Greetings, you beautiful Abyss reader! My apologies for being somewhat absent over the past week. As I rarely get sick, I turn into an absolute waste of a blubbering baby when I do. So in addition to trying not to infect my family with whatever this rotting funk is, I've been keeping a low on-line profile. However, neither head colds or insomnia (yeah, that too) could keep me from getting this to the Abyss community as soon as I had it. I've been beating the progressive death drum of Karpathian Relict and their absolutely stellar LP 'Beyond The Over' for well over a month now. This album rendered me such a hopeless fanboy that I reached out to the band and asked if they would be interested in doing an interview with us. They graciously agreed, and what you see below are the questions exactly as they were sent and the answers exactly as they were received. As it's quite literally been 20 years since I conducted an interview with a band, hopefully both Karpathian Relict and you will forgive rusty old JPR and his poor inter-personal skills. As you'll soon see, the guys in KR could not have given more thoughtful answers or been more giving of their time. They are official friends of the Abyss FOR LIFE. Lucky, lucky them. Now it's time for me to down some Nyquil and hope for some Zs. Rage (I mean read) on! JPR -----------------------------
MA: Ok, so right from the start I'd like to say that "Beyond The Over" has been one of my favorite newdiscoveries this year. Though this is Karpathian Relict's first release, you're by no means a new band.Can you explain a bit of the band's history? KR: Hey, we're very happy to hear that You liked Our last album. 'Karpathian Relict' was formed as 'Orthodox' in 2006 by Bogdan Lewicki and Andrzej Czujko. Under that name 'Forever Not Yet' was recorded in 2009 and later released in early 2011, there were many problems with maintaining 'stable' number of members, so before the recording session it was decided to invite session musicians - Marcin "Novy" Nowak and Maciej "Pączek" Proficz. After 2 years of stagnation (between 2011 and 2013) which was a result of Bogdan and Andrzej moving to Poland - 'Orthodox' was reformed in 2013 with Patryk Olbert and Adrian Mięsowicz. In the beginning of 2017 before 'Beyond The Over' release - We decided adapt 'Karpathian Relict' as new name, that change accented Our new musical direction which started with 'Beyond The Over'. MA: With song titles like "Where Old Giant Spruce Grow," "Harvest Time," and "Speech of Dandelion," nature seems to be a central theme here. Is "Beyond The Over" a concept album? If not, could you explain the meaning behind a few of the songs? Adrian: I don’t think that this is the concept album but I believe that there is a possibility to interpret as concept. We are close to the nature and for sure that is one the main influence in lyrics , but not the only one. We live in civilized world which sometimes doesn’t seem to be civilized at all. Nature looks to be more logically working , more practical and more health coexisting with various elements of itself. Most of the songs is expression of what we feel and think about the world, society , about our way of thinking. Every song has a different story behind it but we don’t want to say “ hey it is about this or that” Everyone can interpret their own way , and that is the beauty of the art. MA: "Beyond The Over" is just as heavy as it is intricate; I think that the balance is just right. How do you guys write music? Are the melodic and technical parts inspired by the heavier ones or is it the other way around... or is it neither? KR: The 'core' of Our music is written by Bogdan (guitar riffs and softer parts - they're there from the beginning, in primitive version, but incomplete without bass and drums), after that - every band member decides how his 'part' should sound like. We're writing Our music on usual weekends jam sessions or alone in homes using specially prepared guitar tabs, later we're 'testing' how it sounds - if it's going to be hard to recreate during live performance or if there are some unnecessary parts that are hard to play or meaningless in 'wall of riffs' - that balance is the hardest part of writing KR music. Our melodic diversity is there mainly because we played many other musical styles for lot of years(decade at least) before we met, so lets say that it is an relict (whoa) of our past lives before KR. MA: This album has been in the works for several years. What did you find to be the most difficult part of the recording process? What did you learn that will help when you go to the studio again? KR: Finding enough time for recordings, it's extremely hard to make family and job coexist along with music making and auditions especially during recording session. Next time we'll make sure everything is recorded in single sitting (over several days of course) without unnecessary breaks which tends to stretch for over weeks or months. MA: I'm sure every listener is going to hear different influences in your sound, but I'm curious to hear which bands and albums helped inspire the sound you guys created. KR: Lets see: Patryk - many musical styles and albums starting from electronic pop (like Ki:Theory, London Grammar) to technical death metal (like Archspire, Feared). I like my bass lines to be diverse. Andrzej - I'm inspired by many bands playing many different styles, but I'm always trying to avoid any copying or repeating - I'm treating them (music that I listen to) as a base on which I'm building my own rhythms and transitions keeping in mind that I need to avoid any randomness and monotony. My main inspirations: Origin, Soreption, Defeated Sanity, Immolation. Adrian – most likely I would say like Patryk. As for me many different genres had influence. From movie soundtracks, acoustic music to death metal. Concerning vocals I was always trying to combine at least few styles. Screaming ,growling , clean vocals. For sure the bands which had influence in that matter was Kalmah, Dark Tranquillity, Amorphis, Before The Dawn, Dyscarnate, Ghost Brigade,Hypocrisy, Rotting Christ Bogdan: Periphery, the Faceless, Veil of Maya, Immolation, Persefone, Sikth, Killswitch Engage, Perfect Circle... Not only metal at all. Sometimes it's just soundtrack from movie or a game, even acoustic fingerstyle. MA: Though everyone in the band is clearly a very skilled musician, the percussion work on "Beyond The Over" is truly exceptional. Death metal, and especially technical death, is known for having excellent rhythm sections, but you guys take it to another level. Was there a sense in the studio that this was going to raise the bar for technical death drumming? KR: I'm trying to create My own style and this process is very hard and complicated - it looks like that every possible drum part and it combinations were played by somebody in the past. I'm working My ass off to never bore listeners with too many blast beats and to never hear that 'this part sounds like Immolation' or 'he plays like insertdrummernamehere'. We're constantly trying to evolve, but jobs, family lives and hobbies they're the things that are almost impossible to accommodate
MA: One question that seems to get asked of every band we interview on Metal Abyss is this: What was your first metal album and first metal concert? Patryk; My first album: The Formation of Damnation by Testament - it was the first album I bought with my own money but Cowboys From Hell and Far Beyond Driven by Pantera got me into music making. Concert: I do not remember any one particular but one I was playing on beginning of this journey(2008?), and it's only because I got drunk then lost all of my money and a phone(with a very special number I needed to call next day) so I walked all the way back to my apartment (~10 km), result: bread and butter through the rest of the month Andrzej: My first metal album was 'Sehnuscht' by Rammstein but after that I very quickly got into extreme metal music - without phase of listening to Metallica, Slayer etc. Concert: 1999 Behemoth in Gdansk(Poland) - lots of emotions, 0 alcohol. That was the day I realized I need to play drums Adrian: My beginnings was not so metal heheh. Very first tape which I bought as a kid was Guano Apes, Offspring, Helloween, and Hypocrisy as far as I remember. First concert ever was some local show of heavy metal band. Two years after that I saw two shows in a row - Pain and Nightwish and Amorphis with Dark Tranquillity. It blew my mind. Probably after that I got crazy and started to drill into the music industry. Bogdan: My first tape I bought was Offspring, Limp Bizkit, Rammstein, can't remember exactly title of the albums. The first real metal concert I've been, except local shows, was Behemoth in Kyiv. MA: Death metal seems to have been going through a renaissance over the past couple of years, with new bands and more intense sounds coming out all the time. What do you think the future holds for extreme metal and what do you want to bring to the table? Patryk: I'm starting to notice a very dangerous trend in metal music - homogenization, there is very little differences between new metal albums and bands and everything starts to sound same, I'm talking about compositions and 'sound'. From my side - I want to incorporate some themes from Slavic music into our next album. Andrzej: Yes, last years were very rich in death metal albums - many new bands popped-up but I'm afraid that does not translates to that many good albums, modern musicians are focused on technique and 'speediness' and a great portion of new albums sounds sterile. I do not think that we will make any 'revolution' on metal scene but We want to 'bring some freshness' by optimally connecting melodic parts with technical brutalness using 'natural sound'. Adrian: I am watching closely the metal scene for some years. At first I was running music store than I started to work as a sound engineer (which I do till now) and to be honest Patryk is right about homogenization. But what is most important I think that labels and media still trying to suck money based on fame from old dinosaurs. There is nothing bad in worshiping Metallica, Megadeth , Slayer etc. I love with all my heart for example motorhead but in nowadays social media are taking care every day about “what Dave or James would say about politics in Uganda” or shit like that. And what about all new young bands? They really exist heheh and they’re making great music Times have changed. We have more difficult times for metal , but it has a bright side. People who make metal nowadays know that it will not bring them a lot of money. They know that and they ‘re still doing it. Passion and love for music took leadership and that is really hopeful.
I was touring as a sound engineer in some eastern country’s and I must say that for example in Russia, Mongolia, Ukraine , Armenia or Georgia almost every show was totally crazy. A lot of people, great atmosphere, great people. So I think that every country has their own specificity. I think metal will survive, thanks to the people who really care about music. MA: Can we expect a touring line-up of Karpathian Relict in the near future? If so, are there any bands in particular that you'd like to share a stage with? KR: Our first concert as KR will be in 3.03.2018 in Krosno Poland, from then on everything can happen. We're open for propositions. We do not have any favorites bands we want to share stage with - we appreciate every occasion to play live and it doesn't matter how well 'established' is band playing after or before Us MA: Where can fans (both in the United States and world wide) go to purchase "Beyond The Over" and Karpathian Relict merchandise? KR: You can order physical copies directly from Us (but because of costs - we're not shipping abroad) or our label at http://musiko-eye.fr/label.html. You can also stream on Spotify, Apple Music or buy digital copy from BandCamp. We're always waiting for any feedback which is the best way to say 'nice one, thanks'. We have some plans of producing bunch of t-shirts and other merch - stay tuned!
Be sure to support the band by purchasing their work. Thanks again to Karpathian Relict for taking the time to do this interview.