WHISPERING WOODS have one of those names that brings to mind trolls and elves. But given their origin I guess that there are more fierce creatures lurking in the woods. ©2015 Anders Ekdahl
As I am not at all familiar with your band perhaps you could introduce it?
-Hello! We are Whispering Woods from Cluj Napoca, a city situated in the heart of Transylvania, Romania. We approach a sort of symphonic/gothic metal but one can definitely feel the influence of classical music as inspiration in our work. Through our ranks we have two sopranos, a bass player – who also growls, a flute player, a keyboard player, and a totally random guitar dude. Ah, not to forget our sound guy, who is probably the most important member, even though the crowd usually ignores him or steals his beer.
With our latest release we now have 2 full length albums. The first one was released late in 2011 and the second is fresh out of the oven (Feb-Mar 2014). For more info feel free to check out our official homepage – www.the-whispering-woods.com and social media!
How hard was it for you guys to pick a name? What had that name have to have to fit your music?
-Coming up with this name was extremely difficult. I think we spent about a month trying to pick something out… the other options were really bad. This was back in 2008-2009 with the initial band members. We knew from the beginning that we wanted to play something along the lines of symphonic metal and I already had a lot of ideas for the songs, so it was just a matter of combining the conceptual aspects with a few words to say it all. In the end I think we got it right!
What band(s) was it that turned you on to the kind of metal you play? What inspires you today?
-I think my first interaction with symphonic metal was through Therion. Of course everybody knew Nightwish, but Therion were the group that caught my attention the most. Besides them, I don’t think I ever listened that much to this genre since they set a really high standard for me, and few could get close to it. As time passed, I really got into the more melodic doom metal with bands like Katatonia, early Insomnium, Swallow The Sun, My Dying Bride etc. and I think that this influence was felt in the songs that were written towards the latter stages of the first album. The second material continued from thereon. In our case a lot of feeling and inspiration comes from classical music as well, both symphonic and opera. Composers like Wagner, Mahler, Chopin and many others played an important role in the writing process even if at a subconscious level.
Today I have in my playlist a lot of Ahab, Riverside and the recently discovered Vulture Industries. There are so many awesome bands out there… you just have to find the ones with which you resonate the most.
What is the advantages/disadvantages of digital?
-Depends on what exactly we mean by digital. If we refer, for example, to the recording software, I think it’s a really big plus. I’ve talked with sound engineers that recorded and mixed on tape and they said it was a really tough and long process. With the software available nowadays you can spend more time focusing on more important stuff than glueing tape for example. I’m sure there are people that still prefer this today, so I guess it’s a matter of comfort and choice.
If we talk about the way you record, like for instance having to chose between a digital simulated amplifier and an analogue one, it just depends on your budget, possibilities, taste (?) and many other factors. Nobody ruled out analogue yet so people are still free to chose whatever method they want. As technology progresses we see more and more gadgets and software that try to mimic the functionality of their analogue counterparts, and a lot of them do a pretty good job actually! Again, I’m sure there are people that would argue against this, so I honestly think it’s a matter of personal preference.
If we talk about distribution, digital means accessibility. I remember we got a request from Brazil from a fan who wanted our first album. I think it took about a month for it to reach him. Having digital format allows your music to travel fast over great distances, but of course, it’s not the same as holding the CD in your hand.
Another thing that comes to mind, digital video streaming: we now have a video out for the track called Demon Blood. If it weren’t for Internet Streaming, the exposure for it would have been really limited.
Is digital killing the album format? Is there anything good with releasing single tracks only?
-I don’t think so, at least not at the level where we’re at. We do continue to have requests for our physical CDs and I know people really love to get their hands on them just to see the artwork, read the lyrics and so on. I see people more open minded than the industry makes them look, because they seem to embrace both formats. So if they really want to listen to your music, they will chose a way. Having digital just means having more ways of listening to an album.
We haven’t released singles yet, only full length albums, but we do have this in mind. I think it’s good for exposure and by putting out songs every once in a while you show your fans that you are still active.
What part does art work and lay out play when you release songs digitally?
-For us, artwork is really important as we make it represent the entire concept. For our digital formats we currently supply only the cover art, just to encourage people to still buy our CDs because they can get the full package. We are however thinking of offering the full artwork for the first album. The distribution for our second one, ‘Perditus et Dea’, is entirely managed by our label, so they are the ones deciding what to do with the art and whether to include it in the digital packaging.
Is it a whole different way to promote a digital track than it is promoting a cd? Or do you go about doing promotion the same way?
-We support both formats. It’s easier to sell a physical CD when you’re at a concert, and it’s easier to sell the digital album when you’re sitting in front of a computer. I think we don’t promote them differently… having both options is really an advantage, since people can chose whatever they like. On our recent statements and adverts we mention both physical and digital stores.
Do you feel like you are a part of a scene, locally, nationally and internationally?
-We like to feel a part of it, yes. I guess that is one of the main reasons that keeps us going. There are so many exceptional bands out there with awesome music and wonderful musicians. We try to do our part and play music we like and if people resonate to it then it’s perfect! We try to get as much exposure as we can abroad, since the music industry in Romania is still behind. We sold a lot of CDs abroad and overseas: from Russia to Japan to Brazil and the States. From now on we just hope to get as many gigs as we can and travel to as many venues as possible!
How much of a touring band are you? Is touring/gigging still a great way of spreading the word of the band?
-Yes, definitely! Recording an album is just a part of sharing your music. You still need to get out there and play bad notes on stage so people know you are real! We love going on stage! The hardest part of being an 8 member band lies within the logistics. Slowly but surely we are getting past this and hopefully there will be many more gigs to come! For the release of the new album we are preparing two local gigs after which we have a small tour through Europe! We are also starting to integrate theatrical and pyrotechnical representations in our shows which is something that we’ve always wanted since it goes really well with our concepts and music. Hopefully this will attract even more concerts and bigger venues so we can further improve our shows!
What will the future bring?
-Since the new album is just out, for the moment we’ll push on with its promotion! Some gigs for the near future and as said before we’ll try to improve our shows by making them more complex and interesting! On the longer run, we’ll start writing new material and get the 3rd album out as soon as possible. In the meantime we are thinking of a few surprises, but I won’t spoil it now. If you want to see what’s up with us, just stay close to our feeds!