Lithuania despite it's relatively well-positioned geographical position, seems to have a metal scene devoid of western attention with the exception of a few metal bands. One band who fits that category is Blackened Thrashers Dissimulation, whilst on the other hand of the spectrum it is arguable that Žalvarinis is another band who has garnered attention outside of Eastern Europe. But what about the new generation?
Well, with the latest news concerning Berserker's signing to Sliptrick Records the future looks bright for the Lithuanian Metal scene. This female-fronted melodic metal outfit have been around since 7th March 2009 and are set to release their latest offering and debut album "Dark Worlds Collide" this year. Having already performed in Latvia, Estonia, Belarus and Poland, it's only a matter of time before they reach British soil.
But before they get that chance, GMA decided it was only fair to give the two ladies and four gents a brush over and interrogate them...
What does it feel like signing to US label Sliptrick Records? Where does this go in terms of the bands achievements?
"Dark Worlds Collide“ is our first released album. Our debut album, the digital version of it was released after 6 years since the band was founded. We gathered old songs, wrote new material, arranged intros and interludes. Now that this task is behind us, we are excited to have the opportunity to release this album not only in digital format, but also in physical format together with Sliptrick Records. We believe that this is only the beginning and with the help of Sliptrick Records we can further develop as a band, and share our music with broader audience.
Could you give us a brief background history of the band?
Berserker was founded in 2009 by classmates Romeo (bassist), Krzysztof (guitarist) and George (drummer). Over the years we as a band suffered line-up changes that held us back from playing more gigs and finishing the record earlier. Our current singer Agnieška and second guitarist Mažvydas joined the band in 2013, Kristina – keyboardist in 2015. Now we can say that we have a stable line up.
The Lithuanian Metal scene appears to be very small (from a UK perspective), what can you tell us about the scene? (can talk about clubs, labels, media, successful bands, public perception of metal, etc.).
There are a lot of interesting metal bands, playing and incorporating very diverse styles into their music. The Lithuanian metal scene is quite small in terms of places to play in / at. There are a handful of clubs and a couple of festivals where you can play such music. Therefore bands tend to write English lyrics and share their work with audiences in other countries.
With Eurovision 2016 have been and gone, has Berserker ever considered (or thought about considering) entering the contest? What are your thoughts on it?
We have not thought about participating in the Eurovision Song Contest. For now we have many other
goals to achieve and to grow as musicians. Maybe we will when we get older.
Kristina & Agnieška, what are your thoughts on female musicians playing metal? Would you agree that the stigma towards female musicians in metal is not as oppressive as once was? Would you agree that modern society is more appreciative of having diversity in music be it gender, race, religion, etc., that there is very little oppression towards the mentioned traits?
I believe that gender does not matter in music nor that it ever did, female musicians can be as good as their male opposites. Although sometimes female musicians do not get a whole lot of respect from some metal fans, there are a lot of strong and respected female-fronted bands out there. I always felt good being a female singer in a metal band, for me it is fascinating to be a part of a band playing strong music.
Metal music lets you express your inner energy, spiritual power, emotions and rebellion – traits, which every person has, regardless of their gender. Of course, not everyone can play this kind of music, but if metal is not only in your ears, and makes your heart beat faster and lets you feel the passion, it means you play the right music – that’s what I feel. Modern society is very diverse, meaning its tolerance to a wider spectrum of music styles, I believe, that we are living and playing in the right time, when people want diversity, when it is pursued to be tolerant in all of aspects, because it gives a freedom of choice and actions. I can’t argue, there is always some disapproval, but without it, it would be harder to improve.
Where has Berserker got lined up to perform in support of the album re-release (via Sliptrick)? Is the UK on the table? (in contention).
We did a "Dark Worlds Collide“ tour in Poland, performed in Latvia, Estonia, Belarus and of course Lithuania with the purpose of promoting the albums digital release. Now the planning stage concerns
how can we support the re-release and find time to work with new material and other projects. Gigs
are being planned in Lithuania, Latvia and Poland and we can say, that the UK is planned for November. With proper support there is a bigger chance we will actually do it!
What would you describe your sound as without using genres in your answer? What sets you apart from other similar bands?
Our music combines epic melodies, apocalyptic lyrics to bring every listener to his own unearthly, magical, fantastic reality.
Finally have you got any hello's, thank you's etc you wish to send out?
We would like to thank all the people that support us, that attend and have fun at our shows. This is the main reason that pushes us to go forward and create music.
"Dark Worlds Collide" is out via Sliptrick Records date tba
Metal is everywhere, well at least it's working towards that potential fact. Let's face it, Africa is perhaps one of two final frontiers for the music genre to emerge, the other being Oceania with the exception to Australia, New Zealand, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Guam, French Polynesia and Hawaii.
But with our attention turning towards Africa, a continent known for its vast deserts, indigenous tribes and cultural differences from the Arabic north to the Afrikaans south, one band that has caught our attention is genuinely the first from their nation. Who are they? They are Iron Sliver from Gabon. [Watch their latest music video 'Keep The Faith' above]. GMA spoke to the group briefly before guitarist Dani Bat took over interview duties due to technical issues our end, what was said was highly interesting and truly historic given that no other metal scene borders Gabon; with the exception to Cameroon's first short-lived band (click here).
Click below to listen to the full interview as it happened.
Heavy Metal started in Gabon through Iron Sliver because prior to the band's formation, metal music in Gabon did not exist and so they are aiming to establish the sound as a movement in the hope that fellow countrymen embrace the metal music sound and form their own bands. As for Iron Sliver, they owe their existence very much to the internet and in particular YouTube and social media. Through YouTube, Iron Sliver discovered the likes of Linkin Park, Motionless In White and Asking Alexandria and have aspired to those bands in creating their own music. Iron Sliver means 'Iron Ribbon', which in the bands words means that they are unbreakable, with the aim to create stories they hope to expose their music to the international metal scenes.
Iron Sliver comprises of Dani Bat (guitars), Crow's Carter (vocals), Tuck Panther (drums), Tony Horse (bass) and Dave Hawk (guitars); Dave was not present for the interviews as he was back in Gabon studying whilst the other four members were in France at the time of the interview.
Focusing on the African continent, when asked about knowing any other West African Metal scenes, Dani replied with "no, only Angola and South Africa", so now you can begin to imagine how segregated Iron Sliver and their respective newly-founded metal scene is from the rest of the world, if not Africa. In fact it has not been an easy ride for them because "in our country we don't have the same culture that you can find here in Paris, in France, in Europe, in the United States. In our country, metal culture does not exist", so without any doubt it would be seen as a threat to the established culture of Gabon and with said lack of metal culture, comes a lack of affordable instruments and gear.
Meaning Iron Sliver travel to places like France to buy instruments and gear to take back to Gabon due to that "in our country it's very expensive", despite this they have taken their new-found art form to heart and performed live; with no nervousness present. Furthermore despite gaining some fans from their live shows, it was not easy for them to explain their music choice to their parents owing to the band knowing that "it would be so hard to install this culture and to share with fans and people from Gabon".
But this did not come about without encountering any problems, one of the first problems was the lack of good studio-recording equipment; results wasn't satisfactory, hence the band would not record in Gabon and instead have opted for France. But on a more personal level, problems arose between family and friends, "they think that we are crazy you know?!?! Then yes, we had more problems on the recording of videos and making songs", but the band pressed ahead and made their music video "Keep The Faith", which as Dani explains "is not about God or religion, it's about us, our dream, we believe in us and do everything to become what we want to become", accentuating the virtue of trust through the song.
The video itself was recorded in Gabon as was the song, but the band are in France recording their first album, leading to subsequent videos and shows to showcase to people after they've heard the songs. For the remainder of 2015, the group are recording songs for their debut album in Paris because in Gabon it was not possible to record there owing to the said lack of metal culture; the band had learned how to play simply through watching YouTube lessons.
So their game play is to record their debut album, then aim to play live and make music videos. With this planned, the band hopes to lead the way for the Gabonese Metal scene to develop and expand. At present the festivals that happen tend to orientate towards other types of music and not metal, Iron Sliver hopes to change this through their passion. Metal for them is something different, "you can do what you want, you can scream, you can sing and every emotion are put inside, like you feel it", metal is a way to express yourself and Dani admits this is why Iron Sliver plays metal.
He does hope that through this freedom of expression that people across Africa contemplate about setting up their own metal bands, in fact he was surprised to discover how vast metal has become across the African continent (and the world) through our "Global Domination Vol1" compilation, "we didn't know the bands who were included around the globe, around the continent", with the exception of one band called "Before Crush, because they contacted us when we made our first video and they was surprised to discover we are a band from Gabon, because they thought they were the only one in Africa" and this clearly poses a big problem for the African Metal scene with the exception of Egypt, Tunisia, South Africa, Botswana and to a certain extent Algeria whereby metal is vastly becoming more established with (again) the exception of South Africa where metal has been around since the late 1980's.
If metal grew more and more over the next decade, the need for more metal festivals (including outside South Africa) would become more relevant, Dani admits he wants Iron Sliver to become a part of this, "if we become popular and known by everyone all over the world, I think that everyone can set their eyes on it [an African Metal festival] you know? And, we could help organize this kind of event, talk to bands from different African countries so yes I think that one day, maybe, metal culture in Africa grows and therefore allowing us to do it".
In terms of metal music in Gabon, the Government does not know it exists and despite this metal "is a new thing, it's increasing but before us [Iron Sliver] there were no metal bands and the Government does not know we exist, they are focused on other styles of music including rap, R&B, Hip-Hop, not metal" and this would therefore become a challenge for Iron Sliver to face in terms of getting the Government to accept Metal music and not see it as the 'devils music' as Dani explains, "we have faced criticism with everything the band has done by the media, by the people because they are from a religious-country, they all believe in God, they go to Church every Sunday and when we put our video out on TV that was crazy for them, and faced criticism as a result", it was because of this that their families tried to understand why they play metal, and by releasing their forthcoming album, Dani hopes that people will accept their musical choice.
Despite the negative criticism, the band collectively feels that they can channel this through their music and produce something that will bring more positive responses towards them. After the completion of the album, the band will look to "make more things, more shows, we are going to do everything to share our music around the world, we want to show that Gabonese metal exists, so lets see what happens after the album is finished", for the band the lyrics are personal and reflect what they see, their emotions and "speak about the problems faced in Gabon"; so everyone takes a part at writing the lyrics as a whole.
Plans for a documentary are 'possibly' on the table as Iron Sliver can show "our music and what we experience in Gabon and how we live, so if we did a documentary about our band, it's going to be a trip about our history, our culture and it's going to be a good thing because people will know how we began to start a band in Gabon", so this is something to bear in mind.
As a whole the band wishes to send out the greetings to the following: our families and friends because they are the very first peoples to believe in us (don't give up guys, we are going to create something different and original), Metal Africa, our American fans, our Gabonese fans, our Japanese fans, also thanks to Global Metal Apocalypse because that was the first time we saw our song in a compilation.
Check out Iron Sliver on Facebook:- https://www.facebook.com/ironsliver13/timeline?ref=page_internal
GMA caught up with Devilment's Colin Parks (pictured back row next to Dani Filth) and spoke to him about latest activities with the band, their line-up changes, forthcoming festival appearances and many other things.
This is an audio only post - for those using PC/Mac click the audio player above, if you're on a mobile device you can listen to the interview here: http://kiwi6.com/file/i21j3rnl32
Possibly one of the more controversial interviews we have done, given the current crisis in the eastern half of The Ukraine.
Melancholic Orchestra are a duo who play Gothic Doom Metal in it's instrumental form, the band formed in Donetsk, The Ukraine in 2009 and to date have one demo and two albums out. The most recent album "Forest of Insomnia" was released online in August 2014 and features ten tracks.
GMA sat down with Viktor Chelgy and spoke about the Ukrainian Metal scene, including current problems and the lack of exposure alongside the band's history
Hi Viktor, could you give us a brief history behind Melancholic Orchestra?
Hi!!! The start of our creative path originated back in 2009, when we had a different name. It is not easy to determine the style, in fact we wrote songs in different genres ranging from Ambient to Gothic. But in early 2013, we decided to release a demo album and create it by using different styles, in fact it was an experimental release to see how our people and fans would react.
Since Melancholic Orchestra are from The Ukraine, could you give us an insight into the metal scene (places to gig, the scene history, problems faced there, etc)
Yes we are from The Ukraine, and we have a very difficult situation within the metal scene, especially in our hometown of Donetsk, rarely are there any concerts, the television channels do not broadcast or promote any metal bands, instead they mostly cover pop and rap, I find it difficult to even call it music.
The conflict between Russia and The Ukraine, how is this affecting the scene? Are there less gigs?
The conflict does not affect the scene because the music is not linked to the policies.
Melancholic Orchestra have just released their second album "Forest Of Insomnia", can you tell us the background behind it?
It was very hard work when recording and producing the album "Forest Of Insomnia", as there were technical issues. Currently we decided to take a break and start writing new material for the next album.
You play Gothic / Doom Metal, but of the instrumental kind, what made you choose this?
Basically it's just that this style is closer to us in spirit at present.
How did you get into playing music and who influences you?
I personally have been going long in the music scene, I work as a teacher at the music school. My colleague Vitaly also soon began to play music but only as a composer.
What can fans of Forest of Insomnia expect from you in the near future?
From us you can expect anything, so expect more experiments and good music
Are there any greetings you wish to send out to fans, friends, etc?
I would like to convey a message to all of the fans of our music, a huge hello and listen only to good music!!
Rhys, thanks for the interesting conversation, good luck to you!!
Finally coming out of the darkness and rejoining the music world, Deathstars have been priming themselves up for their forthcoming album "The Perfect Cult", succeeding their third outing "Night Electric Night". After five whole years of burying themselves down in the deep Swedish bunkers and playing shows across the globe including dates in Australia, the quartet (Cat Casino left the band in July, 2013) are ready to release another bout of Gothic Industrial hell as well as embark on a European tour towards the back end of 2014:- dates can be viewedhere. (more dates added soon for R.O.W.)
This album serves as a nice springboard for the band as they approach their 15th anniversary next year, so this album will be an interesting one. We believe it will gain the approval from the masses. But for now, GMA managed to catch up with front-man Whiplasher Bernadotte and ask him what the future holds, why they are not a metal band, revisiting past events such as the well known 'Blitzkrieg Boom' music video and how they 'nearly' represented Sweden at the Eurovision Song Contest via Melodifestivalen.
Interview by Rhys Stevenson
Whiplasher on Deathstars celebrating their 15th anniversary next year:
Hi Whiplasher, how are you doing?
I am very good.
It's been five years since you released the album "Night Electric Night", so what has the band been doing during this time?
Well we started recording our fourth album around three years ago in Los Angeles and we felt like we were 'stressing' it, so after that we ended up on doing some more tours and everyone was tied up with projects, and wanted some changes and stuff, so all these things added up, so hence it took such a long time. So yeah we kind of stalled ,but we wanted to get this done, but hopefully it won't be as long next time.
Since "Night Electric Night" you have had a line-up change, Cat Casino left the band, how did this happen?
Yeah Cat left us because he was tired with all of the touring and missed his family more, he was tired of just traveling and we were all tired so, we respected that decision and he still remains our friend, but we're continuing as a four-piece now and also Ole Öhman our drummer started to have problems around like 6, 7 years ago and so he left too in time.
What is different between your new album "The Perfect Cult" and "Night Electric Night"?
I think "Night Electric Night" was more outgoing and this one is more futuristic, dark and much more massive and assuring in a nutshell. It's got pop music in it, it has more rock music in it and as such we've never been a metal band. It's more varied in that sense so, there's a darker story in "The Perfect Cult" in a bigger sense.
So you're not a metal band?
Noooo, that would be stupid. A metal band for me would be something like Darkthrone so we never claim to be a metal band, so let's just call it more of a 'Dark Rock' band.
It seems that throughout the Deathstars discography the band has changed their image in accordance to the albums, would you agree with this or not? What are your thoughts?
We never really discuss what kind of album we want to make, like we never say 'ok let's make an album that sounds like this', because Nightmare and I started playing Black Metal in the early 90's so we've been working in the same way always I guess, so we just listen to each other, so we can have an idea on what direction we're going, so when it comes to the album writing we can visualize what we may do imagery-wise AFTER the album is done, this is usually what happens. So we go in a direction as a band and not just by ourselves.
It seems that Industrial / Gothic music hasn't really been in the limelight in the last few years (that is not spoken well about), so with Deathstars do you feel that you bring something new to the table?
Yeah, I think we always have since when we started off in the underground metal scene, then we met Ole and Jonas so for us it's kind of an ongoing experiment and hopefully we brought something new to the genre (I'm not going to be the judge of that), so for us it's more like it's getting better and better as a band and looking over our career we feel we have been successful, so it's more about continuing to do what do we best.
Your original tour dates for the UK have been pushed back to November, could you perhaps shed some light on this? (Plus this won't be the first time you've played here, more like your 3rd or 4th?)
This was because the album was not done, our booking agency wanted us to go on tour without the album being released and to us that did not make sense, we felt it would be better for people to have heard the album before going on tour so that's the reason. So there was some communication problems.
Yeah I can't remember I mean we've been there so many times, I think we must do about 200 shows in a year, but with England we've been there many times. It seems that this was the best for us because for us and the UK it has always been kind of special.
With the November tour are you playing alongside bands from Sweden or bands over here?
We have a support band this year, The Dead & Living will join us for some weeks during the European tour and as for the rest of the world, I don't know as it's very different. We're going to South America and so will probably just play by ourselves and then we're going to North America, again not sure about that one and also Asia, so this year is going to be different. So I can't really comment on that, but everyone should check out the support band we have, in fact we're very happy that they are going on tour with us - they are a very good band.
Would that be your first time playing in South America? If not what was the crowd reception like?
Oh no, nope, we've been touring there before and the crowd reception was very good, we've noticed that some fans sleep outside the venues the night before, it's so different from Europe and they're so much more passionate and dedicated. You'll even find them meet you at the airports and so on, it's another thing and of course in Russia it's kind of the same thing, but we're really looking forward to going there - I just gotnews that we're probably going to be starting there with 5 shows in Mexico now, before the European tour. It's a lot of touring again...
This might be a bit of an obvious question, but does the heat really affect you guys?
Yeah I guess it's always tough even when it's hot, so we take care when out in the warm weather even though I now live in Italy and heat is not really my favorite thing, nope you know I'm from Scandinavia; I like that kind of weather (laughs) - dark and cold and permafrost.
Regarding some of the music video's you've done over the years, which one was / is your favorite?
Videos... yeah I mean it's hard with videos as I think it's something that is kind of outside to what the band is doing, in one way because it's the director, the one person putting the visual theme on a song, so it's more like kind of a spectacle (music videos).
But I think maybe, I like 'Blitzkrieg' a lot because I wanted it to be on a graveyard for airplanes - that was even my plan - and we humored on the idea of a graveyard of planes a lot, but planes from the war in Serbia but didn't seem to cut it into the final video so there was this other stuff, but yeah I'd say 'Blitzkrieg'.
And what of the meaning behind the music video?
(Laughs), people shouldn't ask me because they can look at it and place any interpretation onto it however they want and really, they should ask the director of the production company we used. In the beginning we have like screens and on the set during a couple of days, there's a lot of scenes that we kept doing, then when it was edited we wanted it to be re-edited for several times so in the end it comes out as something different that we originally was looking for. So it's more like a spectacle...
However it would be nice to direct a music video of our own sometime, maybe it would be completely different (laughs). Probably, probably when we might just get bored and then we're like 'it's a wrap, we're done' (laughs).
Now as "The Perfect Cult" is coming out in June, and you have already done one music video "All The Devil's Toys", will there be any more music videos?
We've been discussing it and this was just a couple of days ago, so probably hopefully we will do more music videos for the album, I think everyone want's that.
Now since Deathstars will be turning 15 next year, [interrupted by Whiplasher]...
OHHHHH!!!!!! YEAH! Officially 'teenager', 15? That's when people started having sex, now we will have to try even more now and that's a good thing you mentioned it - we haven't had a life of getting into girls pants (laughs)... [GMA: And that's what the delay between the last album and this album has been all about?], (laughs) yeah I mean when we started out, yeah I guess the girls... I mean you can look at it in the aspect that the girls were pedophiles because they were so young, like kids...
So with the 15th anniversary coming next year, will you be doing an anniversary release compilation?
Nah, we haven't yet thought about that, we did a compilation "The Greatest Hits On Earth" for the Rammstein tour (2011), also because it was we kind of wanted to wrap up that chapter and Ole stopped playing the drums in the band, so it was kind of wrapping up and starting fresh on this album (The Perfect Cult). But as for another compilation I haven't really thought about it, so we wish we will have more sex with the girls, that's how we will celebrate it.
Do you feel that metal and rock in Sweden is more appreciated than any other genre?
Everyone I know in Stockholm plays in a band, it's like they're in more or less famous rock bands, sometimes in metal bands so of course it's very appreciated, especially when now everyone plays it's considered a big thing. But of course we've always got a history with successful music, in Sweden there are so many people working in the music industry and I think it gets into a spiral, which is where everyone looks at each other and wants to be inspired by others so I can't it decreasing, but there's different kinds of scenes in Sweden like in Stockholm but also in different cities where there are different music styles. Like in Gothenburg for example it's all about Death Metal bands and metal music
Check out the new Deathstars music video here, taken from their forthcoming album "The Perfect Cult"
So we wouldn't see Deathstars in the Eurovision Song Contest next year in Austria?
Well the thing is, we got asked this year to appear in the 'Melodifestivalen', which is the competition for Eurovision in Sweden and is like the biggest television show there is, I cannot believe they actually asked us, because we would never do something like that. But it was a kind offer and I said that they don't have enough blood so. [GMA: although would a rock / metal style Eurovision be appealing?]... yeah, I can't really stand all these competitions, but yeah those getting into the finals must be quite a big thing.
Finally any hello's, thank you's, greetings you wish to express?
Well right now I'm isolating myself for a while, from everyone because I moved to the North of Italy so, I think it's nice to have a break some time and so I will say hello to everyone when I meet them again, see you in Stockholm and also on the tour.
"The Perfect Cult" is out 16th June 2014 via Nuclear Blast Records
For a list of tour dates click here.
The Defiled "just happened naturally, we didn't have any other talents in life so we just had to take our band seriously and make this who were are"
So prior to Motionless In White's show at the Kentish Town Forum on Saturday 21st September, Global Metal Apocalypse sat down with The Defiled's keyboardist The AvD and interrogated him about how the band is feeling about the tour so far, their history and future planning and how he got into metal music and playing it, slightly tired and hungover this interview was going places...
[AvD shouting to Stitch... no reply...]
You're touring with Motionless In White and this is the first time you've toured with the band, how is the tour going so far?
It's amazing, it's our first UK tour since 'Daggers' come out and it's great to be on the road with a band that has the same look and ethos as us and also this is like.. uh, we respect them as a band and the kids coming out care about what we're doing and it's just a really fun tour actually to be honest and there's a really good mutual respect, so yeah it's quite cool.
And of course now that you're signed to Nuclear Blast, you know you released 'Daggers' through Nuclear Blast, how did the label signing come about?
We were speaking to Roadrunner before and Mark Coleman at the UK section and basically Roadrunner UK shut down and the people who worked at Roadrunner UK went to work for Nuclear Blast and we continued talking, we recorded the album ourselves funded by the fans through the PledgeMusic campaign, so then we just put it out and let people buy into it instead of getting the label first and then people take it from the reverse which I advise every band to do because then we start from a mutual respect kind-of grounding with your label and yeah then we spoke to Mark again it was kinda like 'yeah of course you know we've always grown up listening to Roadrunner bands', and we respect his work a lot and we want to work with him so we jumped at the opportunity to be honest.
And you said that your fans ploughed money into the record, so do you think that these sort of opportunities for fans to support the bands that way, they feel more personal with the release than just having a release?
Well, lets say The Defiled wouldn't be around if it wasn't for them so it is personal, we have their names in the album, we know them, we have a very hardcore group of fans that we know them by their first names and we hang out and we're very lucky to have that on a personal level.
Now as you guys are predominantly from North London, how did the band start?
Well we met each other through mutual friends and started a band really, like I think we all have the same build, there has been many different changes like the line-up has changed loads of times, we weren't a real band for ages, but we've known each other for a really, really long time. It just happened naturally, we didn't have any other talents in life so we just had to take our band seriously and make this who were are so yeah man that's how it happened.
Personally how did you get into metal music and what enticed you to play the keyboards?
(laughs), what got me into metal music? I don't know, I think I bought an Obituary album. I used to go with my father, he used to have his hair cut twice a year, once year, once a year and I was allowed two records every time he got his hair cut (laughs) and so he would lead me into the record store and I just picked out two albums I liked the cover of, so I picked up an Obituary album and it was called "Cause Of Death" and I thought it was Satan's picking, I don't know anything about Satan but it scared me in a good way and I think that's what got me into metal, I mean I was 8 and listened to other stuff like rock, but that was the first proper heavy, growling thing I ever heard, I just couldn't believe that was on the record, yeah I loved it.
As for the keyboards, I wouldn't call myself a keyboard player as such, my first instrument was the drums, I used to be the drummer in The Defiled, I went to study music technology and that was like what I wanted to study for some reason (laughs) and I studied music technology and I'm very into production and you know making weird sounds, one of my favorite bands is Nine Inch Nails and that's what they do and are all about, I find it really interesting making textures and moods with just using a cue and atmospheres and, I don't know i just like it and I think that it makes the music more interesting, that's why I looked to do that, just I could sit there for days and my girlfriend would come to the studio to get me out to eat, I would just go days without eating, malnutrition and stuff, I just like sitting there and doing it and I guess that just translates into keyboards on the stage and buttons (laughs), so yeah that's it.
So you put your music as number one in daily life?
Oh yeah yeah definitely, music is my life, and I don't think I'd be, I mean i couldn't even start to think you know what i mean, what else there could be. I remember when I was at school I'd ask kinds 'so what kinds of music are you in to?' and I remember one kid that I remember to this day, he was like 'I don't even really listen to music' and I just couldn't understand what he meant, I just could not understand that so music to me is a fact of life.
Going back to the first gig you did with The Defiled, when you came off stage did you think to yourself 'This is what I want to do in the future, this is my chosen path'?
Yeah I think music was always my personal chosen path, I used to talk about The Defiled after the first gig, yeah I think we were very serious about it after we started gigging and stuff, we believed in ourselves when no one did, so and that's what you can do. We pushed throughout for a long time and we are just I think we're just weird people, we just don't take no for an answer and in the end everyone buckled (laughs), so yeah haha it is my chosen path. Definitely.
[Chris from Glamour of the Kill drops in and says a quick hello]
Are there any thank you's to fans, friends, family, band-members, management, PR you want to thank?
(laughs) yeah hehe, no I'd like to thank everyone that's supported our music and for making our dreams come true! That's all :)
"Daggers" is out now via Nuclear Blast, major stores and through all major online retailers
"Madeira wine is also famous as when the American declaration of Independence act was signed, the signers celebrated by drinking Madeira wine"
Genre: Melodic Gothic Metal
Label: Unsigned / Independent
It's been a year since Portugal's Sinmattic first released their debut self-titled EP, recently the Melodic Gothic Metal outfit has been upping their game in order to expand outside of their native Portugal through a number of endeavors, including the possibility of linking up with a Gothic Metal band from The Netherlands. GMA found some time to sit down with Ivo Durães and Pedro Antunes from Sinmattic and discuss what they have done and what they plan to do, furthermore a discussion about the Portuguese Metal scene, it's economic situation and other related questions circulating Portugal and Sinmattic.
So guys coming from Portugal, what is the metal scene like and what problems have there been?
Pedro: Unfortunately, Metal is not very marketable in Portugal, this is a very small country which makes the Metal scene even smaller and very underground. Metal songs very seldom reach the top here, unlike other types of music. This makes it even harder for us to live out of our music, and we have to try our best to reach other countries and make our music more known outside our country.
Ivo: It's so underground that I still have dirt in my mouth since the last gig! No seriously… the Metal scene here is small, it's easy to know almost everyone from every other band! But I tell you this, it may be small but there is a lot, and I mean a LOT of quality around here! There are great bands achieving great things! The main problems we face are to do with the lack of support from radios and other Media sources, and the practical inexistence of a circuit for Metal bands to play around the country… most of the clubs hire cover bands! This may be good for them but for bands that play only original material its complicated.
Now since the onset of Portugal switching from the Escudo to the Euro, how has this impacted on the band in general and your daily lives? Is equipment cheaper or more expensive?
Pedro: Like most of Europe, we've been going through an enormous economical crisis, so it ends up affecting our lives because there's less funding and support for whatever you want to do, not just music.
Ivo: Our band is relatively new so I can't say much about that. I had my real first electric guitar offered to me by my mom and brother around the end of 2007, a brand new Ibanez and because of that it was a tad more costly than a second hand instrument… but that’s the thing, no matter the currency, instruments can be bought for fair prices if you know where to find them.
How did the band name come about and where there any other potential names for the band?
Pedro: I remember a lot of names for the band before “Sinmattic” showed up on our minds, but let's not go there :P
Ivo: I’m going ahead and saying that we had some really silly names before we settled with Sinmattic! But like Pedro, I won't reveal them… for now. But we wanted something unique, something that you don’t find in like 500 results when you Google it! We had a pretty big brainstorm, thinking about art on all of its forms… came up with “cinema” and after some more brainstorming… “SINMATTIC”! And yeah, we are still very happy with the name.
Individually how did you get into metal music, playing Gothic Metal and who do you take your influences from?
Pedro: Personally I discovered Metal in my adolescent years, and exploring that led me to bands like Nightwish, Epica, and other Symphonic Metal bands. It was because of them that I decided to learn the piano and start writing my own songs. So I went to music schools, learned and started working on my own ideas. Sinmattic came after other projects that didn't work that well. Nowadays I take influences from various styles of music, not just Metal, because you should listen to many artists and inspire yourself with as many genres as you can to keep it versatile and interesting enough in your own band. The rest of the inspiration will come from the events that surround you, and your own personal experiences.
Ivo: I have to blame my brother for listening to Metallica, AC/DC, Sepultura, Manowar, etc. when I was just a little kid! At that time I never really liked it, I was more concerned about playing football with my friends… but then something happened! My parents offered me an acoustic guitar (which I still have and still sounds cool) and I started learning by myself, watching Metallica live shows, DVDs and such! But I had help from my father, he was a guitarist too… he introduced me to other great bands like Deep Purple, Dire Straits, Ten Years After, Led Zeppelin, etc! All the legends of the electric guitar and that was the real trigger for me! After a while, like some natural law, I found myself listening, enjoying and playing Metal. But I was always more into Thrash metal, the Gothic taste came when I started playing with these guys.
After playing a gig or tour, how do you all take 'chill time', how do you relax?
Pedro: I try to rest as much as I can, get a good night's sleep and keep my energies balanced for the next day.
Ivo: Resting is always a good option, I like watching movies and hanging around with my lady, we do a lot of stuff together. I also enjoy gaming when I can, I must confess I am bit of a geek!
What is the Portuguese metal scene like in terms of what festivals are there, venues, labels, media, etc?
Ivo: There are a few good Metal festivals, some are building their name up outside of Portugal which is good, it makes people come from other countries! Vagos Open Air is a good example. About venues, that’s more complicated… like I said earlier in this interview, most of them prefer to hire cover bands or bands from other styles of music, leaving Metal bands with only a few places to show their work. Labels? I only know two relevant labels that represent some Metal bands… about Media, there are some cool webzines that support the scene and spread the word! And we also have a national metal magazine, but their support for local / national bands is still very weak.
For those who do not know Sinmattic, what song should they check out and why? What is the meaning behind the song?
Ivo: I recommend listening to our EP. It's four songs only but each one very different from the other… that’s SINMATTIC! We can sound melodic and mellow, but at the same time we have that heavy and furious part that in my opinion makes us stand out.
Now Portugal of course is renowned for it's red wine, what else is Portugal popular for (besides football and wine)? What wine would you each recommend?
Pedro: Well, I know Portugal is also famous for its typical food, so I'd suggest coming here and trying some of our good restaurants and meals.
Ivo: Cant tell you much about wine, there are a lot of brands… lets stick with beer! Only two major brands and both good, these are Super Bock and Sagres respectively! Portugal is more than food, wine and football. Our landscape is beautiful, our weather is nice, lots of beautiful monuments, old castles and palaces, rich culture… oh and Port wine is very famous but our red wine its also famous, Madeira wine is also famous as when the American declaration of Independence act was signed, the signers celebrated by drinking Madeira wine. They didn't sign it WITH wine, hahaha.
Are the youth of today encouraged to learn an instrument or is purely voluntary? How do most bands organize local gigs?
Pedro: I think there are still many parents who encourage their children to learn music or play an instrument, but it depends on their own ideas and experiences. There are also many cases where it's voluntary and children ask their parents about playing an instrument, especially in their adolescent years. It also depends, though, since it's not easy to be successful only by playing music.
Ivo: Pedro said it all but I’ll just add that with so many great musicians to get inspiration from I think its easy to encourage the youngsters to learn an instrument and become good at it! About local gigs, the main concern is to get a venue / club. Then it's just a matter of talking to bands, deciding which dates are the best, cash values and such. Of course, this happens on a good day.
Individually, sum up what Sinmattic's live performances are like and who have you played with / looking forward to play with or want to play with?
Pedro: I think we have a lot of energy and great interaction with our audience. We love playing on stage and it shows, because even when we had a bad day our bad energies disappear completely once we set foot on stage and start playing our songs. It's all about the show and enjoying music.
What are the band's plans for the rest of 2013? Any New Years gigs? Partying?
Pedro: Right now we are working on some new songs and trying to achieve the right conditions to record our debut album. The plan is also to keep playing live and taking our music to as many people as possible. If the opportunity comes, we might do a New Year's Concert, who knows?
Finally are there any thank you's and greeting's you wish to express to friends, fans, family, etc?
Pedro: We are very grateful to every person who supports us in any way – a like on Facebook, a share, a supportive comment or even a listen. Also, everyone who shows up at our gigs and supports our shows. Those have been the people who give us energy and will to keep fighting for our music and try to do a better job every day.
Ivo: Every kind of support counts, no matter what people say about us! a simple like on our page may trigger other ones and that may lead to more listeners. I wish to thank every single person who supports and keeps supporting us everyday! And of course, thank you Rhys for your kindness and support!
Sinmattic's debut self-titled EP is out now via the band themselves
In Italy "It’s really hard to be noticed and not be compared with veterans like Lacuna Coil".
Country - ITALY
Genre - GOTHIC METAL
Label - REVALVE RECORDS
Since your debut album 'Fall From Heaven' dropped last year, what has been happening in the camp? Have there been any new songs? Any line up changes?
Yes, a lot of things have happened. Lately we had an important line-up change. In fact our drummer Zeljko left and went back to his hometown in Serbia. So our new drummer is Paolo Faccioni, he is a great drummer and a funny boy! On the 31st May we re-released our album “Fall From Heaven” with some new distributors.
Taken that Gothic Metal is a fairly popular genre globally, is it popular in Italy? What bands are there in this genre?
In Italy it’s not the most popular genre. Anyway there are some great bands like Lacuna Coil, Mandragora Scream, Theatres Des Vampires, etc.
Do you feel the Italian metal scene is not getting enough attention that it deserves?
It’s a matter of fact that in Italy there are loads of metal bands, but really few are known internationally. Anyway for newcomers it’s really hard to be noticed and not be compared with veterans like Lacuna Coil.
How did Sin Deadly Sin get signed to Revalve Records and what was your fans reaction to this?
We got signed by Revalve Records after being contacted by the label’s management. They heard our music on MySpace and we met and found out there could be a great cooperation.
Has Sin Deadly Sin played any festivals and have you (or are you) played / playing outside of Italy?
Last year we played at few big festivals, like Metalcamp in Slovenia and Metalfest in Croatia. We have also played at the biggest open air festival in our country like Rock Im Ring and Alpenflair, and at some contests.
What future plans does the band have and what challenges would you say lay ahead for the band?
We are looking for some opportunities to play live and promote our music in Europe.
Finally are there any hello's, thank you's, greetings you wish to say to friends, family, fans, etc?
Yes, we’d like to thank all of our fans and supporters, everyone who enjoyed our music, our label, and of course, you Rhys!
On about Symphonic / Gothic Metal:
I caught up with vocalist Charlotte Wessels of Dutch Symphonic / Gothic Metallers Delain about their history, talking about the change of record labels that has been going on, festivals and tours they are playing at or have played in the not so distant past and questions about the Dutch Metal scene. Apologies for the unwanted noises in the background, I believe it was due to connection issues.
The interview can be heard above.