A delayed interview with Inanna | Aristocrazia Webzine

A delayed interview with Inanna

2022 saw the return of Chilean death metal veterans Inanna. Active since 2000, the band went on a sort of unofficial songwriting hiatus after releasing their 2012 album Transfigured In A Thousand Delusions, on Australis Records. For the ten following years Inanna did not release a single new note, albeit emptying their closet with a couple “minor” releases between old demos and live records. At long last, April 2022 saw the release of Void Of Unending Depths, one of the most inspired and interesting death metal records of the year (to which a long overdue re-release of Transfigured… shortly followed) and the name Inanna eventually came back on the lips of many.

Truth be told, this interview was originally set up back in 2022, around the time when Void Of Unending Depths was released, but due to a number of reasons it laid sleeping until a few weeks ago when, thanks to the persistence of guitarist Cristóbal González, stars aligned and we eventually managed to work on the final version of this publication.

It’s good to hear back from you guys after such a long time, but first of all: what happened in these ten years?

Cristóbal: Oh well, many things have happened in those years, between the release of Transfigured In A Thousand Delusions, in December 2012, and Void Of Unending Depths in May 2022, now a year and a half back. There were some difficulties because back in 2012 Diego Ilabaca, our guitarist, was living in another city, not that far from Santiago, but having his own personal responsibilities it was sometimes difficult for the band to meet and rehearse. Between those years, the band released a compilation, Unearthed Relics (2016), a live tape named Ancient Horror Unleashed (also in 2016), and Live Antiquity, which is a live album and also a video, released through Bandcamp in 2020.

In 2017, Felipe Zará, our longtime drummer and friend, decided to step out, and that was a breaking point for the band. The job of finding a proper drummer wasn’t an easy task, not just because of the technical abilities and instrument mastery, but also because of the wide spectrum of musical attempts we like to include in our songs, and, maybe most important, the human quality and being able to fit in with the band members. That was the moment when Carlos Fuentes, guitar player since 2003, but also a great drummer since his youth, decided to do the job by himself, and then the band became a trio, playing many shows around the country, until 2019, when they decided it was the moment to return to a four piece entity, and I stepped in for the guitar job. Being longtime friends with the guys and also having played with all of them in other bands, it was an instant fit. We started rehearsing, and did a live show just before the pandemic outbreak. That’s when we started to produce the songs for Void Of Unending Depths, demoing and then doing all the recording process to finally release it in 2022 through Memento Mori Records from Spain.

The album was composed during the pandemic, and you clearly stated the situation held you back for about one year, because of the restrictions in your country that did not allow you to move freely, and you needed to be together, the four of you, in the same room. Many bands today work completely remotely, yet you wanted to keep things “old school”. Why is that?

Well, it’s more like the way we are used to work, together in the rehearsal room, playing the riffs, coming up with arrangements and new stuff, it’s the way we are more comfortable with. But with the restrictions, and also having Diego living outside Santiago, things had to be done slowly. We all had our songs, and we finished the arrangements there in Sonido Origen, Carlos’ own studio, not at the pace we wanted, but trying to do our job to finish the album. I think there were like three or four times when we were able to meet the four of us. It was, mainly, each one of us going to the studio to record our parts and working with Carlos. We were never able to get together to actually rehearse the songs as a band before the album was completed. Just a few months before the album release, Diego returned to Santiago with his family, and that allowed us to rehearse more and have our own rehearsal room again.

I love the album both musically and lyrically, and couldn’t help noticing it is dedicated to Chilean novelist Francisco Coloane. I guess the most direct connection is the final song, “Cabo De Hornos”, about which Coloane also wrote a novel. Are there other references? And why this choice?

The stories, landscapes and mysteries depicted in the novels by Francisco Coloane, who won the Chilean National Prize for Literature in 1964 and told many stories from the far regions of the southern places of Chile, were a great influence on Inanna, mainly because of the maritime themes, which we deeply love, and are very present throughout our songs. The vastness of the seas, the deepest and darkest places that are still unknown to mankind, captured our attention since the beginning. But it is important to mention that the song “Cabo de Hornos” is not a reference to the tale of the same name by Coloane, but inspired by the place itself, Cape Horn in English, which is the southernmost headland of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago of southern Chile, and telling a story of insanity, mystery and tragedy.

Another reference that can be found in the album is to lovecraftian horror. How did the author from Providence influence you?

Although in our previous albums we had some references to some specific Lovecraft works, like “The White Ship” (1919), “The shadow out of time” (1936) and “The call of Cthulhu” (1928), in Void Of Unending Depths there are no direct references to any work in particular, but, inspired by the deranged writer who was HP Lovecraft, we have managed to develop our own disgusting amalgam of horrors and nightmares. He is an enormous influence on our lyrical themes, of course, but it’s just that, he’s not an idol or something like that, just an amazing science fiction writer, capable to imagine and create a vast world of mysteries, frightening creatures and ancient horrors, which plays with your senses and take you through unknown fears and darkness, just like other outstanding authors we love, like Edgar Allan Poe or JRR Tolkien.

In a recent interview I read that you were not satisfied with the work Australis Records did with your previous album, Transfigured In A Thousand Delusions (2012). Would you expand on that a bit? How did you reach a deal with Memento Mori?

Well, I think that is just not a thing anymore, we’re very happy with the deal we’ve made with Awakening Records from China, they did a great job with the new edition of the Transfigured… CD, and made it available to people around the world, that wanted the album but didn’t have chance to get it since it wasn’t available anymore.

About Memento Mori, our first contact with Raúl Sampedro was, in fact, when he agreed to release the first album of the side project Max Neira, our bassist, and Carlos have, Coffin Curse. Their 2020 debut, Ceased To Be, opened the gates for Inanna and for the deal to release our third album with the Spanish label. Raúl has done an amazing job both on releasing the CD itself, with great manufacturing quality, and distributing it around the world, and that allowed us to be known in many places we hadn’t reached before, having very good comments about the album, and the band itself, giving us some kind of recognition especially in Europe and the US, also because of the re-release of our first album, Converging Ages (originally released in 2008) by Desert Wastelands Prods on both CD and tape.

You’ve been a part of the underground scene for over two decades, do you still have the same enthusiasm for the current extreme metal scene? What’s the greatest difference that you can see now, compared to what it was when Inanna started?

Oh well, many things have happened in more than 20 years [chuckles]. Back then, it was all about amateurism. I wasn’t part of Inanna in those years, but back then we had a band with both Carlos and Diego called Perpetuum, and we shared the rehearsal room and many stories, and we have all been friends since. We were learning how to be a band and everything about it. The venues, or bars, where the underground bands played, were, with almost no exception, shitholes. Anyway, there are many great bands from those years, we played many shows with Psicosis, Trimegisto, Melektaus, Norphelida (unfortunately not active anymore, but they were one of the best bands this thin piece of land has ever vomited) and many others.

Looking back, one can clearly state that things have improved. Nowadays, there are more respectable venues to play, and not just a bunch of good bands, but a great and strong scene with many great bands and musicians of every metal subgenre. In death metal, there’s the guys from Suppression, Ancient Crypts, Sepulcrum, Rotten Tomb, Mortify, Meridion, Féretro, among others, who are doing really great music. Also thrash has a lot of amazing acts, like Dictator, Mental Devastation, Critical Defiance, Demoniac, Ripper, that is impossible not to be enthusiastic about it. The Chilean scene is having a great recognition from many countries and that has been great!