CALL OV THE VOID – We believe there is something cathartic and relieving about listening to sad and melancholic music

CALL OV THE VOID is a doom/death metal band from Guadalajara, Mexico formed in 2018 by José Luis Vargas (guitar/vocals), Jorge San Román (bass/vocals), René Álvarez (guitar), and later joined by Axel Fabricio (drums), with the aim of contributing their own interpretation of the genre, more melodic, introspective, yet aggressive.

Interview: René Álvarez – Guitar
Line-up: George San Román – Bass, Vocals; José Luis Vargas – Guitars, Vocals; René Álvarez – Guitars; Axel Fabricio – Drums

Hello! Congrats on your newest album “On Grief and Dying”, what sort of feedback have you been receiving regarding it since its release?
First of all, we’d like to thank Rumzine webzine for this interview. Regarding the feedback, we have received really positive comments so far. People who listened to the album seem to dig the songs, specially those who are into the doom/death genre. Some others have told us that they are impressed with the quality of the album’s production, this is mostly because, sadly and for different reasons, that is not the rule for most Mexican metal productions (thankfully it looks like that is starting to change).

Also, we are happy to see that different media outlets specialized in metal, such as news pages, magazines, radio, social media pages and YouTube channels have been showing interest and sharing reviews. For example, and just to mention one, we really liked the video review that “The Heavy Metal Journal” YouTube channel did about “On Grief and Dying” after the release, we think she really hit the nail on what we were trying to express musically with the album.

Is there a experience or a kind of story in your life that will always remind you at the making of this album?
Well, the making of this album was definitely marked by the 2020 pandemic. Many things happened in our lives during that time, and one very interesting thing was that we moved in together in the same house so we could be able to continue the project during the hardest part of the pandemic isolation. We transformed our living room into a rehearsal room and it was actually there where most of the album’s songs took form.

What was one of the best moments when you were recording your newest album? What did you attach the most importance to in the current album production?
For one thing or another, the album’s recording process took a really long time, however, there’s a couple of good things we take away from it.

For example, during a small hiatus in the recording process, we had the chance to open a show for Batushka in Guadalajara and there we met Błażej Kasprzak, who helped with the backing vocals for one of the album tracks. Another good thing was that our producer and mixing engineer, Sam Becerra, was taking a production master class during that time, and after finishing the course, he basically reworked the album’s mix from scratch just to apply everything he had learned. We were very impressed with the result.

Another awesome experience was being able to work with Dan Swanö. We talked about having him master the album since the earliest stages of production, and once the album’s final mix was ready, we contacted him and sent him the files. It was a great experience getting to work with such a legend.

Where do you find an inspiration to write your music & lirics? You write it in studio and it looks like work process or you write it everywhere, in any possible places?
We take a lot of inspiration from different musical influences. Mostly from our favorite bands, but also from other musical projects across different genres, not just metal.

Regarding the lyrics and concepts, we try to incorporate some literature but mostly personal feelings/experiences. We deal with themes such as death, grief, sadness, depression and other similar topics that we feel that matches the kind of music we create. We believe there is something cathartic and relieving about listening to sad and melancholic music.

Please, can you introduce story of your band? What are your musical influences? What sparked your interest in death/doom metal? How has the music evolved to be what it is now?
The idea of playing doom/death started when George and Jose Luis first met some years ago around 2012, but Call ov the Void actually took form in 2018 when they met René. At that moment, and with a lot of similar musical influences, we started covering songs from some of our favorite bands, and after a few rehearsal sessions we started to share ideas for original music as well as starting to decide the name of the band.

The problem? We still didn’t have a drummer. A couple of months later during that same year, we invited Axel to join the project and after a couple of practice sessions with him, the band was finally complete.

In regards to our musical Influences, we can mention other metal bands such as KATATONIA, OCTOBER TIDE, CANDLEMASS, SWALLOW THE SUN, WOODS OF YPRES, PALLBEARER, MY DYING BRIDE, THEATRE OF TRAGEDY, MOONSPELL, TIAMAT, PARADISE LOST, ENSLAVED, AGALLOCH, SHINING, ALCEST and OPETH, but also some 80s New Wave such as DEPECHE MODE and TEARS FOR FEARS. Our sound definitely has a hard foundation on the 90s doom/death scene, but since we enjoy different kinds of metal and music in general, we try to include that in our songs by taking advantage of different musical resources such as heavy but melodic riffs, atmospheric interludes and the use of gutturals as well as clean vocals, to mention some of them.

Out of what idea has CALL OV THE VOID been founded at all?
Mostly to have fun and enjoy ourselves. As mentioned before, we share a lot of musical influences as well as the shared interest in the project, but most importantly, we share a good friendship even before the start of the band.

We consider music to be one of the most important parts of our lives, and to be able to express our musical ideas by playing in a metal band is something that we have always been looking for. Playing live is such an indescribable experience. Making money was never the priority for us, but it would be nice if at some point the band could be financially self-sufficient.

When you think about the concept of success, what does that word mean for CALL OV THE VOID?
We want our listeners to feel the same way we feel when we listen to our favorite bands. We would also like to reach a larger audience and being able to play in big metal festivals as well as touring across the world.

How do you feel your idea about metal underground? Is it thing pure music culture or business?
Probably a combination of both. The artistic part is very important for us, probably the most important, since one of the main ideals behind the band is to express and share our musical ideas after all. There is definitely money to be made on the underground metal scene, but as mentioned before, at least for us that is not the top priority.

What do you feel about the evolution of Doom metal since its beginning until now?
It is pretty cool and interesting how the doom metal sound can be traced back to the 70s with BLACK SABBATH, which most people agree could be considered the first metal band in general. Starting from there, the sound has had a lot of time to evolve in different directions.
There are plenty of doom metal subgenres nowadays, and even though they share the same root, those that come for example, from stoner doom, which we think is more influenced by 70s rock, is quite different from those influenced by epic doom, which have more 80s heavy metal elements, and at the same time, it’s also different from our style which is more inclined to the gothic sound that came in the 90s which also incorporates death metal elements.

I think this genre lends itself to the combination of different elements and sounds, and that has helped it to maintain relevance through all these decades, and hopefully it will be the same for years to come.

What do you think of the scene for music in Mexico? Any favorite bands on the local scene you would like to share with us that you like?
Regarding big metal festivals, we currently have Mexico Metal Fest and Candelabrum Metal Fest, whose lineups are as good or even better than some other big festivals around the world. We have also noticed that more and more international bands are coming to Mexico as part of their tours.

As far as the local scene in our city, Guadalajara, we constantly have this situation where we usually get invited to shows where we are the only band playing this slower, more melancholic style of metal, and the rest of the bands at the same show are playing other faster, more energetic and aggressive styles such as technical/brutal death, raw black, thrash among others.

We always enjoy playing live, but sometimes we feel a bit out of place in these kind of events where people want to mosh to faster music, then we come up with our slow and melodic show and it comes as a bit of a surprise , it is funny to see their reaction, however, after a couple of songs, we can notice that most people actually start to dig our sound. We think that most metal in Mexico tends to be faster and aggressive, in contrast to what we and a few other bands do. Some Mexican band recommendations that we would like to mention that are more in our vein are AETHEREVM, DARK MATTER, GODBELOW, MAJESTIC DOWNFALL and MATALOBOS.

Please, can you introduce lifestyle in Mexico? What do you do besides music?
Well, sadly, I think one of the most common images of Mexico around the world is about crime and insecurity, but that is not something we personally face day to day. Here in the city things feel “normal” and most of the time nothing bad happens as long as you are careful or just stay away from specific neighborhoods.

There are for sure some very dangerous places in Mexico specially in some specific states, we have had to refuse to play live in some of those places or think twice when invited to play near them, but again that is not something that we face in a day to day basis, we all have regular office jobs besides the band and most of us even work from home.

A regular day, at least for us, consists of working during regular office hours, trying to chill a bit in the afternoon by listening to some music or doing any recreational activities like watching TV or playing videogames, then after that having band practice and during the weekends, going to our favorite bar to have a few drinks and unwind.

What does the average Mexican think about metal music?
In Mexico, regional music is very, very popular, along with the usual international trends, so basically, that’s what the average person tends to listen. Also, there is an interesting story about the Mexican government banning rock music during the 70s and 80s for political reasons, labeling it as “music for unadapted people”. That is a stigma that lingers in some people’s minds even to this day, and even when we know that prejudice against metal exists in many places because of the heavy and loud sound, controversial themes and occult/satanic iconography, specially in most extreme subgenres, we can understand it is not for everyone to enjoy, in Mexico it is even more tangible because of the previously mentioned reasons

Have you ever been in Europe? Dou you know any bands from Czech republic? Is there a dream band you would like to tour with?
Most of us haven’t had the chance to go to Europe yet (Axel, our drummer went to Spain during a family trip as a child), however, we would love to travel over that side of the world someday, specially if it is for touring with our band.

Regarding bands from Czech Republic, René mentions: “only GUTALAX comes to mind, they came last year to Mexico Metal Fest and it seems people enjoyed their show a lot, especially the moshpits.” George mentions: “on top of my head I can only remember this progressive-grindcore band !T.O.O.H.! (The Obliteration Of Humanity) I really enjoy their 2005 album “Řád a Trest”, specially the last song has a pretty epic feel to it”. As far as dream bands to tour with, any band we previously mentioned as our influences would be great. As a matter of fact, we will have two shows with October Tide this year during their Latin American tour, one here in Guadalajara, Mexico, and another one in Bogotá, Colombia. It is a really big deal for us since their sound is one of our main influences.

What can your fans, who haven’t seen you live yet, expect from your live performance? Are important live shows for your band?
Yes, for us playing live is an incredible experience and one of the main reasons we started the band in first place. From our live shows, people can expect to hear a melancholic, gloomy and atmospheric, yet aggressive and powerful doom metal sound along with us trying to give our best performance through our music.

Thanks again for taking time out for this interview. Best regards and take care!
A lot of thanks to you, to Rumzine magazine and to the readers! Doom on!


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