Please describe Magica's music with three words!
Atmospheric, melodic, heavy !
Bogdan (on the right), you are the founder of Magica...
What was the reason to form this band and -of course- what was the first Metal album you heard?
If my memory serves me right, I think my first "Metal" album was Judas Priest's "British steel" . I guess that heavy metal is like an addiction that once you've tasted it you cannot get rid of :). It is about music played from the heart, and not for commercial purposes.
In 1997, after playing in a lot of local "kid" bands, I 've joined a more experienced band and recorded 2 albums. I did a lot of work with these guys and composed 50% of the songs on these albums, but finally there were differences in our tastes because I dragged the band's style towards heavy metal and the vocal of the band wanted to go gothic-death. So I decided to leave and form a band after my own taste. Magica was born.
Vali, could you please continue and outline some important facts in the (hi)story of Magica!
Well, the whole thing started in 2002, as a side project of Bat, who at that time was the guitarist of a gothic band . The original line up was:
Bat - guitars, Ana - vocals, Vali - bass guitar. In August 2002 we released our 1st album, "The Scroll Of Stone", which is a conceptual album, telling the storyof Princess Alma, with lyrics both in English and Romanian. This album was released in Romania by Sigma Records and got us a contract with Divenia Records from Mexico, which rereleased it in 2004. After several line up changes, we finally managed to find the "magic formula", so other two musicians joined the band: Cristi took over the drums, and 6fingers on keyboards, so we were ready to record our 2nd album.
"Lightseeker" was released by Bestial Records in Romania, Underclass Music in France and Divenia Records for both North & South America. So far, the reviews have been good, and we are confident that "Lightseeker" will cleary show Magica's true musical potential.
How comes you found a label in Mexico?
Bogdan : I can say that we did not find them, but they found us on the internet. The management of Divenia is made of persons who can see in perspective and thought that Magica has good potential so they contacted us and we agreed on a contract. Later, because of the promotion material, Underclass-Music contracted us for "Lightseeker" for the territory of France and I must say that we are pleased with the results so far.
Taking about "lightseeker". Almost the whole album is composed by you, Bogdan. Are you the only creative force in the band and what are the major influences you process?
Because Magica is like my own kid, yes, I have put all my inspiration in it, but I m not the only creative force. 6fingers did a great job in all of the songs with his ideas on keyboards. I never tell him what to play. If I compose a song I just tell 6fingers what this song is about and what I want it to transmit to the listener and he does his job accordingly. On the "Lightseeker" 6 fingers signs the intro, the atmospheric piece "Samhain" and the song recorded in romanian language "Inluminata". Also, when we rehearse the songs, all members in the band talk about making the song sound more compact.
For inspiration I can point "Stratovarius" and "Helloween".
So let's talk about the sound of Lightseeker, especially of the keyboards...
Bogdan:We wanted this album to sound melodic and heavy but with a mystical magical atmosphere, that would cut off the agressive edge of metal. I think that we succeded in creating that atmosphere, but of course the production is not quite as good as we wanted. This happened part of the fact that sound engineers here need a little more experience and part because our instruments are not as competitive as we would like them to be. This happened with the keyboard sound that although the parts played are ok, the tones are a little "old".
What can you tell us about the lyrics?
Bogdan: "Lightseeker" is mainly a journey of self-discovery and enlightenment. It does not hold an answer, instead it raises many questions.It touches a few relligious aspects but the album does not want to be a promoter of one particular path. Of course it has some celtic inspiration that you can find in songs like "The Circle", "Inluminata", "Samhain", "Bittersweet Nightshade" but it continues the fantasy aspect that you listened on our first disc "The Scroll of Stone" , with songs like "Witch's Broom", "The Living Grimoire" , "Black Lace" and "Curse for Eternity" .
You already mentioned the hard circumstances to record a Metal album in Romania. Maybe you can explain a little bit about being a Metalhead there....
Vali: The big problem in Romania is that we don't have a powerful Underground metal scene.
As a result, it's really difficult to organize concerts, release albums, and so on. Since rock music is ignored by the media and the big record labels, and since there are not so many clubs to play in, it's a constant struggle for survival. In spite of all that, we have some very good & talented bands, and lately things seem to come in place, so I guess it's only a matter of time for the Romanian bands to get the kind of attention & respect they deserve.
Has there been a metal scene in times of the Warsaw Pact?
Hmmm...let's say that back then, the term "Underground" had a whole different meaning :) Rock music was considered a "root of all evil", the mark of the "decadent capitalist system", so all
rock fans were literally hunted by the police (at that time the police was called "Militia") and forced to cut their hair short. Very few concerts managed to take place, and most of the bands were playing hard rock (and lately some new wave). Rock music was considered bad for the population, therefore the system tried any method they could think of to bring the rockers & rock music down.
Fortunately, the youth opposition proved strong, and rock music survived.
Back to Magica..Fronted by a classical female singer, you are compared with Nightwish. A compliment or a curse for Ana?
Bogdan:Of course it is a compliment to be compared with someone of Turunen's caliber, but slowly it becames obsessive that people just can't see beyond that. In the end, we have our own personality and even the vocals, if you listen more closely, are not like Tarja's. On the instrumental side, we use far more speed and instrumental solos than Nightwish. I don't know if this is bad or good but that 's the way we feel like playing.
By the time we were arranging this interview, you said, critics help you to improve. So what will your major improvements for the third album?
Bogdan: Yes! People should not take criticism as something offending. They should just analyse what others have to say and try to learn from it. :) First of all, we shall not record anything new untill we purchase new equipment. Also, I have in mind some new and original guitar riffing, and I think that we'll try to make our songs and sound more spatious using as few tracks as we can, but more exact and "fleshy".
So what means music and espescially Metal for you guys?
Vali: Music is a very important part of our lives. We do consider music as an "universal language" which opens people's minds and touches their deepest feelings & emotions.
We have all been playing music for a long time, and we still do that because we really enjoy creating
music - yes, we are musicians, but we are music fans in the first place. Music has the power to link people on a more intimate level, and it's quite amazing how it can stimulate one's imagination!
Bogdan: Now from a "cruel life perspective " :) for some of us, music is also a job. I work as a producer and show-host of 2 rock shows in a well known Radio Station in my town, called Radio Neptun, and I am also chief of the Production Department. With the help of this radio, I have organized 4 editions of one of the biggest metal festivals in my country. For Ana, who graduated the Classical Music Academy besides the hobby, is also a job, because she works with the "Black Sea Philarmonica".
How many concerts did you play so far?
For the simple fact our scene is so little and also because we refused to play in some places that did not have the propper sound conditions, Magica appeared live in 2004 and we played a few club concerts, one major festival, we had one big live show that was broadcasted on national television and we played live in Sofia -Bulgaria. That's about it. We hope that 2005 will be our live year. We have received some offers for touring Mexico, South America and France. We do not have the dates yet, but they will be posted on our website as soon as we know them.
Hope to see you soon on stage here. Thanks a lot for your time to answer the questions.
The final words are for you!
Thank you again for this interview. We hope your readers will like Magica (they can download a song or two from our website www.magica.us
) and who knows, maybe even help in getting us signed with a label in Germany.