Apr 132023

(In early March of this year Xtreem Music released a new album by the Spanish Basque Country death/doom band Sönambula, and today we follow that with Comrade Aleks‘ interview with the band.)

The epic doom metal band Samarithan and the melodic death metal band Hopelessness were among the bands I interviewed in March and both of these bands are from Basque Country. And it starts to trouble me, as by some bizarre coincidence I made another interview with a band from Basque Country a week ago. This time it’s the bloodthirsty death metal monster Sönambula.

The band was founded in 2015 and its creators didn’t waste time: Two albums, Secuela (2016) and Bicéfalo (2018), appeared one by one; two more split-CDs followed them in 2019 and 2021, and the EP Infected Roots (2022) was another hard punch in the gut last year. And now the third full-length Estasis interrumpida is revealed to the world. Let’s try to take a look at what lurks within.

Hi Sönambula! How are you? The band’s third full-length Estasis interrumpida was released on the 9th of March by Xtreem Music. How do you promote the album? Did you perform a release show or did you start to play these songs long ago?

Hi there! We’re super happy to announce our first shows promoting Estasis Interrumpida, which will take place the next 24th and 25th of March. We’ve combined some songs of our previous albums with the new songs we enjoy the most playing. It’s a mixed and varied setlist we’ll present.


Where do you play on these dates?

As we’re writing this to you, we’re driving towards our first gig with the new lineup. We play in Unquera, Cantabria, today (24th March). Tomorrow (25th March) we play in Avilés, Asturias. We have another gig in Bilbao, our city, this next June.


It’s said that the band was founded in 2015, and the very same year you already had your first EP, Hilen Argia. How did you manage to record and release your first official record so fast? Did you have all the necessary elements of Sönambula in your mind when you started?

Yes, we had been thinking about Sönambula since 2013, the year in which we started putting together some ideas that finally became Hilen Argia. When we created Sönambula in 2015 we already had enough material so as to enter the studio the fastest way possible. In fact, we recorded that EP in a single weekend.



How would you sum up the ideas you aimed to put in your debut album Secuela (2016)? Was it like death metal with lyrics written in Spanish or did you have some wider concept?

We basically did what we would love to listen to. We were very clear that we should do lyrics in Spanish, as it’s our mother language and we are more capable of expressing ourselves that way. Obviously it had to be death metal, as it’s our main influence, despite all the doom metal vibes going on.


Death metal exists in many forms – why didn’t you stop on its more extreme or more melodic kind? And what inspired you to incorporate doom metal elements in Sönambula?

We don’t really choose what we are playing, we just do what we feel is the right thing for us. We don’t consider ourselves very technical players, and as we started like a power trio it was impossible for us to create anything melodic. We always liked old school death metal, so it felt like the right path to follow.


It seems that Spanish bands more eagerly use their mother tongue in writing their songs’ lyrics. What led you to this choice? And do you feel if this choice limits your opportunities to reach a wider audience or if it doesn’t affect anything?

No, we don’t think it really limits our opportunities to reach wider audiences. We believe that it’s more important to be comfortable with what we’re doing than pleasing anybody. For us, music is a universal language itself.



Which album helped you to draw more attention – Secuela or the following Bicéfalo (2018)? When did you start to feel that Sönambula was really heard and found some recognition?

Working with Xtreem Music when we released Bicéfalo really made us reach more people, not only in Spain but in many Latin American countries. It was a bit of a turning point for us.


Did you ever think to make a tour in South America? I know that Chilean bands for example have toured in Europe sometimes. May it work in the opposite way?

We would consider doing it if we had a serious proposal from a label or maybe a bigger band. It is difficult to tour in your own country when you’re a rather small band, so imagine booking a tour in a whole different continent! If you don’t have the contact list or the friends to do so, it is nearly impossible unless you put a lot of effort into it.


Each of these albums were supported by the release of videos, and it’s cool to see that the band (or the label) cares about this side of the business. Was it something necessary, a part of the game, or did you want to have it for yourselves?

It was something we wanted to do for ourselves. We thought it’d be cool to showcase our music with something visual and a good way of sharing our music in a way we had never done before.


How do you value the effect of the splits Tetrarchia Ex Bestia (2019) and Horrors from Beyond (2021)? Do you feel Sönambula is a part of an underground community? Is it important for you to be a part of the scene?

Yes, we are part of that underground community you mention. There are a lot of great bands here in Basque Country and we feel very proud of being a part of it. Those splits were a good way to be in touch with other bands and establish better relationships. Furthermore, it’s a decent way to keep on creating and moving forward as a band without really releasing any new full-length, which would be a lot of energy to invest.



Speaking about Estasis interrumpida – how do you see the band’s progress in this material? What’s new that you revealed in death metal in working over these songs?

These new songs are more dynamic, powerful, and faster than any other songs from our previous releases, plus the riffs are more complex. Production-wise, we recorded the album in Moontower Studios, which was a different studio for us and it has absolutely changed our approach regarding our sound.


What are these changes?

The way we’ve created these new songs, for example. This has been the very first time we demoed our songs before entering the studio, so we had a really clear idea of the sound we wanted to achieve in this record.


How do you see the core features of Estasis interrumpida? Three members of the band have a rich background playing in other bands — did that help to create a unique vibe for Sönambula?

That background you mention is absolutely an extremely important feature of our band. We’ve played countless gigs before creating Sönambula, so we had that previous experience and it has helped us develop the sound we have today.


There are some samples from movies in your songs. Can you tell more about this side of Estasis interrumpida?

This is the first time we used intros and samples for some of our songs. These intros were taken from the Alien 3 film and it will help the audience submerge more deeply in the universe we created for Estasis Interrumpida.



Alien 3 was one of the weakest movies in the Alien series. Why did you choose it, and how does it benefit the album’s concept?

Actually, we chose that film because of the Fury 161 planet. It is a hostile environment where no life can survive, so it was the perfect atmosphere to locate our songs in. After reflecting on how the pandemic made us feel, it seemed more obvious that we had to use this concept in our next record.


What are your plans regarding tours for 2023? How often do you play abroad or in Spain? And do you still find fun in performing your songs from the stage?

We love playing live and that’s something we will keep on doing until the very end. We would like to do it all over Spain this 2023, but we’ll see how it goes, for this is a difficult thing to plan. Regarding playing abroad, it’s been a while since we went out from Spain for touring, so this year could be the one! We might try to play in France, Germany, Northern Ireland… Who knows? We’ll try our best!


Then I wish you good luck in this endeavour! Do you have something to add to our interview?

We believe Alien 3 was great hahahaha! Thank you so much for the interest in our music and ourselves! Take care!




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