The Polish metal scene is growing stronger for each day that passes by. Proof of that can for example be found on SARATAN’s new album. Iinterview with Jarek Niemiec, vocal, bass. Anders Ekdahl ©2012
Now that you are on your third album does it feel like the band has progressed the way you intended?
J: Yes, we feel that we have made a huge step forward. The new songs became more complex, but not chaotic. We were able to compose and add all the new layers in our music like ethnic and classic instruments. Also everything is much better thought through. Not only music-wise, but also in terms of artwork, band photos and the scenario for “ Baâ al Zevuv” video.
What is with the Polish metal scene that keep spitting out new great bands?
J: It’s hard to explain, and I don’t know the right answer here. Some people say that it is connected with polish economic and social situation. Maybe it’s influenced by that in some minor fraction, but I wouldn’t be sure it’s the key factor. But it is a really interesting topic indeed!
There is an ethnic side to the band. Where does the interest for that come from?
J: I studied Persian language, so it was quite natural for me to also explore the culture, religion and of course music from this region. Moreover I have traveled to many interesting places like India, Iran, Azerbaijan, and I’ve always been trying to bring some music cds, or
music instruments from there. For example the instrument I’m using most often is TAR that I brought from Azerbaijan. You can hear it on “Antireligion” and “Martya Xwar” albums. I love it! It is so inspiring to play this kind of instruments!
When you come from a town like Krakow that is historically interesting does that bring with it a source for inspiration?
J: In my opinion not at all. I’ve lived here all my life, surrounded by those landmarks, which became elements of everyday reality rather than inspiring or breathtaking environment. When it comes to pointing out my inspirations, I’d rather point out the aforementioned journeys to Asia.
Is the band name a homage to the British band Cancer? Why the choice of band name?
J: We decided to name the band this way because we didn’t want to have a typical English name. It is such a popular practice, and a trivial one at that, so we wanted a little more originality. During the first year of my studies I have discovered that Arabic and
Persian word SARATAN would be really great as a band name. It hasn’t yet been taken, it’s connected with culture I like, and it sounds like Satan! ?
What is behind the album title “MartyaXWar”, is there a greater concept behind the choice?
J: “Martya Xwar” means men eater, or cannibal in middle Persian language the ancestor of modern Persian. From that phrase, the world Manticore was created. A title should be a little
gloomy, mysterious even, to somehow link it with occult topics of some of the songs. As for the concept – there is an idea encrypted throughout this album, but I still wouldn’t call it a concept one.
What is the metal scene like in Poland today? We hear about how much power the church has and how there are people fighting against metal.
J: It is not so bad here!! The Church doesn’t fight with metal scene, but some sort of politicians do! As a band member I don’t see many obstacles here, but I know that Nergals case and some other widely known issues could make this sort of image. Rest assured, Poland is not as catholic as You imagine! And the change is constant!
What are the chances like for being added to a tour that actually brings the band forward instead of playing to the closest interested?
J: We are working on that. We have joined a booking agency, a really good one, but for now I can’t reveal any details. We will play some gigs in Poland and in Eastern Europe, and we really look forward to playing shows in Western Europe. Hopefully it will happen next year!
Is it worth the hard work doing a video? What does it give the band having a video to show?
J: Yes, of course it’s necessary! Youtube and other social media are really important in band promotion. The video is giving the band another opportunity to find new fans and listeners. And it doesn’t matter how many views you achieve – everyone is important!
What will the future bring to you?
J: We don’t know, but we are sure that promotion of “Martya Xwar” will last for minimum one year. We will play as many gigs as we can and we are planning to shoot a second video clip. It is going to be a busy year, but we are looking forward to it!!