Saturday, January 28, 2012

In Loving Memory: The Interview

Juanma, lead singer from Spain's very own In Loving Memory, sat down to answer questions from our very own Hell22 and Murmaider. Here's his take on songwriting, the new album "Negation Of Life," and touring.

First and foremost, we want to thank you for your time, and the opportunity to conduct
this interview. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.

First of all we want to thank Sorrow Eternal for the opportunity of being interviewed by you.

When the band was formed, it was initially a female fronted act. What led to the decision to go away from that style?

Because we always liked guttural male vocals but never had a chance to get them because in our area is difficult to find a guttural singer that suited well with our style, so we decided to try with female. But after some time we went back to the original idea but had the same problem: inexistence of male vocalist capable to carry the heavy duty of singing, so after a long search Juanma took the vocal work teaching himself to sing in the proper way for our style and now there’s no turn back.

In the formative process, as well as the current line-up, who were some of your influences, musically? What is the writing process like for In Loving Memory, from idea to finished song?

We always liked classic doom metal bands such as My Dying Bride, Anathema and Paradise Lost, but scandinavian melodic death ones as well such as In Flames, Dark Tranquillity or At The Gates, so we tried to guide our music in that way. Of course these examples are a narrow line to follow because we also like tons of diverse bands, from brutal death metal to symphonic rock, so I think we can say that all the music we
hear is suitable to be influence for us in some way.

The writing process usually goes in this way: Juanma comes to the rehearsal room with a riff, a bunch of riffs or even a whole song. When this happens, Jorge and Juanma start jammin’ to create a second guitar line and sometimes a song structure. When it’s finished both “J”s teach the song to Raul and Igor and when its done, Jorge and Alberto create the keyboard lines and arrangements. We play the song several times and when
we decide it has the right structure and melodies, Juanma writes the lyrics and start rehearsal with vocals. That’s the normal process, but sometimes we just start jamming for fun and play something interesting that we can use to create a riff or a song.

There is some tremendous songwriting on the album. Specifically, the song titles are very powerful. What inspired the lyrical content of the album and how personal are the songs to you?

Well, Juanma is the one that put the names to the songs as well creates the lyrics, so when he’s in the songwritting process he tries to adecuate the lyric to the emotion that he feels when listening to the music and names the song acordingly. Of course the title of each song must be unique and powerfull, because is the “trademark” of the song.

The themes that inspire Juanma’s visions written in words for this album come from the idea of the good and evil duality, God and Devil, religion, pain, love and suffering. Almost every powerful feeling can be described in ambiguous way but with a simple words in order that can be understood easily.

"Shimmering Divinity" is a song that Murmaider is singing the praises of. Which song would you pick out as your favorite, and which song best summarizes your style for a new listener?

For me, Juanma, would be “November Cries”, a complex a rich evolution-structured song with double guitars soloing, catchy and syncopated rythms, a break in the middle of the song to create a new scenario, both whispering and guttural vocals and a pure doomy theme, like the death of a son and a wife and the desperation of husband for continue with his life. The first part of the song, before the break tells the history of the life loss and in the second part the efforts for being gathered again in death.

I think the best song for a new listener could be “Negation Of Life”, because it contains all the elements we usually introduce in our songs as acoustic parts, double guitar melodies, clean and guttural vocals and heavy rythms full of emotion. It’s a good showroom of our style mixing doom and death parts.

The album artwork is both simple, but very powerful. What inspired the image, and who provided the picture itself?

Well, is not as simple as it seems like our music. We always do things with a double sense: complex work inside a simple carcass . The cover artwork looks simple because the use of the famous crying angel statue that stands the pass of time at Lakeview Cemetary in Cleveland, Ohio, but it’s not the unique image you can find in the double-size cover. The image that is not shown due booklet fold is a mix of a church and an industry. The angel represents the pure, good and divine creation and the church and industry the bad, sick and mankind creation, that rejects the gift of life given by superior beings, which is also the title of the album, “Negation of Life”.

Also inside the booklet, every song has a different image under the words that represents the meaning of the song. We invite everyone to read the lyrics while listening to the music and watch the images of the booklet in order to better comprehension.

Last year, we conducted an interview with fellow Spanish death/doom band Helevorn. When asked about the metal scene in Spain at that time, they said that the genre had really begun to explode, with tons of great new bands gaining notoriety. How would you classify the current metal scene in your home country?

Yes, there’s a lot of new promising bands emerging from spanish underground. Some of them as Angelus Apatrida or Diabolus in Musica are now well known due contracts with first line record labels, but still a bunch of good others waiting for be known.

We are always interesting in knowing who our favorite musicians are listening to when they aren't writing or recording themselves. So, what bands, artists, singers, rappers, etc have you guys been stuck on recently? With 2011 just passed, could you pick an "album of the year" from those you have heard?

I, Juanma, am listening pretty much to Sybreed, Gojira, Orphaned Land, Abigail Williams, Decapitated, Fleshgod Apocalypse and Amorphis. Mmmmm. Album of the year?. Probably Decapitated’s “Carnival is Forever”

The major label part of metal is a puzzle to most. You seem to have found a good home with Solitude Productions, which is also the home of some of our favorite new bands (Mare Infinitum, Fading Waves, Tears Of Mankind). How did your partnership with Solitude come to be, and what do you think of their growing stable of artists?

Well, we send our job to some labels, big and small and after some answers, we decide that the best suiting record label for our music should be and small specialized one such as Solitude Productions. We are not in this bussiness for the money, but for reaching the biggest portion of people, that can be interested in our music, that is possible and with a doom based record label is easy to get this than with a biggest label with more diverse bands.

Solitude Productions has a good number of bands with them, such as Echo or Helevorn that we like very much

Touring plans for the band seem to be few and far between. What has lead to the sparse shows thus far and do you have some bigger plans in the works?

We perform live shows as much as we can. Our jobs and personal situations make the option of touring a lot very complex and difficult, so we gig as much as possible.

With the new album out, and some positive reviews coming in, what is next for In Loving Memory?

Well, now we’re planning a new album, so currently we’re writing new songs. We’ve two of them finished yet. The last year, 2011, has been complicated because we change drummer so we need to re-arrange some songs to the new drummer habilities but at the end of 2011 we were forced to hire a new drummer, so we started again with that process and the time for writing new songs was terrible limited as you can imagine. But
now that the matters go in the right direction we’ll go faster.

The new songs are stronger in terms of rythmn structure and riffing but with sensible and emotionful melodies as well, which is very important in our music.

Thank you again for taking time out to do this with us. We appreciate your time, and the music that you have crafted. We are looking forward to seeing a successful career for you guys!

Thank you for giving us the opportunity of this piece of written history! We’ll meet again for sure, so you know you have here a collection of friends! Stay metal!

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