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With their sophomore release 'Of Loss And Grief' now out, and some major band changes behind them, it seemed like a great idea to catch up with AT's Riccardo for a proper chat.

Interview with Aphonic Threnody.
"At few years ago Aphonic Threnody seemed to be just about the most prolific Doom band on the planet, but then there was a significant break - by their standards - before the sophomore full-length, 'Of Loss And Grief', emerged in late 2017. Having kept in touch with co-founder Riccardo Veronese over the intervening years, it seemed like to good moment to catch up formally with how the band has evolved and changed since the early 'First Funeral' EP."

Today's interviewee, Riccardo Veronese, co-founder of Aphonic Threnody.

Hello Ricc, and welcome back! It's been a few years since our last interview, so perhaps you could start with a quick refresher introduction to our readers?

Hey Mike, itís great to be back and catching up. Iím the co-founder of Funeral Doom band Aphonic Threnody. Iím mainly the guitar and bass player of the band.

Site regulars will have noticed your name appearing quite regularly in our Reviews section. From my point of view, it's been a great pleasure to have you as a contributor - how have you enjoyed the experience? What are the best - or worst - things about being a reviewer?

Thanks Mike. Hopefully I can get back to doing some reviews again this year. Well I guess from my point of view itís stepping back from what I like and dislike and really digging into the concept of the album. What were the band's ideas and creative input when making the album. Itís great that it opens you to new bands that you may have not heard before but also as being in a band and musician it can be difficult when giving a negative review. You have to separate yourself and not think like a musician but be objective. After all this is someoneís work and needs to be respected.

As a musician yourself, do you find writing reviews helpful to your own development? What I mean is, does putting criticisms and observations into words give you a better perspective on things you do yourself, perhaps instinctively or without usually having to think about them?

I think since I started I have definitely moved more into production and the finishing of a project. Itís opened my eyes a lot to how bands present their work from the packaging to the mixing and mastering side of it. Musically I have my own direction but it has still given me some insight to whatís good and whatís bad.

Aphonic Threnody discography: 'First Funeral' (EP, 2013), 'Immortal In Death' (Split with Ennui, 2014), 'Of Graves, Of Worms And Epitaphs' (Split with Frowning, 2014), 'When Death Comes' (2014), 'Of Poison And Grief - Four Litanies For The Deceased' (4-way split, 2015), 'Of Loss And Grief' (2017).

Last time we spoke, you'd not long released the 'First Funeral' EP. An awful lot happened shortly afterwards, with various splits and your full-length debut all coming out in the following year. What was the highlight of the 2014 releases, as far as you were concerned?

Releasing 'When Death Comes' was my highlight of the year as it was our debut album. So much effort was put into it and Iím very proud of the album as a whole. We made a video off of it as well which was played at various exhibitions in Europe. The concept was about death but I think it evolved to a bigger scale with the video.

And of the rest, what would be your honourable runner-up, and why is that?

The EP we did with Frowning. Val is such a talented musician and one I highly respect. He is young but already is showing great promise. Iím excited to see what else he brings and I loved working on this split with him.

There have been quite a few changes since then, most notably the departure of your co-founder Rob Mura. Does that mean Aphonic is really 'your' band now, moving forwards, or is it still pretty much a joint and democratic enterprise with guys like Juan onboard?

Me and Juan have decided to join forces and really try take Aphonic onwards. Juan has bags of experience and we work extremely well together. We are tightening it up a bit so we may use less guests from now on and really try find ourselves.

Current line-up: Juan Escobar C. and Riccardo Veronese.

You also lost drummer Marco along the way, but managed to hook up with Riccardo from Void Of Silence as a replacement. That's a band I really rate highly, how did you manage to get him involved?

Originally Riccardo was onboard for a remix and remaster of 'When Death Comes' which has new music as well as some new guests. It was something we were planning as well as an acoustic version of our latest album. We will see what happens now that Rob has left with these.

Marco also used to do all the mixing and mastering, something you've had to take over for the latest full-length. What was the learning curve like for that - was it something you'd already experimented with, or did you come into it completely cold?

I had previously done a sound engineering course years back so had some experience with the overall process as well as spending loads of years in various studios at the desks. It was still a huge learning curve but Iím very happy with the end result. Overall I have had no negative feedback from anyone about the mix and mastering but Iím sure there will be loads I can do better. We are all striving for perfection.

Haha, well you certainly have a better ear for soundstages than I do, but I heard the early versions of 'Of Loss And Grief' and thought they were pretty much spot on. There's a lot more detailing in the final album versions - how much of that was added during 2016/17, and how much of it came out of tweaking the original recordings.

I had originally finished the mixing in July but as I knew it was not coming out till October we had time so I pretty much left it alone for a month to give my ears a rest. Once back in the studio I could pick up on things that I had missed. Also like yourself Mike you had a early listen to it so that feedback was crucial. Some things I would do differently with the leads, frequencies etc but itís still a great album for me. Giving myself that breathing space is so important for the final touches.

Aphonic Threnody - 'Of Loss And Grief' (Full album):

So, are you planning to continue with the recording, engineering, and producing side of things in future?

Yes definitely I will work with Juan and we will complete future projects together. Juan is producing our next split so we will join forces on the next album.

There was a pretty big gap, by your standards, between the last bloc of releases and the sophomore full-length. Have you purposefully stopped doing splits and shorter releases, or is that just the way things happened to work out?

We actually had planned a split release with My Shameful so when that fell through this was the gap. We had started recording the first track. I hope we can still use it somewhere down the line.

I reviewed 'Of Loss And Grief' recently: does that seem like a fair description to you? Are there any comments, good or bad, you'd like to add to that?

I think it was a great review. Everything seemed to be what I was trying to convey through the music. There are not many bad points that I have heard so overall itís been great. Unfortunately we have not had too many reviews which has been a real shame. I think the album slipped a bit under the radar.

Line-up for 'Of Loss And Grief': Riccardo, Juan, Rob Mura.

What would you say was the biggest or most significant difference, for you, between 'When Death Comes' and 'Of Loss And Grief'?

I would say leaving room for everything to breathe. The production is much better I feel and not so suffocating. When you listen loud it still carries the same feel and dynamics. Less compression and more tone to the guitars. I always felt the music was trapped and a few big labels felt it as well.

Some people still point to 'First Funeral' as the best of your works, and seem to want a "better" version of that to define Aphonic with. Do you feel there's any unfinished business as far as delivering a supercharged version of that is concerned, or are you happy with the way the band has evolved in a somewhat different direction?

This has been on my mind since 'First Funeral'. Loads of people have said the band has not evolved, itís not as heavy as 'First Funeral'. Nothing original since then but I highly disagree. We have evolved tremendously in terms of direction and what the albums and concepts have presented. It has been a journey, progressively getting more melodic. People said they wanted more leads so we gave them more leads, we introduced female vocals etc. Sometimes itís never enough. The future is getting darker and returning to a heavier feel anyway. That was always my plan with AT. The next album may well be in some way a natural follow on to 'First Funeral'. I already have started work on it and itís sounds real good. The last album was about loss so naturally this new album will be about rebirth, recreation etc.

Aphonic Threnody - 'First Funeral' (Full EP):

Back in our last interview you said that Funeral Doom was quite new to you. Do you feel you've become much more a part of it since then? And which elements of the genre do you particularly keep in mind when you're working on Aphonic material?

Yes definitely, also writing reviews has helped me understand Funeral Doom a lot more. Iím always trying to keep in mind the slowness of the genre and also that there is no time constraint on the songs.

Speaking of working on material: you're involved in several other projects. Do you concentrate on one at a time, or do you get different inspirations at the same time. And do you ever start working on something for one band and decide it would actually be a better fit for one of the others?

Iím actually in the process of cutting the amount of bands that I am involved in. Sometimes you are writing music and all of a sudden you immediately know it fits the other band. I try to write for bands separately but have freedom to express and explore if needed.

Live in 2013.

Since the band is very much international, how do you all cooperate on any given composition? Is there a set order to who does what, and how it gets built up into a final version?

I used to create the music and main structure of the songs. It would then be sent to Marco for drums. Rob would then record his vocals. Keys would be added then me and Rob would tweak anything we felt needed changes. Guests at this stage would contribute to the songs. Now with it being just me, Juan and the live drummer we use itís a lot easier. Juan is much more involved in the creation of the songs.

I believe Rob wrote the lyrics - do you have anyone lined up to cover that, as well as fulfil vocal duties? He'll be a hard act to follow: do you see the band having to change at all to work with someone else?

Juan has taken over vocals and he is sounding amazing. We are both contributing to the lyrics and concepts going forward.

Any idea what you might do next? Are there any firm plans for Aphonic Threnody in the pipeline? And do you have anything else underway with your various other projects?

We have a split we are working on and also the new album as well.

Thanks for talking to us today, it's been a pleasure as always! And if there's anything you'd like to add, the last words are yours...

Just as always Mike thanks for your support. To our fans it is always great to share our work and feelings. We are working on a new split which is sounding really heavy. New album is also under way for next year. Looking forward to another year of great releases from everyone. Chat soon.

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Visit the Aphonic Threnody bandpage.

Interviewed on 2018-04-02 by Mike Liassides.
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