Diabulus In Musica
Interview With Zuberoa Aznárez
10th November 2015
Interview by Jacob Ovington
Photography by Graham Hilling
Diabulus In Musica are a symphonic metal band from Spain, but unlike many other bands in the genre they’re not just aspiring to emulate the best known bands in the genre. Their music crosses the boundaries between many different styles and they wouldn’t want to be like anyone else. We caught up with the band’s vocalist Zuberoa ahead of the last show of their first tour in the UK.
To start with, can you give us a bit of background on the band and how you formed?
We all came from other local bands in Pamplona, our city, and we decided to create a new project. I think it was in 2006 or something like that, well, we really didn’t have any expectations other than to record a good album, because with our previous bands we weren’t really happy with the results. So, we said, “let’s create something different”. Our two passions were classical music and metal, so we decided to try and record an album with an orchestra and a choir and all these elements we really liked. That’s how we started, then we recorded our first album in 2009 and released in 2010 with Metal Blade. We weren’t expecting to achieve that goal, signing with a label. We just wanted to record an album. We were really lucky and able to release it internationally.
What is the meaning behind the name Diabulus in Musica?
Diabulus in Musica is a medieval term, a musical term. I come from the classical field, also from metal of course, but I really like early music. I have studied singing and specialised in early music as well, so Diabulus in Musica was a very familiar term. And I also like it because it represents the dark side of our music, the evil and the symphonic music, so I thought that the name was perfect for us because of that.
How would describe your sound?
A mixture between many different influences, many things. You could say symphonic metal because we play with orchestras and choirs, but we have many many more influences. If you listen to our latest album Argia you can see that it’s also medieval music, there’s also even ambient or new age sounds. I also really like folk music and world music so I think you can see clearly all my influences. I would say we’re really an eclectic band.
How did you first get into music?
My background is metal because since I was a teenager I listened to metal music and classical music,because I started to study classical music when I was 8 years old as a child. That’s my main background, but as I said before I really like listening to folk music and music from different countries around the world, also new age. My background is really huge. Regarding the other band members, they have a bit of everything. Gorka like myself, also comes from the classical scene. He’s a pianist, and he’s also liked metal since he was a teenager. And the others, we have the new members because the others left three years ago. The new members, within the metal scene come from the more modern types. They come from metalcore. If I say metalcore, they’re going to say “no it’s not metalcore”.
Everybody says no to metalcore.
I don’t really know about the new genres but they come more from that side of metal music.
Who are you biggest influences as a band?
I couldn’t tell you. I don’t know, because we don’t really look up to any other metal bands. We like many different styles, so it’s really difficult to compare.
So it comes from within?
Yeah, I think our music is different from other symphonic metal bands because we have, actually, different influences so it’s difficult to say.
If you could be in any band other than your own, which would it be?
Just mine, of course.
So you wouldn’t want to be in any others?
No, because I don’t consider myself only as a singer. I have studied singing, but I have also studied music in general, so I myself also compose, I play instruments. I think that I would make no sense for me to be in another band, because I created my own to make my own music. I just wouldn’t like to be in another. Of course, I would like to collaborate in many projects, and I do sing for other bands as well. But I wouldn’t be the singer of any other band. I wouldn’t want to do it for anybody but myself.
What are the biggest challenges of being on tour?
Well, coping with four guys in a caravan for a whole month. We’ve had lots of fun, of course, but it’s also been hard because first of all I’m pregnant so it’s not the same. It makes it a big challenge. I also had to cope with a cold. You’re not at home obviously, you have to sleep in the van. You’re not in a hotel, you’re not in your home. You cannot eat whatever you want, so it’s quite hard. It’s lots of fun too, though.
What is the strangest experience you’ve had on tour?
Have we had any?
Gorka: Not drinking beer after the show. We love beer, but we haven’t had any.
Being sober is the strangest thing that’s happened?
They say that we’re like monks and nuns. Everybody thinks we’re really weird people.
It’s been over a year since your last album, has any work started on the new one?
Just a little bit. We’ve already written two or three songs, but we have to finish them. We have to start with pre-production and then write the others for the rest of the album, because we would like to release a new album in 2016. That will be next year in the fall. We have lots of things to do.
A lot of the time people look down on female fronted metal bands and dismiss them as not being real metal, has this been a challenge for you and what do you have to say to people with that view?
It’s a term that I don’t like at all. I don’t think about whether the singer is a man or a woman.
It doesn’t change the music.
For me, no because I’m doing music. I write the songs, but anyone could sing them as well, we could have a male singer do our songs, in a different tone maybe. The important thing for me really is the music. You can say symphonic metal of course because of the elements. We have very heavy songs and we have very soft ballads, so I don’t really see it as a genre. Something I don’t like is when people see that you’re a female singer, they’re like oh no another female metal band, but have they listened to the music? When you listen to the three albums and then say, OK it’s a copy of whatever I will accept that you think so, but you have to listen to the three albums.
People jump to conclusions, they compare any band with a woman in it to any band with a woman in it without listening to the music.
That’s the problem.
There are lots of symphonic metal bands around, what makes you stand out from the crowd?
I’ll say what I said at the beginning, that we have a lot more influences than the others. When I listen to other symphonic metal bands, I don’t listen to them a lot to be honest. I don’t really like, well there are some bands I like, of course, but there are a lot of them that all sound the same. I stopped listening to this kind of music because I started to feel bored. There are some bands I like because I think they’re quite eclectic as well, but the rest sound like the same pattern.
Following a formula?
Yeah. I recognise that we have some songs that sound that way, but we have a lot that don’t sound at all like that. So I would say that our band is different we have that ambient touch, that atmospheric sound, medieval stuff, electronic stuff with the keyboard. I think we are quite eclectic, and that’s what makes us different. But I don’t know, it’s my perception. When I listen to a band I like to travel with my mind to different worlds, different thoughts, different feelings so that’s what I try to do with my music. Like a soundtrack.
What is the metal scene like in Spain at the moment?
Really old style. In Spain they really like the heavy metal from the 80s, but only sung in Spanish. If you sing in English, they’re like I don’t understand, why are you singing in English? There are plenty of new bands now. There’s one thrash metal band. They’re playing a lot in Europe now, they’re growing. We have a few more now, maybe more modern. If you go to a festival in Spain it’s always the same. There a bands who have been playing in the same festival for 20 years.
It can be like that over here as well. You have a special symphonic show coming up, what can you tell us about it?
Next Saturday, it’s going to be huge. There’ll be around 100 people on stage, a complete symphonic orchestra.
Most symphonic bands never get a chance to do that.
It’s really difficult. Actually, as we are in the classical scene in our city we could manage with a choir. I was also singing in the main choir of our region. They had the idea. They said why don’t we do that? I said it’s crazy! They were really enthusiastic about it because it’s something really different. We have had never had something similar in Spain. It’s going to be in a big opera house.
Is there anything else you’d like to say to the world, or your fans?
Of course, we’re having a wonderful time in the UK. We have never played here before. On the tour we’ve been all over the whole continent, the last part was here. We have played before in Germany and so on, but never here so we didn’t know what to expect. We were really surprised because we found lots of fans and the audience was great in every show in UK.
So there’s a big difference between touring in the UK and Europe?
People were more enthusiastic here in general, at all the shows. It was a big suprise really, because I was expecting something like in Germany. In general the main audience here was crazy. Here we had lots of fun, we really hope to come back. We’d like to thank you all of course for all the support here.