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Kamijo: Now we're just glad that people still remember the band and are still interested in us.

Kamijo: Now we're just glad that people still remember the band and are still interested in us.
BANDS : Algaion

After 13 years break, the Swedes from Algaion came back with a vengeance and a new studio album, seeming determined to start things over from where they’ve left them when they split up. As usual, Metalfan was alert and challenged the guitarist Mathias Kamijo to a discussion you’ll most likely find interesting.

Metalfan: Hello and welcome to For starters, since it is our first encounter, I would like you to provide our readers with what are, in your opinion, the highlights of Algaion’s career.
Mathias Kamijo: Hi and thanks. Well, that's an easy and quick one to answer. The release of the first CD Oimai Algeiou in 1994, the Infernal Damnation festival we played in London 2008 and of course the release of Exthros. An event I never thought would have happened 4-5 years ago.

Metalfan: According to the official information, Algaion exists since 1993. Looking at your studio discography, one can notice that you edited only 3 albums. What’s the explanation for this?
Mathias Kamijo: Well, basically a combination of us always changing record labels and the fact that the writing process is and has always been very slow in this band. Since we never rehearse as a band and I'm the only one writing music we never "jam" to make new songs. I write music when I feel I have something or if I really have to.

Metalfan: In 1994 you edited Oimai Algeiou, an album that had some impact upon the black metal fans and in the European metal underground. Looking back to that period, what do you remember?
Mathias Kamijo: Good times. The scene was just getting started and still underground. People were afraid of you just because you looked a certain way and you got away with almost anything back then hehe. Apart from that I don't really have any special memories from back then. We lived in a really small town and had nothing else to do than play and listen to music.

Metalfan: According to some info I got from the internet, for the follow-up album, General Enmity, you worked with a producer that had absolute no background with the kind of music that Algaion produced. Is this information accurate? Tell us more about that context.
Mathias Kamijo: Yeah that is correct. I don't remember how we got in touch with him but he was a sound engineer working for TV and he plays in an AC/DC type band so he had no clue how our music should sound. The result turned out far from perfect. That whole period in time is something we'd rather just leave behind and bury forever hehe.

Metalfan: In between General Enmity and your latest studio effort, besides a 13 years break, there are also 2 studio materials edited by 2 obscure record labels (The Herostratic Legacy EP and On the Reach of Zaphonia demo). What can you tell you about them? Is there any chance that the die-hard underground black metal fans can get them in digital format?
Mathias Kamijo: The Herostratic legacy was recorded in the same studio as the General Enmity CD and with the same producer. Some good songs on that recording and some not so good. On The Reach of Zaphonia was released on 7" in a small quantity by Miriquidi which is a German label and a personal friend of Mårten. I do not see any of these two ever reaching the digital format no. This is because the Zaphonia recording is a demotape recorded on a 4-track in 1993 so the sound would not be any better than any of the YouTube versions out there and the Herostratic legacy just is not representative of the band at all any more so I see no point in releasing any of that.

Metalfan: I know that Loud N’ Proud Records went bankrupt before releasing The Herostratic Legacy EP. Is this information correct and, if yes, did it have something to do with the following Algaion break?
Mathias Kamijo: That is correct and that was the only reason we ever stopped making music as Algaion. I think that whole situation just made us lose interest in the band. None of us could be bothered with looking for a new label to release it so we just decided to take a break.
Metalfan: What have you done, musically speaking, between General Enmity and Exthros? Were you involved in any bands or projects or you just left the music scene?
Mathias Kamijo: I did a lot of touring playing guitar with Hypocrisy and Pain between 1996-2003. I also did a short Japan tour in 1999 playing bass with Sinergy from Finland. I released one CD with N.C.O. called Pure Black Disease and also joined Swedish power metal band Morifade in 2006, but that band has been inactive since 2008. So I've been keeping myself busy with other musical things. Mårten has been involved in Arditi during this time and I think they have a new album ready for release.

Metalfan: Now we get to your newest album, Exthros. Before getting into it a little, there is a thing I wanted to ask you: Why did you choose to reform Algaion? Why do bands come back? Why did you come back?
Mathias Kamijo: Robert, our drummer, and Viktor who plays guitar with Algaion live wanted to play some old Algaion songs just for fun and I thought why not make some new songs instead, so I did and discovered that I actually wanted to give this a try again. Much because of the fact that none of us were very satisfied with how we left things in the 90's. Now we're just glad that people still remember the band and are still interested in us. Why other bands come back I have no idea. For us it was simply because we felt we could actually offer some quality music again.

Metalfan: What are, in your opinion, Exthros’ strongest points? Do you mind providing us with short comments for every track on it?
Mathias Kamijo: The variety in the music I guess. It's hard for me to say what the strong points in our music are. That is totally up to the listener to comment on.
That time is Nigh - The most "Scandinavian" song I've ever written.
Theos Tou Aimatos - A traditional Algaion song I'd say but with the playing ability of 2010.
We are the Enemy - The first song I wrote since we got back together. Straight forward "Greek" song.
The Last of Cursed Days - Slower song and perhaps the most rock oriented song on the album.
Nature our Slave - Perhaps the song with the most melodic chorus. Some keys and piano parts.
Ruach Adversi - My personal favourite on the album.
This is our Temple - Also a straight forward "Greek" song.
Sign of Evil/Era of Satan - Covers paying tribute to our inspirations.
House of War - Also a bit more Scandinavian sounding song. A suitable end to the album.

Metalfan: Listening to Exthros I noticed a certain tendency to alternate the aggressive tracks with catchier, mid-paced and melodic ones. Did that happen naturally or you intentionally tried to make an album that has something for everyone?
Mathias Kamijo: Not really. That's just the way the songs turned out I guess. Probably because that's the kind of albums I like to listen to myself. I don't write music with other people's music taste in mind.

Metalfan: If there is a thing that stands out on Exthros, it is the guitar part, be it riffs, leads or solos. Sometimes it seems to me that they are more into heavy/power/thrash metal than into black metal, at least on the catchier songs. How did that happen? Do you perceive yourself as a black metal band?
Mathias Kamijo: I think Algaion has always been very melodic but the new material is probably the most melodic stuff I've written so far. This is because I hardly listen to any black metal any more but rather more melodic music. The black metal genre has lost its excitement for me. Very few new bands catch my interest and when I do listen to black metal I tend to listen to the same bands I listened to 10 years ago. Sure some excellent "new" bands have emerged but not nearly as many as the really bad ones that pop up every day. And no I would not say that Algaion is a black metal band. At least not ideologically. But I guess the music is best described as melodic black metal.

Metalfan: Can you tell as something about your latest album’s lyrical concept? What does Exthros mean?
Mathias Kamijo: As always when it comes to the lyrics Mårten does not gladly share them so I can't really say much about the lyrical concept on Exthros, which by the way means Enemy in Greek.

Metalfan: Pulverised Records is a rather small record label. Are they doing a good job for Algaion, in terms of promotion and distribution?
Mathias Kamijo: Small but excellent. I think they have done a great job so far. Very professional, both when it comes to promotion and distribution. The best label we've worked with so far.

Metalfan: Looking at names such as Oimai Algeiou, Kratos or Exthros, a question comes to mind: Have you got the chance to visit Greece and, if yes, what impressions did you come back with?
Mathias Kamijo: Unfortunately not. I feel a bit like Carl from Nile who writes about Egyptian mythology but has never visited Egypt haha. But I intend on going some day. The closest I've been is Cyprus. It was hot and dry.

Metalfan: What do you think about the actual metal scene? Do you listen to metal music at home and, if yes, what recent albums drew your attention?
Mathias Kamijo: Like I said before, it does not interest me as much these days. I never listen to music when I'm at home but quite a lot when I'm at work. Lately I've been listening a lot to the Behemoth live album. I've also had a "French" period listening to a lot of Arkhon Infaustus and Hell Militia. But normally I listen to a lot more melodic stuff. A lot of Journey this past month.

Metalfan: What was the latest book you read and the latest movie you went to?
Mathias Kamijo: The latest book I read was Shutter Island I think. Don't read much except for when I'm by the pool on holiday somewhere. The last movie I went to was Resident Evil: Afterlife. Excellent movies and excellent games.

Metalfan: Do you feel accomplished as a musician and as a person?
Mathias Kamijo: I'm not the best there is and I'm not the worst there is. This goes for both the musician and the person. I think I'm quite OK.

Metalfan: What are your sources of inspiration?
Mathias Kamijo: Rotting Christ and early Thou Art Lord. Simple as that.

Metalfan: Do you believe in good or evil, god or the devil? What is your opinion about religion?
Mathias Kamijo: Good or evil yes. God and devil no. I think that all kinds of organized religion are the source of mankind just getting dumber and dumber. It's an easy way of not having to think for yourself.

Metalfan: Are you going on tour to promote Exthros? Do you feel comfortable with being on tour or you would rather act like a studio band? Is there any chance to come and play in Romania?
Mathias Kamijo: I like touring but I think I've been spoiled with touring with bigger bands and the comfort that it brings. Touring with Algaion would be too much hard work and shitty accommodations. We're too lazy and too comfortable I think. If I go on tour I would like a decent bus and a bed to sleep in. But of course if the offer comes up to play, for example Romania, we would of course consider it.

Metalfan: Do you manage to make a living out of music or do you still have to keep regular daily jobs?
Mathias Kamijo: I wish haha. No both I and Mårten work in the same office and we make quite a good living from that job. I think you would have to sell records in the Dimmu Borgir or In Flames quantity and tour constantly to be able to live off the music. We're nowhere near that.

Metalfan: In the end, before saying goodbye, I’d like to propose a little game to you. Could you please describe the following (black metal) bands in a word? Here we go:

Immortal - Funny
Cradle of Filth - Good.....many, MANY years ago
Emperor - Classic
Dimmu Borgir - Excellent
Mayhem - Boring.....these days
Arcturus - Weird...but great
Watain - Overrated
Enslaved - Fishermen
Keep of Kalessin - Eurovision
Marduk - OK
Algaion - Lazy

Metalfan: Let me thank you for your time and your willingness to make this interview. Could you please say something to the Romanian metalfans?
Mathias Kamijo: Many thanks for the interest shown in Algaion after all these years and hopefully we will see you guys in Romania some day. Horns up!

Autor: Sake
   October 26, 2010  | 1 Comments  | 6776 Views « BACK

Comment on: Kamijo: Now we're just glad that people still remember the band and are still interested in us.

  • Imi place mult definirea trupelor.

    1. Posted by kw256 | 26 Octombrie 2010 15:44

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