Interview by Roberta Ilaria Rossi
Heaven Rain is a band that comes from Bosnia Herzegovina and the sound you propose to the audience is a sort of symphonic metal, with some power and hard rock melodies. Already known in the native country, this band has released the debut album in 2008 and now it’s ready to rock Europe with the second album, “Second Sun” and in occasion of the official release, I had the pleasure to talk with Miona Graorac, the lead singer of the band.
Today FM has the pleasure to exchange some word with the singer of the Bosnian band Heaven Rain, Miona Graorac. Welcome to our website, Miona. Would you first introduce something about yourself and your band?
Thank you! And the pleasure is mine. First of all I’d like to thank you for the opportunity to introduce us better to our fans and the entire metal population. Well, I could describe ourselves as a couple of enthusiasts who did their best in the environment they live and work in, and who tried to present themselves, their work, spirit, creativity and positive energy through notes. Unfortunately, conditions we live in don’t allow us to live only out of music, so we’ve managed to get a blend of different professions and interests gathered around a mutual goal. I myself am an economist, with a good taste in music 🙂
Heaven Rain is a band that comes from Bosnia Herzegovina and as we already mentioned, you’re the new vocalist of this band. How did your adventure into the musical field started?
My adventure started a long time ago, as a keyboard player. That is my first love, as a schooled pianist. Later on, as I stepped further through musical genres, some of famous singers made a huge influence on me to explore singing more profoundly and try myself out as a singer. I started out, first in my previous bands and later in Heaven Rain. We already knew each other as a proved musicians,and were friends in our private lives, so after their lineup changes and dilemmas, our cooperation came as a result of well thought-through decisions of the bands future.
After having replaced the former singer, Božidar Šević, finally the band started its own path into metal scene. Heaven Rain signed a deal record and it has released the debut album called “Far and Forever”, after then there were some changes inside the line up, which was finally completed thanks to your entrance and to the one who has seen a new guitar player: Igor Dragelj. Now you’re back with a new record, “Second Sun”. What could you tell about this album? Was it your first experience in a studio or have you had some other chances before?
Yes, on this first album, the guys showed their creativity and potential, so I was glad to see them move on further, even though in our country it meant dealing with windmills. Now, we have a strong line up, which is ready for higher goals, meaning dedicating more time, efforts and resources to this mutual project. It was crucial for this band that all of its members have exactly the same view on the future actions and goals. I already had plenty of experience in different studios, working with some more famous bands from this area, so Heaven Rain studio sessions went very fast and smoothly, since we’ve rehearsed the songs ’till perfection, before getting ourselves into this whole recording machine.
The band is chiefly straight to a symphonic metal sound, with some hard rock and power melodies. Indeed, your biggest influence comes from the Finnish school of power/symphonic metal (Sonata Arctica and Nightwish just to list some!). What is the origin of this decision to take a cue from so important band in this area?
As you could see, our keyboard player is a composer for most of our songs, so it is expected to have this symphonic sound. I think that this direction of metal offers the best opportunity for creativity to step in, and enables each and every member to focus on melodic lines and make their own variations of the theme. Of course, we’ve all listened to most famous bend of this genre, but there is so much more to give to this music, without having to be anybody’s shadow. We just really enjoy making something that is really of our own.
Don’t you think that maybe the result can be a little “copied” or unsatisfactory? Maybe some fans may find this choice a bit ‘risky’… As you know, nowadays many bands, albeit influenced by some others, try to imitate them even managing to fail.
On the contrary. You will always have copycats vs. creators, in every area of life. This is a well known fact. I already mentioned that our keyboard player is the author of most of our songs; so naturally, we have a big symphonic influence. The other fact is that I am a female singer. But this is the place where I would put an end to this resemblance. All of the bands you’ve mentioned have melodic and soft female vocals. This is not the case. I’ve started with blues, funk, and finally found myself as a huge hard rock soul, and I’ve built the color of my voice and my technique according to that. I’ve brought this sound to Heaven Rain and along with our guitarist Igor Dragelj; we’ve made a recognizable sound and gave a personal stain to what we do. I think the fans have recognized it too.
Listening to the album, I’ve seen that you played a cover version of a 80’s pop classic song by a famous Yugoslavian band called Zana. This is quite curious. How did this happen? Could please reveal something about this anecdote?
Yes, this was a huge hit in those days 🙂 Our drummer Nebojša Lakić is a huge Yugo-nostalgic music fan. It was his major desire to tamper with this song, and as I said, we gathered around to have fun and good time as well, so the idea itself seemed so ridiculously brilliant, that we instantly put ourselves into it and made of it what you can hear as our bonus track 🙂 We’ve sent it to the original band Zana and they were amazed by what we’d done. Nowadays, we have a great support in that band, so I would like to use this opportunity and thank them once again
What could you tell us about the recording process of the album? Any funny episode to share with our fans?
Actually, it went pretty smoothly. We came well prepared into the studio, so the atmosphere was relaxed and not stressful. We’d record until 6 p.m. and then move on to a famous local club, for a big meal, cold drink and live performance of their local bands. Of course, since I have vocal cords instead of an instrument, I had to be quiet most of the time since the music was loud. So, the ones who had fortune to experience these episodes were boys 🙂
The record has some nice songs like the title track but I’ve seen that you have put in this album some songs that were already in your EP “Evolution” (2010). What has caused this decision? Was due to allow your fans to discover something more?
The “Evolution” EP was made in a time when we were still in a search for a good and reliable record label for our future material. The album itself was still not in our short-term plans, but once the representatives from Music Buy Mail contacted us, they were willing to make a deal for our new material which was to be recorded in terms we agreed. So it motivated us to work harder, and complete this “Evolution” process into a full album, so the songs were re-recorded and adjusted to my voice.
Ok, let’s talk about the cover artwork. What does it represent?
The cover art designer was recommended to us by Music Buy Mail, since he already collaborated with them, regarding their previous editions. He is a talented artist named Alex Yarborough. We checked out his earlier work more thoroughly and then we exchanged some ideas of how our cover art should look. He made a few samples, for which he thought they would suit us the best. Finally, we came across our current cover artwork which contained the entire mixture of our albums sensitivity and atmosphere. So, the answer to your question ‘what does it represent’, I would say ‘Simply, our album’. Not some metaphor, just the album itself. So if you’re trying to find a connection between a blonde angel on the cover and me, don’t.
Now that the album has been released, what will you do?
Well, now starts the part that all the bands love more than constant rehearsing and recording worries. We’ve currently working on our merchandise, since we’ve got our promo CD-s as well. When the work is done, we’ll be ready for our pending concerts and presentations. We have the biggest responsibility to our home-town members who have supported as all along, and according to that, we’re preparing a big album promotion back at home, and then we’ll be available and ready to play in every place we can maintain a minimum technical conditions to present ourselves to our fans outside our country as well.
What are your future goals?
I like to see this as our fresh start. The album is out and it’s now up to as to make the best of it. The songs are good, and so is our energy, and this has only showed us that it can be done, and that we have to push even harder. Our current goal is as wider auditorium as we can get. We’re working on a video for 2 songs. We picked our bonus track as our first one, because it’s the only song in our native language and this is mainly for our local fans. The other one will be either album title track “Second Sun” or “Heaven Rain”, depending on the taste of wider audience. This will enable us bigger marketing break-through and hopefully more interest to our album, which we are ready to present live in a near future.