Traditional Metal still lives! You can find it in the great grandfathers of metal or in band like Crystal Viper from Poland. Their lead singer and creator Marta Gabriel is crashing the boys club and shows true musician confidence in her vocals, guitar work and song writing ability. No wonder the band is still going strong since their beginnings in 2003. “Legends” is their newest release that will please listeners of Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Dio. Recently they have been signed to AFM Records and take pride in their highly energetic live show along with their growing fan base. I have been privileged enough to interview this metal queen via email and get more of an inside scoop behind the brains of Crystal Viper. So Marta, when did music start for you? How old were you? What instrument did you pick up first? And what artists/people inspired you to become a musician?
I really started my “musical journey” at the age of 7 I suppose; when my parents sent me to a music school. I was in piano class. There were also other instruments I played, but piano was the main one. I basically decided to become a musician when I saw a symphony orchestra on TV and told my parents that I wanted to be a part of it! Classical music has always been an inspiration for me; great artists like Rossini, Beethoven, Mozart, Holst, Tchaikovsky, Bach, Wagner and many, many more. There was also a lot of music in the family home, loads of Mike Oldfield – and I still love to listen to his albums. My father used to listen to bands like Queen… Oh, ever since I was a kid, I wanted to be a musician!
What inspired you to start Crystal Viper? Where did your vision come from? And if there are any, which artists influenced the project?
Well, heavy metal has always been my favourite genre. Even though, as I mentioned, I was taught as a classical musician and still really find inspiration in it, I find many pieces in and similarities between classical music and metal. In my opinion, rock and metal music are real types of music, played by real musicians, who put their whole heart into their song writing. There’s nothing better than beautiful melodies and the feeling that you can put into songs while playing or performing them live. There are a lot of great bands that inspired me, such as Warlock, Judas Priest, Omen, Black Sabbath, early Phantom Blue and Vixen, Chastain and Leather Leone, Helloween, Jag Panzer, and believe me – many more…!
Are you the main song writer? Where do the stories for your songs come from? And what is the song writing process like for Crystal Viper?
Ever since Crystal Viper has been in existence, I have been the main composer in the band, yes! The song writing process is pretty simple; when I have an idea for a song, I record it, arrange vocals, guitars and drums, and then work on it with the rest of the band. After that, I’m looking at a right theme for the lyrics and trying to sharpen everything so it sounds really tight.
So then what was your over all experience like when recording “Legends”? How is it different from your previous albums? How would you describe it?
It’s hard to describe an album in a few words but the “Legends” recording session was our most “conscious” recording session, if that’s the right word in English? By that, I mean that, during previous recording sessions for earlier albums, we were always trying many new things; we would be testing new equipment and stuff like that! But, this time, we were sure about everything! We knew what kind of sound we wanted to have on the album, what kind of equipment we should use… definitely!! The other difference was that we had become more mature as musicians and because of this, were able to achieve new levels of playing, and better levels of playing. Of course, we’re still learning; as a musician, you learn as long as you play your instrument. But, “Legends”, in just a few words? Well, I think it’s the most classic heavy metal album Crystal Viper has done!
Your voice can really wail! What is your background and your vocal training? Your contrast between clean and raspy is very smooth, how did you teach yourself to do that?
Thank you… I’m touched by that but honestly, I can’t tell you, because I don’t know!! Ha! Ha! How did I learn to do that? I have no idea; Ha! Ha! Honestly, I was always trying new things while rehearsing, discovering new things; I was always playing with my voice and I still do this. About my background, though? Well, I’ve never really taken any singing lessons if that’s what you mean? One day, I just found that I was able to sing in the way that I’m singing now without straining the voice. I have, like all of us, I suppose – my favourite vocalists, who have always been, to me at least, “lights in the dark”, like; Tony Martin, Ronnie James Dio, David DeFeis, Doro, Gigi Hangach, etc.. and listening to them just gave me the confidence to sing my way!
When it comes to the live stage, what has been your best show played to this day?
Each show is always “The Best One” when you’re walking down the stage steps after your show, Ha! Ha!… But, you know, each show is different and very special. It is very hard to choose only one, because while playing each of them, something always happens that makes it special. The most important thing out there are our fans; they are the people who make our shows so unique, that we don’t want to leave the stage…!! And that’s something you really hold on to after a good show!
Well then, how would you describe your fans? What kind of people are they and how do they make every show so special?
Crystal Viper fans are the best; they always give us the energy while performing live. They are the reason why we play and we appreciate them very, very much!! Thanks to them, we feel that there is a sense in what we do, if you understand that – writing and playing music that we all love is fine but if it wasn’t for those people, we wouldn’t be where we are right now…..?
I have to say though, that metal fans in general are the best, and the most loyal fans in the world! I’m not only a musician, I am as much fan of metal as many of them and for me, it doesn’t matter where you are from, what you look like, how old you are, or anything; metal gathers people together. It doesn’t split people into groups. I love it!
If you could have any guitar, what would it be? Or do you already own it?
Now, that would be; a Jackson guitar, the Randy Rhoads signature but the yellow one!! I don’t own it yet, but I will one day!!
What is your opinion on the Global Metal Movement we see going on in the world today?
Truly, I don’t see any special “metal movement” out there separating anyone. I mean, Traditional Metal has always been here, between the real fans and they embrace everyone as they themselves are embraced. Of course, there are great new bands such as Enforcer, Steel Horse, Portrait, Steelwing and others who are ready to conquer the stages of the world. But many of our “heroes”, like Accept, Raven, Iron Maiden and Saxon produced great new albums last time around, so yeah; Traditional Metal is doing really well, and definitely hasn’t uttered its final words yet!!
As a Metal Fan then, what was your favourite concert that you have ever attended?
The best one that I’ve ever seen was Raven at the Headbanger’s Open Air, this year. These guys Rule! But generally, I’ve seen a lot of amazing shows! I’m a really big fan of metal music, so I go to see my favourite bands performing live as often as possible.
Aside from music, do you have any other goals or aspirations in life?
Really, I can’t imagine doing too many other things that wouldn’t be connected with music!! I like doing music videos; I mean, actually directing and editing them, so maybe that?
Do you have a unique hobby or talent that you would like to share with the world?
Ha! Ha! I don’t know? Maybe it’s not a talent but I’m sure that there isn’t another person, in the whole known world, that has broken as many beer glasses as I have?? Seriously; just ask my friends! Ha! Ha!
Ha Ha! Amazing! Thanks so much for the interview!!