Interview by Vard AmanWe’ve already interview Romania’s Power Metal band Magica during the promo of their fifth album “Dark Diary”, now it’s time for an update and we’ve asked few questions to the leading lady Ana Mladinovici about the new album “Center of the Great Unknown”. What will be this center of the great unknown? Well, let’s read it from her words…. Hi Ana, welcome back to Femme Metal Webzine. Robin interviewed you in 2010 about your previous album, “Dark Diary”. So, I hope you’ve been happy and going from strength to strength since…. To start off, did “Dark Diary” do as well as you had hoped?
Hello FMW! It’s good to be back! I think that “Dark Diary” was the Magica album that pleased the greatest number of people. All the reviews were great and many fans congratulated us for it. But that’s that. We hope that it helped getting Magica noticed around the world.For those who are new to Magica, and for those who are yet to discover you; how would you describe the Magica sound?
We always think (and tell everyone) that our music is power metal, even though there are a lot of people that call us symphonic, or even gothic as well. The mere fact that we use a lyrical voice is not enough to categorise a genre.How has the sound progressed, and what can fans expect from the new album “Center of the Great Unknown”?
Well, I think everything is just so much better… we changed drummer, we changed the keyboard sound for guitar, we recorded better, and the sound is pro. The choice was made for 2 different reasons. Our keyboard player explained that he’s finding it increasingly impossible to appear on stage with us, because of his full-time envolvement with his other band. He proposed that he would only play on records and that we would then take backing tracks of the keyboards and link them live, in sync from a computer, like many other bands do. But after a lot of thought, I decided that Magica has to be 100% a live band and we opted not to do that……. since we were already making this change as well, I then opted not to look for a replacement keyboard player because my taste in music has changed since I started Magica. I’ve really begun to enjoy the sound that 2 guitars have in a band….. So now, it’s everything to guitars and convert all melodies and organ leads to the guitar. I think fans get a new maturity of composition, crispier sound, in your face guitar work and Ana, better than ever.The lyrical themes for “Center of the Great Unknown” are really interesting, being based on certain books. Can you tell us more about that?
The ideas for this 2012 album came from books that Bogdan and I were reading really. It started with some news about arctic expeditions, continued with some research about Admiral Byrd‘s attempts to reach the north and south pole by air and then derived further from a series of books written around the year 1800 about the hollow earth. The album is based mainly on “The Diary Of Admiral” by R.E. Byrd, “Godess of Atvatabar” by W. Bradshaw, “Beasts, Man and Gods” by F.A.Ossendowsky and a few more authors and adventurers. If you dig further for deeper meanings from each song, it would look like this:
“Center of the Great Unknown”: The title track of the album gives the initial idea for the rest of the songs. It is all about the spark that ignites in an adventurer’s heart and drives him towards the mistery and the unknown, in the search for new hope.
“Masterspell” : A metaphor for life. The biggest spell in the universe is life; the greatest achivement is.. yourself!
“King of the World” : If you listen hard enough, there is a voice that speaks inside of you at each and every moment, helping you sort out what is right and what is not, giving you ideas, and guiding you on the best path you can possibly take. You can follow it if you want.
“Open” : If you would only open your heart, maybe you’ll find the answers you are looking for?
“The Earth Is Young?” : Written as a debate between creationists and evolutionists, the song finally chooses a side. Can you figure what that is?
“Step Into the Night” : A warning to the surface world to change it’s destructive ways.
“No Horizon” : The story of the actual journey we are taking, through the opening at the north pole.
“One Angry Gaia” : We think that this hollow ball we live on, has a conscience and a soul that is really pissed at us humans right now!
“Mark of Cain” : Really, a plea to hit the history books and maybe learn from the mistakes humankind did? And, not repeat them over and over again.
“Under the Auroras“: … We are all sons of the sky; under the auroras, our hearts together ignite.So, you would you say “Center of the Great Unknown” is another concept album?
Definitely yes!I see the new album has a very different line-up from the last one, and we talked about that at the beginning. But, tell us more about the new members and what they have brought to the Magica sound.
It’s actually not very different, but we have as you say, changed the rhythm section. Tibi, our new bass player, is a very versatile player with lots of blues and jazz in his background, so live he gives a very different groove to the band that we really like.
The bonus track on the record, is in Romanian, right? Do you plan to sing more songs in Romanian in future?
It is, that’s right. “Daca” is actually one of the first songs Magica ever wrote. We always liked it very much and thought it deserved a better production than the original one, which was recorded back in 2003, so we decided to take it back to the studio with this album. We like singing in our native tongue, it’s something different for the listener, but I don’t think we’ll do more than one or two songs per album like this.Are you finally making something of a living from Magica?
Unfortunately not! People should know that many metal bands do NOT make a living from this. The only ones that are able to do so, is big names like Within Temptation or Nightwish. In bands like Magica, all members have daily jobs.How is the metal scene in Romania currently? I hope we see a lot more good metal bands coming from Romania in the future.
The scene is growing, and there are more bands coming through….. There are more and more good bands coming up, but they really lack the support from clubs. Everything is a battle for survival. If you are headstrong and fixed on this style of playing, say ‘metal’, you will continue doing it, but if you dream about making some money out of it, forget it. You simply can’t.How would you compare your audiences in Romania to elsewhere in the world?
I think that Romanian metal fans are ok, but they are few and far between, so all bands suffer from this lack of sales….. We have some dedicated fans here, as we see in other countries, but sincerely, Romania is not a very fertile ground for metal.Romania is one of those countries that has always been high up on my “must visit” list. But I like / prefer to take in a country by trying to be part of it rather than just being a tourist. So, tell us a little bit about Romania – the people, the country, etc. What is it like living in Romania for you? How has it changed over the last 20-30 years?
We have an amazing country if you’re thinking about landscape and history. It certainly deserves at least a visit. Amazing mountains, fantastic castles, warm people….. We generally like it here, but I think too, we would leave it for the sake of music? As I said before, it is not good for rock bands. The vast majority of people listen to a disgusting genre of music, a mix between popular local folk and Turkish and Arab rhythms, combined with even worse lyrics. In the past decades Romania has changed yes, but 20 years is not enough time for people to loose their old habits and beliefs, dogmas and superstitions. There is a lot of stupidity in this area. And then, there are politicians…Shit…!! But that is a worldwide species, I think, no. Fuck them all! Nothing good for the ‘simple people’ ever came from politics!What are your plans for 2013?
2013 will be a little more cautious year for us I think, since Alma, my little girl is now a few months old and I want to give her all the attention that I am capable of. That doesn’t mean that if we get offers for festivals or tours, we will not honour them. Of course, we will! They just have to be serious and professional!Thanks for chatting with us again! Good luck with the new album and with upcoming shows, etc.!
Thank you very much FMW! Horns up and see you on Facebook at www.facebook.com/metalmagica