Interview w/ Oliver Palotai
Henning Basse - Vocals
Oliver Palotai - Guitar & Keyboard
Jürgen Steinmetz - Bass
Daniel Schild - Drums
Pepe Pierez - Guitar
Country of Origin: Germany
Magnisphyricon (April 2011)
Gods of Vermin (April 2010)
1. This evening we are talking with Oliver Palotai, the founder of the phenomenal band Sons of Seasons. Oliver thanks for your time. Let's get right to the point. The new album is called "Magnisphyricon" and it is receiving some of the best and highest reviews I have seen in a very long time. When the recording and mastering of this album was complete, did you know you had something really special on your hands?
At the end of every production period I first have to get some distance to the finished album. Which is true for all band members as well. For example, we kind of split up into two different parties within the band during recording; one thinking the new album is much more progressive, the other being convinced it is more melodic and easier accessible than "Gods Of Vermin". This shows that an objective point of view needs putting the music onto a shelf for a while, and then listening to it with fresh ears. But, that at least I was sure of at an early stage, the songs had a great flow, an almost perfect balance of musical tension.
2. The title for the album "Magnisphyricon" has special meaning for the band. What is the story behind the title?
It is a word construction I woke up with in my head one day. 'Magnus' from 'big', or, in this case, rather 'whole'. Then 'sphere', and the connecting 'con'. It describes the existence of an artist, living in his own world, which is so often threatened by the outside, by mundane needs for example, or missing understanding from other people. The title also means that with the addition of Pepe Pierez the band is complete now!
3. You obviously founded Sons of Seasons, but how does the writing process work? Does the band write as a whole?
No, that wouldn't really work with this kind of complex music. There are some minor corrections we added later while rehearsing the songs, but most of the songs I write alone or in exchange with our singer Henning Basse or Pepe by swapping files. If I compose by myself, I don't think so much in "layers" - first drums, then guitars, then vocals etc. - but more in a style putting down the music which was completed in my head before. The other method is to receive a guitar riff from Pepe, for example, arranging it into a song, putting keys on it, sending it to Henning, receiving it again from him, altering it etc.
4. The Sons of Seasons sound is one that is very hard to describe in some cases. To what do you attribute the wide variety of influences and directions that the listener experiences in your music?
An important fact is that most of my background is not Metal. I've studied Jazz and Classical Music after my initial Metal period as a teenager. When I work as producer of newcomer bands today, I sometimes can hear in the first seconds of their demo productions which other Metal bands they are influenced by, respectively who they want to be. When I write songs myself, all my inner radars are on high alert, avoiding all worn- out musical directions. I just try to take the listener somewhere new, taking new twists and turns whenever it feels like safe and known ground.
5. The debut album "Gods of Vermin" was released 2 years ago and was in itself a very impressive work. Do you feel the band has expanded the sound and musical direction even further than what we heard on the first album?
When I started writing for Sons Of Seasons beginning of 2007 I wasn't even sure which style it would be in and for which line- up. Composing for 'Magnisphyricon' was so much more determined and experienced, having a band which we toured with through Europe , and a debut where we could see clearly what the strong and the weak sides were. On the other hand, I just had a few objectives in mind: I wanted the new album being faster and heavier, for instance. Besides that most happened on a subconscious level.
6. You have worked with several other well known bands, and are no newcomer to the Metal world. Other than being the founder of Sons of Seasons, what makes working and creating music in this band different from others you have played with?
I didn't know that it would be such a different feeling having my own band! I toured the world many times before, but the first tour with Sons Of Seasons was just a blast and a new experience, even if the circumstances were so much harder than usual. I mean, we toured with seven people in a small camper which was slowly falling apart, losing tires and windows, crashing in Paris and Bilbao , no crew, sometimes no backstage rooms etc. And still I was full of positive energy! Every little step up we take is something we worked hard for, instead of jumping on a train which was running way before I joined, the way it is when I am a hired musician for other bands.
7. Something that I have always loved about Metal is the great cover art for records. Who is the artist for the new album?
His name is Stefan Heilemann, a great artist coming from the same neighborhood as myself, from Stuttgart in Germany . Check out heilemania.de for more stuff from him. He has a totally unique, dark style, and from the first moment I knew he would fit perfectly to the Dark Symphonic Metal of Sons Of Seasons.
8. Sons of Seasons is currently playing live. How long will this tour last and will there be more dates throughout the summer?
We play with Kamelot until middle of May. Right after we go on a double- headliner tour with MaYan, the new project of Epica's mastermind Mark Jansen. That is going to be a very interesting package! Then the festival season is starting. Due to a very untimely change of bookers we missed to apply for many festivals, but right now some are coming in.
9. In closing please leave our readers with any final thoughts or comments, and congratulations on a masterful new album!
I always recommend to give a fuck about mainstream, to keep your ears, brain and eyes open for new stuff, because this is the only chance for music to renew itself.