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"...the first album of this Chilean band appeared to be quite sonorous and traditional Doom metal...The band fell into slumber after that. So I made contact with their mastermind, Fernando Vidal, to find out the truth..."

Interview with Condenados.
"When I was observing the artwork of Condenados' first demos and EPs, I caught myself thinking that the band must play a sinister, extreme and satanic kind of Doom metal. But the first album of this Chilean band, 'A Painful Journey Into Nihil' (Shadow Kingdom Records, 2011), appeared to be quite sonorous and traditional Doom metal of epic scale. Yes, it was dark and mournful, but not as blasphemous as Condenados' visual aspects made it seem. The band fell into slumber after that, and I was wondering if it still existed. So I made contact with their mastermind, Fernando Vidal (guitars, vocals), to find out the truth - and the truth is that a new album is almost in our hands."


Hola Fernando! How are you? How is the weather in Concepcion?

Rainy. Here it is autumn so the weather is turning cold and rainy as usual. I live in the Center/South of Chile so it´s more cold most of the time in here.

Fernando, I’ve checked the story of Condenados, and I see that you lived through a few line-up changes. Can you clarify this? Who stood at its foundation? And who are Condenados now?

The only original member of the band is me but I can separate the periods of the band in two clear stages. The first was our more rock-oriented era between 2005 and 2007, and then I decided to change the bass guitar. In that year Matías Moreno (Evil Confrontation Records Owner) took the job. The band immediately begun to change the sound into a more heavy metal doom-oriented vibe. In the next year, the drummer decided to leave the band in order to take control of his other band (a Black Metal band called Pervertor). And then Francisco Venegas joined us. That is the lineup that we have until this day

Fernando Vidal Salas: Guitar and Vocals.

So, Condenados started in 2005, and slowly - step by step, EPs after demos - moved towards its debut album, 'A Painful Journey Into Nihil', which was released in 2011 by Shadow Kingdom Records. Why did it take so long to fulfil your ideas for that full-length record?

It´s basically the lack of resources, I mean. We had no money in that time. I was just an university student just like my comrades, so you can figure it out. Think that we live in a country that as a young man you have very little options to do something for living. You can study, work, or both, but if you decide to begin an artistic career, beware, opportunities are for the few. Musically I was not clear about what I wanted as a sound for my band. I have a long range in musical tastes so I like to serve myself with all of those influences without betraying the core of what I think doom metal is. It is a constant learning process, it will end when I die.

How would you class the Chilean musical scene? I remember there was the cool Death/Doom band Mar de Grises, for example.

Chilean musical scene is huge. There are a lot of bands, and a lot of them are really good in every genre as well. Mar de Grises is one of those bands even if I don´t like their stuff but I recognize their quality. I personally prefer bands like Axe Battler, Acero letal, Death Svn, Procession. I´m waiting for what is going on with Marcha Funebre too. There are more names that I can´t remember right now but is good to see that the metal scene here in Chile is going more diverse than before.

Matías M.H.: Bass.

What is the situation with recording studios in Chile? Where do you usually record songs?

The first album was recorded in Concepción, Souvenir Studio. The second album was recorded in Rancagua, Equinox Studio and it was the best choice. Erick, the owner, made a research into our sound and together we worked really good, the results will show that. I don´t know much about other studios.

How expensive is it to record the album there?

I think it´s expensive like in every place in the world. It depends of the professionalism of the studio, equipment, time, etc. If you want to do an album with certain standards you have to do an investment.

Condenados – 'Las Puertas De La Catedral':

Your first works were grim, quite satanic Doom metal, you sang in Spanish – that’s something new for Chile as I think. What drove you to make this kind of music, in that manner?

I don´t think that our music was or is satanic, but I'll take that as a compliment. We always wanted to shock people with our obscurity and heavy sound, yet melodic and solemn. Lyrically we play with a wide variety of influences. Since occultism, literature, philosophy, religion dogma, etc. We want to reflect the chaos of the human beliefs and the contradiction that drives to the void, a meaningless existence.

I was meaning the artwork of your early EPs – 'La Iniciacion', 'Promo Sepulcro II' and 'La Gran Muerte'. They look really blasphemous, why did you pick up these ones to complete your music?

It all have to do with the music. The art must reflect that, it will be a reflection of the sound or it would not have sense at all. Every work we do is conceived as a whole.

What inspired you when you wrote the material of 'A Painful Journey Into Nihil'? What had influences upon you?

In that time I was really inspired by the Malleus Maleficarum book. I like the history of the Catholic Church, specially the Inquisition Era, when the madness of religion showed us one of his worst face. There is a mix of mystical frenzy and an interpretation of the nihilism in the end of the human journey.

How does the church work in Chile? For example, here in Russia it supports government in the same manner as in medieval times: spreading prejudice and pushing people down into ignorance. How did your hostility to the church appear?

Chile must be the most Catholic country in this part of the world. Here the church always make their judgment over the laws and the people and there is an entire social group involved in economic politics who are also hardcore Catholics freaks. Chile is a Christian country. My hostility is not just against the Church, is against every form of thought that denies Knowledge and self - emancipation. It does not matter your religion or your philosophy, I stand for total freedom, that is my final inspiration and I want to explore the dark recesses of the mind and soul just to find the light that will free us all.

There are songs with Spanish and English lyrics on this album: how did you choose which one to use for each song?

It depends basically on the sound. Sometimes we think that there are songs made to be sung in English, just because they sound great that way. Other songs must be sung in Spanish for the same reason. It all has to do with a phonetic perception along the way the instrumentation of the songs. We try to express the feeling not only through the sound of the instruments but the vocalization and the phonetics of it.

What was the most inspiring feedback you got for 'A Painful Journey Into Nihil'?

We did a short tour in Chile and Perú that year, the gig in Lima, Perú was awesome. A lot of people interested in our music and the other bands were amazing.

Arcano: Drums.

Do Chilean metal heads support Condenados enough? What about a Doom community in your region?

I don´t know really. We never aimed to have a big support here in Chile until now, we are aware that this is important but we are always about the music, if the people here like it, very well. If not… they are free to like whatever they want. I don´t know either about a Doom Community here, at least not organized as in other countries. Every band stands and moves on their own.

Fernando, there hasn't been much news from Condenados since the album was released, about five years ago. What have you been doing all this time?

I was creating songs, modifying other ones, creating new lyrics, thinking, rethinking, we had a lot of rehearsals in that time but I was also involved in other musical projects that did not prosper as I wanted. I have a lot of ideas that I want to materialize soon, some of them are far away from Doom Metal. I was finishing my career, I am a Spanish language teacher, that is my "official" job, and it´s a very demanding one. One day I decided to continue the compositions of the songs for the new album for Condenados and with the help of my comrades we finished it.

And can you share more details of the record you're working on now?

The sound will be more classic-oriented doom metal with heavy influences of the '70s hard rock. It is going to be far more dynamic than the first album, very mid-tempo oriented songs and sometimes even faster. More direct and raw. We feel more free now, we learned a lot through the years so the music is going to reflect that.

Condenados – 'The Tree of Death (trailer)':

How will you develop the influence of the '70s rock? Will you add Hammond organ, or something?

It´s not about the clichés, I mean, those influences have more to do with the attitude and of course the sound, in a way that we feel that in this album we are more free than before. We learned a lot about our own mistakes so we just let go our minds and our passion. I believe that the '70s was a lot to do with this, do what thou wilt.

'A Painful Journey Into Nihil' was released by Shadow Kingdom Records: how did they find you? And does the label plan to release your second album?

The label found a demo we recorded and we uploaded in an old website, then they offer to us to make a deal so we took it. We are planning to release this second album with the same Label for now.

How soon do you plan to finish the new album? How many songs do you already have for it?

I believe it will be finished I a couple of months... I don´t want to give more details

Chile hasn’t got a well-known Doom scene, so here is the question: how do you usually organize gigs there, and do you play abroad with Condenados?

No, we don´t. The few times that we played here in Chile they were gigs organized by others bands, labels or groups of people that love doom metal or classic metal as well

Thank you for the interview Fernando! Please don’t forget to let me know when you have the new album ready - I wish you all the best in finishing it as soon as possible. Good luck!

You are welcome; of course you and everybody will know when the album is ready. I just want to say one thing: start to burn.

Click HERE to discuss this interview on the doom-metal forum.

Visit the Condenados bandpage.

Interviewed on 2016-05-04 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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