Interview by Erwin Van Dijk
An Interview with Nera from Darzamat. Nera (real name Agnieszka Górecka) is the singer of Darzamat, a Polish symphonic death metal band. Darzamat will release their latest album, “Solfernus’ Path” at the 28th of August. 2009.
Did you always want to become a singer?
Yes and no, I mean I’ve been singing here and there since I can remember and I knew that music would be a part of my life this or the other way. But it wasn’t my big plan to sing in a band. I’ve always treated it as a great hobby, an escape from everyday life, a perfect way to express myself. However I am very happy I ended up doing what I do.
And to what kind of music do you listen yourself?
Well, I try not to limit myself to one and only genre. I think it is the only way to evolve and free your mind, which doesn’t mean I can force myself to listening to techno. I always pick music depending on my mood, so the range of it is quite wide: different kinds of rock and metal, ambient, smooth jazz and some classical music.
And who are your favourite bands and musicians?
At the top of my list there are Peccatum, Emperor, Ulver, Opeth, Pink Floyd, Leszek Mozdzer, Satyricon and some soundtracks like from Twin Peaks, Requiem for a dream, Dracula or Bastard.
Did you have any other bands before Darzamat and/or are you active in any other bands now besides Darzamat?
Yes, I started in a doom/gothic metal band I co-founded, but that was years ago. Now I am dedicated to Darzamat, although I have to admit I’ve been preparing my own project called NeraNature, which is very feminine and private piece of music.
What does the name Darzamat mean?
The name comes from Latvian mythology and it denotes garden goddess (“darzs” – “garden”, “mate” – “mother”), which I really like as it seems to me very “organic”, close to the nature and paganism.
And how would you describe your music?
The fact is that Darzamat‘s music differs a bit from album to album, but it always keeps the sound and melody characteristic of the band. I don’t like talking about music, as it should be listened to. If you would like to know what we do today, check out songs from the last albums at: www.myspace.com/darzamat
Since you cannot erase more than 40 years of communism within a few decades, what are the differences between Poland and the rest of Eastern Europe and the spoiled West Europe when it comes to metal as music and life style?
Actually, when it comes to music, the differences are pretty blurred now. Luckily we’ve got the borders opened and as you know thoughts fly fast The worst situation is when it comes to economy. The good quality instruments cost a fortune in terms of Polish earnings, so lots of talented people are stopped at the very beginning of their possible career. The other problem is the lack of the social approval towards metal music. We live in a Christian country and as a consequence we’ve been treated as renegats and satanists. But at least we’ve got something to fight for (laugh).
Is there any reason why you used English versions of your names on the Darzamat MySpace?
Those are our nicknames, not real names.
Markus is the session bass player – will he go with you on tour or are you looking for some one else?
Marcus‘s been playing with us only for a few months and he’s doing really well. We just need to get to know better one another and then the decision to have him as a permanent member will be made.
You are about to release your fifth album, “Solfernus’ Path”. This album will be released by Massacre Records and it will be your first concept album. Massacre Records is not the smallest label and they are the home of bands like Atargatis, Legion of the Damned, Crematory and King Diamond. Why did you choose for Massacre Records?
As far back as in the late 90′s the band was close to signing a deal with them; unfortunately it didn’t come through. So, after all these years we are all the more thrilled to see that the “Solfernus’ Path” ultimately led us back to Massacre Records door (laughs) and that finally we will have a chance to work together. As far as our expectations are concerned, we’d really appreciate much better promotion of our band than we experienced before. The previous companies we worked with had much, much smaller possibilities. That is why I’m positive that thanks to Massacre Records we will take a leap forward. I firmly believe that the experience which the MR staff has gained over the years will result in the chance for many more to even get a hold of Darzamat‘s albums. We put a lot of hope in the promotion and distribution prospects of the “Solfernus Path” album and also we are really looking forward with great curiosity to seeing the fruit of our cooperation with Massacre Records over our future albums.
Concept albums are not the easiest pieces to write. Did you plan to write a concept album from the start or did the album evolve into one while writing the songs?
We had the idea of the concept long time before the music was composed. It just needed some time to be born, some research to be done, some ideas to be put together. This time it was Flauros to take care of the whole story. I found it impossible to take part in it, as it had to be a coherent story invented by one mind.
Speaking of song writing, is this teamwork in Darzamat or is there one mastermind who writes the lyrics and music?
It is a kind of a collective work. The instrumentalist compose pieces of music, then the vocalists write lyrics. I also invent all the melodies I sing. Then me and Flauros make vocal arrangements and in the end we all take care of the songs’ arrangement.
What is the story behind “Solfernus’ Path”?
The story told on the album takes place in a mystic scenery as provided by Countess Josephine von Küchmeister’s manor, the inspiration for which we derived from two truly fantastic places in Silesia, namely the Willa Caro in Gliwice and the palace in Plawniowice. The tale itself is set in the beginning of the 20th century. Our main hero is a young medical student who undergoes a spiritual transformation – he experiences the existence of the incorporeal world and perceives the other side. The whole story is permeated by a fairytale-like atmosphere, full of occult key concepts. Nothing is obvious, nothing is predictable. Naturally, the eponymous Solfernus is not the main hero, he’s just a gray eminence. This character is respectfully lifted from a work entitled “Playing with the Devil”, written by Czech dramatist Jan Drda. Still, this is just inspiration, an impulse which does not mean we take Drda’s story as-is. In fact, his play is grotesque and rather humorous. Our story, on the other – left! – hand (laughs) has a totally different character, closer to horror stories of a Polish classic Stefan Grabinski than to the work of the Czech playwright.
Andy LaRocque from King Diamond (and he appeared on the Death album “Individual Thought Patterns”) also has done a part for “Solfenus’ Path”. How was it to work with him again? Also Andy LaRocque was the producer of the Darzamat album “Transkarpatia” (2005)….
Yes, we did meet during the sessions for our previous album. We’ve been in touch ever since, and when another occasion for cooperation arose, we didn’t hesitate for a second. Him playing a solo on a Darzamat album was a dream come true; it was really supernatural that he agreed to participate in the sessions. This is the most important album in the history of the band, and it took us a lot of work. We poured loads of energy and emotions into it, and the presence of LaRocque on this album is the crown jewel in the whole structure.
Another familiar name is Jonas Kjellgren from Scar Symmetry. Did you look for another producer this time or was it clear from the start that Jonas would be on the job again?
We were well acquainted with Jonas‘s previous production work: Katatonia, Sonic Syndicate, Centinex or Steel Attack, to name but a few. But it was our friend Marek Dobrowolski, drummer for One Man Army and the Undead Quartet, who recommended Jonas to us, as he had worked with him before and knows his skills and abilities first-hand. The preliminary talks with the Scar Symmetry guitar player made us feel very optimistic. Jonas mixed one song of ours and the effect was staggering. It only reinforced the idea that it had to be him. The cooperation was smooth; Jonas is very patient and listens carefully to any sort of suggestions from the band. In my view, he is presently one of the best young generation producers, in Europe anyway.
The main difference between “Solfernus’ Path” and it’s forerunners it the fact that “Solfernus’ Path” is a concept album. Are there other differences as well when it comes to the music on the album?
I feel a completely new quality was brought in to our music. Additionally, we realized that this album was supposed to create interest in the record label circles. That’s why we took extra care not only to write and record great music, but also to achieve the best possible sound. Plus, we paid a lot of attention to the visual side of the whole endeavor, working on the photos and the cover. All details of music, arrangements and the artwork were taken into consideration. I’m positive that after getting acquainted with the album, the fans are going to say that it was really worth the wait. Getting back to the music itself, this time around we started working on everything much earlier. Before entering the studio we prepared a very good demo. That allowed us to work out all the small details well before the real thing started. I admit we worked like this for the first time and we are really satisfied with such tactics. When you listen to the practically ready piece which sounds as good as it can at the preproduction stage, you can analyze the arrangements one more time and have less of a trouble imagining its final shape. Entering the studio(s), we knew exactly what we wanted and how the songs were supposed to sound. And our guidelines were simple enough: to record the most thought-out album in the history of Darzamat, on which there would be at least a couple of truly fantastic songs. I know we did just that (laughs), but that’s also for the fans to decide.
Darzamat is will appear on the Metal Female Voices Fest this year. Darzamat was supposed to do a gig at this festival in 2007 but had to cancel it sadly. What can we expect?
Let’s hope the best! (laugh) No, seriously- exactly because of the fact we couldn’t appear there last year, we would like to double the energy for all those who expected to see us and were disappointed. We promise to do our best and additionally it will be a chance to present some stuff from the new album.
And the last question: is there anything the reader should know that I have not asked?
If there is, I believe we will have some more talk in the future.
Thank you for your time!
Thank you for your interest in Darzamat! Horns up!
Photos by Sebastian Cviq
Interview by Ary R.
Cadaveria is one of the most famous Italian black metal bands ever. A new album will be released soon and I had the chance to exchange some words with the resolute frontwoman, Cadaveria, who has explained in short what Cadaveria means in the “horror metal” music scene and what’s music for her.
Hi Cadaveria, welcome to Femme Metal.net. How are you? You’ll release your new album this year and it’s called “Horror Metal”, it will be released via Baker Team. Would you like to reveal something about it?
Our new album entitled “Horror Metal” is already in stores, since January 31st 2012. We are really excited about it as we are very satisfied of how we worked and about the final result. Fans and critics seem to have the same opinion. All the tracks have been written with our new guitar player Dick Laurent. I can say this new entry brought new energy in the band and let us approach to Horror Metal songwriting with a great enthusiasm, as it was our debut album. This feeling can be perceived in the sound, that has been renewed, without distorting its nature. This is surely the most obscure, sick and complete album Cadaveria has even released.
Cadaveria is an italian black metal band, founded in 2001 and you come from a reality that was previously formed by Opera IX. Would you like to give us, shortly, a little biography of the band, for those people who still haven’t listened to your music?
When me and Marçelo Santos (aka Flegias) decided to start a journey into the Metal music it was 1990. After some clumsy hardcore efforts, we entered Opera IX, bringing the female growling voice to the metal scene’s attention. In that period just Sabina Classen from Holy Moses was known in the scene. In 2001 we split up from Opera IX and decided to found a new band, ‘cause we felt we had more different ideas to propose in this musical circle and wanted to unbound ourselves from the stereotypes of the genre we had played with our previous band. From that day on we have ever been in creative ferment and full of new initiatives. Even if in ten years we released only four albums, we think to have done our best and now we can look at our past albums with no regrets. We have got great satisfactions from the gigs we played abroad, in Europe and Central America, and from the fact the number of our fans is still growing day by day.
As I’ve said, this year your new album will be released for Baker Team. I know that, previously, you had a record deal with Scarlet Records and right after with Season of Mist, that have released your previous album, “In Your Blood” (2007). How was born the collaboration with this label?
When we recorded our debut album “The Shadow’s Madame” Scarlet Records showed an immediate interest towards Cadaveria band. With them the cooperation continued also for the second full length. When we were going to release our third album “In Your Blood”, we had a look around, to see if we could embrace a larger market and reaching more fans with a foreign and well structured label. Season of Mist answered it was interested in producing the album. It seemed a good idea, also ‘cause this label has a division in the US. But being a larger label it was less interested in a specific and targeted promotion. For this reason, with our fourth album “Horror Metal”, we decided to come back to Scarlet’s home, that in the meanwhile had created Bakerteam, a division of the main label, more focused on out style. Now we feel at home, we work with our friends and all is more simple. With renewed spurs we are now working better and all of us is doing his best to promote this new release.
Your style is coined as “horror metal”. Could you please explain who had the idea to stick this name to the sound of the band and above everything, the reason why about it?
To be honest I don’t remember exactly who used this definition for the first time to describe our sound, maybe Scarlet Records itself in the period of our debut album release… Anyway, what is sure is that, since then, all fans and critics started using this term to identify Cadaveria style. We liked this, ‘cause finally horror metal doesn’t mean anything specific, ad we love not to be classified and restricted inside a specific genre. If you listen to a Cadaveria album you can find many influences: from the first Black Sabbath to the most recent Tool, passing through Celtic Frost and Death. You know, every label is too tight for this, while a vague term like horror metal is perfect to play our game. Finally with this last album we have played with the word “Horror”: many lyrics have been inspired by horror movies, as well as the band pictures… and the atmospheres you can perceive in these eleven new tracks are surely dark, sick and horror-oriented! So, nothing better than Horror Metal to come back on the scenes after five years!
Cadaveria is surely one of the few italian black metal bands that became famous in a quite extreme and perhaps little-known music scene in Italy. How was the idea of creating a band that has your own name born?
Well, when we went and play abroad with Opera IX, fans welcomed us shouting “Cadaveria, Cadaveria…”. After the split for me and Flegias was simple and natural to use my nickname for the band. This created a sort of continuation, as the singer is always the same. For us it was important to be recognized by fans and that fans knew which were our origins.
You are a very curious band, since all members have the name of a “bad guy” or a movie title by David Lynch. Who started the idea of having an “alter ego” for the band? Especially, how the choice of various “nicknames” was born?
Also in this case we didn’t think about this so much. We are great fans of David Lynch and we love his movies. The ‘bad men’ of his movies have spine and are more interesting than good characters. They remain in your mind as Lynch is used to create a sort of caricature for bad guys. Our music genres is, for definition, bad, disturbed and sometimes abstract, exactly like Lynch’s movies. On stage, as well as on the cinema set, who is under spotlights is an artist and, as artists, we love to play with our image, we like transforming it and we like to be theatrical. So we used Lynch’s bad guy names as the role performed by an actor. Each Cadaveria band member chose the name according to his taste and considering the temperamental affinities with the movie character.
Ok, let’s go back to the album. I’ve got a little chance to listen to it and I was under the impression of having seen some references to atmospheric gothic metal, thrash metal, death metal and especially black metal; in short, there is a bit of everything. How did you decide to try all these styles on a unique album?
Well I have already explained this mix of genres, while I was talking about the term horror metal. This mix can be found in all our albums. Probably this time it is more tangible and evident.
You are known for your image, for being a resolute and powerful woman, but also for your kind of singing that is sometimes more melodic and sometimes it becomes “growl” and aggressive. How do you balance everything? How do you train your own voice?
When I started shouting on the microphone it was just a dirt and rotten growl. Along these twenty years I experimented new vocal solutions, shifting my limits, in order to use and mix the clean vocals and the growl in a more harmonious way, sometimes adding a third way, that is the screaming, a sort of middle stage between growl and clean (or, if you prefer, a more feminine growl sang doing a melody), that is more theatrical and emotional. In all these cases I’m in continuous studying and development. The balance is a question of mind, this duplicity reflects my way of being. My mind tells my body how to emit the voice.
I should admit that this album is very chameleon: there’s a lot of different genres, a very good production behind it, a good mixing, all elements that differ themselves to the previous albums, like “Far Away From Comformity” and “In Your Blood”. How the production of the album has been and especially how was the album born?
Yes, the composition process for this album was a bit different from the ones used fot the previous CDs. Dick Laurent, Marçelo Santos and I composed the most part of the songs. The following phase took place in the recording studios, where Frank Booth developed all the arrangements. We dedicated a lot of time to the production, with Killer Bob at the mixer, in order to create that powerful and rough sound you can listen in “Horror Metal”. All this requested hard work and long time, but we were not in a hurry and our final goal was to go near perfection.
If you could introduce the record with your own words, which words would you use to present it to the fans or to the press?
The most obscure and powerful album even released by the shadows’ madame!
What kind of meaning does this record have for you? What is it for you?
It is the umpteenth birth and like all child birth is the result of efforts and sacrifices, but finally the product gives you a great satisfaction and the memory of the efforts disappears. The more the result is good, the most satisfaction is amplified.
How do you think will it be the reaction of the fans for this new record? Do you think it will be appreciated?
The vast majority of the reactions are extremely positive, and this let us understand we worked the right way. Sure, the detractors are always under the corner, especially if there is a girl singing, but we are accustomed to this and, above all, without rumors you would not be nobody.
Have you already scheduled a European tour or something “big” right after the release of the album?
No, by now we are just doing some live shows and festivals in Italy. Foreign offers are arriving, but it is early to advertise them. We will spread them through our Facebook page and on our website as soon as all will be defined.
This was my last question. Thanks so much for your time. Would you like to tell something to Cadaveria fans and to our readers?
Thanks a lot for the space you dedicated to us. I would like to invite all readers to check out our new album “Horror Metal”. If you cannot find it in the music stores of your city, you can get it online, directly from our website.
Style switcher only on this demo version. Theme styles can be changed from Options page.
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