Please tell us about the history of your band and its members.
The band started as a group of high school kids playing together cover songs in a friend’s house basement. We would play Deep Purple, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Nirvana, Hendrix, Eric Clapton and other stuff. We had no name for a period of time. Just playing.
I remember being together with Arbi (former band member and co-founder) at his home, trying to find a name for the band. We were already composing our first couple of songs so having a name was a must.
We were mixing famous band names just for fun, hoping to find the right one.
The name “Crossbones” came totally by chance from an English – Albanian dictionary I grabbed from the wall library. I opened the book and on the top right corner of the first page was written in bold black font “Crossbones”. It was 1996.
Kind of “Eureka moment”. I said: - We got it man.
20 years have passed in a blink of an eye since that moment.
And so, Crossbones were born and we started to look for permanent members that would further shape the band.
The first original line-up was:
Olsi Ballta – vocals (founder)
Arbi Xhelo – guitars (co-founder)
Klod Shehu – guitars
Alban Male – drums/keyboards
Redi Hasa – bass (only during the recording of “Days Of Rage” album)
There are several friends of ours that joined and contributed in the band.
I would like to thank for their great contribution:
Eduard Dashi – guitars
Fatjon Gjashta – bass
Andi Haxhihyseni – drums (session)
Pol Flloko – drums (session)
Gjergj Lena – guitars
Ergys Turku – Bass (session)
We had a lot of ups and downs as a result of different line-ups and lack of musicians, especially bass players and drummers. So until 2010, there was just me and Klod struggling a lot to keep the band going and despite all the difficulties we did some pretty good stuff.
The important thing was to keep the engine running. And we succeeded.
Olsi Ballta – vocals 1996 - present
Theo Napoloni – drums 2010 – present
Ben Turku – 2014 – present
Klejd Guza – February 2016 – present
Very special thanks go to Klod Shehu, our long time band mate and brother.
He recently moved to Australia and we still miss him a lot. But this is life.
We are strong and continuing our journey of music and I have to thank my brothers and actual band members Teo, Ben and Klejd for putting a lot of passion and energy. This is great.
How would you describe your style? Which bands influenced your music?
It is a mix of thrash, metal, hardcore, rock, alternative, grunge, punk. We just call it metal.
We believe that having so much bits of everything and knowing how to blend it all together in one, brings up some really good music. After all, creating good music that communicates with the audience is the most important thing. This is our purpose. And so far we’ve got amazing feedback from friends, fans, musicians and media. We are nominated twice for “Best Rock” at Top Fest Music Festival and this means that the general audience can relate with our music.
Bringing rock music to the masses is quite challenging taking into account that rock/metal scene in Albania is still small. We don’t give up. There are some really great bands that influenced and still do such as Beatles, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, Metallica, Faith No More, Dream Theater, RATM, Alice In Chains, Pearl Jam and the list goes on.
Why should a metalhead buy your demos/albums?
Well, it is important to explore new music, different genres, from different corners of the world. This way you can learn the band’s background, history, music and the message.
Our music is dynamic, explosive, angry, gentle, raw, heavy and always with a message.
If you come to our show or just listen to our music in your bedroom, you will head-bang, jump, scream, go crazy, reflect, think, smoke a cigarette… and you will always remember most of the motives. At least this is what we want to believe and it’s been great so far. We are grateful.
What have you released so far and how were your releases received by the public/media?
Days Of Rage – LP 1997 (The first ever rock/metal album on CD released in Albania)
Toxic Waste – LP 2015
Alive – EP 2015
Full Metal Pack – Deluxe Box 2015
We have great response from the audience and media, foreign media as well.
We are featured in reviews and interviews in several webzines such as Frankonia Metallum, Metal Archives, Hermanos del Rock, Feelarocka, Rock Overdose, Rock Greece, Rock Temple, AntiChrist Magazine, Radio Metal France, Ground Rock Radio UK, Mayhem Radio UK, Top Albania Radio, Radio Rock Albania, Kiss FM, Travel Radio, MAD TV, Top Channel TV, TV Klan, Bulza Live Sessions at RTSH, just to name a few.
Do you play live as well? How's your live activity so far?
We are very active in the local scene and have played in many concerts and important festivals such as Steel Wings Moto Show, Rock Stock Festival, What’s Up Fest, Fest On, Telekom Rock City, Anibar Festival, Top Fest (two times nominated for Best Rock).
We have played as well in Macedonia, Montenegro, Greece and Kosovo.
On April 24 2015 we headlined our first show in Thessaloniki at 8Ball Club.
We were the main opening act for Rotting Christ’s first show in Tirana last year.
Headlined many gigs and actually planning our next shows here.
Our main objective is establishing contact with a record label and touring.
This is the only way to meet new people, make new friends and share our music.
Albania still doesn’t provide the infrastructure for rock/metal bands, meaning labels, management/booking/promotion, but things are improving, slowly though.
What should labels/zines/promoters know about your band? Why should they be interested in it?
We have a rich history as a band and achieved a lot taking into account the small rock/metal scene in Albania. Our music has matured over the years and we work hard to go further.
We take music seriously. We are determined. It is not just a high school hobby. It takes a great deal to play in front of the people so you cannot afford to miss anything. We pay close attention to our image and presence online through our social media platforms as well as on stage. It is important to put a good show in terms of both audio and visual. You want to share your music and messages, but you also want to have the people entertained.
We plan carefully everything and this is one of the reasons that got us so far.
Sky is the limit and that is what we aim for.
Maybe the fact that Albania has been isolated for 50 years from the world makes things more exotic…haha. We are from a small country but we have big dreams.
Albania’s last secret? Crossbones.
What plans do you have for the near future as a band?
We have almost finished recording process of our new studio album, expected to be released this fall. The production will be handled in Italy most probably. Two videos will be produced in support of the new album. Also a few shows are being planned including our 20-th anniversary gig. These are our plans for 2016. For the next year we really hope to be on tour. Who’s in?
Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?
Right now we are present on music platforms such as Reverbnation, Soundcloud, RMN (Rock Metal Network) and Bandcamp. Regarding merchandise like t-Shirts, you can either enter https://www.teeblaster.com/store/crossbones-albanian-metal-act or contact directly with us through our Facebook page or email email@example.com
You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. (you have the links)
Thank you and keep rocking friends.