Eudaimony is a band created to be pure, to be real, to express true feelings, full emotions, and let the real artistic side of the musician to manifest in its complete integrity. I managed to talk to the lead singer Matthias Jell: obscurity and negativity is the key of his and the band performance, but it turned out is a very kind person, a real one. His answers to my questions are full of truth, reality, far away from any show business attitude. Here the human side of one of the great singers of the scene. This is the man we all used to know as “Azathoth”. (versione italiana)
Hello Matthias, it’s such a honor for me to have the chance to interview you. Congratulations for this amazing “Futile” album… I really loved it, I gave it a very high rating and even ended buying it myself! Let’s go with the questions… So: I wasn’t really aware of Eudaimony project until I got it for the review. Indeed the band formed in 2007 or about, but only managed to debut recently with this superb album. What happened in these five years?
The other members were focussing on their main-bands basically. This goes especially for Marcus, who is responsible for the whole songwriting in Eudaimony. Actually we already signed a deal with German label Prophecy Productions in 2008, but they kicked us out because of our inactivity or with other words: laziness. We never felt any time pressure in Eudaimony. For us it’s a project in which anything can happen or not. And who knows, if the album would be finished already, if we wouldn’t have found a new label with Cold Dimensions in the end of 2012. This finally pushed us to move our lazy asses.
Also, when I read the line up, I didn’t immediately connect who you were. I knew you as Azathoth, so I didn’t really connect your real name to your stage name (I am not great in remembering names!). Why did you drop “Azathoth”?
We all use our real names in Eudaimony. For a good reason: we don’t want Eudaimony to be seen as a Black Metal band. Therefore: no artist names, no corpse paint. Just us. Azathoth did not disappear for all eternity. That’s for sure. For me, Azathoth is just a synonym for the darkest side within me and I will definitely re-call it from the shadow world, when the time is right.
Let’s talk about “Futile”: listening to it, mostly listening to your voice joining in after 51 seconds it started, I had a massive flash back. I was feeling the same shivers I got listening to one of my favorite black metal bands, and one of my most favorite albums of all times. I am talking about “Séance” of Dark Fortress, an album I desperately love, and most of it is due to your impressive and emotional voice. It’s amazing how your voice, or maybe your input in the songwriting, gave me THAT feeling. Can you tell me what was your exact role in creating this album? Lyrics? Music? Arrangements? Concept? Overall idea?
Like in former band I wrote all the lyrics again and told Marcus, what I wanted to express with those lyrics and which feeling and atmosphere we should go for in that particular song. He did all, or better said, most of the songwriting and arrangements then.
After those 51 seconds, I grabbed the press info (I never read them BEFORE listening…) and went deeper into it, finding out that among the others, there’s another guy that means something for my music tastes: Marcus Norman (aka Vargher) of Naglfar. That’s another band I love badly, with some albums that I’d place right to next to above mentioned “Séance”. Is it possible that some great feelings of Dark Fortress and Naglfar are somehow getting together and materializing into Eudaimony’s music?
I wouldn’t say, the music of Eudaimony is close to either Dark Fortress or Naglfar. The only thing comparable, is my voice. But that’s about it. All in all our aim was to create something we never did before in any of our other or former bands/projects.
Apparently bands’ music topic is focused onto “sick, disturbing and negative”. I also find some deep emotions and somehow some feelings getting touched and expanded (rather than disturbed). Negativity and pessimism are widely expressed. Can you tell me more about that “sick, disturbing and negative”, explaining where you want to go with this project and this music?
This is just a little phrase Marcus and me used in the beginning to describe our creation. For us, Eudaimony is like a mirror for society. We show ’em the way we see them. The way they appear in our eyes. And for us society is nothing but sick, disturbing and negative.
Another quote from band’s declaration: “negativity in its purest form”. Negativity is somehow a common topic on extreme and obscure genres of music. Given how high I rate your singing (I am really putting this question as a mad fan would, isn’t it?), I’d like to know, to understand, what “Negativity” for you, and how much of your personality, own feelings and own life you pour into it, generating THAT singing.
I always put ALL of my soul into my vocals. That’s why it’s mostly me writing all the lyrics, because when I do music, it has to reflect my innerself and my way of thinking. I could never start an own band singing about topics I’m not into. Because then I would just be an actor playing a role for the audience out there and that was NEVER the reason for me to do music. I don’t care about other people and I never did music “just for fun”. I always did music, because I felt I had to do it! And as long as I have this feeling within me, I will do music like this and I will write lyrics like this. I don’t care, if it’s unique or original, because this is truly me. And I’m sure the listener can hear that on each of my releases.
“Futile” is black metal, but also something with deep emotions, melody, atmosphere. Where is the exact balance and how do you tune it while composing the tracks?
No, “Futile” is no Black Metal at all. Nothing religious on it, no blast beats, no furious guitars, no artist names, no corpse paint. All we wanted to do, is to create dark and doomy music and that’s what we did. I know, that labels and especially magazines ALWAYS need to categorize bands, but we don’t.
Again talking about singing, you got a mate in this album that really touched me. I am talking of the great performance of Mick Moss on “Portraits”. Who wrote the lyrics? How was this somehow “relaxed” song created?
All the lyrics on the album are written by me. Mick was so kind to bring the lyrics of “Portraits” into the right form. Something I really appreciated since he is the native English-speaker not me. The lyrics to “Portraits” are sort of a ballad I wrote a couple of years ago, when I parted ways with a Greek girl. So the lyrics meant a lot to me and I felt, Eudaimony is the right tool to bring those words into music. But since I am a horrible clean singer, it was clear pretty early, that we’d need a guest vocalist on that song. We’re all huge fans of Mick Moss’ way of singing, so it was and still is a great honour for us, that he joined us on “Portraits”. He did a brilliant job.
The core of the band is half german (you) and half norwegian (Marcus). Ok, technology helps communications and creating music when wide apart, but to create such music you must feel it, be together, sit down together and write songs somehow. Am I right? How do you guys manage to work together given the distances? (Editor’s note: my mistake here… I said “Norwegian” while Marcus is Swedish. Here we hate censorship, so we do not even hide our mistakes. Moreover Matthias’ answer is pretty funny on the origin topic, so not cut could ever be done by our side!)
Oh, I doubt, Marcus will be too happy to read that, since he is from Sweden and not from Norway (laughs, editor’s note). Actually three of us are German, while Marcus is the only Swede in Eudaimony. Apart from the fact, that Marcus is extremely slow and lazy, when it comes to answering mails and stuff, it’s quite easy to work together with him. Like I said before: I told him about my visions for the particular songs, he told me about his ideas and we found out, that in most of the cases, our views were identical. So he composed the songs, recorded them in his home-studio and sent ’em to the rest of the band. In case we were all into them, we took the song on the album, but if we didn’t like it, we dropped it.
Guests: I mentioned Mick, but there are other great musicians on this album. How did you manage to have them in and how did you organize their work on the album?
Apart from Mick, there was only Schwadorf of Empyrium/The Vision Bleak involved on “December’s Hearse”. He’s a long-time pal of mine and I recorded my vocals for the album in his studio “Klangschmiede Studio E”. We needed some clean background vocals for the chorus of the song and he loved to join it.
The band has two more great members in line up: Jörg Heemann (Thrawn Thelemnar) on drums and Peter Honsalek… and it’s Peter that makes me think. Usually on black metal bands you may have a steady keyboard player (typical in many line ups) but this side is also taken care also by Marcus, if I am right. So to have a STEADY band member taking care of Pianos and Viola isn’t really a common decision. Usually you get a guest, or an external performer, that’s how it usually works. So if you guys wanted him as a part of the band, it really tells a lot about where this music is going. Can you explain me how you met up and band together to form Eudaimony?
I knew Peter for a quite while (as well as Jörg) already. In my opinion, the viola was and still is a great opportunity to enrich our music. Moreover Peter is extremely skilled on his instrument. All in all this offers us a wider range of variety and in my opinion, the viola is one of the saddest sounding instruments outthere. So, it’s like being made for us.
What I find really disturbing (and that’s great) is the cover. Benjamin Borucki of Sonic Reign did it. How was it created? Did you give him some hints and ideas or was it purely his art and inspiration?
The whole artwork for the album is created by Ben. He did such an awesome job! The visual concept was basically my idea. I told him exactly, what I wanted to have. For example the picture, where the little girl is pouring out the sandglass, but instead of sand, there’s ashes in it. This is quite symbolical for the concept I had in mind for the album: basically children stand for innocence, happiness and the beginning of life, but my idea was to mix it with everything negative this life has to offer and to show, that death is always there for us, from the moment on we’re doing our first breath.
A curiosity of mine: what does the moniker really mean?
Eudaimony literally has a Greek origin. “Eu” means “good” and “daimon” means “spirit”. Eudaimony stands for the utter happiness of a human soul. Marcus and me found it quite disturbing to use such a positive word for such a desolating music.
And then an obvious question: What’s next? Shall we expect another album? When? Shall we (me fully included) wait for some few years more?
Not sure about another album to be honest. Again, anything can happen or not. I know, normally I should say here “expect the unexpected”, but I don’t expect a new album within the next couple of years. I don’t even know, if there ever will be another album or if “Futile” will stay our only output
Obvious question again, sorry, but you can expect it: live plans? Would Italy be included (expect me on first row!)?
No live plans yet and I don’t think, we’ll be ever on stage with Eudaimony for several reasons. We never rehearsed together thus far, simply because it wasn’t necessary, but for a concert it would be necessary. So, one reason are the high travel costs, that no concert organizer would pay for a “new” band like us. Another reason is, that we simply wouldn’t fit into a usual metal billing. I couldn’t imagine our music being performed on one of those crappy summer festivals in the afternoon between Thrash-, Death- and whatsoever metal bands in front of a completely drunk audience. You see, low chances.
Ok Matthias. Many many thanks for your time and kindness. Please close this interview saying something you want to readers of Metalhead.it and the Italian fans, both old one (previous project of you all) and new one (Eudaimony ones!). Thanks again!
Thanks for your support! May death be our last excuse.