Here at Clobber, we're very excited to be working with our first ever international band - Salix Babylonica - all the way from Ecuador. We will be releasing their perfectly melancholic split with UK black metal stars ABSINTHROPY on 12 April. We sat down with vocalist/lyricist A. Nostalgie to find out more about the project, why she feels compelled to make music and the music scene in Ecuador.
How did Salix Babylonica begin?
Salix Babylonica is a project that was in my mind since I was 17 years old. It was a dream I had where I could vent everything I felt and that the rest could not see, through music and lyrics. I saw it as impossible, however in 2016 I was able to contact Atroz, I explained to him my thoughts and ideas for lyrics and I asked him to accompany it with doom atmospheres, but without being pigeonholed completely into that style. Melancholy should simply prevail. He was interested in the idea and decided to play the music. We debuted in the Split "Exclamation of Hidden Disorders" in 2017 with 6 bands from all over the world. We made just two songs, we had a third song but it was incomplete. Unfortunately, Atroz left the project last year because he needed a break, he is an incredible musician, he has many projects and I will always be grateful because he made wonderful music for Salix. This Split is the second release of the band and I am accompanied by a great friend and musician, H12, with whom I also share other projects.
Tell us about the current band members – Who are you? What do you do outside of the band?
I am A. Nostalgie, I write lyrics and do the vocals in Salix Babylonica. I’m accompanied by H12, a great friend for some years, who does all the instrumentation. We also form Ciel Gris, a Blackgaze/DSBM project and we hope to form a live band soon, my partner is also part of Ordo Nigris Imperia, Ambien, Vantanblack, Hostal Siberia and Noise For Animals. He is a virtuoso musician who has also played live with several bands of Ecuador. We are both involved in projects related to extreme metal, depressive, industrial and noise.
About me - in a few months I'll get my university degree as a Literature teacher. I also study dance and teach classes for beginners. Art is the only reason why I can continue breathing now.
Why do you make music?
Music has always been the most important thing in my life. I cannot imagine a day without appreciating it. For me, it is the most beautiful art, the transformation of something human that becomes something out of this world. Becoming perfect and able to penetrate our senses.
I listen to many musical genres and I really have a very open mind on this subject, but I know perfectly well that the melodies that describe my mind and my being will always be sad and depressing. Melancholy is the word that most describes me, that's also the genre to which Salix leans.
Music is something that I deeply respect and love, in my case I see it as a necessity, I needed to say what I feel and how I see the world through melodies and I will always be grateful to the people who helped me to make this come true.
What can you tell us about the tracks you have on this split?
First I want to say that to make a Split with Absintrophy for me is something incredible. I’ve loved their music for a long time, I never believed that this would happen, it really makes me feel happy.
Well, about "She is back", I can say that it is a very personal lyric. All my lyrics have their history, their inspiration, they are always based on my actions and feelings. This is a song dedicated to my anxious depression. On certain occasions I have learnt to recognise when I will break. So, I wrote this letter in a small season where I felt a bit balanced, a little bit of tranquility and the first thing that I think in those moments is: When will the relapse return? ... Actually, sometimes I started to miss that tremendous sadness and anxiety, without it all seems very unreal and in my case, I feel it helps me to write, to appreciate music more deeply, to dance… I mean, I see it as a source of inspiration despite the damage it does. So, this song describes what I feel when my mental state comes down again.
And for “Dead Birds of the City”, it is literally based on a dream that I had when I saw a beautiful yellow-breasted bird dead in the centre of Lima, on a trip I made to Peru. This capital has a totally melancholic atmosphere and this feeling reached me a lot as I walked through its streets. Suddenly I saw this little bird lying on the ground, dead not long ago, but totally dry. I was so touched that I cried, for this small beauty was ignored and devalued. I took a photograph and whenever I see it, it gives me the same feeling, that's why I wrote the lyrics.
What is the music scene like in Ecuador? Are there many extreme metal bands? Do you go to many gigs?
I'm not close with the “scene” in Ecuador, I do not like the environments in which it develops. Unfortunately, most of the people here have a very closed mind, talking about music, they are easily pigeonholed and make too much destructive criticism. I have never been interested in making friends related to the "metalhead scene".
Yes, there are many metal bands in my country, some stagnant, others devalue, others have even made something popular, but rarely is it an original idea.
I go to concerts, not very often, but yes and I like it, not only metal concerts, also post-punk, darkwave, synth, power electronics, shoegaze, classical music, choir music, etc.
Are there other bands from Ecuador that we should listen to?
Of course, about metal I have two that I admire a lot, they are Total Death and Lasen, both legendary in my city, I love them. There are other projects and very good bands like Waldeinsamkeit, Death's Cold Wind, D.S.T., The Grief, Curetaje, Isthar, Niphredil and Ordo Nigris Imperia.
And excellent bands from other styles like Sexores, La Calle Morgue, The Bunnies, Ibo Kush, Santamuerte and KMKZ.
What plans do you have for the band in the future?
I hope to continue working in the depth that I seek to transmit in Salix Babylonica. I would like to release a full-length work in the future, with several lyrics that I have written over the years.