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With a new - actually more "post-rockish" than anything else - album on the way, and progress resuming with side projects such as Aphonic Threnody, it was a good moment for Aleks to have a chat with AstorVoltaires' Juan Escobar C.

Interview with AstorVoltaires.
"Fans of extreme Doom Metal will already know Juan Escobar well enough. As a multi-instrumentalist, he started in Chilean death doom band Mar De Grises as vocalist and keyboardist, nowadays he takes part in international Funeral Doom projects Arrant Saudade and Aphonic Threnody. And you probably know his solo work as AstorVoltaires. Starting as a melodic Doom project with first album 'Katan Nagantü', it went through a series of metamorphoses and now - eight years later - Juan is here with his third full-length, 'La Quintaesencia De Júpiter' released by the Slow Burn Records sub-label of Solitude Productions. As I did this interview right after the one with Ennui and just before one with Void Of Silence, it feels…strange...but, here we go, let's take a listen to the quintessence of Jupiter."

Talking to Aleks today: AstorVoltaires' Juan Escobar C.

Hi Juan! It seems we haven't spoken for a while, but finally here's a proper event to continue - 'La Quintaesencia de Júpiter', the new album of your project AstorVoltaires. So how are you? What's AstorVoltaires status?

Hey Aleksey, ya! Was long time on "stand by" for AstorVoltaires but now I´m kind of coming back from ashes and with a new album. Well, my name is Juan Escobar from Chilean band AstorVoltaires, that is my "solo project". People call it "one man band", where I do basically all; record, play all instruments, sing (or try), mix, mastering and the "desk work" too. Past 14th September we release a new album "La Quintaesencia de Júpiter" via Slow Burn Records (Russia) and its our third album and kind of "a second chance". AstorVoltaires is "active" band from 2009 like music project with 2 releases before: "Katan nagantü" first album (via Endles Winter – Russia, 2010) and second "Black Tombs for Dead Songs (via Rain Without End – Canada/Germany, 2012). Was almost 5 years of silence from me with this project, but today I'm returning with a new album and new vibes.

Before we turn to your new album… there was one more AstorVoltaires release in June - a digital compilation of unreleased songs. How did you collect this material, and why didn't you want to release it as a full-length album?

Was kind of a "pre release" from "La Quintaesencia…" or something. A bunch of demos, old songs, songs that didn't match on past albums and get out from releases, old vibes… So "today" I feel it's like "ok, let's release it, people maybe want to hear this stuff" so I just released it and ddin't think too much about it. I think people like to hear demo songs and so, you can get the vibe of songs better or something. Btw it is for free streaming on Bandcamp.

There are two doomy songs amongst other unreleased tracks, are they oldest ones you composed?

Sure was some old stuff, maybe from pre AstorVoltaires, around 2006 but not the first "Doom" material I ever wrote, just some old ones I keep under the bed.

AstorVoltaires - 'Katan Nagantü' (2010):

By the way, weren't labels interested in releasing it in a physical format? Did you try to find a label who support not underground Metal genres, but something different…Rock related?

Finding a label for this record was really hard this time, maybe one year trying to get an interested person to release it. Thousands of emails, messages, and so. Ya, about the genre, I don't want to find a label too much out from the underground for two particular reasons: first was that my past is from the underground and surely the future too, so, why go out from it, surely a difficult way, and the second relative to that: this new album is the most "postrockish" music I ever do and it was a nice journey with lot of new things and learning but for sure I can say that the next music's gonna be kind of hard (again… or more).

Yeah, but maybe your new listeners will wait for you right at the entrance to our comfortable underground realm, do you think?

If that was the case for sure going to be more underground, no? Anyway, were circumstances and not my entire wish. What I see is that every listener digs into underground music cause there is always something new and interesting, it is where originality becomes real.

'La Quintaesencia de Júpiter' was recorded in a few different sessions between 2015 and 2017, how did it happen? How did you split the recording?

Was really difficult times. Starting to record approximately in May 2015 or something with amazing drummers from Chile. Never planned it like "I'm gonna spend 2 years recording" or anything, just was like that. Takes me lot of time cause I had no time to sit and record so I just do it in free moments. In between I moved to Czech Republic so you can imagine that was kind of crazy all around but finally finished it late 2017 and got the release deal with "Slow Burn Records".

These songs sound pretty solid… I'm meaning that the tracks really complete one solid album, so did you record all of this in one studio? Or did you record something in Chile and something in the Czech Republic?

All instruments I recorded in Chile. Drums in 2015 at Vintage Dog Studio and the rest of the instruments at my studio back in 2016. Vocal parts were recorded at Vultura Studio in the Czech Republic back in early 2017.

AstorVoltaires - 'Del Tiempo Irracional' (Official, 2012):

Is AstorVoltaires your solo project still? Or did you invite any guest musicians on this record, or plan to support it with some gigs?

I started working with amazing Chilean Producer, musician and friend Francisco Lasala in his studio (Vintage Dog Studio). Francisco designed the sound from the drums amazingly, with two Chilean drummers; Francisco Placencia from Chilean band "Desertus" and Coke Rodriguez from Chilean band "Salitrone". Both come from a rockish kind of music but they put that needed vibe in the songs. Sadly, I continue recording everything else in my home studio because of my free time.

AstorVoltaires is a studio project, which always wanted to be a real band… one day )))

With the new songs you go further and further from that elegant melodic doom metal we had on your debut album 'Katan Nagantü'. What drove you to these changes in the sound? What kind of influences would you point to on the new album?

I think that I always wanted to play all genres, all together, but sometimes that drives you to something else, like writing music where you can't tell the genre cause there is no genre like that. People now call it post rock or post metal. To me it's just music, sometimes more hard or less hard, more dynamic or with or without screams. Music in the end.

Influences are thousands. I can tell you some that come to mind just now like Emperor, Beck, Neurosis, Gorecki, Radiohead and so on, but a direct influence on this new record: I don't know, it is too much unconscious to tell it I think.

Do you feel that you make this world a better place with your music?

I think there are people who like AstorVoltaires music and that hidden message between words even when it is not hundred percent clear. And there is some ambitious thinking about "leave something good for generations to come".

'La Quintaesencia de Júpiter' flyer.

What's the story behind these geometric figures on the album's artwork?

Well, the quintessence is the fifth element from nature, the Soul. Well, this album is about how my soul gets aligned with the force of universe, precisely with Jupiter. It's a metaphor that you can compare with life, moments and events. So triangles manifest fire, air, earth, water and Soul.

Well, so we could tell you practice sonic alchemy! What was your goal when you recorded the material for the album? Did you have a certain vibe or certain number of songs in mind to close its concept?

When you have a bunch of music for work on an album you just want to materialize. Sometimes there are songs that just don't belong in that group so you put them away sadly. For this record there were more songs but they were really not on that vibe. It is always complicated to find the right mood and vibes, same with songs and lyrics but yes; I always try to keep albums as long as I can and on some main mood.

I remember that there were some local influences in your previous works, at least we spoke about the Chilean desert and... there was something else, would need to check it! So, what now? You live in another country, but it doesn't mean that you write about castles, alchemy and Bohemian stories, right?

True. I didn't write about castles and bohemian stories haha. There is always a main theme contained in AstorVoltaires´s lyrics that is the personal experience. The Quintessence is separate in five parts, where Terra are "Manifiesto" and "Hoy". Aqua are "Un gran Océano" and "Thrinakia: El Reino del Silencio". Ignis are "Un Nuevo Sol Naciente" and "Arrebol". Aether is "La Quintaesencia de Jupiter" and finally Aer is "Más allá del Hiperboreo". All metaphors are connected and explained somehow.

AstorVoltaires - 'La Quintaesencia de Júpiter' (Official full album, 2018):

It sounds like cheating, but can you comment on the songs' lyrics?

Well, I started slowly on the last answer and I can be more specific now with the titles and meaning. Easily I can try to you all get somehow the main meaning from songs. Like I say, TERRA are "Manifiesto" and "Hoy" so they share this feeling, this element and equality for the other songs. So "Manifiesto" unfolds the album vibe. It is instrumental song, and not short, so, you can immediately expect some post rockish vibes. "Hoy" put the first point of view on this chapter and means "what makes you be what you are".

Then we go for AQUA, where you find "Un gran Océano" that means "A great ocean" but really means "a big amount of fuckers" where fuckers are that kind of people who break/blow up nature or that politician who decide what is good for you. "Thrinakia" is even less specific so in one sentence I can explain it as "The silence which takes you for several minutes, staring at some point, looking nowhere but thinking a thousand things per second and putting you on another world and saving you from this, again, big amount of fuckers".

On IGNIS we have "Un Nuevo Sol Naciente", that is a song that talks about find your soulmate and being reborn as a new stronger "sun". And "Arrebol" again is an instrumental song, kind of a second manifiesto that writes the base of the finale of the album, that intimate final moment before the storm and AETHER is the highest pick of these songs, the soul from all songs, the main, the quintessence nothing more than the most incredible secret of this life. Why? Why we are here, why we love, why we can't understand that message from the architects…

So, for the end is AER, a more "high" song, short, rare and freak ending "Más allá del Hiperboreo" a place beyond north where people demanded to go to find perfection… its like being born and dying in a day that lasts 50 years.

You will be helping your countrymen Mourning Sun during their forthcoming European tour. How were you involved in this?

Well I´m as surprised as you. Was simple as an invitation. Of course I know Mourning Sun as musicians, I think they are a really great band with great expectations in the future. So I am more than honored to take that role.

How will you organize all of this? How do you plan to do rehearsals before the tour? And how long should it actually be?

That was an engineering work for an expert but lucky us, we have a great team here. We gonna meet in Oslo next month for a couple of days for rehearsal and just before the tour for a second time. Looking forward to meet this amazing group of people and see what happens.

Juan, you were involved in international Funeral Doom project Arrant Saudade. There's been no news from it for a while, is it on hold? Do you plan to release something new under this moniker?

Ya, the head of Arrant Saudade (Riccardo Veronese) is the same head at Aphonic Threnody and with this last we are currently working on a new album from last year, so, from AT you will hear surely first. Doesn't mean that AS is dead or something, just on stand by, but we always have plans for it.

Really, what can we expect from the new Arrant Saudade then? Will it be a strict continuation of The Peace Of Solitude?

Well, we continue working with that unique funeral doom voice from our Priest of Darkness, so you can expect deep growls and sorrowful lyrics as well.

And what about the new Aphonic Threnody? Are you still into this? What's your plan concerning new songs?

Ya! I'm producing the new album with Veronese. Last year Roberto (Vocals) left the band so I'm covering that role by now. We are finishing the post production from a new record so its a matter of time to release it. Kind of a change, yes, but not to the essence of the band.

Thank you for your time Juan! I guess we should talk when you and Arrant Saudade have a new record! Just don't forget to let me know! Good luck comrade : )

Thank you Aleksey for supporting AstorVoltaires for a long time! A big thanx for people who support it too, and extend a invitation to people who like post rock / doom metal music to give a chance to AstorVoltaires new album "La Quintaesencia de Júpiter", you can stream the entire album on our Bandcamp page. Cheerz!!!

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Interviewed on 2018-10-30 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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