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Aeonian Sorrow - Gogo Melone ''Katara'' Interview

Steeped in love loss memory and grief, the Finnish /Greek outfit of Aeonian Sorrow led by Gogo Melone (vocals/keyboards) have created music that is as beautiful as it is brutal and painful. From the debut of Into the Eternity a Moment We Are in 2018 and its follow up Ep A Life Without in 2020, Aeronian Sorrow have

become synonymous with transformation of genres that began in doom and gothic. They are quite simply one of the heaviest yet beautiful bands in existence. Their new album Katara is that next evolutionary and transcendent statement.

Gogo: I think with the years we somehow managed to build our own sound in the Doom Metal and Gothic scene and our followers, old and new ones, seem to appreciate that. What’s different on this album is the use of our native languages (Greek and Finnish) which we always wanted to try it and luckily now we got the opportunity to do it. There is no doubt that this came to stay as we are expressing ourselves in a more direct way.

It feels like a more immediate personal album than your predecessors. Steeped in loss and memory?

Gogo: It is as it’s dedicated to my grandparents that are no longer alive. Of course, the state of mind during the creative process of the album, and even before that, was quite depressing and lost but today it feels different. I think there is enough beauty in life and in the present moment that it would have been a shame to not enjoy it. Good and bad memories are staying with us, we walk with them and learn to accept them.

The inspiration to name it after a cursed pass?

Gogo: The Katara Pass of Pindus reminds me of my entire childhood and teenage life as it was the only mountain’s pass/route that it was connecting my hometown with the place I used to live. One of the most dangerous areas to drive, especially during the winter, and that’s because of the heavy snowstorms, the mist and the zigzag roads. The tradition says that Katara took its name from a despot of Ioannina city who wanted to cross the dangerous pass with a destination to the city of Trikala in the 1800s. But he couldn’t bear the heavy winter until he arrived in a glade, which is locally known as the “Valley of the Despot”, to where he died and cursed the place. Since then, more legends and traditions wrap the story and as a person who grew up with these, I felt it right to get my inspiration from this specific location. Not only for the album’s title but for its music as well.

Was it a cathartic process to record? It has moments of joy amongst its melancholy. Almost reverie like in beautiful memories.

Gogo: Absolutely. Maybe the mood and the general feelings were sad but there is always a joy and excitement during the recordings and of course lots of headaches when your energy levels are reaching the bottom line. But you always find a way to recover and go on and that’s the beauty of music or the beauty of when you have a purpose, and you don’t want to quit.

Life is short and ultimately fragile. How do you extract every precious moment of it?

Gogo: You know it’s not always easy to remain optimistic and focus on the bright side of things around you. There are moments that I’m wasting my time and energy on things that don’t boost my personal uplifting, and of course I get stuck as everyone else. But then other things hit me, more important, so eventually my self-care mechanism activates, and I choose what’s worth to keep and what it doesn’t. I must admit that at this point of my life, my family, my husband, and the surrounding nature that I’m privileged to wake up to every day, are giving me all the joy, I need and then nothing else matters.

What is Her Torment?

Gogo: It is a song talking about a toxic environment and relationship between two people that the woman finds it hard to continue. With her sweet and fragile voice, she’s trying to express herself but it’s not strong enough to reach the other side. The other person is very aggressive, abusive and quite stuck in his own mind game. The final part of the song ends with Greek lyrics and a more of a Balkan type of vocals which are basically reflecting the pain and the misery of this story. It’s a form of a curse too but in a different way. This song might touch a lot of people and honestly, this is the purpose.

You also have a new counterpoint in the voice of Joel Notkonen and how does his darkness and anger reflect your hurt and beauty?

Gogo: Joel has his own style and character which comes and complements my vocal parts in a very good way. Sometimes we share aggressive moments and do growls together but often his duty is more challenging than mine. In my opinion we both share an equal part of anger, pain and beauty. It’s just the approach that differs from mine.

How do you describe darkness? Was it the shadow of light or did it cast the light out?

Gogo: Well, it could be both. If the darkness lasts for a brief moment, then you can give it a romantic interpretation and say it’s the shadow of the light. This darkness is probably easier to deal with but the other one appears abruptly and imposingly and casts out everything so it’s better to have to deal with the romantic version of it. Something that is going to leave a glitch of hope and it won’t destroy you fully.

The classical intonations and subtlety within your work. How are you able to create and merge with the heavier passages?

Gogo: I suppose you’re referring to the composition and diversity from soft to heavier parts. To be honest it comes without any force or any specific form. It’s just fitting well together and creates the perfect melancholy and atmosphere that our music needs. The Doom Metal scene over the last two decades has been enriched with gothic and classical elements and you see more and more bands going around in this direction, which I personally find it very interesting. Of course, it is not for everyone but only for those who really like the sound and can appreciate hearing a female voice or a piano melody to blend with slow drum tempo and heavy guitars.

Your vocal style is ethereal yet also haunting and powerful. Has it always been your ambition and the desire to perform?

Gogo: Thank you for your kind comments. I somehow knew that I would end up doing this as it started when I was a kid. Later on, I discovered that some of my close relatives had similar artistic spirit, so my motivation and desire came very naturally, and it evolved with time.

What drew you to extreme music ?

Gogo: I don’t know. Maybe it was the combination of emotions because metal music has diversity on that. It can be soft, melancholic, or aggressive but also happy and fun at the same time and that’s something it suits my personality. Maybe I chose it for that.

What is next for the Aeonian Sorrow? What else do you have personally planned; you are quite renowned for your art and guest vocal appearances?

Gogo: “Katara” album will be released on November 1st and two days later our “Mourning Fall European Tour” starts with As The Sun Falls and Sanity Obscure so we are going to be busy during the month, playing shows and promoting our new album. I’ve been told that our booking is already working on the EU Tour Part 2 but we will only be able to announce it when we get all the information. As for my personal plans, I have quite a few unfinished designs to complete for other bands, more guest vocals, and recordings with my other band Elyzia. My band mates are working on new music too with their other bands of Crimson Sun, Arctora and Anima Hereticae so there will be lots of new materials to check in 2024.

Top 6 albums of all time?

My Dying Bride – Songs of Darkness, Words of Light

Virgin Black – Requiem-Mezzo Forte

Daylight Dies – Lost to the Living

Paradise Lost – Draconian Times

Anathema – Judgement

Theater of Tragedy - Aegis

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