Stormy Atmosphere from Israel released one of the most interesting albums of the month, ‘Pent Letters’. Cryptic lyrics ingeniously woven into a story told from two perspectives, a broad range of musical influences and outstanding musicianship, everything that should make the prog fan drool. Outside of Israel, the band is not that well known yet and it is about time that changed. This is why I spoke with singer Teddy, who gives us among others a first push to deciphering the story, while not revealing all of it. Do read on!
Interview was prepared by Jori (Lords Of Metal)
1) First off, congratulations on the recent release of ‘Pent Letters’. It has now been six years since the release of your debut ‘ColorBlind’. What exactly was going on with the band in this intermezzo?
Hello and thanks for this interview. Any opportunity to interact with our fans means a lot to us. Thanks for the congratulations too. It took much effort to make this album, but we like what we did, believe in its success and hope that it will be accepted with open arms. While recording “Pent Letters” for the past four years, we did have quite a lot of events to attend meanwhile. During these years, we were honoured to perform in the biggest Israeli rock clubs several times a year, get to the finals of the Metal Battle contest of 2012, participate in the big Progstage festival of 2012 with other progressive Israeli bands such as Pain of Salvation, Andriomeda, Flower Kings, Osada Vida, Orphaned Land, and many more. On top of all these events, we had to remain focused on album recording. Furthermore, our band was lucky enough to get to celebrate its 10-year anniversary. 2014 and 2015 actually feel like a new level to us, because we finally took our live performances out of Israel to a foreign audience, we’ve been in a tour with legendary Mike Terrana in Slovakia and Poland, and then we were invited to the Tbilisi JamFest 2015 in Georgia, where we were honoured to be the jury of the local Metal Battle.
2) The first thing that struck me about ‘Pent Letters’, was the wide variation of musical styles and influences. Next to progressive rock and metal, there is much electronic music and also industrial bits, classical passages and let’s not forget the sound of the telephone. How do you manage to put such a truckload of styles on one cd and still make it sound so serene?
Thanks a lot for that, first of all! Actually, we’ve always been combining genres in our music. We all come from different musical backgrounds, and thanks to the prog genre eclecticism, we could unite and mix up anything we wished. You could hear it on the ‘Colorblind’ songs, and ‘Pent Letters’ naturally continued this tendency. What makes it so serene and whole? I guess it’s the concept; this album is a one-story based piece.
3) Speaking of a storyline, can you help lift the vale here? What story is featured on ‘Pent Letters’? And how does the album title come in here?
‘Pent Letters’ exists mutually in two realities – the “shell” songs of the main character’s prison time and the fantasy world of the book songs. The listener is drawn back and forth from one story to another, and that’s how the dots are connected. The story is about a man who has to go to jail for a long time, while his woman waits for him outside. Trying to survive for all these years, he finds answers within the “right” books from the prison library. When he manages to set his mind right, he then writes inspiring letters out to her, which makes her “time” less aching. These letters are pent, but they set them both free eventually.
4) This prisoner is shown in the videoclip for ‘Historical Adventure’. What is the idea behind the cryptic text and the videoclip for this song?
Let me first inform you, that that’s not the only song which holds a secret in this album. We are familiar with the curiosity of progressive listeners, they love depth, and searching for hidden messages within the lyrics provides that. So we decided to build our new album in many layers.
‘Historical Adventure’ is a “book-song”, and all the songs of that kind in the album are built as an acrostic. If you read vertically the capital letters of the text, you’ll reveal the name of the book the song is based on, and the writer’s name. Keep searching for more in other songs, your efforts will be rewarded.
5) The song ‘Time’ is the longest on the album, yet it is included as a bonus track. The lyrics are also not in the booklet. I have the idea it is something like a summary to the whole album, for some lyrical passages of other songs return here. Care to weigh in?
If you listen to it carefully, you’ll find that ‘Time’ is actually a combination of all the “shell” songs, it’s the songs which are named by the jail time periods ‘First Day’ is the hero’s first day in jail, ‘Hour’ is the first hour of her without him, and I’ll let you search for the rest. The thing is that all these songs are links of one chain called ‘Time’, the time that the hero has done in jail.
6) At some passages, your music reminds me of your fellow countrymen Orphaned Land. As one of the or not just the most famous metal band from your country, how important was this group for the development of Stormy Atmosphere?
As I mentioned before, we had a great time performing on the same stage with Orphaned Land in the Progstage 2012 festival. The producer of ‘Pent Letters’,Erez Yohanan, is a good friend of theirs; we got to know them a lot during the album recording. Their music is very rich and deep, and they bring a Mediterranean colouring to metal, which is very special. We listen to their music a lot personally. In general, Israeli metal bands are bound to support each other. There are lots of alliances and mutual performances, we wear each other’s t-shirts, listen to each other’s CD’s. The fact that Orphaned Land is very popular both at home and abroad gives great hopes to the whole Israeli prog and metal scene.
7) How did you come up with the band name Stormy Atmosphere in the first place?
Oh, it was so long ago, in 2002 or even earlier! Edi and I started a school band together, that band had no name or a strict genre. Then we graduated, studied, served the IDF and after few years made a come-back as a progressive group. The name Stormy Atmosphere was Edi’s idea actually. It might be quite long, but I personally believe that it fits us perfectly. The music we create is filled with emotions, which are mixed in a new hurricane every time! It’s a whirlpool of different notes and rhythms, the feelings everyone of us had inside are put into the melting pot and then storm out to the atmosphere.
8) What plans have you got for the future of the band?
The many goals of our band include keeping on making more music via new conceptual albums, more shows and videos, and exposing it to new audiences all over the world. For instance, from 30.09 to 04.10 we are on a supportive tour across Ukraine, to spread our music and share it with the people. If some of the readers are there between these days, they are invited! You can follow the details on our Facebook, to see the cities we’re at etc. Moreover, Stormy Atmosphere is proud to have supportive fans all around the globe already: Israel, USA, Japan, Europe, Southern America, Russia and more. We love them all and have a whole lotta love to give, so come and get it!
9) Thanks a lot for taking the time. Anything unsaid you wish to get out there?
Thank you again for your interest and your time. Thanks to the audience that do stay tuned and support us! Let me finish with the main idea of our new album: Dear fans! Read books, listen to music and keep supporting the art in general, as you do! It is the source of inspiration, the most priceless treasure in this world, and it can get you anywhere you wish! Every artist supports the community, and his contributions will stay for ages, art is the best investment!
Dnes nad naším územím vládne búrková atmosféra. Prihnala sa k nám z ďalekého Izraela ako neočakávaná horúca strela, elektrizujúca ako výbuchy v Teslovom laboratóriu a zároveň okúzľujúca ako šarmantná Dina Shulman. Na moju kanonádu otázok trpezlivo odpovedal spevák Teddy Shvets, človek s hĺbavou dušou a veľkým metalovým srdcom. Otvorte si dáždniky, prvé kvapky už bubnujú po metalových hlavách.
Interview was prepared by Erik Nádudvari (Rock Hard Magazine #31)
1) STORMY ATMOSPHERE is quite unknown territory for me. Can you please introduce your band?
We define our band as a Progressive Metal band, but we have gothic and folk metal elements too. Inspired by Classical music, Classical Rock, Progressive Rock and many other genres, we still do our best to create something on our own. It’s all about combining different stuff, making it beautiful and smart, but also heavy and headbanging.
2) There is a time gap of six years between the albums “ColorBlind“ and “Pent Letters“. Do you need such a long time to create new material or, as usual, many things just had happened?
The second one is true. We have dozens of ideas playing in our heads all the time, so I guess if it was an ideal world for music, we’d release an album every two months. But we had a lot of things going on – good ones, like festivals, concerts etc. but also less cheering, such as finding new members, a daily job to make money for the living, and so on.
3) Loving books I have found the cover artwork very interesting. Who is the author and how is that connected to the lyrics and the music?
The author of the cover is an Israeli artist Tony Yakovenko. He created this cover for us, after we described the idea of the album to him. It’s a one-story, a conceptual album. You can read the whole story in our Wikipedia page, but basically the story is about books that save people.
4) When writing music for the new album, is it a team work or do you work separately? Where do you live in Israel, if I may ask?
Israel is quite a small country, so we all live an hour away from each other at the most. Usually ideas come from all of us and we mix them together. That’s what makes it so fun after all – when you play a song you know that it’s your baby too, feeling like a proud parent of your art.
5) What work scheme do you use in studio? Everything should be linked and “pre-programmed” to the detail or sometimes you give a chance to improvisation? Who was the producer?
Though we try hard to plan our recordings and come well –prepared, there is always an element of improvisation. Sometimes we even surprise ourselves with interesting turns that accidently happen. For instance, when we recorded the song “Outcome”, the guitarist made a mistake in the last chord, but it suddenly sounded so cool we decided to leave it like that. “Pent Letters” was made by us together with Erez Yohanan, a famous Israeli metal producer, who works with Orphaned Land, Amaseffer, Orpheus Blade and many other great bands and projects.
6) How were the two voices split between Teddy Shvets and Dina Shulman? Do you sing for other bands?
It probably started as a Beauty/Beast thing, but then we felt like going further to many kinds of duets and chorales. There is no dominance of me or Dina, they switch parts between back vocals and the main ones. And as for other bands – well, few years ago we both had some side projects, like recording for some friendly musicians or singing in local choirs, but today Stormy Atmosphere is the one and only band for us both.
7) I know that you have some roots in Ukraine. How was your Ukraine tour going in September 2015?
It was wonderful! The audience was great, the label did it’s best to provide us all that needed and the experience was just priceless! You know, it’s amazing, but rock and metal lovers and fans are the same everywhere. Until we had a chance to go abroad, we actually couldn’t believe how transnational Rock and Metal can be.
8) In general, do you think you can compare audience in Israel and Ukraine when playing music there on stage?
As I said, we were amazed by the likeness of energies projected by rock and metal fans everywhere. Still – a home is a home, we love our local fans and they are irreplaceable, but we had moments in Ukraine that in a middle of a show it felt like home! Actually, the same thing happened with Slovakian and Polish fans in our tour with Mike Terrana, and with Georgians, when we played on Tbilisi JamFest 2015!
9) My following question is hackneyed, but how is metal music accepted in Israel?
Well, unfortunately it’s not the most popular musical genre. But the fans we do have, they are the salt of the earth! They are devoted and supportive; some fans feel it’s their duty to visit every concert in the country, to support the bands and the genre. So we just have faith someday Rock and Metal will be as popular as in Europe at least.
10) Can you say a few words about your cooperation and relationships with Metal Scrap Records?
Well, Ukraine is going through hard times in general, but the label does its best to help us spread the word of Stormy Atmosphere all over. In September 14 we had a worldwide release of “Pent Letters”, our songs reached places on a globe they probably wouldn’t do without Metal Scrap Records. As mentioned before, after the album release they arranged a supporting tour across Ukraine for us and did their best to make it fun and as comfortable as it could be. I believe it was a right decision to work with them, and would recommend them to other bands, which are looking for a label.
11) Have you been thinking about the next step as a new level for STORMY ATMOSPHERE in future? (technically, musically, stage show, etc.)
Of course. We haven’t reached all we wish yet. There is a long way ahead and we can’t wait to take the next step towards it. Along with making more good music and recording new albums, we also will keep working on more surprises for the audience on stage. So as always – stay tuned for new events and updates!
12) At the end of this interview I´d like to ask you whether is possible to see you in Slovakia and Czech Republic in 2016?
We had a chance to play at Nitra with Mike Terrana, and it was just unforgettable! Slovakians are wonderful, warm and welcoming audience. We had so much fun then, so we will do our best to come back. And as to Czech Republic… well all of us been to Prague for vacation, some of us – twice or more – the people and the beer are of the best in the world! And Metal is all about good people and a good beer.
13) I´d like to thank you for your time and this occasion to interview such an interesting band as STORMY ATMOSPHERE really is. Thank you, guys and I wish you all the best. Hope to see you.
Thank you very much for this chance to share our thoughts and feelings with Progressive and Metal fans of Rock Hard. We also hope to see you in the near future!
Llegan desde Israel con “Pent letters” bajo el brazo, un trabajo editado a través del activo sello Metal Scrap Records, donde han combinando elementos del sonido progresivo con dosis del Gothic Metal y de este trabajo nos hablan en la siguiente entrevista.
David Déniz Plaza (Necromance #12/15)
Para aquellos que no os conocen, ¿quienes son los miembros de STORMY ATMOSPHERE y cuales han sido los momentos más importantes de la banda hasta el momento?
Hay seis miembros en el grupo: Dina Shulman (vocalista femenina), Teddy Shvets (vocalista masculino), Edi Krakov (teclado), Stas Sergienko (guitarra), Max Man (bajista) y actualmente estamos trabajando con un nuevo batería, del que anunciaremos el nombre muy pronto. ¿Los momentos más importantes?, bien, estamos activos desde el 2002, hemos editado dos trabajos: “Colorblind” y “Pent Letters” y ahora hemos empezado a trabajar en el siguiente. Expresamos nuestros sentimientos y pensamientos a través de la música y queremos llegar a cada corazón de este mundo.
Hemos tocado en unos pocos eventos internacionales tanto dentro de Israel como fuera: Progstage 2012 festival con Pain of Salvation, Andromeda, Flower Kings, Osada Vida y Orphaned Land; una gira por Eslovaquia y Polonia con el legendario Mike Terrana en el 2014; JamFest 2015 en Georgia con Diary of Dreams, Dead by April, Slot y muchos más; una gira por Ucrania en octubre del 2015 como cabezas de cartel y con la banda griega Sunlight como teloneros y justo hace unas semanas el Melodic Alliance festival en Tel-Aviv con Elvenking y Airborn de Italia, Winter’s Verge de Chipre y nuestros amigos locales Desert, Switchblade y Scardust.
Además de todo esto tenemos videos musicales, y nuestros temas se pueden escuchar tanto en radios locales como internacionales de rock y metal y la banda ha aparecido en programas de televisión locales.
¿Puedes hablarnos acerca de los temas principales e influencias que marcan vuestro nuevo trabajo “Pent letters”?
“Pent letters” es un trabajo conceptual. Este trabajo es una historia de un hombre que fue encarcelado por una razón que mantiene en vilo al oyente, toca temas como la dureza de la vida en prisión y donde el héroe de esta historia lee libros en los que encuentra la libertad y la salvación. Este trabajo está basado en seis obras literarias que son: “Stranger in a Strange Land” de Robert A. Heinlein, “The Count of Monte Cristo” de Alexandre Dumas, “Crime and Punishment” de Fyodor Dostoevsky, “The Master and Margarita” de Mikhail Bulgakov, “The Picture of Dorian Grey” de Oscar Wilde y “Faust” de Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.
Tenemos algunas influencias del sonido gothic metal combinadas con voces de ópera, melodías muy variadas y algunos riffs más cortantes… y una aparición especial en el álbum, la de Tom S. Englund, el vocalista de EVERGREY.
Este es vuestro 2º trabajo ¿qué metas se puso la banda para el mismo cuando entrásteis en estudio?
Por un lado ser profesionales y cumplir con la agenda establecida y por otro, hacer algo que musicalmente sorprendiera tanto a los oyentes como a la propia banda y creo que conseguimos sorprendernos a nosotros mismos con cosas que conseguimos sacar de cada uno de nosotros como músicos.
¿Qué nos puedes contar del proceso de grabación de “Pent letters”?
Fue duro, pero mucho más excitante que el de “Colorblind”; tuvimos la ayuda de muchos músicos en los coros y por encima de todo, de Tom Englund. Trabajar con un productor profesional que vino con ideas nos hizo avanzar muy bien con el tiempo. “Pent letters” nos dejó más que satisfechos y ya ha empezado a justificar nuestras expectativas. Salió a la venta oficialmente een septiembre y ya hemos tenido muy buena respuesta y reseñas de todo el mundo: Usa, Europa, Russia y Japón y las reseñas siguen llegando. Las reacciones son más que buenas y algunas de ellas con puntuaciones de 9.5 y 10!!.
¿Cuales dirías que son las diferencias entre “Pent Letters”, el nuevo trabajo y el primero “Colorblind” (2009)?
Aprendimos mucho del primer trabajo, asi que trabajar en “Pent Letters” fue un proceso mucho más fácil para la banda y además acertamos en la elección del productor del mismo. Pero quizás la principal diferencia entre ambos fue el tiempo y nuestro consejo para otras bandas es que empiecen a grabar justo después de terminar de escribir un álbum, creemos que es la mejor manera para la música y asi no pasa tanto tiempo para que sea publicado.
Volviendo la vista a los días de “Colorblind” ¿estáis aún contentos con el resultado?
Amamos “Color blind” tanto como amamos “Pent letters”; mirando al pasado si que algunas cosas se podrían haber hecho de forma diferente, pero los temas de “Color blind” me recuerdan como empezamos nuestro camino en “Stormy atmosphere”, fueron tiempos difíciles, pero llamativos y fructíferos al mismo tiempo.
¿Tienes algún tema favorito dentro de este trabajo o los mirasd todos como un conjunto?
Bien, “Pent letters” es lo más parecido a un libro o al escenario de una película, así que recomendamos escuchar este trabajo de forma completa, al menos la primera vez y así verás como la historia va fluyendo a través de cada tema. Por el contrario, mientras “Color blind” tiene una idea detrás no podemos decir que sea algo conceptual asi que puedes coger un tema del mismo y escucharlo de forma separada. De forma general y en ambos trabajos, los temas son muy variados.
¿Cual fue la parte más difícil de “pent letters” y por qué?
El conseguir transformar las ideas en un trabajo final! aunque debo decirte que pensábamos que sería una tarea mucho más complicada de lo que fue realmente. Tuvimos la ayuda de mucha gente y el apoyo de familiares y amigos; además de que el equipo y la profesionalidad del productor hicieron el trabajo mucho más fácil y como dije antes, fue duro pero divertido.
¿Como se hizo el artwork de “Pent letters” y que significado tiene para la banda?
Cuando decidimos hacer “Pent letters”, nuestro deseo es que la gente valorara mentalmente la literatura y la educación. Hoy en día la gente no compra CD’s, no leen mucho y esto hace 10 años era impensable. Esa es la idea que hay tras este diseño y es que a veces la salvación viene de unas palabras. Eres prisionero de tus problemas, tu ignorancia y los libros pueden romper esa fría prisión, abrirte una ventana a un nuevo camino e invitarte a dejar el oscuro pasado y dar un paso hacia la luz. Tony Yakovenko es el artista que hizo la portada y diseñó el libreto de “Pent letters” y creemos que representa esta idea que tenemos.
¿En qué términos crees que la banda ha progresado musicalmente? ¿Crees que ha sido algo lineal o dirías que la banda ha mantenido algunas cosas pero cambiado otras totalmente?
Hemos sido una banda que ha ido cambiando, unos miembros se han ido y otros han venido, pero eso pasa en todos los grupos. Creemos que nunca hemos dado un paso hacia atrás y siempre hemos buscado nuevas maneras de tocar, escribir y ensayar. Nuestros miembros trabajan duro y han mejorado sus habilidades musicales y aprendido mucho otros estilos y géneros, asi que el proceso ha sido lineal y la música ha mantenido sus colores tema tras tema.
¿Como consiguió la banda formar con Metal Scrap records y como ha sido el trabajo con ellos hasta el momento?
Tuvimos ofertas de varios sellos, que quisieron darnos su ayuda y servicios, pero todas las decisiones las tomamos como un grupo y fichamos con Metal Scrap records porque su propuesta nos pareció la mejor de todas y parece que hasta el momento todo marcha bien. metal scrap no solo han editado el trabajo de forma mundial, además nos cerraron una gira por Ucrania en octubre del 2015 y siguen trabajando en la promoción de la banda. Posiblemente recomendemos sus servicios a otros grupos.
¿Hay algo que quieras añadir para dar por terminada esta entrevista?
Lo primero, es agradecerte la oportunidad, ya que nos ayuda mucho a difundir nuestras ideas con más gente. Por otro lado, la mejor energía que puedes obtener de nosotros es en los directos; queremos aprender a ser grandes músicos asi que esperamos veros en los próximos conciertos de la banda.
– Tell us about the origin of the band.
The band was started as a school band in 2000 by Edi Krakov (composing, keyboards) and Teddy Shvets (lyrics, lead vocals). It was finally declared Progressive on 2002, so that’s considered the beginning of the band as Stormy Atmosphere.
– Reasons to create the band, inspiration and influences.
We wanted to create something of our own, something original. Back then there were only few Prog bands in Israel, so it wasn’t the easiest way for beginners, but the genre let us do anything we want in our music and sprout boundlessly in our imagination.
We have been inspired by Prog-stars such as Dream Theater, Symphony X, Pain of Salvation, Evergrey, but also by the classical fathers of Rock and Heavy Metal – Metallica, Iron Maiden, Deep Purple and many more. We’ve been also influenced by Classics, Electronics, Jazz and many other genres.
That’s the greatness of Progressive – any genre is welcome with open arms!
– Style description and musical attitude.
We play Progressive Metal. Our Prog is quite unique, because we have a duet of male and female vocals, which make it sound quite Gothic sometimes. We also like to add some theatrical elements to our show and conceptual meanings to our songs, which, hopefully, takes us towards the rock-opera style. The music we write allows every player to express him/herself equally, the instruments support each other through the songs and let the music flow towards the listener in a stream of passion.
– Tell us about the origin of the name’s band.
It was Edi’s idea from the beginning. but we all love it, since it suites us perfectly. There is a storm of feelings all the time, it’s in our songs, and our attitude,… our everything is about atmosphere.
-For those who are starting rocking
Which band and / or classic rock band’s song recommend and why?
It’s so individual… the key is to listen to as many as possible and then to find your own unique style. Today there are many great bands who you can be inspired with, but for a real metal musician – a bit of classic rock knowledge is a must. We don’t need to name the bands, everyone knows them. Just type “Best of Classic Rock” in your browser and you’re all good. We also recommend listening to blues and classical music sometimes – one should never forget that these are the origins of rock and metal, you know.
-For those who are starting rocking and begin to be known as a band
What song of yours you recommend and why?
We would be happy if any of our songs were played by the younger generation, as long as they give us the credit, of course. Our songs are quite various, choose the one that suits you best, and make a cover. And another thing that we strongly urge you to do – is to make a video of the cover and share it on our YouTube channel and Facebook page.
-Which one was or has been the most important moment in your career?
Both album releases were very important milestones for us, but the most important event is definitely going on tour with Mike Terrana and his band – that’s was the first time we were playing out of Israel, the move that really made us believe in ourselves more than ever. We have always wished to share our music with people all over the globe, and that was a big step for Stormy Atmosphere towards that dream.
-Tell us about your achievements, future goals and what are you doing right now?
Well, we have two full albums, two tours across Europe, three international festivals behind us, lots of local gigs, radio and TV visits – that’s quite a record for a band.
But that’s not everything we have to say to a world – today we are working on a third album, having a local tour across the country, and making rehearsals for a big Progstage 2016 festival on October, with Circus Maximus, Haken, DGM, Andromeda, Special Providence and many great local bands too. There’s a lot of work, and we’re anxious to attack it with everything we got! So stay tuned for more news and releases very soon.
-As wrestling media, do you know wrestling, right?, What do you want to comment or add about this topic?
We’re Israeli and we play Progressive metal, so we do know a lot about fighting for survival! And we do love and respect sports of any kind. In addition to that, some of us were watching WWF as kids and loved the show. Therefore, we believe things you do are very important, since you combine sports and music, which are the best disciplines and values for the young generation.
-Greetings and message for rock fans and visitors of Rock and Wrestling website
Peace & Love from Israel and best wishes from Stormy Atmosphere! Keep listening to good music and respect all genres, because we all do it for you guys – to make your life more colorful and diversified!
Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
Stormy Atmosphere is an Israeli Progressive Metal band, active since 2002. In these years we made two full albums, had been to three international tours, took part in many international festivals, and dozens of local shows, both as headliners and participants. We have six band members – two vocalists (male & female) a keyboard player, a guitarist, a bassist and a drummer. Some players left and joined the band through years, but the spirit of the band kept on going.
What’s the origin of the band’s name?
The root of our name is in our music and in the spirit of the band. All the players have different taste in music, different perceptions and energies, and from this storm the music we make comes out.
Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
Here in Israel the metal scene is not as powerful as in Europe or US, but we have a small but devoted and solid audience here. There are some local bands who act in the similar genre like Orphaned Land, Orpheus Blade and more.
How would you describe your style?
We play Progressive. This style is an eclectic mixture of various genres, anything is welcome. We prefer mixing heavy riffs with classical melodies, interesting unusual rhythms, and some electronic and special effects on the way.
What have you released so far and what can someone expect from your works?
As mentioned before, we had two major full album releases (in 2009 and 2015), this year we have been working on a third album to be released pretty soon hopefully, we also try our best to release music videos once in a while and visit some local radio and TV-shows. Also, in both albums we tried to put some extras and secret “easter eggs”, because we know our audience like and expect such add-ins…
Do you have any new music in the works?
Yes we do. More than a half of our next album is made, some songs are already been played in our late shows.
How about playing shows and touring, have anything planned out?
Every few months we try to have a major show (like a tour or a festival), in between we take parts in some middle-size events with other local bands. We do our best to keep our hand on a pulse, staying on and tuned to our audience.
What plans do you have for the future as a band?
Definitely taking part in more international events, releasing more albums and music videos, maybe trying some new sounds in our music… that’s pretty much the way we see in front of us
Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
You can listen to our music online in all the media channels, such as Youtube, Facebook, our website and more. We have CD’s and t-shirts you can buy on our shows and our web site and Metal Scrap Records label site.
What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?
The variety and the colorfulness of our music, the message behind the lyrics, and most of all – that he hasn’t heard it all yet and some cool stuff is yet to be played. An anticipation and a wishing for some more music from us.
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?
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.
Do 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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