A few months ago, I interviewed the Swiss Melodic metal band, Atropas, about general things. In this second interview about them, the frontman and guitar player, Mahmoud, and Kevin, the bass player, had time to answer a few questions about their new album released via WormHoleDeath records.
By Carla Morton
Hello to you guys and nice talking to you again, how have you been?
Mahmoud: Hi Carla, thank you very much for asking! This has been a stressful time for me, we’ve been working very hard towards the release of the album and that has taken quite the effort, but I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s been well worth it and people seem to be looking forward to hearing the whole record and those who’ve already heard it, are very excited about it. I’m well and happy!
Kevin: I’m feeling great, thank you for asking, finally done with all the work, the album is out soon, also I just finished my last exam at the university, so I am looking forward to a great time in general. Lots of shows incoming.
Finally, the new album, ”Episodes Of Solitude” is done and released via WormHoleDeath records. Tell me about it.
Mahmoud: I wanted this to be an album that a music fan, not just a metal fan, could listen to and enjoy. Episodes of Solitude has something for everyone, even my sister is enjoying it to some extent, and she hates screaming, so I’m going to say that we definitely succeeded in making this enjoyable for people outside of the metal world.
Kevin: Yes, finally! We have been working on this piece for so long now, and we are very happy and relieved that it is finally done and all went well in the end. The album itself sounds killer, its actually far better than everything than I ever imagined I could do and sound like with the band, so we are also very happy about the album, quality wise.
Who mainly wrote it and what are the lyrical themes?
Mahmoud: Well, the lyrical themes are twofold. Each song is very personal to me while simultaneously being one tenth of the whole story of the concept album. The concept revolves around a man who finds himself amidst a war he never wanted. This war doesn’t have to be a physical confrontation; it’s a conflict, a fight of some sort, nonetheless. The album, like any story, has its ups and downs and I’m personally often drawn to very bittersweet, if not dark movies and series, so this is just that, in my mind: A bittersweet story, told in the form of music, about a protagonist who could be anyone, even you, Carla, or you, whoever might be reading this, struggling with something, someone, be it an ideology, a feeling or even a person.
Kevin: The main writer was Mahmoud. I think he wrote most of the songs by himself with some inputs of us. Only some of the riffs were created in the rehearsal spot, we would like to increase that amount in the future, since we already have some killer riffs on the new record that originated from sessions with the guys. About the lyrical themes, as I already stated, the album tells a story of some certain protagonist with its ups and downs. Therefore most of the lyrics may appear rather dark. However, there is always some sort of hope or positive energy, that keeps the protagonist alive and makes him fight for another day. The feelings he encounters are strongly connected to the ones we experience with our own struggles on a daily basis. Lost Between Worlds is a good example for a song that deals with personal experiences of mine, where I tried to write about the things that went through my head, while I was in hospital after surgery. Its related to very bad physical pain, but also hope, that everything will be better soon.
Did you receive nice reviews about it until now?
Mahmoud: We’ve only received one review so far, from a Greek online magazine, reckoninghour.com. Unfortunately, the review was in Greek as well, so I had to translate that with Google translate, so I only got the gist of it. Fortunately, that “gist” was very positive, they seemed very excited about it, so I’m going to hope that the rest of the metal world is going to embrace the album as much as reckoninghour.com has.
Kevin: Yes, I think we’ve had some reviews of the album so far, and also lots of feedback. Mostly positive feedback, which surprised me, I did not expect people to react in the way that they did. You know with all the clean vocals we got something rather new in combination with this kind of heavy music, and not everybody likes this trend. But its very nice to hear that many people seem to like what we do, I certainly did not expect it that way.
Also, you have a video for the song ”Take Me Home”. How the making of it went?
Mahmoud: We went to a studio here in Zurich for a whole day. For those who have never been at a film set, this is how it basically went down. We set up our gear and firstly started to get the lighting right. Once that was done, we did some rehearsal runs for the cameramen to adjust their cameras and filming techniques, and that was already exhausting because it meant we had to perform as if it was a show, a bunch of times through. Now let me tell you what the problem was: we had just played a show with Unearth the night before and gotten home rather late, it was one of the hottest days of the year, peaking at something ridiculous like 35 degrees, which feels like a 100 in Switzerland, and the lights in that room were of no help, either. So I was sweating my ass off after like 3 minutes and had to get my make-up done after each song because my forehead was glowing again. This sounds a lot like complaining, doesn’t it? Okay, I’ll stop. Honestly, it was a very fun experience, I don’t want to drag this down. Filming was really cool and the people we worked with at Content Park were awesome, as well. All in all, it too about 10 or so hours of work on the set, and that’s without editing. Our friend and former bassist, Maxim Ritzi, edited the video for us and did an amazing job at that, so thank you, Max, as well!
Kevin: Shooting the video was very exhausting, but also lots of fun. We were in that huge hall for about 12 hours, filming 10 hours of material, so the whole schedule was very busy, but we‘ve managed to film everything we wanted. Needless to say, we are very happy with the result.
Are there any shows confirmed for this year?
Kevin: Indeed there are lots of shows planned. We are going on tour through Switzerland this fall until march 2016 or something around that time. Playing 12 shows in different citites. We are very excited. Also we are going on a UK tour in February, something like 6 or 7 shows I think.
Do you have a message for the Atropas fans?
Kevin: Stay the way you are, you are great to us, we appreciate it a lot and we will try to do the best to reward you for your continuous support the best way we can!
Mahmoud: Thank you all so much for your continuous support, love and appreciation of our work. Without you, none of this would be possible, so please keep doing what you’re doing and stay awesome!
Thank you for your time again and all the best!
Mahmoud: Thank you Carla. Take care!