Costa Rica has in recent years picked up the pace on the international metal stage, with bands like Sight Of Emptiness having played the UK's Bloodstock, Pneuma making waves and now it's Corpse Garden's turn. The five-piece Death Metal horde are set on releasing their third album 'IAO 269' (via Godz ov War Productions) and with it aim to present themselves further afield on planet metal.
GMA spoke to the guitarist Esteban Sancho about the new album, the Costa Rican Metal scene, performing at Wacken and 2018 plans.
"The world is a very big place, a band can either whine about its local scene, or just move on and tour other places"
Hi guys, for those who have not heard of Corpse Garden can you give us a brief history of the band?
"Corpse Garden has been around since 2008. The band initially started with a direction more towards grind / gore but it eventually evolved into Death Metal, throughout the years, the band has suffered several changes up until 2013. Since 2013 we have had a constant, and hard-working line-up, which eventually led to a different sound, which is the one you can experience now through our new album."
What can you tell us about the Costa Rican metal scene? Any challenges? Opposition?
"The metal scene in Costa Rica only exists on a relevant level for international bands. Locally, it’s very poor and sometimes frustrating. There are almost no good quality promoters, and most people don’t really attend local shows (considering the amount of people you see in international concerts). We are an underground band, we play extreme, intolerable music, we don’t really aim for a huge audience, so we don’t really expect every show to be sold out, however, when you see what’s going on in other countries, it’s frustrating to see how much this country has to learn (I speak mostly for the extreme scene, other bands from other sub-genres, might tell you something different). I have to say though, that we don’t really care, if it’s difficult here, we just look for different places to do our thing. The world is a very big place, a band can either whine about its local scene, or just move on and tour other places."
You're set to release your 3rd album 'IAO 269' in November, will there be a Central American tour or an overseas tour?
"We are going to be playing a small tour including Costa Rica and Panama (Istmo Metal Fest and other dates), Nicaragua is in the talks to be included in that. We do plan to do more touring in America, nothing we can make public yet. And plans for overseas tour are always in our minds, getting to make it happen is a whole different story, however, I can say that we do want to do it and we are starting to have conversations about it, just nothing confirmed yet."
The Costa Rican metal scene in recent years has seemed to establish a name for itself, what would you put down to it's success?
"Different places hold different energies from which an artist can find inspiration from, however, in the end music and all the art surrounding it is what matters. I personally don’t think the country has its own name out there yet, the country might be getting to it, but Costa Rica needs more bands to have international and relevant exposition to be able to say that. Now, if we look at what has happened, you can see that more bands are now being able to get labels to print and distribute their material, that is a good step for the “country”, but nothing big compared to the situations of other bands in other places. The bands that have had the chance to get themselves known internationally is due to the hard and professional work everyone has to do to get things done properly. We all still have a long way to go."
How important is it to expose unknown metal scenes to the world? What does the Costa Rican government think of metal music?
"There’s always going to be something you have not explored music wise, it gives more variety to the actual international scene. The Government doesn’t really like metal, but we don’t care, metal has always been about giving a big f*ck off to the establishment, metal is not looking to be included or taken into consideration, we exist because we want to, because we find ourselves identified with the aggressiveness and relentless energies metal deals with, we don’t need no one to help us. For those who really want to keep this alive will always find ways to do it."
What was it like performing at Wacken Open Air? Mingling with metalheads from all corners of the globe must have been awesome?
"I did not play at Wacken Open Air. I was there, but not in the band yet. I’m sure it was a very good experience and the first sight the band had to an international scene, however, it was a very different line up, only 2 members remain from back then. We are 5 years past that already, and it is time we move on."
What plans have you got leading into 2018 and are there any greetings you wish to send out?
"First of all, thank you for taking the time for the interview. We have big plans for touring, stay tuned for more updates about this. As well, 'IAO 269' will be released in Vinyl, stay tuned as well with Godz Ov War for more info about it. To the ones who support us, a true thank you, for we are not just about music, we represent chaotic energies from within and without, we represent a way of living and getting to know yourself, your support is like gasoline to the fire we carry under the name of Corpse Garden."