Avalon: When cultures combine

DURP - eZine from the progressive ocean


With their new album "Eurasia" AVALON have released their most sophisticated longplayer. DURP interviewed AVALON keyboarder Jens Kuckelkorn.

What's your feeling when you're looking at "Eurasia" ?

After months of hard and demanding work (for all of us) it is kind of relieving to hold all our ideas and visions "physically" in our hands. But of course it is good for our self-confidence, too as we had high expectations: We cooperated with more than 20 musicians and sound engineers in four studios. For all of them "Eurasia" was the first time to work with us ... even for our new drummer Jacques Voutay it was the first AVALON production.

Your cooperation with Sascha Paeth as producer has lead to a phantastic sound !

Yes ! We've tried to create an emotional mix with various instruments instead of programming with samplers all the time ... like others do. By his endless patience Sascha has combined the european and asian influences to a powerful and still emotional concept album.

Your bandinfo mentions Jacques Voutay as bandmember since early 2000. Didn't Jacques play during your gig in the Munich Theathron in summer 1999 ?

No he didn't. On that gig our jazz-drummer Pietro Ramaglia was with us. BTW: That was a very nice gig ! I am sure you've realized that the great audience and the charisma of Pietro gave us a big push !

How did you find Jacques ? He really has a powerful punch !

It's really difficult to find a new band member. You know it's not only the playing skills that count ... it's the personality, too. We've tried everything to find a new drummer. Finally we made a casting. During that casting we were impressed by his incredible punch. Additionally all of us had the feeling that he fit into our team perfectly.

BTW: How did Chitral Somapala become your lead singer ? Did he live in Germany before ?

Chitral has been a great choice for all of us. As we had started the production for "Vision Eden" our former singer left the band. Limb Schnoor of Limb Productions established our contact with Chitral who was already in a band in Trier/Germany at that time. Chitral came to a 4 hours test recording session. After a short time we gave him a phone call to come back to Munich immediately. He was with us the next day and two hours later we recorded "In between us".

Let's come back to your new album "Eurasia". Who or what was the cause for the great asian atmosphere ?

Playing in a band with international members, such ideas appear quite naturally. As we began our work on "Eurasia", we created a concept about how to combine european metal with indian instruments from Chitral's origin Sri Lanka. Later on we transferred the concept into the lyrics, the album cover and so on. Chitral was involved in the composition in a special way 'cause he grew up in a sengalian family of musicians and is familiar to these instruments. BTW: On "Eurasia" Chitral can be heard playing the Chapman Stick several times.

Could you please introduce our readers to the concept of "Eurasia" ?

It was our goal to melt Asia and Europa to a new continent ... Eurasia. The lyrics can be interpreted in different ways as they deal with historic personalities of Eurasia, i.e. Buddha or Dareios III King of Persia. It would take huge bookshelfs to express the common history of Eurasia ... we decided to do it the music-focussed way and combined - as it seems - two different types of music.

It's a shame that we don't introduce ourselves to the indian culture to a higher extent. In India/Asia the traditional music still plays an important role in culture and religion ... even nowadays.

In my opinion traditional music has a big meaning in nearly every part of the world. Regarding "Eurasia", India plays an important role ... on the one hand because of the indogermanic migration and because of its' relationship to Sri Lanka ... the home country of Chitral.

In comparison it's quite a shame to see the commercial music charts over here in Germany. Seems like a our society is not able to deal with its' culture and tradition in such an intense way anymore.

You're right. The modern consumer society is tending towards throwaway-music and ignorance of it's own culture. Apprehensivly besides popmusic nothing is happening in the mass media. It seems like music-based subventions by the government exclusively are put into classical music. Could be that fusion-jazz or progmetal is to sophisticated for most people .... hopefully this thing is changing when people are sick of fast-food-music.

I assume you'll give your best to promote "Eurasia" live on stage. Are there any schedules available ?

We'll be on tour in Europe from 20 Oct to 10 Dec together with Metalium. There will be about 10 gigs in Germany. We're looking forward to all of the shows cause we're a natural born live band. Our gig dates can be found on the Omegarecords-Website (www.omegarecords.de).

See you there. All the best for AVALON and your new album !

© 10/2000 Markus Weis
DURP - eZine from the progressive ocean