Today we present to you the second part of our big interview with all band members of Claymorean. Have fun reading! (First part: Click here)
Let’s start with “local history“: You are from Lazarevac. Please tell us more about your hometown.
Vlad: Lazarevac is a small town in the heart of Šumadija (or Forestia in English, [laughs]). We are currently a municipality of the city of Belgrade, but we’re 60 km away, so we’re something like New Jersey to New York in a way. Lazarevac is famous for two things. One is of course the memorial church of St. Demetrius with its famous ossuary which contains the remains of the Serbian and German soldiers from The Great War – once enemies on the battlefield now bound to rest in eternity together and forever. Although I’m not a believer, there is a sense of spirituality in that notion. It also shows how our people treated the enemy soldiers, with the utmost respect and honor. The second thing Lazarevac is known for is its mining and smelting complex called RB Kolubara (also a company I work in [laughs]). It’s the largest coal mine in Europe and it’s responsible for more than the half of electricity produced in Serbia. So we’re kind of a big deal which not many people know of [laughs]. The same can be said about our music and cultural scene. I mean, if you’re not coming from the larger cities, like Belgrade, Novi Sad, Niš or Kragujevac, you can hardly expect to be noticed in Serbian rock oriented media (which are now sadly very few) and audiences alike. Maybe all these facts influenced our musical direction and our somewhat isolated status from the rest of the scene here. I like to think we’re like the Serbian version of Birmingham. Yeah, you have your big city bands and stuff, but Black Sabbath and Judas Priest are unique. Possibly because of the heavy industry [laughs].
I know that you put a lot of thought into your lyrics – like (early) Black Sabbath, for example. Please tell our readers which themes inspire you. And can you imagine recording a concept album one day?
Vlad: Wow, thank you, that’s very kind of you to say that. Since I really don’t consider myself as an example of good lyric writer, because of the language barrier for the most part [laughs]. The themes are various, from the books and movies I read and watch to historic events and sometimes I even write about nothing in particular, but it’s like a train of thought which represents my feelings at the moment. Oh, I had in mind the concept album for a while. Actually we did a semi-concept on Unbroken with the Warhammer story on the album’s A side. I don’t know, I wish to write a concept about my favorite fantasy theme – Masters of the Universe.
Dejana: Everything we read, watch, listen to or experience in every day life is good to draw from… we had a 5 song concept on our Unbroken album, inspired by Warhammer. Sounds had that same note in each song… But a full concept album… maybe someday?
Goran: There are a lot of themes. Concept album, for sure.
Uroš: I had an idea that Vlad was happy about doing a concept mythology album… who knows what the future may bring…
Marko: We love various topics, they are mostly based on imagination, strength, fantasy, heroism, inspired by many books, movies, life stories and so on… Why not! I think it would be an interesting experience, we’ll see.
Which metal musician has written the best lyrics in your opinion? I guess the name Mark Shelton will come up now…
Vlad: You’re absolutely right, but I would also add David DeFeis, Byron Roberts, King Diamond and Steve Harris to my list. I’m sure that I forgot many I like, but these are the ones from the top of my head, so that should mean something [laughs].
Dejana: Mark Shelton.
Goran: Byron A. Roberts.
Uroš: Well…If you ask Vlad, Shelton could be one of his choices but for me that would be Mr. Michael Weikath (Helloween). Weiki is a guy who wrote a lot of great lyrics – “Eagle Fly Free“ for example. It still is an epic metal song (in a way). It is very hard to write epic lyrics that you can apply to society nowadays and criticize it at the very same time.
Marko: Mark Shelton is definitely one of them.There are a handful of musicians who write amazing lyrics and I really can’t single out just one. It’s impossible for me, really [laughs].
How are you doing in terms of live activities? Are there already concrete plans here?
Vlad: Yes! As we speak we already have a show with another epic metal band called Oathbringer, which will be held in the city of Kragujevac on July 31st 2021. Because few people in Serbia know about us, there aren’t many requests for live shows, but we hope that’s going to change once this album is out.
Dejana: We would like to be famous and all, but we are not famous even in our own hometown, so I’ll have to be satisfied with that one show we’ll have with our brothers in metal from the fabulous Oathbringer!
Uroš: I hope there will be even more live gigs. We all miss playing live shows.
Marko: We will have our first concert this year on July 31. in Kragujevac, which is one of the most famous cities in Serbia. Then we will premiere songs from the new album and of course from the last two, we can’t wait! After that, I hope that we will continue with live performances because we really miss that.
At which festival would you like to play with Claymorean?
Vlad: Keep It True, Up The Hammers are the first two that come to mind, but we wouldn’t mind being on Wacken or Hellfest too [laughs].
Dejana: Every festival, but for starters some festival here, and then KIT, Up The Hammers, Wacken, Rock in Rio, any festival in Finland… Yes, that is for starters!
Uroš: Wacken is the first thing that came to my mind and after that drinking a beer with our metal brothers and sisters and jumping in the mud during the rain [laughs]. [Sounds “schweinegeil, my friend/Blaze Breeg]
Marko: There are many festivals we would like to perform at, wherever someone invites us we would do our best to come. Let’s say Keep It True, I think it’s a real festival for Claymorean!
For sure! Which festivals do you particularly like to visit as fans?
Vlad: The ones I mentioned previously of course. But I’m aware there are tons of festivals I know nothing about, so if I discover anything I’ll let you know.
Dejana: All of the above!
Goran: KIT, ProgPower, San Remo…
Uroš: Wacken, Masters of Rock, Rock in Rio.
Marko: I really don’t know, we listen to a lot of music and we love a lot of festivals. We would love to go to almost any metal festival, especially if it’s in an epic/power metal style. Any festival of that type and we would be extremely happy.
How popular is metal in Serbia at the moment?
Vlad: Metal in Serbia had its peak in early 2000’s, especially between 2002 and 2005. It was mostly because the underground media was pretty adamant to promote metal bands from Serbia. We had Metal Express magazine, Hard Metal show, 202 radio station and many more. The thing is we didn’t have means to buy good instruments or pay the proper studio. My band Claymore was known at the time. Even today if someone asks me about my music, they usually address it as Claymore and not Claymorean [laughs]. Today metal is sadly pretty much at its low point as far as promotion goes, which is a shame, since we never had so many great bands. There are still webzines, fanzines and labels who are doing helluva job to promote our bands, but the audience is lacking. The metalheads here are all united and strong when Iron Maiden or Metallica come to town, but rather uninterested when it comes to local bands.
Goran: I don’t give a fuck.
Uroš: I wouldn’t know, to be honest. I guess for every good music there will be always the consumers.
Marko: Metal in Serbia is simply not popular, that is a fact. There are people who like to hear something new but there are very few of them, that is one of the reasons why our texts are in English and not in Serbian. We want everyone to hear and understand our messages. We would like to play outside of Serbia as well, because I believe that the fans would be more interested. Here we will always have that small group of people in front of whom we like to perform and make them happy. We hope that will change soon and that metal will be more popular in Serbia.
As a Serbian band, is it sometimes difficult for you to get attention from fans and media abroad?
Vlad: At first I didn’t want to believe that might be the case, but now I see that it has something to do with the geo position. And it is what it is, we really need to work harder than any Scandinavian or German band out there, because the average metal fans around the world don’t see Serbia as a country from which they can expect a metal band. But not only the fans, but the media and labels too. I still can’t believe we were fortunate enough to have our albums released by Stormspell Records. It’s a huge thing for us here, but shhh, don’t tell Danny about it [laughs].
Dejana: Absolutely, we are coming from a country that is too often mistaken for Siberia.
Goran: I guess.
Uroš: I personally don’t like the opinion of the most that if only we are coming from this or from that country… We are who we are and what we are, so we are working with all that we got. The thing is in the era of internet you just need to be unique and very original. We all have to ask ourselves how many bands that we don’t know about are trying to be successful from those economically strong countries. I guess a lot, so at the end of the day the songs are the most important thing and a bit of luck from my point of view.
Marko: As I said, metal is definitely not the most popular thing in Serbia, but we do it out of love and we don’t force anyone to be our fan, if someone likes our music, great, we are happy. The media is also not overly interested in such things, but from time to time someone appears who would like to know more about the band and promote us. So it’s hard, but we keep on fighting!
In the meantime, half of the year 2021 is already over. Which albums released in the last six months do you like the most?
Vlad: Hm, this is the first year that I haven’t listened to as many albums as I have before. But I gotta say I really dig the new Witherfall, Crystal Viper, Dalriada, Pharaoh and of course the new Helloween.
Dejana: Claymorean – Eulogy for the Gods is a must have, trust me!
Goran: There are quite a few albums that I like.
Uroš: Helloween – Helloween by far. I can’t be objective when it comes to Helloween – die hard fan here [laughs].
Marko: Let’s say: Accept – Too Mean To Die; Orden Ogan – Final Days; Paladine – Entering the Abyss; Pharaoh – The Powers That Be.
Last question: What is your opinion on social media? Is it essential for a band like Claymorean to be active there nowadays?
Goran: Hate it.
Vlad: It’s not just essential, it’s the only way we can promote our music. So, if you wanna check us out, you know where you can go [laughs].
Uroš: I think every social aspect is very important if you are dealing with any form of art. For promoting, for getting the feedback from fans, for meeting new fans, or people that would support and maybe organize some live shows. very important aspect.
Marko: I think that social networks are welcome for our band, a lot of people found out about us through them and we can communicate with everyone. We try to be as active as possible on all networks and to present what we love, mostly with the desire that someone likes it.
Dejana: It’s a MUST, right now it’s the only way. Thank for having me, it was a great pleasure talking to you all.
We thank you very much for your time. We wish you much success with your new album Eulogy for the Gods. A review will also appear on our blog soon. Addressed to our readers: You can really look forward to this record, it’s a blast!
Dejana Garčević – lead and backing vocals
Vladimir Garčević – guitars and backing vocals
Uroš Kovačević – guitars
Goran Garčević – bass guitars
Marko Novaković – drums and percussion