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Suidakra's Arkadius Antonik: "To be honest I never had plans for a special release until our guitarist Sebastian asked me to do a best of album for the 25th anniversary. At that point, I wasn’t really sure if it would make sense"

Interview with Arkadius Antonik from Suidakra
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 30 October 2019, 10:41 PM

Reaching a milestone isn't something that one can simply pass by without acknowledging it. Like it or not, such an event has to be celebrated in such a way that would maintain the motivation to go on forward, to each additional goals that were out of sight until that point in time. Germany's Melodic Death Metal export, Suidakra, has never been much in the shadows, constantly working to perfect its methods and sound, to become prominent. After 25 years, via Kickstarter, the band is issuing their best off compilation, "Echoes Of Yore". Steinmetal had a pleasure to talk to Arkadius Antonik, the longtime leader of the band, about the compilation, memories, future, recording sessions and more…

Hello Arkadius, it is an immense honor having you for this interview for Metal Temple online Magazine, I trust that all is well on your end and on the Suidakra camp?

Oh yes sure things are better than ever!

This year marks a milestone achievement for Suidakra, the celebration of 25 years of an active career that has been quite fruitful I can imagine. When you look back at all those years you spent slowly perfecting the Suidakra monstrosity, have there been any regrets, important decisions that you could have made differently in perhaps taking the band into higher grounds?

I am not a fan of looking back and regret something, because all the decisions that have been made in the past led us to here and now. It’s a process that forms you as a human, a musician and band. So Suidakra 2019 is the result of 25 year of Celtic madness hahaha

In order to commemorate the two and a half decades of activity and artistry, Suidakra is releasing a best of compilation, entitled, “Echoes Of Yore”. The thing that made this compilation special was that it was under a Kickstarter campaign, and its tracklist voted by fans that backed up the project. For how long had this idea been dwelling within you? Were there thoughts or considerations to do something different?

To be honest I never had plans for a special release until our guitarist Sebastian asked me to do a best of album for the 25th anniversary. At that point, I wasn’t really sure if it would make sense, because I know that many fans love the original versions and they mean a lot to them even with the crappy recording quality hahaha. So I suggested to do that kickstarter thing to let our fans decide if they even like to have such a release. And If they do, they can decide which songs will be re-recorded.

Do you feel a lot closer to your fans when the selection of tracks was picked up by them? Were you surprised by some of the song picks for this compilation? Did you have any different expectations?

Yeah, the plan was not another Suidakra release to present the band. We wanted to create an album from fans to fans. That’s why they had such a big influence of the tracklist. I had no special expectations for the song choices, because I couldn’t pick 10 songs, that would be too hard for me. So I am glad that the fans made the decision for me…

The compilation itself includes the band’s best songs selection out of the early discography of Suidakra. Did it just happen by chance that these tracks were picked out of your first five albums or was it intentional for the fans to pick out of these albums exclusively?

We made this limitation because I share the opinion that all Suidakra after “Emprise To Avalon” were 100% perfect the way they were recorded so it wouldn’t be necessary to do re-recordings for this songs.

How did it feel to re-record these old tunes? Were there numbers that you haven’t had the chance to play in a while?

Oh sure most of them hahha but I was surprised that I still was able to remember all riffs and even guitar solos. For me it felt a bit like a time travel. I also connect every song with a different part of my life. It felt so good to work on these compositions again.

When you try to remember the old days, thinking about it, has it ever occurred to you that Suidakra would last all this time and still go on strong?

Not really. At that time, it was even hard to release a CD album and the travel could come to an end after each release. The lineups were not stable and so on… So, I wasn’t thinking into the far future back in the days…

Musical wise, what do you think were the main contribution of the early days of the band for its development and its imagery nowadays? Other than a stronger production to its albums, do you believe that Suidakra matured in its songwriting style, its approach towards the melodic side of Death Metal and extreme Folk?

Oh yeah defiantly! I realized it when we were working on the compositions for “Echoes Of Yore” I mean every song has the same production right now but you can hear the progress from the older songs to the newer ones. The songs structures became much better cause we as composers grew as well.

The notable 25 years' celebration also welcomed your ex-clean vocalist, Marcel Schoenen, at the helm of the melodic vocals. How was the experience to record again with Schoenen? What is your appreciation of his voice and performance nowadays?

Oh I love his voice, always did and it was really hard for us to replace him when he left the band. But his voice nowadays sounds to me better than ever because it has that mature sounding touch. It felt so natural to be in the studio with Marcel again, like there was never a break. We still have that musical connection, and it’s something very special for me!

After listening to this compilation, which of the re-recorded songs did you like better than others?

I can’t compare them with each other, because they are so different and every song means something different for me.

Once again Martin Buchwalter, which I know him pretty well from Perzonal War as a massive drummer, took care of the album’s production. I have to say that the overall result sounds explosive, doing justice for the occasion. What is your input on Buchwalter’s work? Have you ever considered offering him a guest performance on one of the album’s tracks?

Not really because his is so busy with the recordings and especially with the mix. It’s not easy to mix and master such a massive sound with a lot of different influences. Martin knows our sound for many years and knows our strength in the studio!

With the Metal scene ever changing nowadays, especially towards the areas of technical showcases of an eagerness to perfection, what still motivates you to keep up with Suidakra?

The fact that our motivation to continue writing songs was never influenced by the evolution of the scene itself. Music is the only motivator for me, not a scene…

Do you believe that due to the slowly increasing need of Metalheads for freshness, that songwriting somewhat lost its importance in favor of technical driven instrumentation?

Maybe but to be honest I never made myself so many thoughts about that kind of definitions etc.

After 25 years, where do you see Suidakra going forward? Are you up for another kind of perond, going for 50 years?

Hahaha like in the beginning I still to think too far into the future. I enjoy the here and now. And everything else we will see.

Will there be a tour to support this compilation into 2020? How about additional Summer festivals?

Only a few festivals here and there, but no tours at the moment. We enjoy life without touring and it feels like the right thing for us for now.

Arkadius, I wish to thank you for your time for this interview. Let’s say that I couldn’t have asked for more when it comes to a Best off album by Suidakra, congratulations and all the best.

Thank you so much I appreciate your feedback and support! Cheers!



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