Ex Deo (en)

Maurizio Iacono and Kataklysm – both names are almost legendary upon the death metal genre. But the band which is in the limelight recently is Ex Deo with its new album Romulus. And it would be a sin against all the gods not to ask the frontman a few questions on one of the Paganfest stops.

interview Ex DeoFrom a side project of Ex Deo developed a regular band. To sum up, in your view, what are the biggest differences between starting a new band nowadays and back in 1991?
For sure, today for us it’s easier because of Kataklysm, it was easier for us to start something with Ex Deo but I think it is a lot easier today to get recognised as a band than when we started. When we started it was very difficult because there was no internet, it was all like sending tapes out and stuff like that. Today it’s just one click on the internet. So I think the internet is the difference, it’s a lot easier to get signed and noticed for sure.

So you can’t deny that your name and reputation brought Ex Deo a considerable amount of a public attention. Anyway, what is it like to come back in time and swop being a headliner for playing with a starting band again?
It’s very different, you don’t get the same treatment as when you’re headlining but I think it’s good for us to do this; it brings us back to the level where you keep feet on the ground. It’s been a really fun touring and to be honest it’s a really different think than Kataklysm. And we had a really good time doing this

Let’s throw off any mock modesty – Kataklysm is a legend within the genre of death metal. Do you think Ex Deo has a potential to become a pillar of a roman themed trend?
For sure we’re the first band to do this, and every time you’re the first band to do something, sometimes it becomes something really classic one day. I don’t know if Ex Deo would get there but for sure we’ve done something new and the album has a very good reception at the moment and it’s something that in the world didn’t exist.

4. Now a question which you must have been asked many times – Why a name Ex Deo?
Deo is a very ancient way of saying God, in more modern Latin it’s Deus, this is Deus, greek or roman. And Ex Deo means From god or Out of god and this is why we chose the name. Because when Romans used to pass law or go to war they prayed to a god, to Mars, Jupiter, and that was always a reason they did stuff. Like this is the will of the gods and it was out of god, so this is why I decided to do it. I thought also it looked cool and I thought it was something that people would ask themselves what it means and I wanted a Latin name for it.

A very attractive attribute about Romulus are the great musicians featuring there. How it came to cooperating with them? Are there any other people who you look up to and would like to work with someday?
Nergal and Karl Sanders and Obsidian are friends of mine for a long time and I wanted to have people that were already kind of implicated in history through a music, to me it makes a sense to do it that way. And it was just a friendly invitation and they really liked to do it, it was really cool. In the future, for this style I’m not sure who I would ask. I have a couple of people in mind but I don’t wanna to say it because I might take a surprise away.

Roman history and culture is still a theme which isn’t that stale in a metal genre. There’s always something to write about. So do you plan a new album or any new materials?
Of course this is a one thousand years of history so for sure there’s a lot to talk about. I really leave it up to the fans, if
interview Ex Deothey really wanted a new album, I would do it. I have ideas for another album, I really already have a concept for another one but if we do it, it won’t be now and it won’t be next year because we have to do a new Kataklysm album so this is back and forth so you’ll see.

Could you reveal some of the historic facts or events you eventually want to cover in the next album?
For sure I will talk about some of Punic wars and some of a Hannibal stuff and I will touch also the Spartacus’s revolution of a slaves, so I will touch a little bit this stuff and maybe go a to Greek little bit as well.

Apart of Rome, are there any other topics that appeal to you or you would like to hear in a metal genre more?
I really like history in general, all of it. But for me, I did this because of my culture and that’s my background and I felt that Rome was the biggest empire to ever walk the earth and I thought nobody’s doing that and somebody has to do it so I was like “I’m gonna do it” and that was it. And I want to stick with Rome, I’m not gonna go much into other mythology and let other people do it.

In Ex Deo, you play with the Kataklysm members. But how came to cooperation with the other two, François and Jonathan?
Well, François was already a good friend of us, he plays with Martyr, and Dano Apekian replaced my bass player on the tour because he couldn’t make it and we became friends. We wanted to have something a little different and Stéphane is actually a bass player in Kataklysm and we wanted him to play guitar in this project to make it different. So we have a bass player from Martyr ant the other guy plays in Blackguard and this is a band that I also work with, I manage this band out of Canada. And I was looking for a keyboardist and the idea was that he was right for it to do the samplers so it was perfect.

Ex Deo is something very different from Kataklysm, thematically as well as musically. Was there anything you had to learn to or did you just exploited your previous experience?
Oh, I had a lot to learn to this; first of all I had to make sure I know my history. Number two, I sang a little differently on this album, more narratory little bit way of singing, and a different voice, I had to practise that. And live it’s difficult because we wear armours and it’s like full body suit so everybody wears seven kilos. It’s very heavy to wear. And I wear pony tail live and usually I wear my hair down. So it’s pretty much about adjustment, it’s very different in Kataklysm – it’s jeans and T-shirts.

You used to play bass guitar with Kataklysm, have you considered taking a post of a bass player as well in Ex Deo once again?
No, it would be too difficult for me to actually play and sing and when playing live, I like to interact with the crowd. I feel when you play bass you have to concentrate on that and do it right. I really like to be just a frontman but I still play bass and lead guitar, I like a lot this stuff, but you know, it’s different.

Have you already heard any really negative feedback on Romulus?
No, absolutely not, I’ve been very lucky for that at the moment. The only weird comment I got was that the guy said it didn’t sound like roman influenced music and I thought that it does, so that was one opinion.
interview Ex Deo But it came from a German. (laughs)

This is your premiere with Ex Deo in the Czech Republic, but it isn’t your first visit here by far. The last one was on Masters of Rock festival and I also remember your concert with Behemoth and Aborted two years ago in the same place as now. Do you like coming back to the Czech Republic? What about Czech fans?
The first time I ever came to Europe was in Czech Republic and that was in Prague. The first time I ever flew here for music and it was in 1995 when I came here with first Kakatlysm tour ever in Europe and the first show was in Prague. It was a long time ago and it’ll always be a special place in my heart and the crowd here is always great.

This is your 17th stop on the Paganfest tour. You must already have some funny stories..? Or did you have any bigger problems during the tour?
Funny stories? There’s a lot of them, I just have to find one. I think there’s a lot of jokes getting made on this tour. I think everybody has their fair share of drinking and it’s all like a roman competition on booze. (laughs) So farts tide I think!

And do you feel homesick?
You know, when you’re on the road, it’s to me the same law. You are home, after a while you wanna get the fuck out of there. Then you are on the road for couple of weeks and you wanna go home. I think it’s a disease that every guy that does this for living has to cope with. You’re never kinda happy where you are.

Is there any ritual you make before every performance?
Just that we just try to shut everything out of our minds, concentrate on that half an hour that we have, or an hour, and just make sure that we give everything to the fans. And I do my own practises and exercises before I go live and that’s pretty much what we do.

You spend almost all of your time concerting now, but the question which many fans would like to ask you is how the work around your book about Kataklysm goes?
Oh well to be honest I haven’t really worked much on it in the last year, I’ve been extremely busy. The time is going on, a lot of things are happening. I think we’re gonna wait because now it’s seventeen years when Kataklysm is together, I think we’re going to release it when we’ll be the twentieth. So we’re gonna wait a couple more years because a lot of stuff is happening now and the band is still growing and it’s getting crazy by the minute so I want to see if I can add some stuff.

What does a spirit of metal mean to you?
You have to really live this and you have to understand the way it is. To me it’s waking up in the morning and being happy of doing what I do. And what I do is that I pretty much live metal every day. I work with bands, I tour, I listen to it. Spirit of metal is a very special thing you have if you understand this music.

Here we come to the end – any last words for your fellow fans?
It’s always a pleasure for us to be here and I hope that we can see each other again in January when we come back with Kataklysm here. And the Czech Republic in general has always been there for Kataklysm and we hope that you will continue to support us and we will continue to give you the best we can give you in our music. Masters of Rock fucking ruled by the way!

Interview done by Nastasia


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Charlot - 29 September 2009: I have ideas for another album, I really already have a concept for another one but if we do it, it won’t be now and it won’t be next year because we have to do a new Kataklysm album so this is back and forth so you’ll see.

Ahahaha yeah ! Ex Deo, c'est sympa mais je me réjouis d'un album à venir de Kataklysm surtout que le dernier est bien mais sans plus je trouve
New_Littlebigwolf - 10 October 2009: Ben si tu as internet explorer en théorie tu as toujours un traducteur en haut de la page, en haut vers la droite. je ne m'en sers pas beaucoup mais je sais qu'il existe
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