Interview by Vard Aman
We are all familiar with the big names of female fronted Metal: Nightwish; Within Temptation; Lacuna Coil; etc. These are the names that dominate the scene and these are the names that dominate conversations when the topic turns to female fronted Metal. We may say, and correctly so, that this is deserved because they are all really good bands, but there is another reason too; and that reason is simply that these are the names that we have all gotten to know, one way or another. Beyond these big names, there are numerous bands that are much less well known. Some of these bands, it is probably true to say, are mediocre at best; but some of them we will find are very good bands indeed! We just have to look for them. And if we do, every now and then, we may find a band that is of truly outstanding quality – an overall package of both artistry and professionalism that easily rivals, and even surpasses many of the best and the biggest that the scene has to offer. I believe that I have found just such a band! They’re called Delia, and they come from Kiev, Ukraine. Delia present a highly professional and complete package, excelling in all aspects of what they do: their creativity; their songwriting; their performance; their live shows; the quality of their productions; and their music videos. They have very quickly become one of my favorite bands! Fronting Delia is Anastasia Sverkunova – a vocalist with a truly immense voice. She is highly versatile and possesses a huge range. She is capable of both raw power and intricate subtlety, and she sings with real feeling and emotion. Her voice dominates, yet blends with the music simultaneously. She has very quickly become one of my favorite singers! And I got the chance to interview her!
Hi Anastasia! Welcome to Femme Metal Webzine, it’s a great pleasure to have the chance to talk to you! First of all, could you introduce us to the members of Delia?
Hi Vard! I’m very glad to talk to you too. Here we are: me, Anastasia Sverkunova – vocals, Sergey Sirko – guitars, Michael Gudzenko – bass-guitars and Vitaliy Tolkachev – drums.
How did you all meet and how did the band start?
One night of August 2005 I was reading some topics on the music forum and found some ads about needed vocalists to different bands. I had already had experience in playing and singing in bands before and decided to try again. So I called to the first phone number I saw on the first ad and Sergey replied me. The next weekend was our first rehearsal.
How did you choose the name Delia? Does it have any special meaning?
When we just started to play together we still didn’t have a name. All of us offered different variants but we couldn’t find the best one. And one day I was reading psychological vocabulary and found the word “delia” (which means “illusion” in Greek) and it was the right choice! But the meaning of the name according to our music is the issue for long thinking and discussions – everyone can explain it as he likes.
How would you describe Delia‘s music?
Mmm… it’s the most FAQ, that we have no clear answer. Mostly our style is described as “symphonic metal”, earlier it used to be described as “gothic metal”. But each new song has a bit different sound than previous, and we don’t like to put our music in “style framework”. So… let it be metal, just not ordinary Ukrainian metal.
What would you say are the main influences for you music?
There are lots of bands we like, and they are really very different as every member of Delia has absolutely different music preferences. But in common, they are Lacuna Coil, Rammstein, Evanescence, Korn, Within Temptation and from non-metal – Bjork, Lara Fabian, even Skrillex and many many others.
Tell us a little about your releases so far.
Our first serious release was in February 2010, it was our CD “Spogad” (“Recollection”). We have 2 versions of the album – Ukrainian and English. Ukrainian version we released at ЯОК Music company – Ukrainian label and English one we didn’t release officially yet as we are still looking for a good label abroad to cooperate with. The CD consists of 13 songs and 2 bonus-tracks, one of which is in Spanish. In autumn 2011 we also released EP “Vogon” (“Fire”), also in 2 versions – 1 for our Ukrainian and Russian fans, and 2 – for our fans abroad. You can download both versions for free on our official website.
Do you have any personal favorites from your releases and/or songs that have a special meaning for you?
Every song is special for me, ‘cause every song is kind of the description of a period of my life – not only real events that happened to me, but my thoughts, worries, doubts, memories, hopes, impressions etc. And each 2-3 months I have my new favorites. Previous one was “Sprobuy” (“Try”) form the EP, now it’s the new song that will be released soon (I hope).
You were born in Pripyat just before the Chernobyl disaster and the song “Dead City” is about Pripyat and dedicated to its memory. Many of the scenes for the video were shot on location in Pripyat. What was it like going back there and filming there?
It wasn’t my first trip to Pripyat after Chernobyl disaster. I have already visited my native city before making the video. But each time I come back to that place I feel mix of emotions – from despair, sadness and even fear to enchantment, unreality… Absolutely empty city… just huge trees through the buildings and total silence… It’s very hard to explain – you should visit that place.
What are your plans for the future and what can we expect from your next album?
The nearest upcoming event is the release of our new video to the song “Vogon” (“Fire”) – both in Ukrainian and English versions. Hopefully we all can enjoy it in February. Next album is a difficult question, because now Delia has a period of experiments and all our new songs are in different styles and mixed languages and there are still many things we want to try and to use in our new tracks. I hope that this year we will have some releases but it’s the question if it’s gonna be an album or some different singles. Anyway we will try our best to surprise our fans and extend our capabilities!
Do you have plans to get a permanent keyboardist?
We don’t have a plan to find a permanent keyboardist, but we are open for cooperation and will be happy if one more good person will join our “family” – whether keyboardist, DJ, violinist etc.
One of the many things I really like about Delia is the amount of creative attention to detail in all aspects of what you do – from your songwriting and playing, to your videos and your live shows. A good example for me is some of the subtleties in the storyline (and in the editing) of the video for “Zabutiy Krai” (“Forgotten Land”) that I only picked up after watching it several times, and the overall product certainly made me want to watch it on repeat. Is this a dedicated effort or is it just the natural way you do things? Or both?
We really pay much attention to the details because the details are the least visible but the most important part of the product. But we don’t make any special effort, we just work like we do and hope that our fans enjoy the results.
What is the metal scene like in Ukraine? Do you get a lot of support at your shows?
Unfortunately Ukrainian metal bands are not very demanded among Ukrainians. When world metal stars come to Ukraine – there are thousands of fans who come to their shows. But when Ukrainian bands perform we can hardly see more than 300 people in a hall. Of course everything depends on organization, how popular is the band and how many shows are the same day. But it’s strange that even our band, who is popular enough in Ukraine and not very popular outside the country, receives more requests for CD purchase from abroad than from our native country. Ukrainians are very special people, if you want them to love you, you should firstly become popular somewhere abroad. But those people who come to our shows give us really as much support as we expect and to play for them is a real pleasure!
Have you played any shows outside Ukraine?
No, unfortunately we haven’t yet. Honestly, before previous year we didn’t try hard to become well-known abroad but now we have changed our approach and hopefully will perform somewhere outside Ukraine very soon.
What parts of playing in a band do you like the most?
At rehearsals I like when we play new songs and make new covers to our favorite bands. But all of us like the most the live shows, especially if it is recital or themed concert. And, of course, the process of songwriting is also one of my favorite part of work!
And what parts, if any, don’t you like so much?
Hmm… as for me, it’s the time of the last editing of a song at the studio. All the time I find something that I’d like to change and can not stop! I always need someone to stop me or we would never finish this process.
Outside of Delia do you have any special interests and things you like doing?
OMG, there are soooooo many things… I like travelling, learning languages, dancing (each term different style), roller skating, playing the violin and the piano, snowboarding, kart racing, translating poetry, kayaking, horse riding and lots of other things… Honestly it’s a problem for me because I want to try everything but at the end I’m not good enough in anything… But it’s who I am.
I hear Michael is an avid rally driver. Does he race often?
Michael is really very interested in racing, he participates in some local rallies and hopefully we will see him on the pedestal of WRC soon!
Thank you very much for the interview Anastasia! We’re hoping to hear and see much more of you in the future, and I am certainly going to be following Delia very closely!
Thank you very much! We will be happy to inform you and all our fans about all our news and upcoming events!