APRIL WEEPS is another band that utilizes the beauty and beast concept vocally. ©2015 Anders Ekdahl
You have one of these names that do not really tell what kind of metal you play. How hard was it to come up with the name?
Stronghold: Well, it wasn’t as tough as it may seem. From the beginning, when we started to rehearse as party of friends, we had our idols too – we were quite strongly influenced by mighty debut album “Widow’s Weeds” by Norwegian cult TRISTANIA. But due to imagination of almost all people, thinking we have some kind of dealing with weed, we slightly changed our name from “weeds” to “weeps. ” April has two meanings – first is that we started to rehearse in April and the second, our music is not a stable one – it changes every time, just like the weather in April.
Could you give us a short introduction to the band?
Stronghold: As mentioned, the band started as a group of friends, big metal devotees. But as time went by, a lot of line-up changes and problems occurred and the friends parted ways. Love for metal music was the key factor that led to a revival and after new members recruited in 2010, APRIL WEEPS was formed. In September 2012, we recorded our debut album “Outer Calm, Pain Within.” We are currently in the stage of finishing material for the second album that we are willing to record soon.
N: We are 7 very different individuals with different music tastes that came together and each one of us brings to the band something different. Some of us are not even “metal-heads”. Altogether we form what is known as APRIL WEEPS.
What would you say have been the single greatest influence on your sound?
Stronghold: For me, it was definitely “Enthrone Darkness Triumphant” by DIMMU BORGIR that awoke the passion in me to play the keyboards and in the final consequence to find the same crazy-heads to start a band. In general, I think it’s the melody that is our greatest influence.
N: As mentioned above, every single one of us has different tastes, so isolating one single influence is a great challenge. But overall, every song has one common feature: melody/melodies.
What is the extreme metal scene like in your area? Do you feel that you are a part of a scene?
Stronghold: We started to realize this when we have released our debut album on our own. We have sent the CDs to as many people and subjects as possible and thanks to few gigs, our band slowly started to break into peoples’ minds. A part of the scene? Not much, I think that we have a long hard road just ahead of us and there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. But after all, I can say that I feel, we have done a big progress in comparison with our beginnings in 2010 and slowly, but surely we are on the right path to achieve our goal.
N: Yes, there are plenty of bands in Slovakia. Some of these are smaller, some of them bigger and of course there’s lot of rivalry among them. It’s lot about knowing the right people, because promoters and more influential people on the scene tend to help out only their friends, so it’s not about the quality of the music anymore. Sometimes it’s pretty harsh, but we managed so far and things are only getting better and better for us.
Something I have often wondered about is if you feel that you are part of something bigger and
greater when you play in a band, that you are part of a movement sort of?
Marta: I think you pictured it right. Being a member of APRIL WEEPS is more than a personal success. Our band is a collection of different personalities, with their special life paths, all put together and mixed – all the feelings and thoughts these people have, creating something new that cannot be created by one single person. In Gestalt psychology there is a rule – “Gestalt (the whole) is more than sum of the parts” and in this sense I feel proud to have the opportunity to put my small piece into this mosaic.
Stronghold: I agree, but first of all we are human, just like other people that need to eat, drink, sleep, go to work and pay the bills.
When you play the sort of metal you play I guess you cannot have birds and bees on the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
Stronghold: Well, it depends on the mood you’re trying to achieve with the music. But yes, our music is doomy, sad and definitely not about happiness accompanied by birds and bees. 😀 For me, it is very difficult to pick up one or few covers that impressed me during those years I’ve listened to metal music. But if it will be just one artist, it will be without doubt Travis Smith with his dark covers. They fascinate me from his beginnings.
Marta: We try to avoid any clichés one would come up to our music. For me personally, our music is about life and its struggles, about emotions one cannot express other way. In majority those feelings that cannot be said or named are hurtful or bothering, or hidden somewhere deep inside. With a little imagination even the bird and bees concept could be used , but with the right setting.
N: That depends. I would say, that the less metal cliché, the better, but even cliché can be great, when executed correctly.
What is your opinion on digital verses physical? Is digital killing music?
Marta: From the artist’s point of view it is great to sell CDs and getting some money for the band, but also it is a great feeling to know that at the other end of the world there is a guy listening to our music (doesn’t matter free or not). I would not say that it is killing music. There are a lot of music lovers and collectors who purchase the original copy, independently of the possibility to have it downloaded free. It is a gesture of support for the artist. And there are a lot of people who prefer downloading or listening to music online, for e.g. financial reasons.
Stronghold: For me, the physical format will be always more valuable than digital. I really enjoy browsing through booklet and read the texts while listening to the music. I think that digital releases do not kill the music, the problem is somewhere else. It is the digital age that brought downloading and raised in people assumption that music is free and there’s no need to pay for it. But artists are people too, people that need to eat, drink, sleep, go to work and pay the bills… I am 100% sure, that if the people outside “music circles” know what it is to be in a band and how much the people inside sacrifice just for being in a band in order to make music, the attitude of downloading music for free will be diametrically different. Then there we have an enormous number of bands these days and it’s obvious that we came to the point where quantity surpasses the quality. When man tries to figure out all of these bands (and sort out the quality out of quantity), it just can’t be all bought and downloading seems to be the only option then… But on the other hand, fortunately there are still people out there that are willing to pay for the digital goods.
What kind of live scene is there for bands like yours?
Stronghold: Live scene really lives on, but I think I’m not far from the truth when saying it became replete. In comparison with the past, where gigs were organized mainly for the weekends, nowadays one can notice a lot of gigs during workdays.
When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
Stronghold: I think both. First of all, it’s a happening when we try to give the audience the best of us. Then sometimes it’s a party, where you can have beer with other performing bands or fans. It’s also a great abreaction from all the duties we have in our private lives and makes the band members complete.
Marta: Playing live is always a happening, when one tries to bring the best – for the audience, and for oneself – meaning atmosphere, sound, feeling. For me it is moment when I feel pretty much alive.
What would you like to see the future bring?
Marta: I am really looking forward to our new album with our latest songs. I think we have made a long way since the debut, and it is time to see and hear also for those, who have not been to our live shows yet
Stronghold: My biggest wish is to have the band assembled in a circle, where every single member can achieve self-realization with minimum of interruptions from personal life. And there we have this dreamy stuff, just like other bands have: performing on bigger stages, more of our music reaching the wider audience, meeting new people with the same “disease” as we have.
Marta – vocals
N – growls
Stronghold – keyboards