Interview with Archaios
Archaios is a metal band from Dominican Republic, a country known for its beaches, warm weather and of course Rum. Dark Canvas Records has just released their second album “The Distant”, which is a kickass album.
I was really interested in finding out more about the metal scene in Dominican Republic. Heres my interview with Eric Cruz (Guitar and Founder) below
Congrats on the release of your new album “The Distant”, How do you feel now that it’s finally been released?
Eric Cruz : GREAT!!!!! We have struggled so much to make this happen that when you finally have the final product in your hands you just want to fill the room with tears of happiness. We have done everything in our power to release this album. It’s been five years since we started recording it. Five years! But all the effort and sacrifices we had to confront to make this possible helped us grow as a band as well as human beings.It’s just a great feeling to realize that “The Distant” has become real and is out there in the world.
Are you happy with how the album has turned out?
EC: Yes!!! We love how it sounds, it isn’t exactly what is out there in a typical metal band these days, and that is precisely what we were aiming for, to stand out from the rest, to have our own signature. Many people who have listened to the whole album say that it reminds them to the old Gothenburg sound, a sound that many of their creators cannot recreate anymore. This is really flattering, but I would say that the album goes beyond just being a recreation of that sound, it has some many different elements and moods converging and interacting together that it sounds very fresh and modern.All the time we spent making this album also did great things sound-wise, new ideas came up and this allowed us to have different perspectives about the music as the album progressed to what it is today.
“The Distant” sounds great. How long did the recording/production take?
EC: The recording process took us around 5 years. At the beginning was a self-financed effort until Dark Canvas Records showed up. We had many setbacks: running out of funds in the beginning after recording all the original tracks, the closing of the recording studio, changes in the line-up and endless problems with the mix.Of all this I think the mixing process was the most challenging thing for us.We lost 3 batches of mixes in 3 different opportunities due to malfunctioning hardware. The same story kept repeating itself with the hard drives, and I remember thinking if there was something supernatural that wasn’t letting us finish this album. We felt frustrated with the whole thing and some of the members lost faith in the project and left the band. This was never an option for me. I kept looking for new members and then out of nowhere Dark Canvas Records intervened and provided us with the resources we needed to finish the album. We sent the data to US and worked with a new engineer via email and chat. We have definitely been through hell and back with the mixing of “The Distant”.This was good for the recording and we even re-recorded some parts with the new band members which gave some freshness to the whole process.
What is the songwriting process for the album?
EC: Basically, we centered our efforts on trying to achieve the best possible arrangements and on assembling the song structures in a way that feels natural and cohesive. I’ve always said that you may not have the best riffs in the world but depending on your arrangements you can turn them to be interesting and grab the listener’s attention.You need to be aware where you want to go, what you want to achieve and how to get there.
Another thing we try to keep in mind whenever composing is the “live” aspect of the song, how the song will sound live not just how will sound in the studio. Nowadays, more and more bands are incapable to reproduce the sound on their albums because they forget the “live element”. Some things may work well for studio purposes but may not connect with the audience in a live situation. We really tried to have this in mind in every step of the writing stage. Also, it was a different situation than in our first album, because it wasn’t just a compilation of old songs but a more cohesive and collective effort. We were creating songs that could work as a whole album.
“The Distant” will be released by Dark Canvas Records, How did you get signed to them?
EC: Ramon, the owner of Dark Canvas Records,has been a close friend for many years. He even played the keyboards on Archaios’ debut album. He always wanted to do something special with the Dominican metal scene. We have been underestimated far too long and there are plenty of really good bands here. Ramon is a person with vision and determination who knows these are undiscovered territories and there is much potential. So when he moved to the States I think he started working on this project, to select a band and start the journey of promoting it. Luckily this band was us. I think he really went after the fact that we have struggled so much to survive and still, despite all we have had to deal with, are still going strong. However, he became involved with the band at a crucial moment when we had no other option but to postpone the work we had done due to running out of budget. He proposed and we happily accepted!!!
In 2006, your debut album “Out of the Shadows” was released. How was the response to it?
EC: It was excellent! I mean, for a Metal band in a Third World country!!! We manufactured I think, 600 discs and we did not expect those to run out so quickly (less than a month), we had to make a second batch of CD’s (500 if I remember correctly) and those sold really well too!! We were amazed by this, I mean, if you transpose the numbers, by that time, ¾ of the Metal population in Dominican Republic bought the CD!!! I can only imagine what it would have been like if we have had some sort of recognition in the international market at the time.
The band has been around since 1994 how did you manage to keep the band going despite the lineup changes?
EC: This is an easy question although it harbors many bad memories and sad moments. WE LIVE FOR THIS!! Plain and simple.We enjoy every aspect of extreme music, we have it in our veins, this has helped us find the patience, dedication and determination we need to keep the band afloat, even though we’ve had our fair share of difficult moments and I know they won’t stop here.Many other things may come ahead but this is the life we choose, this is the only path we can accept as valid to bring fulfillment in our lives. Also, the fact that we have had the support from past and current generations, old and new fans,has been important. Seeing their response is rewarding and always gives us the drive to keep going.
Tell us a bit about the metal scene in Dominican Republic
EC: The DR has a very small scene compared to other countries; we have limited resources and limited amount of fans. However fans and bands are very dedicated and very united, helping each other out with whatever we can.We don’t have some of the luxuries and privileges like many people in bigger scenes. Things as simple as going to see your favorite band when they’re in town is something impossible here because Metal bands from outside the country never come and play. We also have the problem of being attacked by society, authorities and politicians, they usually uses us as scapegoats for everything that is wrong in this country: corruption, social turmoil, delinquency, etc… So, as you can imagine, being a dominican Metal head can be something really challenging.
Bands from Dominican Republic that we should check out.
EC: Ad Bestia, Soul of Death(currently in the process of recording their first CD), Lack of Graves (currently Recording a Demo), Toro, Merodac (they have 2 CD’s out), Santuario (2 CD’s out), Voces en el Plasma(they have 2 CD’s out, although these are not metal per se, they are very influenced by Opeth and other Metal bands and Metal fans seem attracted by their music) these are amongst the best bands in the scene.
Who were your influences growing up??
EC: At a very early age, I was very attracted to bands like AC/DC, Motley Crue, Bon Jovi but that changed by the time I was in my teens, I began discovering Thrash, Death, Grindcore and Power Metal and by then, my destiny was sealed! There was no escape! (lol) The bands that usually grabbed my attention at that time were Slayer, Carcass, Cannibal Corpse, Blind Guardian, Helloween, Iron Maiden, Cynic, Dark Tranquility and the list goes on…
There is a tour of North America next year being planned, Any other plans??
EC: We want to go outside our country and play everywhere we can in support of the new album. Hopefully, we will be hitting the States in the summer and then Europe later next year. This requires a lot of planning because our geographical situation limited us a little on the things we want to do, but we are really excited. It will be the first time that a Dominican Metal band tries something of this magnitude!
Final words ???
EC: We would like to invite everybody out there to find the new album “The Distant” and listen to it and if they like it, then buy it. Every person that buys this album will contribute to open new doors to other Dominican bands that deserve a chance in the international arena. Dark Canvas’ commitment for the very first day was to reinvest everything on giving chances to other Dominican bands, after working very close with them, we can say that this is 100% the truth. We are also involved in supporting other benefit causes. 15% of the album sales will go to help in relief efforts for Haiti and Japan after the recent earthquakes. It’s the least we can do as a band to help people in need. More than anything, we would like to motivate people to discover new Metal music, especially in unknown scenes as Dominican Republic and other Third World countries where a lot of talent is waiting to be discovered.
Wanna know more about Archaios, watch this documentary :