So, let's pick up the thread in 2003. After 'Oniriad' strenuous days came for Darzamat. As a matter of fact you had to look for new musicians. I guess it must have been not that easy…
It was a very difficult moment for the band which wobbled on its feet, was driven and turned in various directions. There was no unity of thought as well as no unity of the idea connected with the subject of the direction which the band would follow. In that time people constituting Darzamat differed too much from one another and were, therefore, unable to work together. 'Oniriad' shouldn't, therefore, come into being in the first place. Unfortunately, I agreed to go on the compromise connected with the vision of Simon (Strużek, the cofounder of the band) and today I know that it was a mistake. This music was somehow beyond my nature. We differed with Simon in terms of playing alive, he was against it and I couldn't really imagine the band existing and functioning without it. We came to the point in which a certain definitive step had to be taken - Darzamat can be only one, either with him or with me. Looking for the new people appeared to be a very difficult task to do. I practically had to create Darzamat anew. Luckily enough, I had a huge determination and will to realize my vision of the band. I believe that these almost three years that have passed show that our separation was a good step and Darzamat is now stronger than ever before.
This means that the music is written by other people now. Who are the main composers of the band music-wise now?
Yes, there have been many changes concerning this matter in Darzamat. Spectre - our keyboard player - has recently been much more engaged in the work in our band. During the work on 'Semidevilish' he didn't participate in writing the keyboard sequences too big an extent as he joined the group shortly before going into the studio. Yet, on the latest album, next to the guitar player Chris, it is Spectre who has been the main composer. Greater part of the band takes part in the numbers' arrangement. Presently our compositions have been more team-like in comparison to those we created in the past.
Of course you stayed in charge for lyrics. Another important entry was Nera for female vocals and lyrics. Wasn't it strange to write lyrics as a duo now instead of doing it all by yourself?
We started speaking the same language with Nera very quickly and we reached the agreement as far as writing lyrics is concerned. We have got similar opinions on many issues as well as pretty similar preferences and interests so accordingly, there have been no bigger problems. It, naturally, happens that our opinions on some subjects differ, yet then, we try looking for compromises. I think that group-work is all about compromises so it was a thing I finally had to learn (laugh)!
'Semidevilish' in 2004 could be seen as a strong comeback. Did it bring new possibilities for the band?
It was an exceptionally important album for us as it was supposed to prove that the common playing under the name of Darzamat has sense, indeed. We wanted in a sense to reconstruct the old Darzamat, yet in a totally new manner. We wanted to put a new spirit in the band and prove ourselves that it is still worth creating music under the banner of Darzamat. I believe that we have managed to do it and 'Semidevilish' fulfilled its role. We got many pretty good reviews as well as new possibilities that opened in front of us. Concert proposals appeared and our company believed in us once more. It has a very strong impact which allowed the band to take the second breath.
After the release of 'Semidevilish' you played many gigs on festivals and toured a lot. Can this be seen as the most intense tour schedule until now?
Yes, I believe that up till now it has indeed been the most intense time on the stage. We played couple of tours, among others in Poland, Russia, Ukraine and Germany. In addition to that there were couple of interesting festivals, among others the Wave Gotik Treffen in Germany, Polish Metalmania, Czech Brutal Assault, Estonian Hard Rock Laager and Italian S-Hammer Festival.
Tell us a bit about the Mexican adventure, I think you are pretty popular there…
Our earlier records appeared in Mexico and we have still been getting many letters and mails from this country. Unfortunately, after 'Semidevilish' we didn't manage to fly there as few complications occur. I, however, believe that it will change pretty soon. I have heard many positive opinions about Mexican audience so one can expect a very warm reception. I hope that we will get there pretty soon! Besides, our company there, strives for such a possibility very hard e.g. we appeared on the cover of the Mexican magazine "Barahunda". All of this makes us get many positive signals from this country.
You toured in Germany, but also in not that usual countries as Russia and Ukraine. Maybe a few words about this experience…
These were very long expeditions, especially our trip to Russia. In less that ten days we made over six thousand kilometres. We have seen many interesting places and met many wonderful people who are very committed to music. We were also ourselves able to get to know the meaning of the Russian hospitality. These were truly fantastic crazy trips, full of incredible experiences and adventures. There was only one unpleasant situation when the Russian militia wanted to take my camera away. I got to know that I mustn't film the river Wolga........ Fortunately, thanks to Merab, our tour manager, we were able to keep these "secret" materials. Aw, yeah, there was one more situation when they nearly arrested our bass player for the "inappropriate" behaviour on the Red Square. The tour in the Ukraine is the one we reminisce equally good or even better. Thanks to our friend Ed Yeremienko, we were able to play truly excellent concerts. We were a bit surprised with the first concert in Winnica as in the club militia watched the order. They attentively watched our performance. They might as well start using their truncheons on the fans who were having fun in too an emotional manner (laugh)! Fortunately, there were a lot of changes for the better in the Ukraine during the last year and people we talked with do confirm these words.
Now we have 'Transkarpatia'. An important feature is that the record was produced by Andy La Rocque (King Diamond guitarist and famous producer). What has led to this opportunity?
Before the work on 'Transkarpatia' I had been considering the possibility of going abroad to make the mix of the record, yet, I didn't really believe that it would be possible with this album I had been considering various options, I had been talking to various producers. Peter Tagtgren with whom I had met during the Metalmania Festival turned out to be very busy. Record companies rush him due to his bands. Some people wait for Hypocrisy's new album, some other wait for the lacking Pain's DVD materials. So, accordingly he hasn't got too much time on working with some other bands. Fredrik Nordstrom was simply too expensive for us and as far as Waldemar Sorychta is concerned, he hasn't responded us so far (laugh)! We went to Gothenburg by pure accident. We went on Hard Rock Laager Festival to Estonia where we met the guys from Lord Belial. Thomas Beckelin and co. have been working with Andy for many years now. They were the ones who made us think about the possibility of work with Andy. The sea of Jägermeister and a bit of talking about the cooperation with him were enough for us to come up with the idea!
Did you go to Sweden and was it a fine experience to work with him?
Together with Nera and our guitar player Chris we went to Gothenburg where we not only peeped at Andy's work but we actively participated in it at the same time. Andy turned out to be not only a wonderful guitar player and producer very strongly committed to what he does but a fantastic and open man as well. He introduced almost relaxing atmosphere in the studio what seems to be a miracle when one talks about such an intense work as the production of the album. I still remain very impressed with the personality of his. People from the Swedish bands, we had the pleasure to meet during our trip, do share my opinion. I must also admit that it is definitely the best sounding Darzamat's album which we mainly owe to Andy. With his work, he introduced a lot of freshness to our music and we were finally able to sound professionally. I hope that the next Darzamat's publications will sound at least as good as 'Transkarpatia'.
The album itself was first recorded at the Maq Studios. I guess that's in Poland. Where? Other bands that recorded there?
The album was recorded in the Polish studio Maq where couple of our friends had worked before we did. The decisive factor in the choice of the studio was the person of Jarek Toifl who has received very good reviews from couple of well-known bands in Poland. I must admit that we almost immediately started talking the same language with Jarek as he is the man who has been engaged in the metal music for many years now. It is very important for us. Besides, he is the musician himself so there were many problems we could solve without saying a word.
So I guess you have quit contact with the Post Street studios?
It was pretty natural. Separating with Simon as with somebody who was Darzamat's musician I couldn't imagine the work in his studio. It would not be good for the band. We wanted to find totally new people with whom we would work in the future not only in terms of recordings but also in terms of the work on the cover and videoclips. A totally new chapter in Darzamat's history has started since 'Semidevilish'. Actually, the founding of Darzamat could be dated since autumn 2003 (laugh)!
Can you tell a bit more about the lyrical concept of Transkarpatia?
'Transkarpatia' is in a sense a journey into the past, forgotten emotions and lost ideals. The record is a certain concept-album if one treats it in terms of a subject-related story and not in terms of history having its beginning and the end. Even without a thorough perusal of the texts one can notice that the lyrical layer oscillates round the pagan issue and the issue of magic/necromancy. The matters being also touched upon on the record are: the Inquisition, vampirism and the hatred towards everything that The Church could not accept or was even afraid of. On the basis of history, together with Nera we created the vision of the world seen in a totally subjective manner. Nera browsed through many book and internet pages in order to be able to feel in the role of the then woman. It was supposed to help her mirror her emotions in texts, arrangements and in the singing itself. This kind of subject matter has been the one we had in our mind for a long time. Yet, it took us a long time to set ourselves against it. We have finally faced the challenge and we took a journey to the times 'Transkarpatia''s texts talk about. It has been the journey to the feelings, thoughts and the then attitude towards the world.
Are there plans to release the album in Russia and Mexico again?
Yes, we do have such plans, we have already been talking with the companies there and there is a huge probability that as soon as in April 'Transkarpatia' will appear in Russia and presumably in May in Mexico. I hope that the promotion in these countries will be supported with our concerts there. We have already talked about it, yet, we will still have to wait for the details.
Are there plans for a video clip?
Unfortunately the work on the videoclip has presently been stopped. We aspire to reach a very high level in terms of the music as well as in terms of the rest of our activities. I have recently contacted one of the professional firms which deals with the realization of such undertakings and there is a chance for a very professional videoclip to one of 'Transkarpatia''s numbers. As usual, everything is dependant on the budget we would have at our disposal. Yet, there is some other problem. It is connected with the possibility of the broadcasting of the metal videoclips. Record companies have been posing themselves the question: why spend two/three thousand euro on videoclips if there is a problem with broadcasting them? In Poland e.g. there is no such place where these kinds of pictures could be shown.
What about tour plans? Is there a chance we can see the band in Belgium or the Netherlands soon?
We have just been preparing to the concerts which we will start playing already at the end of April. We will appear in Czech Republic, Slovakia, Germany and probably also in Italy. We plan bigger European tour in the second half of the year. In December we will almost certainly go on the travelling X-Mass Festival where we will play next to such bands as: Six Feet Under, Gorefest, Krisiun, God Dethroned and Cataract. I am very glad and excited with the thought as what follows we will appear in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Switzerland, France and Austria. Furthermore we have two gigs with Trail Of Tears in Belgium and the Netherlands in August.
Are there other projects you are involved with at the moment?
There are few people in the band being engaged in different projects. Among others, we are co-creators of In Dread Cold project which has lately released its debut album 'Underaba' for the British company Black Doom Records ( the members of My Dying Bride constitute it ). Yet, we have recently mainly focused on Darzamat and our nearest plans are strictly related with this band.
In which countries are you most famous and what about the degree of success in your home country Poland with its quite lively metal scene?
There is the feedback to our music coming practically from every place in the world. What is truly fantastic is when we receive letters from people from Iceland or Bangladesh! In such times I wonder how on earth our records got there. I believe that this is the very magic of music - it gets to the places where very often politicians or clergy men are unable to get (laugh)! Yet, it is hard to tell where we are most popular. I think that obviously in Poland there are many people who know us, yet, there is pretty big interest in our band also in countries such as Russia or Mexico as we have our companies there and they do a great deal in terms of our records' promotion. I, however, hope that our new album 'Transkarpatia' will be better promoted in Western Europe and that thanks to this many more people in Holland, Belgium, France or Germany will get to know the name Darzamat.
Are there already some ideas about future songs?
Yes, we have already started writing the first compositions which are to be on the 'Transkarpatia''s successor. We, however, still do not know how the new album will look like. For the time being there is a lot of work ahead of us connected with the promotion of 'Transkarpatia'. We want to play many concerts and it is highly time-consuming. One must also remember that we have just fulfilled our contract commitments related with our company Metal Mind Productions, so we will probably spend some time negotiating the new contract. Who knows, maybe there will appear some totally new company with which we will cooperate. Time will show.
To conclude, maybe a few words about the artwork and the booklet…
The author of the cover's project is Qras - a very well-known person in our country. It is a man who created the graphics for the records of such bands as Frontside or Horroscope. As far as the motif itself is concerned, it is a very symbolical and eloquent one. It addresses one in a very simple yet articulate manner. It is in a certain sense a banner under which one will be able to hear a certain story out. Naturally the graphics makes the subject matter of the record more cohesive and it fantastically supplements the music.
This was the part of vocalist Flauros and his answers. He founded and re-founded the band and takes care of rough vocals and lyrics. Since 'Semidevilish' female vocalist Nera entered the band and contributed to the lyrics as well. We had the opportunity to ask her a few questions too.
Hi Nera! How did you get in contact with the band?
I have been singing in some other band for almost ten years. During this time Flauros has already been looking for the replacement for the vocalist Kate who was engaged in the three first Darzamat records. From what I know, Flauros' colleagues told him about my existence after they had heard me on the concert with my old band. Later on, he heard one of our numbers in rock radio station and decided to contact me. I agreed to come to the audition and the very same day I was accepted to the band.
Can you tell a bit more about these previous band?
I used to sing in a band Midnightdate, the cofounder of which I was. I have never decided to take the opportunity to be engaged in some other projects. I simply had no time for that. Besides, I thought that it is better to focus on one thing than on few activities at the same time. An exception to the rule here is Darzamat where I engaged to such a big extent that I decided to resign from the work with the previous band. It was not an easy decision mainly due to emotions. I, additionally, had to move to the other city and try to start the life anew. Yet, today I think it was worth doing.
Together with Flauros you are responsible for the lyrics. What are your main sources of inspiration?
If you can feel something strongly and sense things anything can become your inspiration: the things you see through the window while you're on a train, the article in the newspaper, film, yesterday's quarrel, the death of your friend, the melody you happened to hear someplace. I am a very emotional person and even if it can be a certain obstacle in private life, it becomes inestimable while you write he music.
What are your favourite singers you may be inspired by?
I cannot answer this question the way you would probably expect me to. Sometimes what captivates me is a certain hue of voice in a given number, some other time it is the mannerism of singing or the text itself. Yet, I do not get the inspiration out of it, at least not consciously. I do not listen to too much music with female vocals and accordingly I have great fun when I sometimes read in interviews that somebody imposes on me copying somebody whom I have never heard in my entire life. I must, however, admit that I have recently been full of admiration for the band Peccatum and their vocalist, it is truly a big thing.
If anyone of you feels like telling us a bit more about the writing process of the album or especially the quite exquisite arrangements mixed with the real heavy stuff, please do….
Chris, guitarist of Darzamat: The composing process is a certain kind of our improvising and taking from it what in our opinion is most appropriate and what drowses inside of us. Together with Spectre we meet at home and we record our ideas on special programs suitable for such things, then we mix it. There are about thirty compositions that have come into being during our work on 'Transkarpatia' out of which we selected eleven. In our opinion the more material we have got, the better it is as we are able to choose the best pieces. In such a way the frameworks come into being, which are improved during the rehearsals. Vocalists record the vocal lines at their homes and this way we have got demo tape ready. The very demo tape is a certain kind of cross-reference as well as the introductory picture of what the next album is going to contain.
To conclude, let's have the famous last words for our readers…
Look forward to the coming of the new Darzamat's album 'Transkarpatia' which will change your thinking connected with climatic metal. It is the record that will do a snow job on the metal scene and it'll stay in your heads long afterwards. Stay dark!