Recently Emerald Shine released a video for “Rainy Night”, and their unique twist on the symphonic metal genre got Andrea curious about what was happening in their camp. So she submitted a few questions, via e-mail, to the band, regarding their EP “Beneath the Stars”, the weirdest instrument they have used in their music, but most importantly, about their upcoming debut album. And Leena (vocalist, piper), Radomír (harpist, growler, sample-maker), Klára (violinist), and Dušan (vocalist, guitarist) gracefully answered the questions.
''How are you all doing?''
Dušan: ''So far, so good. We are working quite hard, and enjoying it.''
''Let’s start with a little presentation. Who is Emerald Shine and how was the band formed?''
Dušan: ''Emerald Shine is a team of relaxed people who love music in her various forms and styles. And we like to play and sing to amuse and please other people.''
Leena: ''How it was formed... Years ago, me and Radomír created some songs and musical ideas. In 2013, we met the bass player Radek who liked our music and we agreed on founding a band. Later that year we found our drummer Kamil and started rehearsing. The four of us are still in the band. Nowadays, after some significant “staff fluctuation”, we have two more bandmates: Dušan and Klára.''
''What band(s) / artist(s) have inspired you to become musicians?''
Klára: ''I come from a family full of musicians so my parents affected my choice to become a musician the most. I've never had any famous violinist I could look up to, except for my violin teacher.''
Leena: ''Likewise, my parents in my childhood. And later, in my teens, some Finnish bands inspired my focus on metal. Especially I can think of Alexi Laiho from Children of Bodom (my teenage idol, oh yeah :-D ). So in my first bands, I was trying to play the electric guitar, dreaming of becoming as good as him. However, it didn’t really work. Playing with a pick is obviously not for me.''
Dušan: ''I grew up at the times of heavy and thrash metal, so my first favourite bands were for instance Iron Maiden, Manowar, Metallica, later Pantera and alike. But on the other hand, I love almost every other style of music. Besides various rock styles I would mention musicals, classics, swing and, in general, many - mostly female - singers with great voices.''
''Do you have any musical training?''
Radomír: ''After some years of playing in bands and revivals, I got accepted to The Prague Conservatory where I now study the harp. I even work as a harp teacher.''
Leena: ''I was taking lessons in recorder, piano and solo singing for years. But on acoustic guitar, Irish whistles and harsh vocals I am mainly self-taught (and Youtube-taught ;) ). As far as I know, the rest of us are self-taught on their instruments, except Klára, who has been attending violin lessons for years.''
''How would you describe your music?''
Radomír: ''It’s definitely not typical metal, it’s quite fantasy-based and atmospheric, but it also has its heavier and more technical face.''
Dušan: ''We like and play music, which is as hard and harsh, as nice and melodic in some parts. The alternation of atmospheres is essential, in my opinion. I get bored quite easily listening to bands, which play either hard and fast, or slow and soft all the time.''
''In 2016 you released the EP “Beneath the Stars”. What can you tell me about it, in terms of lyrical content, musical styles / influences and production?''
Leena: In those times, we already had quite a lot of songs to choose from. Some of them were part of a longer story, so we kept them for a future full-length album, and for the EP, we chose some “stand alone” songs in which we also saw some hit potential. Therefore, each song on the EP tells a different story (although the last two hang together). The lyrics are, as usual in Emerald Shine, inspired by nature and fantasy topics – so are all our songs. The musical style we call fantasy metal because it’s a mixture of genres and we don’t want to limit ourselves by genre boundaries. And for the production... Well, we were a beginning band back then. We liked it as it was. Since then, our view on the band sound has changed in a way, so the production of our future recordings will be a bit different.''
What is your favorite song from the EP, and why?
Klára: ''I really like “Rainy Night”, because it's melodic, not that hard to play and it's pretty fun.''
Radomír: ''For me it’s ‘“Dance Beneath the Star”’. I like it for having both soft and hard moments. In the soft, calm parts I can enjoy playing the harp, and in those blast beat ones, I can enjoy the energy it gives out. All in all, this song has a special charm for me.''
Leena: ''Hard to say... Maybe “Neverending Fantasy”. It’s my first song ever composed and it’s about Tolkien’s Arda, which is a fantasy world I really love. By the way, the whole EP is available on our Youtube and Soundcloud, so if you have no idea what songs we are talking about, make sure to check it! ;)''
''What is the main inspiration behind the music?''
Leena: ''In general these are nature, various works of the fantasy genre, and sometimes also the life of a musician. This is what the lyrics are usually about. For the musical part, the inspiration can really come from anywhere. Sometimes I wake up at night with a melody or guitar riff in my head. Sometimes I just take any instrument which is nearby and the ideas start to appear. Sometimes I have musical ideas in everyday situations, at school, on the train, in a tearoom... And sometimes none of these works. I have absolutely no idea what it depends on. The Muses just do whatever they want with us musicians.''
''What is the weirdest instrument you have used in your music?''
Leena: ''I think the Jew’s harp. Our ex-violinist Bivoj was using it in some songs when playing live. Hopefully he will record this instrument for our upcoming album as well.''
Radomír: ''People often tell us they have never seen a live harp in metal, so maybe that is also weird enough. I used to play both guitar and harp and switch between them in Emerald Shine, but that was impractical, so I chose to be a full-time harpist.''
''Who is the main writer in the band, or are you all equally involved in the creative process?''
Dušan: ''Definitely Leena, and her ingenuity, passion and musical ideas are the main reason, for which I joined the band.''
Leena: ''Thanks, mate. Yes, I love creating songs. But often, after I write something and send it to others, they add their own ideas to make the song perfect. I call this phase “maturing of the song”. This is also when our drummer usually comes with his strange & super-complicated rhythmical ideas. :-D''
''In March 2018 you released a new video for the song “Rainy Night”. What is the video about and how does it relate to the music?''
Leena: ''This is one of the songs about the life of a musician in which the inspiration can strike you whenever, wherever. And the video matches with the lyrics. You can see our ex-growler vocalist Štěpán in the role of a “ghost”, who is a personification of inspiration. One fact about the video: It was taken in our previous line-up with eight members. After the video-shoot, but before finishing the postproduction, half (!) of the members left the band for various reasons. The already mentioned growler Štěpán, both guitarists and also the violinist Bivoj – the one with the Jew’s harp . So now that it was released, it’s more a memory of older time than something really actual. I really hope, with our next video things will work out better!''
''Are you currently working on a full-length debut album?''
Leena: ''Yes, we are. All material is completely written and ready (except for some language mistakes in the lyrics which I am still – after years of singing the songs! – finding and correcting). We are now working on the demo recordings, which are made just for us to help us discover also those little musical mistakes, those details that need to be played/arranged better. In May, we are heading to the studio (studios, better said... as we nowadays live and study in different parts of the country, we are gonna record our parts in three distinct studios. Hopefully that will work without bringing too much chaos into the process). We expect the final mix and mastering to be done in August and the album to be released during the autumn. Both physically and digitally, so stay tuned, even if you live far from the Czech Republic!''
''Will you be using any choirs or orchestration on the album?''
Leena: ''Yes, we will. Some are going to appear in a few (but not all) songs. Choirs, orchestration, samples and such things can help us emphasize the atmosphere of our songs, but I think we should use them carefully. I mean, I’d like to keep our music really based on the live instruments we play.''
Dušan: ''I agree, absolutely.''
Radomír: ''Besides the orchestra, I am planning to use a few sampled exotic instruments in the background. And maybe also some decent electronic sounds.''
''Do you have any touring plans?''
Leena: ''Not much right now... We are currently focusing our forces (and time... and finance :-D ) on creating the debut album. But when a nice offer or invitation comes, we take it. So we have some gigs in our country in the spring. During the summer, I don’t expect we will have time to leave the studio, but we will see... Finally, in the autumn, we’d like to make some CD-introducing tour and show ourselves also outside the Czech Republic, so hopefully that will work out!''
''What do you think about the way music affects people’s lives, even changing them?''
Klára: ''Music changes people's lives. I'll use myself as an example: few years ago I was just a bad student with no real hobbies and social life. Then I started to play in a band and now I'm a member of two bands, I have my own smaller project with some people and it really made my life more meaningful and fun.''
Dušan: ''I think since, let’s say, the half of the twentieth century, most people listen to music every day, and it influences each person’s emotions and personality.''
''Outside of the business aspect, how has music affected you, personally?''
Klára: ''I think I have learned to be less lazy and work harder if I want to achieve something. Furthermore it helped me a lot with my low self-esteem and practising my memory.''
Dušan: ''As Klára said, playing an instrument or singing makes a man be patient and relentless. Personally, I have my job, by which I earn money. But I am a musician, at first. This is what I am, and I am proud of it.''
''What type of music do you generally listen to? Name some of your favorite bands / albums / songs.''
Klára: ''These days I started to listen to Disturbed, but I like also rock, jazz/swing or punk genre, even Irish type of music and classics.''
Radomír: ''I personally love Cradle of Filth, both old and new stuff – hard to pick just one song. Another band that touched my heart was Pantera, with songs like “Cemetery Gates”, “Domination”, “5 Minutes Alone”... I also admire Behemoth for their unique style. Generally I listen to harder styles than actually I play.''
Dušan: ''As I grow older, I listen more and more to music which is melodic, in the first place. So as for the bands, I must name Nightwish, Dream Theater, Amaranthe and alike. But also I love for example Sarah Brightman or Lara Fabian. And I get awestruck every time when I hear “Painkiller” by Judas Priest.
Leena: When we are together with the band, we listen to anything interesting. Or funny. Like metal songs (including our own recordings) at double speed. Sounds like metal by gerbils, or squirrels.''
''Is there anything else you would like to add? Something I might have missed?''
Dušan: ''Greetings to all Lyrical Spell Magazine readers and to all who love music as much as we do!''
Leena: ''Thank you, Lyrical Spell Magazine, for what you do for music on voluntary basis. Keep rocking! \m/''
Greetings back to Emerald Shine from the Netherlands, Romania, and the U.S.A (we’re an international bunch) and thank you for appreciating our contribution to the music business. Also, thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us! Rock on \m/
Until Emerald Shine’s debut album drops later this year, check out their single and their EP.