Interview with Jorg of ESHTADUR

Interview with Jorg of ESHTADUR

- in Written interviews

Photo by by Khris Forero

Hi! Can you elaborate on the creative process behind ‘Umbra’, particularly integrating elements like the symphonic orchestra and the native Colombian instrument, the tiple?
Hey Stanley, it’s a pleasure being here on this interview portal, I am Jorg.
The Song “Umbra” started as a short poem that I wrote in Spanish, it narrates mysticism, and some thoughts that I like to embrace when I am alone, by myself. Also, the main riff (the one at the beginning with black metal cut guitar) I was playing during our rehearsals and that’s how it was made. We normally share some concepts with the whole band, only when a song gets structured, so I was totally free in the writing process as always, all my teammates have great trust in what I am bringing to the table and we always try to elaborate a good arrangement.
I was exploring the Tiple colombiano, and it fits very well when you just let him play the guitar parts, the best ones on tremolo and I kept the orchestra below, trying to combine very well the way in which all instruments are flowing between them, my favourite part is the end, cause when you think it is going to close the phrase and finish the song, it starts pushing and becoming with more tension, more and more, and violins pitching crazy high and dissonant long notes, it crushes into the same riff that I was exposed at the beginning but now, with full development of the idea and becoming even darker, I think is insane and heavy, plus there’s this speech in the native language, it is what I am trying to describe as the shadows and umbra, the darkest moment.

What inspired the lyrical concepts of ‘Umbra’, and how do they align with the band’s overall artistic vision?
I always write about personal ongoing situations, because it gets real and you can create easily when you are coming from the truth and from your deepest feelings, not imposing false stuff, non trying to reach some specific audience or getting the attention of someone in particular, I just go with what I like and what I feel, I was passing thru a very challenging process of transformation, I was defeated by economy, love, motivation, and many things and I just needed to build myself up back again, all alone and I just used that energy to write and compose UMBRA.

How do you feel your musical style and themes have transformed over the years, and what influences have played a significant role in this evolution?
When it comes to style and transformation, music composition gets wider and better while you public, release and while you get feedback with that, for instance, in My first solo album with Eshtadur 2010, I was learning singing, didn’t know guitar at all, all I knew was how to play the piano, that was it. So I wrote music thru those elements, and of course, I had an idea of music, influences were very highlighted because I was into developing my own voice, and that’s how it works, you start getting your own shape when you are able to risk and release what you are doing, sometimes it is great and sometimes it is not. What I can tell for sure is that I have always tried to mix both sides of Black metal and Death metal, because I love both kinds of music, I love At the Gates, but I love Dissection, I love Arch Enemy, but I love Dimmu Borgir, and those are very different styles, well, I think there’s something in the middle and that something is what I am trying to play, and I feel I am getting closer and closer.

How have different cultures and audiences influenced your performances and music, and do you find that your music resonates differently with diverse audiences?
I think we always have a real and unique approach to those who enjoy Eshtadur’s music, because we are trying to play what we like, and we have many elements on board, we can play slow, depressive, melancholic, but also heavy, blasting, black and very catchy guitar melodies like heavy metal in the 80’s, that’s what we like and of course we have seen many bands sharing stages with us, but we have learned how to just be yourself, or at least try to find yourself in that noise, because we have seen those bands playing 4 or 5 tours in Europe and then, it seems like nothing is going to happen, they are great, and they play very pro, but they are just similar to another 20 or 30 bands that are also touring, so we noticed how people supported them, there’s a kind of limit on them, they can still tour another 10 times and of course, they are going to sell merch and everything, but they are not escalating that.
We try to play our stuff and we always get the proper response from the people, and we know that we have to be very good at that approach, because as a band coming from South America, with the gigantic and challenging coin value of our money and European money, we don’t have many chances, we gotta do it at once.

The band’s name translates to ‘the rebellion of angels.’ How does this concept tie into your music, and what message or narrative are you conveying through this rebellious theme?
I love this question man, because that’s what we are trying to embrace, we are trying to awaken that rebel spirit that we have as metalheads, on beating that idea of a lower self, of a lower human, being restricted on every single thing, your rights are restricted, your thoughts, your incomes, your outcomes, your travels, your education, your health. So, we always see many friends being helpless in situations like, paying for their home mortgage for their whole life, and then when they get older and turn 70 or something, now the bank will say: this is your home, this is yours, you have paid for this for the last 40,50 years, ok what are you going to do on your 70s? you can die, and you have lost your better years, being busy, working, paying taxes, being system slaved. We are trying to rebel, to play metal, to invest all our money, we don’t have houses, we don’t have jobs, we don’t have shit, but our spirits are fearless, we are doing what we love, and we have to enjoy this, because you never know when it will be your final day, no regrets. WE, as “metalheads” have the obligation to think differently, to be artists, to protest, and to put out loud our voices, we are singers, we are composers, we are poets, writers, we are magic.

ESHTADUR played at the 70000tons of metal in 2023, representing Colombia on an international stage. How does it feel to be the sole band from your country in such a prestigious event, and what do you think this means for the Colombian metal scene?
It is an immense honor to represent your people in such a fancy and huge scenario, it is like a dream come true, and it felt like being in paradise, it was heaven for me, because you have the best stages, best roadies, best audience, the best equipment, best parties, in the middle of the ocean, sometimes I remember that and it feels unreal, because I was hanging out with my favourite bands, Dark Tranquility, Hypocrisy, Amorphis, that’s insane.
Eshtadur always tries to make it at our best quality, and we are improving every time we can, our Colombian people love us for representing them in the best way possible, and someday we will be able to be named on behalf of our flag, as Swedish bands raise from their people and they know about a Gothenburg sound, I think Colombians feel that way with Eshtadur, I know not everyone because we still have a lot of fans to conquer, but there are the ones who support us like if we were their Colombian Rotting christ.

How do you balance the melodic and aggressive elements in your music, and what do you believe sets your sound apart from other bands within the same genre?
I don’t think many bands fit in our genre, at least not 100%, we are trying to remain those aggressive riffs with melodic parts, but at the end, we are just trying to play our own music, call it metal or call it music, I think the only thing that can make us different from other bands playing similar style is to be our own voice, and I know we are just starting to be heard, we are not famous, but we can see how people react to Eshtadur, and we feel we are getting closer to our own style.

You mentioned incorporating an ancient native language, Purhepecha, in your music. What motivated this choice, and how does it enhance the storytelling and atmosphere of your songs?
I have a very particular interest in language, and I can learn a native language better than Dutch or French. I feel it is easier for me.
But I wanted to include it, in order to keep that ancestors’ culture alive, those languages are disappearing and we have the obligation to honor those ancestors with our songs. Our Latin American culture is very confusing, because we were conquered by Spanish people and they brought christianity to our lands, and then they teach you in school how Columbus did such an amazing travel thru the seas and we were “discovered”, and we “the rebel ones” found that very, very offensive, because we were already living here for many centuries, and we had our languages, and we had our own costumes, medicine, rituals, magic, extremely wide wisdom, Mayas, Aztecs, Incas, for naming some, we knew secrets of this world and those secrets, that knowledge is being forgotten, it is our due to creating any kind of art with our ancestral roots.

Can you share any memorable experiences or lessons learned from sharing the stage with Cradle of Filth, Sepultura, and Vader?
Oh, those are amazing bands, but we were able to play several shows with Vader, and they are just one of the best bands ever, very tight, always tuned, insanely fast. One night, I was in the elevator with Piotr, it was the end of the show and we all were walking to our rooms, the guys had some trouble with the tour promoter, he was not paying on time, and they were just exhausted, very unhappy with the lack of punctuality and business skills of the promoter, but they still played an amazing show that night, so I was on the elevator and we didn’t share any word, it was silence, going up each floor, we look at each other and we didn’t bring a word, but I felt his spirit, his face, his soul, Piotr was shining, like if he was flowing thru this kind of nirvana, a very pure state, I noticed him. He was satisfied with his soul, because they played for those people and they loved Vader. At that moment, I knew that I wanted to live my life the same way, no rockstar, no bullshit, no drinks, no parties, no fake, just a simple guy, artist doing what he loves.

How do real-world issues, such as environmental concerns or societal struggles, influence your lyrical content, and how do you hope your music can raise awareness about these issues?
I don’t get involved in that kind of noise, politics, economy, war and those elements are just tools to diminish your soul, to get you under their control, I believe we don’t have a chance to stop war or to modify the actual economy of a country, but what we can do, is to help awaken those who want to fight, not with discussions or weapons, but with art, theater, cine, painting, opera, music, performers, dancers, etc.
we are the ones that can help all people to wake up and change their own world, to help each other, to get a home for a sick animal, to be gentle with your kind, to raise your voice, to stop being manipulated for things like buying a car, driving, paying gas, paying a car credit, to arrive early morning to your job, to complain on how fucking exhausted you are, and then coming back to your home, and finding yourself at the age of 70, and realizing you didn’t live, you were just consuming being a good submit, quitting your dreams, your soul, your spirit, quitting your capacity to think by yourself.

ESHTADUR has played across Europe, the United States, and South America. Are there any significant differences in the reception of your music or the metal scene in these regions, and how do you adapt your performances to cater to different audience expectations?
Eshtadur always plays with the heart in every place, and we are very thankful for every response everywhere, in our career, we have noticed that playing in South America was very challenging, because of the way on how things work, and Latin America has this preference for thrash metal or death metal, with no mixtures, no subgenre, and they are not really opened to hear new bands, or to hear to new music, but in Europe or united states, people are aware of new music, and they are opened to discover new bands, so it was much, much easier for us when we played our first tour in 2018, because we felt we didn’t have a fanbase in our home, so then, because of being respected in Europe, Colombian people started to look at us, and since then we have been changing things for good, but only after being recognized abroad, I think Colombian and south american people are the hardest fans to gain.

How do you personally cope with the themes of darkness and despair in human existence, and do you find a sense of catharsis or healing through the creative process of making music?
Absolutely, I think being creative on any art is part of a healing process, and I have experienced it myself, many songs were written while struggling with depression, or passing thru a difficult, painful phase in my life and as a musician and teacher of music, I have experience how to help other people thru music as a healing factor. Darkness and despair is something I knew from my childhood, I grew up in a very violent environment, and that seed on me a large train of traumatic circumstances, such as social autism, depression and anxiety disorder, aggressive behavioral and lack of self control with my emotions, until I was a teenager, I wrote my first song at the age of 15, and after that, I have been liberating myself of that darkness, and some people don’t know how to get rid of that pain, or maybe a habit, drugs, addiction, behavioral habits, whatever, some people never understand how to get rid of that, some people never realize that they have something inside, something dark that needs your attendance, and I consider myself a healer in the spiritual world, so as I liberated myself from that despair, it was urgent for me to get rid of that, thru music, I have studied music therapy and I created my own program called “metal gorila drums” on which I try to help youngsters on performing a better quality in their habits, thru Drums and music, and heavy metal.

What can fans expect from ESHTADUR in the future? Thank you for your time!
Thank you very much for having me here, it has been an enormous pleasure to spend some time leaving these words on the metal community, expect some powerful music, expect some healing, expect some awakeness, expect some illumination on your higher selves, for we are the ones that knows the real power of the universe, music is the answer for all trouble, and we are bringing a new album this 2024, stay tuned.
Jorg August lml

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