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Ghosts Of Atlantis - Interview

A new musical entity named Ghosts Of Atlantis arose in Suffolk Witch County (UK), home of the notorious Cradle Of Filth and Devilment, to deliver one of the most interesting extreme symphonic metal music to date. Ghosts Of Atlantis consists of present and former Devilment, Failed Humanity, The Conflict Within and Cold Lazarus members, and have a lot of experiences because they already played on big stages and have released albums through some of the biggest metal labels such as Nuclear Blast and Candlelight Records. At the end of March this year Ghosts Of Atlantis released the magnificent debut album titled 3​.​6​.​2​.​4 via Black Lion Records (you can read the review over HERE). 3​.​6​.​2​.​4 is a concept opus that takes the listener into the mystical world of the mythological land Atlantis, it is full of riddles and stories that bring shivers down the spine, yet this is just a starting point. The music on this debut album is a unique and explosive mix of extreme metal, symphonic metal, black metal, progressive metal, gothic metal, and more. Like their county mates Cradle Of Filth and Devilment before them, the band continues the tradition and staple of the Witch County trademark sound, yet done in their manner, but encompassing all that is dark, brooding, and macabre. I had a chat with the band's main vocalist Phil Primmer who revealed many things about the band, the new album, we talked about live gigs, plans, the label, and a little bit about his personal life. Ghosts Of Atlantis is a must to check out for any fan of metal music!

Interview with: Phil Primmer
Conducted and edited by: Tomaz

Tomaz: In the beginning please tell me how it came to the formation of Ghosts Of Atlantis. We can say that it's a superband with members with a lot of experience from various well-known bands?
Phil: All the members of Ghosts Of Atlantis have previously worked together. After Colin had more time away from Devilment, Dex and Al joined with him and a couple of other guys initially. When those guys moved in another direction, it led to Rob and myself joining. We have all known each other for many years and played together, it made that chemistry reignite and felt natural, even with changes in how we work due to covid.

Tomaz: But are you guys still active in other bands, or is now Ghosts Of Atlantis your main and only focus?
Phil: Colin is still a member of Devilment although that is very quiet at the moment. He also is recording and a member of DiAmorte. But apart from that we are all mainly focussed on this for the moment. If there was time and a suitable project put forward that would work alongside this, there will be maybe something else in the future.

Tomaz: The debut album was just recently released and I must congratulate you for such a fantastic job. How are you satisfied with it and how's the response so far?
Phil: Thank you, I am incredibly happy with the response, I have loved reading the reviews and seeing the positive reaction. It is incredibly humbling and know not just myself but the other members feel the same. Personally, I am very happy with the record, I worked very hard with Colin on the vocal tracking as he produced and recorded the album in his own studio. It gave us the ability to focus on every aspect. It was very different for me working in this way as before when we recorded it was always at another studio and we were more focused on individual performances and now Colin is far more focused on the overall performance as well, and has passed that on to myself as well, I have grown with this as an artist.

Tomaz: I doubt that I ever heard so very catchy, dynamic and powerful harsh/clean male vocal duets like on this album. I especially like the choruses on the opener "The Third Pillar" and "The Lost Compass" to name a couple. So, tell me who's behind these compositions and which one is your favourite and why?
Phil: Colin and myself worked together on the vocals. He would write ideas and chorus structures to start with. We would mould around that with the story and start sending ideas from there. It definitely gives a great solid base for us both to start working from. We would send lyrics and then get patterns together. This may then change again to what feels natural in the studio. My favourite? That is a tough question, it will change every day. At the moment I would say it is "Gardens Of Athena", I love the diversity and different elements in that track.

Tomaz: Please explain to me the title of the album I can't solve this enigma behind its meaning... I tried but I guess I also failed...
Phil: We have said we wanted people to work it out for themselves and see if they could see what it means. I can say someone did get it on a live stream we have done. So, the answer is out there. One clue, the final track may help you find it.

Tomaz: It's a complicated one, but it might have something to deal with certain coordinates connected to Atlantis? How close am I?
Phil: Very close. Almost bang on the money.

Tomaz: The album I guess it's meant as a concept based on the legend of Atlantis and its myths. How did you come up with this idea? Is there more behind all these words? Maybe in the background, it speaks as well about the society of today?
Phil: The whole thing for us with the lore we have created is inspired by Greek Mythology and the stories of Atlantis. Rather than follow word for word we wanted to create our own stories. We wanted to have that myth as well as a connection to the modern world. I could go into the stories behind "The Three Pillars" being a portal for the Ghosts to travel through time. But that will be revealed more in the next album.

Tomaz: This is certainly a good approach to keep fans interested. I must admit that I'm already eager to know more about this story that you made up. Who's the main author of lyrics and from where such an idea came from?
Phil: The guys had already put the initial ideas together for the stories and was going in a different direction. After I joined and started working with Colin on the lyrics, the stories moved away from that direction and to what you see today. The base was there for the stories, but they evolved when we worked on them together. I would credit Colin as the main author, as the base was started before I started working with him. I will have more influence on this going into the next album.

Tomaz: The album was released via the fast-growing Swedish label Black Lion Records. How did this collaboration start and how are you satisfied with Oliver's work so far?
Phil: When we were pitching this to labels we had interest from a few places. But ultimately it was Oliver's passion for this that made us feel welcome from day one. I looked at the artists on the roster and how well they were being received and it seemed like something we wanted to grow with. Oliver has been in constant communication with us for this release and I have enjoyed working with him.

Tomaz: The music you make is very hard to be categorized, there are so many different elements used, yet everything is in a very good symbiosis. How do you describe your style?
Phil: We love the symphonic elements of Dimmu Borgir and Fleshgod Apocalypse. We also love many melodic death metal bands such as Amorphis, Soilwork and Scar Symmetry. So we have tried to take elements from different styles. You can hear elements of Cradle Of Filth and Devilment as well, which was naturally going to happen with Colin as the main songwriter and him working with Dan in Devilment so closely. I am looking forward to hearing how the sound evolves. Ultimately I want to make music I would enjoy listening to.

Tomaz: Yes, of course, those elements (Cradle Of Filth and Devilment) are very present, especially in the track "The Curse Of Man". Are you a fan of Cradle Of Filth and their "extreme gothic" imagery as well? Since you are all from the same city I wonder how much of an impact on the scene and other bands there has a name such as Cradle Of Filth?
Phil: Am I a fan of Cradle, yes. I have seen them a few times and I have always enjoyed their live show. I first saw them nearly 20 years ago on the Tattoo The Planet Tour. They were a support band for Slayer at Wembley Arena. That line-up changed on the rescheduled shows as was postponed due to 9/11. I feel they had a positive impact on extreme metal in the scene here in the UK, they managed to make the extreme metal more accessible and opened up more people to heavier music. That I feel can only be positive for them and other bands as well as the fans.

Tomaz: Before the official release you revealed some lyric videos and one music video. How much importance is it for a band like Ghosts Of Atlantis to reveal music before its official release?
Phil: I feel it is massively important to have yourself seen before a release. It gives you chance to get fans behind you. Doing this and having the videos is essential. Especially as this was the first anyone heard of Ghosts Of Atlantis. "The Third Pillar" video is now at 62.000 views on YouTube. We are very happy with this as a new band. This has allowed us to show ourselves to many new fans and has been fantastic, with sales of the album doing very well in the first week, it has had a great response.

Tomaz: And how do you decide which track to present first, second and so on..., for which one to do a video or a lyric video? Is there some kind of a formula for that, or is that a suggestion from the label?
Phil: It tends to be a group decision, we will discuss and decide a road map and plan between us and go from there. Constant communication between the band and label means we can all work together to move the product forward and make those decisions together.

Tomaz: I really enjoyed the video for the opener "The Third Pillar". Tell me how it was shooting it, who did the screenplay, animations,...? In general, how much do you enjoy shooting videos?
Phil: We worked with a fantastic director, Richard Oakes from Dark Fable Media. Who previously has worked with Devilment, Ihsahn and Hacktivist. As well as many other projects in film. We put a load of ideas into him. He did the filming, editing and 3D modelling. Then Drake Mefestta of The Red Opera Productions done the animations and graphics. It was great fun filming with Richard and he had Neal Ward, who worked with him on his recent film Hosts, it was very relaxed and easy as we had all had zoom calls and meetings in the planning phase to ensure it all went smoothly.

Tomaz: Of course that like many bands you were also waiting to play live and present the songs on the stage. But the pandemic struck and I wonder how much of an impact it had on you as a musician? Also, what do you think about the whole thing around the Covid-19 and its impact on society?
Phil: I joined last June this project, so for this project, I had to work differently from day one. I have enjoyed working remotely and see the benefits of this. Being able to adapt to a situation is essential, without this ability we would not have got this completed. I would like to think society has had a chance to reset how we look at each other, after the initial madness with hoarding toilet roll and other products, I have seen more kindness and generosity from members of the public. I would like to think the world is a little more polite and grateful for what we have. Hopefully, with vaccines now being available we can see light at the end of the tunnel and the world can start opening up again.

Tomaz: When the live shows will be possible again, what can we expect to get from Ghosts Of Atlantis on the stage? Any spectacular or theatrical thing?
Phil: We have nothing announced at the moment, but we are working to get some bookings confirmed soon. We will keep all elements of the show to ourselves as well, the one thing we can confirm is we are extremely excited to get these songs played live.

Tomaz: If the shows will not be possible for still some time, are you planning to make something special online for your fans? It seems that this pandemic forced many bands to look outside the borders...
Phil: I will be honest, no. I have found many live streams to be soulless and lack that passion of a gig with an audience. As a frontman, I feed off the audience in front of me. Without that, I feel it is hard to capture that energy. I would rather go to a festival on YouTube and watch live sets from artists as they intended to play to an audience.

Tomaz: Tell me who are your personal influences and inspirations as a vocalist?
Phil: Peter Tagtgren, Tomas Lindberg, Randy Blythe, Christian Alvestam all are influences on how I like to deliver my tone and style. I really like to hear aggression as well as clarity in a vocalist and something I aim to deliver myself. Those guys all deliver that.

Tomaz: You are also if still, a member of death metal band Sower and experimental rockers Cold Lazarus. What's going on with these two bands now?
Phil: Sower and Cold Lazarus are well in the past. I have some amazing memories and great friends from those days. I imagine Tom who played the guitar with both will give me a call at some point and we will work together again. He is my brother-in-law and been an amazing friend over the years. We had spoken about doing a Cold Lazarus recording again, but that will only happen when the time is right for all involved.

Tomaz: Besides music what are the other things that you enjoy and do in your life?
Phil: I trained as a chef and have worked in hospitality for 20 years. So with the pandemic, I have not had my usual day job, having more time I have reconnected with cooking at home. I love to play video games and recently started to play through Fallout 4 again. I love those games you can just get lost in the stories. I enjoy spending time with my partner and my dog. Me having a dog has been the best thing for me. We got him just over two years ago at nine weeks old and has grown to be an important part of the family.

Tomaz: Tell me a band or an artist that you would like to see play live, which you haven't had a chance to yet? And why?
Phil: I love discovering new artists and checking out artists live. One I really must see live is Baest, for me, it reminds me of why I fell in love with death metal. I really want to see Black Crown Initiate live as well, they have delivered incredible albums but I have never caught them.

Tomaz: What are now the plans for Ghosts Of Atlantis? Already working on new songs? Any details? When can we expect to hear something new?
Phil: As it stands we are trying to get some shows booked, but many tours look to be off until 2022. We will focus on UK shows for this year and aim for Europe next year. We have started writing for the next album already. Colin is currently working on three tracks. For dates to hear that, I am unsure. It will depend on when it's done and what's best for the release schedule. We have stories and ideas to work on, so will be fun keeping the flow from this album into the next.

Tomaz: Thank you Phil for your answers. Is there anything that you would like to add at the end of this interview?
Phil: I would like to say thank you to yourself for a fun and in-depth interview as well as everyone who is supporting Ghosts Of Atlantis on this journey. I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible with shows soon.

Ghosts Of Atlantis line-up: Colin Parks (guitars, clean vocals), Phil Primmer (vocals), Dex Jezierski  (guitars), Al Todd (bass), Rob Garner (drums)

Ghosts Of Atlantis links: Official website, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube

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