Yes, it is a solo avant-garde atmospheric black metal project called Agon and I am currently its main contributor. I write the music and lyrics, record the songs, and produce and master the album.
So far you have released one album, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical style you went for on the recording?
When I was contemplating the thought of wanting to release music, I was already trying to figure out the sound that I wanted to have. I played around with different subgenres, song structures, and also guitar tunings. After writing some thrash metal, death metal, and doom songs, I finally figured out my sound when I started to write the songs for Hollowed Lake. I really got into the use of atmosphere and sonic landscapes that gave my music more body and depth to work with, experimenting with different ideas that came to mind.
What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you have explored with the music so far?
So far my lyrical topics dealt with my mental state at the time of recording: having to deal with the breakup of my first relationship, the recurring paranoid thoughts of what I plan for my future, my internal feelings of loneliness and self-hatred, you know… the usual stuff. But I’m glad that I feel better now.
What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Agon'?
Well, I have always been a huge fan of Tolkien’s works so I wanted to name my project based on something related to Middle Earth. I went searching through words in Black Speech and I found the word Agon which stood for twilight/dawn, so I decided to use it simply because it sounded cool to me. Later on, I read that agon was also a Greek term for a struggle or a contest, the idea that the clash of opposing forces necessarily results in growth and progress. After learning that, I knew that it was the perfect name for the context of my music and its lyrical themes.
Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album?
The artwork was based on a piece I made back in my high school art class. I thought of Pandora’s Box when I remade it for the album cover, a whirlpool filled with spirits that engulf their surroundings spreading out to the rest of the world. I was wanting something that fit the album name, an image of ghastly spirits that drift around endlessly without a way out, swimming around the dark abyss forming a hollowed lake.
So far you have recorded everything on the recordings by yourself, are you open to working with other musicians or do you prefer to work solo?
I would love to work with other musicians in the future, create something amazing as a whole group, but I would want to continue to work solo for Agon. It is a project where I put my own thoughts and ideas into without having to compromise due to conflicting ideas from other band members.
I heard that you are working on some live shows, what can we expect performance wise once you hit the stage?
I plan on recruiting some fellow musician friends to learn my songs and have them join me onstage. But I don’t really know what to expect, I just want to play my music to others and hope they enjoy it as much as I did creating them. I hope that the band will be proficient in playing my music so that we can let ourselves and the audience have an enjoyable night. We will give it our all for the fans.
Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label or have received any interest?
I wouldn’t mind being signed to a label, it would certainly help me get more fan traction from the underground. It would also help me with managing my time on marketing and merchandising. I still love being independent though because it gives me the feeling of more control over my own content, as well as the idea of achieving everything on my own. But label support is always best for starting musicians like myself to begin their rise up. So if the opportunity arises, I will take the option best fit for me.
On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black metal?
I have had positive reviews so far from what I have read and heard. My close friends have told me that they loved the album and one of them even mistook my music for a Burzum album. I suspect that I have a small fan base in Eastern Europe due to the majority of PR I have done for that region, as well as small sections of Central and South America. So far I have been very happy from the positive reception I have gained from my close friends and magazine reviews.
Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?
My main goal as of the moment is to get my name and music out to the underground world of extreme metal, trying to have Agon become a household name throughout the metal subgenres. But my dream is to live off of the music I create, just like all the other striving musicians out there. Not having the need to get a second job to sustain myself, to take away time from my passion of creating music, to not have to put my music to the side as a hobby instead of it being my job. That’s where I want to see myself heading into the future as a musician.
What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
The earliest bands that began to influence my musical choices were AC/DC and Pink Floyd. AC/DC was what brought me into old school rock alongside playing Guitar Hero. I started listening to Led Zeppelin, Journey, Boston, and many other bands from the 80’s. When I got into Pink Floyd, they changed the way I would listen to music. I used to shuffle randomly through songs from different artists but because of Pink Floyd, I started to appreciate the “album” as a whole art piece created by the artist. Little by little I started to get into heavier music such as Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, and Metallica. Then I got into Slayer and that threw me down this tunnel of extreme metal that completely absorbed me, and I am where I am now. At the time that I was writing my album, I was listening to mostly death metal like Morbid Angel and Bolt Thrower, black metal like Burzum and Xasthur, and doom like Pallbearer and Sleep. They have been my biggest influences in recent times when I was having my first thoughts of creating music. One other band that has had a great impact to me is Death Grips. They have been one of my top bands for a while now and I even consider them to be the greatest band from this past decade. Recently though I have been listening a lot to Acid Bath, Deathspell Omega, Full of Hell, Sleep, Svartelder, and Tyler the Creator’s latest album.
What are some of your non musical interests?
Other than listening and creating music, I love to watch films, especially works by Quentin Tarantino, Stanley Kubrick, and David Lynch. I enjoy history as well, going out to visit art museums, natural history museums, and science museums. Traveling is another interest of mine, recently I visited Germany, Austria, and the Netherlands. I plan on traveling to new places each year to visit and explore new lands that have always peaked my interest, maybe even gain some new influences for my music while I’m there.
Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Yes, I want to thank all the people who have listened to my album and love the music I create, supporting me and the passion that I strive towards. I am glad to be part of this community of musicians who connect people through the music we create, that our works will spread onwards to new fans who will cherish them and place the music close to their hearts. Don’t ever forget the importance of music for it is our impetus of feeling uplifted, motivated, and it makes us seek our inner peace from each one of our personal demons. Let it be known that you are not the only one suffering your fights, that the person who created the songs you listen to all have their torments and cope with them by sharing it to us the listeners. Let music flow through you and guide you to the many wonders your life will entail.