It’s hard enough for a metal band to break out in their home country. So imagine how difficult it is to break big internationally, let alone for bands hailing from Third World countries. And that’s exactly what Archaios have been trying to do since forming in 1994. They’ve created a name for themselves as the Dominican Republic’s premiere melodic death/extreme metal band. However, Archaios have experienced their fair share of struggles leading up to the release of their sophomore album The Distant, which is also the first Dominican metal recording to be released internationally by a North American label (Dark Canvas Records).
Rather than hearing about it from us, though, we thought we’d let Archaios’ founder/guitarist Eric Cruz himself share with you his experience thus far. In addition, we’re proud to premiere the opening track off of The Distant (which hits stores on November 11 via Dark Canvas Records) called “Nightshade.” Give the song a listen in the stream below, then after that read Cruz’s revealing insight into the difficulties metal bands from third world nations are constantly faced with.
Metal bands from underground scenes in Third World nations of Latin America usually find it harder to break in the international scene, especially in US and Europe. Most of the bands coming from these scenes are perceived as “musical oddities” by the rest of the Metal community and usually don’t receive too much credit for its work.
Archaios is the perfect example of this. We are a Thrash/Death Metal outfit from the Dominican Republic, a small island in the middle of the Caribbean with a long tradition of socio-political chaos, religious dominance and a ridiculous level of conservatism. Even playing in local live events has brought us problems with the authorities and even worse, with the local media. Also, we live in a country dominated by Latin music, where local and international promoters and labels have zero interest for Rock or Metal and religious and political leaders consider this music a threat to society.
We’ve been active since 1994. However, due to our lack of economic resources, we haven’t been able to record more than two albums and only recently, after signing a deal with an American label and being on the verge to release our second album, titled “The Distant”, is our music finally starting to be taken seriously internationally.
Our local scene is small but very united. However, nobody related with the scene really understands the music business. When it comes to work to reach the international arena, nobody knows exactly what to do. Everything has become trial and error. That’s why many talented Dominican bands have come and go, getting to the very top of the scene and once they’re there, they are unable to make a connection between the Dominican Republic and the rest of the Metal world.
From the very beginning, Archaios has been in what we call a “survival mode.” We’re always trying to come up with ingenious ways for funding concerts, gear, instruments and even for rehearsal and recording. For example, to record our first album Out of the Shadows, we had to save money for 3 years to give an initial amount upfront. Then, we began to record little by little as the rest of the money became available. Thanks to this kind of approach, we’ve been able to endure almost two decades of local recognition while being unknown internationally.
It’s true that the internet has opened for us many ways to communicate with the outside world and has given us some freedom to use some of its resources to try to make connections and promote our music. But this virtual “freedom” usually disappears the moment you find an opportunity and try to break free. You start finding obstacles and limitations regarding money, support, sponsorship and other factors you have to overcome in order to be able to go abroad and make a tour or play in festivals. Until we got signed, not a single booking agent, even underground ones, wanted to make a bet on us. They didn’t even listen to the music, to know from where we were was enough.
Years ago, before getting signed, we came with the idea hiring an international PR agency to spread the voice about the band. When we found one that wanted to work with us we realized it was going to be impossible to pay them right away. Although the amount of money they were asking for was reasonable, it was more than what we were making working in a country where the minimum monthly wage is less than $250.00.
Some people ask us “Why don’t you emigrate to US or other places with more possibilities for your band?” Well, we love our country with all its defects and problems. And we firmly believe more than ever that we could stay here and with the proper support, make a real difference, make an impact in the Metal world.
I know there are many bands out there in a similar situation. We are not the only ones. That’s why these days, while preparing – with the support of our label-, our first tour outside Dominican Republic, we realize how fortunate we are. After all these years we still have a new opportunity to keep living the life of extreme music. We know that there are still many obstacles on the way, the only difference is that this new road we’re taking isn’t just local, but global. We know very well about limitations, now it’s time to experience what we could do and achieve outside our country