Hello !!! At the beginning please tell us about Wicked Side’s achievements.
Hello! The band came into existence in May 2009. We played our first gig on September 26 of the same year. Later on we started recording our very first promo material that was released on March 1, 2010. In the meantime we managed to play as a support act for one of the legends of Polish heavy metal – Turbo. Within the next months of 2010 we played a few more concerts, including supporting Blaze Bayley, and taking part in Crazy Friends Fest.
I read on your website, that Wicked Side is an independent band, without the valid contract with a bigger label. Is this your idea or just a hard life?
A little of both, actually. To be honest, I’m in two minds about signing a contract with a label. On one hand, it obviously makes a lot things easier, for instance they can provide you with the money for recording sessions and releasing albums, take care of promotion, organising gigs, etc. On the other hand, however, being independent and able to do everything as you please is also very important for me. That’s why I look up to Blaze Bayley who has his own record label and takes care of his own business. Nonetheless, if an offer came from a label I would definitely consider it.
You played some concerts, you are playing one bigger in Warsaw too. A few months ago you played on Ariya Fanclub’s party in Warsaw, in Metal Cave club. Tell us about this tribute to Ariya.
I’ve been listening to Ariya for several years now, and it’s one of my favourite bands. Some time ago I registered on the Official Polish Fanclub’s forum and, after some time, was enquired if we were interested in taking part in such undertaking. We decided to prepare some more Ariya songs; I said more because at that time we already had one of their songs featuring in our concert set. And I think it all went quite well, although I was more content with our own set than with Ariya’s songs one. However, I have to say that the event was organised in a professional manner, and I think the crowd enjoyed it as well.
OK, next question about concerts, what is the condition of heavy metal scene in Poland? How many people do come to heavy metal gigs? And tell us about the greatest moments on your gigs – and the worst. How often do you play?
The condition of heavy metal in Poland is, generally speaking, rather poor. There are some well-known bands that gather larger crowds, but they all have been there for some 20-30 years, recorded many albums. For younger and relatively unknown bands it’s extremely hard. The main reason, in my opinion, is that Polish people prefer other genres of metal, particularly the extreme ones. It’s enough to say that the best known Polish bands in the world are Vader and Behemoth who play death metal and blackened death metal respectively. However, there are still great crowds at concerts of foreign bands such as Iron Maiden. Maybe it’s because of our inferiority complex – we tend to think that what’s Polish must be worse or inferior to the foreign equivalent. Yet there are many interesting young heavy metal bands that play really good music, there are just not enough possibilities to show it to the general public. But, generally speaking, heavy metal in Poland, but I think also in other countries as well, has been in decline since the 1980s with a short spell of revival in the early 2000s.
As far as our concerts go, we don’t play very often - last year we put on 11 shows, it’s not much, is it? As I already said, there appears to be not much of a demand for young heavy metal bands yet we keep on doing our thing regardless of any obstacles that we may came across. After all, it’s survival of the fittest, isn’t it?
The shows we remember most positively were the one when we supported Turbo, the Crazy Friends Fest, and the Ariya show. There were quite numerous crowds, the people seemed to enjoy our music, and we were quite happy with the performance. There were, however, occasions on which we played to a nearly empty hall with the sound being so poor we couldn’t even hear each other on the stage...
Have you ever performed abroad ?
We did. At the Crazy Friends Fest in Vilnius, Lithuania, in mid October 2010. It was a big indoor festival with 12 bands on two stages. There played all top Lithuanian metal acts, as well as some up-and-coming ones. The headline of the event was Russian guitarist Sergey Mavrin with his band. The organisers did a great job, everything was running smoothly, and I think both the audience and the bands were happy. We managed to make some contacts and we’ll be looking to make use of them in the future.
What about your concerts plans in the nearest future?
As it has been already said, we have a show coming up on February 12, 2011 in Warsaw with 3 other bands from our area: Northern Plague, In Extremis, and Snakes of God. That’s the only confirmed show so far. We’re in the middle of the talks with some other bands regarding spring shows. There are chances we’ll play a mini-tour in the beginning of May, and also some shows with our friends from Curiosity, but nothing’s booked yet.
For the summer we plan to play at a few outdoor events, also abroad - mainly in Lithuania, but if we had a chance to go and play in some other countries we’d seriously consider it.
You are true heavy metal heads, you have a classic heavy metal logo too! I understand, that heavy metal is a hobby for you, what can you tell me about Podlasie region’s metal scene, we have got some good bands like you, Hermh, Abused Majesty, Dead Infection... ?
Thanks, the logo was intended to have this classic, old-school look. I wouldn’t put ourselves in the same league as the bands mentioned. Mainly because they are way better known, and second, they play more extreme music. As far as our local bands go we have Hellraizer, there is Northern Plague (although they play black metal), there is Curiosity (more of a thrash band). To be honest, there aren’t many classic heavy metal bands in our region – it has always been renowned for black and death metal bands, and it’s still the case.
I talked with Bart from Hermh, he told me, that Podlasie’s metal included a quite bit of local folklore’s soul and that was specific for this region. I like Podlasie with its folk and specific dialect very much. What do you think about it, is that true?
I’ve never thought someone would say something like this. Personally, I haven’t noticed any elements of local folk in metal music from our region. But I’ve never been a big fan of folk music and maybe I’m simply unable to spot such influences.
Ok, tell us about Wicked Side’s lyrics. Where does your inspiration come from? How important are lyrics in Wicked Side’s music?
For me good lyrics are equally important as good music. For sure, the first thing one notices about a band is their lead vocals, then music, the riffs, the melodies, and arrangements. Right after that come the lyrics and the message the band tries to deliver. Unlike many modern bands we’re not interested in singing about leftist shit like social problems, environmental issues, etc.; quite the opposite. We value virtues now forgotten, it seems – honesty, justice, liberty, and the likes. Apart from that we write lyrics somehow typical of heavy metal, that is about history, myths and legends, being independent, believing in yourself, etc. To be honest each piece of lyrics is a different story, has a different background, so we’d have to discuss them one by one. Where does the inspiration come from? I don’t know. Sometimes it’s a few words I read somewhere, sometimes a line or two from a song, sometimes an idea just comes out of the blue. I never sit down in front of a piece of paper and think to myself ‘let’s write a song about world war two’ or something like that. The bottom line is that the music and the lyrics go hand in hand.
What are you private music inspirations? What genre of music do Wicked Side like, what do you like besides heavy metal... And do it influence Wicked Side’s tracks?
Oh, it’s going to take ages to list all of it! But basically I listen to pretty much everything, starting with Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave, through 70s and 80s disco, to death metal in the likes of Nile. And I’m sure everything inspires me at least to an extent. But mainly it is heavy metal. My favourite bands include Iron Maiden, Ariya, Iced Earth, Metallica, Judas Priest... and the list could go on. When it comes to good music I never discard anything based on the genre, even in the mainstream music there are some pretty good tunes.
What about Wicked Side’s CD, are you going to relase it in the nearest future?
A full LP is out of the question for the time being. It wouldn’t make much sense. First we need to build a fan-base, gain some popularity both in Poland and abroad. What is the point of releasing an album with hardly anyone buying it? But surely, the last year’s promo is definitely not enough. First, it’s not the best, especially as far as the quality goes, second it was almost a year ago, and third we need to take a step further. That’s why we plan to record an EP this year. If everything goes according to the plan we should record it in summer. Unlike the promo, we’re definitely going to send it to a number of labels.
At the end of interview, I would like to ask you about your WWW space, I saw your myspace profile and personal blog, what else?
There are many places in the Net you can find us. First, there is MySpace (www.myspace.com/wickedsideband), there is the YouTube channel (www.youtube.com/user/wickedsidetv), there is Facebook (www.facebook.com/pages/Wicked-Side/135841866432181), there is Last.fm (www.last.fm/music/Wicked+Side), there is Vkontakte (vkontakte.ru/club18464334), and there is the blog (http://wickedsideband.blogspot.com/) that for the time being acts as a sort of our official website. But we’re thinking about launching a proper one.
Thanx a lot for interview, keep in touch and see you on gigs!
Thanks, it’s been a pleasure.
Interviewed by Vilcin