On the back of the release of their stunning album ‘Martya Xwar’, Planetmosh caught up with Jarek Niemiec, vocalist and bass player and Robert Zembrzycki, the bands live guitarist to talk about the bands history, the Polish Metal scene, touring and loads more.
Firstly, thanks for taking time to have a chat with us here at Planetmosh.
Jarek – We are happy to take your questions!!
Saratan formed in 2003, what inspired you to form a band and what were
your early influences?
J – We were strongly influenced by American thrash metal. In 2003 we
were listening to bands like Metallica, Slayer, Testament etc. We began
with cover songs of those bands, so it was a typical start for a metal group.
What was the Polish Metal scene like at that time?
J – The metal scene wasn’t so strong as today. The most popular metal
band was Vader, and they were probably the only band that had succeeded outside
Poland. No one could foresee that in the next few years there would be so
many great death metal groups here. Now Behemoth, Decapitated and Hate
are the headliners of tours in Europe and the States and Polish death metal
became some sort of a mark of quality. Moreover in 2003 metal in Poland
was not so diversified. There were two-three main metal genres, like:
death, thrash and heavy. Now, every metal genre has own representative.
You released a demo around 2005/2006 called ‘Infected With Life’,
how do you feel about that material now?
J – It was our beginning, our first visit in the recording studio. To be
honest with you, I don’t listen to this demo very often now but of course it
reminds me of times when we were young and reckless.
Robert – I can only speak from the perspective of a new member, but we’re
still playing a song from the first album (and the demo) live, and it’s
one of my favorites to play live. It has this groove and ease of
playing that just makes me smile when I perform. So these oldies, for me,
they always have their charm.
2007 saw the release of your debut album proper’The Cult Of
Vermin’, that must have been a big moment in the bands history?
J – Yes, it was! In my opinion we made a really huge step forward, we
were better musicians, and we were better prepared than two years
before. Moreover we had signed our first professional record deal, and
the feedback was really promising! It was a good start, but in fact we
were still looking for our own music style.
J – I began with two songs: “Mastema” and “Ba’al Zevuv”. After that, I
“caught the flow”, and started working on the next songs pretty fluently. In the
middle of this process I had started to think about song titles, album
titles and lyrics. In our case music is created earlier than lyrics.
There is no strong concept behind this album. The songs are connected to
the album title but it’s not a concept album. I wanted to make ethnic
oriented metal with many influences and with a specific dark atmosphere.
As I listened to the album I was struck by the variety of different
styles that came across. Had the use of Oriental and ethnic music been
something that you had wanted to do for a long time?
J – Yes, that’s right! I always wanted to include some oriental patterns
in our music, and I tried to do that on our previous albums. This time I
could do everything I wanted, we had enough time in the studio, enough
instruments and ideas. I suppose that’s our way now, and we shall
continue making new music in this ethnic style.
R – Since I’ve been friends for a few years now with Jarek I’ve learned moreabout his writing style, I remember
when he showed me the first ideas for the new album, and I was blown
away by what he had planned. I knew “Martya Xwar” was going to be
something big from the moment he showed me the first ideas for
arrangements. And in my opinion, the more of these oriental flavours,
My own personal favourite track on the album is ‘Silent Sound Of
Mourning’, at over seven minutes long, it really is an epic piece of
music. What was the story behind that track?
J – I wanted to show an accord to the Funeral March. The song is about our lives
determined by mourning and pity, that our lives are like preparations
for a funeral. So it was clear to me that I must include a score for a
funeral. The writing of the piano part was a great expirience and I’m so
fucking proud of that! Making such different music is really a great feeling!
You also produced a video for the excellent ‘Ba al Zevuv’, how did
that come about?
R – I was merely taking some pictures during the shooting of the video
but as always with Red Pig productions, it has been a perfect blend of
professional approach, good fun and rock’n’roll. We all had a blast, the
Red Pig team and Saratan boys were all working their asses off, we had
friends help us with make up and everything else that needed to be done,
and all in all it was a great experience. Though I remember it being a
really damn hot day.
J – I had some ideas for the video and I was sure it would fit especially the
“Ba’al Zevuv” song. Our goal was to create something dark and enigmatic.
I can tell you that we have some new cool ideas for the second video,
and we will do it in May 2013. I’m 99% sure that we will do that!
I guess the album has taken up most of your time during 2012, what are
your plans for touring with the new material?
R – Well, 26th January 2013 marks the day of very important gig, as it
is a charity event for Decapitated’s former vocalist, COVAN. We feel
honoured to be able to play for such a cause, and I’m personally really
glad we’re doing this. After that, in march, we’ll embark on the second
leg of the “Frozen Plague Tour” with our friends from Thy Disease.
J – We will play a lot of gigs, because we want to promote “Martya Xwar”
as well as we can. After gigs mentioned earlier, we will play at least
one more Polish tour and then, in April, we will visit some Eastern Europe
countries. We are hoping to tour Western Europe too, but for now I don’t
have any confirmed dates. Recently we started a cooperation with a booking
agency – Dragon Productions, so it is possible that we will invade some
European countries in the near future!
Will you be thinking of new material yet or will you take a bit of a break?
J – In the next six months I don’t have any plans to write any new music. For now we
shall focus on gigs and promotion, and that takes a lot of time.
Probably in June or July 2013 I will start creating some new music. And
that process will take about one year.
Finally as the band approaches its 10th anniversary, how do you look
back on what you’ve achieved so far and what do hope to achieve in the
J – Ten years, it’s a lot of time but I have a feeling that it is still just
the beginning. In those ten years we had recorded 3 albums, made 2
videos and played a lot of gigs. It’s not so bad, but I’m sure that next
10 years will be incomparably better!!
R – I have only been a part of this band for quite a short time, just playing
live with the boys for the last few gigs but I’ve known them for a few
years now, and I think this band is a killing machine, set for a target,
and hopefully it will get there!!
Many thanks for your time guys.
J – Thanks a lot for a cool interview and we hope to see you soon at our gigs!!
‘Martya Xwar’ is out now via Massacre Records.