DIVINE WEEP is another band from the ever so fertile Polish metal soil. Check them out after you’ve read this interview Answers by Jano – Janusz Grabowski – bassist Matt – Mateusz Drzewicz – vocalist. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
What pressure is there in releasing an album compared to a demo? Do you feel that there is a sort of pressure to succeed when you release and album, that it sorta is for real now?
Jano: When we recorded our demo album we had far less experience in the studio – I might even say that our knowledge in that topic was equal to zero. Luckily we came across skilled engineers who helped us shape our debut album – Piotr Polak from Dobra 12 Studio and Wiesławscy Brothers from renowned Hertz Studio (both in our home city – Białystok). Their work and contribution to our project cannot be overrated – we attribute the professional sound of „Tears of the Ages” to them. We also learned a lot from them about the overall recording process – our experience is much bigger right now, therefore I feel our next album may only be better.
When you release a record of any sort what kind of expectations do you have on it? Do you set up goals for it?
Jano: To me a record is a pathway to gaining new fans all over the world, my expectations would then be to reach to as many people as possible. It is crucial to promote it properly so that people get to know our music and eventually see us in concert.
Matt: I agree, though my personal focus is mainly on music itself – every coming year marks my constant improvement and progress, both creatively (writing music and lyrics) and for my perception, since I get to know more and more new music and experiences. You might then say that my purpose is to sort of immortalize the moment or the state of mind which I’m currently in while I’m involved in the album creating process.
When you release an album and you go out and play live and people know your songs, how weird is that? That people know what you have written on your own?
Jano: People know our songs and they sing it often, usually in places that we visited at least once before. It feels great – gives us satisfaction, that we reach people on a larger scale than we thought.
Matt: Attending concerts of the biggest bands I’ve came to believe, that when people sing your songs it has to be exciting, but also intimidating at the same time. What happens in reality is that you and your audience create a bond of some sort, the one that give you this energetic boost onstage that can make you go on for the next few hours. Oh, and it helps when I happen to forget the lyrics – all I have to do is to present the microphone to the loudest ones in the audience. (laugh)
Do you feel that you have to follow in the footsteps of the last album for a new when it comes to lyrics and art work for everything so that those that bought the previous record will recognize your sound?
Jano: To me the continuity of music is crucial, especially that our previous album was pretty well received and still sounds good. We will certainly try to build on the musical foundation, that made our first album sound like „us”, so that the listener won’t be surprised while hearing the new record, though we obviously have no intention to fall into stagnation. Our new vocalist – Matt – brings a lot of new possibilities to our music and we want to present them to our fans.
Matt: I’m a great fan of those guys’ previous album (well, the whole band is), though I’ve always considered that the vocalist is the one, who defines the sound of the band – and you can hear clearly, that I am completely different vocalist than Igor (previous vocalist of DW). That single factor is enough for the new album to sound different from its predecessor, yet I hope there will be mostly positive changes – from my first rehearsals with the band emerged a lot of great ideas and I can’t wait to forge them into proper songs. There’s no need to predict the revolution though – musicwise it will still be a Divine Weep album.
Do you feel like you are a part of a greater community because you play in a band?
Jano: Definitely. We spend so much time together – hours on rehearsals, many days on tour, we also text each other on a daily basis. In the same time our fanbase is getting bigger and bigger and it’s so great to see that there’s so much people, for whom Divine Weep starts to mean a lot.
Matt: I agree. It is noticeable especially while on tour – not only you gain new fans for the band, but also get to know the other bands. It is then, that you see clearly how much all the musicians who play „unpopular” music have in common and it helps to build a stable „scene”. Of course there are exceptions to this rule… though I think it is a topic for another interview.
How hard/easy is it to come up with new songs that that still are you but doesn’t sound like anything you’ve already written?
Matt: I’ve never wondered about it – which I guess proves that it ain’t that hard!
Jano: We have tons of old ideas – what we have to do is to get them together and fix some wicked songs out of them, it will all be easy right after. Cause, you know, making a good song from scratch… now that would require hell of an inspiration! (laugh)
What influences/inspires you today? Where do you draw inspiration from? Is it important to have some sort of message?
Jano: While writing music we don’t set ourselves borders – we try to draw inspirations from all the music genres. Our latest single, „Austere Obscurity”, may be a heavy metal song, but it features parts that wouldn’t be out of place on a black metal album or a movie score. Additionally, the bass part I wrote for „Petrified Souls” was partly inspired by the bass solo from the song „Smooth Operator” by Sade. Just keep your eyes and mind open and you will find inspiration everywhere.
Matt: I devour tons of art – mainly in the form of music, films and books. Naturally it all finds it way through my lyrics, though pointing out specific examples might fill half of your magazine’s space (laugh). Oh, and the message – I think it’s present in most of my lyrics, though I don’t find it necessary at all, as opposed to imagination arousing factor. I therefore try for my lyrics to be able to be interpreted in many ways, while not crossing the incomprehensibility line at the same time. You might also want to know that I am under constant influence of my inner nerd, who always looks for not unconventional methods of expression and keeps me from signing my name under anything I make, that I wouldn’t be fully happy with.
We hear about what state the record industry is in. Then we hear that cd sales are increasing. As a band that releases records do you notice the state the industry is in?
Jano: Well, in my opinion it’s good when there also is a digital version of a CD album – it gives you the possibility to listen to it on Spotify and Youtube (for example). I don’t think it lowers the proper CD sales, I’d say quite contrary – those of us who are interested in music just want to make sure they won’t buy a pig in a poke, you know? It’s good to know the single at least, and since not all the songs appear on TV or the radio, releasing singles on the internet seems crucial.
Matt: I would even risk an opinion, that digital music introduced music to the new times. You say, that we hear about poor state of record industry – it is because the main losers in this race are biggest record companies. As a matter of fact, they just hoisted with their own petard – they created a mass consumption market of people who would listen to something just because it’s popular or aired on the radio. Good for them, but the same people won’t buy Rihanna’s CD, just because nowadays it’s so easy to get it from torrents for free and then erase it from iPod after a week of listening. The paradox is, that it also made independent labels prosper better than ever – real music fans spend certain amount of money on physical copies of music CDs on a regular basis and digitally available music helps them to monitor the increasing choice of new albums. They can thus get a clue whether one band’s music is worth investing money in or not – eventually the winner is overall musical quality, not some twisted popularity race supported by mainstream media.
What is your opinion on digital verses physical?
Jano: I listen to a lot of digital music and I must say, that getting to know new bands and albums is much faster. Nevertheless, the physical copy of the CD provides with you with far better (uncompressed) sound and enables you to fully interact with art. You know, it’s like watching a painting in the TV and have it on a wall in your room – the difference is tremendous.
What lies in the future?
Jano: In my opinion – even stronger turn towards oldschood CDs and Vinyls. Even now you can observe an increasing growth of Vinyls’ sales. More and more people interested in music want to have it physically, which I consider a good thing.
Matt: Well, we might think of issueing our material on a black plate then… Anyways, to me the future is always unknown – and this is what I found the most awesome thing about it!