This should be fun. I've just discovered you through some contacts. Let's play the game of "Steve's Going To Get To Know You". Who are all in the band and what do they do?
Voytek - "Hi Steve. I play guitar and sing. I also do most of the composing, programming and recording, so you could say I am a multi- instrumentalist in that sense."
Rany -"I am the bass player, and I do most of the media stuff and videos!"
Voytek - "Izzy Novak contributed some lyrics and her voice to this release."
And how did each of you get to meet one another? Was it through other friends, at an event? Or what?
Voytek - "Rany was introduced to me by a mutual friend who knew I was working on a new music project and looking to collaborate. We were introduced to one another in a very loud smoke filled industrial club and spent the rest of the night having to scream into each others ear to sustain a proper conversation. We really hit it off artistically though, and have been creating music ever since. We later met Izzy playing in and around the Toronto club circuit."
Rany -"I met Voytek through my high school friend Lee. And I had just started playing bass at the time. I told Lee that 'I SUCK at bass, are you sure?' Lee said yeah, he just wants a girl bassist, don't worry. And then i was introduced to Voytek."
And where do your influences lie? Do each of you have a different artist you look up to or do you all have kinda/sorta the same idols?
Voytek - "Our influences definitely differ. I fall into periodic obsessions with certain genres and/or artists which can last for months or years. However, I always seem to revert to listening to styles associated with artists who influenced me to create music in the first place, such as The Wildhearts, Devin Townsend, and Gary Numan."
Rany -"I don't have a music idol per se (besides Jon Bon Jovi) but I like things to be angry and dancey at the same time. I really like 'Fieldy' from Korn. I wish i could play like him -- AND do cartwheels like Lindsay Way."
Voytek - "Izzy's influences include Kate Bush, Prince and The Damned."
After you all met up, how long was it until Soundgazer began up? And do you remember exactly when the band started up?
Voytek - "It actually happened very quickly after Rany and I met. We recruited a drummer, recorded a CD, and started playing shows as a 3 piece within about a year of meeting. Our very first show was ironically at the same club where Rany and I met, which was in September 2006."
Rany -"Yeah, I think at first when we met up, i was just playing shows with Voytek, cause he had created an album by himself , by the name of Cysto. So we started playing live with that foundation."
When you first started working with one another in terms of composing songs and playing with one another, did it all come together easily? Or were there some turbulent situations you had to sooth over?
Voytek - "It was never 'easy' in the sense it required a lot of effort and time. Rany and I worked crazy hours and would often come to rehearsal after not sleeping for 24 hours. We would go through ridiculous extremes to ensure all our gear worked properly, especially on-stage, as we used temperamental pitch to midi converters, home made drum triggers and wonky projectors. However, playing and composing with one another always felt natural. For some reason, our only turbulent situations seem to involve drummers. These relations all ended diplomatically, but the drummer position has been a revolving door for the band."
Rany -"Voytek is really easy to work with, and he's pretty easy going. AND I would like to think that I am too. So lots of talking and hardly any angry emotions at all."
Now, your debut album "Two Graves" has been recently released, and has been described as a bit of a crossover between IAMX and The Birthday Massacre. Do you embrace this comparison or do you disagree with it?
Voytek - "'Two Graves' certainly feels like a debut to us, but it is actually our third release. This interview is the first time we have been compared to IAMX and The Birthday Massacre, which I must stress is very complimentary and has some personal connections. A few years ago I drove something like ten hours to catch the closest IAMX show to Toronto. I have always admired the emotion and melody captured in his art and really needed to experience it live. I am flattered to learn that hints of his influence are cast back on this release."
Rany -"That's awesome that we get to be compared to TBM. I've always liked a female singer and their melodic-ness. It's funny - cause Toronto is so small, I actually found TBM through one of the guitar players - we all worked in film at the same company."
What themes or emotions were you trying to hit with "Two Graves"? It seems as if you guys have a very down-to-earth attitude mixed with an extreme sense of freedom of expression. Would you agree?
Voytek - "Yes, definitely, that is a very cool and accurate summary. Many of the themes we tried to hit on this release involve questioning ones existence and life decisions. Reflecting on and embracing change are key emotions we tried to capture. Overall, we always try to create art that is positive and encouraging to the listener."
And, when it came to writing the lyrics, were you trying to tell a story or just let out whatever was on your mind at the time?
Voytek - "A couple of the tracks are stories, while most of them are expressions of what was on our minds at the time. I came across a friend's Facebook status update which read, 'before you embark on a journey of revenge dig two graves..........”. I thought this concept was very cool and messaged the person asking if they are okay with me using that line in a song I wanted to write. They said, yes, for sure, but failed to tell me it was not their quote. It was a few months later I heard the same line on some television documentary and realized it is a Chinese proverb. We never ended up using the quote in any of the lyrics, but the saying became motivational and the basis of why we titled the release 'Two Graves'."
Watching it all come together - the music, the lyrics, production and album artwork - how did it feel to you? Was it an overall surreal experience where you couldn't believe it was actually happening?
Voytek - "It is very rewarding being able to share music we created. So yeah, the experience is surreal. On numerous occasions life really got in the way of completing this album, so when the release date finally came it felt like another chapter of this band had just been started."
Rany -"Yeah, this album was many years in the making because I had to work in another province for two years, so it was really hard to work on stuff that way. So Voytek and Izzy worked a lot on putting the songs together. The cover art though, was from my good friend Mike Lyons, and when I saw his photo - i knew I wanted to use it for the art. So we actually had a bunch of the packaging done BEFORE the album was done!"
So far, have you had any reception for "Two Graves"? And, if so, has it been positive or negative?
Voytek - "The reception has been positive so far. We have just began promoting this release, so I hope this trend will continue."
Do you have any plans for playing live in support of "Two Graves"? If so, have you any dates and location you can share with us?
Voytek - "A huge part of why we compose music is to play it live. It is often the end result we envision when we start working on something new, so it is very important to us. Unfortunately other commitments will be keeping us away from playing shows in the coming months, but we hope to start playing live again in the spring."
Rany -"Growing up sucks."
As of right now, do you have any future plans? Any ideas as to if you'll be releasing EPs or singles later on?
Voytek - "Yes, for sure! We will continue writing and studio work with hopes of releasing an EP by the end of 2016. Rany works in the movie/TV industry and will be away for part of the year, but we have begun setting up compatible software to ensure we can still create music by bouncing files over the net."
Rany -"Yeah, I would like to write more of the music component - - I've always worked with video equipments so codecs and formats never scared me. BUT with audio - this is a whole new different beast. I'm excited to get my little station set up -- because i'm off to work in a far away land, again. We can't decide which song should be this album's single. But as soon as we decide - i just have to gather the moula and the crew to work on a video."
Lastly, I wish you good luck on your journey and hope it all turns out well!
Voytek - "Thank you for including us in your publication."
We will never be the state's poster child band, nor do we want to be, but after a decade of hard work we have a solid following and I am very grateful for that. It seems like every gig we play we make new fans who actually stick around and that is a rare thing anymore. We have reached across genres locally and have built ourselves a dedicated and very diverse crowd here.
Pittersplatter, Jan 07 2014
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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