By Nicholas Jason Lopez
Anything but ancient.
Formed in 2020, metal six-piece group Ancient Settlers share more than 15 years of experience between the European and American metal circuits.
Ancient Settlers are Carlos Chiesa-Estomba, Herman Riera (Haboryn), keyboardist/synthesist Rene Gonzalez (Aesthesis), Emmy Reyes (Blackbeer, Gamalyel), Antony Hämäläinen (Nightrage, Armageddon) and bassist Miguel Herrera, who got together with the intention to go deeper within the traditional confines of modern melodic death metal, with synths and keyboards thrown in for good measure.
Back this past January, they dropped their first single “Diamond Eyes” and in February, their debut EP ‘Autumnus,’ both recorded in Portugal, France, Spain and the United States, with help from Daniel Cardoso (Anathema, Anneke Van Grisbergen) for mixing and mastering and Gus “Perkele” Sazes (Angra, Kamelot, Firewind, Arch Enemy) for its artwork.
Most recently, the band signed with Crusader Records for the release of their 10-song album, produced by worldwide Grammy-winner Frederik Nordstrom at Studio Fredman. On Nov. 30, 2021, Ancient Settlers will drop the music video for their new single “Into The Depths I Ride.”
The Music Bugle had the chance to speak with Gonzalez about what they’ve been up to lately and more.
Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the band name?
Rene Gonzalez – Well, the band name was founded by the guitarist and drummer, Rex and Herman respectively, when they were in the early, ground-laying stages, seeing what they wanted to do and it has a nice ring to us, since it has so many meanings. As you know, an Ancient Settler was, in the past, a person that traveled, far from home, to have a new life, in a new context, in a new land – and that’s exactly our case. We migrated from our home, in search for something new, something better for us and for those close to us. Yeah, that sounds about right! At least it’s what attracted me the most to joining the band! (Laughs)
Music Bugle – How would you describe your newest music?
Rene Gonzalez – If you’re referring to the EP that’s going around? Well, it’s something fresh. It’s an amalgamation of the already established “Gothenburg” metal. You know those Swedish people know how to do that stuff… and well, we wanted to take it – as possible – to a whole new level. We wanted to give the listener a satisfying take on melodic death metal, with a modern touch – by adding a bunch of atmospheres, layers and deep sounds to make the listener think! If you’re referring to the upcoming album, I can assure you, it’s gonna be a serious kick in the blank… it’s already sounding awesome. In a personal philosophy, I try to deliver the best quality I can reach… so stay tuned. It’s gonna be a blast!
Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic?
Rene Gonzalez – Well, yeah, haven’t we all in a certain manner? But hey, it’s not something that will be undefeatable. We’re already starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel… For the band, the hardest thing we had to go through, at this stage, was being unable to perform live, but things are starting to move around a bit now!
Music Bugle – Where do you go when you need a break?
Rene Gonzalez – Well, that’s an excellent question! When I start to collapse and start to feel like my mind is taking little hits, I usually get back home, gather my thoughts a bit, think backwards, have some “cut everything” days. I have a nice balcony, so I can take a good cup of coffee with my significant other, plus I’m a lucky PS5 owner – this interview is not sponsored by Sony! (Laughs) I can always get there and drain it all out. Trust me, it’s great therapy!
Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise?
Rene Gonzalez – Another excellent, yet complex question! Nowadays, because I need to get my brain and my creative process really going, I’m listening to a lot of Japanese 80’s Citypop. This thing is legit! I’m not even kidding! Also, I really try to be flexible on what my music is. It’s very mood-driven, actually, but the common denominator I guess, is two things – technique and quality. Those are the measuring bars I use mainly!
Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do?
Rene Gonzalez – The best quote I’ve ever heard in the history of the planet, which is, “Maybe we’ve spent too long trying to figure this out with theory.” That quote keeps me going everyday. It makes me think outside the box in every situation I’ve encountered, not only music-related, but in life!
Music Bugle – What is something that you wish happened less in today’s music industry?
Rene Gonzalez – There’s this legend going around in music industry, that it’s really counterproductive for the artists, mostly for the younger generations and up-and-coming artists, the infamous, “It’s not about who you are, it’s all about who you know.” This is no good. Talent should be measured for how it is, talent and the raw, un-modded talent, should have a chance out there. Sure, right now, everyone gets a chance to share it out there, with socials and all of that, but it’s really hard to go to the next level nonetheless.
Music Bugle – What has been your hardest challenge lately?
Rene Gonzalez – Honest? Hand to God? Cooking… I’m the worst person in the kitchen you can ever imagine! Hell, I almost caused a fire in my kitchen trying to get a bowl of cereal and milk. Can you imagine the catastrophe? And it’s true! Okay, not with a bowl of cereal, but with a grilled cheese sandwich. I almost burned it all down, Daenerys style! (Laughs)
Music Bugle – Away from music, what’s something that people might be surprised to know about the band?
Rene Gonzalez – Two of the members are like, doctors, like, really specialized docs! Rex is something like a “Head and Neck Oncologic and Reconstructive Surgeon” and the other one is a pediatrician, I guess. That’s awesome! If we ever go on tour and something goes south, well, we have two doctors onboard! We have a war hero, we have a teacher, I’m a musicologist/programmer, we have a Ninja too… there’s so much like… “trivial” things about us! We’re really random, honestly. (Laughs) Another fun fact is that even though we’re living apart, I mean, We’re in France, Portugal, Spain and the US, we’re from the same state back home – except Antony, he’s Finnish, he’s Thor or something.
Music Bugle – Does social media help or hurt musicians?
Rene Gonzalez – It surely helps. I mean, it’s an endless controversy, because there’s too much socials now and we’re not getting any younger and it’s like harder and harder to stay “in the hype,” but yeah, it’s definitely beneficial. Let’s say it’s a highly complex and highly useful tool to use!
*Photo Credit – Mr. Stoub Photopgraphie*