Following our review of Hybris' debut EP "Blinded Thoughts" released this year, we decided to take some more time out and speak to their drummer Igor "Joey" Zaton about the band's origins, what the Polish Metal scene is like and what future plans they have.
By Rhys Stevenson
How did you guys form and what makes your band different?
The relatively short story of Hybris started in the beginning of 2012, when the friendship between Ozzy and Johan grew into the birth of their Technical Thrash project, firstly just for pure fun. Time passed and they decided to take it more seriously, therefore after a few member changes, they managed to assemble a full line-up, in the summer of the same year, with Pisston on bass, and me Joey, on drums. A couple of rehearsals, some style changes and every one of us knew that it was a perfect band for him to be satisfied as a musician. From the very beginning, we worked on material and were focused on possessing our unique style, without losing an old-school spirit. We are setting the bar high and we know that. Our task is not easy, but I think we are determined enough to make it happen.
What would you say your metal style is and who or what inspired you to play that style?
We define our style as Progressive Death / Thrash. We draw the inspiration mostly from the music every one of us adores, classical German Thrash and Floridian Death Metal, but adding to it some Progressive, Oriental atmosphere that allows us to experiment with a traditional Metal sound.
What is the underground Polish metal scene like right now? What bands should music lovers pay particular attention to?
Well, to me talking about Polish Metal has always been all about the underground. Surely every local metalhead is proud of our international representants - Behemoth and Vader, but in comparison to Western Europe, the amount of Polish bands recognized all over the globe is rather disappointing. Fortunately, I can’t say that when it comes to the underground which was and will stay strong and totally worth attention. Starting with the past: The number of Polish bands that with no fear could catch up with the Western scenes, but in the past they finished their careers after a demo, or two, because of Communism, poorness and the Iron Curtain is purely horrifying.
Check out IMPERATOR - mighty Death Metal from our hometown. Although, they’ve even managed to release an LP, besides in Poland rarely can you hear anything about them. Talking about the current situation, we can easily observe a rapid growth of a young, underground scene - especially the Thrash one. There’s a great deal of new Polish Metal bands who are worth the attention, so obviously I cannot point out all of them here, but if I had to choose the one that appeals to me mostly it would definitely be ThermiT - kickass Heavy / Thrash from Poznań!
What is the meaning behind your band name and does this play a part in your lyric topics?
The term HYBRIS comes from the literature of Ancient Greece and it is used to describe the inflated self-esteem of a man that usually leads to some punishment or his personal tragedy. Although, it isn’t the exact topic of our music, it is somehow associated with our lyrics, which are mainly about human mind, it’s mysteries and wild nature.
Do you feel that Central and Eastern European metal bands are not getting enough attention from Western media?
Yes, I think there is some truth behind those words. As I’ve mentioned before I guess it is primarily due to the disability of Eastern European artists promoting themselves in previous decades. Therefore, talking about good Metal music, people usually think of Scandinavia, Germany, USA, maybe UK, or South America. Whereas countries such as Poland rarely come to their mind.
What plans does Hybris have for the future?
Currently we are working on the new material and are spending time on organizing a promotional tour across our country in the autumn. When the tour is over we are planning to release some single(s) and then probably prepare an LP.
Please tell us some things about Łódź, both in music-terms and holidaymaker terms? (such as what venues there are, attractions, what sites should people see, any famous buildings, that sort of thing)
Without a doubt Łódź should be connoted with two legendary names: IMPERATOR, which I’ve pointed out before and PANDEMONIUM - the true might of the underground, that I am honored to be part of a the moment! Analogically to the Metal scene, there are two places of biggest touristic importance that obviously can’t be omitted, while visiting our city - “Piotrkowska” - the longest trade street in the Europe and “Manufaktura” - old textile factory adapted to a huge shopping mall. Truly breathtaking!
Finally are there any greetings you wish to send out to friends, fans, etc?
Cheers to all people who keep on believing and supporting us. You give us purely powerful motivation. Thank you. SPREAD THE THOUGHTS!
Every day GMA has been posting on our Facebook page a band from around the world and a band from the UK; covering all counties within our home nation. One band by the name of Gymir stood out for us, this quintet is a Folk Metal band from the South-Western county of Dorset.
Gymir were happy to take the time out, put down their swords and sip a beer or two with us, this is what they had to say:
"We found ourselves in the middle of nowhere in the depths of Wales' countryside to film our first ever video... was a lot of fun, though being surrounded by sheep was slightly off putting when coming into the shot."
First off hi guys, how are you all and what has Gymir been up to within the last year?
Hey Rhys, we're all well thank you! Well the past year has been a busy one for us as a band... we underwent some major changes, one of which was changing our name to Gymir. We were formerly know as Shallow Intentions. The reason for the name change was two things really. The first was with a name like 'Shallow Intentions' it doesn’t really sound like a Folk Metal band name, and we were getting a lot of concerned comments about it and we also found it was hindering us reaching out to a bigger audience.
The second reason was that with the name change we felt like we needed to step it up a gear and take the band a little bit more seriously, obviously still have a great time and a lot of fun with doing it but just start putting in a few more hours here and there with the networking side of things and with more hours practicing etc. even to go as far as making sure we have a great live show, not just the music side of it... but visually too. So we all decided to get ourselves some outfits along with props etc to put on the stage with us.
We also released our début 2 track single last summer 'The Return Of The Raven' which we recorded at the Junkyard studios down in Newport with Jeff Rose leading and recording / producing the whole operation. And its gone down a storm, we really didn’t expect such a response from it. We just want to give ole Jeffers a shout out to say thank you for all his hard work and extra hours he put in, and we'll hopefully see him again in the near future for the full length album and a free downloadable track within the next few months.
Also, we found ourselves in the middle of nowhere in the depths of Wales' countryside to film our first ever video for the track 'The Return of The Raven' which is off our CD. Was a lot of fun, though being surrounded by sheep was slightly off putting when coming into the shot. Alongside all of that, we've been trying to gig up and down the country as much as possible, We did Warhorns festival up in York last September which was an honor to play alongside fellow Folk Metallers, made a pleasant change to play with bands in the same genre to us, and we have a few more dates yet to play up and around the country.
We also entered the BOA Metal to the Masses and got to the final which we never expected, maybe next year is our year? So yeah... been busy bees the past year, and have loads more in the pipeline but don’t want to give too much away ;)
Now could you explain to us how Gymir formed, what enticed you to play Folk Metal and who are your influences?
Gymir formed many years ago, but under the name 'Shallow Intentions' think it must have been about 8 or 9 years ago now, back when we were all fresh faced and still at college. At first it was just a covers band covering bands such as Children Of Bodom, Metallica and Pantera just as a bit of fun really. Then one day we decided to write an original... so we did... and for some unknown reason it had a rather Folk Metal feel to it, and so did our next few songs.. so we went with it.. so for the next 8 years we went under the name Shallow Intentions up until the re-birth last year... which was Gymir. I'd say our main influences are most probably Amon Amarth, Ensiferum, Moonsorrow, Finntroll, although we try not to fall too close to any of their sounds and try to make our own unique style sound.
Do you feel that Folk Metal is not well represented within the British metal scene?
Folk metal is most defiantly the outcast genre in the UK in our opinion. Everywhere you look nowadays there are Death Metal events, Thrash Metal events and Nu Metal events etc.. yet very rarely you will come across a Folk Metal event here in the UK. It's a shame really... people are missing out! If you want to go somewhere that appreciates Folk Metal then your going to have to go over to either Finland, Sweden, Norway and the likes. Perhaps its down to the simple fact that there really isn't that many folk metal bands out there, or there are and they are struggling with getting shows..? Although saying all this.. we have noticed a gradual increase in interest over the past couple of years which is encouraging, but its still very much an overlooked genre.
You released your debut single 'The Return of the Raven' last year, could you give us the background behind this release?
The background for the CD release.. hmm, well 'The Return of the Raven' is a follow up track of an older one we had called 'The Hammer and the Raven', it's basically about two clans that went to war with each other and the clan of the hammer were victorious.. and the track 'Return of the Raven' is where the clan of the raven return bigger and stronger to go looking to settle the score and succeed. In a way its kind of a representation of the band, changing our name and conquering everything we couldn't under the old one.. sort of a phoenix rising from the ashes kind of thing... that's if you want to look into it that deeply... The other track on the CD 'Valkyrie of Sorrow' was just a cool song that had been written just before the studio and we had to put it on there. We're so glad we did! it most definitely seems to be the most popular track out of the two, with YouTube views rocketing each day! crazy really..
It seems that you guys are dispersed all over, with Ryan from Chelmsford to Ian in Reading, so how do you meet to rehearse?
Well Ryan is now currently living in Weymouth, which is where Martyn and Pete are based.. Ian now lives in North Dorset about 40 miles out of Weymouth and John lives in Bridport which about 15 to 20 miles away. It can most definitely be a challenge to get everyone together to rehearse, not because of the distance, as Ian and John drive, but more due to 'life' we all work full time Jobs and Martyn is the family man with the commitments that come along with having 3 young children and a wife. But when we do get together its usually twice a month.. so we try to make the most of it and either get sets for shows sorted or if we have nothing for a few weeks then what we're doing now is working on the upcoming album.
What plans does Gymir have for the rest of the year and what can fans expect?
For the rest of the year we're planning on continuing our run of shows around the country, we're playing the QQQQ festival in October which is in Manchester, the Almost fatal fest in July which is in Cumbria, a show in Sheffield with the pirate legends that are Red Rum and Gryphfest in Bristol in September. Plus a few local dates coming up, which are yet to be advertised. Also alongside the shows as we've mentioned we shall be working hard to get the full length album ready as soon as possible, but whilst we're doing that we're going to be finishing off a track that will end up on our album to then put up for free download for everyone to download and listen to, as a massive thank you for all the amazing support we've had off of everyone the past year, since the birth of the band and to get them to stop harassing us for a period of time about the album... lol we are working as hard as we can on it, and we're telling ya.. it'll be well worth the wait! Patience is a virtue folks! Also! We are looking to get some t-shirts printed very soon, within the next couple of weeks hopefully we shall have them!
If you could be any mythological god from any following e.g. Norse, Celtic, Egyptian, etc, who would you be and why?
Martyn jumped right in on this.. he wants to be Jesus..? he didn't elaborate on that though haha, Ian would like to be Loki, causing havoc and mischief everywhere... Ryan would like to be Heimdall as he's essentially all seeing, all hearing, is bad-ass enough to be named guardian of the gods, has a cool horse, doesn't need to sleep (would be very handy) and was said to be one of the last to die when him and Loki kill each other at the events of Ragnarok.... sorry Ian.... Pete answered 'Lemme' explanation: Lemme is God... and John would like to be the Ancient Egyptian Jackal-headed god Anubis.. the ruler of the dead. Actually Martyn said instead he would want be Balder as he too is handsome and gentle.... Hah!
Where do you see yourselves within the next 5 years? Stage headliners perhaps?
5 years is a looong way off! But at the very least we'd all still love to be going as a band, as we love doing what we do and we're all excellent friends and it gives us an excuse to hang out and escape from reality for a time which is always welcomed! But what we would all love to be doing in 5 years time would of course be playing at the major festivals, not only in the UK but all over the world, what band wouldn't! Along with a couple more full length albums under our belts and maybe even a record deal to help us out... ahh we can all dream cant we!
What is the Dorset metal scene like, how big is it and what venues are there?
To be honest, the Dorset metal scene has seen better days.. there was a time where it was probably one of the best places to go to watch great bands. But with venues turning into tight asses bands cant afford to travel anymore and so they don't come. For example.. we played a headline show (wont name where) we played for about 80 minutes, and the place was packed out! Was an awesome show, one we wont forget in a long time! Anyway, after the gig we approached the venues owner about our money, and we were offered 43 odd pence or something?!
So we gracefully said to keep such a huge and generous amount and don't worry about it.. but it seems to be the same story in a lot of places these days. Sad state of affairs. There are still some great bands here in Dorset though, and we'd highly recommend everyone to come down to the south coast and witness it first hand and help out the underground metal scene! The best place to play local to us is 'Finns' its a bikers pub that plays metal all day every day! if you get a chance, go down and check out the bands that play down there.
Finally are there any greetings you wish to send out to fans, friends, etc?
Yes! But there are so many people that we have to thank for all their loyal and overwhelming support over the past year it'll be impossible to thank them all. But in all, we'd just like to thank all of our fans for showing us some love and supporting us with what we are doing. We know we haven't been the quickest on the draw with releasing songs etc. But we're trying our hardest and its coming! So make sure you're all ready! so keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates! Peace out folkers!!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIxYx3lc_bU (Gymir - The Return Of The Raven)