Persefone has become one of the brightest shining stars in Progressive Death Metal. Starting in 2001 and with 4 albums under their belt, the band has only been getting bigger and better with each release. After rather sad circumstances, the band's scheduled appearance at ProgPower USA 2015 was canceled. The band did just finish a success European run with Sweden's Loch Vostok and during and after this time, I was able to chat with Miguel Espinosa (Keyboards, Clean Vocals) to discuss all the latest going on with Persefone:
That Drummer Guy: Thank you for taking the time, especially while on tour, to be able to do an interview. I've been a fan for the last couple years since I bought Spiritual Migration. Just to get the bad news out of the way, you unfortunately had to cancel your appearance at ProgPower for a few various reasons. Is there anything about the cancellation that you'd like to mention?
Miguel Espinosa: Thanks to you for the patience on doing the interview and for the nice words! grin emoticon Actually Glenn was very concrete about the reasons of the cancellation. For about June, we were preparing the whole ProgPower thing, when a possible tour in Europe arrived. I jumped in thinking that for that time the visas would be already prepared, but unfortunately the documentation didn't arrive on time so, even that we had almost a month ahead by early August, the actual time was really nonexistent as we had the tour coming and once in September, we simply couldn't afford the chance of not getting the visas in such short time.
TDG- It is unfortunate to see it but it does happen from time to time. Despite of this, is there any chance you guys coming back to North America in the future?
ME- Absolutely! According to the label, most of our sales numbers come from the United States, so we are really interested on touring US. The only thing is when it will happen, as there are no dates yet. Probably with the new album that we want to release next year, we will try to prepare something in there.
TDG- Awesome. I would totally love to see you guys given the chance. You've just finished up touring in Europe with another band that I love, Loch Vostok. How did this tour come about?
ME: This tour was already set up long time ago, with Blindead as headliner. It seems that there was some kind of medical situation with two members that couldn't let them make the tour, so in very short notice, they jumped off the tour. Loch Vostok and Persefone are in the same management, so our manager told us about the possibility of doing this tour as co-headliners with Loch Vostok. To be true, it was a tough decision because we didn't had a full set prepared as we have a new drummer. But Loch Vostok are really good friends, and felt that it would be a great time to make the new live set work. So here we are. :)
TDG: Its great to see that you did decide to keep the tour going. With having a new drummer in the band and this tour to be a part of, did that have to force any changes as far as the set? Was there any songs that could be easily added or taken away?
ME- Actually, it's not the songs itself the what we have changed on the set. Bobby is an amazing drummer and he has learned the songs pretty fast, even though, technically, the songs are terribly difficult. The thing is that now we play with a metronome in our in-ear system, and that's a big step forward and involves a computer system that simply can't crash during a show. Of course, you can rehearse with the system, but when you are really putting that in practice is on tour, as the material is moving all the time, and the chances of it receiving hits are big, or just having to prepare everything with a big rush, as in festivals, where change overs are really short.
TDG- That definitely makes sense. Adding a metronome live definitely makes the whole experience feel tighter when it is done right and I'd imagine with music such as yours, that would be quite the challenge to make all aspects of adding a metronome perfect. Have you felt the difference yet in the sound now that it's been implemented?
ME- Yes! Now we feel more secure, even if we can't barely listen to the rest of the guys (for a bad monitoring session for example). We all are experienced musicians and follow a metronome is not a problem, so now we focus on play on the beat. For example, in cases such as shows with a lot of people, with all the nerves and pressure, we are sure that Bobby won't be fast because of that, making us more difficult to play. Definitely we are enjoying shows a lot
TDG- Glad to hear it. Adding the metronome live is a necessity in some bands and I'm glad to see that it's working out for you. Now with Spiritual Migration being out for 2 years, is there any new music on the horizon?
ME- Yes of course! We are writing new music. We have a part of the new album already written. The plan with the label and management is to get it ready by March and release it a bit later. No dates yet, but at this point that's the idea.
TDG- Fantastic! Is there anything you can mention yet about the direction of the new album?
ME- Not yet. We usually never reveal nothing about the new material, as we always like it to be surprising. We are really thrilled about writing music with a new drummer, as there are always new ideas.
TDG- Now that you guys have completed a successful run with Loch Vostok, what are some other bands that you could see yourself touring with in the future?
ME- We are not very sure, we have just finished the tour with Loch Vostok and One Hour Hell and there's a lot to think about. Our label and management are considering a full headliner show for the next European tour, but if you ask me about bands, maybe Animals As Leaders, Obscura, Ne Obliviscaris or Gojira might be bands that would fit completely in a same tour! With time we will see. :D
TDG- Any of those would be fantastic to see. With the talks of a possible headlining run in the future, do you feel that would be a welcome challenge as far as set length and energy?
ME- Of course it would be a great challenge. I don't think energy would be a bigger problem, as we have already headlined tours in Asia with 90 minute sets and flights everyday, which drove us to sleep barely 4 hours a day. Anyway, promotion and show wise, that would be a great challenge. With this tour we have put in practice the new system playing with backtracks, metronome and in-ears. We should push the show forward to the next step to make people want to come to the show.
TDG- That would be fantastic to see happen in the States or in Europe happen for you guys. Now that is essentially September, do you have any favorite albums of 2015 so far?
ME- This year, Symphony X has released an album, and that, for me personally is something great as they have been always a reference for us. After the tour I have had the chance to listen closely to the Loch Vostok album "From These Waters" and it's simply fantastic! Love it!!
TDG- That is great to hear. Both of those are ranking very high for me as well. In speaking of checking out music. What music were you guys listening to while on this recent tour?
ME- I can't tell the other guys, but when on tour, we are exposed to high volume during long terms of the day, and I prefer listening to quiet music. I'm a lot on soundtracks, and orchestral music. Recently I've been listening a lot to "Colin Frake on Fire Mountain" from the guys of Two Steps From Hell. Thomas Bergersen (one of the two composers in charge of TSFH) has become a great influence for me recently! James Newton Howard has been another listening stop, and, as mentioned before, Loch Vostok's "From These Waters"
TDG- That definitely makes sense. Being surrounded by loud music 24/7 would be vary daunting while touring. And it's good to change things up a bit with different music than what you are playing. It helps keep your mind creative.
ME- Yes, besides living with 18 guys for two weeks can be difficult and relaxing a bit for a while always help keep the good mood when any problem arises. :)
TDG- Haha absolutely. Well thank you again for taking the time to do this interview. It will be great seeing what you guys will be doing in the future as far as the next album and touring. Before we are done is there anything else that you'd like to mention, plug, or promote?
ME- Thanks to you Josh! I would like to invite everyone to check our last album Spiritual Migration, at Spotify, Amazon, Youtube, or whatever you find correct with yourself, and if you love it, share it with your friends! We are willing to go anywhere in the world and share experiences about our music, just as we just did in Europe. Thank you to all the people that attended to the European shows, and a big sorry to all those guys who wanted to see Persefone at ProgPower USA. It was a big bummer for us not being able to go for visa problems, but we are doing our best to make it happen as soon as we can.
Make sure to check out Persefone's latest 2013 album, Spiritual Migration available through ViciSolum Productions.