An exclusive interview with Mihai Ilie: the new Machiavellian God singer

Mihu told us about their upcoming shows, the band's musical direction, his personal influences, what it means to be a promoter nowadays, and many more....

This week, the Bucharest-based melodic death metal outfit Machiavellian God is embarking on a local mini-tour alongside doom sweethearts Clouds and doom/death veterans Evadne. You will have the chance to see them live in Bucharest, on April 20th in Quantic club, in Cluj on the 21st of April in Flying Circus club and in Timisoara on the 22nd of April 22nd, at Casa Tineretului.

In anticipation of this event, we sat down with Mihai Ilie “Mihu” for a small chat about this new journey that he has just embarked on: this Thursday will mark the first full live show that Mihu will play alongside Machiavellian God.

Apart from being a well-known voice in the Romanian underground metal scene, he is also the man behind Final Step Productions, a banner under which he organizes metal concerts and festivals in Bucharest – take Metal Gates festival as an example.

We discussed about their upcoming shows, the band’s musical direction, his influences, how it is to be a promoter in the current climate, and many more – we even have an exclusive inside scoop into their future live plans. Read on!

What drew you to Machiavellian God in the first place? What made you accept their invitation to join the band?

Firstly, before the music, I am friends with the guys. This played a big role in me accepting this position, and then came the fact that I was always attracted to this kind of music. I was also in a kind of hiatus – when it comes to playing live. It was an easy choice.

In the past, you played in doom and symphonic acts. Has melodic death metal always been a genre you wanted to explore, or is this new chapter a new challenge for you?

I always loved melodeath. In general, I like the melodic genres of metal a lot. So yes, for me melodeath was always on my listening playlist. I also tried at one point to start a melodeath project so yes, it was definitely on my list, it’s not a struggle to do this, it fits perfectly.

So you are a fan of the genre from before, can you give us some examples of melodeath bands that are on your heavy rotation?

Yes of course! Of course it’s Insomnium, Be’lakor, Dark Tranquility and the whole Gothenburg Swedish scene. These first names came to mind.

Even if Machiavellian God has only one album under their belt so far, their sound is already pretty distinct and rounded. How do you think your voice will fit in?

It’s true that Machiavellian God already has a pretty powerful sound, which is also true in respect to the vocals: Flip did a wonderful job for the first album, and for me it was a challenge to learn his way of singing – but I think that I can do it. I also have my own style and I think I can bring a lot to the table, and that it will fit in pretty well.

On the latest single “ A Burden of Existence”, you have also added clean vocals. How do you see the band’s music and concept evolve from now on?

I always liked clean vocals in metal, mostly when you combine them with growls. I love this stuff and I think it fits well- especially in a melodeath band.

With respect to the music, you said it well – I see it evolve, somehow, including the clean vocals that were newly added. So prepare for more things like this.

Do you think some fans might be alienated by the addition of clean vocals, or on the contrary?

This is hard to say. I don’t think they will be alienated, but for sure this is a big change for them as well, a change in the sound they were used to. However, I think Machiavellian God fans – and people who listen to this kind of music in general – are open-minded enough to try and listen to the new stuff. As you said, there will probably be people that will like this change better, and some people who won’t. But I don’t think they will be alienated. It’s a change nonetheless, so probably an adapting time will be needed for the fans of the band to get used with this.

Let’s talk a bit about this week’s mini-tour, together with Clouds and Evadne. How did it come to be?

This all started with Daniel from Clouds. He proposed to do this mini-tour, and I was almost instantly drawn in by the idea, I liked it. I see it as a brotherhood between Clouds and Machiavellian God, since we also share some members. One led to another: I started looking into organizing this mini-tour and everything fell into place. It all went pretty smooth, what with finding the dates for all three cities and all. So it was only one way really, to go ahead and do it.

Was it Daniel’s idea to bring along Evadne in this mini-tour?

Actually, yes. But I accepted this idea instantly – I knew the guys from Evadne, they also played in Romania before at Dark Sessions in 2018. They are really nice guys and also a really powerful doom metal band – they were actually supposed to come back to play in Romania for their fans, so it was a good choice for this mini-tour.

Should the fans expect Machiavellian God to hit the road more often from now on?

I really hope so. Giving the fact that right now it’s a new chapter for the band, with me on vocals, we’ve discussed about it and we want to take more opportunities to play, also outside the country. We would like to do this more often starting this year.

As future plans go, this probably wasn’t announced yet: for this year we will play at Gothoom festival in Slovakia, in November.

From your perspective as a promoter: how is the current post-pandemic environment, in particular for the underground scene?

Well, it changed a lot after the pandemic, it really changed a lot. There are multiple aspects to discuss here.

For one, after the pandemic stopped (or at least we hope it did…), everybody wanted to play, so there are a lot of gigs right now. People have the same money or even less money than before, because the recession is basically here. They have to choose the shows they want to attend more carefully – so the small shows were affected the most because of this. It’s a little bit harder right now to organize small shows but not impossible.

Another thing that I wanted to point out is that the audience’s mentality changed a little bit. Right now, they wait up until almost the day of the show to buy tickets, because probably they are afraid that the show will get canceled – this is a pandemic mentality. Besides this, I assume it probably is hard to decide in advance, where they want to go, with this plethora of gigs. So people are buying tickets closer to the date of the event right now, thus it’s a little bit harder to anticipate how an event will look like, actually, in the day of the show.

Last year, we saw a lot of issues with flights being cancelled, and that was a huge factor in the cancellations you mentioned. Does this year face the same challenges?

Not like last year, no. There are still problems with flights, but there were always problems with flights, so at this point I feel like it’s kind of normal what is happening right now – it’s as it was before, before the pandemic. We had this problem before because of the pandemic, but I feel that right now it’s like before.

This last bit is yours, if you want to send out a message to our readers.

Given the reason for this interview, I am expecting the fans to come to the mini-tour in Bucharest, Cluj and Timisoara. I just hope to see many of you there and we’ll drink a beer with you after the show!

One Comment
  • The Eastern Skies tour: Clouds, Evadne and Machiavellian God – Din Intunerec
    19 April 2023 at 1:26 pm
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