DTM FORWARD ATTACK SQUADRON LEADER JAMES FOGARTY INTERVIEWS FEDERICO AGREDA

Federico is a work-aholic who, like myself, keeps himself busy with a handfull of projects. I came across him giving away top-notch Dark DnB through one of his myspace pages. After talking with him, and finding he has a history of extreme metal, it seemed appropriate for him to release his album 'Portals' for industrial metal project Blackholepit via DEATH TO MUSIC Productions. Here are some questions I had for him...

Hi Federico / Gorepriest / Zardonic etc etc... - please tell these fine people a little about your musical history, your influences / inspirations, past projects etc... - so they can know all about you and see what an incredibly busy guy you are.


First of all James, I'd like to thank you for this great opportunity. It is an honour to work together with such a great musician as you are and specially considering we pursue similar goals.

Now to get to the point, my musical history was influenced by many things, not only musicians. Back then when I was 5 years old I had this little recorder and I remember buying blank cassettes just to record sounds. It was quite fun, because they were presented, like "Good afternoon, this is the sound of the vaccuum.... WHOOOOOOOOOOOSH" hahahah. I also remember during the years I heard a lot of oldschool rave DJ radio shows and recorded them, and every time that stupid guy would say shit like "you're listening to the latest hits of..." I paused the recording, rewinded back to the last beat before, and recorded again from it when the guy stopped talking, so in theory, the whole sound / DJ essence was a part of me.

Then when I was 13 it just happened that I was a fan of 3D shooters and I was playing Duke Nukem 3D, my older brother Miguel Agreda (drummer of the venezuelan death metal band Verminous) decided to put in the PC's CD-ROM drive "The Great Southern Trendkill" by Pantera. In that exact moment my life changed completely, and I'm fucking serious. It CHANGED. It was like my brain opened a part of itself in such a raw and violent way, that I didn't even know it could happen. The graphic violence of the game, the sounds (so far, in my opinion, Duke Nukem 3D has probably the most desperating sounds ever used in a game), and Phil Anselmo screaming, it was almost traumatic. Then I ended up listening to Death, Deicide, Cradle Of Filth, Brujería, Dimmu Borgir, and so on eventually.

I composed my first music pieces when I was 16 years old, just by ear, they were of course very raw, but they originated the first project I ever worked with, which was Gorepriest, an idea of ambient, black metal inspired music with absence of guitars. Many people would believe that was very original, but honestly the idea came from necessity. I just didn't have the money nor the support to buy myself a guitar, and as an indigo, I always tend to solve things with the tools I have on my hands, against any obstacles.

So to make it short since this is already the fourth paragraph, I started experimenting with a lot of virtual effects and generators and from all those experiments, new projects and ideas were born. Intimus Universum, for example, my dark ambient / industrial noise project, which was to follow Gorepriest. I remember being involved in a total of 13 music projects and bands. Shamefully, most of them were discontinued, so I just recycled all of those recordings for using them in my current active projects, which are Gorepriest, Zardonic, Intimus Universum, Blackholepit and Moreon & Klipp.

Coming, as you do, from Venezuela - what are the problems that you have encountered due to your location - as much of the Metal or DnB scene is either in Europe or the US ?

Yeah I've always said I should have been born in Norway or something like that, maybe Germany better since I've heard most norwegian black metallers are really closeminded with industrialized metal bands (specially considering they have booed a fucking AWESOME band such as Dodheimsgard, that was just idiotic), but anyways, yeah, Venezuela is not precisely the best market for this kind of music. Furthermore, it is not a good market for any kind of music. See, most artists here (even reggaeton artists, considering that 'plague' is really popular in this damn caribbean country) never really make it, unless they leave for bigger markets, and then come back. Big artists hailing from Venezuela are mostly living in New York, Miami, Netherlands, but never in this country. I still don't know what I'm waiting for, ha. But here, as you can see, I'm marketing my music with someone that is outside of the country, such as yourself with Death To Music

Being someone who has been aware of DnB since it's birth as Jungle from the late 80s Rave scene, I always thought it was the music of inner-city council-estates of the UK - but I am surprised to hear that there is a massive scene in the US and even in Brazil with Sambass - how do you see this style of music's growth in general?

Drum & Bass itself is not 'growing'. It's more like stuck in it's own boundaries. There are many people trying to innovate, but few things are really heard, big, or marketed the right way. It depends on the market tho, for example, you would be surprised in your own country, the Therapy Sessions parties, which are the most important "dark" drum & bass parties worldwide, have really small parties in the UK (being, like you said, a style born in said country) in comparison with, for example, the parties they have done in Russia. I'm talking about thousands of guys bouncing and moshing to this music like it was a tiesto concert in Venezuela. (not condoning the music of tiesto, just stating an example of how popular this could have been). Many people would say the most popular drum & bass styles are lighter, and that would make perfect sense, but then explain to me why people here, for example, won't dance to liquid funk because they find it way too light. Then someone comes and mixes it with bossa nova, and sure thing, it's popular... but, what else? Drum & Bass can be mixed with so many things, but the big guys and the media are always keeping their own image instead of opening the doors to more innovative artists that are ridiculously underrated. So in resume, musicwise and productionwise it's growing, but the market doesn't help.

Many DnB producers talk of how drum and bass is about pushing the boundaries all the time, and yet - to be blunt - a lot of what these people produce is actually quite boring and conservative - You are one of the few to incorporate refreshing new ideas into this scene - have you got much thanks for it ? How do you think people view at your stuff ? Is there a small voodoo doll of you somewhere with large pins stuck in it?

I'm glad you can see that! Honestly I've got pretty random responses on my music, there is a lot of people who embraces it because (whether it has upfront guitars or not) it has the metal / rock essence in them. Others would say that I'm a shame for the metal scene because they hate 'techno' (funny they call this techno when it's so damn different), other people in the drum & bass scene would say this takes them to another level because it has a magic sound, an energy they have never experienced before, and they love what i do, and others would just say i'm a 'subpar' producer who will never succeed. I, to be totally honest, would be damn happy if all people in the drum & bass scene dies from a chronic diarrhea. Seriously. I don't give a fucking fuck about them or the rave scene or whatever. 90% of the people I've had the chance to talk with are a bunch of retards who have burnt their brains with drugs and the music they listen to is shit, nothing else, and in their reality, all the things I consider are good, are shit to them. So to me, they're not intelligent. Period. The resting 10% is the few intelligent people I've found, and they know who they are. To name a few because they honestly deserve it, and specially because they DO push the boundaries of drum & bass, are Mumblz aka Delusional, Submerged, Counterstrike, B-Complex, Process aka Messenger, Hemoglobin, Gasmask 71, Cooh, BTK, Antichristus, Hedj, Switch Technique, Malsum, and I'm sure there's a lot I'm forgetting, but you know who you are! Funny enough, you will find that most of the artists I've mentioned are signed with small labels. Thankfully there's people like you James, or me, who are always looking for the music that has still not been corrupted by the purposes of pure marketing. Sure thing, it's good to market your own art, but when marketing overwhelms composition, the results are never the same.


Now to your Blackholepit project - I see that there are a few guest musicians on this also - what's the story behind this project ? Is it an active band or a studio project ? Have you played any gigs ? Are you recording new material ?

All of my projects are studio projects. I can never say never because I don't know what the future is preparing for me, but so far my plans are just to compose music. Like I said, I'm an indigo, and I work with what I've got in my hands to get immediate results. Playing live with such a project would just not be immediate, and I can easily grow tired of spending money and time in something that's not giving me any results, as I have great ambitions. However, considering how fucked up the industry is these days, well, unless I get signed by someone like Nuclear Blast or Nothing, and get my music distributed worldwide, videos on TV, monthly gigs and tours, and magazines such as Metal Maniacs, Rock Sound and Rolling Stone dying to put an interview like this on their pages, well, I prefer to release something on Death To Music. Basically, I want real attention from what I'm doing, so I'd rather work with you than licking all that endless list of asses, but I think by reading this you will see what I'm desperately after, but I also don't want my music to be corrupted by this. It's probably why Blackholepit is not an active band, this is a very personal concept that came out of a deep depression I had. And the guest musicians came randomly, just guys who heard the music and embraced it, and decided to add their elements, and I decided to make them part of the album aswell. The idea of putting movie-like vocals by Gonzalo Gomez was just plain awesome. It fitted perfectly. So did Carlos Santamaria's improvised solos at home when he heard the tracks. I may record new material for this project but like I said nothing is certain. I've not recorded anything yet, but I think I will in the future.


What is the subject matter of the album ? Is it 'portals' like Aldous Huxley's "doors of perception" ? It sounds pretty chaotic and dark - would anyone want to go through those portals and if so, where would they end up ? What is the lyrical content about - is there any specific themes ?

Many people would believe there is something really philosophical and deep behind the concept of portals, but it all resumes in a simple thing: a girl. An ex-girlfriend, to be specific. However, women have given birth to the deepest thoughts in the minds of men. "Portals" represents a stage of my life where I was still learning how to love and be loved, a lot of things I wouldn't understand, and while some people would believe this is stupid, I don't care, because in my reality it wasn't easy at all. I was suffering from anorexia nervosa and insomnia because of this and got from 70kg to about 45kg. Real thin, like a skeleton covered with plain skin. People were of course stupid enough to believe I was thin just because I was on crack or something like that when I've never done any drugs in my life except weed, and very occasionally. Amazing enough, I don't know if people by reading this would feel their perception of the album is affected, but honestly, most of the people I've shown this album to say they experience an indescriptible state of katatonia, and I've seen them. They just stay there, staring into nowhere, with their mouths barely opened, drooling, and listening to the album, like it was a spiritual drug. Others have said they feel like someone just kicked their asses real hard and they didn't realize it till they heard the album. So I would better say it was something that seemed to be simple, but it wasn't. I'm not going to give details about it anyways, just hear the album.
 

Why have you decided to work with DEATH TO MUSIC Productions ? What does this say about the 'industry' that surrounds the music 'scenes' you work within / outside ?

Because from all the free net labels it seems to be the most solid project I've found. Like I said I don't care about the industry of the 'scenes' I'm in unless they care about me and my music. Let's say I just grew tired of licking asses. Death To Music seems to be the perfect place to release my straight upfront black metal drum & bass tracks at least, since like you've said, most drum & bass labels are mostly conservative, with the exception of a few that are pushing the boundaries such as Ohm Resistance or Mindsaw, both labels I'm signed to, and these labels themselves have had to deal with hard times with the distributors. But I think I've been lucky, so far I've got money from all of my tunes, at least those who sold. The only tune who never sold was my first release, which I prefer not to mention. It's not even a tune I'm ashamed of, it's even probably one of the most unique tunes I've composed, but on a scene that is just wrong, the new artists hardly get a spot. It's about what you do, but it's also about who you know. Like everywhere.
 
What's the future looking like right now ? What are your plans for studio work ? Live work ? Are you likely to venture beyond the boundaries of South America anytime soon ?

Absolutely!! I actually hope to play in Europe in the end of 2008, but I'm also planning a tour in South America. I know there is random people here who has good taste, and I don't want to leave them behind either. However, I would only tour with DJ sets as Zardonic, but people can expect to hear everything from my sets, depending on who books me. If I get booked for a drum & bass event, the set will be probably heavy but more adapted to the event. If I get booked in a dark, goth club, The set will be just as heavy as it can be.

Visit Federico Agreda's official 'Portal' @ www.gorepriest.tk