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Abandoned Elysium
Interview with Abandoned Elysium!

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Draconic about touring and future

Jessie: First andforemost congrats in the scoring of being the supporting band opening for Mayhem on this leg of their European Tour (2004). Now to the question here, was it hard dropping the support for Vader tour something had to do since now being on the Mayhem tour?
Thanks for the congrats and since we would have been a support for Vader on only one local concert, then the difference between that opportunity and the Mayhem tour is like night and day - huge! Now we will blast together with one of most legendary bands in metal through Europe (17 concerts, 13 countries) and that feels so awesome I have no words to describe it. I hope everyone who can will come to the shows to see what we're all about.

Jessie: Due to changes within the band at current time was it in a way difficult in parting with Gates and replacing of other key members?
Gates was, and of course still is, a very good friend of mine and an excellent musician. But due to these qualities he was also involved in some other bands where he felt more at home, and he simply didn't have the energy to dedicate himself to everything 100%, but at the moment, Manatark needs 101% of attention from everyone, if you know what I mean. So yes, emotionally it was tough, but now we have a more dedicated line-up, and that is definitely good. Benton picking up the guitar was no problem, cause he is, in fact, actually a guitarist, and Martin was an old friend of the band and a good bassist as well, so taking him into the crew was the most obvious thing to do. Looking at the lineup I realize that we're ready to blast more than ever, and that's exactly what we intend to do on the Mayhem tour!

Jessie: Do you think the changing with the members will enhance to MANATARK's sound?
I am convinced that all the changes so far are everything for the better. The next album will be even a bigger step forward for us, that's what we intend to concentrate on after this Spring.

Jessie: What was it like playing with Impaled Nazarene, supporting their Baltic tour through Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania?
Obviously excellent! We get along really well with these crazed Finns and since the respect is mutual, it was a great experience. All the gigs went well, no setbacks, so that's a pretty solid friendship we have there. It's always a good lesson to tour with the "big ones", to see how they do things, and to learn from it. We all know that there is (luckily) no "handbook to metal", so all the lessons come from your own experience, learning from others just gets you there quicker.

Jessie: Since being with Metal Age Productions how that has been since the band has been on with them less than a year?
I am happy with Metal Age Productions at the moment. They are a small label dedicated to underground, but the work they put into distribution and promotion is staggering! It's not common for a small label to support their band so much that it can join world class tours, and apart from our own struggle we really own thanks to MAP. The relationship has lasted for less than a year, but I hope it will last for years to come, at least that's how we see it at the moment.

Jessie: Any eventplanning to play some festivals in Europe, if so which ones?
No plans made yet, offers are welcome! I think after the tour we will only do one-off gigs, or just take a time-out and concentrate on the next album.

Jessie: With recording of Chaos Engine were there any key components that went into play with the overall production of it, considering this is an album that deals with the fall of man and so forth?
I like my albums to be like a flowing stream, with no abrupt endings and starts of songs. "Chaos Engine" is definitely an album you have to listen from start to finish to get the overall feeling. It's one trip, one journey. I think that's one of the key components of Manatark's music - you have to let it seduce you and see where it takes you.

Jessie: The albumcover art is something to be mentioned was the theme of the CD, which seems to go hand in hand, was that something MANATARK wanted to convey with the combination of the bands material and the images presented in the album's image?
Indeed the artwork of the album and the music plus lyrics are trying to convey the same emotion and feeling. While writing the album I had in mind the vision of Man struggling against his creator, trying to look where he's not supposed to, trying to obtain knowledge of what he's not supposed to know. It is a story of tasting the forbidden fruit and thus knowing good and evil, it is the story of Prometheus bringing the light and thus being punished by the gods. I guess the overall motto is "going to hell and proud of it" ;).

Jessie: What is the band history on MANATARK, can you give me a brief intro as to how the band got together?
Hmm well, the story itself is a long one, but the key points are that at first it was my solo project, a kind of an outlet for all the ideas I had and couldn't realize in other bands, but the response to the first demo was so good that I thought that this band can be really more than just a studio project, so taking other members into the band was natural - we wanted to perform live, and be really good at it! All the members of the band have been "naturally" selected, meaning that they are close friends from the local metal scene, and I think that this is how it is supposed to be - in tours and such you go through lots of tough situations, and sometimes friendship is the only key for survival.

Jessie: Other acts that the band has shared a concert bill with?
Plenty of these ;), but I guess the best known would be Mayhem, Defiled, Impaled Nazarene and Borknagar - and of course a whole lot of excellent bands that were at the Inferno Festival 2002! One can say, that supporting other bands is nothing to gloat about, and it's true, but on the other hand every concert is an experience, and when you have good role-models to learn from, then the outcome can be something special as well!

Jessie: Where do you see the band within the next 5 years?
Ehh, tough one! We'll never be at the very top of metal, cause that is something we don't even intend to do. I think we'll still have our own somewhat bizarre niche of extreme metal, with only selected few people loving what we do. And of course, I hope well be better at everything we're doing right now. But we'll be around - that's for sure!

Jessie: Out of all the songs that are beautifully constructive brutal the instrumental piece Crystal is like diamonds is a sea of black velvet, what was the idea to have such a song so unlike the rest of the album to be put on Chaos Engine?
But you already said it! Diamonds in a sea of black velvet was needed to break apart the speed of the album, to seduce the listener, to strip him of all guarding weapons... only so that the next track (Devilchant) would be more lethal. I love that kind of passages in an album, I love the change in mood it brings and the atmosphere it creates.

Jessie: With the song Lies, Blasphemy, Deceit, the lines that go I had you in my dreams, Struggling to be free, yearning for salvation, throughout verbal gallantry, so welcome to my mindscape, where paths beguile the meek, No one saw you enter, no one saw you leave. Such words that have some hidden meaning, what was the idea behind this well sculpted song?
"Lies…" is where the lyrics of the album peak, this is where seducing beauty of the beast become most obvious. It is a kind of a sneer at how this weak being called human is trying to control the world around it, and to choke the beastly side of himself, thus becoming the victim and prisoner in it's own kingdom. This song is inviting the listener to take a look at the dark side of it's soul and at the same time warns, that there would be no turning back. Man thinks that he can put everything into words and thus understand the world without realizing, that perhaps it's senses are not even able to grasp everything and even if they are, perhaps there are no words to describe it. And perhaps that is for the best, cause some things are better left untouched.

Jessie: As a band does MANATARK write all the material together? Concepts of the lyrics are written on a level that are brilliantly molded with the music that takes on a new life with the words, are there any impressions with the two that guide them together so well?
Hmm no, I do all the lyrics and music, but as for other instruments, I only put down general guidelines and harmonies, everybody is free to enhance and improvise these parts the way they see fit. That kind of process is actually fastest and most optimal, we wouldn't be able to achieve so much (we all have other bands and real life duties besides Manatark), we don't have to waste time on endless discussions how something is supposed to be done, and then try to put some big jigsaw puzzle into one picture, that sounds good.

Jessie: For the new soul being exposed to MANATARK, is there anything the one should expect?
I am currently recording demos of the new material for other members, and it seems that the new Manatark is going to be even faster and more technical, with more haunting melodies and insane electronics. And with our new drummer Suss, you should get some really impressive rhythm patterns!

Author: Jessie Gough
Zine: Nocturnal Hall

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