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Eye Of Solitude founder Daniel Neagoe talks to Comrade Aleks in depth about the band history and direction, along with side-project Clouds.

Interview with Eye Of Solitude .
"Eye Of Solitude started as a solo project of Daniel Neagoe, who recorded debut album 'The Ghost' in 2011 with a few guest musicians. Since then, the project has grown to the status of full-time band, almost completely switching from Death Doom to Funeral with the fourth album 'Cenotaph' (2016). Meanwhile, Daniel also created the Doom supergroup Clouds, featuring members of Officium Triste, Pantheist, Shape Of Despair, Hamferð and Imber Luminis. Clouds was originally planned as a one-album project, but then the second one, 'Departe', followed debut 'Doliu' and the work goes on. Besides that, Daniel naturally joined Shape Of Despair and Pantheist and keeps on running some studio projects. I count myself lucky, as we managed to finish this interview despite his tight schedule. The Eye Of Solitude story, the nature of its grievous spirit, some hints on future releases and the new split with Marche Funèbre (released by Hypnotic Dirge in February): these and other topics were touched on in this interview with Daniel."


Eye Of Solitude founder Daniel Neagoe.


Hi Daniel! First of all, you started Eye Of Solitude as a one man band about eight years ago, and now it looks like a full-time band with a real line-up, videos, records, regular gigs and now even a US tour on the horizon. How did your vision of the band change since you recorded 'The Ghost' full-length?

Hi Aleks, yes Eye Of Solitude started off as a one man band nine years ago actually and has gradually moved from that to an actual band and we went on to release quite a few albums. Of course the music changed over the years from doom death to funeral doom to some people's delight or disappointment.

A few guests musician helped you on 'The Ghost': why did you call them? I know that you recorded guitars for Colosus, for example. How do you see your skills as a guitarist?

I actually wrote and recorded 'The Ghost' all by myself. At that time I had recently moved in England and didn't know anyone. Colosus is again something that I did all by myself and recorded all instruments.

I am not a guitarist, I can say this much. I would rather say that I know how to play the guitar for myself rather than consider playing in a band. I am self taught, thus I am lacking the skills of a guitarist when it comes to more complicated and intricate playing.

Who was your guitar "teacher"? And how did you decide that your own skills were enough to record 'The Ghost'? Was it about a minimalistic approach to express a certain flow of mood?

I guess practicing various scales and trying to see if they're good enough skills is what made me head onto this direction. I don't have favourite guitar players because it's not my main instrument. However, it was the need to express the flow of mood as you say it and I believe that was indeed achieved. Again, I wouldn't concentrate on guitars but I do love to play them.


Eye Of Solitude current line-up: Steffan G. (guitars), Daniel N. (vocals), Chris D. (bass), Remco V (drums).


Did you reach your primal goal with the release of 'The Ghost'? Was it a self-released album?

Yes, 'The Ghost' was self released in only 50 copies. At that time it was something that I wanted to do for myself and not for the public, hence the low run of cds. I never thought it will happen to change. 'The Ghost' is very personal and I never speak about it much. It has remained a tabu subject in my book so to speak.

There's a lot of serene and peaceful sections in songs like 'Dreams Of Solitude', 'One's Cold Lips' or in the final song on 'The Ghost' - 'At The End'. The album itself has a lot of "clean" moments where the 'Awoken By Crows' EP and 'Sui Caedere' leave the impression of more intense, more aggressive, more desperate works. What drove you to these changes?

Indeed, 'The Ghost' is more towards the sound of more melodic aspect . The other albums as I previously said started to create an identity and a more defined sound. A musician's mood changes from album to album and I'm sure that's not intended unless specifically planned to change. For me it was pure unintentional and things were flowing naturally. This is how I saw the music at the moment of its birth and writing process so I didn't plan on sounding like x or y. I guess it also fit better with the idea of what solitude meant for me as the years went by.

Eye Of Solitude - 'This Goodbye. The Goodbye' (Official):


On 'Sui Caedere' you switched to vocals: did you really feel that there were people who could perform all the instruments more effectively? Or was it enough for you just to compose your part of the music and focus only on vocals in the studio?

It was a natural change to be perfectly honest. As Eye Of Solitude continued to being a proper band I left the instruments to the instrumentalists and I've taken the strings for vocals. Again there was no intention and it just felt natural to move on to vocals only. Also as ideology I couldn't have expressed the ideas and the concept of lyrics by playing an instrument and it felt only right to be not only the band's "voice" but also the concept and story teller.

As the lyrics play an important part in Eye Of Solitude, what's your approach to their creation? Do you search for more poetic forms of expressions or do you search for the right images to transfer your mood? Death Doom seems to be a limited genre lyrics-wise…

It's the exact searching for the right words to try and portray what I'm trying to express. I'm not trying to be poetic for the sake of being poetic and I'm going on the more direct approach. I do however try to have a more metaphorical approach on the lyrics and try to englobe these visions in a different aura so that the lyrics may have an exact connotation of the subject.

How did you share your duty as a composer with the other band members?

It should never be rocket science. When writing music is important to let the other musicians know what the main idea is and let their creativity flow towards a good outcome. Some parts of the music I write will be written in stone as the ideas need to be interpreted the right way. But when it comes to creativity and creative flow, it's best to let the people have their input and create their own vision on the music.

Once you said that "suicide is one of the most supreme gestures that one can do for themselves". Do you still feel that this idea is right?

Absolutely.


Live in 2018.


You recorded a Shape Of Despair cover for EP 'The Deceit' in 2013, and since 2015 you've performed drums for that band. How did that happen? How did it happen that you play in such a crazy number of bands?!

In fact there are four bands I actively play with, the rest are studio projects that have nothing to do with live activity or they are collaborations with various bands or musicians . I just love to do music and that's never going stop as long as I'm healthy haha.

The core of the next album, 'Canto III', was six tracks united as "Acts": is it a concept album? What inspired you during the work on this record?

The inspiration was Dante's Inferno. There is a strong message in the trilogy and it fitted perfectly with the concept I had for this album. And it looks like this was a milestone for our fans, a line they could never get passed by unfortunately. Looks like the album impressed so much people didn't see past it.

The 'Dear Insanity' EP is one solid composition which is split into four parts: what was your motivation when you started this experiment? Do you consider it a successful one?

I actually think this Ep is my most accomplished work with Eye Of Solitude. It's where I always wanted to get to with this band and I think it's what defined the sound as the band's identity for good. It's the style I always wanted to play and even though some received it as a major change and were afraid that the band was heading in a more dark and underground direction, leaving the so called mainstream of doom death so accessible to everyone, I saw it as a necessary change. Because all the ideas were heading that direction anyway.

Eye Of Solitude's latest full-length is 'Cenotaph'. This time you have "only" four tracks and if some parts are reminiscent of the band which was on 'Canto III', 'This Goodbye. The Goodbye' seems to be the most bitter, most desperate thing you ever created (especially taking in account the video you made for it). How did you work on these compositions? Do you see it as a new level for Eye Of Solitude, or is it just a transitional stage of the band's development?

'Cenotaph' is the most mature thing when it comes to Eye Of Solitude and the most creative of all albums. Everything is set and calculated on a transitional level continuing where 'Dear Insanity' left.

It is indeed a new stage for the band and I can only be happy we've found a true identity with which many more resonate.

Above, you said that the first three albums build a concept: did 'Cenotaph' fit that as well? Or is it another, new conceptual chapter for the band?

'Cenotaph' marks a whole new chapter in the band's musical existence but it's not that far from the other releases. It still has the same texture and structure but the sound is more evolved and homogeneous. It's matured a lot since the doom death era and falls into a more funeral doom category.



There are a lot of symphonic arrangements in Eye Of Solitude compositions, what are your influences considering classical music?

I am a lot into Sibelius and Haydn, these two are my favourites when it comes to classical music. Of course the heavy ones are also an influence however I've always considered that all classical music is an endless source of inspiration. Without it Eye Of Solitude wouldn't sound like it does and I have a lot to thank to classical music.

Can you tell that these seven years into Eye Of Solitude have shown its therapeutic effect for you?

Eye Of Solitude is extremely personal and it is my blessing but also my curse. That's all I can say for now.

Hypnotic Dirge will release an Eye Of Solitude and Marche Funèbre split this spring. What did you prepare for this record?

The song we've prepared is called 'Collapse' and it's quite a long song, summing about 17 minutes. As expected, it's in the vein of 'Cenotaph' but with more melody and also clean vocals. It's a sneak preview of what the new album will be like but not representative.

Eye of Solitude/ Marche Funèbre - 'Split':


How did you manage to organize the forthcoming US tour? What do you expect from it?

There was a lot of work put into this tour and there were many people involved in making it happen. We have quite a few fans in the states and we hope to show many others what we're made of and what European funeral doom has to bring to America.

The dates are set, but do you know the bands with whom you will share venues? Which US-based bands would you like to meet there?

At the moment there are a few bands that I know have been confirmed such as Bell Witch, Witch Mountain, Usnea and Un. Of course there would be many others I'd like to meet with there but for now the ones we will meet are always a delight and cannot but look forward to it.

Clouds seems to be your most personal project, how do you feel that the first album, recorded with an impressive number of guest musicians, turned out to be such a solid work? Moreover, the album's success demonstrates that not only these musicians but also a lot of listeners empathize with it.

Thank you, it's all thanks to the incredible musicians I've worked with on this project. Clouds is simple music which resonates with a lot of people who have lost close friends, family, themselves. That's why it's being perceived and welcomed by a lot of people. Someone had to do it. Someone had to pay homage to departed ones, for those who are no longer amongst us, but on a personal level. Sure there are many who do it now and many who have done it before and pretty sure many who will still do it. But I wanted to do it on a personal level.

Clouds - 'Do You See Me?' (Official):


I thought (and, as I understand, you thought it too) that Clouds was to be a project of one album. How did it happen that Clouds returned with the second album 'Departure' in 2016?

I guess people wanted more. And because the pain didn't stop here, I decided to continue with it all. And it will continue even after the pain is gone. Somehow both us the musicians and the people will always want to remember the reason why we keep close people in our hearts and cherish their memory .

That's interesting. I guess we can say it about the whole genre, but it looks clear in the case of Clouds that it's turned into a wide-scale channeler of people's grief. How do you see the band from this point of view?

Soon enough Clouds became the people's band too. It was amazing to know so many people resonate with its message and how much it can heal when one finds himself or herself in the image of what the music expresses.

It's reciprocal I would say. It heals me and it also heals the people who listen to this music. That is beyond amazing.


Clouds publicity shot.


You play in a few emotionally intensive bands at a time, it seems that you're always busy composing and recording. How do you find time and energy for everything?

I sleep very little haha. Jokes aside, I just love music. It's an important part of my life and I couldn't see myself not making music. I don't like to go out, I'm more of an introvert and like to spend my time doing the things I love. We only have one life and I don't want to waste it by spending time in other places than I want to be. Or doing something else that's not creative.

And how do you recover after days or weeks of playing, growling and screaming all of this?

Family time. That says it all. Physically it's repause and taking care of my throat and generally trying to recover. Every performance asks for emotion and just like the neurons, emotion needs dedication and a lot of effort.

What are you currently working on? Which of your bands or projects is a priority for 2018?

There are four albums in the making, Shape Of Despair, Clouds, Eye Of Solitude and Pantheist. That's enough for one year.

And these three forthcoming releases will make a proper point for three more interviews! But I appreciate the time you found to answer this one, so let's stop on this. Thanks Daniel! I wish you and Eye Of Solitude a successful tour in the States!

Thank you very much for allowing me to say a few words and thank you for your interest and time!


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Visit the Eye Of Solitude bandpage.

Interviewed on 2018-04-02 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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