With so many cool bands out there to check out I offer you some minor guidance by introducing you to AEGONIA. Answering musicians: Eli (Elitsa Stoyanova) – vocal, violin and Niki (Nikolay Nikolov) – vocal, guitar, kaval (traditional Bulgarian flute). Anders Ekdahl ©2018

When the band came into creation what was the main purpose for it?
Eli: In the beginning we only wanted to play music without any specific plans for the future. For us, it all happened very naturally, as improvisation. We quickly composed 12 songs for an album, but then it was a very long process to finalize, record and release them, as we had a lot to learn.

How hard is it to come up with a sound that is all yours? What bits’n’pieces do you pick up from other stuff to make it your sound?
Eli: I always liked music that has its own atmosphere. We combine many different elements in our music – melodic vocals and instruments, elements from baroque, growling vocals combined with heavy riffs, sounds from nature, folklore elements. I really like music that has contrast – light and heavy parts. This is just the way it sounds to us in our heads – we tried to do our best with the arrangements and mix/mastering of the songs so that we can express this.

I have no idea what kind of creative process you guys go through but how hard is it to record and release new songs?
Eli: It took us several years to complete our first album. One reason for this is that we decided to do (almost) everything ourselves – including the recording, mixing and mastering. We did not want to release the album before we were satisfied with the result. It was a long and difficult process, but we learned a lot. Recording new stuff now is much easier for us than it was with our first album, “The Forgotten Song”. We did the recording of our upcoming single “Samodiva” again by ourselves. Everything with this song happen much faster now – we record the drums in our drummer’s studio, and all other instruments and vocals in our own studio. Mix and mastering also happens in our own studio, done by our vocalist/guitarist, Niki.

Today technology allows you to record at home and release your music digitally. But in doing so is there a risk that you release only single songs because that is what is demanded to stay atop and therefore you end up killing the album for example?
Eli: Yes, there is such a risk, because it is really hard to record and release a whole album when you don’t have the support of a producer or a label. This also depends on the concept of the music. For example, “The Forgotten Song” is a concept album based on the fantasy novel written by our singer/violin player Eli. “The Maid And The Mountain”, on the other hand, is a single, which is not based on this novel, and will be followed by the song “Samodiva” (to be released this month). We generally prefer to listen to whole albums. We plan to record and release a new album when we are ready with composing the songs for it. It will again be based on our fantasy novel series “Tales from the lands of Aegonia”.

I for one feel that the change in how people listen to music today, by downloading it and expecting to get it for free, will kill music as we know it. What kind of future is there for music?
Niki: I think musicians make music because they have a very strong inner impulse to create and play music. The hardest thing for an artist is when it comes to selling and offering their art – usually artists are very poor sales people. But, unfortunately, these days an artist has to be everything – composer, musician, producer, sound engineer…

What kind of responses do you get to your music? What has been the thing that has gotten the most attention?
Niki: We have a few, but sincere fans, and this is very satisfying for us. Maybe the folklore elements in our songs is the most touching thing.

We live in a world where there are no real distances between people communicating anymore. What has been the most surprising contact so far?
Eli: We receive positive comment from people around the world. Every such contact is very dear for us.

Does playing in a band make you feel like you are a part of a greater community? What has music brought with it that you would have otherwise missed out on?
Niki: Music brings magic to this world.
Eli: Creating our first album was a very interesting process. When we wrote the lyrics for our first songs, we found out that they are connected. This is how we got to know the story for Endoriel’s forgotten song and wrote it as a novel. It all started with music and improvisation. Without it there would be no story, no novel. It is a whole new fantasy world that was revealed to us.

What is the live scene like for you? Do you feel that playing live helps building a bigger following?
Eli: We very much enjoy to play live. There is a strong energy and magic in a live performance. I think it does help to build a bigger following.

What plans do you have for the future?
Eli: We will release our next video “Samodiva” (following “The Maid And The Mountain”) this month. Next is coming another single – “Of Love And Hate” – in collaboration with the vocal of Freija, another band. This song will be part of our next album, on which we are working. In the near future we will publish the first book from our fantasy series “Tales from the lands of Aegonia” (“The Forgotten Song”) in English as an e-book, and the second book (“The River Of Memories”) on paper (in Bulgarian). There are a few festivals as well that we will be playing this summer.

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