On October 23rd, 2020, Melodius Deite released the fourth album “Elysium”. At the beginning of the year, Biggie Phanrath, founding member, guitarist and the composer of, I would say an international band based in Thailand, answered the questions I prepared for him. Ladies and gentlemen, let us take you to his world of beautiful melodies.
Hi! Welcome to Abaddon Magazine. Congratulations on your new album!
Hi everyone, its Biggie here! Thank you very much for interviewing me.
You released ″Elysium″ in a bad period when the world is facing so how did it change your plans?
Well, most of our plans are the same but just the concerts that we have to think about it again, so we will surely go for a tour in Thailand, Japan, Indonesia and Europe after the covid-19 is completely stopped.
At least for me, Thailand’s music scene is an absolutely unknown field. Can you tell me something more about the music scene overall and specifically metal scene?
Actually the music scene here is quite majority for Thai people community, especially Pop, Pop Rock and Thai country music are very popular here, they can sell many CDs, downloads, show tickets, etc. But honestly metal scene here is really minority; average people consider it as underground music, but at least bands like Iron Maiden, Metallica, Megadeth, DragonForce, Avenged Sevenfold, Slipknot, Korn, Linkin Park, X Japan are quite famous here.
You formed the band back in 2007. It seems you are the only constant member now. What is the main reason, what makes people leave Melodius Deite?
The main reason is, they all have to take care of their families, some of them have children and many bills to pay, and also they cannot manage their proper times for the band because they all have to focus mainly on their everyday job, so they decided to leave the band. You know this kind of music really cannot pay your bills, especially in Thailand. But if you are the world famous band maybe it can pay all your bills.
Maybe some of our readers would like to know more about the origin of the band name. In the period of 2007/2012 you were working under the name Melodius and in 2012 you added Deite. Can you explain why you changed it?
Melodius means beautiful melodies, I decided to add Deite because I wanted more unique band’s name that never been used by anyone before, and this current band name have a really good meaning also. Melodius Deite means Deity of the Melodies.
When a new band member comes to the band, what is the most important for you as the employer, which qualities are you searching for?
I’ve been searching for the members who have good talent on their instruments and can represent/perform the music that I composed properly.
What is the biggest challenge when a new band member joins Melodius Deite?
When you formed the band, what were your ambitions? What ambitions have you achieved so far?
To be a world famous band, to have concert tour worldwide, to be able to live only with the money from band activities. Honestly, none of them were achieved yet but I will never give up. At least my band is quite well-known in metal scene, especially in Japan, Latin America and Europe. And we’ve great Japan tour already!
You are the main composer. What does your creative process look like? What inspires you the most?
I’ve always been inspired by fantasy kind of stories and also Biblical theme, I’ve mixed all that with my own imagination and fiction story telling.
I am not sure about the lyrics, so I will ask who the main lyric writer is and what comes first during the writing process, music or lyrics?
I’m also the lyricist of the band, most of the time I write the lyrics after I’ve completed all music parts of all songs in each album.
In short lines, which theme dominates the album “Elysium”?
Seven Deadly Sins!
I have to ask if you have a formal music education.
Yes, I graduated bachelor degree in Jazz Music and master degree in Music Composition.
Which guitarist has most influenced your playing style?
Umm, I would give you some names here; Kiko Loureiro, Michael Romeo, John Petrucci, Stéphan Forté, George Bellas, Marcel Coenen, Henk van der Laars, Yngwie Malmsteen
One of the new band members is Diego Zapatero who graduated at Indonesian Institute of Arts. He has been active over 15 years and being involved in various metal projects. How did you meet him and how he joined the band?
For Diego, he sent a message to us and showed me his works. Then I listened, and Wow! He is a genius on keys. I’m impressed with his skill and imagination, so he joined the band ever since.
How did his experience affect Melodius Deite?
Diego could give us a really amazing idea about keyboard arrangements. He able to provide the fresh interesting sounds and his performance is brilliant with his fantastic skill and talent that you can hear from our new album “Elysium”!
Diego is from Spain, so how did you work on the album? I know it is the XXI century and possibilities are huge, but I am curious…
There’s no problem at all, we can work from a distance. Actually we have met in person twice, first time in Yogyakarta, Indonesia and another in Zaragoza, Spain. And we will surely meet each other again in our concert tour!
Besides Diego, Yama B is the new band member, here best known as Galneryus vocalist, almost has a legend status. So, how did you hire him and how dedicated he can be to Melodius Deite since he is active in several bands?
Alright about Yama-B, we knew each other for sometimes, his bands and mine also performed in some concerts together both Japan and Thailand. He also likes our music, so I invited him to join the band and he said yes. About his priority, we already talked about this, so he could manage time for us then we have this new album “Elysium”.
I was pretty much surprised by Yama′s growl vocals. How did you even come up with the idea to include growl vocals?
Well, we’re talking about sins in this album, so I used growl voices to represent the dark side of humans and the devil that always tries to drag you to do the bad things. In musical term, growl voices are also really fit into this album’s style.
How about the other personal changes? Why did Bookkie leave the band as one of the founding members, I was surprised?
He had the same situation as other former members as I already explained above. But we still have good relationship with each other; you know he is my brother!
You joined Art Gates family, did Diego mediate?
We were looking for the good professional label that can promote our music more and more to the world. Diego, our keyboardist lives in Spain. He introduced Art Gates Records to me. So we sent our band submission to them and fortunately, they liked “Elysium” very much. Then we started our great partnership together.
The art cover is signed by Dusan Markovic, one of the most famous artists. What collaboration with him looks like? Does he have all the freedom to create cover art based on your music or you or you give him a hint?
He is a really great professional artist who can make my imagination come to life. I’ve shown him my draft artwork with some story explanation then just gave him some times to do it and finally I’ve got this truly amazing cover artwork for “Elysium”!
I have to go back in the past again. How did you discover metal?
I’ve been listened to heavy metal music since I was a child because my dad always enjoys listening to the bands/artists like Europe, Black Sabbath, UFO, Deep Purple, Uriah Heep, Vinnie Moore, George Lynch, etc.
Besides metal, based on your playing style, I could guess you are listening to classical music too. If I am right, which composer is your favorite?
I have many favorite classical composers in mind, here are some of them; Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Ludwig van Beethoven, Johann Sebastian Bach, Frédéric Chopin, Franz Liszt, Igor Stravinsky, Johannes Brahms.
I have no idea how is the situation in Thailand related to corona, so how are you spending your days?
Most of the time I stay at my house but during the weekday and weekend I have to go to teach guitar and bass at Yamaha Music School not far from my house, and sometime I travel to another provinces for vacation.
New Year is coming near, what do you expect/wish for Melodius Deite in 2021?
I wish that covid-19 will be completely stopped so we can start the big concert tour as planned and hope that we will become world famous band someday, hahaha! Anyway we will also start working on our next album, too!
I believe you will! Ok, I might have asked too much, but if missed something you think it is important to say, just shoot! Thank you so much for your time! Take care!
Hey, no problem at all, it’s my pleasure to answer all your questions! I think you have covered up it all. Again my friend, thank you very much for interviewing me. Cheers!