CRYSTAL VIPER has become a Polish metal institution. If you have missed checking out the highly classy heavy metal band then shame on you. If so you should do what the rest of us do. Read the answers by Marta Gabriel, vocals. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
You guys have been carrying the banner of heavy metal for a long time now. Do you feel that you are where you want to be right now? What state is heavy metal in today?
-As they say, trends come and go, but Heavy Metal stays. I think these words match Crystal Viper very well, because we simply keep on doing our thing. We were going through many ups and downs, but as you said, we keep on carrying the banner of Heavy Metal. If we are where we want or wanted to be? I don’t know, as we don’t plan anything. We take nothing for granted, we love what we do, and we are happy that we can share what we do with our fans. I would say that Heavy Metal is doing pretty well these days – it’s of course a genre which isn’t very popular or trendy, so we aren’t talking about hundreds of thousands of fans and golden albums, but we don’t care. We love what we do, and I hope we will keep on doing the same for as long as it’s possible.
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
-Actually it wasn’t that hard. We wanted classic sounding name, with adjective and noun, like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Virgin Steele and so on. When we started the band and we were thinking about the name, my husband said “how about Crystal Viper”, and the rest is history. I can tell you that another idea was Night Prowler, as it was the title of one of our early songs, but I think Crystal Viper sounds way better!
What band(s) was it that turned you on to the kind of music you play? What inspires you today?
-Let me start from saying, that before I started to compose and play Heavy Metal, I played classical music. I’m actually a pianist, and the truth is I played more concerts as a pianist, than as a Metal musician. I started very early, as when I was 7 years old my parents sent me to a music school, where I continued my musicial education for more than a decade. I still like classical music very much, and maybe because of that I found new love in Heavy Metal, which is like the classical music of our times. When I was a teenager, I discovered hard rock and Heavy Metal bands such as Virgin Steele, Iron Maiden, Diamond Head, Judas Priest, Scorpions or Europe, and I realized that it’s what I want to do in my life. I still like and respect classical music a lot, but I’m a Heavy Metal musician from flesh and bones, no doubt about it. Of course it wasn’t that easy and it was a long road, but I didn’t give up and here I am, releasing my 6th studio album with Crystal Viper!
You have a recently released album to promote. What can you tell us about this album? How does it fit in the discography of CRYSTAL VIPER?
-That’s a hard question actually, as I surely have different perspective than our fans, or people that for example never heard our music before, and “Queen Of The Witches” is the first album of the band which they hear. I would say that for sure this is a Heavy Metal album, which is a natural continuation of what Crystal Viper did in the past, as it includes all the elements that were heard on our previous works: lot of classic Metal riffing, lot of melodies and catchy refrains, and a lot of slow and epic parts. At the same time “Queen Of The Witches” marks a new beginning of the band – this is our first album after four years long break, made after the time when we weren’t sure if Crystal Viper will play and record ever again.
What are the advantages/disadvantages of CD and vinyl these days of internet promotion where digital seems to be king?
-I would say that digital downloads or streams are for everyone, and the CD and vinyl albums are for real fans, at least I see it that way. If someone is a fan, and either wants to support the band he or she likes, or wants to simply have something real and physical in hands, then sooner or later will buy the real thing.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-I use the platforms you mentioned as well, as obviously it’s not possible to take your CD or record collection everywhere, so yes, in such case they are very good. Except that before buying the album you can check it online, and decide if you like it enough that you want to spend your money on it, or not really. I don’t think that music will be dead, but I’m worrying about the quality of the future music. Making music became a very expensive hobby – people don’t buy as many albums as they did in the past, and they think that music is for free, while it’s not. Recording a good quality album, in a good studio, with a good producer, costs a lots of money. So when people don’t buy music, bands simply can’t afford good and professional recording sessions anymore, and they either record at home with poor quality, or don’t record at all. The same with video clips, regular touring, stage production – everything costs money, and with low album sales, there is no budget for thing like that anymore. It’s sad that people don’t realize that when they steal someone’s music from the Internet.
What part does artwork and layout play? Any message that you want to bring forth with it?
-In my opinion artwork should match the music and the image of the band. The artwork is also very often the first thing people see when they meet your band for the first, so it needs to be something that will catch their attention, and that will suggest them what they can expect from your music. And it’s exactly like that in our case: our artworks scream “we are playing Heavy Metal” from the distance.
Is it a whole different way to promote a band today with all these social media channels? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way? Playing live and word of mouth.
-To be honest, I was never that much into promotion, I focus on music and creative side of things, while our label and management take care of all the rest. I’m doing my best, and I try to keep in touch with our fans through the social media, but you will rather find me sitting by my piano or with a guitar in my hands, or enjoying someone else’s music at a concert or festival, than checking what’s going on Instagram or Facebook.
Do you feel like you are a part of a scene, locally, nationally and internationally?
-Yes, of course. We already toured in like 20 countries, we keep in touch with many other bands, and we have a lot of great friends and fans around the world. There are many places we love to visit, and we love to show up in new places as well. We also always try to invite members of other bands to be special guests on our albums – the fact we want to show our fans where our inspirations come from and where our roots are is one thing, but we also want to show the world that Metal bound, that we are one big Heavy Metal family.
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
-I love touring, and if I would have such possibility, I would like to be on tour all the time. Sure, it’s of course a great promotion and spreading the word of the band, but I simply love playing, I was born to be on stage, that’s my place. I love sharing our music with the fans, feel that energy, see the headbanging maniacs that throw the horns, that’s is where I belong! We didn’t came up with our words “We Are Metal Nation” just like that, to sound cool. We mean it!
What will the future bring?
-Well, you never know! I just hope that I will be able to play and tour for as long as possible, to visit every single country, and to bring our Heavy Metal to every single corner of the world!