Interview by Roberta Ilaria Rossi
Undertaking the road to success, the Ukrainian band Crimson Sky offers the general public a doom sound, related to gothic melodies. With their debut album “Rising”, the Ukrainians are very energetic and, on the occasion of the release of the album, I got to talk to the founder of the band, Bohdan, and the singer Olga. Here’s to you our friendly chat!
Hi Bohdan & Olga, welcome to Femme Metal.net. Few months ago, your debut album, “Rising”, has been released, for Black Art Productions. How the reviews and feedback have been for this album? Are you satisfied about the result?
Yes, our first debut album “Rising” was released in June 2011 on Black Art Production Label. The reviews lived up to our expectations and the album got a lot of positives reviews not only in Ukraine but also abroad. The feedbacks and the reviews are positive and of course we are satisfied. The listeners make special mention of the vocals – good and strong growl and especially the violin and of course the atmosphere, feelings and emotions of the album.
Your genre is the gothic/doom. Where does the choice of making such a genre come from?
From the very 90s, when this genre only started to develop itself as the musical style – then it touched my heart and impressed me and since that time, for me, this genre is more than just a favorite style, it is a state of soul and my little inner world. That is why, when in 1998 I created my band Crimson Sky, I didn’t even thought of what style to choose, it was positive that I want to play in the style of doom and its sub-style gothic-doom. And all those years I was looking for people who share the same views to gain the best result and, how it often happens, when there are many people in the line-up, everyone has own tastes and views on music and a lot of arguments comes up. It happened to us as well. That is the reason, why for so many years it was difficult to gain a positive result until finally in 2010 I created a new line-up and we worked very hard and as the result we have the album, the success of the album and many concerts and the interest of the organizers. By the way, we’d gladly visit Italy with the concert if there will be an opportunity.
Is there any artist or band that have inspired your work?
Of course. Firstly, there are the grands of gothic-doom music, most of them created this genre and have been playing since 90s! I’ll gladly mention my favorite bands, such as: Tiamat, Anathema, My Dying Bride, Decoryah, Lake of Tears, Therion, Amorphis, Godgory, Grave Flowers, Moonspell, Draconian, Katatonia, EverEve (with Tom Sedotschenko), Nightwish, The Gathering, Crematory, Tristania, Sirenia, Orphaned Land, Dan Swano & Edge of Sanity. Also, among the artists and bands that I like very much, there are: Guns N’ Roses, Manowar, Iron Maaiden, Gods Tower, Dark Tranqullity, In Flames, Death, Sepultura, Soufly, Clawfinger, Machine Head,Tool, Metallica, Scorpions, Bon Jovi, Axel Rudi Pell, Immortal, Roxette, Mike Oldfield, James Horner, Antonio Vivaldi, Il Divo.
Giving a first listen to the album, the first impression I had is that the record is very atmospheric, almost enshrouded, as if it wants to drag the listener into a sort of journey that will lead him/her venturing in the various “chapter”/sides of the record. How the creation of this album was born?
All the lyrics in the album are mine and the lyrics were written before the music in almost all of the songs. And the music was created according to the lyrics – according to its text, to my view as the author. During rehearsals I, the keyboabordist Anatoliy Kyrylyuk, the guitarist Sergiy Medvid and the violinist Lyudmyla Savchuk – piece by piece, verse by verse, couplet by couplet we were creating the songs. Then, when they were practically done, the rest of the band were taking part in the creation – the second guitar (Oleksiy Omelchuk), female vocals (Olga Guziy), drums (Dima Drum) and bass (Ivan Fedorov). Later, when we were working in the studio, in addition to everything, I suggested such atmospheric effects, like the wind and the crows in “The Cross”; the rain in “In Eyes of Mine”. Also the special meaning had the song order, the one that listeners can hear in the album.
The line up has changed a bit, from the previous one only the keyboard player has left. Crimson Sky was born mainly in 1998 and, after some changes inside the band, the band itself was brought to life on May 2010. The following year you’ve worked for your debut album. How many changes have been made inside the band? Which members have joined you?
Yes, like you mentioned, only me, as the founder, and the keyboardist Anatoliy Kyrylyuk are from the old line-up, others were invited by me in the new line-up in 2010. They are people I knew personally, who played in other bands and I invited them to Crimson Sky.
Bohdan… you’re the main author. You sing, you compose, you play. How was, for you, working basically to the creation of an album and keep a solid foundation for the band?
Sometimes we have small arguments in the present line-up, but the musicians always listen to me. Nevertheless we work together and every musician made a major contribution to the album and to its creation.
As I’ve said before, Crimson Sky gained lots of positive critics and reviews, mainly after that your single “Примарний Сон – Illusive Dream” has been published digitally over the Internet. Why have you decided this single to enter the beautiful reality of the fronted female metal?
Personally for me, this song is the most valuable song and the closest to my heart and soul. It is the deepest embodiment of the whole sense of the band Crimson Sky – and its name and content. It is the soul of Crimson Sky – mysterious, dreamy, mystic, and heavy but at the same time romantic. It is a dream. And every piece in the song reminds of that. The violin, the keyboards and the female singing, everything makes is special. Plus the female singing brings special charm to our songs.
Olga, listening to the song “Примарний Сон – Illusive Dream”, I’ve noticed that you use the operistic singing. What were your musical influences? Which artists or bands have influenced your musical growth?
I have been practicing operatic singing since childhood. My favourite band is Nightwish and my favourite artist is Tarja Turunen, I also like the band Epica.
Have you had a school education? What was your musical/artistic education?
I graduated from High School and also studied operatic singing in the music school in my city.
What about you, Bohdan?
I don’t have a music education. I have been working on my vocals since the creation of the band in 1998 and all the work I am doing by myself.
How much the recordings for this album lasted? Was that hard to record the material in the recording studio?
The recording of the album itself lasted 11 days. Yes, it was difficult to record due to several reasons. We were limited in time and we were in the studio from the very morning till the late night during 11 days. I can even say that we practically lived there and were going home only to sleep.
How do you manage the work in the studio? Who is the main person that works on the music and lyrics?
Like I’ve already mentioned, I am the author of the lyrics. The authors of the music are Anatoliy, Sergiy, Lyudmyla and me. Sergiy and I were in the studio all the 11 days not only during the recording of our parts, but on the recording of absolutely all instruments. Others came to the studio to record their personal parts. And also Dima Drum, the drummer, was also present during the recording of all instruments. Peter Zarydnyy – the sound engineer deserves special mentioning, he is the vocalist of the band Merva and our friend. He made the sound engineering, mixing and mastering. After the 11 days of recording, sound engineering, mixing and mastering lasted 4 months and a half.
Where does the inspiration for creating your own music and lyrics come from?
Doom it is the state of soul, it’s something I feel inside, it’s my own little world and all the feeling and emotions that are in my heart become lyrics and then music. It conveys my personal feelings and helps to create good doom music.
Olga, was that hard for you working on this record?
Personally for me, it was a bit difficult to record the album in the studio. I recorded my vocals for 2 days and during 2 days I was in the studio, I had to sing and record my parts the best. The recording was in November, when it was dull autumn and my throat is sensitive to such weather, so I had to take care of it and myself and not get cold and make my work perfectly.
How do you manage and train your own voice? Do you take singing lessons or have you ever taken singing lessons in your life?
I studied vocals in the music school when I was little. We had many lessons in singing. Now, I sometimes visit a teacher of singing, but generally, I work on vocals myself and try doing it every day. Also I take care of the throat, do not drink too hot or too cold drinks and do not smoke.
How did you prepare yourself for this album?
For the recording I took care of the throat, tried not to be tired and was rehearsing my parts at home and on the rehearsals together with the band.
In the album, I’ve noticed some heavy sound, like for example in the song “The Cross”. Do you agree with this statement?
Yes, according to the content this song is gloomy and that is why its sound is the heavier and the atmosphere is darkest.
There’s also a ballad track, called “In Eyes of Mine”. What could you tell us about this decision? I think it’s a pretty romantic and a sad song as well…
Yes, indeed. It is really a romantic and sad story based on real events. A long time ago I wrote it as a poem in Ukrainian language and dedicated it to one girl and later it was translated into English and set to music. While creating the music we wanted to convey the feelings through the song.
Proceeding with the listening, I’ve noticed that the album ends up with a song, called “Nordlys” which recalls Norway a lot. Why have you chosen to insert this song?
In our journey through the album and in the journey through the crimson sky, the mentioned song takes us to the north, where we see the emerald light of the Northern Lights. The song shows its northern beauty and after the tragic song “The Ode” and slightly sad song “Apoptosis” this song completes the album with bright, but enigmatic and mystical mood.
Now that the album has been released, what are your next/future projects? Will you go on with the band or will you start something new?
At the moment we actively take part in different concerts to support the album “Rising” and also working on the material for the new album and I can safely say that almost half of the album is ready. The songs are already written and we perform them on the concerts, but they are not yet recorded in the studio. Of course, our plan is to record the second album. But we will go to record it in the studio only when the whole material is ready.
Is there any artist or band you would like to cooperate with?
We’ve already performed with such bands like Helloween, Haggard, Cemetry of Scream – it was a big honour for us. We would love to play with each band that was mentioned above by me and Olga in the question concerning the favourite band and influences. It would be a great thing and honour to perform with them on one stage and cooperate.
Now that you have a record deal, what will come next? Maybe will you start a tour or will you promote the band and the album?
We would gladly go on tour, but there is no opportunity for us at the moment. We perform a lot of concerts, but we don’t have a booking agency and all of the concerts we organize, look for and arrange ourselves, that is why we would be happy to reply on the band booking proposal for the concert and tour and any interest with our band.
Ok, we’re done for now. Is there something you would like to share with Crimson Sky and Femme Metal readers? I give you a blank cheque…
Listen to our music, be filled and inspired with it, let everyone find something of their own in it, recommend us to the friends and come visit our concerts. And we, from our side, will reply to you with music and our new songs.