STORMY ATMOSPHERE (for Tironas #6)

Tironas 6Tironas #6

Hello, how are you? Thank you very much for the time to this interview for TIRONAS magazine. Could you introduce yourself?
We are Stormy Atmosphere, a progressive metal band from Israel. There are six band members – two singers (male and female), a keyboard player, a guitarist, a bassist and a drummer.

I must note that Stormy Atmosphere is the first Israeli band that is featured in TIRONAS magazine. I personally don’t know anything about Israeli metal. Sure, Melechesh and Orphaned Land are rather known, but apart from that… Could you say a few words about metal in Israel?
Unfortunately, metal is not the most popular genre in Israel, but Israeli metal fans are devoted and favorable. The scene is friendly, bands help each other a lot and fans support all the bands by coming to every show and buying the merch... the music is influenced by the oriental climate, but since Israelis came from all over the world you might hear tunes and moods that totally different sometimes... We believe that Israeli metal still develops, and it will keep surprising the listener for years from now.

When have Stormy Atmosphere started to rock this world? What’s the history of the band and what do you want to express within your music? Are you really going to make a big wave around yourself as in Israel, as in Europe, as overseas?
We're active since 2002, have released two full-length albums, "Colorblind" and "Pent Letters", now started working on a third one. We express our very thoughts and feelings through music and wish it to reach every heart in this world. That's why we will keep performing as within Israel as abroad, and we already do: a Progstage 2012 festival with Pain of Salvation, Andromeda, Flower Kings, Osada Vida and Orphaned Land; a tour across Slovakia and Poland with legendary Mike Terrana in 2014; a JamFest 2015 in Georgia with Diary of Dreams, Dead by April, Slot and many more; a tour across Ukraine in October 2015 as the headliners and Greek band Sunlight as a support; and just a few weeks ago – a Melodic Alliance festival in Tel-Aviv with Elvenking and Airborn from Italy, Winter's Verge from Cypris and our local friends - Desert, Switchblade and Scardust. Besides all that we make music videos, our songs are played on local and international rock and metal radio stations, we go to local TV shows – all that to share our word with the fans all over the globe.

The fact is quite clear that Stormy Atmosphere is not a newcomer band. That's why your newest opus "Pent Letters" has left me rather impressed! I’m certainly not the only one. How have reactions to the album been?
Thanks a lot for that! Our second album "Pent Letters" was released only in September 2015, under the label we're signed in, Metal Scrap Records, and we've already got responses and reviews from the whole world - USA, Europe, Russia, even Japan. And the reviews keep on coming. The reactions are mostly flattering; some are even 9.5 out of 10! The feedback comes not only from magazines and famous metal blogs, many fans from all over the world write us personally, and these are the most exciting moments – when you manage to touch someone's soul from such a distance! That's what proves us our work to be fruitful and contributive.

Have you promoted the album by touring much? And if so, where?
Yes we have. We actually started promoting the album long before its release: We had a Presentation show in October 2014 when the recordings were finished. It was a huge event with decorations and costumes, a true theatrical play – you can see the pictures in our Facebook. Then we promoted it via our tour with Mike Terrana; in Georgia we also played new songs mostly. But the main "Pent Letters" promoting event was our Ukraine tour – that was one of the main reasons for making it. The tour was arranged by our label Metal Scrap. It went across five big Ukrainian cities – Kiev, Kharkov, Odessa, Kirovograd and Krivoy Rog. And that's not all of it. We're probably going to continue pushing the album via other interesting events in a near future, both locally and abroad.

You have an official music video for the song "Historical Adventure". How did this video come about? Why did you choose this song for a video?
For a few reasons: First of all, the book "Historical Adventure" is based on is a well-known literature piece. Secondly, the subject allowed us to add some aristocratic and colorful elements to the video, to make it less dark and dreary, comparing to many of the videos in a genre. And of course – the fact that being a progressive metal song, "Historical Adventure" does have heavy metal head-banging riffs, so the listener can enjoy both worlds together at the same time.

You seem to put some effort into your imagery which somehow reminds me of 19th century, especially in your video of the song "Historical Adventure". I mean that all the images on this video is obviously related to the story of Alexandre Dumas "The Count of Monte Cristo". Am I right at this case?
Yes it is so. When we were working on the story behind the album, it immediately reminded us of "The Count of Monte Cristo". That was the reason we based one of the songs on it. I mean, when a man is thrown into jail and he has a chance to read a book, there's a big chance he will pick this novel.

On that topic, what does image mean for you? Do you also take into consideration maybe going into a completely different direction in the future (musically and image-wise)?
To us, visual show is very important. We believe that people come to a concert to watch a show rather than just listen to music, for if they didn't, they would stay at home and listen to a CD. But we do like to keep an element of surprise. I guess that we haven't shown everything yet. The image of the 19-th century is very charming and easy to be drawn into, but that's not the only image "Pent Letters" leads us to. There is a futuristic picture of the "Science Fiction" song, the early soviet mood mixed with biblical times in "The Menippeah", and of course – the real life of US joint. There's more, but I'll let you discover the rest of the origins. We have lots of inspiration only from this album, can't wait what future brings us in new songs we already started writing.

After listening to your second full-length album "Pent Letters" I dare to say that United States' leading progressive metal band Dream Theater and even Swedish renowned band Evergrey play a role in your music alongside to the others progressive and female fronted bands. Is that so?
These bands and many more were definitely a part of our prog-metal education. We learn from the best but try hard to create something of our own. Speaking of Evergrey - we actually managed to reach Tom S. Englund to listen to our music, but then the best thing was when after that he gladly agreed to feature in one of the songs. It's like you dream of something and eventually not only reach it, but get it to participate in a work of your life!

The album has a very solid and direct sound. Where did you record it and who was responsible for the professional sound?Scan 160204 0003
Thanks a lot for that, really appreciate it! We had some experience from the first album "Colorblind", so we quite knew what we wanted and knew to be as much professional as we could. "Pent Letters" was produced and recorded in the "Cast Iron" studio here in Israel, by us and Erez Yohanan, the producer who worked with Amaseffer, Orpheus Blade and Orphaned Land.

Your second album was released via Ukrainian pioneer metal label, Metal Scrap Records. Did you have any other offers from the other labels? And why Metal Scrap Records was your choice?
We had few more labels, who suggested their help and service to Stormy Atmosphere. But since we make decisions in a band all together, we eventually signed with Metal Scrap because their proposal seemed best for us all. And seems like we took the right turn - Metal Scrap not only released the album worldwide, they arranged us a tour, and keep on successfully working on further album and band promotion.

Excuse my ignorance, but are there many possibilities to record metal in Israel?
As said before, metal is not the most popular genre in Israel, but we do have many talented professionals to work with. Some local bands use to send their work to mix and mastering abroad, mostly not because of the quality, but to have a fresh perspective on their tunes.

Is metal considered a cultural good in Israel? Let’s take Norway, for instance, where Dimmu Borgir appear on the main governmental TV channel. Would that be possible in Israel, too?
Not yet, unfortunately. The whole metal scene prays for that every day and night, maybe something will change in a few years… We don't totally rule out the possibility of that though. Israel already had such musical revolutions in the past: in 70's the oriental music was an underground genre here, and today it's the most popular. It all depends on the amount of the fans.

The Middle East is a rather hot zone – not only climatically, but of course also politically. Do you think that metal can build bridges that other modes of cultural production – or politics, for that matter – can’t?
For sure, maybe not metal precisely, but the music in general is the best cultural bridge between all nations. If there's ever going to be a piece on earth, it'll be brought by music. That's what at least we believe in.

Scan 160204 0004Do you think it would ever be possible for an Israeli band to play in, say, Jordan or Lebanon? Or vice versa?
We don't think our fans, or the authorities would have any problem with welcoming a band from these countries. We do have fans of metal bands from Arabic countries in Israel (including ourselves), so these bands would definitely get a good amount of audience if they decided to come here. But we can understand their hesitation – their own fans might not be as tolerant to them, when they come back home. We would also love to visit these countries, but today it's too complicated to arrange such a tour, mostly because of the security issues.

OK, that’s all for me now. Anything else you want to add, that I didn’t ask you?
There is something I'd like to say about metal, music and art in general: mostly an art is not created by the artist for himself only, but to share it with the community. When a usual person wants to say something, he/she talks, shouts or tweets a status. When an artist wants to say a word - he/she draws, plays, sings, or writes a story. If the say of the artist is important to you - look at a drawing, listen to a song, read a book and you will get it!

And the last, what would you like to wish to the listeners and readers?
We wish us – both artists and the fans, to reach and support each other even more. For me, the best energy you can get is the energy of the rock show. No matter what, we have to learn to have fun. So more musical events to go to and to head-bang at – that's what we wish to the audience!

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