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Interview with Alan Averill of PRIMORDIAL

Hello Alan it's good to hear you! I think it's been more that 10 tears from your last show in Sofia. How do you feel returning to Sofia again and what are your expectations?

Yes this is quite unfortunate and it can't be helped. Sometimes we return is certain countries quite often (Like Romania) and some other we miss like for more than 10 years. It is that simple, you click your fingers and 10 years have passed. But it is what it is and we are coming again and it will be interesting.

So it is the curse of touring? Time flies by quickly when you are on the road?

Yes but life gets complicated when you get older. The people in the band have responsibilities and families so that's also on one side. On the other there are also some economic reasons that these things don't happen as often as they should. It was easy when you are 25 but now when you are 40 is not that. Sometimes it's just bad luck.

And what are your expectations after all those years?

Well I hope some people will show up (Ha-ha). It will be interesting because when I was there the last time I was 27 and now 13 years later... There is a lot of personal development and the band is much more powerful. We are going to play very long gig as well and the fans should be prepared for over 2 hours.

I know that you will come 1 day earlier and you have prepared something special for us. Can you give us more details about that?

Well it is simple actually. I am the only guy from the band that doesn't have the responsibilities like the other guys from the band: Wives and kinds and all those regular things in life. Being in a band means that you spent a lot of your time on airports, vans, highways and hotel rooms. So I thought that it will be nice to go and spent more time before and after the show. This year especially I'm trying to do that as much as I can in interesting cities and countries. So I'm planning to stay for few days for example in Ukraine, Russia, and Turkey. The promoters didn't mind at all and because I'm also DJ-ing for a long time and we decided to go for it.

So the fans will be able to meet you one day earlier?

Yes!

One great Bulgarian band will be guest to your show - UPYR. And two more on the DJ event: DIMHOLT and SOURCES OF I. Are you familiar with some of them?

Strangely I spoke with a guy from UPYR. And I was surprised that they are preparing a split with good friends of mine called WHITEHORSE. Such a small world! I have YouTube links to all the bands so I will have to check them out before I come over. I told the promoter to choose a strong support band so sometimes you have to trust the promoters. (ha-ha)

This far into your careers, you definitely have an established musical identity. What's different about your relationship to music, specifically your own music, now as compared to 25 years ago?

The biggest thing that is in developing is you as human being. You know I joined the band a week after my 16th birthday. That was 25 years ago. This actually is my entire adult life and a huge part of who I am. I actually don't remember what it's like not being in a band. But I am not of those guys who would say "I don't like the debut album" because It is naïve. In some way you will hear that it is the same band from the demo till now. We grew in isolation in Ireland. It was a separated scene. We couldn't just get in a van and drive to Holland or Germany and play with other bands and learn from them. We had this isolated and mutated scene. The only thing that bound the Irish bands back together was this sense of pathos tragedy and melancholy in the sound that's very "Irish". I still recognize myself (ha-ha). I'm not embarrassed or ashamed or anything. I don't have any regrets.

You grew up with your own music and its part of your life and part of who you are!

Yes. I don't look back to anything I wrote or sang and say "Ah this was really embarrassing!" For example we played in Moscow and we met some guys in the bar the night before end they asked us to play something from the demo. We thought well we never been here before and maybe we never will. So fuck it lets do it. We had a soundcheck and rehearse and we did some track we haven't played from years.

After the tragedy in Romania you donated the income from some rare memorabilia to the victims and their families. You will play in Romania just after Sofia. Whit what emotions you will return there?

Well I always liked the country a lot and for some reason I have been there quite often in the last 2-3 years. I fell a lot for the nature in Romania and also have a lot of friends there. After the tragedy I found all these records in my collection and I realized that I dot need them. I don't need to horde everything released from Primordial. If someone else needs them.. here they are. There is no doubt that this is a massive tragedy and the worst that can ever happen on a metal show. I just thought that I can donate some money and guess I t was something like 900 Euros so..

This was a great thing that you did. If I'm not mistaking you were supposed to play in the same club?

Yes and I will tell you what? We've been to venues from places like Honduras and Mexico to the USA and it is very often when I get in to a club and say "This is a fucking death trap!" Everywhere we go we have our own backdrops and they are fire proof. I always have the identification in my phone to show it. But nobody asks unless you are in Sweden, Germany of Finland. I think this tragedy was a mixture of bad luck and a lack of attention to detail.

I was about to happen sooner or later!

I cannot believe that it didn't happen so far to bands like Watain or something. As I said we have been in venues that are in the basement of a bunker and there is just one tiny stair out. At that moment you think to yourself "Oh man if something happens we are all fucking dead" And actually this is what happened. It's really bad because the death toll was really massive. All this reminded me for the Great White show in the USA 13 years ago.

Yes. This is really bad and let's hope such things never happen again!

Yes, yes!

You are quite active person with quite a lot musical projects. How do you find the energy and inspiration to deal with all of them?

Yes it drives me insane but I am fucking relentless Ha-ha.

And the inspiration?

I never wanted to retreat. I never lost my sense of rage, my sense of injustice, my sense of anger. The will to engage with the dark side of the world that inspired me constantly. I never said "Ok, fuck that I will close the curtains and live my life!" It is like to be plugged in the main frame constantly. I don't have downtime, so as long I have my energy, passion and relentless drive to create I will keep doing it. It is different for me and the other guys. Im sure Ciáran our guitar player has ideas and he said that he want to do an acoustic album, but things change when you have small kids. It is very hard to find time to do that. I'm lucky because I have plenty of time and I will continue doing it as long as I can. Of course I don't want to be the guy that people say: "Oh for fuck sake. it is this guy again!". I m conscious of that so as long I understand the quality of what I do I will keep doing it.

Your latest work: The new album of PRIMORDIAL - Where Greater Men Have Fallen was recorded in a new studio and you used new engineer. Why you make these changes?

I think that is what you have to do. Too many old bands get stuck in their ways and ended up doing what's familiar and comfortable. So if you are familiar and comfortable, your album sounds familiar and comfortable. I think in every 2 album you have to change things and shake it up. To use different amps different live rooms, different engineers. That's why "The Gathering Wilderness" doesn't sound like "Storm Before Calm" and it doesn't like "A Journey's End" and all of them sound different than the last record. Again you will recognize it is Primordial but all of them have different vibe and tone. We can name plenty of bands that their 2 or three albums sound just the same. I and not interested in that kind of recording. I think you have to push yourself outside of the comfort zone.

Is this the way to move forward... to test your limits?

Yes exactly. Now we recorded in quite big studio and I have ideas on the sound. I wanted to make it as live as possible. I wanted to change the base tone and to push the guitars as much as possible left and right, and the drums to sound like in 1976 rather than 2016. I think it is important to look at things from a different angle. You noted that we used a different engineer and that is no offence to Chris Fielding. He understood too that we need to shake things up. Otherwise you will do the same album with different songs.

As you are saying this now. Can you promise that for the next album you will change again everything or you will stick to something you already did?

I have no idea and I haven't thought about it. I personally would like to work with Steve Albini and Jack Endino and other classic 80s-90s engineers and producers and see what they will make out of what we do. But we live in a different industry now, with different money and time constraints and you have to be inventive. I don't know I haven't thought of it yet but it will happen on some stage. We are a bit loose on these things. We don't make plans for 2 years or 18 months ahead.

Can you leave a message for the Bulgarian fans and especially those who will attend the 2 events in Sofia?

It's going to be good to comeback after all these years. The DJ event will be fun. Please don't ask me to play my own bands that would be embarrassing. And on the next day we are going to get in 2- 2 and half hours of PRIMORDIAL gig. We will be around to hangout so bring whatever needs to be signed or whatever. You have to know that we are not going to hide in the backstage or the hotel so it will be good weekend.

Thank you very much for your time Alan I still see you in Sofia!

No problem man, take it easy, see you soon.

Author: Nikola Petras