Monday, November 26, 2012

Interview: Desislava Hristova of Chains

Bulgaria's Chains was a modern metal outfit that bore similarities to late-'90s era Metallica, where thrashy guitar leads blended with polished production values and growling vocals. I refer to Chains in the past-tense because the band broke up during the interview process with drummer Desislava Hristova - definitely a first for me. In spite of the strong emotions that tend to well up as a band goes their separate ways, Desislava graciously completed the interview for Harvest Moon Music.

[HMM] For readers unfamiliar with Chains, would you introduce the band and describe your role?

Desislava Hristova of Chains
[Desislava] Chains was a progressive trash metal band from Bulgaria. We had lots of concerts in our country, we took part in several festivals and competitions, TV and radio Shows with the main idea of making and performing our own music. And finally in 2012 we released our first EP, called Pieces of Reality. Ivan Munin-VANS was the lead singer and guitar player in the band, Ivailo Tsatsov was the lead guitarist, Peter Bachev – the bass player and I was the girl always smiling behind the drum set.

How and when did Chains form, and how did you come to be the drummer?

Going back in time to 2008 I see 4 enthusiastic, full of energy and ideas people, who just loved the music and spent lots of time devoted to their dream. At first thanks, to a guitar teacher who was gathering people for a band, I met Ivo (the lead guitarist), the former singer and bass player and it took us month or two to realize what we really wanted so we took things into our own hands and that’s how the band was formed. A year later Ivan joined us and in 2011 we decided that Peter was the missing link and that was no mistake.

What's the story behind the band's name?

I really can’t remember how and why we chose this name but actually Ivo had a good story about it. Once we were invited to an interview for an online magazine, when we were asked to tell the story behind the band’s name and we gave the word to Ivo as one of the former members of the band and surprisingly we were really impressed of his answer. He said that the idea came from a music forum and the name represents the power and the interaction in a chain. True story!

How long have you been playing the drums?

My love and patience for this instrument were born in Switzerland. I was student taking part in an exchange program and I had the opportunity to visit a rehearsal of one of the students there who was a guitar player and… guess what happened when I saw the drum set… I fell in love (with the drums)! I’ve never been interested in music or drums until then. I think in that moment I turned that page. Step by step and thanks to many people 4 years ago I started playing drums and after 3 months I had my band. I developed my skills and technique thanks to the invaluable support and patience of my teachers and the guys from the band.

Do you play any other instruments?

Funny story! Once we had this idea to go out on stage, playing a song with changed roles. I had to play the bass…well we tried it at home and actually decided to spare our fans and friends. So…no I cannot play any other instruments and I’m also not allowed to sing…and it is all for good!

What led to your involvement in heavy metal?

I began playing in the band with nothing but my love of drums. The first songs I played were well known rock and heavy metal classics. I think the guys from the band and the other awesome people I’ve met through all these years played an important role in my involvement in heavy metal music.

Chains' debut EP Pieces of Reality was released in 2012. How has the feedback been so far?

Well the promo show went really well with the support of two great bands named Wartime and Voltage. We principally received positive feedback about the songs and artwork of the CD and we were really happy and satisfied with this as it has been a few years now working hard for this. A few on-line media, a radio and a TV channel did great reviews of the CD claiming that we are one of the most interesting bands in Bulgaria at the moment which was the greatest acknowledgement and achievement of our short music career. Well of course there were some negative feedback about the record and some other slight details we missed but it is always good to have that as well so we know what to improve further.

Have you received much feedback from outside of Bulgaria?

Sadly we did not receive a lot of feed back outside the country as we did not promote it in foreign countries. However we did receive some positive feedback by some people from USA, Cuba (as far as we remember) and some people from Europe including a few guys from the UK.

Many of the lyrics on Pieces of Reality seem to deal with war, corruption, and environmental destruction. Are the lyrics targeted at any specific entity, or are they more about the general state of the world?

The lyrics were inspired by many worldwide issues society experiences nowadays including wars, corruption, poorness, politics and other. Also there are a bit of personal experiences, feelings and thoughts we involved as we are part of that society.

Is the songwriting process for Chains a group effort, and if so what are your contributions?

Absolutely! Each of us had the right, obligation and privilege to leave his own signature in the song.

How long was the band in the studio recording Pieces of Reality, and how was the experience?

Desislava Hristova of Chains
The process of recording the CD was really funny and we had some really good times doing it. We made some friendships, some funny jokes and funny moments and we did get the maximum of ourselves at that point. Well of course when we listen to it now we realize we could do better but when it happened it was good and we do not regret a single thing we did back then. It took us a few months as we were a bit busy but actually the recording hours were not that many.

Has the writing for the next album begun?

At the moment Chains doesn’t exist anymore. After 4 years together sharing one stage and road we made a decision 2 weeks ago to try something new. I believe the music is and always will be a priority for each one of us and this is the way we should move on.

Now that Chains is no more, do you plan to stay involved in heavy metal?

In any aspect, this music became a big part of me and my life. The journey began with Chains and the experience was strong enough to keep me not just involved but totally in love. I already have several invitations for new projects…the “Show must go on” and “We won’t betray ourselves”.

Are there any interesting stories from previous gigs that you’d be willing to share?

The first story that comes to my mind is at the same time funny and sad. We all know the series of drummer jokes…here we go…we had this concert when in the middle of the show my mind went blank, I didn’t know what should I play, and not because I couldn’t see clearly the playlist. I just forgot the song…and what was even worse…it was one of our own songs. I counted to 4 and thought to myself “It will come with the first riff”…but NO! I started with something completely different, we had to stop the song and start all over again and again…but NO memories came to scene. I felt awfully, the guys were thinking that I’m joking (I wish I was!)

Is there one song in particular that is your favorite to play live?

Desislava Hristova of Chains
Yes, this is the last song we wrote together. That happened last year, when I had to spend the summer in Germany, 2 months without drumming, live music and rehearsals. When I came back the guys played for me the new song they had created and I hardly stopped my tears. I really love this song. It’s called “Foreseeable” and it represents to me the meaning of the music – the shared feeling and emotion.

Are there any specific drummers who inspire or influence you?

One of the first drummers I heard about was Thomas Lang and I’m really happy that I met him in person this year. Amazing drummer with incredible technique and mind and really good sense of humor. I admire drummers like Mike Portnoy, Mike Mangin, George Kollias, Danny Carey, Thomas Haake, Jonas Ekdahl. Dennis Chambers, Nicko McBrain, Aquiles Priester, Marco Minnemann and many others, who inspired me and I also cannot miss names like the legendary Buddy Rich, John Bonham, Phill Collins who opened a whole new universe for me.

What are some of your favorite bands?

I will always start this list with Whitesnake, Pink Floyd and Iron Maiden and I would add now bands like Godsmack, Pantera, Evergrey, Symphony X, Death, Opeth, Dream Theater and many others.

If there was one bit of advice that you could give to a woman with aspirations to be a drummer in a heavy metal band, what would it be?

I think with the aspiration the first step is made. In my opinion there are three basic rules:
1. willing for development
2. practice1000000
3. self-confidence
Never take it too seriously, first of all it always should be fun! And one last thing…don’t be afraid to smile!

In your four years with Chains, what would you say was your most valuable experience?

Desislava Hristova of Chains
Well, that’s a hard one! I’ve learned how to listen to music, the first step toward its creation. I shared the best time of my life so far with the guys from the band and all the memories we created together will always make me smile. Тhe first song, the first concert, the first interview, the first CD … it always will be а little sentimental. The truth is that actually I cannot emphasize the most valuable experience but thinking about it at the moment I envy myself. I had the honor to go through all these firsts with amazing musicians on the stage and close to my heart persons off stage!

Finally, do you have any parting words for your fans and for those who may be reading about Chains for the first time?

I would like to thank all the great pеople who helped and supported me and the band through the years and who always made us feel just right there on the stage, sharing emotions and energy, we’ll never forget that. WE highly appreciate it, because thanks to all these people we have our story and we are proud of it!

You can check our music in our YouTube channel and visit us on our Facebook page, where the guys are representing now their new project called Fragments Of Existence, level up for sure! I wish them health and joy, inspiration and resounding success on the world scene! Stay Metal!

Thank you so very much for your great answers! I'm looking forward to hearing about where your career in metal takes you next.

1 comment:

  1. I saw Chains in Bulgaria, not a big show but bloody hell it was fantastic, they had energy that I've not seen in a band since the early days of Iron Maiden and a lot of the NWOBHM back in the early 80's. Theses guys and and the lovely lady Desi made me want to watch and listen to them, yep they had it, brilliant band and how the hell they never made it bigger is beyond me. Real shame they broke up.