•  Posted in: Kogaionon Interviews

Interview with Agalloch - 2010

1. Hi John. How did 2010 start for the band?

JH: The year is already quite busy. As you know we are immersed in the pre-production of our 4th album as well as preparing for these Romanian shows. Very busy indeed.

2. Only a few weeks left until the Romanian gig... Are you prepared for a trip to 'Dracula Land'? You mentioned something to me last year about Aesop's grandparents...

JH: Yeah I guess Aesop has some ancestry from there. He has Vlad Tepes tattooed on his body so you can say he has been ready for this trip for many years. I am more than ready to see Romania, play some gigs there, spend time with friends, and embrace the culture. Yes... definitely a highlight for 2010 already.

3. Are you in any contact with fans from around here?

JH: A couple people, yes, but mainly we have noticed a lot of Romanian fans on our official MySpace page.

4. Agalloch has 15 years of music making behind it, yet, only a few albums have been released. Why is that? No inspiration?

JH: I think it is better to have 3 or 4 solid, classic albums in the span of 15 years instead of 10 "hit and miss" albums. Quality over quantity. We have plenty of inspiration but we prefer to let our ideas age and slowly develop over months or years as opposed to quickly putting an album together in a couple of weeks. We also really like to experiment with EPs and such between full-lengths.

5. You toured Europe last year. Also had some gigs in the States. How did they go, what about the feedback from audience? Some funny moments? Some less positive ones?

JH: Every show we played last year was special in their own way. The European tour was easily our best tour yet. Sharing a bus with Dornenreich and Mely is something I will always look back on fondly. Such wonderful people and excellent memories. It was also great to see Fen again in London. I was also proud that we held our own at the Tomahawk fest against the likes of Satyricon and Endstille. Easily our best festival experience. The Midwest gigs were surprising and the Portland show was decent, though probably the worst of the bunch. Bad moments? A ritual skull was stolen from the stage in Milwaukee, WI during "The Lodge (dismantled)". It was anonymously sent back to us, however, after we posted about it online. Funny moments? Our tour bus nearly got stuck in a tunnel leaving Paris. The bus was too tall to enter the tunnel so we had to turn around in front of the tunnel entrance, which took awhile. Luckily it was at 3am so the only traffic we blocked were a couple of pissed off taxi drivers...

6. What sort of music are you listening to? Any particular new albums that caught your interest?

JH: As of late:

Hawkwind - all albums circa 1982 - 1990
Rome - all!
Klaus Schultz - all!
Spiritual Front - "Armageddon Gigolo"
Wolfhetan - "Entrücking"
Placebo - "Sleeping With Ghosts"
Celtic Frost - "Monotheist"
Anna Själv Tredje - "Tussilago Fanfara"
Peste Noire - "Ballade cuntre lo Anemi francor" and "Mors orbis terrarum"
Vindensång - "Terminus"
Root - "Hell Symphony"
Master's Hammer - "Mantras"
Agalloch - 4th album demos

7. What is the involvement of Agalloch members in other musical projects? Tell us a few words…

JH: Our camp seems to have a lot of stuff going on, some of which are well known like Ludicra, Sculptured, Self Spiller and others that are quite new and unknown as of yet. We have also made two recent collaboration tracks; one with Mathias Grassow and one with Vindensång, both of which will be released on a couple limited compilation CDs this year.

8. Please share a few details regarding the Special Evening that is to take place in Romania. What sort of show will you put on? Anything special?

JH: Well since we aren't a regular band that plays and rehearses all the time, we won't be changing the "classic" setlist too much. However, in Brasov we plan to play two extra very old and rare songs. One of them was last played live in 2003 during our first ever gig! We will have a special stage setup at Reduta with a lot of natural elements, visuals, and we plan to make use of the curtain for the opening ritual. People who chose to visit the Brasov performance are in for something very special indeed. I do STRESS that people bring earplugs. We will be very loud as always.

For both shows we will be bringing some special incense with ingredients that I have been personally gathering from some of my favourite locations, special oak forests, etc.

9. Fans from over 15 countries will be attending. Including the US. Don't you find that incredible?

JH: Yeah, of course. It is really great and surprising that people care to see us enough to travel hundreds/thousands of miles to do so. I just hope we won't be a disappointment.

10. What are your thoughts on ALCEST and Neige's music? Is there any link between Agalloch and Alcest?

JH: No link really other than a mutual respect and fanfare between artists. Neige is a compositional genius in my opinion - I have no idea where his melodies come from! Oh and Fursy Teyssier has made some artwork for us. We met them in Paris. Great people and I look forward to seeing them again. It's also really cool that Alcest's first ever concert will be with Agalloch.

11. A last word both for Romanian fans and for all of your fans who will be in Brasov and Bucharest on the 20th and the 21st of March?

JH: None other that we are very damn excited to play there and hope to meet these fans at the gigs. This is going to be a legendary event! Thank you for organizing it.

12. What sort of merchandising will you have in Brasov and Bucharest? Some special editions for the true Agalloch fans?

JH: We plan to have a limited edition "Compendium Archive" of rare and unreleased material circa 1996 - 2006. Limited to 250 hand-numbered copies in special packaging. For these shows only!

13.As you know, Reduta is a very elegant and intimate venue with only a few hundred seats. What is your expectation regarding the audiences behaviour in a place like such? It will be the first time ever that a metal band will play in this venue... Won't it be strange for you, as a band, to see your fans sitting down while you are playing? Strange feeling, isn't, it?

JH: It will be strange but probably not too different from some festival gigs that we have played (with large photo barriers between the stage and audience) in terms of artist - audience alienation. I have looked at Reduta's website and have taken the virtual tour. It looks like it has the same atmosphere as a library or museum...but this is interesting to us, you know?
It will be the first time we have ever performed in a true ballet / classical theatre so we are quite honoured to be the first Metal band ever to perform at Reduta. I just hope it will be interesting for the audience to just sit there and watch from a relative distance.
We will be the same loud, aggressive, dynamic band we always are on just will be different to be without the energy of an audience so close, right there, hanging on the monitors like we are used to. I guess we will have that on the following night.