by Ryan Meehan
Dark, ominous, yet not completely hopeless, Downfall Of Gaia’s music is as uplifting as it is overwhelming. The aural peaks and valleys fill the often lengthy tracks with a rewarding listening experience. The quartet was founded in the middle of 2008 and, the members of Downfall Of Gaia reside in various cities throughout Germany. Their practice space, however, isn’t in one of the common German fashion cities like Berlin or Hamburg, but in Hannover, a city many people connect to the Scorpions. Not to a sound that is reminiscent of an avalanche of black earth, boulders, and mud. Metal Blade Records’ Downfall Of Gaia have developed their current sound over the course of several years. In their early days of existence, they could easily have been described as a crust band. During this “crustier” period, they released a split in 2008 with French band Kazan. A year later, they released a tour EP, and in 2010 they finally released their debut album “Epos” with the help of a few DIY-labels. When Downfall Of Gaia is not in the rehearsal room or in the studio, they welcome life on the road and tour whenever and wherever they can. They have not only performed on countless stages in the German speaking countries, but also in countries like Italy, the UK, France, the Netherlands and in several cities in various countries in Eastern Europe. They have even made a trip across the Atlantic to the United States for a small, but intense tour. Downfall Of Gaia’s live intensity is unwavering, whether they are performing to ten guests in a club or in front of thousands of people at a festival. Guitarist and vocalist Dominik Goncalves Dos Reis is our guest today in 5 questions.
RM: You are just finishing up a tour with Black Table here in about a week or so…How has that tour gone so far and what has that whole experience been like for you?
DGDR: We had our ups and downs. Touring the states is tough and completely different as touring Europe. We crossed the whole country, still sharing the van with Black Table from New York. We started in Brooklyn, went over to the West and now we are back on our way to the East. Had a lot of very long drives and less sleep, what’s the most exhausting thing on this tour. So far the West and East have been very good to us. But also played shows in the middle of nowhere where no one really seemed to give a shit about the music we play. Besides all of that we are totally enjoying the beautiful and wide landscapes on the road, meeting old friends and new people, hanging around with our tour buddies and playing shows at places we’ve never been before.
RM: When I hear your music I can’t help but notice that the intense heavy sections of some songs are balanced out by more expansive, spread out parts of the songs that sound like they are influenced by bands like Sonic Youth. I can even hear chunks of Mogwai in “These Wet Feathers”. Is that done to simply paint a broader picture with the music or growing up were you a big fan of experimental stuff like that?
DGDR: Yes! I mean – Downfall of Gaia is influenced by a lot of stuff. Each one of us is listening to all kinds of music as long as it’s good. We don’t want to be trapped in a specific genre and want to express ourselves in a musical way as we think it feels right. So there is a wide range of influences on our records. Especially for the new record we have processed a much wider range of various influences and have tried to combine them harmoniously with each other. As I said, it’s a wide range of influences. From Doom to Sludge to Black Metal to whatever. Also darker post rock-ish stuff a la Mogwai had its influence in some way.
RM: Germany has a reputation for producing a lot of really intense and extreme metal bands as well as a festival that attracts fans from all over the world. Where does Downfall of Gaia fit into the German music landscape? Are you content with your place in the country’s metal scene or do things like that not really matter to you?
DGDR: Yes – I guess we can say that we are pretty spoiled in Germany when it comes to shows, bands, festivals, the scene. There is always a lot of stuff going on which is a cool thing. We grew up in the DIY / Punk / Hardcore – scene and i would say this scene will always be the place where we feel the most comfortable. Besides that, things definitely grew since Suffocating In The Swarm Of Cranes and our deal with Metal Blade. But yeah – to keep it short : I would say we are pretty satisfied with the way things are at the moment for us in the German music landscape.
RM: You guys have released a couple of split records with other artists…What is it about that format that intrigues you and do you plan to do more splits in the near future?
DGDR: So far we released two split records. The first one was just our first demo released as a split tape with Kazan from France. The second one is a split 12“ with our good friends In The Hearts Of Emperors from Sweden. There is nothing special that intrigues us to do this, it was just an idea we had to share the same record together with friends. It’s always great to get something done together with people you like. But nothing like this is planned for the future. We will rather focus on writing new stuff for a new record / new full length.
RM: What’s up next for the band in the remainder of 2013 and into 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
DGDR: Right after our US tour we will hit the road again for the third and final run of our European Tour 2013. We are really looking forward to this one because we are playing some countries we’ve never played before and some awesome festivals. Should be good times! Right after we will get together and start with the songwriting for a new record. We definitely need time off of the road for doing this. We are all spread over Germany, so it’s not that easy to rehearse and write new stuff whenever we want to, especially not when we are touring that much. That’s why we will take a little time-out. Besides that we are working on some plans for 2014 but it’s still too early to talk about. But hopefully 2014 will be as active as 2013!
Official Website: http://www.downfallofgaia.com/
Downfall of Gaia on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/DownfallofGaia
Downfall of Gaia on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MetalBlade
DOG on Metal Blade: http://www.metalblade.com/downfallofgaia/
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