Ancestral Dawn

Ancestral Dawn is a brand new power metal band from Peru that was formed by the songwriter, bassist & author Jorge Higginson. “Souldance” is the first release of the band, which contains several great musicians of the metal scene. Read what the mastermind Jorge told Grande Rock below…
Ancestral Dawn band pic

Hi Jorge and welcome to Grande Rock. Firstly, tell us how & when did the idea to form Ancestral Dawn come about?
J: Thanks for the interview! Since many years ago (let’s say 2007) I had the idea to make some melodic metal mixing ancient Peruvian instruments and culture, I had a band called Umbral at that time, but we were just kids and we only released a small EP/Demo at that point. Since 2012 I had the dream of making the first Peruvian metal opera, and finally in 2013 I took the first step into it. Singer Jorge Segeresbol came to me very interested on developing the idea and Mark Astorga joined a few weeks ago making some PR and getting Jonas Heidgert from Dragonland to feature in our first single. That was really a statement that things could really be achieved if we worked hard enough.
What did you have in mind concerning Ancestral Dawn? Did you wish to make it a full-time band or a music project that would have a “metal opera” orientation and it would feature various music guests, something like Avantasia let’s say?
J: I prefer to call Ancestral Dawn a full-time band whose first album is a metal opera. The logistics for making a live metal opera are out of range for now, is not that we won’t do it, but also fans along time had more interest in bands that in “projects”, and we are aiming to have a longer career than that, and a most unusual live experience.
How did you come up with the name Ancestral Dawn at first?
J: Some years ago I had used the name “Ancestral” to get Umbral in a band contest without using the actual name of the band (cause we were playing some covers despite we were the same musicians). When it was time to name this new band, “Ancestral” fitted pretty much into the concept I wanted to communicate. The word “Dawn” is because this marked a new era in my life, a new beginning, and also complemented the idea of the old ancestors and Peruvian spirits coming back to life through our music.
You’re coming from a country that is not known in the metal community and many metalheads are rather skeptical when they hear the band’s country of origin. The release of your debut showed that “great music” can literally come from anywhere. How difficult or not was that and would things be different, if you were coming from a country more known among the metal community?
J: Thanks for the “great music” thing! It was pretty difficult. But more than that, it was a really really long way. We were lacking of time, cause everybody had lots of things to do besides Ancestral Dawn and it also cost me some considerable money. But I think all of our efforts finally saw the light when we held the album in our hands. Definitely doing metal in Perú is not an easy thing, but when you really have something in mind and a clear objective, then reality and possibilities don’t matter. Maybe if we were a European based band, Ancestral Dawn won’t even exist, who knows.
Was it easy to get all these celebrated musicians to participate in the album? How was the cooperation with them in general?
J: Mark Astorga is the guy who made almost all the contacts for the guest musicians; I think it was a really intense work, but we didn’t “crashed towards a concrete wall”, while asking singers and musicians to join. Actually they were really cool and interested, most of them always replied kindly. We will always be very thankful to them for their time and energy. As I said in other interviews, if you have a powerful music concept, and you take a lot of care in the production, you will certainly grab the attention of those you want to have on board.
Do you think that having all these great musicians was crucial for the album story?
J: I imagined their voices through the characters, and in the production we also cared that the vocal lines fit their ranges and styles even before asking them to join, so yes.
What does “Souldance” declare, what is the lyrical concept behind it and which things inspired you to write this story?
J: Ancestral Dawn is about our fears and how to face them; about the lack of will of many and the restless spirit of a few to carry on and take down that heavy feeling, that mediocrity that has had us in a sort of slumber for centuries. It is redemption; it is believing that we can do it. It is a loud scream that encourages us to get rid of the stale air of the city and to change our attitude. Ancestral Dawn is to stop dreaming and start doing. Because that is the only way to go forward and leave behind the big dark clouds created by our resignation. And lastly, Ancestral Dawn is a tribute to the spirit and glory of our ancestors, whose heritage makes us proud up to this day.
About the argument of the story, it takes place at the beginning of the 20th century in a fictional city inspired in Lima-Perú, known as “The Grey City”, a place always covered by a strange deep haze. There, catholic medical student, Sebastián Vendrel (Bastian), analyses several cases of unusual coma as the rate of suicides strangely increases in the city. Soon, his beloved fiancée, Jessica Isern, will fall in this rare state too, forcing him to twist his principles and search for alternative methods of ancient shamanic medicine. Thus, Bastian finds Andean Warlock “Sairi Tupaj” (Fabio Lione), who knows that the answer of the disease is way more related to the dark force controlling the strange haze of the city, than just finding some natural herbs as medication. Instead he offers him the opportunity to see the real problem with his own eyes, by taking a spiritual trip with the divine beverage of Ayahuasca. Drinking from it will unleash the real adventure: Dark forces, ancient shamans and primordial Inca gods will guide Bastian trough an old world far beyond his beliefs.

The Japanese edition features the instrumental bonus track “Covenant”. Did you write this track afterwards for the Japanese release only or not?
J: Yes, Josué Castro, the band’s guitar player, wrote the song and it was conceived, recorded and mixed in his studio after the whole album was complete, exclusively for the Japanese release.
The production is truly remarkable. Where did the recordings take place and who mixed, produced & mastered the album?
J: Adolfo Gazzo recorded, mixed and mastered the album. And I consider him the best musical producer in our country and I’ll always say it! We made the album production together, so I’ve seen him working and he is very devoted and addicted to his work.
A rather impressive video for “Stormhaze” is out already and a couple of lyric videos. Do you plan to release any other concept video with any guests at some point?
J: Not for now; a lyric video for a song of the album might be in mind, but no more music videos for now.
I know that it ain’t that easy to play the album live, but have you considered the fact to give any live shows in the near future?
J: Yes, definitely. We would like to go live and make a couple of gigs. It is pretty difficult, but not impossible. We also want to give a complete new experience in the live show itself, so is just a matter of time before hitting the stage.
Which are your expectations from your debut album and what do you wish to achieve with Ancestral Dawn over the next years?
J: We want to see how much impact does the album achieves and go live with it. If people like our music and wants us on stage, they’ll get what they want and of course future Ancestral Dawn albums!
Ancestral Dawn guests pic
It’s time for our “weird questions”!!! Which is your beloved “metal opera” album so far?
J: Let’s get weird! Avantasia: “The Metal Opera part 1”…
If you could “erase” one thing from modern music, what would it be?
J: Reggaetón, definitely... and Turbofolk.
What do you think of the “free downloading & the free streaming issue” of our time? Will that help music generally or not?
J: We are in a very complicated transition, and the music industry is not 100% adapted to it. It is a big problem indeed, but we are here to find solutions to problems, aren’t we?
Which is that band that you’d like to be part of (any time & era)?
J: Iron Maiden. I don’t know playing what, but Iron Maiden.
Which are the best 3 power metal albums according to you?
J: Hard to say. I love “Rebirth” from Angra, of course “The Metal Opera part 1” will be a big resume of power metal stars and music style and I’ll leave the third to the imagination of everyone, but special mention to: “Ecliptica”, “Imaginareum””, Symphony of the Enchanted Lands”, Every album of Helloween, “The Oracle”, “Nuclear Fire”...
Fill in the phrase… “Power Metal wouldn’t have evolved the way it did, if it hadn’t been for…”
J: Deep Purple…
Top 3 epic movies of any era?
J: The Great Dictator, Blade Runner and Interestelar.
Which is the record you wish you had written and why?
J: None in particular.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
J: Barrio Fino – “Daddy Yankee”, so Aliens will run to their planet and never come back!
If you had the chance to travel in time… where would you choose to go? To the past or the future and why?
J: To the future! For many reasons:
1) They’ll still have toilets instead of the uncomfortable “holes in the ground” of the past.
2) Maybe they have other time machines, so I’m allowed to go to the past and back home.
3) To see how phones will be in that time (why not 500 years in the future).
4) To see the future of the music market and come back with ideas that can work in a close future.

Which do you consider to be the best female & male vocalist in metal history?
J: Ronnie James Dio – I do not know about the female.
What’s the worst thing one can say right after sex?
J:Was that it?
What is that little flashing red light coming out of your Teddy Bear?
Do I have to pay you or do you have to pay me?
What was your name?? Was it Roberta? – No, it is Roberto.
That was great! Now say hi to all of our friends in Chat Roulette!
I’ll write about you on the next CD (If you are a Steel Panther member)…
Do you remember the top scene of “The Empire Strikes back”? – Nope. – Then I don’t know how to say this...
Will you stay for breakfast? – Sorry, I can’t miss more classes at Highschool.
You have the chance to have sex with the movie-celebrity/porn-star of your choice. Who would it be & why?
J: Sasha Grey. Really?! Do I need to say why?! Hahahahah, OK, basically because she had chosen her path through life based on what she wanted to do, and not in what she needed to do.
Where would you like to live… in Middle Earth, in the Seven Kingdoms or in a post-apocalyptic world like the one on “The Walking Dead”?
J: I love the Seven Kingdoms, but I will probably die on the first 3 pages, so... Middle Earth!
Which character from the “Game of Thrones” would you have been – if you lived in the Seven Kingdoms?
J: I really like the character of Jaime Lannister, but I identify myself with Jon Snow: inexperienced kid that becomes wiser... and much things we have in common like coming back from the dead, wielding a bastard sword, having a wolf as pet... you know.
Imagine that your girlfriend is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react? J
J: Cannibal Corpse’s “Hammered Smashed Face” comes to my mind... but I think I’ll forgive little Gollum.
That’s all for now Jorge. Thx for talking to Grande Rock. Say anything you feel like saying before we close. Take care dude!
J: Thanks a lot for the interview. I enjoyed it a lot, especially the “weird questions”. I’m very bad at making jokes, so forgive my sense of humor. I hope you enjoy the album as much as we do, and hope to see you soon in a live gig!

close support grande rock & "like" our fb page