Forgotten Song from the Rhodopes
Interview with Eli of Aegonia
We recently received the new album of Aegonia. A mystical mix of Doom, Gothic, Melodic Metal and Folkore. The band is hailing from the beautiful country Bulgaria. A county I like to visit for the nature, folklore and food, but where the tourism is starting to spoil things along the black sea coast. The band likes to visit the the beautiful area of the Rhodopes and is inspired by nature and folklore. About time to have a chat wil Eli, the violin-player of Aegonia.
Music for Pleasure
Hi, congratulations with your debut-album ‘The Forgotten Song’. How are the critics so far.
“As this is our first album there are not many reviews out there yet. So far the critics are good. We have a few, but sincere fans, and this is very satisfying for us. We receive positive comment from people around the world. Every such contact is very dear for us.
Aegonia was foundes about eight years ago. It took to 2019 to release an debut-album, why did it take so long.
“In the beginning we only wanted to play music for pleasure, without any specific plans for the future. For us, it all happened very naturally, as improvisation. We quickly wrote 12 songs for an album and started recording them, but we were very unsatisfied with the first results. We found out that to make the songs sound like we want them to sound, we have a lot to learn about arranging music, playing instruments, singing, recording, mixing and mastering.”
Another reason is that playing music was never our primary job – everyone from our band has another profession and daily job.
“In the beginning we only wanted to play music for pleasure, without any specific plans for the future. “
The tag Melodic Folklore is nice. Where do you take the folklore elements from and how do you integrate them into the music.
“Niki and me always liked folklore music from around the world. Several years ago Niki wanted to learn to play the kaval so much, that he crafted his own kaval on which to start practicing, and he read on the internet how to make sound with the instrument, which is really hard in the beginning – much harder than with other wind instruments (believe me, I’ve tried!).
At a later time we played in an orchestra for authentic Bulgarian music – Niki on kaval and me on gadulka (this is a traditional Bulgarian bowed string instrument; it has 3 main strings on which the musician plays and 11 resonating sub-strings). This music influenced us deeply, we feel it very close to us, to our inner nature. At some point I was listening to a lot of folk metal, and I became really obsessed with the idea to choose a traditional Bulgarian song and arrange it for a metal band. I spent hours and hours listening to authentic songs from the Rhodopes mountain region, but could not choose any. So I thought we should try to create our own song with a traditional sound – that is how we composed ‘The Maid And The Mountain’.”
Is there still a lot of folklore left in the big cities like Sofia.
“I think there is. We have many friends that attend folklore dance classes, sing in a folklore choir, listen to folklore music. Many musicians and bands are also influenced by folklore – they use elements from folklore in their music or release authentic songs arranged in their own musical style. It is even common for some people to make their weddings dressed in traditional clothing.“
What do you feel is so great about the Rhodopes.
“I was born in the Rhodopi mountain and lived there as a child. I feel this mountain very close to my inner nature, and it always brings a very deep and special feeling in me when I go there. I feel there is some kind of magic and mystery in these ancient woods and hills, as if the casual time does not exist there. This is a feeling I never felt in any other mountains I have visited so far in my life.”
Do you think the tourism along the coast of the black sea is a threat to the nature (and folklore).
“Yes, I do think it is a threat, because it is not wisely done. There are too many buildings and hotels, and almost no wild beaches left.”
“it just happened naturally, by itself.”
How come there are so many different influences in the music of Aegonia, Gothic, Doom, Melodic, Folklore…
“I always liked music that has its own atmosphere. We combine many different elements in our music – melodic vocals and instruments, elements from baroque, growling vocals and heavy riffs, sounds from nature, folklore elements. We like Scandinavian metal. I really like music that has contrast – light and heavy parts. This is just the way it sounds to us in our heads – we tried to do our best with the arrangements and mix/mastering of the songs so that we can express this.”
How does the songwriting go in Aegonia.
“Most of the songs in our first album “The Forgotten Song” started as pure improvisation with Niki’s acoustic guitar and my violin, which we later developed and arranged.”
Why did you choose to make a concept album. And does this make it easier to write or is it more complicated.
“Creating our first album was a very interesting process. When we wrote the lyrics for our first songs, we found out that they are connected. This is how we got to know the story for Endoriel’s forgotten song and wrote it as a fantasy novel. It all started with music and improvisation. We did not plan it to be a concept album, it just happened naturally, by itself.”
How is the metal-scene in Bulgaria, there aren’t many folk-metalbands I believe, but are there many metalbands at all.
“There are many metal bands in Bulgaria, a lot of people here enjoy playing and make good music. I don’t think it is famous worldwide, though.”
Is there anything else you like to share with our readers.
“Maybe what they can expect from us in the near future. We will release our next video “Samodiva” (following “The Maid And The Mountain”) this month. Next will be another single – “Of Love And Hate” – in collaboration with the vocal of Freija, another band. This song will be a part of our next album, on which we are working. In the near future we will publish the first book from our fantasy series “Tales from the lands of Aegonia” (“The Forgotten Song”) in English as an e-book, and the second book (“The River Of Memories”) on paper (in Bulgarian). There are a few festivals as well that we will be playing this summer.”