Interview with Godiva

Interview with Godiva

- in Written interviews

Hello! With the release of “Hubris,” your latest album, how do you feel the band has evolved musically since your Tales to Be Untold?
Hi Stanley. Before anything else, we would like to thank you and everyone at Antichrist Magazine for reaching out to us. You guys are doing an amazing work.

Well, 20 years, give it or take it, is a lot of time, so of course our sonority changed and evolved throughout the years. From the death/black of the early years that you’ll find in “Tales to Be Untold”, to the introduction of some goth and dark atmospheric elements in the “Traces of Irony” and “Spiral” recordings, currently the band has incorporated in its songs very dark and bold orchestral and symphonic arrangements, well sustained by strong and aggressive death metal guitars, while maintaining a critical approach to social and psychological issues in its lyrics. The one thing that never changed is that Godiva always aimed to carve out a unique identity and create meaningful music that resonates with its listeners.

Can you talk about the creative process behind “Hubris”? How did you approach writing and recording this album?
As said before, we’ve always tried to do something different, something that when you listen to, you can almost immediately relate it to Godiva. It has been like that before and writing “Hubris” was no exception. Most of the times we’ve tried to mix a bunch of influences that thrives from each band member and fuse it in a way that everyone is pleased. “Hubris”, for instants, started from a global concept we’ve designed and was composed from a good handful of riffs and a lot of studio hours, mixing and remixing. In this album in particular, our lead guitar player had a major role in the process, so we can say that “Hubris” has a lot of him in it. All recording sessions were made at Raising Legends Studios at Porto and it was produced by Wojtek Wiesławski, at the well-known Hertz Studio.

What inspired the album title “Hubris”? How does it relate to the themes and lyrics explored in the music?
“Hubris” was inspired by what we see, on a daily basis, all around us, physically and virtually. The entire album concept focuses on a critique of the human condition in this 21st century. It addresses the problem of ego and self- importance, particularly as it relates to the way people present themselves on social media. The concept of “Hubris” refers to an overbearing pride or arrogance, and we feel that this is a particularly relevant theme in our current age, where people are often more concerned with creating and maintaining a certain image online than with being genuine and authentic to others and, especially, to themselves. We intentionally wrote the message in a straightforward structure, prioritizing the power of the message in a raw form. Tracks like “Death of Icarus”, “Media God” or “The All-Seeing Eye” are good examples where this message is well present. The environment created by the orchestral arrangements and the kind of riffs presented in the songs try also to reflect that same message, in an equilibrium between music and lyrics.

Your recent concerts have included orchestral arrangements. Can you talk about the decision to incorporate orchestration into your live shows, and how it has impacted your performances?
Well, orchestrations are always present in our concerts, but not always with a live orchestra. It would be great but something impossible to do in every single concert, really. Not only because all the logistics needed, but also because of the investment it requires and stage dimensions to accommodate more than 50 musicians plus choir.

That being said, we’ve did play live with a full orchestra and choir at one of the biggest summer metal festivals at Portugal, the Vagos Metalfest, in front of thousands, and the public reaction couldn´t be better. Not only because of the orchestra performance but due to all the show we put together. It was an exhausting but truly rewarding work. You’ll be able to check it soon as a live DVD of that concert is being prepared as we speak.

Your music incorporates elements of both melodic death metal and traditional Portuguese music. How do you balance these influences to create a unique sound?
Well, we are very open minded, so although all Godiva members breathes metal, we are also open to other influences, even from very different musical genres. Then is “just” a matter of shaping it into something enjoyable, but still aggressive and powerful. Even our melodic death metal can’t be related to the Scandinavian bands, often appointed as the biggest representatives of this kind of metal. We believe that our influences thrive much more from death metal bands from the 90’s and the early years of this century. Then you have to put all this together, add a little of each band member’s personality and that’s it. How to balance all this? Well, it’s not an easy task we know, but we believe that we’ve managed to do it.

Can you talk about the challenges and rewards of being a metal band from Portugal, and how the Portuguese metal scene has evolved since you first started?
Being a Portuguese metal band offers you a lot of challenges and very few rewards. Although there’s an interesting underground movement, there aren’t that many opportunities and you really have to struggle and fight your way up. Especially because, unfortunately, we believe that, in global terms, the Portuguese metal scene has evolved very little since we first started. Yes, from time to time you have a Portuguese band that manages to achieve some notoriety in the international scene, but that’s nothing comparing to the number of great bands still “lost” in the Portuguese metal underground circuit of bars and pubs. So, if or when the opportunity shows itself, you have to take it, because that train don’t pass by often.

Your music often explores dark and introspective themes. How do you balance these themes with the more aggressive elements of your music?
“Hubris” was made by design. Everything was planned and then we’ve tried to execute it. Like in a scale, we’ve tried to find equilibrium between the message presented by the lyrics and the feelings that the musical compositions could awake on the listeners. So, the guitars, the drums and especially the orchestral arrangements were written to support the lyrics yes, but also to induce strong reactions that may vary depending on who’s listening and their own personal experiences.

Your music videos often incorporate striking visuals and storytelling. Can you talk about the process of creating these videos, and how important they are to the overall Godiva experience?
Our videos follow the concept we’ve created to “Hubris”. The striking visuals are also replied on our live performances and we’ve tried to do simple but meaningful videos. You can’t have a gap between what the eyes see and what you listen and feel. So, the videos are an extension to the songs, as it enhances the message underneath. We believe that only this way is possible for someone to enjoy the full package, the Godiva experience as you’ve said.

Your latest album has been well-received by fans and critics alike. How do you handle the pressure of living up to expectations, and what do you hope listeners take away from “Hubris”?
Well, it’s always better to work on top of good reviews and build something from there, than the other way around, isn’t it? We are ready for the challenges ahead and up to meet the listener’s expectations. If you are aiming high, pressure will always be present. We are confident that we’ll be able to cope with it. As for what we hope the listeners take from “Hubris”, it’s quite simple, really: a 46 minutes unique experience.

You have worked with Grand Sounds Promotion on the release of “Hubris.” Can you talk about your experience working with this promotion company, and how they have helped to promote your music?
Grand Sounds Promotion is an important partner with whom we started to work even before the official release of “Hubris”. They helped us to prepare the way for the release and are a huge support to divulge not only “Hubris”, but our work worldwide. Mostly, they have an expanded network of contacts which allowed us to reach places and people we couldn’t alone.

Can you talk about the role that touring plays in the life of a metal band, and how it has impacted your music and your fans?
Touring is the best experience a metal band can have. It’s the opportunity to go out there and share your music with others. It’s also the chance to be near your fans and listeners and enjoy your music together. So, at least for us, touring, has a great impact and we’ll keep on doing it whenever we can.

Your music has been described as “epic” and “cinematic.” How important is it for you to create a sense of grandeur and scope in your music?
The “epic” and “cinematic” connotation in recent reviews is due mostly to the orchestral arrangements. We have André to thank for that. He did an amazing job composing it. Of course, all “Hubris” songs were written in a way that could allow the insertion of the orchestras in a natural and fluid way. Also, the production of “Hubris” is very well balanced, so you can enjoy the orchestration and still don’t miss a bit of the instrumental and vocal power. Altogether we believe that you can enjoy a whole unique experience just by adjusting your headphones and pressing play on your player, starting on “Media God” and ending with “Empty Coil”.

With over 20 years of experience as a band, what advice would you give to aspiring metal musicians who are just starting out? Thank you!
There’s no magical formula really, or some kind of universal secret. You just have to believe on yourselves, practice and be resilient. In our opinion these are key words if you want to succeed, both as individuals and as a band. Did we already mention resilience? We did? So, that’s it. And, of course, keep your mind open. There’s always so much to learn and to explore. And don’t forget the most important thing, to have fun.

Thank you once again Stanley and Antichrist Magazine. Hope to see you on the road one of these days.

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