Interview with Downfall of Gaia

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Downfall of Gaia’s recently released fifth opus Ethic of Radical Finitude has rapidly become one of my favourites of 2019 already. It’s a very strong album of post-black metal and I implore you to spend some time with it.

Guitarist/vocalist Dominik Goncalves dos Reis gave me some more information about the process that saw the creation of the album…

What are your influences?

I guess we are influenced by a lot of stuff. All of us are into all kinds of music as long as it’s good and as long as there is some kind of emotion (in what way ever) delivered by the artist. So in the end it’s not that easy to answer this question but of course if we would have to break it down Downfall of Gaia is definitely influenced by a lot of artists from Black Metal, Doom, Sludge and even Post Rock.

Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend

1. New record by Hope Drone from Australia (not released yet)

2. Idle Hands – Don’t Waste Your Time

3. Bohren & Der Club of Gore – Piano Nights

4. Choir Boy – Passive with Desire

5. Uada – Cult of a Dying Sun

Tell us about your latest album Ethic of Radical Finitude – what does the album title mean and why did you choose it?

I was talking to our bass player Toni about the lyrics I wrote for the new record. Usually he always delivers the names for our records. A few days later after we talked about all of this he called me and came up with the idea of naming the record “Ethic of Radical Finitude”. Basically these four words are the perfect plot for what’s happening on the album.

How would you compare Ethic of Radical Finitude to Atrophy?

I would say it’s a natural development. We did a few things different on Atrophy as we did on our earlier releases but for Ethic of Radical Finitude we combined these two worlds. The more early aspects of our sound combined with the path we took on Atrophy. Ethic definitely has elements from all of our releases.

Downfall of Gaia Band

I’d say that overall this new album is more melodic and has a more black metal vibe than some of your previous work, at least in places. What are your thoughts on this?

I absolutely agree with you! It’s definitely our most melodic release to date. But I would say that this is also some kind of progress. As the years pass, the more melodies and influences will find its way into your sound. Maybe also some melodies and arrangements you never thought you would like to play some day.

You have a few different guests on the album, including former drummer Johannes Stoltenburg and guitarist Peter Wolff. How did this come about and what did they contribute?

Adding some guests to the record was something we figured out after all of the songs were written. It just felt right to add these kind of “specials” to certain parts, it was pretty intuitive. Peter and Johannes delivered an “electronic” vibe to the record, their parts. After our ways split a few years ago both of them started new projects, more synthie ones. I always liked their new direction so in the end Johannes delivered some drone parts and Peter and me worked together for a whole song. Really happy with how this turned out!

Nikita Kamprad from Der Weg Einer Freiheit also guests doing some vocals. Tell us about this collaboration

Besides being friends with Nikita and Der Weg einer Freiheit since we toured together for the first time in 2015, we are also big fans of his voice. I was brainstorming about who could be the guest singing that one part and Nikita came directly to my mind. I simply asked him and he was directly into it. Few days later he went to the studio and took care of his part. In my eyes his voice delivered a whole new dynamic to the song!

One of the more striking guest spots comes from Mers Sumida of Black Table, with her spoken word recital of a poem. Can you give us some background to your connection to Black Table, (including that of your current drummer), and what this poem is and why it was chosen

We know Mers from touring together in summer 2013. We were touring together with Black Table for a 4 week tour through the states, sharing the same van. That’s also the tour where we got to know Mike for the first time. She recently moved to Berlin (where we recorded parts of the record) and it was an easy thing for her to join us in the studio. Her voice was exactly what we were looking for. Giving the song a desperate and very emotional touch! The poem she is reading is “Nothing but death” by Pablo Neruda. It’s very bleak but also describes the topic of death a bit different than usual I would say. Loved it from the first time reading it and it was the perfect fit for the record.

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How was the album written? I understand it was quite a dispersed affair with members of the band working electronically?

Mike and me are usually preparing demos and songs at home and as soon as a whole album is done the four of us get together and start to work on all the details. So in the beginning I usually record at home. Pretty simple. There is not really a concept it’s more intuitive, it has to feel right. After that things slowly grow and take shape and you get an idea of where the whole thing could go. As soon as a whole demo song is recorded Mike and me start to exchange drum ideas and the drums get programmed. When there is enough material for an album, enough demos and a rough path the four of us get together and start to work together on the skeletons, start to work on more details. This is how it usually happens.

What’s your favourite song on the album and why?

Tough question because right now I’m still very connected to all of the new ones. But I guess it’s “We Pursue the Serpent of Time”. It’s the most dynamic one with lot’s of ups and downs. Some kind of emotional journey I really enjoy.

It’s only a short time into 2019…what are your plans for the year?

For now it will be touring. In March we will support The Ocean also bringing us to the UK! In April we will be on the road with Mantar and in May we will hit Russia and eastern Europe for a few shows. Wacken and Summer Breeze festivals for summer. Besides that we are working on the second half of 2019 but nothing I can tell right now.

Any final words?

Thank you very much for having us! Hope to see some of you at the upcoming shows!

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