(For the second day in a row, our Russian correspondent Comrade Aleks brings us an interview, this time with Joaquin Cuadra of the Peruvian doom band El Hijo de la Aurora.)
El Hijo de la Aurora (Son of the Dawn) is a Peruvian psychedelic doom project that was created in 2008 by Joaquin Cuadra, former drummer of another local band Don Juan Matus. Since then Joaquin has become the core of a new project, collaborating not only with local musicians but also with foreign ones. He explored the problems of the Universe’s laws in two previous works, Lemuria and Wicca: Spells, Magic and Witchcraft Through the Ages, and now the time has come for a third album by El Hijo de la Aurora.
The Enigma of Evil is the name of the new release and it’s already recorded; the only question is finding a proper label, so we’re going to discuss this question and others with Joaquin himself, plunging deep into the vibes of old school doom rock.
Salute Joaquin! How are you comrade? How have you spent the last three years since release of your second album, Wicca: Spells, Magic and Witchcraft…?
Yeap!! It was 03 years ago , it was so fast… Well , let’s get into my time machine and configure the control panel for the trip to the past…
After the edition of Wicca… I had enough material to record two more albums, but the band had to face off with the departure of our guitarist Manolo (he moved to Australia), my health problems, as a consequence of the “small amounts of meat in my daily meal” (I’m attempting to avoid meat, but my health does not respond well), and the most important task… looking for a new guitar.
It was easy to make the structure of the third album (composition), but it was not so easy to transform this concept into music. The early concept of this album was “the cosmos” (do you remember “the credits” from the Wicca album?). But later, I decided to expand this concept further and started to study the Origin of Evil problem and the impact it has on our lives. So the concept changed. The original album name was “The Enigma cosmic of Evil” but this name was cut to The Enigma of Evil.
I had many books as references, but the principal ones were Marcel Neusch (L’Enigme Du Mal), Isis Unveiled (by Blavatsky), and Robert S. Mason (The Advent of Ahrima).
What’s new in the life of El Hijo de la Aurora?
I learned new production and mix techniques, and tried new instruments like Tibetan bowls, gongs, and other ethnic instruments. It was a new experience, working with other musicians and writing lyrics in English. But the situation with band’s members was difficult.
Rafael Cantoni (vocals) left the band in early 2013; he did not agree with the album’s concept. Brayan Buckt (Ayahuasca Dark Trip) helped me all the time in writing and composing each track of this album, but he has many other personal projects, so this was the cause of his leaving the band, too.
In the middle of my catharsis, I believe that all these events were ok, so El Hijo de la Aurora is a project with only one member, and this band will exist until my dead body leaves this cruel world.
El Hijo de la Aurora: “The Awakening of Kosmos”
Okay, Joaquin, so you have finally finished your work on the new album. Has El Hijo de la Aurora kept balance at the junction of stoner metal and psychedelic rock?
This album explores a new sound; it’s a balance between the 70’s doom and psychodelic. The main actors of this album were the singers: Indy (of Queen Elephantine), who has a wonderful kind of singing style (a specific form of polyrhythm vocal), and the raw style of Jorge Cortez. It was a great experience working with both.
The conception of the new album is the Origin of Evil, as you’ve said. Did you think about reflecting this subject in more extreme metal ways? Why did you choose this mix of genres to perform music about the evil side of human nature?
I don’t believe that when I wanna speak about evil, it must be related to a specific style of music. I could hear demonic messages in styles of music that children listen to today, on the bus, in the mall, anyplace. The evil, the real Evil, wants you not to believe in it.
The evil wants you to do and think stupid things. Think about this: today we feel emptier and lonelier and more cut off from each other than at any other time in human history. I think that instead of thinking about how we can conquer the evil, the goal must be “how we can transform the evil”.
Do you imagine a life without evil? I think that all experience about the Evil is an opportunity to learn something. The opportunity “to learn” would not exist without the evil or the liberty to do something wrong.
And what are the subjects of your new songs?
This album talks about the the Origin of Cosmos: from the first track “Fohat” the journey begins. Then, the next tracks are a Vision of the purgatory or Devachan of the beyond, and many others concept of Helena Petrovna Blavatsky and her books Isis Unveiled, The Secret Doctrine, and the references that I mentioned earlier…
Do you feel it necessary to sing about such topics? Is it important to you whether people understand your message or not?
Yes, I want to believe that is important. I write music about my life, my books, and my search. It’s possible that someone may be interested in what I do, or not. I feel good thinking that it is the first choice. I like to think that I can share this search with other people. My life is like an open book.
What do you think about the extreme metal scene from such an “esoteric” position?
The esoteric (not exoteric) is a representation of the way in which we establish relations with the divine or spiritual world. It’s funny, but all the Hard Rock/Heavy Metal/Progressive/Psychedelic music, from Zep (and before) and Black Sabbath to YOB or Electric Wizard, have taken the main subject of their lyrics in “esoteric” form.
There’re many “extreme metal” bands with esoteric positions, and they are really fucking awesome. I always learn something about them. The power of your music, the atmosphere, and the respect to the antique Gods… It is really fucking awesome.
Did you ever use any “auxiliary substances” to discover the problem of the Origin of Evil?
Substances? No bro, I have many years clean, and I feeling fine.
I like to be conscious. Even when I sleep, I have my conscious very clear, and I always recall my dreams when I wake up. All is confused when you’re under the influence of substances. When you’re conscious, it is easier to “see” and be attentive.
I see that you have a song named “Buddha on Mars” – how did you come to such an image?
The title came when I read a book about Copernicus, and how everyone before him believed that the Earth remained at rest in cosmic space with the sun and the stars revolving around it. I just thought it was a fantastic thing, that this was the idea of the cosmos in that period of history, and I started to draw a geocentric universe, and the image of Buddha arrived to my mind. And I thought that could be fantastic, that his influence could continue from the Cosmos to the Earth, although he is never again present in a physical body.
Who is in El Hijo de la Aurora besides you now? You’ve mentioned Indrayudh Shome from Queen Elephantine, Brayan Buckt from Ayahuaca Dark Trip, and Jorge Cortez from Mazo. How did you get these dudes?
Well, when Rafael Cantoni left the band, many friends arrived to my mind to replace him, but I wanted a different sound. I met Brayan many years ago, and he suggested that I call Indy to make the vocal tracks of the album, and I agreed with him. Then Brayan contacted him, and we sent him tracks. Indy recorded three tracks, but only two tracks are on this album — an acoustic track and the other, which is the center of the concept of this album, called “The Advent of Ahriman”.
In parallel I made contact with an old friend Jorge Cortez and I sent him the firsts three tracks of the album. Jorge Cortez is a veteran musician, a member of the pioneer band Mazo (“Mallet”). He sang for my second album Wicca on the track “El espejo de la bruja – The witch’s mirror”.
I remember from our previous interview that you’re a wicca follower. Do you still keep up your credo? Did you follow some special rules of wicca?
No, Wicca helped me to understand several things, and thanks to its wisdom, now I feel the world in different ways. Right now I’m looking for new horizons.
El Hijo de la Aurora: “Foghat”
Has anything changed in the life of the common citizens of Peru in the last few years?
Peru has a lot of young people, I love to live here, we are an interesting mix. We are capable of exquisite dreams and horrifying nightmares. We are feeling so alone. Technologically we’ve improved very quickly – some people think too quickly… and yet, we are still… beginners.
Okay, Joaquin, let’s sum up our discussion of new stuff from El Hijo de la Aurora! When and through which label do you plan to release The Enigma of Evil and what will new listeners discover in this work?
Some labels have listened to this album, but I don’t have a formal proposal for the release of it. It is possible that release this album will take a long, long time to come to light, I don’t know. Only time will tell. This album has songs in Spanish and English, and the album will have translations of the tracks, so the message will be loud and clear.
Thank you for your time mate! Wish you all the best in your cosmic journeys! Do you have a few more words of wisdom to share?
Yes, Aleks, my infinite gratitude for your support, thank you. Thanks to my current label R.A.I.G and the people who have listened to my music yet …
Read, live, and eat well.
Good stuff. It seems like Peru has a pretty nice doom scene going, with Don Juan Matus, Tortuga and these guys.