Interview with Nathan Afilalo of Dissension
Bass- Oli Aveline
Guitars (lead)- Matteo Conti
Drums- Anthony Pulcini
Keyboards- Andrew Proppe
Vocals, Guitars (rhythm)- Nathan Afilalo
Located: Montreal, Quebec, Canada
Label: Believe Digital
Interview from: Jesse Sanders
Interview date: October 16, 2013
Published: October 17, 2013
Well the great reception that the album has been receiving thus far has really brought a powerful new vitality into the band. Its quite something to begin writing a song in a basement to then show it to the world with positive feed back. So yes, things have been feeling pretty fucking awesome since the release.
Anthony and Conti first formed the band back in 2007. While they had previously been in a few bands, for myself (Nathan) it was something completely new. In fact, it’s been the only band that I have actually even been in. Proppe had been a few other projects, but this has always been everyone’s main focus.
I guess our band was formed in that surge, and so no, there have always been, and always should be, a ridiculous amount of talented bands coming out of Montreal. It makes us proud to come from a place that not only listens but contributes to the music as a whole. However, what is cool to see is the ever increasing numbers of metal-heads in the city. For example, three years ago we saw Watain play in Montreal in front of a small crowd. When they came just a week ago, the crowd was three times as large. One could only assume that metal’s popularity in Montreal has to do with the massive metal festival, Heavy MTL, each summer. However, that festival would not exist if there wasn’t already a massive fan-base.
I can safely say that our favourite song to play live is Of Time and Chronic Disease. I think this is because it is the best example of the sound we a trying to create. At the one hand it is melodic and then transforms into something quite dark and aggressive. As a band, we try to find the fitting line between something that is sonically beautiful but can also evoke something dark from within the individual listeners. As for our favourite track to listen to, that is more difficult. What is surprising is that the songs we like most playing live are not necessarily our favourites to listen to. Beng the one’s laying the songs, there is a certain detachment from them while in the moment of performance. Listening to them offers us a different view on them. I would have to say however, in general, it’s Apotheosis and Legacy which are the favourites.
Well the process of recording happened over two years, or rather, two summers. There was no difficulty recording the album, but the events surrounding recording were trying ahhaha. The worst moment for example was, while recording the final two thirds of the album (Set to Kill, Blacksteel and Brutality having been recorded the previous summer) we were also getting ready to play Heavy MTL 2011. The organization the month leading up to it was stressful (as we were stupid careless teenagers haha). The worst moment was the day right before we played, when we received our three song EPs and they didn’t work. I remember being so furious I began to laugh and scream at the same time hahah. However, the next day, the whole thing didn’t matter at all. Its amazing how in certain moments, the world falls apart and two minutes later everything is cool and the horror of two minutes ago is actually quite funny. That being said, the best moment was when we first heard the album played as a whole, mastered and everything. It really marked the end of one cycle while entering into a new one. It was hearing the sonic manifestation of our effort. And it was fucking awesome.
My brother answered Outkast, I thought that would be hilarious. Beyond, we like playing with bands that don’t quite sound like us. The reason fro this is that a show is not only the band you are seeing, its also who you are playing. The was a night were The Devil’s Blood (RIP), Watain and Behemoth all played. Though the bands are similar, they are not quite (especially the Devil’s Blood), but they in a sense are express similar messages or meanings and so I was able to move through different forms of music while keeping the same, more or less, mental state. It is rare to find such communion with three different bands in the same night, it really makes it more of a powerful event than just another show. That being said, the bands we would dream to open for a mostly dead like Dissection, Bathroy, Death and Celtic Frost (despite Tryptikon being an awesome band). However, playing with Amon Amarth, Animals as Leaders, or Dimmu Borgir would be fucking incredible. But above them all, it would be to open for Judas Priest hahaha.
Do you mean where do we draw our musical inspiration? If yes, then it is different for all of us. For Proppe, he surely adopts it from classical music. There is something deeply evocative in it, as well as his love of science (he’s a science major). For Conti, it must be just music itself. The guy can’t help but be melodic, so anything melodic, there is his inspiration haha. Anthony is a mystery man, his inspiration comes from the dark corners of his off-time mind. For myself, my inspiration for music comes from literature, poems and stories. I try to make music imitate feelings (usually dark ones) or certain moments. For example, we are always trying to capture the perfect sound of despair. We are not there yet, but its coming.
For myself, it has to be Black Metal, and these days, certainly acoustic Black Meal shit. Quebec bands Gris, Sombre Forets, are what I always go to. But these days a lot of Chopin and “jazz” have appeared.
We don’t like to relax. We couldn't wait to release the album so that we could start getting on the way recording our second album. As a band, we can’t help but always write new material, it is what pushes us forwards.
The next release will see a much more unified sound. Meaning that, our first album was really a bringing together of the songs we had been writing since the very first days (like Set To Kill, Blacksteel). However, the songs we have now are a little more unified in sound. Also, we may experiment with some clean vocals, if we learn to sing in time for the recordings that is.
Simon Dupuis did the art work, a very original and experimental graphic artist. What was hard for us was to let go of the creative aspect of the artwork. We wanted it in such a perfect way that it lead to difficulties. So in the end we gave Simon free reign, with a few guiding tips and it produced an incredible outcome. It is interesting as the artwork displays an interpretation of the music rather than what we see it is, and so it has more in common with the listener than the creator, an idea which we enjoyed. That being said, it does capture the poetic spirit of the album perfectly. The weirdness of the cover reflects the very weird, absurd and existential reality of life. Life itself is its own chronic disease as life is only defined by death, yet the movement towards death is our greatest far and causes the most anxiety.
Well being all university students we do not tour during the winter and fall. But the summer will surely see tours around Quebec and Ontario. That being said, if we could, we would be in Western Canada in no time. So while waiting, come to the Canada metal capital of Montreal!
To the fans around the world, let yourself be known to us. Say rude things on face book, or whatever. We like establishing relationships with fans, to know where they come from. That being said, most importantly, just listen to the music and try to get something out of it. That’s all we can really ask.