(We give thanks to Russian interviewer Comrade Aleks for this extensive new conversation with guitarist Juan Acevedo, a member of the Chilean band Weight of Emptiness, whose new album was released not long ago via Australis Records.)
Raised from the ashes of Twilight Mist, this Santiago-based outfit has performed tight, energetic, and quite aggressive melodic death-doom metal since 2015. They built a basement for their debut album Anfractuous Moments For Redemption (2017) with their 2016 EP Anfractuous, and they firmed up the band’s position with a new full-length, Conquering The Deep Cycle, released on August 31st by Australis Records. This passionate and vivid material demonstrates all of Weight Of Emptiness‘ strong sides and passion towards extreme heavy music.
A new album is always good reason to talk with a band, so we’ve organized this interview with Juan Acevedo (guitars).
Hi Juan! Weight Of Emptiness was formed in 2015, and since the first EP Anfractuous, and further, you have performed technical death-doom metal with a progressive touch. Did you aim for this combination from the very start? Was it about “doomy death” or “deathly doom”?
Hi Aleks, first of all thanks for the interview. I think that the style was not something so premeditated. It is a combination of the music that we usually listen to and following the line of a band called Twilight Mist, to which three members of Weight Emptiness belonged. A combination of the best we heard during the second part of the ‘90s — melody, feeling, power, and some progressive elements.
What didn’t work with Twilight Mist? Nine years, only a two-song demo, and you disbanded it.
Actually we composed more songs with Twilight Mist, about 6 in total and quite extensive. I was able to edit an LP album. However, the creative process of each song was somewhat extensive, and on the other hand there were changes of members that reset the project a bit, making us not able to move forward so quickly. On the other hand, at that time there were not so many tools to record an album with few resources, and with some quality, as at present, so the project was worn out, and could never realize the desired LP. On the other hand we performed memorable concerts that people enjoyed a lot; it was a tremendous live band.
You are pretty active, and after the EP was released in 2016 you returned with the full-length album Anfractuous Moments For Redemption in 2017.
Actually, as with the previous band Twilight Mist we were playing for almost 10 years and we only released a demo, and now we had the intention of not waiting so long and getting an LP as fast as possible and the music ended quickly when we convinced ourselves that this project was working. Life is short you know, so we have put all our energy into this band, and as things have worked well and there has been a tremendous reception from the public, it drives us to go for more.
Weight Of Emptiness – Behind The Masks
You supported the album’s release with three videos — did this idea prove itself? Do you believe that videos work nowadays, as it was in ’90s?
Both in the ’90s and now, music enters more easily by sight. Before, there were much less facilities to make videos, so those who came to be filmed could be seen by more people and help massively increase the bands worldwide. Now with YouTube there is more facility to spread your videos all over the world, but for this reason there are millions of videos that are on the network, so it is difficult to stand out. At least locally it can work to show your music to the bangers.
On the other hand it is fun to make video clips, and allows us to show the music through the look of a director and create an environment around each song. It broadens the artistic spectrum.
Do you write the plots for these videos yourself? Do you feel these videos channel well the songs’ messages?
In general, the plots of the videos are a mixture of what the directors interpret with the lyrics and music of the songs and what we can contribute to complement that vision. The locations are chosen by us, thinking about the message we want to show. In general, the videos do show what we want to interpret with music in one way or another. It is a great complement to the song, they make it great and make it more memorable.
Good to hear it. I guess it’s a really nice idea, but every video costs money. I guess only Paradise Lost have been able to have two – three videos for an album. What about the financial side of this matter?
We have been fortunate that the people who have worked with us in the video clips have liked the band and our music, so they have reduced the price to pay for these videos. Otherwise it would be difficult to have managed to make so many music videos in a country like Chile, with few resources to develop musical projects associated with metal, although there are tremendous metal bands here.
Weight Of Emptiness – Unbreakable
You recorded the album in two separate sessions. What was the reason to break it in two? How did you organize the recording of Anfractuous Moments For Redemption?
We recorded music in separate studios for technical and economic reasons. We have our own studio called The Farm, but we can only record vocals, guitars, and bass for the equipment it has, and it is cheaper to do it there, and the result is very good. For the drums we must record in a studio that has what is necessary to achieve the best possible sound, that has good acoustics, good microphones, and there we must invest more to pay for studio hours. We always try to choose the best option, and with sound engineers who are experts in metal music.
Did you equip The Farm by yourself and only for Weight Of Emptiness or do you record other bands there?
We equipped The Farm to be able to record the band’s albums and we haven’t recorded anything more than that. However, I have offered the space to some friends who wanted to record there, but so far no one but us has done it.
Usually it looks like certain genres are tied with certain ideologies or moods, in a wider sense. Weight Of Emptiness combines the aggressiveness of death metal, the depressive spirit of doom, and the complexity of prog (in minor scale). How would you summarize the band’s central idea? What’s Weight Of Emptiness’ spirit?
The human being goes through different moods during his life and we want to interpret those moods, to show the complexities of thinking and feeling of the human being through music. On the other hand we are several people who compose music in the band, so they are different ways of composing too, and different influences. Therefore we value this musical heterogeneity in the compositions. The central idea of the band in music is to show feelings through music. In general there is also a development within each song, an introduction, a central reflection, a conflict, and an outcome.
Your new album Conquering The Deep Cycle saw the light of day on August 31st on Australis Records. How did you find the label? Was it a hard task or did your debut album already guarantee you a reputation?
We had some offers from labels in Mexico and Italy, but they couldn’t get our material on the date we wanted. And suddenly I met the owner of Australis in a concert and we talked, and fortunately we reached a good agreement and managed to edit the album before our tour to Europe. Australis is a label that has supported many bands in Chile and has an international distribution for which we are satisfied.
From those few tracks I’ve heard Conquering The Deep Circle looks like the next logical step of the band to the next level. The material seems to be carefully composed, professionally recorded, and technically delivered. How do you see the album’s potential?
I think our new album is amazing, I really enjoy it. It is a work done in less time than the previous one but with a greater dedication, and the good thing is that as we all contributed in the composition. It had a major final revision, so it was a more mature product than the previous one, which was difficult, since I consider that the first album is really very good too. Perhaps this new album is more varied so it has other flavors and other essences, which makes it unique. We hope that the quality of the album, plus the help of our label, and the tours we are doing to promote it, will help to massify it properly.
Were there any difficulties during the recording of the album?
In fact yes, mainly because it is not usual to compose an album and record in such a short time, but we had to meet self-imposed goals, so it was a tremendous investment of energy. We tried our best, and I appreciate that to my colleagues. On the other hand our drummer suffered an injury to his arm so he had to completely stop playing for a while at the beginning of this year. This made us have to re-program the recording process, leaving the drums recording for last, which is not usual, but finally everything went perfectly.
I see that this time you have one song with lyrics in Spanish (‘Lamentos’) and at least one track with, let’s say, local spirit – ‘Chucao’. How much does your environment influence you? What are these songs about?
The environment in the case of ‘Chucao’ was vital. I was in the middle of a forest in southern Chile with a guitar, and the riffs flowed alone. Chucao is a bird that lives in the forests in the south of Chile that sings to the people who pass, but in general it is not seen. There is a local legend that indicates that if the Chucao sings on the right side you will have good luck, but if it is on the left, it can be a catastrophe in your life. On the other hand, the sound of the ‘Chucao’ that appears in the album, was recorded in the Millennial Larch Forest, where the most ancient tree in South America is located, more than three thousand years old, therefore it is a legendary Chucao as well.
‘Lamentos’ was the first song in Spanish that we have performed, and I think it was an incredible result. It is a song about a trip to the subconscious and oblivion. Talking about burying painful matters and forgetting situations or people that hurt us.
Weight Of Emptiness – Flame
Is it important for you to keep a national identity through Weight Of Emptiness?
Personally I have never thought so, however without realizing it, some of the roots of our culture are impregnated in our unconscious, so what we compose has musical elements of our land. Perhaps among so much metal music that we have heard for years, there was also some Chilean music too, and we used it to spice up these symphonies a bit.
Do you see gigs as a necessary part of Weight Of Emptiness? How much do you put into organizing gigs and tours? Is it worth spending energy to tour through Chile or in neighboring countries?
We love being able to show our music live. The Weight Of Emptiness show is a brutal spectacle of energy and feelings, therefore it is an essential part of the band. At least everywhere we have played live they have let us know. Our vocalist is not only a great metal singer, but also a great frontman who encourages the public to participate in the show, as Bruce Dickinsson does, keeping the proportions hahaha. On the other hand, the rest of the musicians try to give an unforgettable show because we enjoy playing and interacting with the audience.
Juan, thank you for your time. I hope the interview will make spreading Weight Of Emptiness’ news easier. Would you like to add something else in the end?
I am really grateful for the opportunity to talk about the band and how its evolution has been over time. We hope you can listen to our music and release the weight of your emptiness. Stay Unbreakable!!!