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Deutsche VersionInterview mit Astarte (20.05.2004)

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HH: Hi there and first of all congratulations for your new album Sirens. But I want to start this interview with some questions about the line-up of Astarte. Why did Kinthia and Nemesis leave Astarte? What happened?

Tristessa: First of all I salute you too! About the ex-members, Nemesis has left the band from the year 2002 for her personal reasons. Kinthia did not want to continue with the new paths of Astarte, the new Label?She totally quit from music action and afterwards she made some actions in bad faith of new Astarte members and me. Unfortunately, there were some problems that I had to fix and Kinthia was replaced with Hybris. The two ex members are no more into action and they have totally quit.

HH: The new band members are called Katharsis (Keyboards) and Hybris (Guitars). Can you give us a brief introduction of the two? Where did they play before? How did the contact come up?

Tristessa: I knew both of them from years ago. Katharsis is an ex member of the Greek band On Thorns I Lay. Katharsis was making her studies in France and there she was playing unofficially in a rock band. She finished her studies and returned in Greece at the exchactly time that I needed her. I trust their skills and their experience in music and the band came up strong and powerful to take the new risks.

HH: I think the sound on Sirens is a more powerful as on your previous album Quod superious... Is this because you mastered the album at the finnish Tico Tico Studio? Why did you choose this studio for the mastering process?

Tristessa: I had made a preview in my mind of how the new album will sound. My main thought was an open, clear and frozen production. Thus, Tico Tico was a very good chance to accomplish my aim. Me and Ahti we had a very good cooperation and the output was very satisfying. Of course there is a difference from all previous albums cos this time I put a great effort to the final sound and Mastering of the album. I had good samples from Tico Tico from Thy Serpent, Thyrane, Impaled Nazarene, Sentenced.

HH: On Sirens you play again a melodic but aggressive style of black metal using elements of other genres too. Sirens is even more aggressive and definitely darker as on Quod superius, I think... What is the biggest difference between this and your last album in your opinion?

Tristessa: For this time Black Metal is in more speed form and melodies are passed with less keyboards and more aggression. Sirens is much darker and combines Thrash and Death elements. Also the fact that I make vocals is another point that adds a different attitude to the whole outcome. The album is straight and many times more melancholic than Quod... The whole album is managed to make a shift to the most ever extreme times of Astarte. In every new album we always take the risk of adding new elements. This album can be the pathway for the new one.

HH: I like the song "Deviate" very much because it's fast, raw, dark, melodic and aggressive all in one (Ok, most of the songs have several of these attributes!) :-) and it's got a cool refrain. Which song on Sirens do you love most and why?

Tristessa: Hey I see that from "Deviate" you took all I wanted to reach out! That means a lot. You see it is a great feedback to see that the listeners perceive the elements and atmosphere that I wanted to pass. Anyway, my favourite song is "The Ring". I realise it lately when I heard the entire album in its finished form. "The Ring" was the first song that I compose for Sirens. It is purely connected with the spirit of the ex albums. I was inspired from my own band!!!

HH: On Sirens, there are some guest appearances. Nicolas SIC Maiis, Sakis and Shagrath contributed some vocals on different tracks. How did the cooperations come up especially the one with Shagrath from Dimmu Borgir? And why did you choose to have guests on Sirens?

Tristessa: Well I would say that it was not just guest appearance, but it was a full contribution since they have sung in a big part of the songs. Shagrath and Dimmu Borgir have asked us twice in the pat to support them live. I asked Shagrath to sing for Astarte and he accepted because he likes our music. It was a good chance any way and I searched for good guest appearances. I looked for good guests, which can add a very strong note to the album.

HH: Did you write these three songs ("Bitterness Of Mortality", "Oceanus Procellarum" and "The Ring (Of Sorrow)") in a certain way especially for the guests or didn?t you think about their appearance while writing these songs?

Tristessa: I never predispose myself when I compose a song. The writing period is for me total isolation and concentration because I have to compose not only the main riffs, but also all guitar, bass and drums lines. The guest appearances were agreed in the last moment. After the agreements again I choose those songs with no special criteria.

HH: Can you please give a brief overview what the lyrics of the particular songs on Sirens deal with?

"Dark Infected Circles": It is about human aggression, inner thoughts that comes when we touch the extremes. It is the outbreak that each one of us reaches out.

"Black Mighty Gods": Refears to the Spider Queen Lloth.

"Bitterness Of Mortality (MecomaN)": Is based on the pain and fate of mortals. How much we pain for love, we pain to get through our goals. Everything in our lives is filtered from hard work. At the end of all we stay alone. This is Bitterness of Mortality. A very characteristic phrase is in the epilogue where it says: Worse than death can be only real life...

"Deviate": This song came out of my furious feelings for some persons that tried to harm my life and my band. It is an answer of my aggression and my way to face situations. It?s clearly me speaking and screaming!!!!

"Oceanus Procellarum (Liquid Tomb)": The mystery of water it is for every album a must. Thus in this album I wrote about lost cities that are buried through the ages under the sea. Mythic and Epic stories of Greek history have many references on this and I have applied it by my own way. Water is the strongest element on earth. It destroys and gives birth.

"The Ring (Of Sorrow)": It is inspired from the movie The Ring. The subject is allegorically written and refers on the sickness and paranoia of the scenario. It is applied from my own point of view.

"Twist, Nail, Torture": Refers to all recent wars and terrorism. The message that I want to pass is the declarations of the new war-kinds of humanity which is made to spread fear and death. It is a war that has no start or ending. Nations are uncontrollable! There is a chaos out there!!

"Sirens": I have visualise and write about this mythical monster of Ancient Greek Mythology.

HH: Your contract with Black Lotus Records expired some time ago and after that you signed a contract with the Italian record label Avantgarde. Why did you choose to change the label? What do you expect from your cooperation with Avantgarde?

Tristessa: The contract with Black Lotus was about to finish at the time of February 2003. At that time I had started to search for Label. The best choice according to the standards of Astarte was Avantgarde. Many doors have opened for Astarte. That means professional work. The rest is a risk that comes by time. For the time I am very satisfied since I went to Finland for the production, I worked with Graal for the Artwork and some other corporations that play important role for the process of the album.

HH: You also changed the artist for coverdesign. The German artist Timo Wuerz was replaced by the polish visual artist Graal. Why did you choose to change the cover illustrator?

Tristessa: Out of all cover designers that I have work with, I put Timo in the higher level. For sure I am satisfied from everyone, but Timo is not only an amazing designer, he is also a unique person and there are many reasons for me to work with him again in the future. For this album we choose Graal because he has a most aggressive painting attitude, which would fit also to the music rawness. For me, Timo is more allegoric and more romantic.

HH: There exists the original version of Quod superius... and there exists a new version of the album as mentioned on your homepage. What's the difference between these two versions and why did the new one came up?

Tristessa: It is not a new version. It is as old as the normanl version. The only difference is the cover that is special edition in slipcase and it is distributed from the German Sure Shot Records.

HH: What about touring? Will Astarte play some gigs in the nearby future? What about Germany and Europe?

Tristessa: For this year and for this album we have no plans for gigs. We have chosen not to be a live band for the moment, I repeat. On the other hand I have made a new opening with my other official band called Lloth. Right now we are composing our new material and during this year we will start playing live in Greece and abroad. At this point I want to add that with Lloth we play a Sick Death Metal with 7 string guitars and 5 string bass and that means heavy sound!!!!

Hopefully we will join German sooner or later.

Finally, talking about bands, besides Lloth I belong to another band called Insected. There I make brutal backing vocals. We play raw Death and we have already composed our fist promo album.

HH: If you could choose a band to tour with. Which band would it be and why?

Tristessa: I cannot choose since my favourite band does not exist any more and this is Limbonic Art.

HH: Imagine Sirens would be an animal what animal would that be?

Tristessa: Sirens it is a monster any way by it self. It is as it presented in the cover. At least this is how I can imagine it. Sirens is the seductive female monster that takes the advantage of male passengers, use them for her lust and then kill them. So, be careful you never know!!!

HH: Thanks a lot for your time and for answering my questions. Any last words?

Tristessa: I want to thank you too and Heavyhardes Magazine and finally send my Darkest Hails to the German scene!!

Astarte will mesmerise your Souls...

Official Discography (incl. Demos):
1stDemo - Lloth Dancing in the Dark Lakes of Evil
Debut album Astarte - Doomed dark Years
2nd album Astarte -Rise From Within
3rd album Astarte -Quod Superius Sicut Inferius
4th album Astarte - Sirens

Current Line-Up:
Tristessa-Vocals, Bass, Lead and acoustic guitars
Katharsis- Synths
Hybris- rhythmic guitars

Astarte Orders and contact: maria_tristessa@yahoo.com
Astarte Official Site: www.astate-site.cjb.net/

Lord Obirah

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