are somehow an international band. How does it work with preparing for the tour, what have you done for this?
Marco: I’m from Italy, while our drummer is from the US, the other two guys are from Berlin. We just found out a system that could work, as we had a very short time preparing for the tour. But we used it intense! Mike is usually flying from the US to Europe and we get together and meet in Berlin. We only have a few days of intense rehearsal, so we prepare everything that concerns the performance. For me it’s already the second time, as it’s the second tour with the band. And it works fine, we managed to be ready for the tour.
ID: With which feelings did you come here; what do you personally as well as a band expect from this European run?
Marco: As it’s my second tour, I know even more what to expect from our performance and the crowd. I’ll just give the maximum out of it. I don’t know; in general we aways expect to touch the crowd on an emotional level, to perform on a powerful way. But as well to create some atmosphere during the show. Of course it’s also about to have fun, with the guys from the other bands and the concerts of them. What ever it’s like tourlife; in general we want to give the maximum to the audience and to enjoy the tour experience to the maximum… getting along as good as we can.
ID: Let’s talk about your setlist, how did you concipate it, what are you going to play?
Toni: On this tour we are going to play more songs from the new record (Atrophy). And our favourites from the last two records we released via Metal Blade. We tried it out in the rehearsal room and figured out what’s the best order for the songs. We also put some stuff in between. Tonight is the first time we are playing it live, and in the rehearsals everything was fine. So we are looking forward to it!
ID: Is there a song you are most excited to play live on this tour?
Toni: For me it’s the first track actually. Because it’s a truly massive opener in my opinion; the first two chords are pretty intense.
Marco: I have to say the same. There are particular two songs coming from the last record that I am really looking forward to play live. Reason for this, we just prepared them, from the songwriting on and recording and everything. We put so much from ourselves into those songs… I can’t wait to finally propose them to the audience and play them on stage.
ID: So what is the most important thing for you while being on tour?
Marco: Drinks, haha! As I said before to enjoy to the maximum, to the last drop of energy we have! But still being focused on good performances, as well as to give the listeners a feeling.
Toni: I mean we have all full-time jobs back home. It’s also kind of holidays for us. Being away on the road, we for sure wanna have fun and maybe drink (way too much), haha. On the same way: In my opinion we are pretty professional about our live performance. So we don’t drink heavily before the shows… because our point of view is, that people are paying to come and see us live. It’s a lot of money, so they deserve to have a good show, without drunk or drugged performers.
ID: Sounds like a fair deal! As it seems that you are also having a big party while being on the road, how is it with sleep?
Marco: Usually, while touring sleeping is an optional thing. But this tour, which is a nightliner tour, it’s gonna be different. We have no night accommodation and are constantly driving. We experienced it yesterday, like the drive we had, it was kinda fine. We had enough time to rest and sleep and just to enjoy the spare time with the other guys from the other bands. But of course it’s not like being back home. You don’t have a lot of time to spend sleeping, but its fine overall.
ID: It was raining the whole day. When I was sitting in my office room at work, I was like “this is the perfect weather to go to a show of Downfall Of Gaia.“ It totaly got me into the mood of your music. Do you feel similar?
Marco: I might say thank you, because it’s something that I really recognize. I don’t want to say that Downfall Of Gaia is a sad band. It’s not a sad band at all! But it’s that kind of soundtrack that fits a certain kind of atmosphere. Like a grey sky or a silent day. So I am happy that you just find out this for you. I just hope that rain is not like an obstacle for people to come, haha!
ID: So how different is it for you to perform an open air gig in summer, on a festival with 30° Celsius?
Toni: There is a big difference, yeah. In rooms and venues like this one, you can build up an atmosphere easily. Because if you play a festival during the day, while the sun is shining; the people are like having a party, in a festival mood, everyone’s drunk. It’s cool and we definitely love to play those shows. But you just cannot create this atmosphere as you can over here. That’s basically the biggest difference.
ID: I also think your music works out live better than on record, as it truly is atmospheric. So do you like it more on record or representing it live?
Toni: It’s absolutely live I would say, because recording a new vinyl or LP is pretty tough! You have to be pretty clean on playing the parts, repeating it over and over again. And live is just the moment you are living. As Marco said before, you are giving 100 percent to express your music.
Marco: The recording is more of a serious professional aspect of the band. We all are dedicating a lot of time in recording Like in a strictly professional manner. But only on stage we are able to share all the emotions directly, that the music has and gives to us as well, so we can give it to the audience more directly.
ID: So while playing live, do you focus more on being tight or more on sharing emotion and performing a show?
Marco: Probably both somehow. We try always to make a good set. We are into moving and performing, but also focusing on the executions, it’s a lot of stuff to deal with. We also work on visuals live, we have lightning that we control. So it’s basically a mixture of said things.
ID: Just imagine you would watch your band playing live, what would you do? Would you be headbanging, moshing or just hanging around?
Marco: I don’t know, that’s a pretty tough questions, because this is gonna end like talking ‘too good’ or ‘too bad’ for ourselves, haha!
Toni: I would say I would stay close to the bar, getting a drink and watch it from the bar. We are actually pretty sceptical people about our live performance. So we always talk after shows, what was good and what wasn’t. I am not sure that people are recognizing those things that we on stage know was wrong. So I would probably look a bit sceptically, haha.
ID: I know that you are using the winter months for getting into the songwriting mood. Has there been something this winter?
Marco: We are talking about the ideas and getting some ideas. So yeah might be that we start next winter again, or whenever we get an idea we want to share….
ID: And is there something you would like to add?
Marco & Toni: Thank you for having us for the interview, thanks for your time and I hope you’ll have a good show. That people will enjoy the new record, and listening to it, having fun at our concerts, that’s it!
Photo courtesy on all photos by Rodney Fuchs.