Interview by Miriam Cadoni

Photo by Jeremi Astaszow ASTASHOW studio_DRUK

2021 doesn’t only represent the unfortunate coming of the COVID’s pandemic but also the comeback of one of the best Polish metal bands out there, the symphonic black metal legend Darzamat. After 12 years of silence from its latest release “Solfernus’ Path”, the band is back with revenge. Additionally, this year marks also the 15th anniversary of the masterpiece “Transkarpatia”. For this occasion, Femme Metal conducted an interview with the singer of the band, Agnieszka “Nera” Górecka. Let’s learn more about it. Enjoy!

Hi Nera, welcome back to Femme Metal Webzine. How are you and how life is treating you in these precarious days? 

Hi! Thanks, it’s not too bad. I don’t panic and I try to keep my balance in order not to go crazy in this shrunken life. Isolation has its good sides, because I’ve finally read books that I didn’t have time for before.

However, I must admit that I am suffering from the loss of social life, travels, concerts and other cultural events. I also see a deterioration in mental form in people around me, and that worries me the most. However, I hope that spring will bring some optimism and an improvement to the situation.

October 2020 marks the release of Darzamat’s sixth album “Philosopher at the End of the End of Universe”. What would you like to share about its general production? When did you start to collect the first ideas for it? 

Actually, “The Philosopher at the Ends of the Universe” is a continuation of a story of the character from the previous album. Having this person experienced his falls, pain and fear, now he manages to see himself as powerful creature who breaks all his barriers, crosses the unmeasured regions, and above all follows his inner voice. He doesn’t want to imitate anyone or follow any patterns anymore. So, he becomes a philosopher, someone who searches beyond the visible. Beyond what it taught to know and convinced to believe in. 

The music dates back to 3 years ago. The situation we were in was very comfortable because there was no rush, no contract and no deadlines. Indeed, each track underwent major changes – both in the lyrics and music. A few drastic changes even occurred at the recording stage. This time, all the studio work turned out to be a collection of many events and combinations. We had different sound engineers, different recording studios, and some session musicians to whom we have asked to participate.

Due to personal reasons our drummer, was not able to record the drum part on the planned date. That’s why we used the services of two drummers, Łukasz “Icanraz” Sarnacki from Corruption and Kamil Bagiński from Krakow’s Vane. Surely, the presence of Flauros’s friend, Mauser, in London, helped a lot with pre-production. It gave a direction to the sound of the album. We also worked again with Jarek Toifl who recorded our vocals and he is always a source of great inspiration for me while recording.

During the whole process, our bassist Marek Tkocz contributed not only his parts but also with the guitar’s parts. Then, in close cooperation with the band, Jarek Baran from Gorycki & Sznyterman studio worked on the album. After listening to the final version, Jarek was right person to work with.

Darzamat is back after a lot of years, precisely after 10 years from the amazing full-length “Solfernus Path’”. Throughout what’s happened to the band? How does it feel to come back? 

Many factors contributed to this situation: involvement in other projects. Then, various life issues of each of us as well as the distance related to Flauros’s emigration. All this did not provide good conditions for creating music. None of us planned such a long break but also no one thought about ending Darzamat. It all came naturally. Privately speaking, we’ve been through a lot in terms of our personal lives.

When we met on stage a few years ago, we felt this extraordinary energy of being together for people again. And, we realized how much we missed it and what a great role music played in our lives. Indeed, this was the moment we knew it was time to come back. After so many years of absence, coming back is difficult. First, because you fall out of a certain rhythm, the world around you looks different. There are younger musicians who have appeared on the stage. Then, some people have disappeared from view. And, sales and promotion tools work on new rules, and some fans have already forgotten about your existence.

But all of this doesn’t matter when if you dive back into the creative process. Just do it with your friends and pursue the desired goal with them. Fortunately, we have managed to find out that there are still many people around the world waiting for our music. This is an extremely valuable privilege. But also a challenge to meet the expectations of the world that has galloped on. Anyway it’s great to be back!

Philosopher at the End of the End of Universe” marks the collaboration with the Polish label Szataniec, the Greek label Sleazy Rider Records and the Russian label Kattran Records. Why did you opt to collaborate with these labels, and how it was the first approach?  

In practical terms, we are collaborating with other labels. Such as the Japanese Spiritual Beast, the Mexican Gravis Records and the American/Canadian MVD. Since nobody of us truly knows the local markets, for example in Russia or Japan, we wanted to have our representatives in various countries. lndeed, they have got their own distribution and promotional contacts and they can move freely around.

Additionally, such arrangements could help us in establishing contacts with local promoters. And, finally, allow us to play concerts in those countries. Apart from that, we’ve known each other for some time. For example, Jorge Agonizante’s Gravis Records who supported Darzamat 12 years ago. And, released our album “Semidevilish” in Mexico.

While, Spiritual Beast‘s Akira Sugiuchi released “Solfernus’ Path” in Japan. For several years, we have also been in contact with Tolis from Sleaszy Rider. Unfortunately, times are tough for the music industry. So it’s not going to be easy for anyone to act as they did a few years ago. Nevertheless, I hope we will do as much together as possible.

The album is introduced by the self-titled single. What can you tell me about this specific song, and what’s the story behind the lyrics of this song? 

In Darzamat, both lyrics and music are not created in a vacuum but it is kind of a collective work. For instance, on the last two albums, Flauros is the author of the lyrics. But we often discuss together what is happening to the character, what he  is going through and where his fate leads to. It happens the same with music because our bassist Chris is the author of the music. During its process, there’s a constant .

Naturally, composing is a complex process in which each of us leaves a mark. As I mentioned before, “Philosopher at the End of the End of Universe” follows “Solfernus’ Path”‘s story. But in the self-titled single, our character undergoes a kind of transformation. Due to the discover of an unknown power with which can he manage his life. And its difficult questions. All this dilemma is displayed and explained in the videoclip.

In effect, many people choose sweet oppression and patterns of what life should be like. But the truth is that we have little reflection and real freedom. We just let others tell us what is good for us, what is right and wrong. People want to be more like someone else, not even knowing their own true self. According to our experience, Nature is the cure for the toxicity of civilization, digitization, media and the rat race. To hear your inner voice, you need to be alone. And face your demons, look at your life from a distance and befriend the silence.

Photo by Jeremi Astaszow ASTASHOW studio_DRUK

Indeed, it followed the release of its video and I really love your dress in the video. How your dress connects to the overall atmosphere of the song? 

As a matter of fact, the music video is full of symbolism. We love such theatrical connotations and the extended dress refers to the baggage of life in a metaphorical way. It is something that haunts us in the form of past events, experiences, acquired qualities, automatic reflexes.

Fortunately, mindfulness can free us from them. Because, a conscious observation of ourselves allows to our journey to choose what we don’t need and we need. Instead, the dance with a long veil at sunset is dealing with the past. In the video, I drag behind me a sharply-cut cloth. Whose fragments symbolize those of my old self that I am bringing with.

Two months later, in December, in order to celebrate the 15th anniversary of “Transkarpatia”, followed a special version. First, would you like to recall us a little bit about its overall production and now, after so much time, which meaning holds for the band this release?  

Photo by Jeremi Astaszow ASTASHOW studio_DRUK
Photo by Jeremi Astaszow ASTASHOW studio_DRUK

So, the album was recorded in a studio in Poland with our full-time sound engineer, Jarek Toifel. Then it was mixed at the Los Angered Studios in Gothenburg, Sweden. “Transkarpatia” was produced together with Andy La Rocque. He’s not only a great producer and musician, but also turned out to be a fantastic man.

At that time, Andy mixed “Transkarpatia” with a rough, distinctive sound. And, also very selective and dynamic at the same time. He did an excellent job and the album is still great to listen to today. The album turned out to be a success and we extensively touring for two years.

Also, we concluded the promotion of that album with the recording of  a DVD called “Live Profanity (Visiting the Graves of Heretics)”. The concert was recorded in Spodek, a beautiful concert hall in our hometown, Katowice. Actually, you will not find another place like that in the world. The hall looks like a UFO from the outside.

Then, if you consider the presence of 10,000 people, it turned out to be one of our best concerts ever. This album was and still is extremely important in our career. This was the time when we toured and promoted our music the most. Personally, on that album we finally managed to sound the way we had wished before.

Besides being the singer for Darzamat, you have also your own project called NeraNature. The last release dates to 2019 with the full-length “MagJa”. Would you like to introduce its main musical concept to our readers and in that regards, do you have any updates? 

NeraNature is a side project that was supposed to be just a safety valve for my emotional needs. Indeed, I wanted a bit softer sounds, something more feminine and tender. Then, I invited Darzamat’s bass player Marcus to play with me. Then, the project came into existence in 2011. Back then, it was the time in my life when I felt how important our relation with Mother Gaia was. I felt it literally healing myself in the woods and hiking in the mountains. In a way, this name of the project is due to this happening.

At the very beginning we planned to be a regular band, releasing under a label, playing concerts etc. But soon after we have realized that it costed us too much energy to negotiate with others. Since NeraNature‘s goal is pleasure and freedom, we decided leave it that way. We are independent and we only take form when we need to express some ideas. So, if we record something, we just publish it and that’s it. No strings attached.

What the future holds for Darzamat and how the pandemic impacted the band’s original plan? 

In truth, we planned to play at In Flammen Open Air. And, when we were finally ready to go back on the stage, the pandemic struck and the plan changed. Sadly, the same thing happened with the other shows that we have planned. About this, there was the plan for a joint tour together with some friends.

Unfortunately, the current situation thwarted all our plans, so we had to turn our attention in a different direction. Right now, I don’t even want to think about any plans at the moment. We just try to do what can be done with all this distance. We look forward to the return to the social life and possibilities to be back on stage.

So, Nera, we’re almost at the end. With this please be free to say hi to your fans and your readers. Thank you so much for this interview. 

Thanks for your time! Stay true to yourself and remember that the worst damn thing will pass too. Hugs!

facebook.com/DarzamatOfficial/

twitter.com/DarzamatBand

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darzamat.bandcamp.com/

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