On MySpace I came across the band Acid Rain, listened to the songs... And as I found their sound quite interesting, I first reviewed their demo and then asked them for an interview. They agreed and so we did this one by email.
As far as I know you started back in 2001. Please tell us a bit about the beginning of Acid Rain!
We began as a cover band playing songs by bands such as Iron Maiden, Metallica which is what we are able to play then. The band was then made up of the two founders, brothers Nikola (guitar) and Zarko Krstovic (bass) and drummer Marko Jankovic. When singer Nemanja Alavanja joined the band, we had several gigs in local high schools and competitions. Later the band became more serious.
Was it tough to get a band together? From the outside it seems that there is no metal scene in Serbia....
Well, it was hard in the beginning when the Serbian metal scene was just beginning, as opposed to now when the scene is fairly developed as far as genres and the number of bands are concerned. Once the band decided to play more complex music (original material in the prog/power style and covers of bands such as Kamelot and Stratovarius) finding the right people with the right amount of musical ability was a very difficult job. We have the same problem today, which is evident by lucking at our line-up
How did you come up with the name Acid Rain? What does it mean to you?
It came from the name of a Liquid Tension Experiment song. We thought it was a cool name, there is no specific symbolism behind it.
Was this the music you wanted to do from the beginning? Or did your influences change, and your music as a result?
As I already said, when our musical ability improved we moved towards more technical music – progressive metal. We always wanted to play this kind of music, but it took us time to mature as musicians and songwriters.
In early 2005, you released your first demo CD Alpha. I guess you had more than 4 tracks to put on the disc, so how did you choose the songs?
Because only those four songs were completely finished, recorded and had solid arrangements, the others still needed work, we had just started writing some that will be on the new album, and I think these four songs presented best what the band is about and where it is looking to go in the future.
Please tell us a bit about the songs!
Some are from the first phases of the band (Shattered Mirror), while others came about very slowly and matured very slowly. Musically, it's progressive metal in the style of Kamelot, Symphony X, Evergrey, Conception etc. Most people associate progressive metal with long arrangements and unnecessary playing, we tried to put the technicality in the background and concentrate on melodies and atmosphere. And I hope we succeeded in doing so!
Did you ever expect to get in the progressive metal charts of www.download.com?
Signing up at www.download.com was at first a way to present our music outside of Serbia (myspace wasn't that popular yet), but obviously people liked the music, which resulted in a first place ranking on the progressive sections for several months. That gave us the inspiration to work even harder, to make better songs, and simply, we realized that people wanted to hear what we are playing and that gave us more strength and motivation.
If people liked the demo, they will like the album even more!
I think you again had some line-up changes since the demo, right? And you're looking for a new singer?
Problems with the line-up have followed us since the beginning and the band has been on the brink of a break-up many times because we couldn't find the right people. Currently only my brother Zarko and I are in the band. The problem is that he and I are very involved in what we are doing with Acid Rain and people probably could not show as much enthusiasm and dedication to the band as the two of us. Currently we are working as a project, but if we find the right people, we will be playing live again. We have invested a lot in the band over the years, and it seems that many people believe in what we are doing. Who knows, time will tell.
And I must mention the most recent news, we have found a replacement singer in the very talented Nikola Mijic (Alogia, Expedition: Delta) who will sing on the album. I played him the demo and unmixed versions of the material and he liked it a lot, so we are very happy about this future collaboration.
Is song writing a band effort? Or is there one or two main song writers?
Not to sound full of myself, but I write all of the music and lyrics. That is simply the situation since the beginning, people have accepted it and I am doing a good job of it, I hope.
What inspires you? Musically? Lyrically?
Musically, we are inspired by many kinds of quality music, whether its metal, rock, pop, ambient, cinematic. Simply, music is divided between quality and not-quality. We are inspired by the situation around us, people, events. The lyrics are life stories. We are not concerned with magic, dragons, swords, fantasy. Personally, I can only talk about what I can related to, which are realistic things we can all relate to: love, hope, life, death, sorrow. For example, Shattered Mirror talks about a new beginning, about picking up the broken pieces of a mirror, metaphorically, speaking of a new awakening, a new beginning, starting from scratch, which we know something about. The song Legacy talks about the birth of a child, probably the most beautiful thing that can happen to someone in his or her life. I was inspired by one of my friends having a child. The album will be called Game Of Life, which shows that the lyrics will be life stories and I believe that many will understand them and will be able to identify with at least one song.
Most people know Serbia only through TV reports about the Bosnian war, as it was called. How is life in Serbia these days? How much do you still suffer from that conflict?
Honestly, I think that the situation has been hyperbolized, people outside of Serbia think that bombs are falling on our streets, that we are living in basements and shelters, which is far from the truth. I think that propaganda, misinformation and a lack of information are responsible for this. Bands such as Moonspell, Hammerfall and Kamelot have recorded videos here and Kamelot will be record a concert DVD. That should say a lot about our people and audience. Iron Maiden and Metallica have played here, as well as Therion, Grave Digger, WASP, Evergrey, Satriani, Whitesnake, Toto, etc. Generally, it is a shame that millions of people here and abroad get the wrong impression thanks to a handful of politicians and national leaders.
What is the music scene about? Is there a metal scene? Any bands you can recommened?
The Serbian metal scene has seen a great expansion in the last several years. Some bands worth mentioning are Alogia (power prog), Draconic (modern metal), NightFall (power/prog/heavy), Magma (neo thrash), Through Art (melo death), Consecration (ambient doom/stoner), Eon (prog rock), Amon Din (death metal), Abonos (gothic metal), MoonDive (power prog)...
There are many quality bands (I only mentioned the ones I remembered off the top of my head) and most of them have MySpace presentations you can check out.
Are there chances to play live?
Unfortunately, that it very uncertain at this point, maybe if the album is well received by the domestic and maybe even foreign public (if a foreign record company wants to release it), but for now, probably not.
You are preparing your debut album. How is it going? Tell us a bit about it!
The debut album is in its final stage of completion, everything is recorded except for the vocals, but I can't really say when it will be out, because I have done that about a thousand times already and have been wrong every time! Realistically, expect the album to be finished by the end of the year, but I can't say when it will be release, because that is not up to us!
Will you try to distribute it through the web? Or will you shop for a record deal?
As I said, we will try and release it abroad, because releasing an album in Serbia comes with extremely poor conditions. There are several labels, but I do not really want to talk about how they do business. If all efforts to release the album abroad fall through, which I don't think they will, then we will put all of the songs on the internet, on the website, MySpace, and try to give as many people as possible the opportunity to hear it. That's what's most important, right?
Any other news to tell? A brief look into the future?
Currently, we are getting ready to record the vocals, and once the album is finished, a massive promotion, sending promo CDs, uploading songs, teasers on the internet, etc.
I hope that it will see the light of day, because we have invested a lot in it!
Best wishes from Serbia to your readers!
Looks like we all have a wrong idea about Serbia - and it's metal scene. Time to check out more bands from that area and to keep an eye on Acid Rain!
Thanks for taking time to answer my questions and shedding some light on metal in Serbia - and life in general.