STORMY ATMOSPHERE (for Lords Of Metal)

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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.

stormy atmosphere band5) 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!


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