DOWNCAST ART I read about in som Balkan metal special in Terrorizer. They seemed to be my kind of metal band so I got in touch with them to set up an interview. Here’s the result with: Zdravko Smenderovac (keyboards). Anders Ekdahl
You come from a place in Europe that is mostly known for its muzak and not so much for its metal. What is it like to play metal in a country that hasn’t that great a tradition of metal bands?
-Yes, well, Croatia is a somewhat undeveloped country, and up until recently, very isolated. There’s little room for alternative music on the scene, even if it’s quality music – it just doesn’t get to the broader audience. In our experience, Downcast Art is much more appreciated by non-metal listeners than those who listen to metal music. Of course, that’s also an advantage at times because it allows us to present our genre to those unaware of it. That part is going well here, at home, and we hope for even more success although our primary goal is to escape the boundaries of our homeland to present our music to the world. Time will tell…
How hard is it to get your music heard when you don’t really have any big national bands to look up to?
-It’s pretty hard! Without enough money on your account, it’s difficult to get any kind of promotion work for you. I think it’s the same everywhere in the world. Promotion had always been paid for; it’s just that no one talks about it.
What would you say has been your greatest inspiration?
-What always was, and always will be – a transcendent journey into another time and space. It’s written in the songs, only bound by the material nature of today.
Everybody wants reference points so that they know beforehand what to expect. What bands would you say DOWNCAST ART are closest too in sound and spirit?
-That’s a tricky question to answer because readers often interpret the answer as though we copy the band of influence, but from the critics and reviewers viewpoint it’s normal that we can compare to somebody. Anyone who likes bands such as Within Temptation, Nightwish, Xandria etc. could find something familiar in our music. We’re genre-related…
When you send your music to foreign labels and they are kind enough to get back to you what is that they say when they turn you down?
-They say they aren’t looking for new bands at the moment, but we all know that’s a lie! The very next day they announce they have a new band under them. But that’s business… Maybe bands don’t need labels today as much as they need good booking agencies and management.
How important is the internet in getting people to know of your as band?
-It’s very important! The younger generations come to us almost exclusively by the internet. The drawback is the sheer amount of information circling the internet every day and that only makes it harder to stand out in the crowd.
Not so long ago there was an article in Terrorizer about bands from the former east. How much has that article helped people getting to know you?
-Not much, if at all… We got about five Facebook fans and sold two CDs! We believe we may have chosen the wrong magazine in terms of genre, since they favor more extreme metal bands so we got shadowed by the others. But that can happen with any other magazine; it’s just a matter of getting the timing and the place right for good promotion.
Your album is a bit old by now. How pleased are you with now that you have had time to live with it?
-We’ve learned a lot, musically! That’s why we are pleased and the album has helped us in every way imaginable. Yes, it’s a debut album and mistakes were made, but that’s how it goes. It’s never easy in the beginning, but we now have a greater sense of purpose – to improve and perfect what we create. We’re generally well accepted and that helps a lot!
How does your new material differ from the stuff that you write now? How would you like to define your sound?
-It’ll be better, simply said! Our live sound is full, rich and delicate, crowned with dynamics and color. It’s not pronounced well enough on the first album, but the second will present a different view of the music we’ll be presenting.
What plans do you have for the future?
We’re working hard on the new album at the moment, making a couple of music videos and discussing further steps we need to take. We hope we’ll be able to arrange a supporting tour with some larger band.