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Agrypnie (sleep disorder, from the Greek Άγρυπνος agrypnos Or Latin Agrypnia) is a German band whose origins date back to 2004 when it was born as a solo project by Torsten Hirsch (Nocte Obducta). The band's sound can be located in the Post -Black Metal although there are progressive elements in their music, however Hirsch claims not to belong to the scene or similar nonsense. This 2021, they bring us their sixth album, "Metamorphosis" where we can find the aforementioned sounds although with elements of Melodic Death Metal, directing all sound towards darkness and melancholy in their atmospheres. The current line-up of the band includes Torsten himself on vocals, guitar, keyboards, and programmed drums, Marc on bass, and Flo Musil on drums. The art of the cover was in charge of the Austrian artist Carstismandua while the mixing and mastering were done by Torsten himself. Prior to the release of this new album, we were able to interview Torsten Hirsch about the band and their latest release.

Lee la entrevista en castellano aquí: Entrevista a Agrypnie


DARGEDIK: Welcome people from Agrypnie, it’s a great pleasure to talk with you about the band and this new monster “Metamorphosis” and more things into the metal world. Please explain us the details of this new album, the composition process? Who made the new cover? And why did the band decide to include some progressive and post elements into all albums of Agrypnie? 

AGRYPNIE: Hey man, to start with your last question: When I was writing the first songs for Agrypnie back in the days I never had any thoughts about how the music should be or sounds like. I basically just played guitar and recorded the riffs I really liked while I was playing. That ́s actually the method I am writing my songs until today. What I try to explain: I can ́t write/copy songs like/from “Band XY” even if I would like to. I do have my flow/way how I write my music and I am unable to construct songs or try to include certain elements by purpose. And well, my natural flow includes progressive and post elements from time to time. Easy as that. 

The new artwork did Marco, a very good friend of mine, who was also involved in the artwork of the Grenzgaenger/Pavor Nocturnus releases. 

After the “Metamorphosis” concept was elaborated we had five different shootings, all of them lasted several hours. The cover (and some shots inside of the booklet) had been taken at a place in the woods I am really in love with. This place is one hour away from my hometown and we drove there one day very early in the morning to take the pictures. 

It was pretty freezing that morning and I was running around for over five hours... topless, totally covered in mud and wet from the creek I, again and again, was walking through. In between, I started getting really pissed off from the shooting but it was a great and intense experience. At a certain point, some part of myself stepped into the background and I felt like some kind of animalistic old spirit came to the front. 

As I wrote in the first passage my composition process is pretty unspectacular. I play guitar until something suitable comes into being :D Though this time I wrote and included two tracks which are arranged with orchestral instruments only. 

I am a huge fan of movie and game soundtracks (I am not a gamer) and I always wanted to write this kind of music. During the pandemic, I decided to invest money into a new gear to enlarge my little studio at home and this included proper orchestral software to arrange suitable songs. 

The very first tracks I wrote are the opening and the ending tracks of “Metamorphosis”. This was a pretty new experience for me, I had a lot of fun but it seriously took me a shitload of hours to arrange and mix them. There is a huge difference between writing a metal song and a full orchestral track with strings, choirs, piano, and so on. 

To make things worse... My over ten years old Mac Mini was totally overstrained with the needed resources and I had several workarounds to make things work. 

In the end, I finally bought a new PC to finish those tracks, to be able to produce better pre-productions for Agrypnie and to keep continuing working on this kind of orchestral music with my new project which is called “The wreckage of Erebus”. I guess in the next life I definitely go for a less expensive passion :D 

DARGEDIK: Continuing talking about this "Metamorphosis" and your discography, I see that the name of the album is in english and the names of the songs are in german. What is the message you keep when using two languages in each production? Coz names like "F51.4" (2006) and "16 [485]" (2010) looks like secretor codes or files from some secret area of some government. 

AGRYPNIE: Well, the word is based on the Greek word metamórphōsis and it is more or less “creative freedom” to use the English notation / the Greek one just without the special characters. There is no deeper meaning in using Greek or Latin words/terms from time to time. They are sometimes more suitable for a song and/or the lyrics rather than using/searching desperately a German term just to don ́t mix-up languages. Also, I am a really big fan of those languages, the old terms, and the deeper meanings behind them. The lyrics though will always be in German and I am never going to change this. 

DARGEDIK: One important thing when a band does Black Metal is ideology, coz a lot of magazines and people believe that Satanism, the occult, Thelema and all that kind of stuff is related to the pagan in Black Metal. For you, how is the ideological expression of Agrypnie? Is it necessary to be a Satanist to do Black Metal today? or is it necessary to talk about these issues within Black Metal? 

AGRYPNIE: I totally don't give a fuck about all those do, don'ts, what you need to be and think, what not and so on. Of course we are still talking about black metal and I think you need some certain view on mankind, things and life in general if you write/listen to this music. So I am also not some sort of hippie, running around with flowers in my hair and deeply in love with all the people around. 

But to define a particular sort of music and way of life by certain “does” and “don't” is stereotyped thinking and I have never been a fan of this. Being a stereotype means stagnancy. And stagnancy sometimes leads into death. 

Though that's only my point of view and my way of life. If someone else thinks different and is into this appropriated “old school” black metal way of life, that ́s fine of course. I don't judge other people by there opinions and views as long as they are no assholes. 

There was never any certain ideological expression behind Agrypnie and there will never be any. 


DARGEDIK: In this type of matter, many people think that Black Metal is related to the underground scene of satanic symbols and especially in South America; And when a band like Agrypnie plays more progressive and technical things, the fans react very badly with these kinds of changes, coz they seem offended that they are not listening to a Mayhem, Impaled Nazare from 90s or things like that. What do you think about when fans are too closed with their thoughts and tastes, especially on Black Metal? 

AGRYPNIE: Well as I answered before I really don't care about scenes and everything related to them. Of course, I am connected to the (extreme) metal scene, I know many different people, artists, and musicians all over the countries, but I am open-minded to different opinions of different people. 

I guess this world would be even more fucked up as it is already if every single person would have the same opinion about everything. So if people don ́t like my style of music because of whatever reason, that ́s really fine for me... and I do really love many different albums from the 90s as well and some spirits of those old albums can ́t be recreated no matter which band is trying to do so. 

DARGEDIK: Speaking of extreme metal, one of the things that caught my attention on the extreme side since the early 90's in Germany is that it doesn't have a personal sound like Canada, Norway, Finland, Sweden, the Netherlands, Brazil. But when we talk about Heavy, Power Metal, Thrash Metal, Germany has great bands as we know it. So why doesn't Germany have a definite sound in extreme metal as we know it today? If I'm right, what do you think Germany is missing to make it stand out as a country of extreme metal? 

AGRYPNIE: Is it really like this? That is actually a question I never thought about. But I don't think it is potential necessary to have a very own and unique sound to release very good music. We do have many great extreme metal bands in Germany and this is actually everything which matters, don't you think? 

DARGEDIK: Going back to Agrypnie, when the new album is released in July via AOP Records, what are the future plans after release this new “Metamorphosis”? Maybe a tour of Latin America? Do you know bands from here? 

AGRYPNIE: Just one week after the release of “Metamorphosis” our Drummer Flo and I will enter once again the SU-2 Studio to record the drums for the following album. All songs are written, though everything else (lyrics, keys, concept, etc.) is still work in progress. 

A tour in Latin America would be fucking amazing, though we don't have any plans so far. Unfortunately, I can't name a Latin American Black Metal Band out of the box, although I am pretty sure I know at least a very few. 

Also, we hope the Covid shit is going to end in the near future and we can return as soon as possible to the stage. I really miss a lot being on stage. 

DARGEDIK: Beyond finding dark and melancholic sensations in this “Metamorphosis” or relating to style labels. We will talk about an abstract topic such as synesthesia. How would you describe the smells and flavors that the listener will find in this “Metamorphosis” Coz for me the taste is like bitter or cold and smells like a rain in the nature. 

AGRYPNIE: Indeed, this album has a way closer connection to nature than every Agrypnie album before. This was some sort of natural progress and not really intended. 

I guess there is also some earthy flavor included besides the rain as well as some salt from the sea. But I actually never talk too much about the concept, the lyrics, the ideas, and so on behind my albums. I want to encourage the listener to draw their own conclusions rather than explain everything from my point of view. 

Also, some songs are about topics, I don't want to talk about because they are pretty personal. Writing lyrics and music is a good way for me to process personal experience... In some sort of cryptic way. 



DARGEDIK: Speaking of other matters in Heavy Metal world, Into the matter of how an underground band and a conventional band was should be considered, there are patterns that more vinyl or cassette productions stick to the underground concept, and the CD only expanded the collections of the fans. What do you think are the factors for fans to stick to this underground metal concept? And where is located the digital platforms? 

AGRYPNIE: I guess Metal Fans in general are one of those great fans, who still want to have collector items and want to support the bands. This devotion is missing in nowadays non-metal music fans in my opinion. 

Though in my opinion, it is not a question if a band is underground or not if they release tapes or whatever. It is probably just a matter of taste if bands want to release some sort of special items (and do have the money for it) or not. 

Currently we are working for example on a limited wooden tape box and I really looking forward to the final result. Nikos from Razorbleed (who will publish the box) and I already invested many hours to release something very unique for the fans. 

The digital platforms are quick ways to get instantly the latest release of a band. Though they can't replace a great collector's item a band worked one ́s ass off and invested a lot of heart blood and time to create something special for their listeners. 

DARGEDIK: Another detail is about the listening methods of the fans, coz this new generation prefers to hear one or two songs into the digital platforms. What are you think about the albums doesn’t have the same impact in compare of the 80s or 90s? And what does bands need to do for improve the listening of all songs in albums? 

AGRYPNIE: Well, I am pretty ambivalent about this. When you listened a few times the same album, at a certain point you start to skip the songs you don't like (in case there are some you don't like) and you only listen to the songs you like. That ́s pretty normal and everybody is doing this. 

Though today it seems like some people don't really invest the time to listen to and to engage themselves to a new full album and already start skipping at the very first round and seconds. I think that ́s a typical behavior for nowadays fast-moving society. 

I don't think artists are/should be in the position to improve something just because some listeners are not willing to invest time into a full album. That's not our duty. 

DARGEDIK: Well, ppl from Agrypnie the sad time arrived at this interview, I hope you enjoy this one as I did and thank you very much for your time. Congratulations for the new album! Take care during this pandemic situation and our best wishes from this part of the world. Any last words for your fans in Latin America and Dargedik readers? 

AGRYPNIE: Thank you very much for this interview, the interest in Agrypnie, and take care as well. We hope we will play one day some shows in Latin America!


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