Almost three years ago, I interviewed Aephanemer for the first time. At that time they had just released the excellent Memento Mori. Since then, their popularity grew fast, played many shows, won the Wacken Metal Battle France 2018 and were finalists on Hellfest 2018 "Voice of Hell" contest. And, still in 2018, surprisingly they came to Portugal, to play at XI Milagre Metaleiro Open Air. In March 2019, the second album "Prokopton" was released, I had the honour to write the first review worldwide (here).

Hi Martin. Thanks a lot for your time in answering this second interview to Sounds from Apocalypse. Many things happened since you came to Portugal ☺
Hi João! Thank you much for interviewing us ☺

I have to start with your show in Portugal. How was it? And the Festival?
The festival was just great, it was like if the whole town (Pindelo Dos Milagres) was present at the festival so it makes a lot of people! The ambience was cheerful and everybody was happy to be there, including us of course. We played at 4.30 A.M since we were closing the first day of the event and people were still there waiting for our show and then headbanging with us. Just incredible!

Have you seen other bands, namely Portuguese?
Yes of course, we saw all the bands of the first day and a few ones of the second day (we had to leave before the end of the second day unfortunately) – there were many good bands, and we really liked Godark! They play Melodic Death Metal and did a great show. Plus they are super nice people ☺

And have you got some time for sightseeing?
Unfortunately no, it was a one-shot show and we had a very tight schedule so we decided to stay at the festival as much as people and enjoy the other shows instead. But next time we will take some time for sightseeing!

I'm sure the whole band were quite happy in winning the Wacken Metal Battle. How was Wacken? Crowded?
Yes it was incredible! We were surprised to win the French Wacken Metal Battle since we were competing in Paris against two bands from there who had much support of the audience. The odds seemed clearly against us and yet the jury decided to send us to Wacken. We played on a big stage there, in front of 4000 metalheads ! It was the first time for us to play in front of such a large audience and everything went very well. The crowd was very supportive and we were lucky enough to have Aephanemer fans on the first row!

And then this year in March, Prokopton was released. Are you happy with the reactions? And sales?
Absolutely. We doubled our production costs between Memento Mori and Prokopton to improve the quality, and yet we recovered 100% of our invested money within a month after the album release! This is just amazing and the reactions have been great from both fans and reviewers. The results are way better than our most optimistic reactions. It is great, since it is very difficult to have an objective opinion on our own songs. I always feel unsure when I’m writing new songs. I never keep things that I don’t love, but it’s not enough to make good songs – does this melody sound like Aephanemer enough? And is it still original enough? There is a balance between keeping our “Aephanemer sound” and enhancing it with new elements which is very hard to find.

Once more you edited a limited box edition full of goodies and a special TShirt. Is this a way to reward the closest fans?
Indeed, we love the idea of making collector boxes for our best fans! When we released Memento Mori, we just made 25 collector boxes and they were so expensive to make that we almost didn’t earn money from them. Yet we felt that we had to do these boxes, it was something essential. This time we made 100 boxes and improved the processes so we earned money which is always better, but it was a huge work! We are just 4 persons working in Aephanemer since we have no label, so we had to make the 100 boxes ourselves, find good suppliers for all the content (patches, posters, custom picks, …) prepare all the handwritten messages, take care of many special requests and ship them to 20 different countries with all the customs rules. Besides of our day jobs and handling everything else about our album release. Many sleepless nights but we are very glad of the result. We did these boxes with love and we hope that everyone who ordered one loved it ☺

I love Snowblind, glad to hear Marion clean singing again. Isn't there a classical tune on the melody?
Yes there is a kind of classical feeling in the melody after the interlude! There are some vibes that I love in classical music and I feel that after many years I am able to integrate them in my music, which is awesome! Marion was very glad to do some clean singing again and she hope to include more of it in the future ☺

As with Memento Mori, the exquisite cover was created by Niklas Sundin (Dark Tranquillity and others, but not many). Comments? Do you know that Prokopton is one of the three illustrations on his banner?
Niklas Sundin is a wonderful artist which huge creativity and a great personality as well. It is a real pleasure to work with him every time and we communicate very easily. I saw that Niklas used the Prokopton cover on his banner and it’s awesome to know that he really appreciates it that much, since it’s the result of our collaboration with him ☺

How is your concerts schedule? Great that you going to play at Folk Fest Zaragoza, together with Waylander and other great bands.
We are currently in the Prokopton Tour which is a European tour of 16 shows in France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland and the Netherlands. Everything is working great until now and we can’t wait to play at Folk Fest Zaragoza in September!

Are you having contacts for coming back to Portugal? Maybe next year or in couple of years?
Yes, we have a contact for a potential headlining show in 2020 if we don’t find another promoter before that. We still hope to play in Portugal before that ☺

What bands and albums are you listening these days? For instance I was quite disappointed with the last Children of Bodom.
Unfortunately I don’t know much about the recent albums. Right now I’m listening to Dimmu Borgir, but mainly the old albums. I rarely listen to new albums because when I find something that I love I generally listen to it for weeks and months until it’s part of my musical identity. I listen to albums for a very long time. I don’t need novelty, I prefer to focus on a few albums until I really absorb them fully and understand how their magic is being created. Not on a rational level since I don’t use music theory, but on an intuitive level. And with my brain working like that, I just can’t keep up with new albums. It’s actually the opposite that is happening, I’m listening to older albums than before because I realized I don’t know the metal classic albums from bands like Pantera, Ozzy Osbourne and many more!

What are the next plans for Aephanemer?
Until the end of the month of May we will focus on shows, and then we will start working on new songs because we are very (very) slow songwriters and we need at least one year to write an album so we have to begin early. We are also trying to join a big band tour since it would help us a lot to grow.

And, finally, do you want to leave a message to the Sounds from Apocalypse readers? And the Portuguese fans?
Thank you much for reading this interview, I hope that we will be able to meet in Portugal very soon ☺

Again, thanks a lot for this opportunity, very looking forward to meet you in Zaragoza!

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