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Solitude Aeturnus are Doom Metal legends. The band is about to release a new disc made of old never-published material; demos and rehearsal takes that should cast a new light on the bandís work. Doom-metal had a chat with guitarist John Perez.

Interview with Solitude Aeturnus.
1. Hello John. So, new album incoming but I've not heard any news about it through the grapevine: so how is it called, what are the songs on it and what are the topics involved? Have you been influenced by all the changes that took place in the US over the past 6 years?

Hi Laurent! Well, actually itís not new material but a collection of the earliest Solitude demo work and some unreleased material from the early days of the band. Weíre calling it, In Times of Solitude. It features the 5 song demo tape we did in 1988 with Chris Gabehart on vocals. Weíve also some unreleased rehearsal and live tracks on it as well. Iíve had many people ask me for this over the years, so I figured it was time to officially release this first work of Solitude Aeturnus. Changes in the U.S.? If you mean financially because of the economy, itís always been the same for me, I live on very little money, no matter if the economy is good or bad.

2. Where and with whom was it recorded? Any stories you can tell me about how the recording process took place?

The Justice For All demo tape was recorded in January of 1988. We recorded it at Sound Logic Studios, same place we went for Beyond Crimson Horizon. It was of course exciting as Iíd only been in a recording studio once or twice and now we were recording some early doom and heavy metal. I was just very happy to have started things with that original line up and very proud of the work we did during this time.

3. I remember an old interview of you, 10 years ago or so, stating that 'Adagio' has been your hardest album to write: is it still the case?

HmmmmÖ Iím not sure I remember saying that but I probably did. Alone was very difficult to record because we had so many problems leading up to it. Adagio was difficult in some ways but I think really what it is that each album gets more difficult to do since I donít want to repeat ourselves too much. I refuse to put out 12 mediocre albums, Iíd rather just do less and make them totally killer no filler.

4. How would you compare, so to speak, this album to the rest of your discography?

I love it as do the rest of the band. I think it represents all sides of the band very well and also pushes the boundaries of what weíre about with some of the songs. Itís got some of the heaviest ever (Lament), some of the most strange (Personal God), and everything else in between. I love the production on it as well.

5. You're not a very productive band, so to speak: apart from composing the new album, what have you done in those past 5 years (well Robert was with Candlemass and Concept Of God, I know)?

Again I refer the answer above. Iíd rather be less productive and only put out great albums rather than just ok records. So it getís harder and longer to do each time, unfortunately. Weíre all actually very busy with our personal lives, mostly having to make a living and pay the bills. It gets harder as you get older I think since your responsibilities in life take over. Iíve been busy with my Brainticket label and mail order still, trying to survive in these tough times for the music biz, Iíve done a new Liquid Sound Company album Ė Acid Music for Acid People. Iíve also got a black metal project in the works for some time now as well. The other guys have stayed busy mostly with work and a few other musical projects as well.

6. This question will sound clichť but isn't it too difficult to have a singer being in so many different bands, when it comes to rehearsals and suchÖ

Not really at all since we are never that busy anyway !

7. SA's music has always been one filled with despair and sorrow: what brought those themes into your music in the first place?

I think this is one facet of our personalities that we like to explore within our music and art. We donít want to sit around and be depressed all day long and weíre not trying to be serious all the time, but itís just something we do to filter some of our negative and darker energies out of ourselves and through the music. Despair and sorrow are very real things that we all must deal with at some point in our lives. I think relating to it and exploring it can sometimes ease the burden when it comes along for real.

8. You're also one of the first bands in the style to have brought influences from the European Power Metal scene of the 80s in your music, when most US band in the genre at this time were incorporating more Blues and Rock elements. This is also something that stood in your music all these years, so what were the bands that you wanted to emulate with this music? Do you think that one has to be a fan first, before becoming a complete musician?

I certainly believe that you should be a fan of music if you are also a musician. It only makes sense. Of course some people become more obsessed with their own music and their own abilities and they lose the Ďfaní part of it. Iíve always been a fan of rock and heavy metal music in general and still am to this day. I always wanted Solitudeís music to be a more listening type of metal with more thought and artistic qualities to it rather than the more typical blues based or thrash based or simple minded based metal music. I grew up listening to classic metal and heavy rock and also the early 80s metal explosion and so I consider myself fortunate to have grown up during these time periods as some of the best music EVER has come out of this time. Influences on early Solitude were all over the place. I wanted to incorporate all the types of bands I loved into one package: early Judas Priest, Sabbath with Dio and Ozzy, Candlemass (of course), Metal Church, Savatage, early Scorpions, UFO, Fates Warning, Trouble, Saint Vitus, Iron Maiden, Dead Can Dance. The list goes on and on...!

9. Solitude Aeturnus is the oldest Texas Doom metal band, if my memory serves me well: you're kind of godfathers to the scene, so how do you see/live that? What are the new Doom bands from Texas one should check?

Yes, we are the oldest simply because before us, there were never any bands, to my knowledge, that were playing a more heavy and doom based style of metal in Texas. It seems unbelievable but nobody was trying to do the Sabbath heavy stuff in the 80s. A few bands might have one or two doomy songs but never a full set of HEAVY stuff. When I left Rotting Corpse in 1987, this is what I set out to do! Create a band in Texas that was DIFFERENT to the rest and HEAVIER than the rest as well!! Weíve a few good doomy bands from Texas now: Las Cruces of course, still going on and truly one of the best doom bands to ever grace your ears! Also Elliottís Keep and Kin of Ettins from Dallas, both displaying a passion for HEAVY doom and metal!! Letís not forget Mala Suerte from Austin!!

10. As one of the oldest and 'never having splitted up' Doom bands around, what would be your advice for teenagers that would like to follow in your footsteps and start a Doom band?

Always play what your heart desires!! Never bow down to what others want you to play. Try to do something different within your music. Itís difficult to do these days, but I think itís important to add some element to your sound that sets you apart from the rest. Either that or be the BEST at what you are doing.

11. Is there anything you haven't yet done with the band and that you'll like to do in the future?

Not really. I suppose we could break up and reform in 10 years and maybe headline the Wacken fest! Hahaha!

12. There was talk some years ago about you finally resurrecting Rotting Corpse for a bunch of shows, and maybe an album: shall we finally see that happen?

Iíve never intended to reform Rotting Corpse, although I have only fond memories of my old band. I think some of the other guys have done a few shows and Walter is keeping it going with a new line up, I believe.

13. I remember you have produced also some years ago the (only?) album from your friends Well Of Souls.

Yes, these were friends of mine. The band has split up but a few members are doing Project Armageddon, another fine epic doom band from Texas. I like the album quite a bit, these guys put some effort into the song-writing and playing. It was recorded for next to nothing but I like the sound overall of it.

14. And since we all know the record industry is in crisis, how is your own label Brainticket Records doing? What are the news, the bands fans should check on it?

Yes, itís a difficult time for labels these days. Iím still doing some releases for the foreseeable future. Iíve just reissued the Sorcerer CD (Epic doom metal) and my new Liquid Sound Company CD as well. Weíll do a new Blood of the Sun record in a few months and also my black metal band Black Magic Invocation sometime next year. Thanks for the interview!!

Visit the Solitude Aeturnus bandpage.

Interviewed on 2011-07-07 by Laurent Lignon.
Forever Autumn
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