Rock Meeting Nº 138 (English Version)

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WORDS OF EDITOR

LORNA SHORE – TO THE HELLFIRE

L . PEI FON @PEIFON JOURNALIST, PHOTOGRAPHER AND ROCK MEETING’S GENERAL DIRECTOR

et me take a moment here in these first lines to announce something new: Editorial Review. Instead of talking about the scene and its challenges, I’ve decided to write about what has got my attention right now, which is Lorna Shore. I already knew the band, but I had never listened with the care it deserves. Last year, they released

“Immortal”, and it didn't really catch my attention. The truth is, I wasn't prepared to hear their sound. In June, “To the Hellfire” spawned to the world. The band introduced their new singer, Will Ramos, and the overall impression was: WTF? In a positive way, of course! It should be noted that the choice of Will Ramos was very assertive. When a


member leaves, especially the vocalist, it is very difficult to find another one who is in tune with the band's proposal. However, Will gives the feeling that he has always been a Lorna Shore and has brought something very important for the near future: the desire to hear what is to come. This new era that Lorna Shore is living is just a confirmation of the hard work that they’ve done for more than ten years. Personally, I'm an appreciator of brutal vocals, blast beats (the more the better, please!), melodic and nervous riffs at the same time. But, if this is allied with an orchestra, you can be sure it's a chance to love right away. My first impression of "To the Hellfire" was like most

people: wide-eyed, frowning, a sense of disbelief along with the question: "How does this guy do that?" The band currently consists of Will Ramos, Austin Archey, Adam de Micco and Andrew O'Connor. This quartet brings back brutal deathcore, more modern and with elements to make any lover of heavy music go crazy. What are these breakdowns? Insanely beautiful! If you are a Deathcore lover, Lorna Shore needs to be at the top of your playlist. By the way, listen to the guys' discography. It is important to understand their path to understand what makes them one of the main references of the style.

. PEI FON @PEIFON JOURNALIST, PHOTOGRAPHER AND ROCK MEETING’S GENERAL DIRECTOR


SUMMARY 2021

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37 08 13

08. GUITAR SESSION BY GEORGE MATHEAUS 13. SKYWALKER "LATE ETERNITY" 25. LASTELLE "DELICATE" 37. CONVICTIONS "I WON'T SURVIVE"

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67. LIVE REPORT EPICA


GENERAL DIRECTOR Pei Fon EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR Felipe da Matta DESIGN Thiago Silvestre Chama Publicidade

STAFF Augusto Hunter Bárbara Lopes Bárbara Martins Bruno Sessa Fernando Pires Kayomi Suzuki Marta Ayora Mauricio Melo Rafael Andrade UIllian Vargas

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CONTACT contato@rockmeeting.net

WWW.ROCKMEETING.NET

JINJER EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW TO BRAZIL


ARTICLE . GUITAR SESSION

Photo: Promotion

GUITAR SESSION SESSION GUITAR THE NEW WAYS OF THE GUITAR BY GEORGE MATHEAUS Guitarist, Music Producer and Content Creator

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n the last decade there has been an explosion of new guitarists, all with great technique and amazing songwriting, which has led to a change in the way musicians think about music and composition. Playing well, being virtuoso or having a good tone is no longer a differential, but it’s just the starting point in the new scenario. More and more, the musician is required to go far beyond its instrument, to think outside the box and have a producer’s mind. If you follow guitarists like Plini, Tosin Abasi (Animals as Leaders), Misha Mansoor (Periphery), Aaron Marshal (Intervals) and Jhon Browne (Monuments), surely, you’ve heard some of his compositions and thought: “How do they do that?”. Elevated technique, composed bars, non-linear phrasing, metric modulations, and striking grooves. The whole band sounds as one sound, with very well-crafted arrangements. Many of these characteristics came from the


ARTICLE . GUITAR SESSION

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so-called Djent scene, which started as a progressive metal sub-genre and then brought elements from Metalcore, forming a complex yet aggressive sound. But today it goes far beyond that. Many artists from other styles ended up joining the scene, bringing “modern” characteristics to their music. Fusion guitarists have come closer and closer to the characteristics of modern metal. Kiko Loureiro on his latest solo album is an example of this. While retaining his identity, he brought several modern elements to the songs, including using a 7-string guitar in some riffs.

For musicians who aspire to be part of this scene, it is necessary to seek several references and keep in mind that it is necessary to have a good technique, but not to show it, but to do what the music is asking for. Always think about the arrangement, above your instrument. And if you’re

Photo: Marta Ayora

a guitar player and want to write something in this way, the tip I give is: study the drummers of the style. That’s right, watch the playthrough videos on YouTube, assimilate the grooves and notice how the guitar talks to the drums, to the whole song. You will certainly assimilate the language much better. This “modern” wave, so to speak, has been growing slowly in Brazil. The band Vitalism, by guitarist Ed Garcia, played a big role

in the propagation of the style in our country, influencing many guitarists who joined the scene. Today, musicians who have modern elements in their sound have gained more and more relevance on the national scene. I believe that soon we will also have the rise of many Brazilian guitarists within the style. We can see a great evolution of the guitar in different genres.


ARTICLE . GUITAR SESSION

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Simple arrangements and common patterns are less and less appealing to new-generation musicians. The search for unique sounds is constant and creativity is the key to stand out. Today there are many possibilities with various types of guitars, six, seven, eight and even nine strings. In addition, there are several tunings to be explored, each one bringing different sounds and riff patterns. How far can we evolve? The guitar has always reinvented itself throughout history, bringing new paths to be explored and more challenges to be conquered. There is always something new to be discovered.

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INTERVIEW. CONVICTIONS

BY PEI FON / PHOTO JOHN FLEISCHMANN

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n this adventure through music, we arrive in Ohio (USA) and met Convictions. The band's name gives room for many interpretations, but, in fact, the conviction of these guys is to take the message of their songs as far as possible. The band has gone through some changes and is currently represented by Michael Felker (vocals), Joshua Canode (guitar), Zach Schwochow (drums) and Danyal Suchta (vocals/bass). The American quartet recently released their fourth album, “I Won’t Survive”, which already has impressive numbers, with more than one million plays. That's what we talked to lead singer Michael about. Very nice, read now what he replied. The name of the band has made me curious, since it has this double meaning of “condemnations” and “beliefs”. Focusing on the second one, what are your “convictions”? Could you explain the reason for this name? Michael - When the band originally set out to make music the members wanted to write Christian music, but each member strongly felt a sense of being unworthy to do so. While trying to live a good life and honor God they still felt they couldn't due to their

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Photo: Daphne McKinney Photography

personal struggles, sins, and setbacks. That was the spark that gave them idea to start writing music about personal "convictions". You started the activities in 2012 and already have such good musical background. With almost 10 years on the road, how do you evaluate this first decade? When the band first formed

it was almost a completely different line up with the exception of Josh and Zach. We had a different vocalist, guitar, and bass players. Over the past decade we've toured around the world and released multiple albums and hit many milestones we never thought we would. There's been many highs and lows and some major setbacks but the one thing that has kept us grounded and motivated has been our

faith and mission to share the gospel. By listening to the old songs, it is noticeable there is a sound change. Have you been keeping up with the musical tendencies or has it been a natural process towards individual influences? I think our sound will always change and progress. We all find influences from whatev-


INTERVIEW. CONVICTIONS

er we are listening to at the time we write and record. I think one thing we want to continue doing is having a purposeful conversation on Christian current events and issues. I'd say sonically we always try to push the boundaries of our sound and dive more and more into a heavy direction while holding onto to our melodic elements.

WHEN WE STARTED WORKING ON "I WON’T SURVIVE" WE KNEW WE HAD SOMETHING SPECIAL

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Your third EP, “I Won’t Survive”, has had a good repercussion. With more than one million plays, did you imagine there would be such receptivity?


When we started working on "I Won’t Survive" we knew we had something special. The thought and effort behind all our songs we amplified when we took them to our latest producer Andrew Wade. We had no idea it was going to get the response it has. We've been extremely blessed. In the midst of the pandemic, what was it like to compose, record, film...? Tell us about the challenges to create music apart from one another. We wrote and recorded "I Won't Survive" through most of the pandemic. The ma-


INTERVIEW. CONVICTIONS

jority of our writing was done digitally through sharing demos and going over lyrics on facetime. Recording in the studio and filming our music videos was interesting because of social distancing and trying our best to be safe. I remember filming our music video for "Wreckage" in a densely populated city in Michigan and it honestly felt like a ghost town there was no one out and about it was like a scary movie. We got permission from the authorities and basically had the whole city to roam free and

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film wherever we wanted. Making a more open analysis of the EP title, “I Won't Survive”, giving the moment the world is living, have the people survived or just existed? I think during the pandemic a lot of us felt we were just existing. I think the overall idea behind "I Won't Survive" is highlighting how we can learn from difficult circumstances and experiences.


The seven songs contained in “I Won't Survive” are based on personal stories of each band member. What has made you write about these individual experiences? Was it hard to gather this information and turn it into music? When we started writing " I Won't Survive " it started with the song "Hurricane" which was about a close friend of ours who had been filling in on bass for a tour. He shared with us a heart-

breaking story about how he lost his mother at an early age. We asked him if we could write about his story. I held a one-on-one interview with him and began telling his story. We released Hurricane as a single and the response was really amazing. So many people began sharing their stories and struggles which gave me the idea to start writing about people's survival stories. We had a few stories that we gathered from meeting people on the road and also one from a close family member.


INTERVIEW. CONVICTIONS

When there is something so personal conveyed in music, there is a strong indication that the listener is going to identify with it. What has the feedback been like? The feedback we've had from this release has been extremely emotional. It's been heart breaking reading some of these stories, but we know how important. We are very thankful to be apart some peoples healing process. “Hurricane” has been the first play released. The song speaks of inner conflicts, and, at the same time, the individual says to himself that he needs to get out of this situation. What has made the character have this reflection and seek help?

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"Hurricane" talks a lot about our friend abusing medication and other pills to overcome the pain he felt after losing his mother. The song is a cry out to God asking to be saved from the storms of addiction and grief which is answered in the latter half of the song. "God save me from this hell, Give me strength, be my refuge " - Psalm 46 “The Price of Grace” is a very powerful statement for the person who is gone. How can the song help in a moment like this? The song "The Price of Grace" was written through the eyes of a close friend of ours who unexpectedly lost his best friend to suicide. I feel this topic is unfortunately becoming more and more common as su-


INTERVIEW. CONVICTIONS

icide numbers seem to be continually go up. Positive mental health and suicide awareness have become a major mission of our band, so we felt it was really important to share his story. “I'm piling up the wreckage, is this the only way to end it? I need a miracle!” – this part of “Wreckage” has caught my attention. What is the sought miracle said in the song? "Wreckage" was written about a close family member who dealt with bullying and suicidal tendencies. The miracle sought out in this song is from 22 // ROCK MEETING // JULY. 2021


God lifting him from his situation and showing up when he needed him most. This person was struggling with his faith and belief in God. Sometimes it feels like we need a miracle at our lowest moments. Thinking about a broader environment for “The War That Followed Me Home”, in which everyone has their war that follows you wherever you go, what is the next step to find yourself? For the song " The War That Followed Me Home" I interviewed a war vet and asked how he's handled PTSD


INTERVIEW. CONVICTIONS

following the war. I think the most important take away from his story is public awareness. It seems a lot of soldiers aren't able to share their experiences and ultimately bury their struggles internally which can have tragic outcomes. We wanted to share his story and resources and hopefully help others. To wrap up, do you intend to do any livestream to promote

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“I Won’t Survive”? Thank you very much and we wish you success! As far as a livestream, we've tossed around the idea for a while but with touring opening back up I think our goal is to get back on the road and hopefully play live near you. We love seeing all the Brazil comments on our posts. Thank you for all your support and encouragement. We love you.



INTERVIEW. LASTELLE

BY PEI FON / PHOTO KIERAN GALLOP - GLK MEDIA

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any people look to music for a message of support, a moment for reflection. You can think of many different rhythms, bands, singers for this purpose. However, Metal can be that means of searching for answers, understanding the lived moment, or even putting out everything you feel. In this way of expressing human emotions, we met Lastelle, an English quintet with heaviness, melody, and a lot of feeling involved. His most recent work, the EP “Delicate”, lives up to its name. It's just listening to understand. The band consists of Adam (Vocals), Freddie Whatmore (bass), Mike Hayden (vocals/drums), Jonjo Williams (guitar) and Rich Lester (guitar). These guys are new, but they know very well what they want as a band. Rock Meeting had the opportunity to talk with Freddie. He was very kind and considerate of our questions. To do so, read right now and learn more about Lastelle. Lastelle is just a little over three years old and has a long way ahead. It has been two EPs put out and numbers to introduce. How was the band born? Tell us a little bit about the beginning

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of your work. Freddie - Rich, Jonjo and Mike had been playing together for a while and decided to start a new project. They auditioned Adam, who is a videographer alongside Rich, and they knew he was going to be a good fit. Then, when the band had launched, the bassist helping at the beginning took a step back and Freddie joined, having known Mike and the others from touring

and mutual friends.

represent that too.

“Atmospheric and emotionally” – I must admit that I feel this emotion when I listen to your songs. Where does this inspiration come from? We draw from real life experiences of grief, loss, and heartbreak. This often finds a place at the forefront, lyrically, but with the sounds we create as a band, we try and

The latest work is the “Delicate” EP. Immersed in the song and moved by the melody, I feel that its title makes complete sense. Why “Delicate”? The concept of the EP is to show how fragile and delicate we all are as people. In accepting that, we can learn to live with it, grow stronger as people and help each other.


INTERVIEW. LASTELLE

METAL CAN BE DELICATE, ANGRY, INTENSE, RELAXING, FURIOUS, MELANCHOLIC, OR EMOTIONAL; IT CAN BE WHATEVER YOU WANT IT TO BE

“A Letter Unread” has been the one that moved me the most felt like I wrote this letter myself. “How fleeting this thing we call love.” Talking about feelings is not easy, but how is it to talk about love from the perspective of Post Hardcore? Having music as an outlet has helped us to express ourselves and tell stories that we may have never shared, even if we wanted. Between the band we are incredibly open in conversation, but music is another way to share those stories and those feelings. “This heavy heart is a sinking

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ship; it’ll take the rest of me down with it” – this excerpt from “Distant Bodies” is interesting. How does the character manage to get out of this circumstance? I don’t know if they do. That much is never clear – we get a glimpse into the character’s life and how they are stuck in a position where someone else needs them to be strong, but they are struggling themselves. I guess there isn’t always a happy ending. “You look to me for answers, but never asked a question. I hope that you find peace before leaving me in pieces”.

Every end of a relationship is quite similar to this part of “Only Apathy”. What should we do not to fall apart? Be honest with each other, but accept that maybe relationships have to come to an end. When you acknowledge that, you don’t take things for granted and you’re more likely to be able to overcome those problem, or accept when it’s time say goodbye. “Copy Without a Cure” is another song filled with emotion. “I'm not who I used to be. I'm not who I used to be anymore”. In what moment has the individual come to


INTERVIEW. LASTELLE

this conclusion? Is it possible to go back to what it was before or is it already a point of no return? It depends on the circumstance. The protagonist in this story knows that there is no turning back, and is looking to remember the positive parts of life, and not to dwell on the harsh realities of growing old and frail.

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“Even two years since you left, turns out nothing fits it quite the same as you”. “Departure” is the message expected to hear when you lose someone. Is writing this song part of the process to keep going? This song was a very personal one to write, and you’re absolutely right. It’s about loss, but it’s about knowing when is the


right time to let go, and just hoping that person can be at peace and happy wherever they are. Whether you believe in an afterlife or your own spirituality, there’s solace to be found in knowing a person is in a better place. It came as a shock to me to find out that the drummer is the one who does the clean vocals. How hard is it to play the drums and sing at the same time? By the way, this duo of clean and harsh vocals gives even more emotion to the song. Yeah, he’s a talented guy, right? I think it's taken Mike (drummer) some practice to be able to multitask the way he does, but it’s great to be able to have such different vocal styles to play with in the band. He’s got some excellent influences that have


INTERVIEW. LASTELLE

paved the way before him too – Aaron Gillespie (Underoath), Brandon Saller (Atreyu), and Stefanie Mannaerts (Brutus) are some good examples of other drummer-singers that he and I (Freddie) both look at with huge admiration. The flower is in all the "Delicate" videos. What is the representation behind this symbology? The symbology of the flower represents life and death. We give gifts of flowers on special occasions of celebration, but also gift them in times of grief. They are beautiful, but only for a short period of time, before they perish. I think that’s a good way to think about life; we’re only here for a finite amount of time, and we can have so many purposes and journeys, so we should embrace whatever life throws at us. All the songs from "Delicate" have a video. In what ways do they collaborate to intensify the message conveyed in the songs? There’s a continuous theme with-

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in each chapter of the video aspect to our releases. This theme ties in heavily with the flowers and their represented meaning. Adam (front man) and Rich (guitar) have co-directed all the videos and wanted to experiment with some unique videography techniques along the way, so it was great to see how every chapter has a unique mood to represent it, visually. After listening to this EP, a question has popped up my mind: Who said that metal cannot be delicate? What can you say to these people and even to the headbanger himself, about this thought? All music - metal included – are open to whatever the writer, and the listener chooses to interpret from it. We’re all huge fans of big riffs and heavy music, but we’re also fans of cinematic soundscapes and post-rock. From my experience, most metalheads and the “headbanger himself” is likely to have a wide taste in music, so there’s always a welcoming feeling at shows from fans of heavier music than


INTERVIEW. LASTELLE

ours. Metal can be delicate, angry, intense, relaxing, furious, melancholic, or emotional; it can be whatever you want it to be. You have put out a playthrough of the song “Copy Without a Cure”. What has been the public’s response like? It really nice to see people interested in this side of things. As a band that isn’t built on riff-ey guitars, I was unsure if people would take to this sort of thing, and the response has been positive! We’ll be doing more stuff like this in the future too.

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With the vaccination advancing, live shows are about to go back on track, and you have already booked some dates. What is the band’s feeling towards the comeback to the stages? We’ve been living in a world of livestreams and social media within music for some time. Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by the current global situation, so we’re really lucky to live in a time of modern science that will allow us to return to normality soon. We’ve all missed

touring and playing shows, so we’re really grateful to be back out and meeting back up with our audience after this break. The energy in the room will be hard to put into words, I’m sure of it. To wrap up, does Lastelle intend to release any other new single still in 2021? And what about the plans for your début? Is it still standing or is it a distant scenario? Thank you very much and this is the space for


INTERVIEW. LASTELLE

your final considerations. We wish you success and take care! We’ve got no plans to release anything this year, but we’re always writing and working on the future. “Delicate” is still at the front of our minds, and we did a free live stream of the entire EP on July 15th, which can be found on all our social media profiles. The same can be said

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for our UK headline tour, so we’re really excited to share this EP with everyone. We’ve loved curating this record for everyone to hear, and we’re hoping it has the legs to stay standing.

Thanks for your time and

take care! Freddie Whatmore, LASTELLE.



INTERVIEW. SKYWALKER

BY PEI FON / PHOTO JÁCHYM BELCHER

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nd the Rock Meeting travels are still full of surprises. In this edition we met Skywalker, from the Czech Republic. It's a plethora of bands and every issue we're making this bridge between the bands and the readers. The band consists of Jay Kay (vocals), Damian Kucera (drums), Tom Rothschild (bass) and David Machalichy (guitar), and they released their newest album this year, "Late Eternity". Available on the main streaming platforms, if you are looking for new bands, give Skywalker a play, you won't regret it! About this album, we talked with Jay. He tells us a little about the local scene, about the lyrics that are in “Late Eternity” and the band's approach to their fans. Read it now! You come from the Czech Republic, a place we know little about, as far as the metal scene is concerned, except for one of the biggest European festivals. Could you describe how everything happens there? Jay - The Czech Republic is a pretty small country, so the scene is also very small. We’ve got some talented musicians and bands here, but it’s always been a struggle to expand as 38 // ROCK MEETING // JULY 2021


the numbers of fans are simply not too great and so it’s always challenging to generate a lot of buzz around anything. But Czechs are definitely huge consumers of metal music so it’s a great place to tour. I hope you’ll hear about us more in the future. On the road for ten years, you have already collected good sound material. What has changed from

the first release up to the latest album, “Late Eternity”? Good questions as I actually just listened to one of our first EP’s ‘Babylon’ the other day. I think we’re much better song writers. We may be using the same chord progressions for the most part but the structure and the emotion in the music is just so much better expressed. The sound is also much cleaner and thus heav-

ier because I find that bad sound rarely sounds heavy. We also use synthesizers a lot, definitely much more often than ever before, and this surely modifies the overall sound greatly. Your fourth album, “Late Eternity”, was put out in February by Pale Chord & Rise Records. What is the importance of releasing material through impor-


INTERVIEW. SKYWALKER

CZECHS ARE DEFINITELY HUGE CONSUMERS OF METAL MUSIC SO IT’S A GREAT PLACE TO TOUR

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tant record labels in the modern metal scene? Technically, it’s the second album as everything else is either a single or an EP. I’d love to say you don’t need a label today, and in many ways, you have more freedom when working independently. However, a good label which appreciates you for who you are as a musician is great backing since it’s the label which offers your music to as many ears as possible. It’s rare anyone can accomplish this on their own. It also gives you more space to focus on the art itself, which is hugely important. So, it is definitely still very important. We cannot help talking about the participation of Kassim Auale and Florant Salfati (Landmvrks), Connor Hallisey (Our Hollow, Our Home) and Zea in “Late Eternity”. How did the choices of these names happen? We knew Kassim from his time in the German metalcore powerhouse Alazka, and we always loved his r&b-flavoured voice, which seemed bursting with emotion. When we were making “Justify Me”, I think it was our bassist Tom who suggested Kassim would be a great fit. Flo & Connor are mates we know from tour and love their bands as well


INTERVIEW. SKYWALKER

as their voices. So, when the opportunity presented itself, we contacted them, and they were eager to do a feature bit. Zea is a great upand-coming artist from Slovakia, and she’s been a friend of ours for a time. We’d always wanted a beautiful female vocal on one of our songs and when we finished the original version of For You // Through You, Tom once again had this vision, and Zea was happy to do it. So, all was quite simple and natural. “Late Eternity” is a compilation of songs you put out little by little. How do you evaluate this new kind of music consumption? In what ways does this practice help the bands? For a time, we weren’t quite sure how many or which songs would end up on the record, but we knew that those we released were going to end up there. So we kept this up for a time. We know that nowadays, musicians often focus on singles and EP’s rather than full-length records, and it makes sense. We’re still huge fans of albums, though, so we wanted to combine both. I think with streaming services, it’s 42 // ROCK MEETING // JULY. 2021


great to offer little pieces of music that people can treasure before they get the bigger body of music. “Late Eternity” has already reached the mark of more than one million plays on Spotify. Did you imagine it would have this repercussion? This actually circles back to my previous answer, this is the power of successful playlisting of singles. And you know, the number made us very happy but it’s the actual feedback you get from the listeners and/ or reviewers focusing on WHAT they like about the songs rather than HOW MANY times they’ve listened to it that is most valued by us. “I just want to leave. Fly away where nothing drags me down” – this part of “Every Grief” is interesting. How does the character seek help to get out of loneliness? I wrote this bit when I was going through a period of rather acute stress and anxiety about the band and the future of both it and myself as a person. The song is ultimately about the same topic that the whole album concentrates on: being lost


INTERVIEW. SKYWALKER

in a vast space, wanting to be independent, not stomped upon, but also dreading the inescapable loneliness of it all. The song, however, doesn’t really offer answers, it’s more contemplation than overcoming. “You gotta pardon me, but I am moving on. Don't lecture me, I'll fight my demons on my own”. I have highlighted this part of “Setting Stone” in order to know: how are you dealing with this fight against your demons? This is about external demons rather than internal ones. In this case, I’m really telling a person - you don’t need to remind me of how flawed, bad, toxic I’ve been. I’ve got enough of it in my head as it is. And thanks, I’ll make

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it on my own, you don’t need to kick me down to feel better about yourself. But to answer your question, I’ve been trying to invite the demons in and be with them rather than constantly try to lock them out. Acceptance vs. resistance. It really depends I would also like to highlight the “Setting Stone” video. It is quite innovative, very different from the formats we see nowadays, and an intelligent way to integrate Florent Salfati into the song. Congratulations!


How did you come up with this clip idea? We’d been playing around with the idea of doing a ‘selfie’ music video because why not. But it was Tom Tejkl, the director of the video, who came up with the little tweaks and ideas as to how to actually make it look good. The idea of having Flo Facetime us came only as we were shooting the video. Originally, we just wanted to switch to him singing in his room but then

we managed to incorporate him in the video itself, which I love! The song “Away” already starts with its chorus. How does this structural inversion help to stick to the song? Yeah, it’s one of those tunes where you want to bring the attention to the main hook, the slogan, the chant. So, we sort of keep repeating it ad nauseum, haha! We don’t do this often, but I love it in


INTERVIEW. SKYWALKER

“Away”, because the song explodes at the very beginning, you’re drawn right in. “Away, away, they’ve taken it away. And you lost the only thing that you believed”. To whom is “Away” directed? Tell us about this song. I wrote the lyrics a few years ago for a friend of mine who always used to be the ‘clown’ of the group of friends.

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Everybody loved him but it was conditioned by him being this crazy character and I feel like most of us failed to recognize him as an actual person with his wants, needs, and hurts. I wanted to tell him that I see him, recognize him, I’m there for him but now he needs to take that step and turn his life around, escape that role. And what you have done with the song “Away” has caught my attention. Drummer Damian has done an ‘Inside the track’ talking a little bit about the production. What has made you record this video? We simply felt like we wanted to do


a lot around that song, we also had this inventive campaign for it on Instagram where we were assembling a picture with themes from the song piece by piece. We loved how we combined raw metal with electronics and wanted to show everyone. With the pandemic, bands have intensified the use of digital platforms and, due to that, the playthrough adhesion has increased. Has this practice brought the fans even closer to

the band? What has the feedback been like? We only did a few of these, actually. We like to communicate and be close to our supporters but somehow, we don’t feel like always streaming something from our rooms. So as much as I respect this in other bands, we haven’t been doing it too much. But I think it’s a great idea for the guitar/drummer nerds to get into the songs for the music itself, and that’s awesome. So we’ll surely do more of these!


INTERVIEW. SKYWALKER

Finally, what can we expect from Skywalker in the second half of 2021? The space is yours for your considerations. We wish you success and take care! Thank you very much! We hope to return to the stage in Autumn 2021, so keep your fingers crossed. We’ve got some amazing opportunities in the works, but mainly, we wanna rock out with everybody once again! Thanks very much for having me, all the best to you and your readers. I hope your country finds its way through this terrible pandemic, we’re with you in our hearts. Much love.

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MAIN. JINJER

BY SUZUKI KAYOMI & PEI FON / PHOTO OLIVER HAREMSA - EMERALD PICS

J

Photo: Alina Chernohor

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injer is a band that until 2018 was unknown to the vast majority of heavy music fans. They started 2019 with the EP “Micro” and soon after released the full length “Macro”. With this album they took a bigger step in their careers and became known and disputed by listeners, the press, festivals, all over the world. They come from Ukraine and are formed by Tatiana Shmailyuk (vocals), Eugene Abdiukhanov (bass), Roman Ibramkhalilov (guitar) and Vlad Ulasevich (drums). They are not afraid to be who they are and express that in music. You will hardly hear any other band that has this experimentation of styles, progressive and aggressive. Rock Meeting had the exclusivity of talking to the very nice Tatiana. Even though she is very happy and positive, she is also an introverted person, and the music has helped her in this regard. It was a lot of fun to interview her, she's that person we want to have in our circle of friends! Without prolonging it, read it right now!


Thank you so much for taking some time to talk with us, I would like to start talking about Jinjer first. Having a band is creating a reputation, getting fans and of course, to create music. How is the feeling towards Jinjer all over these 10 years on the road? Tatiana - The fact that we gather together as a band in 2009, doesn’t mean we started as a big band. Took some time for us to grow up, to succeed. You are not that old, but it feels great we are accomplishing things, getting there

So you think Jinjer is going in the direction you expected? Yeah, just like we planned, as we saw ourselves years ago and we are very true to ourselves. We don’t try to satisfy people just for the sake to ‘be popular’. I think this is our advantage. We don’t see that much nowadays, to be honest. I agree with you, but everyone has their own path, we can’t judge. Every band has their own reason to do what they do, their own intentions. Some want to ex-


MAIN. JINJER

WE STAY TRUE TO OURSELVES, AND WE HATE BEING ‘MAINSTREAM’

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Foto: Clément Thiery

press themselves and others just want to be a star. And Jinjer is a way for you to express yourself, isn’t it? Yeah, more than that! I am really happy I am able to combine all the genres that I love into Jinjer music. You are also an introvert, right? So you are able to put out the feelings, and thoughts from your head inside Jinjer? Yes! Exactly! Because, now, I can express myself through music. I used to draw and paint, but now that I had

spent so much time with the band writing music, I put paint aside, many years ago, and I haven’t returned to do that. I kinda choose my way. And you think you changed somehow? Hmm, that is hard to explain. From my perspective, I had changed million times already. I think is because of being an adult, this adulting shit. (laughs) I didn’t change much because of music, but is a hard question… Live performances changed me, and maybe I got more self-confident… or maybe not, maybe the complete opposite.


MAIN. JINJER

(laughs) Maybe I just got self-aware. But you feel afraid of going on stage? Always! I’m always nervous, if you ask any band, any musician, they feel like they are going on stage for the first time. Is a big deal for musicians, at least for the ones who care about their own image. Some of the old-school bands don’t give a fuck.   Well, they already famous, so whatever (laughs) Yeah, they just perform for the sake of making money and other stuff. And talking about the pandemic, Jinjer is about to release a new album. How was to compose and write an album in the middle of a pandemic? After our last show, last year, in Mexico at the Hell and Heaven Festival. We were the last band, the

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headliners, and then all of sudden they come and said “Your whole tour is over, go home because there is a lockdown.” (laughs) Me and Eugenie, went to California because it was the closest and easiest place to go for us to sit and wait for the pandemic to be over. We tough the pandemic would last only two weeks... but then became two years. I was wrong (laughs). During the time we were in California, Roman and Vlad went back to Ukraine and start composing. In there it wasn’t that serious, so they just gather together. They spend every day writing music. I think was the right time to write an album, because normally we don’t have time for it. Is tour after tour, and we have like two months to write an album, is too short. We’re always in a rush, but this time we took the whole year to write something, so it was good.



MAIN. JINJER

Perfect timing, I guess. And you mentioned you were always on tour, and for now almost a year and a half without going on stage. Now that gigs are coming back, how do you feel about it? Festivals in Europe are back this summer, and our US tour is confirmed, so there is nowhere to hide. We had a great opportunity we couldn’t miss, in 2020, we had a mini-tour around Europe, we played six shows in the middle of the pandemic. So there was no lockdown, but the shows were socially distant, with people sitting and using masks. How was it to perform in such opposite style? I mean, Jinjer is normally on big festivals, mosh pits, people screaming and going crazy, and all of a sudden you have people sitting and using masks. That was bizarre, was weird. (laughs) For us and for the audience. We felt very weird and awkward, but I could see the audience wanted to headbang, go crazy, but they couldn’t. Well, we

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did what we had to do, but it is an important experience in any musician career. Because when I started singing, and I had my first band in school, we took part in some sort of contest. We played Guano Apes, and the audience consists of only old people… they were sitting and watching while we playing heavy music. Aaah that was so weird, so when you asked me how I felt, that is how I felt (laughs). The flashbacks coming back, and you just thinking “oh no, fuck” (laughs) Yeah (laughs) but it was good, other bands couldn’t perform, so we took this chance, and everything was legal and safe. But after we left Germany, the country went back to lockdown. We were like the last ones. Going to the new album now, what can you tell us about “Wallflower”? I was worried actually, because before we released the cover of the al-


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bum it already was all over our fan pages. I was thinking “what the fuck, this is a leak?” but well, doesn’t matter. It is our fourth full-length album, and Wallflower is basic a shy person who is an outsider, not popular, and always stands observing. Oh wait, that is me (laughs) You know that in the dictionary the meaning of Wallflower is a lonely girl in a bar trying to get laid. (laughs) Wait, what? Yeah! So definitely is not that! (laughs) This album basically is dedicated to all introverts. To me, to you! We decided on the cover way before we finished the recording, so

when it came to choosing artworks, it didn’t fit the title we had before, so I changed it into Wallflower. It is quite heavy, the heaviest album we ever recorded due to the bass. I think is a hard album to listen to. (laughs) For me was very difficult to record, is not that traditional and quite progressive. I call this album genre uneasy metal”. I actually can feel it is not traditional in your new song Vortex. In this song itself, I felt the structure is different and I thought “wait a second, something is different here…” You bring soft tones when needed, get aggressive without being so invasive. Where the inspiration came from? Can you tell us more about this song? I can only say about writing the lyrics, that actually was the first song I began to write it. At the time, was January, I was really sad on that day, and I caught myself walking in my own room, walking in a circle like an old man. I was overthinking, I felt my head so heavy that I had to lean lower and lower to the floor. So I had


MAIN. JINJER

this image of my head falling down and making a hole on the floor, and everything around me being sucked inside this hole. I started writing it in Russian, my mother tongue, to not lose inspiration, but I just write a small part of it. I finished that song in April when we had to record, and it was difficult to finish. So, the song is basically heavy thoughts that can cause problems, you can absolutely dive into it and never get out of it. Another point that is interesting in Vortex, more towards the end, the growl is powerful. For “Wallflower” can we expect a Tatiana that we never experienced before? About the extreme vocals, I don’t think they change since the last album, but I can’t judge it. It always changed depending on the state of my throat, how long I hadn’t been singing, but if we talk about the clean vocals… All the songs have the same vocal “flavor”, but I included unusual parts that I never sing that way. Only people who hadn’t been listening to us a lot maybe will notice it.

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Foto: AnshixArts - Angela Michel


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That will be interesting to listen to, and talking about Eugene, the bassist, said “Wallflower carry Jinjer Identity.” and it is a clear statement that Jinjer is different from other bands. What makes Jinjer so different? Maybe because we stay true to ourselves, and we hate being ‘mainstream’ for example, or trying to copy other bands. We are scared

of that (laughs), the day we start sounding like the other bands, that will be the last day of Jinjer. Is not intentional, it just happens naturally. Also, that makes me think… in an interview for the channel Moshpit Passion, you said many people think Jinjer is only famous because it has a female vocal. How do you deal with these outdated thoughts? Well… I can’t change people, no matter how many times I yell about it. You will not believe but many people, not all of them, just listen to female vocal bands. I don’t know why, like what the fuck! I know! It doesn’t make any sense! It doesn’t! And I don’t know what they think… maybe this music touch not only your soul but your wee wee… what the fuck. I have


MAIN. JINJER

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nothing to say to these people, but I can’t change them. Maybe some people come to our gigs because of that reason, some perverts you know. But I believe, the biggest part of our fans really is there for our music, I really want to believe that. But on the other hand, having you in the vocal inspires a lot of other girls. We can see videos on the internet of girls singing and practicing. You ever thought you will be an inspiration for someone? I am very grateful people see me like that. I was also a fan of female vocal bands, but not because they were women. For example, Guapo Apes, the first time I saw them on TV I said “I want to look like this girl!” I was so into this culture, the clothes and piercing stuff. I loved it, especially when women started to look like that! Of course, I was inspired by many women, so I am happy that I am an inspiration for other girls.

I personally like you a lot because you are so true to yourself, and not afraid of being you. On stage you’re just there being you. So, I think is pretty cool when girls say, “Oh Tatiana is so cool, I wanna be like her!”. It is pretty cool! And you know what, there is nothing wrong when you just started and you look like the others. You don’t have to find your own style at the beginning you know? For example, when learning how to sing, first, you learn how to sing and then you will become yourself, find yourself. So, when you are beginning, there is nothing wrong with copying someone, but don’t let this consume you, remember who you are. Well, it takes a while to find yourself. Yeah, and I really lost myself sometimes, I have toxic traits like comparing myself to others. That is when you start losing yourself, is very dangerous, so please don’t get lost in the Vortex.


MAIN. JINJER

And before we finish, you have any intentions to release another single before Wallflower? I also will be looking forward to if Jinjer can come to Brazil someday. Thank you so much for having some time to talk with us! I don’t remember which year… but when we had to cancel our Latin America tour, we still will play in Brazil and Argentina, I just don’t know when! But we will be releasing another single before the album. We plan to release three other singles before Wallflower is released. And thank you for this nice conversation!

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LIVE REPORT . EPICA

S

ince the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve become used to watching livestream shows and seeing bands trying to bring the stage to TV, smartphone, and computer screens. Over time, the bands learned how to make their own broadcast and showed new ideas and possibilities. Far beyond being just a satisfying live, the Dutch band

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Epica showed all their power to accomplish something grand, with many visual resources, uniting music, circus arts and pyrotechnics. Until now, Symphonic Metal bands have shown their virtual performance versions. They exploit available resources, which has not been cheap to make cinematographic-level productions.


Epica bet on an environment

OMEGA ALIVE

that simulates the stages of major festivals, decorated with various elements from their new album “Omega”. “Omega Alive” was divided into five acts, with symbolic and sound representations. Everything changed, from the stage to the musicians’

disposition,

passing

through the Simone Simons outfits that connected each part.

Before the heart leapt into the mouth, the band Off the Cross opened the work. The Belgian quartet gave a short performance, just over 15 minutes. They played their first single, “The Goddess”, and two more from the recent album “Enjoy it While it Lasts”, “Exist” and “The Dance”. Their performance was energetic and the


LIVE REPORT . EPICA

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use of a drone in the composition of the camera game drew attention. A great idea that brought movement and dynamism to Off the Cross. It is worth being heard. Epica fans looked forward to what was to come. “Overtura”, the first act, began with the intro “Alpha – Anteludium” which mentions the theme of the following song, “Abyss of Time – Countdown to Singularity”. This is part of the new album “Omega”, and it works very well live. It’s definitely a song that will be on the setlist from now on. The stage is gigantic, which makes us feel like a festival, and this is the real reason for making a livestream, trying to transmit this unique feeling as much as possible. However, Epica extrapolates these meanings in a very positive way. Everything that is laid out on the stage


LIVE REPORT . EPICA

is entirely intertwined with the music. When “Abyss of Time” starts you already feel why Epica has grown so much and is one of the icons in the segment. Following in the footsteps, “The Skeleton Key”, also from “Omega”, starts in full swing. Another song that will be on the setlist. The timing for Epica to release the album and announce the live makes perfect sense. It was the right time to show what they did and present it the way they wanted to, on stage. As there was an integration of the arts, the highlight of this song was the introduction of the children’s choir. Their presence in this song is very beautiful. Then an Epica classic, “Unchain Utopia”. I don’t need to say much, a classic is a classic, period. The band’s performance is always like it’s the first time and it always has to be like that... when this flame goes out it’s a sign that the end is near. The second act, “Magnituda”. The stage decoration changes, the musicians also change their position and

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LIVE REPORT . EPICA

change the aura of the performance. In a freer reading, this act was the darker, heavier version of the setlist, and the chosen songs show that. “The Obsessive Devotion”, “In All Conscience”, “Victims of Contingency”. The highlight was “Victims of Contingency”, for sure. The guys made it rain on stage. Impressive! None of this would be possible in an indoor show, but since it’s a live, anything is possible. Ah, it’s worth saying that each part was recorded, that’s why the show was divided, and everything was changed according to the proposal of each of the five acts presented. Third act, “Elysia”. A moment that reminds me of the medieval and this can be seen in the members’ clothing and in the assembled scenery, forming an altar. Taking a hook towards Elysia, it was the most blessed

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LIVE REPORT . EPICA

moment of the live. The chosen songs don’t let me lie: “Kingdom of Heaven” and “The Antediluvian Universe – Kingdom of Heaven Pt. III”, the last one from the recent album. All were very well executed. “Gravita”, fourth act. The moment for Simone Simons to show why she is one of the most important singers in metal. In a sequence-shot camera game, the song “Rivers”, played in the chapel, just Simone and the choir, brought calm and contemplation to “Omega Alive”. If it were possible every time to be played in this way, it would be beautiful and charming in each one of them. The transition from one song to another was a beautiful point within the video’s aesthetic. It was followed as a very well-done follow-

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-up plan. The song at the time was “Once Upon a Nightmare”. A duo between piano and guitar starts and soon comes Simone, always in the spotlight. By the way, she wasn’t just the singer on her band’s livestream, she was much more than that, she was an actress, she owned her space. She dominated, enchanted, and did what she loves to do most, singing. In this performance, a circle of fire was created and Simone in the middle. When taking the reference before Gravita starts, where the


LIVE REPORT . EPICA

ouroboros appears, the reading made is of evolution and that’s exactly what happened with Epica, it evolved. Fifth and final act, Alpha and Omega. The beginning and the end. But not the end for Epica. It was a tour of the band’s past and present. There were four songs performed: “Freedom – The Wolves Within”, “Cry for The Moon”, “Beyond the Matrix” and “Omega – Sovereign of the Sun Spheres”. On stage “Freedom” is another song that will be on the setlist. The

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song had a contemporary dance ensemble and was very different and interesting at the same time. Metal can be danced yes! With the classic “Cry for The Moon” it was time to say thanks and remember how they got there. Flashes from the past were being shown to understand the path that Epica took. And this is reinforced in the words Simone said at the end of the song, in the 20 years that “Cry for The Moon” was released. Sincere thanks to everyone who made “Omega Alive” happen. Showing behind-the-scenes staff, audio technicians, cameras, assistants, a


LIVE REPORT . EPICA

range of people. If it ended there, it would already be of good size and sealed with a golden key. But no, there were two more songs for everyone to contemplate. “Beyond The Matrix” needs no introduction. It’s always amazing live. Already “Omega - Sovereign of the Sun Spheres” should close the shows going forward. It was a real spectacle, all very well controlled and orchestrated. The sound is another point to be talked about, what a wonderful sound it made me feel at the show. A pity that we are going through a moment like this, this presentation deserved the audience present.

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