|I believe that times when we drew our blood from other artists are long gone.|
| Doom-metal bands (or metal of any kind) from Croatia are pretty rare, and those that actually succeed and make it to the big stage are naturally even more rare. You can safely say that Ashes You Leave have succeeded and they are gaining more and more fans with each release. They're now in the process of preparing their fourth full-lenght release, which was one of the reasons Doom-metal.com spoke to the band's guitarist Neven.|
Hello and thanks for the opportunity for this interview. For starters, for the people who aren't that furmiliar with you, can you tell us a in short about how you started the band?
"The band started somewhere in 1995 by a fistful of doom fans who wanted to not only listen to their favorite music, but also play it. Gordan started AYL with long gone
bassist Loris and the band has been through great hell and high tide since."
Do you even categorise your band's music as 'doom-metal'?
"We don't like to categorise our music as anything nowadays. The first two albums were doom, doom-gothic, the third was a progressive step forward from the D-G genre and now, in our new material we've hardened it all up. "
Obviously, early on your big influence was My Dying Bride. I believe you were big fans of Paradise Lost as the band was originally called 'Icon' ?
"Since I wasn't around at that time I can't really say what inspired the early AYL to take Icon as their name, but I suppose it was taken from Paradise Lost. Some members of the band were very interested in biblical imagery so Icon fit perfectly."
How come you eventually chose 'Ashes You Leave' for the name of the band?
"The early line-up were great fans of Cathedral so... Ashes You Leave is a great name for a doom band, it props up a picture of death and spirits leaving their mortal stations. The name stuck ever since."
What bands or artist inspire you today?
"I believe that times when we drew our blood from other artists are long gone, we've evolved into a blend of gothic, progressive and who knows what kind of metal and it's going quite well. But we like listening to all kinds of bands. I know that, when we are touring, you can find anything from Rammstein to Stratovarius in our cassette player."
Tell us about the doom-metal scene in Croatia; was it difficult to get the attention of the labels?
"You could find a handful of bands that play doom metal in Croatia, either that or I am
not very informed. I know that in Rijeka, the metal scene was very strong a few years
back, but now... Croatian bands are usually frowned upon by foreign labels because of the lack of necessary predispositions (mostly geographical ones) for success abroad. I think we were very lucky to get a deal outside of our homeland. You've got to keep trying and believing in what you do only then will you make something of it."
Your band has seven members. Describe the way you compose music, how do you start, who comes up with the ideas?
"Berislav or me (sometimes our keyboards player, Damir) come up with a part or a skeleton for a song and then we work it out in the rehearsals. It's hard seven-man team work, the initial songs are usually nothing like the finished versions."
How difficult is touring with seven members and all the instruments? I once read someone stole one of your guitars after the concert, is that true?
"Yes, we were playing somewhere in Poland, I think it was in Poznan. When we woke up the day after our gig, we realized one of our guitars was missing and it was swept right under our nose! We went to the police but somehow knew that we'd never see the wretched thing again. Touring can be a pain, seven members along with the manager make for a large crew to organize and fit into a van. Vanspace can also be a problem. At this year's Wave Gotik Treffen we were supposed to bring a couple of amps and luckily, the day before we were scheduled to leave we got a message of backline being secured. It came as a great relief to us, we'd have a large problem of fitting the amps into the van along with the rest of our stuff."
You've mentioned the Wave Gotik Treffen festival. How was that?
"It was an experience I won't forget. From all the thousands of gothic people wandering around the town, having a great time, to the show itself which went pretty well (thanks for the encore!), I am eager to get back there as soon as possible. For me, the only downside to it all was the first half of our show. I didn't hear the drummer well so I kept turning around to see what he's doing, making some mistakes along the way. As the show progressed I instructed the sound crew to adjust this and it got better and better. All in all it was unforgettable."
What are the band's plans for summer? Festivals, gigs?
"We've got a gig coming up at Summer Breeze and are looking forward to seeing all our fans again. We're currently in the process of negotiating terms with Morbid Records for our next album, so if it all goes well we'll head into the studio very soon. Of course, the tour with Beseech is coming up, but that's in November"
About the new material, has anything changed in your sound from the last album? What can the fans expect from your next work? Can you maybe give us some song titles?
"We've speeded things up a bit, there's still a tad of doom lingering around but now it's more progressive or rather more gothic than doom. Some song titles? Sure, these are some of the songs we already played live: Fire, Hurt, Don't Forget The Planets, In Vain Are Born and A Crimson Shade."
Ok, thanks Neven for your time, good luck with your band.
"Thanks, keep up the good work."
Visit the Ashes You Leave bandpage.