(Guest contributor KevinP managed to snag an interview with Jacobo Cordova, whose latest album under the name of Majestic Downfall — “Three” — is a doom/death highlight of 2013. You can tell that Jacobo is a cool guy because he continued with the interview even after Kevin insulted the Dallas Cowboys. I would just like to add, on a personal note, that the Giants suck.)
K: Ok, just so you know I did my homework here. You were in a dark/doom metal band from Mexico called Antiqua, left in 2006 to start Majestic Downfall and moved to Dallas, TX. So, why the change, why Texas, and most importantly, please tell me you loathe the Dallas Cowboys, like any self-respecting human being does?
J: First of all, stay away from the Cowboys! They are too big for you ja. I won´t go any further on their might, it is well known!
K: Chinga tu Cowboys. JAJAJAJA
J: Ok, about Majestic Downfall starting in Dallas, TX. I can tell you that I moved there in 2005 cause I got a job offer and that is when I moved to the States from Mexico. Being there and not playing for 5 years since I left Antiqua, I could afford a home studio and that is when it all started.
In 2007 I recorded my first demo and from there everything became history till today and the new album release. Regarding Antiqua, some of the ideas of the first Majestic Downfall album were unfinished or not recorded riffs of that band so I had a start already. And regarding your homework done, nah, you have no idea, I don´t even want to know your shitty team.
K: The New York Football Giants, winner of 2 Superbowls in the past 6 years. Yeah, suck on that. But I digress……
So why leave Antiqua?
J: Last Superbowl you had luck all the way, you didn´t even believe you won. C´mon. Anyway, I can´t argue that much, we haven´t done anything lately, but, but, but, you wish you had my stadium.
I left Antiqua because things were not as serious as they should have been. They didn´t like my musical ideas in the later years and I somehow was going in a totally different direction musically and personally. The band lasted 10 years and they were great, but I think we could have achieved more, but for many reasons it didn´t. I guess it is better working alone.
K: You cite among your influences Celestial Season, old Katatonia/Anathema/Paradise Lost, My Dying Bride, and Phlebotomized. I understand most of those bands, but Phlebotimized sticks out like a sore thumb. I was surprised as I don’t see that at all (at least musically).
J: Maybe the Phlebotomized part has to do more with me writing whatever the fuck I want without anyone telling me or saying if it is ok or not. I just write and do whatever I want, just as I think they did in their time.
At the same time, I see a lot of similarities in bands from Holland of the time, and I think that as a concept Phlebotomized had a lot to do with the Doom/Death movement of Holland in the nineties. Celestial Season, Sad Whisperings, Creepmime, Maleficium, The Gathering, and many more. Maybe it is an attitude thing, not to be heard as musical influence.
K: What kind of progression would say your music has gone through over the years?
J: Ok, I will return you this question and then answer it. If that is fine with a lousy Giant.
Your releases I would break down as:
First Abyss (demo) – a slightly upbeat affair for a death/doom band
Temple of Guilt – doomier with more atmosphere
The Blood Dance – fairly similar in feel and scope as Temple of Guilt
Three – I’ve only heard it 1X through (but “White Dark” & “Lifeless” I’ve heard multiple times) and it definitely has more space and room to breathe, with even more atmosphere
J: I think you have a clear idea of the evolution of the Majestic Downfall sound.
The first and only demo was total European Doom/Death worship. I only wanted to pay tribute to bands like Paradise Lost, Celestial Season, Anathema, and the previously mentioned ones. There surely were some upbeat parts in it, which I think have always been a constant in Majestic Downfall´s music.
Temple of Guilt, while being deeply rooted in that tribute part, started to incorporate more influences from bands like Forgotten Tomb and Shining, which I think progressed even more in The Blood Dance album.
And this all leads to Three, where I think that I am starting to finally find a personal sound for the band. Whether the music is aggressive, slow, dark, melodic, or whatever. At least that is what I am trying, I am not the one to judge.
Also, as you mentioned, Three is a more flowing record than the previous ones, which by no means has to do with it being slower or faster, it is just a more united effort in the writing process if you ask me. It took longer to write and incorporate ideas. In the future I don´t know what path I will take, but one thing will always be constant in the Majestic Downfall music. Melancholy and atmosphere.
K: Lots of death/doom bands like to incorporate clean vocals, which in turn gives them a crossover appeal to people who may not normally listen to death metal. You have not gone down this path. Any reason why?
J: Clean vocals are lame. I don´t like them at all. There are very few clean vocalists that I really like. I don´t know, I am a more unpolished type of Metal guy if that makes sense. Jajajaja
K: So let’s do a quick recap here. The Giants draft Eli Manning, you start to become depressed and stop playing music, they start winning Super Bowls, and you begin writing overly depressive doom music to get through your pain. But besides that (and here comes an overly pretentious question)…
J: Good one. Ja
K: What peripheral entities work as a catalyst for you in the creative process, both musically and lyrically ? (I can’t even type this with a straight face. LOL)
J: Let me try to get the question straight to see if I understand it. You mean like an opposites attract thing? Like when white happens I do black, and the other way?
K: Haha, it’s basically a fancy-pants way of saying: what inspires you to write your lyrics and your music?
J: The funny thing is that you are right. I have nothing but great experiences in my life and all that surrounds me. I have a great and healthy family that loves me and that I love even more and that is where all the inspiration for writing comes from.
I somehow see it as a catharsis. I am a very sensitive person and need to have a balance in my life. Through music I am able to take off my back a lot of shit that I have inside of me that I don´t really feel like sharing with anyone.
If you really dive deep into my music you will be able to see all my demons and how they are taken away from me by my music, which in the end is more than music, it is the path I chose to keep me sane. So that is where the inspiration comes from, having a balance of good and evil. I love darkness yet I love light.
K: Sensitive? Are you a closet power metal weenie? LOL
J: Jajajaja, you wish. But no mate, I am not like you! I like classical power metal bands to be honest jaja. Just not the LAME kind.
K: Being that this is a one-man band (besides Jesus handling the production & Poncho the drum duties), has there ever been any thought of making this a collaborative effort? You know, getting others to shoulder some of the load, help with ideas?
J: Help with ideas, never.
That is out of the question, it is my vision and will forever be like that. It is the most personal aspect of me and no one will ever go in there.
About playing live, many many people have asked me about it but I just haven´t found the musicians to do it. Many can do it, it is extremely easy music to play, the thing is about understanding it and that is where the problem takes place. Still I will never say never.
K: Regarding the album artwork, you’ve used Robert Hoyem again. I’m no afficianado on the subject and don’t get “hard” at the sight of an album cover (like our Supreme Leader here at NCS does), but it’s quite eye-catching and possibly his best work yet.
What input did you have in it and what were you trying to convey? Do you feel it was successful?
J: This is the 3rd time I work with Robert. Temple of Guilt was the usual Photoshop idea, but nothing out of this world. At that time I told him what I wanted and just drew it. I think it ended up great but just as another cover.
After talking for The Blood Dance, he asked me to let him go out there and put more of this style, and that is exactly what he did and I fucking loved it. So for this time, I just wrote him a 3-sentence paragraph of what the album was about and he just drew and sent me what he thought I meant and he just nailed it. I really love his work very much, still I don´t know if it is his best work, he has some great great stuff. And to finish, he is a great Majestic Downfall fan, so it is a 360-degree thing.
K: For those not “in the know” you are also in Zombiefication and Ticket to Hell. How do you find time to juggle all the projects and still be a family man?
J: With 3 beautiful daughters I should say!
Ja, I don´t know man. I guess my passion is just too much to leave it in a trunk forever! I thought I was going to do that when I stopped playing in Antiqua in 2000 and look what happened, I am now more involved in music than ever. The thing is to be consistent and see this as a serious thing. I wake up everyday at 5.30 to play for 2 hours.
Every day, no exceptions.
After that I am a husband, a dad, a worker, whatever you want to call it. But those 2 hours I embody music-wise my life. With Zombiefication the approach is total brutality, Death/Black Mayhem. We just toured Europe for 21 days, 15 gigs, and it was one of the most rewarding experiences ever.
Regarding Ticket To Hell, I don´t know, the band is somehow on hold, I am just not in that mood right now. If I feel it again I will surely write another Ticket To Hell album, but for now, it is somewhere else.
This discipline is one of the benefits of doing everything My time, my place, my way. No arguing and being more productive.
K: I want to thank you for your time and wish you best of luck with the new album, THREE. I won’t ask you for any closing comments (as that’s too typical, I would imagine most musicians’ least favorite question).
But I will implore everyone to pick up the new album. $6 for digital download or one of the 500 Digipak copies.
J: Kevin. Thanks a lot for your time bro. Really meant a lot and I am really glad you liked my music and could support me this way. This is the true underground.
After trading long ago, it is nice seeing you here. Thanks to everyone in NCS for everything and greetings brother! Hopefully we meet sometime!
EDITOR’S NOTE: I join in Kevin’s appeal — pick up Three without delay. Killer album from start to finish. By visiting the Bandcamp page linked below, you can order it from Chaos Records or download it. You’ll find the full-album stream after the links.