Formed in 2006, Diabulus in Musica are a symphonic metal band originating in the Basque County in Spain. A recent tour with Leaves Eyes presented the opportunity to catch up with founding member and keyboard player / vocalist Gorka Elso.
Interview by Adrian Hextall / Picture Credits : Fernando Lezaun – Edited by Heile
MGM: For our MGM audience, tell us a little bit about the band if you will because in the last 2-3 years, you’ve quite a few line-up changes. It’s just yourself and your singer remaining… how do I pronounce her name?
GE: Zuberoa (su-wear-oh-wah is the best pronunciation I can offer), it means the heat of the fire something like that. It’s a Basque name. This is not easy to pronounce.
MGM: It’s not. It had me very perplexed as I was coming out to talk with you. So, tell me about the band.
GE: Well, we started like almost 10 years ago. The idea was from Zuberoa because we had played in many local heavy metal bands and she had the feeling that all her potential singing was not varied enough in these local bands, in these heavy metal bands. So she decided to start with this project, with this band to do a… to record, actually to record just an album because with our previous band we always record albums but you don’t feel… you don’t like really the sound of your music. So the goal was to record one album and be happy with that.
And well, she started writing songs. We found the members from our previous bands and in the end, we have recorded 3 albums so we are really happy. Yeah the bad thing was that in the second album all the former band members except Zuberoa and me, they left.
MGM: And that was on the back of a very positive reception to the album as well. I mean the positive reviews suggested that it seemed like you found your place.
GE: Exactly, yeah. That’s great because with Secrets (2010) people said, “what are they doing?“ This is like black metal or just heavy metal, what is this album about? And with the one album later (The Wanderer 2012), we then find the perfect balance between the hard rock guitar rhythm and the softness of the orchestra. So yeah, and with Argia (2014) we were a bit afraid because okay with ‘The Wanderer’ we worked all together writing songs and arranging all that. So now for ‘Argia’ it was just Zuberoa and me.
Okay, we have new band members but they still need to learn the old songs we didn’t have too much time to waste. So she had started to write the music and I think that as we were only 2 people involved, the latest album has much more clear direction I would say.
MGM: Less influences…
GE: We know what we want and we know how to deliver it as well. So it’s like yeah, we knew we could do a good album but we were a bit surprised by the positive reviews. We loved the album but you know you’re always afraid about what the people expect from this new album. Well the answer was incredible. We’re very happy.
MGM: And the band members that are playing with you know have been with you, what, two years maybe, for about two years?
GE: Yeah two years, yeah.
MGM: And they’re happy in that more sort of passive role of “you tell us what we’re going to be doing and we’ll put our [inaudible 0:04:17.8] on the stage and in the studio” but yeah, you guys write.
GE: Yeah, but they know what to do. I mean on stage you have to play, you have to learn the songs perfectly. But now, actually you know they also throw some ideas for their guitars and some metals for the drums. They have some ideas and for this new album, we will want to… actually I think it is good but all the members write songs.
MGM: And your last one… Argia?
GE: Argia, it’s also a Basque name. It means light.
MGM: That’s been now over a year?
MGM: So you’re touring towards the backend of that one thinking about the next one presumably? When’s number 4 going to be out?
GE: Well we have to release it in the fall next year. Well we still have to write a lot of songs and we have a couple at the moment but there are still lot of production to be done. So we’ll see what happens with this new album.
MGM: Are you going to take the same approach as you’ve done with this one as well in terms of the writing?
GE: Probably yes. I think Zuberoa’s the main writer/composer. In my case, I’m more like… I don’t like to have a defined role but I’m not good I think in writing so I prefer to produce I will say.
We work a lot on the arrangements because sometimes you write songs or you make some big arrangements but then you have to prepare that for a real choir and yeah that’s always my job.
MGM: How did you first decide to do this? Because I mean, your style of music isn’t the biggest scene for you in Spain. You know it’s a very tough one to break in to and then get international recognition as well. So where was the inspiration and how did you do it?
GE: Well I think its work, work, and work. I mean we love the genre, the symphonic metal. We certainly listen in bands like Rhapsody and we love that mixture between heavy and classical. Actually threw it on me, we are classically trained. I was played piano since I was 8 years old so on and Zuberoa also was playing flute and singing. So I think for us it was something natural to have this kind of band and referring the international thing well. Yeah, in Spain we are not… we don’t play almost never and generally we support the odd band in Spain but we don’t mind. I mean we just love this music and we just tried to play.
MGM: That’s sad of your own country. There’s a big audience for it, isn’t it?
GE: Yeah, it is. It is. We will love to also to go to South America. It would be great. We have a lot of fans there but it’s not easy. You have to find the promoters and all that, the venues and it’s difficult. But I think first of all the metal thing metal voice, I think that this was the key to access to Europe. I would say to the whole continent and yeah we have played there like 4 times or something like that. And there are all the time, or there are reviews… people from all over, different countries… I mean Europe and some also from the States and from Japan. So I think it’s a great place to just start internationally.
MGM: So it builds your network, doesn’t it? You get to meet all of the other bands, build relationships and then as a double team then you get to go out and tour with them.
And was it through a particular festival that you met Liv (Kristine – Leaves Eyes for whom DiB are supporting that night). How did you get to each other?
GE: Yeah, exactly. Yes, it is. I think it is. Actually last year, we have performed with Liv in one of the songs, yeah. We also have some friends in common and it’s great because we have played a lot with them. We are almost I would say almost friends.
MGM: How long have you been on tour then now? (London is the last night of the UK tour)
GE: 1 month, yeah we started the 5th… yeah, one month ago I think. We started in Germany and we play till the Austria, Czech Republic, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and UK.
MGM: This is just going a bit of a big blow.
GE: Yeah. Every day I have to check here, “Where I am today? Here.”
MGM: And tonight’s last of the tour?
GE: Yeah we have another show this Saturday in Spain, in our home City with an Orchestra and wow we are a bit nervous because there were many things to prepare before and going on tour. The whole tours nervous not because of its show but because of the show this Saturday. And well we were all the time…
MGM: It’s difficult isn’t it that you’re not actually there face to face to rehearce?
GE: Exactly. They sent some videos and well we are really looking forward to play with them. Actually tomorrow we have the first rehearsal not with the band but with the choir orchestra all together and the day after tomorrow with the band.
MGM: So it’s going to be very tight isn’t it?
GE: Exactly, yeah.
MGM: But exciting. Now a show like that has to be filmed surely.
GE: Yeah we want to film it. There are still things that we have to solve because as it is a huge venue in the center of the city and they have lot of restrictions because of the security. So we have to still work to place the cameras. They can move but just one step, no more than that. So it’s going to be a bit difficult but we want to record it for sure.
MGM: So you need more cameramen. If they can’t move then you just need more angles there on the place.
GE: Exactly but we cannot put more than 4 cameras, 3 or 4 cameras. I don’t remember now. Also we want to record the audio but we’ll see, we’ll see. We don’t have too much time to arrange everything. Well for sure we will record in on the video and we’ll try to make something with it.
MGM: Maybe get a DVD out of this.
GE: Yeah we will like… we will try.
MGM: Well it’s one of those things that fit naturally when you’ve got the new album coming up so next year. It’s the bonus disk for the limited edition and things like that then will pull fans towards physical product rather than downloads.
GE: That was the idea from the record company but we proposed to release just a DVD. And they say “No, no. It’s better when we release the next album. We would put that extra bonus DVD.” Yeah, but we have first to record and we will see, we can really see it.
MGM: Well best of luck. That would be excellent.