Idillicah first came onto my radar a few months ago. Since that time, I’ve reviewed their current album “Rebirth of the Future”, given away one of their tracks for free on the site (you can still download it – click here for more information) and we’re in the process of sorting out another track for the Loucifer Speaks Xmas Album. Now, I’ve been lucky enough to catch up with Idillicah’s mastermind, Marcos Codas…
Lou: Hi Marcos and thank you very much for taking the time out to answer my questions (and for being so patient!). How’s things with you at the moment?
Marcos: Thank you, Lou! Things are good! We’ve just finished the arrangements for a second South American release through the same label, Hellbound Records, and we are finishing arrangements for a release in the UK through Azreal Records from Scotland, which will include new artwork and different bonus track! So, we’re pumped! We thought we’d be immersed in composing for the next album by now, but logistics of these new distributions have to be worked out, so we are doing one thing at a time.
Lou: For the benefit of those who may not have listened to you yet, please can you describe Idillicah’s music?
Marcos: Sure! We have been exploring with our sound since we first started. The demo, which was released in 2007, sounded quite a bit like psychedelic hard rock. I decided to move in another direction for the EP though, so we went full-steam ahead with Symphonic metal for “Shining Light”, the EP we released in 2008. That took us in a very good direction, I think, because it was very well received, and I felt really comfortable doing that. For “Rebirth of the Future”, the LP we’re promoting now, however, we wanted to experiment some more, so we added all of the things that we’ve already done, like hard rock and symphonic metal, and added a lot of doom metal, growling vocals and-all. I think it’s hard to classify Idillicah’s music within one or two or even three genres. The best I can tell you is that if you are a metalhead of any sort, you are sure to find at least one song that you like in our latest album!
Lou: Where does the name Idillicah come from?
Marcos: The name Idillicah is a transformation of the word “Idyllic”. It is almost dead in the English language now, but it’s a very old word. Rumor has it that it was used by ancient Greeks to describe the garden of the Gods. Something almost too good to be imagined. It’s not really a description of our music (we’re not that full of ourselves haha), but more of a Goal that we strive to achieve.
Lou: Which bands have had the biggest influence on your sound?
Marcos: Again, these things fluctuate a bit, as our knowledge in music grows. For the last album, our biggest influences were Opeth, Therion and some Nightwish (back when Tarja was still kicking butt on stage). But we don’t only draw influences from metal bands. I’ve been listening to Beethoven and Bach for a long time (at first, against my will haha), and bands like The Doors and Led Zeppelin were also a big influence on me, and still are. I guess as much as I’d like to narrow it down, everything we listen to influences our music, whether we like it (and notice it), or not.
Lou: Other than other music, what else inspires you?
Marcos: I draw big influences lyrically from life itself. I always try to write about something that’s connected to me, so that if people feel connected to the music and the lyrics, then it’s like we’ve established a two-way connection with the public, you know? It’s not only music and words anymore, it evolves into a shared experience, even if the experience is not the same for everyone. Music has the power to evoke so many things from the human psyche, that I really think the best I can do with it is to draw from life itself, so that people are able, through our music, to perform a sort of catharsis, and move on. It’s rather ambitious, but we do the best we can.
Lou: What sort of subjects have you covered in the album’s lyrics?
Marcos: Like I said before, we draw mostly from life itself. We covered mostly certain states of mind, like rage, happiness, loneliness, and everything in between. The mood in the songs fluctuate quite a bit, and it’s meant to be a sort of rollercoaster, just like life itself. We did make a special emphasis on certain psychological stages, like in “Born again”, where it’s a conversation between two personalities within the same person, or in “Linger” which explores loss. So, like I said, the album is meant to be a sort of “face your fears” obstacle course, so that by the end of it, you feel cleansed.
Lou: Is there a particular track on the album that you’re especially pleased with?
Marcos: I’m really happy with the whole album, especially considering the logistical nightmares we had to endure to get it done haha. But if I have to choose, I’d choose “Linger” and “The Mask”. I love Linger because it’s a really good song, first and foremost. It was composed with Carlos Pinto, who’s been a friend of mine for a long time, and who taught me to play guitar. It also represents a state of mind in which I’d been at more than one point in my life, and I love facing the fears that it evokes in me. On the other hand, I love “The Mask” because of many reasons. First of all, because it was the first song that I composed for the new album, but the last one to get done, so it’s like having a misbehaving kid that just graduated from University. It’s almost unreal that the song got done at all haha. Another special thing about it is that the lyrics changed at least 3 times in theme, according to what was happening to the song. At the end, it was an analysis of general society and how we use everyday life to mask what we are really like. And last but not least, I love the fact that Niahm Muireadach sings that song. Her vocals are just something I’ve admired since I started listening to Paraguayan metal, and having her vocals on the album is a great personal pleasure for me.
However, every song is special. Every song as a very special meaning and story behind it, and we did the best we could to make the most out of every song.
Lou: What was the writing and recording process like for the album? Did everything go according to plan?
Marcos: Hahahaha absolutely not! Nothing at all went according to plan, and the recording process was a complete nightmare. The whole process was very unorthodox. It wasn’t like most bands that have all their songs worked out and they go into a studio and record and come out with a master CD. I composed stuff here in my studio and sent it to the people who were going to participate (as this album is participation-based rather than a structured band formation), and it evolved from there. Songs changed almost every day, up to the day when we sent the masters to be copied onto the CDs. The recording process was supposed to be smooth, but we had trouble with female singers. Some dropped out because of difference in the way of thinking (in comparison to the lyrics), others had emergency appointments, and yet others simply vanished without a trace after agreeing to do it. At the end, and when I thought I’d just release another EP and forget about some of the songs that were not done, Carlos Pinto and Niahm Muireadach came and saved the day. They did splendid vocal work for the songs that needed growling and female vocals respectively, and the album was finally done.
Even though it was a nightmare of a process, I’m happy that Niahm and Carlos were the ones who did the final takes. Now I can’t imagine those songs being sung by any other person in the world. I am grateful to both of them, and you will see Carlos again for the next album, as he is now a permanent member of Idillicah.
Lou: I like to put “Rebirth of the Future” on when I need to relax. What sort of feedback have you received for the album so far?
Marcos: Feedback has been positive for the most part. Of course, I hardly think there are artist who get 100% of positive feedback (if there are, I want to congratulate them), but it’s been mostly positive. Of course, there are a lot of things to improve, and room for growth, and we accept that. We did our best, and the album came out good (I think), and people are responding well to it, both in the media and the general public. I’m really happy with the feedback and the album, overall. I think it’s a great step in the right direction.
Lou: Now that the album’s finished, is there anything that you’d like to change on it?
Marcos: No, I wouldn’t like to change anything on it. I would have liked perhaps to have more time for the final mixing and mastering, but I guess everybody feels the same way about their songs haha. There’s a saying that goes “songs are never finished. We just give up on improving them”. I think there’s a lot of truth in that. I don’t think I’d change anything on the album, but I would perhaps do certain things differently on the next releases.
Lou: Where can people buy the album from?
Marcos: People around the world can buy the album and/or merchandising from our store in our website, idillicah.com
The people we work for for fulfillment and distribution are really great, they deliver (affordably) worldwide, and they have excellent customer service. The album is available in both physical and MP3 format.
Lou: The video for “Gone” is now available online. What is the story behind it?
Marcos: Hahaha the video for “Gone” is another one of those things that looked much easier on paper. We recorded the video in one single day of shooting. It took about 12 hours of shooting, plus another 3 of make-up and set-up. Then the files got lost. Then the files were not being read by the editing software. Then the final edit wouldn’t render. At the end, we had to take all the original files, re-edit the whole thing in another software, and render it there. It was another one of those things that just drives you crazy haha.
I love the concept though, and I really like the way it came out.
Lou: Will you be creating videos for any of the other tracks on the album?
Marcos: No, there are no plans to do another video for this album, but there are plans to do a small acoustic show, record it, and put it on a DVD, along with the alternative edit of the video for “Gone”, and the documentary of the band (that you can see on our website). This is only a plan so far, however. There are quite a bit of logistics that go behind recording a live concert in a quality suitable for a DVD release, so we’ll see.
Lou: Forgive me for being dim, but is Idillicah a solo project where you’ve brought in collaborators, or is it a full ‘traditional’ band?
Marcos: Hahaha don’t worry! it’s quite a common question and one that we get quite a bit. Idillicah is neither a solo project, nor a full traditional band. It’s not like Avantasia, nor is it like Metallica. Idillicah is a musical project that I put together and organize, in which friends collaborate to make music we all love. If a leader of the project needs to be named, I guess it would be me, but Idillicah would not be what it is without the other people in it. It’s a symbiotic relationship.
To answer your question more directly, Idillicah is a group of friends recording music that they love.
Lou: Do you have any plans to tour to promote the album? Since you’re responsible for most of the instruments, I’d imagine that would be relatively difficult to do!
Marcos: No, sadly we’re not planning any touring for this album. First, like you mention, it would be a logistical nightmare. Another thing is that if I were to do something like that, I’d like to bring with me the people who did the collaborations on the album, and that is just not doable within a normal budget. We’ve had offers of playing both here in Canada, in South America, and even a small underground European tour, but it’ll have to wait until we sort out the details. It’s something we’re trying to work out, but for now, we’re concentrating on one thing at a time.
Lou: If you were able to tour, which bands would you most like to tour with? You can pick anyone… past or present…
Marcos: I would love to tour with the Opeth of “Deliverance”, “Damnation” and “Ghost Reveries”. That was the dream Opeth team for me, and they were all very cool guys. I’d love to tour with Muireadach as well, as they fully deserve it.
I wouldn’t want to tour with any other “BIG” acts just now. I think we have to earn that. Dream tour would be with Opeth + Muireadach though.
Lou: As you know, I’m a little bit of a Twitter addict! Do you feel that social networks are an invaluable tool for bands these days? Also, do you think that bands are using them to their optimum effect? Is there more that bands/fans could be doing?
Marcos: I not only think that social networks are an excellent tool for bands, I know that for a FACT. We’ve been able to reach the globe with social networks in a way that was impossible a few years ago. As far as bands using them to the max, I think some are, and some aren’t. Bands like Anvil, Therion and even the mighty Timo Tolkki (former Stratovarius), are very active on social networks, but other bands (usually the bigger acts), have no social network structure. They use them as micro-websites, rather than to establish a relationship with the fans. I personally think they are missing out. They could be using them to reach out to their fans, and even analyze what the fans love most and go that way. But I don’t see it happening yet.
There are a lot of things that bands could be doing. Fans are restricted somewhat because the interaction now is a one-way street with most bands. Right now, all fans can do is post links to their favourite bands’ music and videos.. that’s it.
It’s rather sad. I’ve had really enjoyable experiences through social networks meeting really interesting people from all over the world who share the same musical taste (to some extent) and enjoy the music that Idillicah makes. It’s a really cool thing.
Lou: I understand that you have also released an EP with Idillicah. Is this still available? Musically, is it similar to “Rebirth…” and were the same musicians used?
Marcos: Yes, we did release an EP. Sadly, it is no longer available. It was a limited distribution, and we like to keep it that way. It most certainly is similar to Rebirth in some senses, because the songs on the EP were re-recorded for Rebirth.
The EP will remain one of those rare things that people can brag about to their friends haha.
And “used” is a rather ugly word haha. The same musicians collaborated for the same songs on the EP and the LP. Other musicians came on board for other songs on the LP though. A total of around 12, if I’m not mistaken.
(Note from Lou: The word “collaborated” escaped me when I was sorting out the questions… “used” was nice and simple… only 4 letters… I could deal with that! Haha! )
Lou: What’s in store for Idillicah now?
Marcos: Well, we’re working out the details for the distributions in South America and Europe that I mentioned before. But we’re also working on that DVD release (which will hopefully come to something), and the next album. I think the next album will be a great surprise for everyone. We now have a steady team of people working, much more of a “stable full band” concept than before, although I’m still playing quite a bit of things haha. And we have a concept. The album will be conceptual, very ambitious, and hopefully, it will be well received.
Lou: And the final words are yours! Is there anything that you’d like to say to the readers of Loucifer Speaks?
Marcos: Thank you. I can only thank each and every one of you for reading this, listening to our music, and for being just plain awesome. I would like to invite you to join us on social networks:
So that you can be an active participant of the evolution we’re undergoing. Also, we announce everything through there, and we also give out goodies for free every now and then.
Thank you so much!
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