Friday, December 16, 2022

an interview with Daeva

Daeva is a stellar addition to the City of Brotherly Love's underground metal scene. Their black and thrashy first album Through Sheer Will And Black Magic... is out now through 20 Buck Spin. Guitarist Steve Jansson was kind enough to answer my questions. [Special thanks to Dave Brenner from Earsplit PR for coordinating this Q+A.]

Dreams of Consciousness: What is Daeva? If you had to describe your band in 5 words, what would they be?

Daeva is best described as a black thrash band. The word "daeva" is of Zoroastrian origin and are essentially demonic entities that embody unimaginable evil, chaos and disorder. They are essentially hellhounds or demonic pit bulls, and this is a very fitting namesake to the music we make. In five words, I would describe Daeva as pissed, arrogant, evil, relentless and snotty.

photo by Scott Kinkade

DoC: What led to you forming? How clear of an idea did you have of the type of music you wanted to make?

The earliest formation of the band was formed in 2016 between myself and the previous drummer, Justin Bean. We already had a pretty clear picture of what we wanted to do, but we had no sights set for the future. It was more or less a final project we wanted to do together before he moved across the country. We recruited Ed [Gonet] to do the vocals on the EP after I tried and failed miserably at doing them. After the release of the EP, we got a few offers for some shows and festivals, which lead to the formation of the lineup we have now and decided to keep working on material.

DoC: Your first release was the Pulsing Dark Absorptions EP, which came out in 2017. How long had you been working on these songs prior to releasing them? How do you feel about them now?

I don’t recall how long it took off of the top of my head. I think a couple of months to find the time to write and rehearse, maybe. The material is solid and a good start but a bit “by the book”, looking back on it now. "Clenched Fist of the Beast" is my favorite track from it. All in all, I am still happy with it, but I rarely ever sit down and revisit music I’ve done at length.

DoC: Three of your members are also in the doom metal band Crypt Sermon. How does the way you approach songwriting for Daeva differ from your other band(s)? Do you write as a group, or does one member handle the bulk of the writing?

Daeva is much more riff- and momentum-based, whereas in Crypt Sermon you have to make space for the vocals a bit more, and let the songs breath a bit. While momentum and urgency is required in both, Daeva is more an onslaught of riffs. As for the writing process, it's a little bit of both. There are many tracks that I will have mostly if not completely written when presented, but some of the others stemmed from one or two good riffs and us all coming together organically in the practice space.

DoC: You released your first full-length album, Through Sheer Will And Black Magic... back in October. When did you start working on these songs? What do you want listeners to experience from it? Would you say this album is a continuation of what you did on the EP, or were you looking to branch out from there?

We started working on these songs as far back as probably 2018 or 2019. I want the listeners to feel the jolt of adrenaline that hits you like anytime you heard any of your favorite thrash or black metal albums for the first time. I would say that there are definitely remnants of what we did on the EP, but this album offers a lot more in terms of atmosphere, technicality and songwriting.

DoC: Tell me about the lyrics on the album - what sorts of themes/subjects do you explore? How serious is your interest in Satanism and the occult?

Ed writes all of the lyrics and while a lot of them stem from the classic iconography of Satanism and Occult, they are definitely intertwined with a lot of his personal experiences. As for interest in Satanism and the Occult, it varies from member to member.

DoC: The album was recorded, mixed and mastered by Arthur Rizk (who has seemingly worked with everyone from Kreator to Integrity). What led you to work with Arthur? What does he bring to your sound?

We’ve known Arthur for years and worked with him in Crypt Sermon on both records. I also do guitar fill-ins for Eternal Champion live from time to time, so there is a close working relationship and comfort there. Also, Arthur is obviously doing incredible work to in order to be picked by bands like Kreator to do their records.

As for this record, he absolutely nailed everything we wanted as far as atmosphere and general vibe as early as the first bounce back. He gets it, and we are also spoiled enough to say that he is local.

DoC: How did you get involved with 20 Buck Spin? How do you think you relate to the other bands on their roster?

Enrique [Sagarnaga – drums] had sent Dave from 20 Buck Spin our EP prior to being in the band, and he was interested in releasing it. We are all extremely [happy] to be a part of the roster among so many sick and varied bands. On top of that, they’ve been absolutely wonderful to work with. As for relation to other bands, I would say no other band quite does what we are doing but I’ll say there is a black metal/shred connection with Worm to my ears.

DoC: Daeva are based in Philadelphia, where there's a good but somewhat overlooked metal scene. How would you compare the scene in Philly to other American scenes? Who do you see as your peers there?

I’m honestly not very in tune with scenes or what everyone else is doing. I sort of have blinders on and stay in my bubble.

photo by Scott Kinkade

DoC: What's next for you?

We have a show coming up on December 10th at Saint Vitus in NYC with Gravesend and Inter Arma. No huge plans as of yet, but I’m sure things will be popping up in 2023. We will also start working on material for the next record.

Daeva on FB

Daeva on IG

Through Sheer Will And Black Magic... on Bandcamp [through 20 Buck Spin]

To Know, To Dare, To Will:

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Episode 167:
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Episode 156:
Yaotl Mictlan