Agon – Interview
Interview with Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (http://petesrocknewsandviews.com)
PD: What type of artist are you?
A: I am an artist that likes to delve into extreme metal and have fun with the combination of genres, elements, infusions, and having fun with the music that I create. I like to experiment with what comes to mind on how to make my songs sound unique, give each new release a new mindset and thought process to make each standout, but give them all the sound of Agon.
PD: Tell us the brief history of yourself.
A: Agon is an extreme metal project from Miami, Florida conceived from my mind, Andre Basora, and I create music using a multitude of subgenres including black metal, death metal, sludge, and grind with atmospheric, experimental, and psychedelic touches. I am so far the sole and only member that writes, plays, records, produces, and masters all of the music myself. As of now, I have released a full length album, a split, a lone single, and two singles for my upcoming EP coming out on September.
PD: Who are your musical and non-musical influences?
A: My main influences for my musical approach can be all derived from Pink Floyd, Metallica, Morbid Angel, Burzum, Xasthur, Akira Yamaoka, Pantera, Nails, Swans, Death Grips, Sunn O))), Daughters, and many more. Other than being a huge music fan, I am an avid fan of film and the many creators who have crossed the silver screen. Stanley Kubrick, Quentin Tarantino, David Lynch, Robert Eggers, John Carpenter, Akira Kurosawa, Steven Spielberg, and Ridley Scott have all had a great impact on my life, on the way I view art in different forms of media, and how I interpret the art and apply it to other aspects of life.
PD: What are your dreams and goals?
A: I hope to grow as an artist and a musician throughout the years to make Agon be a household name in the metal underground scene as well as in music in general. My other personal dreams are to create and manage a record label where I can place my music in alongside other bands that will want to sign under the label. I would also want to establish a place where I can open up a concert venue, bar/club, coffee shop, and recording studio all in one location. Hopefully I can make that place become a hub for locals, music fans, recording artists, tours, and a fun welcoming environment.
PD: Who writes your songs, what are they about?
A: All the songs are written by me, Andre Basora. The instrumentation and lyrics are written by me, as well as the recording of the instruments, the production, and the mastering of the final music, all done by me. My songs usually revolve around themes of self-conflict and the struggle to overcome those conflicts. Some other songs contain political and religious themes, but the grand majority of the songs I’ve written deal with one’s inner fight with their personal demons and attempting to overcome them.
PD: How do you promote your band and shows?
A: I use Instagram and Facebook to promote my releases a vast majority of the time, but what I do as well is give a copy of the Hollowed Lake CD to bands that come touring around my local scene. I like to have conversations with some of the band members after their shows, maybe even get a drink with them, and tell them about my music and see if they would check it out. I know it might sound annoying but it’s a great way to spread music around and see what your musical peers would think of it. Either way, I don’t go to shows to self-promote. I go for the same reason that everyone else goes to shows, to have a fun and enjoyable night and help support the bands that are playing that night. I have not played a show yet since I am a solo project, but once I do find band members to play my material live and when this whole pandemic situation alleviates to the point where live concerts could happen again, I only hope for the fans to come out to have a fun night with my music and help support it.
PD: What do you think about downloading music online?
A: Piracy should never be the way to go, but I understand that people have their reasons to do it. I know the main reason that pops in mind is the money issue, that people don’t want to spend money on music/movies/and other media when they could just download them for free online. The vast majority of consumers want the cheapest way to consume their products, and what better way than getting it for free online. But musicians know that the dedicated fans are the real consumers that we care about because they are the ones who want to support the artists doing their craft. They are the ones who will purchase the artist’s music, physical media, apparel, and anything they release because those are the fans that really support and appreciate what the artist does and the impact the artist has on the their lives. They are the ones who want the artist to keep on creating their craft and are truly the backbone of the artists because without the fans, there would be no art.
PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?
A: There are a lot of songs that I wish I have written but three that come to mind for me are One by Metallica, Nothing Is Not by Morbid Angel, and Oxygen by Swans. One is a musical masterpiece where everything about the song is perfect; the instrumentation, the structure, the lyrics, the emotions, everything about it from the beginning ballad section with the beautifully written clean guitar melodies and solos to the end section with the heavy breakdown riffs and fast paced intensity is what makes this song supremely amazing. Nothing Is Not is one of the most defining Morbid Angel songs to me because the whole song is one gigantic monolith of groove, guitar work, and power. The song’s slow but heavy pace makes the song feel like a giant stampeding through the world and Trey’s guitar work adds to the heaviness with his tone and groove-filled chugging to take part of it. And that finale where the song ends off with the band’s musical tightness of continuous breakdowns just getting slower and heavier by the minute; the song itself explains why it is such an amazing piece of extreme metal. Last but not least, Oxygen is Swans being the most Swans they can be. The bass line thumping throughout the whole song giving it the groove and heart of it, the addition of the instruments little by little giving the song more flair and fire, and Michael Gira shouting out his phrases throughout the song like a manic lunatic. The cacophony of all the sounds intensifies the song’s insanity to make itself push even more and more to the edge to make it be pure sensory overload, becoming ever so more abrasive until it explodes in the end. That is what I love about music and that is what I want to bring to my music as well.
PD: What are some of your pet peeves?
A: One of my BIGGEST pet peeves that I have due to living here in Miami is when drivers don’t put their blinkers on when they decide to switch lanes or turn into a street. It always ticks me when a car steers into my lane unexpectedly or when I want to turn to a street and I have to wait for a car to pass by but instead it turns in the street I am leaving from without indicating that it is turning there. Another pet peeve that I have that’s common with all musicians is when someone interrupts me while I am either recording or in my creative zone, having that person ruin the concentration I had and making me lose time with my music. I can’t think of much others now but I can attest that those two are of the biggest annoyance to me.
PD: What is your proudest moment in music?
A: My proudest moment in music so far has been the release of my debut album because all of my hard work and dedication felt paid off when I released it for the public to hear. I was happy from the reception that it received from my friends and others who really enjoyed it. My excitement grew even more when I saw the positive reviews that were written of the album and the interviews I was obtaining because of it. This made me become motivated to create more music for the fans and for others who would become new fans. I keep on looking towards that motivation to continue striving on with creating more music, better music, and to go on with my career to find more proud moments in my music.
PD: So what are you working on at the moment?
A: I am currently working on new music for my second full length album which will be a complete change of sound once again from the EP that I am releasing. I have written a grand majority of the work and the skeletons of each song, I just have to go through each song and see what other elements I could add such as more color, a variety of dynamics, and texture of the pieces. I like to change my style and sound with each of my releases to keep my audience on their feet with what I decide to present to them. I implement styles that I have used in my past works for my newest releases to keep melding ideas and styles together, evolving my sound throughout my discography.
PD: What music have you available online and where can we buy it from?
A: All of my music is available online through a grand majority of streaming services such as Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, Tidal, and many others. But the best place to listen and buy my music is in Bandcamp where you can also purchase merchandise such as Agon t-shirts and CDs of my debut album Hollowed Lake. More merchandise will be added soon when I’m going to release my full EP. Go to this link to help support: https://agonmusician.bandcamp.com/ I want to thank all of my fans for all the support that they give!