First of all, I would like to say thank you to Asgaardian Events for arranging the interview with Imperial Age for me, and of course thank you to Alexander (Aor) and Jane of Imperial Age from taking time out from their schedule to speak to me. They also put up with my stumbling and mis-speaking, so they were very patient with me and lovely people to talk to.
As I sat in the bar area of The Hairy Dog, I wondered what the hell I’d got myself in for. I don’t do well talking to strangers, and I hate the sound of my own voice. Yet here I was, waiting to interview two members of a band I had never met before, and I was recording it all to listen back to later to transcribe. Sabri from Asgaardian Events came to find me, and then I was whisked off to Imperial Age’s dressing room where I met Alexander (Aor), and Jane. I was absolutely terrified as this was my first ever band interview, but Alexander and Jane were lovely and welcoming. I couldn’t have asked for a better couple of people to interview first.
OM: This is your first headline tour in Europe, how are you finding it so far?
A: Well, so far in some countries it’s below our expectations and in some countries, like the UK, it is above our expectations. So far everything is very positive.
OM: So a lot of people won’t have heard of you before, especially over here (UK) so how would you describe yourselves to people who have never heard of you before?
J: Yeah, I can describe our music like we are somewhere inbetween Manowar and Nightwish I think.
OM: You released Legacy of Atlantis last year, and Turn The Sun Off! was six years before that, and then you had Warrior Race in between that which was an EP. Are we going to be waiting six years for another full length release?
A: No. We chill out after this tour and the plan is to start working on the new songs like, maybe starting from June. We need to chill out, we need to gather our shit together, my arm should fully heal and then I’m actually, well, then it depends, maybe we go somewhere maybe we stay at home but we need to have less distractions(?) you see so in order to get inspiration to write new songs everything else must be put aside.
OM: I was going to ask you about your arm actually, what happened?
A: It was in Bielsko Biala in Poland, I had had too much of the local beer already and then there was this “rude boi” club and there’s this owner, Polish guy, who makes his own moonshine, and he put something in that moonshine as well. So I had too much of that moonshine and then I don’t remember anything actually but the guys told me that I became aggressive they had to calm me down, and in the process of calming me down they accidentally broke my arm. So I had to fly to Moscow, they played 5 shows without me, I had extra surgery you know, I had a metal plate from elbow to shoulder screwed to the bones but at least I’m back. (J: Totally metal… from the inside) Yeah, I’m a metal cyborg.
OM: How were the shows without Alexander and Jane?
Max (drummer, translated by Alexander): In general the concerts were not bad, calm.
A: (laughs) He means that I am the main disturber of peace.
OM: What is the inspiration for your lyrical themes?
A: The lyrics are based on the occult tradition and what’s called Western magic. It’s also known as hermetic kabbahlism, Western occult tradition which goes down through you can see the Golden Dawn, the Rose Cross, the Templars, the Orphics, and it basically goes down to Ancient Israel, down to Ancient Egypt, goes down to Atlantis, to the advanced pre-civilisation. So it’s considered that what we call the esoteric and the occult is just the theoretical remains of the science of an advanced civilisation which existed before we did. So we kind of live in an advanced post-apocalyptic world and the knowledge of the previous civilisation which can’t be proven scientifically yet although science such as quantum physics slowly you know approaches this. That is what is generally known as magic or esoteric. So that’s the basis.
OM: So musically what inspires you?
A: Musically, well symphonic metal is a mixture of classical music and heavy metal. For me personally the band which inspired me to this path is the one who’s hoodie you are wearing (Nightwish).
J: I’m not sure I can name the exact band which is the musical inspiration for me (A: Well, name 10) I think probably it would be Avantasia. (A: (about S, tour manager) He hates Avantasia)
S: I hate every symphonic metal band.
A: That’s why he invested so much money in our tour. (laughs)
S: Still doesn’t mean I love you.
A: Well, I can name all symphonic metal bands like Nightwish, Rhapsody, Within Temptation, Fairyland of course, but on top of that it’s the other bands like Iron Maiden and Manowar. I mean you name it.
A: No, not Powerwolf, I actually learned about Powerwolf after we released our first album. So that’s kind of it, if we speak about the contemporary musical scene but in general it’s a mixture of classical music and heavy metal.
OM: Your voices are very important because of the style you sing, how do you look after them?
A: Well… I actually just try to speak less when possible
J: (laughs) No, you do not
A: Well, actually I do (laughs). Well, at least I’m trying to, maybe I’m not very successful at it but that’s the main thing if you’re hoarse you just stop speaking. And I try to drink some warm tea and things like that.
J: For me it is keeping silence and the right singing, it is very important the way you sing. So you just need to, always keep in mind and control that you are doing it right.
OM: Do you do warm ups before you perform?
J: Usually not, but really it has to be done. But I don’t do it.
A: Well, Anna for example she does warm ups. I never do warm ups, for me the first song is the warm up. (J: Yeah, the same) So I usually have this idea that when you do a warm up, well, the voice is like a resource, so when you do a warm up you spend some of the resource, so I try to retain all the resource and warm up on the first song. Which is not a hard song usually, without the high notes and everything.
OM: Following on from that do you have any pre-show rituals that you do?
A: Not really, just sitting backstage drinking tea.
OM: So my final question is who do you listen to in your free time? Do you listen to a lot of symphonic stuff or because you’re writing and playing it do you sort of step away from that?
A: (to Jane) what are you listening to? She’s listening to the same playlist every day of this tour
J: Usually I choose one band and listen to them for like a month every day and then it changes the next month. So now I’m listening to the early albums of The 69 Eyes plus a bit of Avantastia and Deathstars.
A: Interesting combination… And I listen to (J: to whatever is playing in the car) Yeah, to whatever is playing in the bus since Anna is sitting on the front seat she usually puts on her playlist. For example this tour I discovered a band called Wintersun which I really liked so I’m asking her to put that on. I also recently discovered Alestorm since we played with them in April. When they were playing live I thought what the fuck is that but then I listened to the music and I actually liked it. So, it doesn’t have to be symphonic, for example I can listen to black metal, to death metal, to thrash metal, whatever.
I thanked both Alexander and Jane for their time, and headed back out for doors opening for the show. If you want to find out how the live show was, please check out my Imperial Age plus supports live review, where I not only review headliners Imperial Age, but also the other amazing support acts who made the evening fantastic.