Interview with Anton Grgic from Agonize (BiH)
Interview by: militia
Translation by fade2blackened
Cao Anton! Thanks alot for your time. Im extremely glad that you made this interview happen beacuse, as a metal fan and also Agonize fan, It is my pleasure to help you but also our small nation, Bosnia and the metal scene there.
So let us start:
HM: Can you tell our readers in short about Agonize’s history, especially your contribution to the band? At the moment how are things (now that you are with the Walk Records, I believe it wasn’t easy before while you were independent)?
|Tihomil Grgic - drums, Adnan Hatic |
- guitars & vocals, Anton Grgic - guitars, Dario Stevanovic - bass.
Anton: Agonize formed a while ago, at the beginning of 1997. The band was formed by Nedim (ex-guitarist) and me. Soon after that Dario (bass) and Tiho (drums) joined us. In those early years we had many problems with our vocals so it was hard to describe our music genre. We started with thrash and as we changed singers we changed our music style but with the arrival of Adnan we came to our real expression. “The Chosen One” was recorded without him but everting else after that was with his vocals. We played over a hundred live gigs, which is an enviable number, and we gained very valuable experience.
As far as my contribution goes I wouldn’t accentuate myself over the others because all of us do the songs together most of the time but I do get tasked with promotion, gig organisation, making various contacts, taking care of the band as well as sponsor searching for recording etc. These things still have to be done by someone from the band regardless of having a manager (or similar) – basically one of us has to take on this responsibility as well as occasional risk. Now that we have a record publishing house behind us the things in respect to our future path are clearer and we are actually expecting a batch of CDs which are being pressed by Sony Music in Austria.
We had many problems with the CD printing and other things after prolonged recording because we were the first band from Bosnia Herzegovina to do ti the way we did it. We didn’t have anyone to find these things out from. We had to figure it out alone together with our record house (it was their first such experience as well) so everything took longer than it should have. Waiting is killing us and longer we wait the less faith we have in the Bosnian metal scene because we saw, through our work, that the whole music production process (recording, pressing, copyright) is completely not cared about by the political forces even though they could be making money for the state. Basically there is no organised processes for this kind of business on the state level. Pirating is killing us.
HM: How would you describe the sound of Agonize? I don't believe that you only play death metal, do you agree?
Anton: I like to say that everyone should describe it as they please because we have all sorts of different flavours in it. As far as I am concerned I would say that we play some sort of melodic-black-death metal.
HM: What bands would you compare your self with? Who are your prime inspirations?
Anton: I have to say, and I emphasize this, that we don’t have any real influences. We were never making songs to look like someone else or to sound like someone else. We made them to our liking and capabilities and since everyone in the band listens to very different things I think that influences our songs. I think there is a lot to be heard on the new album 'WHEN MEMORY DIES...".
HM: The readers of this webzine are mostly located abroad and most do not speak our language so they wouldn’t know how to get familiar with your discography. Can you direct us as to how and where to get your new CD “When Memory Dies…” or some demo tapes/CDs?
Anton: As I said the CD “When Memory Dies...” still hasn’t come out from the printing however as soon as it comes it can be ordered at WALK RECORDS or from us. There is a possibility that other distributors may carry it but I don’t know who may do this so I don’t want to guess. If we get lucky maybe we can find some foreign distributors through our current one but we will worry about that later. You can order the old CDs from WALK RECORDS.
|Agonize - "When Memory Dies...." - |
Full-length, Released through the Walk Records in September 2004.
|Agonize - "The Chosen One" - Demo, |
Self Released in 2000.
HM: As I mentioned you just released your first ‘full-length’ CD called “When Memeory Dies...” What was the reception, if it can be said yet, by your fans like? How do you like it? Have you had any problems with the whole album creation process?
Anton: The reception by the fans was very good judging at least by the songs “Another Wasted Paradise” and a few others which were already played on some radio shows. As far am I’m concerned I love the album and it sounds a lot better then I was expecting because in the studio we had many things change in both the sound and playing with the addition of keyboards. We also worked seriously on the album arrangement and all of this gave the album a new dimension which was not conceivable before recording started. It would suffice to say that the recording of 10 songs lasted more than a year so you can see that we had many problems, too many. Problems ranged from recording session times to song changes to equipment malfunction in the studio. Everything that could have happen happened.
HM: I love watching bands live but also love to have a DVD or at least some video material where I can watch my favourite bands. Are there any plans for an Agonize DVD to be out? For us who live far away, we'd love to see how you guys play live songs such as "The Chosen One" and "Devouring".
Anton: We have a multimedia CD or DVD in plans but I think that’s a big bite for anyone in this country. We have many videos but they are not of DVD quality. Which ever metal band from Bosnia said they made a overseas band quality DVD I wouldn’t believe them simply because its too expensive to do such a thing, especially for a band like us which doesn’t make any serious money from our work. In all honesty I do not see this situation changing any time soon here. Our only real hope is signing a deal with some foreign record agency – that would be something then.
WALK RECORDS has that in mind with us but as I said money is the problem but if the new album proves successful as it could be then anything can be expected.
HM: What was the biggest music venue (or metal fest) and with which most famous band you guys played with live? How did you like it?
Anton: The most famous bands with whom we played were KREATOR and DESTRUCTION. We played in Sloga, Sarajevo.
|Photo taken in Travnik (Bosnia) at HEINEKEN festival. Agonize received an award for the best metal sound of Bosnia. |
HM: I don't know if it is abit early to think about this, but tell us what are the chances to see you live abroad, in Europe to very least? Does it depend on you or someone else?
Anton: Certainly it’s possible. Just now we are in talks for one festival in Trst, Italy but I doubt it will happen. The biggest problem for us is VISA for European Union. It all has to be paid for (like transport) so even if an opportunity comes we simply have to withdraw from it because we cant cover such expenses. In Croatia we toured a number of times, from Zagreb to Rijeka and at the end of October we should be doing a small tour in Slavonia (Cro). We will play in Pozega, Osijek, Pecuj (In Hungury wjich depnds on VISAs) and in the end we'd finish in Tuzla (Bosnia). There we would play with another band from Croatia plus one local band from the town in which we play.
HM: Did the real things just begin with this excellent band, especially now after the new CD and Walk Records? What do you plan for the future for Agonize?
Anton: We can not plan too much if the politics doesn’t change. We can make new albums and do tours but on the local level, more so BiH, HR, SCG, Macedonia and Slovenia to some degree. Nothing depends on us anymore. Even though the things here are improving, to us it seems like its taking forever and if the time doesn’t forget us there will be many good things. Although things here are better for us this lasts entire eternity and if age doesnt overrun us there will be lots of good things.
HM: Do you wish to say anything to our readers? Feel free to write what ever you want.
Anton: In the name of the entire band I thank you a lot for the interest in us and our work and I hope that the new CD will manage to reach you all. All criticism, both positive and negative is very welcome and thanks once again for the support. All news, dates and changes you can find on our new web site www.AGONIZEBAND.com.
Thanks once again. Lots of luck to you and your band Agonize!!! Let’s hope that we see you soon LIVE outside Bosnia Herzegovina!! Hail Metal
Official Band Website: Agonizeband.com
Original Text: in Bosnian
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