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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Interview with: Darzamat

Hell on Fire: Hello Nera and welcome to H.O.F, everyhting ok with you?

Nera: Hi there! I'm fine and I hope you're O.K. as well ;)

Hell on Fire: I’m fine thanx:) Can you talk a little about how everything started since the begining of the band?

Nera: This is a very specific matter for us. True, we've been around for 14 years, but the history of Darzamat has been written in two - shall we say - volumes (laughs). What I mean is that in 2003 we had a revolution in the ranks and the result was simple: of all the pre-2003 era musicians practically only Flauros remain. This resulted in a serious change - in musical direction, in style, in image. Flauros decided to refresh Darzamat, which basically meant putting a new band together. Before, it had been really hard for him to find a compromise with the original founding member, Simon. Their visions as to what the band should sound and look like had been completely different; their priorities had differed. That is why the history of the Darzamat-as-we-know-it-now really dates back to 2003. This fresh lineup has been responsible for Semidevilish, Transkarpatia, and Solfernus Path, as well as the DVD Live Profanity. We also began playing live, which hadn't happened before, in the 90s. That band had been solely a studio effort.

Hell on Fire: At this moment you guys are promoting the most recent release intituled "Solfernu's Path", i already had the chance to hear it and i most congratulate the band for this amazing album! Tell me Nera are you happy with the final results of it? It was hard all the recording process on studio?

Nera: We began working on our new album in the fall of 2007, right after the release of our first DVD, Live Profanity. This was a really specific moment for us, since releasing this material marked the fulfillment of the final contract obligations for our Polish label, Metal Mind Productions. It was then that we decided not to renew our contract with MMP but to try another label instead. For that reason there were no deadlines for us to worry about. As no date was scheduled for our next release, we were in no hurry, so we took some time and entered the studio in the winter to record all the tracks.I must admit that the situation during the Solfernus Path sessions was very comfortable. We weren't concerned with economizing at all: our sole concern was the quality of the album, which is why during the sessions we worked in as many as three different studios. All the instruments and vocal tracks were laid down in Poland under thescrutinizing eye - and ear - of our sound engineer, Jaroslaw Toifel. We worked on the drums and guitars in HH Poland studio in Gliwice; the vocals were done in Maq Studio. As to the keyboard parts, we got these done in Red Room studio. For each instrument we chose the most optimal place to lay down the tracks and we spent quite some time analyzing all the elements of this puzzle. We listened to various bands produced in those places and at the end of the day we didn't have any doubt as to our choices - they were simply perfect. The only thing that mattered was the effect total, and we are positive it will satisfy the biggest of malcontents (laugh).

Hell on Fire: In my opinion your voice is totally different from any other female voice i've ever heard so far, it contains melody and a dramatic tonality like if you are reciting some passage of somekind of a ritual probably your own ritual emerging from your own soul that creates a mysterious inveronment in Darzamat songs, which and by the way, sounds really good, your voice is really great! Do you feel this way when you are singing?

Nera: No, I don't. It's very flattering what you say, but I don't have such high opinion on my voice. I still think it needs much more practice and care. But I agree that the way you use your voice comes not only from the technique but also from your inside, from your emotions, experience and your own interpretation of the given song. The most exciting thing is that your voice is you and it's not only the case of singers, but each person in the world. Your voice is like your fingerprint- one and only. It's good to be aware of that.

Hell on Fire: Of course and as any other instrument the voice also is an instrument that needs practice but your voice is really great! Did you or do you have any kind of singing classes?

Nera: I have never graduated from any music school. I used to go to lessons to some good teachers, but the fact is I've been learning by practice and observation. That is possible to be done. ;)

Hell on Fire: Yes indeed and is also a great school:)At the same moment that i'm writing this interview i see at your myspace that Darzamat are included at the Metal Female Voices Fest VII to take place in Belgium during the month of October! For those who don't know what this is about,can you talk a little about this fest?

Nera: That is a great event where female-fronted bands are invited to take part in. We were supposed to be there 2 years ago, but we didn't make it and we can't wait to perform there this year. On 17th-18th October in Wieze (Belgium) you can see Tarja, Doro, Epica and many more.

Hell on Fire: What does your lyrics talks about?


Nera: Let me tell you about the new album, which is our first concept album and it tell a story set in the beginning of the 20th century. Our main hero is a young medical student who undergoes a spiritual transformation - he experiences the existence of the incorporeal world and perceives the other side. The whole story is permeated by a fairytale-like atmosphere, full of occult key concepts. Nothing is obvious, nothing is predictable. Naturally, the eponymous Solfernus is not the main hero, he's just a gray eminence. This character is respectfully lifted from a work entitled Playing with the Devil, written by Czech dramatist Jan Drda. Still, this is just inspiration, an impulse which does not mean we take Drda's story as-is. In fact, his play is grotesque and rather humorous. Our story, on the other - left! - hand (laughs) has a totally different character, closer to horror stories of a Polish classic Stefan Grabinski than to the work of the Czech playwright.

Hell on Fire: That story is really great and interesting! What do you like to do in your free times?

Nera: I like walking in the forests and some abbandoned places, especially in the mountains, where man can breath deeply and freely. I also like spending my time with a few good friends on discussing, laughing and drinking some beer or wine. Apart from that I try to meditate, read books and swim for relaxation.

Hell on Fire: Do you remember Nera, with which bands did you grow up listening to? The one's that influencied you the most?

Nera: Sure I remember, there were so many bands I liked and at subconscious level probably most of them influenced me in that or other way.The most important were The Gathering, Tiamat, Samael, Ulver, Bathory, Arcturus and Opeth.

Hell on Fire: Great bands! Do you have any favourite singer/s?

Nera: Well, I try not to limit myself to one and only genre. I think it is the only way to evolve and free your mind, which doesn't mean I can force myself to listening to techno. ;)I always pick music depending on my mood, so the range of it is quite wide: different kinds of rock and metal, ambient, smooth jazz and some classical music. At the top of my list there are Peccatum, Emperor, Ulver, Opeth, Pink Floyd, Leszek Mozdzer, Satyricon and some soundtracks like from Twin Peaks, Requiem for a dream, Dracula or Bastard.

Hell on Fire: It’s good to know that you have such different kind of styles and also great influencies! So tell me, your favourite bands, apart of Darzamat of course:)?

Nera: as above ;)

Hell on Fire: Yes the answer is given above! Any special band to share the stage with?

Nera: I would be more than honored to share the stage with Emperor. In my opinion Ishan is one of the best artists ever. I am truly fascinated with his work.

Hell on Fire: Now talking a little about Poland, what can you say about the musical scenario in there, for instance, it is possible for a band to survive only with music? Do you have any kind of supports in there?

Nera: In my opinion we have really good musicians and really good bands. The problem is that most of them is never given a chance to be heard about or is unable to find a good label. There is lack of good promoters, venues and labels in Poland, so from the very beginning playing metal is a real struggle, so those who succeeded are our true pride. The other problem is lack of the social approval towards metal music. We live in a christian country and as a consequence we've been treated as renegats and satanists. But at least we've got something to fight for (laugh).

Hell on Fire: What is the meaning of Darzamat?

Nera: The name comes from Latvian mythology and it denotes garden goddess ("darzs" - "garden", "mate" - "mother"), which I really like as it seems to me very "organic", close to the nature and paganism.

Hell on Fire: In "Solfernu's Path" the cover is completly insane and really well made, my congratulations for the creater of it! Any special meaning of this cover that you can talk about?

Nera: I agree, our friend from Mentalporn.com did another great job. It's a real blessing working with people who can listen to you and are able to carry on your idea.When it comes to the interpretation of the cover, I won't do it. That is a part of the whole story the listener must go through alone. It's strictly connected with the concept, music and lyrics. The meaning is to
be found by yourself. ;)

Hell on Fire: Talking a little about Metalmania Festival 2007 in Katowice/Poland , i had the previlege to see this concert and it was really amazing and completly powerful! Do you remember this same concert? It was good to act in your own territory?

Nera: It was the second time we played on the stage of Metalmania in Katowice and you're right it's our own territory, as we live in the same city. We loved it! At least I was told so a few days after the show. The sad truth is I was brought on stage directly from the hospital and I was still on painkillers and I really wasn't in a good form. But what the hell, at least the concert did take place. ;)

Hell on Fire: Really? My congratulations for your strength and dedication to the band and i hope you had a full recovery! For you Nera which are the main differences between "Solfernu's Path" and the previous release intituled "Transkarpatia", also a great album!

Nera: I feel a completely new quality was brought in to our music. Additionally, we realized that this album was supposed to create interest in the record label circles. That's why we took extra care not only to write and record great music, but also to achieve the best possible sound. Plus, we paid a lot of attention to the visual side of the whole endeavor, working on the photos and the cover. All details of music, arrangements and the artwork were taken into consideration. I'm positive that after getting acquainted with the album, the fans are going to say that it was really worth the wait.Getting back to the music itself, this time around we started working on everything much earlier. Before entering the studio we prepared a very good demo. That allowed us to work out all the small details well before the real thing started. I admit we worked like this for the first time and we are really satisfied with such tactics. When you listen to the practically ready piece which sounds as good as it can at the preproduction stage, you can analyze the arrangements one more time and have less of a trouble imagining its final shape. Entering the studio(s) we knew exactly what we wanted and how the songs were supposed to sound. And our guidelines were simple enough: to record the most thought-out album in the history of Darzamat, on which there would be at least a couple of truly fantastic songs. I know we did just that (laughs), but that's also for the fans to decide.

Hell on Fire: How as been so far to work with Flauros, Chris and Darkside? Did they treat you well:)?

Nera: It's great! We're a team and we treat each other with respect, so I really can't complain. I also don't expect any special treatment from them just because I am a woman and it probably helps in creating honest and solid relationship. I also believe they have no reason to complain about me ;)

Hell on Fire: Of course! There was any funny, crazy or weird thing that happened with the band during any tour or concert or a regular day for you to share with the readers?

Nera: Yeah, we have lots of fun spending time togheter. Some pieces of which you can find on our DVD Live Profanity (Visiting the Graves of Heretics).And some of those stories shouldn't be told in public. Sorry ;)

Hell on Fire: No worries i understand:)Getting out a little of Darzamat you also have a project intituled NeraNature at (www.myspace.com/neranature) for now with 2 songs "Before" and "Shattered", the sound is completly different from Darzamat, more calm but really great to hear and your voice my friend is beautiful, honestly! So tell me, what can you say about this project do you intend to bet also on NeraNature for the future? Who had the idea of it?

Nera: NeraNature is supposed to be a space for ideas that can't be incorporated in Darzamat. That is much more private sphere and as the name itself explains - it's destined for the other natures of mine. I asked guys from Darzamat to help me with that and Chris composed a lot of songs which we've been working on at the moment. What you can hear at myspace page is only a sample recorded at home, but I believe the whole album will be ready soon.

Hell on Fire: What do you want to say for those that always supported Darzamat since the begining?

Nera: I can only thank them all. It's a wonderful feeling knowing that there are people far away waiting for your music and appreciating the effort we put in our work. Thanks again!

Hell on Fire: My friend, thank you very much for your time for this interview, good luck for Metal Female Voice Fest in Belgium, for future concerts to come, for the promotion of the new album, also my cumpliments and cheers for the rest of the band and try to see along with Massacre if Darzamat will come to perform in Portugal soon ok:)Thank you!!!

Nera: Thanks for your kind words and hope to see you sooner or later! Horns up!

By: Nightshade

Darzamat Myspace

NeraNature Myspace

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