Sunday, June 12, 2016

interview: Harmonium

Harmonium recently released a grand impressive free/name-your-price recording of symphonic power metal called Symphony of Steel. The 45-minute recording (according to Metal Archives), follows two separate singles released earlier this year, too. Who is Harmonium and what is Harmonium all about? Let’s see what we can figure out through this interview. Power metal headbangers should check out this band! See the link below to hear and support the complete recording. The guitarist/composer Kakhi Kiknadze answered the questions.
Greetings! Tell us about Harmonium, friend!
Hello, Metal Bulletin! First of all thank you so much for this interview. As we have finally released our debut album SYMPHONY OF STEEL in 2016 which took about 3 years we are happy with the result. Of course, we're not going to stop and planning to make more music together but at this moment we have a little time-off. I myself am concentrated more on my other bands this year recording debut albums for IAHSARI and BEYOND ILLUSION. In IAHSARI we have even released our first official video clip and the feedback was so good that we're doing our best to record this album as soon as possible. Apart from that I'm still writing some new material for HARMONIUM's new album, but it's hard to record 3 album together. That's why I decided to record next album after I finish working on IAHSARI's album.
Harmonium is a studio project, correct? How did you find each other?
Yes, HARMONIUM is a studio project and will remain so until we'll have an opportunity to play together on stage. This project includes musicians from Georgia, Mexico, Colombia, Czech Republic, Italy, Greece and more so it's hard and needs expenses to play together live. We need a good sponsorship for that. The idea of HARMONIUM began a long time ago. I always wanted to play with such great musicians around the world and couldn't imagine this would happen in real. Once I remember sharing this idea with my friend Angel Huerta who I met on YouTube first. He also wanted such project and we decided to take this idea to the next level. Angel linked Dani Zapata's cover video of Pathfinder's song “Fifth Element” to me and I was really amazed about his vocal skills so I've contacted him who gladly joined our project as an official vocalist.
Same way I found Iliour Griften who became another official vocalist of Harmonium. I've met Jorge B. Canchola (bass player and composer) thanks to Angel again. Jorge did really great job composing Harmonium songs with me. I was really amazed about his ideas in orchestral arrangements. So as the heart of Harmonium was ready I began seeking for guest musicians. I really couldn't imagine that Apollo Papathanasio (Spiritual Beggars, ex-Firewind) would accept to sing for us. I've also met awesome Italian singer, Andrea Bicego (4th Dimension), who was also happy to record his vocals. I met my native singer as well, Mari Chakvetadze, who recorded her vocals in our track “Warrior's Revenge,” Michal Jankuliak from Czech power metal band Eagleheart has recorded guitar solo in this track as well. We have also amazing keyboard solos recorded by Colombian Victor Hugo Santafe Ossa (ATTA). So internet has played the main part making this idea real.
If different musicians recorded their parts in separate regions of the world with different equipment, how is it possible to make it sound coherent?
Of course, we have recorded our tracks with different equipment, but there's the magic of mixing them together. All tracks including guitars were recorded dry without any pre-modelling. At first I sent those tracks to Bob Katsionis (keyboardist of FIREWIND) to mix them down but during this 3 years I've decided to mix them down in my home studio by myself. However I left 'Elfhaven Forest' as it was mixed by Bob. The hardest part was mixing orchestral instruments with metal ones, but I made it anyway. Of course not alone, Jorge helped me so much in orchestral mixing.
How would you describe your metal music?
Our debut album's main influence was Rhapsody, Pathfinder, Stratovarius, but we have added some nice progressive elements in some of our songs. To sum this album up it is mostly symphonic epic metal with slaying dragons, fighting for lands and so on. However, next album is planned to be more different.
What are your objectives with your music?
This project is a dream come true for me and of course I have some professional goals with it. I get more and more motivated when I see people likes our work and so does every member of Harmonium. This project not only helped me get great musicians but friends, too. As we are happy to work together we believe we can have the success. This album is just the beginning that showed us it was worth it. Our biggest objective is to make more music together for people to like it and maybe one day we will meet each other on stage!
So far, in your music, what type of lyrics have you had?
Main concept of SYMPHONY OF STEEL is war, but it's not one story. Each song has its own story. For example 'BATTLESTORM' is about the war scene and talks about both sides of warriors who are ready to fight for their lands til the last drop of blood. 'Warrior's Revenge' is about a warrior whose land was invaded, people killed, everything was destroyed and he grieves for his loss and this grieve gives him strength and desire of revenge. 'Elfhaven Forest' is about elves and their forest who live in peace and the love of their land making it invulnarable. 'The Longest Journey Back Home' tells us a story about warriors returning from battlefield who have long and difficult way back home.
Album also contains a bonus track called 'Heroes,' written back in 2013 by my friend Beqa Chkhartishvili and I. We played that song in my old band CRIMSON HORIZON, but I have recorded it in HARMONIUM too with orchestral feel where Davit Mikautadze sang. Lyrics of this song represents the war in Georgia against Russian occupation in 2008 and it is about heroes who fought for our country. As a result I think this kind of lyrics were good for this album, but for the next one I'm going to have much more different concept of lyrics as well as songs themselves.
Do your lyrics deal with society or religion or politics or spiritual views?
I don't think our lyrics have something common with religion, politics or spiritual views. Those lyrics are general and mostly represents fantasy characters. However, there might be some of those views in our next album.
What type of equipment do you use to achieve the sound of symphonic power metal?
Currently my home studio consists mostly with digital equipment. I've worked in different DAW programs like Cubase, Sonar, Logic Pro and currently working in Pro Tools. I enjoy 'Waves','IK Multimedia', 'Izotope' Plugins. For orchestral arrangements I like using 'Native-Instruments' samples. Lately I've been using 'Positive Grid BiasFX' for guitars and bass. About my favorite guitars I'm happy with Ibanez RG370 and ESP LTD EC-407 that I have. I have modified my Ibanez guitar with Alexi Laiho's signature EMGhz humbucker pickup which I used in HARMONIUM recordings. However, I would like to have Washburn parallaxe models, Ola Englund's signature maybe and want to have one with Evertune bridge. Also I like Kiesel, Caparison, Mayones, Skervesen guitars. I hope I'll have one someday. As for amplifier I'm interested in Randall products lately. It was hard to find a drummer who had recording equipment so I've decided to program drums in computer. All drum parts are composed by me and Jorge. I used Superior Drummer - Metal Foundry' samples for drum sound.

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