Antyra – pretty anonymous word, but their music kills, kills by its unique and catching structure – welcome – German band Antyra!
Hi! Tell me about Antyra. Why did you decide to name the band with such title? What kind of ideas do you explore?
Hi! We are Antyra from Leipzig, Germany, doing this kind of music since 2006. We started with a line-up of 6 musicians, from which only the brothers Sebastian (guitar, growls, choir vocals) and Dave (keyboard, lead vocals, choir vocals) are left now. (We were soon spread widely over eastern Germany, which in the end caused some (not that much but still too many) changes in our line-up.) Our current line-up is completed by Falk, the bass player and singer of Leipzig’s Blackened Thrash bulldozer BitchHammer (bass guitar, screams, choir vocals) and their drummer Kev and hopefully will stay that way for a long time because we fit perfectly together musically and interpersonal.
The band’s name has taken a long journey. We wanted our name to sound pretty cool and being connected with fantasy themes. But we didn’t want it to have a concrete meaning, for the listeners should explore the meaning for themselves when hearing the music. So, guys and ladies, listen to it and find out what Antyra personally means to you…
Our lyrical ideas come from different inspirations. In general we tell short fantasy stories in our songs or try to catch an important moment from a story everyone knows (like from “Lord of the Rings” in “Eye Out of Fire”). Some of the stories are self-written, some are inspired by ancient (Greek, Roman or Nordic) sagas, some from writers whose work we love and there is also a little touch of philosophy or spirituality in it, if you dare to look a bit closer. Also there is to mention, that we write our lyrics mainly in German, our mother tongue. That is because we have learned that you can express yourself and your ideas and also tell stories a lot better that way. And bands like Falconer, Vintersorg, (early) Dimmu Borgir and all the Norwegian Black Metal bands already proved that you don’t need to understand lyrics in a foreign language to get the right, and as we think even better, feeling.
“Pentachronist” album was released last year. How does that make you feel? Do you feel you have put album into masses without any wished to change something now?
Haha, it rocks like hell and we want every fucker in the whole world to hear it!!! =)
Seriously, of course you will always find things that you would like to do better or change or anything like that. But we’re pretty satisfied with the album the way it is right now. It was our first full-length and we have put incredibly much of energy, creativity, time and money in it to realize all the ideas we had for this album.
Tell me more about “Pentachronist”? Album ideas etc…
In 2012 we decided to make another record after our first EP “In The Fields Of Marathon” from 2009. But we had too many songs and we wanted to give the album a special sense, a meaning or a concept that keeps it all together. So came the idea of taking a pentagram in its natural meaning where it symbolises the five elements including the spirit of life – standing above all by giving life to all things out there, if you take it upwards. If you turn it upside-down it is about the spirit / mind of man which is way marginal and always has to surrender to the power of the other four natural elements. And then we found, that in some of our songs people deal with or challenge elements in different ways – and are badly defeated by them. So we took those 4 songs and wrote new lyrics for a last one, the spirit, to make it the essence of the album. Then we got into another composing flow, re-arranged the songs again and then started to compose the stuff we called “prologues”. This sometimes short, sometimes longer, mostly instrumental pieces are not to be seen as intros in a usual way. They are rather independent pieces of music and they are thought to get the listener in the mood and prepared for the upcoming song AND element. That’s why you can also hear audio-drama effects in those prologues, like howling wind, water and rolling waves, demon screams from deep underground, the creaking of ship planks and so on. There was also the need to record some of those effects on our own for we couldn’t find good ones anywhere else. For “Prolog: Terra” we also wanted a real choir and luckily the vocal ensemble, where Falk is also singing in, wanted to do it, so we have some massive effect on this track right now.
As we reached the point that the album had a complete story and was musically well-rounded, we just didn’t want it to start simply with the first song, so we created an overture to open the album. It’s a real one, not only by its name like it is usually done to give a classical touch to metal albums. But it’s not classical music after all – just the idea of a classic overture from symphonies or operas transferred into metal: You will find melodies and riffs from each song of the album in it laid above and giving hand to each other. So when you are listening to the rest of the stuff after that, you may say: “Hey, that one sounds familiar to me somehow, but I don’t the fuck know why!”.
To make this thing not only musically a complete journey, we have written out the short stories from the songs and also had someone who has drawn special pictures fitting to each story / song. So the album has a 23-page-booklet in the end…
Where do you take all inspiration from? Maybe to play epic metal needs to have some special sources to get inspirations from?
Concerning the music: A lot of the stuff is not inspired by something special like “Hey guys, I’ve seen this and that last time, let’s try that, too.” It is rather like one of us has an idea, tells it to the others and if there is time we work it out or keep it in mind for a moment we need it and evolve it later. In most cases we simply forgot, what inspired us – for it took too long to write and arrange it. Anyway, we always are interested in many things and keep our eyes, ears and minds open for different stuff and suddenly – *bling* – there is an idea… And concerning the second part of your question: When it comes to the topics of our music one can surely say that a band that plays epic metal is inspired by themes, stories and things that are epic in some way or another…
In your opinion, what is the best way to define Antyra’s sound?
Puh, the tough question. It is really hard to define our sound because when we write we look at what the song and the lyrics need to get to their best value.
Surely it is epic in any way, that is why we have chosen the phrase Epic Metal, although people often expect another kind of music behind these words. The songs are rather long, the arrangements are filled with a lot of different ideas and details for those who like to take a closer “look” on it, the lyrics are as described above and we do a lot of stuff with our vocal prospects. We have three singers which opens the opportunity to give each song a special tune. Two of us do not only sing, they also do growls and screams. And we put choir phrases into the songs which we also are able to do live on stage. The mixture of ideas and genre influences may occur a bit complex if you listen to it for the first time. But that is what we want: You can hear it again and again and still find cool stuff you haven’t noticed so far.
Hope this could help you readers any further? Just don’t try to keep stuck in genre-thinking and you will be able to enjoy it very much…
So, are you on hiatus now, just relaxed and looking for album feedbacks, or did you started to compose new stuff immediately?
At the moment we already have got a lot of cool feedbacks which of course makes us pretty happy. We try to conquer some live shows and right in this moment you can be sure, we capture ideas for a new album. So far we can tell, there will be a more open concept for the stories this time. But we also started working on a whole saga to put in audible shape. Four of those songs are already composed, some more are needed. This saga will make up the biggest part of the new album.
What are your main musical influences? How huge is their influence in your sound?
Well, this may become a looong list. We like all kinds of metal – to name some “big” bands: From Iron Maiden to Cannibal Corpse, from Nightwish to Darkthrone, from Primordial to Savatage, from German Gothic Rock like ASP to Sepultura, from Metal giants to nearly complete unknown underground bands such as we are. But you will have to look hard for hearable influences. That is because we think a good idea makes a good song – apart from a particular music genre. And in all Metal genres there are great groundbreaking songs and on the other hand there sadly is a lot of stuff only repeating the good ideas of others – mostly of genre-founding bands. Doing the second one is way too boring for us. We rather like to sit in our rehearsal room, play new stuff and think “Whooooohohohooo!!!!!” instead of “Better give it a bit more Priest, people like this…”. The only bands that may be named being close to us musically could be Therion and maybe a bit Savatage – the first ones mostly because they impress us a lot as musicians and singers and prove that there is a way to play metal close to the one we like to do. But their stuff is rather based on (often complex) chords, ours more of the arrangement between riffing and melodies.
Is there some well-known musician in particular that you would like to use in one of your upcoming albums?
There are a lot of professional metal musicians whose work, sound and style we love really much. But we never had the idea of giving our stuff a “push” by having one of our idols on our own record ‘til now. And maybe we better shouldn’t do that because a song like that may fall out of line too much in a whole concept album because every artist has his own special sound. It would be much greater for us to share stage with them and perform one of their or our songs more or less spontaneous together on stage.
What is your personal strategy for making your music heard by a larger audience?
We try to get shows, first of all, haha. Besides that, of course there’s some presentation on the internet – our own website (www.antyra.de), an official YouTube channel (https://www.youtube.com/user/daZopp) and of course a Facebook account (https://www.facebook.com/Antyra.EpicMetal) in which we maybe should start to write our news in German AND English because of the growing interest from out of Germany. We also have a promotion push by Grand Sounds who made our stuff being played on scene radios and streams internationally. Then there are a lot of reviews on the new album and interviews including a live-on-air-interview at „Nightfall“ metal show from local Radio Blau. That’s all we can do at the moment for it is still a hobby and we’re not living from it. Of course there could be done much more, but you have to keep the balance between music and all the other things that matter in life. Sadly we have no concrete strategy – we are more artists than bookers, promoters or business-men. The whole thing is growing slowly, but much stronger since we fired out “Pentachronist”.
Do you have any other hobby beside music?
Yes, but not too much because you can’t do three or four things parallel and each one satisfying well. So Sebastian and Dave do some different kinds of sports. And Falk is an artist through and through for he plays and sings in four bands and is also an actor in an important local ensemble in Leipzig. That was a great benefit when we recorded “Prolog: Terra” for the album. He does the spoken words part of the novice who tries to summon powerful spirits and demons from down below the earth, gets in a rage and is at last taken by the demons into that hell hole he created. When we sat in the studio and he did that part, our faces turned to stone – grinning or mouth opened – and it gave us all the creeps…
Are you all supported by your relatives towards your devotion to music?
Thankfully yes. They know how important this is to us and they support us in any way they can. On the other hand we try to keep it on a normal level that can (mostly) be included in everyday life. Surely it slows the whole thing down, but it is important to not become too much a nerd who doesn’t see left or right from what is happening around him.
How’s the metal scene in Germany right now? Is it easy to play gigs, to buy records etc there these days?
The German metal scene is pretty large and has a bigger influence on the mainstream than many fans would like it to have / would like to admit. Metal or Hard Rock bands were often placed No.1 in album or single chart positions in the last years because metal fans still buy records. They want to support their idols, take something in their hands, read booklets and enjoy albums in their whole – not only download or stream it for free. That’s why a lot of special editions with thick booklets, photos etc. are thrown out into the market.
There also seem to be thousands of bands. If you take a closer look at it, it looks like every second fan is actively involved in the scene by working on fanzines, blogs, reviews, radios, streams, mail-order, independent labels or distribution companies, collecting information’s, founding fan-clubs, selling or even build and customize instruments, organizing shows and festivals or simply playing in a band. And then there, of course, are the “big fishes” who became important all over the globe like EMP mail-order, Nuclear Blast, Massacre Records, Century Media and so on. But apart from that, the underground is alive pretty much and appears to be some kind of parallel universe to them, especially in big cities like Leipzig, Dresden or Berlin. You can be a metal-head and live in such a city for many years without having seen all the bands seated there. In our opinion this active underground is very important for it is a creative counterpart to the “big” artists everyone knows who have to live from their music and have to think about what their fans may like to hear to be able to pay the next rent. It is always fun to go on an underground show to discover new bands or meet good old guys and see what cool ideas they have created over the last year. This is a really great thing on one hand. On the other hand, it is the reason why it’s pretty hard to get shows as a “small” band. Organizers often try to keep their recipe for success to save the survival of their club, which of course is understandable. And they also get too much input and requests from hundreds of bands who want to play there. So planning a gig or even a small tour as we try to do right now is a way complicated thing – especially if you don’t give a fuck on playing a concrete genre. You have to be patient and enjoy every single show you can get. And that is what we do and why we always go crazy on stage… 😉
Thank you for answering my questions, see ya on the road! / Lukasz
Thanks a lot! Would be great to play in your country…
‘Til then, have a big cheeeeerrzz from Leipzig!