To say Germany’s Downfall of Gaia are on the rise is quite the understatement. Rising from local hardcore scenes into a sprawling post metal behemoth that slogged it out on their own terms DIY for years, the band recently signed with Metal Blade for their second album Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes. This week they finished up a European tour with Washington’s Vestiges, which stopped off in Ireland for three dates and while in Dublin, Downfall of Gaia spoke with CVLT Nation.
First off, you just signed with Metal Blade so congratulations. Tell us a little bit about how it all came about?
Dominik (guitar, vocals): It was so unexpected. We never expected something like that. I was checking the mails and people from Metal Blade got in contact with us and said they would be interested in working with us. So that’s how all of this happened, it’s a few months ago and we talked with the people from Metal Blade about a lot of stuff. We’re really happy and excited for the future.
What are the details of the deal?
Toni (bass, vocals): There are no special deals. We can still choose where we want to play and when and with whom we want to play. It’s still very grounded but awesome for us. So we will see what the future brings.
Have you ever had interest in the band from other large labels?
Dominik: Not really. I guess with some DIY labels, some of them always ask. We were really fine with Alerta Antifascista, Moment of Collapse and Shove Records but Metal Blade is the only bigger [label] to get in contact with us.
“Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes” was scheduled to be released with those three labels. When the deal with Metal Blade came up, were there any issues with leaving them?
Hannes (drums): I talked with Timo from Alerta Antifascista, he lives in the same town as Toni and me. He said he totally understands it. Of course he is sad and we are as well. It was amazing to work with Moment of Collapse and Alerta Antifascista, and Shove Records as well but the other ones we know personally. It was amazing to work with them but both labels said that they can understand our decision. If they had a band and got the offer to join this label, they would do it as well. So there is no dispute going on. They’re our friends and we were afraid that they would be pissed but they are cool with it. It’s sad for both sides as this era is over but we’re cool with on both sides.
How far into the album were you when Metal Blade got in contact?
Toni: We were actually done and had booked a studio. It was about two or three weeks before we went to the studio that they [Metal Blade] emailed us. Everything was done with writing the songs.
You had been delayed from entering the studio prior to that because Hannes had fallen ill. Tell us a little bit about that.
Hannes: The first time we were supposed to hit the studio, I had some problems and got sick, and we couldn’t get to the planned booked date. So we had to search for another [date], it all got a delay for like three months. Now of course we’ve got a delay because the plans have changed with Metal Blade. This is why it’s going to be released so late.
So is the album all done and recorded now?
Hannes: Yeah, it’s all recorded and everything is mixed.
When do you hope to have the album out?
Toni: Probably October.
Dominik: Hopefully October, worst case November.
Last year you released a split LP with Sweden’s In The Hearts of Emperors. The two lengthy songs that made up your side marked quite a shift for the band from the style of the first LP “Epos”, most notably in the longer and grandiose song structures, not to mention the more visceral aggression. Is this something that we’ll hear more on “Suffocating in the Swarm of Cranes”?
Dominik: It’s the longer songs that are on the new album but they are different from the split, once again they changed a bit. I don’t know, maybe it’s more darker, more aggressive.
Hannes: I think we got the most mixed style on the new album. Even though we don’t have a certain genre that we are playing, the new album has a lot of dynamic. It’s more aggressive than the other stuff. It still has influences from sludge, black metal, hardcore or even screamo parts or post rock parts. It’s a wide range of music. The black metal is topped in the new album, [compared] to the new albums. So yeah, more black metal haha.
What sort of themes are you exploring in the lyrics?
Dominik: The new one is a concept album. It tells the story of a guy who is going insane. In English it’s hard to explain because the lyrics are in German.
Hannes: The lyrics are about a guy who suffers from insomnia and doesn’t have the ability to catch any sleep. With his lack of sleep and the way the world is, this is so depressing and puts so much pressure on him that he slowly [becomes] insane. It’s a huge story about this guy and the sickness and his state of mind and how his psychological conscience develops.
Are you playing any new songs on this tour?
Hannes: We’re playing two. The intro is quite long so it’s nearly three songs.
And other material, anything from the split or “Epos”?
Dominik: Just the split
Hannes: We mostly play new stuff.
Your focus is obviously on the new LP but is there anything else in the pipeline like splits?
Dominik: For now, the focus is on the album. After that it will be the same as always – writing new songs and recording whatever we can.
Have you any other touring plans for the rest of the year?
Toni: We will probably go to Russia at the end of October. We’re still working things out but we’ll book the flights after this tour because the people we’re talking to in Russia told us we will do it for you; just come over, leave the rest to us.
You did a US tour, on the east coast last winter with Vestiges, which appeared to go very well. Are you hoping to return to the states any time soon?
Toni: We are talking about it, but it’s just talking. We’re thinking about going next year.
Hannes: Yeah, 2013 perhaps, with the new LP. The east coast tour was awesome but we want to hit the west coast if you we get the chance to go over. It’s planned but nothing confirmed.
When can we expect a taster track for the album to be online or have you even decided which one yet?
Hannes: It is planned before the physical release of the vinyl and CD. We will release a song online and the song we will release is not confirmed yet but we are thinking about it but of course we need to talk with Metal Blade about it.
Dominik: But there will be a song.