Sometimes an enlightened experience can come out of nowhere when you least expect it. This was the case with Persefone‘s latest February 4th, 2022 release, Metanoia. The melodic, soulful beginning has an instant impact of calmness and introspection. This quickly changes to progressive riffs, insatiable drum beats, intense vocals, and chugging bass lines, while maintaining a melodic ambiance. It ends again with that same calmness and thoughtfulness. There is not one second throughout this entire album where you can feign boredom. Persefone has recently connected with Napalm Records for this release, which was a good move on both parties. I highly suggest everyone take the time to listen all the way through to gain the full journey of overcoming your inner self while having a musically spiritual encounter.
Small country Andorra is the birthplace of this incredible progressive metal band featuring; Carlos Lozano Quintanilla (guitar), Miguel Espinosa Ortiz (keyboards, vocals), Sergi Verdeguer Moyano (drums), Toni Mestre Coy (bass), Marc Martins Pia (vocals), and Filipe Baldaia (guitar). Metanoia is their fifth album release and is another powerhouse of an album. How this band is not bigger after going for 20 years, is beyond me, but they are close to perfection musically and lyrically.
Metal Nation chatted with Carlos about this album and many other topics.
Musically, Metanoia is impressive, it is beautiful, but lyrically, it is on a whole other level. Are your vocalists the ones who write the lyrics?
“We do it as a team when it comes to everything, because we treat the vocals as another instrument, so we have to find the words that fit with the rhythm and that fits with the music. It is pretty complicated but we had the concept before and when it came to the actual lyrics we had to find the words to mean what we wanted to express. The singer Marc doesn’t play an instrument, so Bobby or myself has to make things fit. We try to make a team effort when it comes to all the stuff that is going on in the album.”
That is really impressive. It is not often you hear all members of the band collectively doing all parts. So you all have gone through this spiritual journey together, I assume, since that is what the album is about. I am sure that helped keep your band dynamic healthy and strong.
“Yes definitely, but we are friends making music, to the core. That is the beautiful thing. We are best friends, all of us. We sometimes use the band as an excuse to meet because Marc and Tony have kids, as well as us having daily jobs and wives, then somehow we have the band. It feels like a family, with not only the members, but the wives and families as well. We are lucky that twenty years later we are still going somehow.”
Sounds like you have supportive families, which is important when you are trying to be a hardcore musician, which is tough these days, unfortunately.
“Yes especially with symphonic, progressive, technical metal or whatever, which is not the smartest thing to do if you want to be a successful musician *laughs*”
I don’t even know what would be at this point, I guess pop, or rap, or country, but those genres don’t pull the same emotional string. You have to either enjoy what you do or go outside of what you enjoy and maybe be more successful *laughs*. I don’t know, I keep hoping that more people will start understanding what metal is really about. We probably wouldn’t be in the mess we are in the world if more people listened to metal!
“People think metal is like aggressive music for aggressive people but it is like therapy for many of us. Whatever though, people need to find their paths in whatever they like.”
It is interesting how some people will say metal is based on anger, then you look at lyrics like Persefone and realize that is incorrect. I felt this album was more about the inner battle that we all have and coming out on the other end, with a better understanding of yourself and being able to have that calmness that comes with overcoming that inner battle.
“You are spot on. The whole album is about that. We feel confident talking about it because we are human beings and flawed and it is easy to write about something you are feeling and experiencing as a human being. Hopefully people will listen to it and enjoy it, and maybe find something in it that makes them think about life. I would really like to send this message that all of us are having struggles, all of us, so we are not alone, even when we feel we are alone.”
I appreciate that and think it is really important, especially nowadays, because I think many people are feeling anxious, depressed, and lost.
“Disconnected. We are disconnected.”
Absolutely, and how wonderful that music is one of the only things, throughout all different countries, that can connect us. I have always thought that was such a magical thing because I cannot think of one other thing that does that.
“Definitely. It is magical. When you are on tour and you meet people after the shows, they tell you stories and you see how the music affects them, then you feel inspired about that and grateful. Now we have friends everywhere in the world. When kids come to our shows they look up to us like, ‘Oh you are a guitar player!’ and I will say, ‘I am just like you, but older. If you like what I am doing, you can do it yourself as well.’ Keep it real. The disconnection I was talking about before, we need to connect again.”
I agree. This is your first album with Napalm Records!
“Yes it is a whole new experience for us. It is the first time we have done so much media for a record before it released. We didn’t know what to expect, but it feels very good. We were on a Swedish label before called Vicisolum and it was run by one guy, Thomas (Hornkvist) he is the best guy ever any helped us a lot, we consider him a friend. It was tough to make the move to Napalm but we had to do it because it was a very important step for us. But now, with Napalm they have a big team; one person for marketing, one person for media, etc and they are also very professional by telling us things and supporting us. It is a beautiful feeling to have all this attention on the album.”
I have read through people’s reactions and everyone appears to be loving it, which I was not surprised, but it is amazing how well you are able to mix so many musical elements and still have it flow as well as it does.
“Do you play an instrument?”
I play guitar, but not in a band.
“Well you know that moment where you feel you have created something amazing, then the next day you feel like it is the worst music you ever created? That remains throughout the whole process. We have endless arguments, ‘This is the worst song ever’, it is difficult for us to understand if it is good or not. I fell in love with all the other musicians but not with my own music, you know? I always like the other musicians better. When people say it is very good I just think, well hopefully, I don’t know.”
You are a very humble person. You live in a small country, is it common for people in your country to be so humble.
“I don’t know, I don’t know all of them.”
You don’t know all of them?!
“I don’t know how to answer that.” *laughs*
Usually when I interview musicians they will say, ‘This is the best album we have done so far, and be really proud of what they have made, which absolutely that is great, but this is the first time I have had someone either be so real, or so raw with their response, or naturally be just very human with their response.
“It is just the way we are. When we play we are all smiling, yet the music is really heavy, and people will say, ‘Why are you smiling so much?’, because we are happy! I don’t know *laughs*. Sometimes we have to make big decisions for the band, and if someone isn’t comfortable with it, we say no, because it is important for everyone to feel happy and good within the band.”
That is really amazing. Sounds like not many egos with you guys, which is exactly what your lyrics are about, dropping the ego.
“Yes we believe in that, a lot.”
Looks like you are a reader, are those your books behind you?
“Yes me and my wife’s. I like psychology and philosophy a lot. I am actually starting my academic education in psychology. I am very excited about it.”
That doesn’t surprise me at all that you are interested in those two subjects. Do you guys incorporate mindfulness, or meditation or any of that eastern philosophy within what you do as a band or individually?
“Individually some of us. I do, I know Mo does. Some of us are in martial arts as well, and that comes with a little of that. I started meditation with the Spiritual Migration album. I try to meditate as much as I can but sometimes, you know human things, I won’t do it for a month, but I try.”
I preach it almost every day, and I still will forget or just not do it as well, so I get it.
“I know this quote that says, ‘Everyone should meditate one hour a day, unless you are very very busy, then you should make it two.’”
*laughs* Great quote.
*Discussed books for a while and scary movies and games*
I see you have an In Flames shirt on. Are you a big fan?
“Yes. Big fan!”
They are one of the best live shows I have ever seen.
“I had the chance to meet Jesper (Stromblad) and I told him, ‘It is because of you my band is doing what we are doing.”
Their lyrical content is also uplifting, so that isn’t super surprising. There is your tour! In Flames and Persefone on tour together.
“Can you imagine? I would love that, but I don’t think we are at that point yet, but who knows? One of the best part about being in a band, is playing with people you admire, so when tours come back, I have a wishlist of bands I want to play with, so hopefully we can make that happen at some point.”
I can’t imagine it can’t happen. The album is so incredible and brings up so many emotions while listening to it, which doesn’t happen as often as I would like it to. Those moments are big moments. I can only imagine a live performance, especially with you all smiling *laughs*, is incredible.
“For the record, we are smiling on the easy parts, on the fast parts, we are full of concentration, because it is very stressful to play that *laughs*.”
Tell me about your Patreon.
“We made it because when we started touring, the cost was really really high, we were paying everything, of course, ourselves, but at some point it was impossible to keep up, so we thought for the people who would maybe like to have a closer connection with the band, we would use Patreon and use all the help to create the new album and go on tour with all of the stress that comes with it. So we opened the Patreon and we have a nice community there. We also have a discord channel as well and sometimes we listen to music and sometimes we will send riffs or ideas we are working on to our patreons and jokes or messages, stuff like that. We will try to make offers to do something special, but it seems like people just want to help, so we are lucky we have those fans. The album is in part because of those people.”
What is the best way people can offer their support to Persefone?
“I think at this point, the best way someone can help us is to share the music, talk about our music, and of course if they want to buy a vinyl or an album, that will help a lot, but for sure we appreciate when people share our music and get feedback from them and see if this grows a little bit more.”
I simply cannot express how impressed I was with Carlos, and with Metanoia. Persefone has checked all the musical boxes for all metalheads. It is soulful, expressive, heavy, has insanely talented musicians, and insightful lyrics from two dynamic vocalists. If you have not checked them out, you are doing yourself a disservice. Pick up a copy of this or one of their previous albums, grab some merch, and make sure you snag a concert ticket if they come close to your hometown.