I reviewed Northern Plague’s “Blizzard of the North” back in October last year and it’s still a regular fixture on my weekly playlist. The band have been busy as hell over the past few months – playing more shows than you can shake a stick at (I’ve never understood that saying!), but drummer Damyen was on hand to speak to me about what the band are up to…
Lou: Hi, how are you?
Damyen: Hi, I’m fine, thanks.
Lou: Please can you take a moment to introduce yourself?
Damyen: OK, so I’m Damian “Damyen” Gwardzik, drummer of Northern Plague.
Lou: How long has Northern Plague been together?
Damyen: It’s been a year over a year in the current lineup. I was the last man to join the group in April 2011. I replaced the ex- drummer, co-founder of NP – Saryon.
Lou: How would you describe your music?
Damyen: It’s not thet easy to describe it. Some people call us a black metal band, judging by our first release “Blizzard of the North”. But there are alot of other influences like thrash and death metal on that MCD alone. That is just 4 songs and an intro. But we have alot of other songs which some have more melody, some are heavy and some are just plain brutal. I would say its a mix, with alot of Death and black metal. But you know how it is with people, everyone will have their own opinion on that one.
Lou: Which bands have had the biggest influence on your sound?
Damyen: Every member of NP has his own top band(s), and we generally try to do our own thing. But definitely you can hear some simularities with the top Polish metal bands like Behemoth, which we all listen to, some drum parts are influenced by George Kollias’ (Nile) style of playing. But as I’ve said, we try to do our own stuff and not try to sound LIKE some other band.
Lou: What was the first album you ever bought? Which bands originally got your into Metal?
Damyen: Hah. It was the summer of 2003, I’ve bought my first ever metal release – Metallica’s “St. Anger”. I just loved the raw sound, and to be honest I wasn’t into heavy music before, so only after St. Anger, I started to go back to the classics like Master of Puppets. After a while I got into heavier bands like Nile, Hate Eternal.
Lou: I really enjoyed “Blizzard of the North”. What kind of feedback have you received about it so far?
Damyen: Well thanks a lot! It’s been almost a year since the release of “Blizzard…” and its been absolutely great. It’s the bands debut, and only 4 regular tracks. From my own experience I assumed it would not do as much as it did for us. We get tons of great reviews from all over europe, we play more and more gigs, just got back from our own national Tour “We are the Plague Tour 2012″ which tourned out to be a success so we’re thinking to book continue it and visit more places, and later this year go abroad with the material. We also got some festivals comming up here in Poland. I think it would be a very nice way to end the EP’s run. Early next year we plan to release our first Full length album. I can’t give any details about it yet, but I can tell you it’ll be much different.
Lou: Which track is your favourite from “Blizzard of the North”? (If you can pick just one!)
Damyen: I think “Ishtar Gate’s a Ruin” because its got everything that you will find on the whole MCD. You got melody, you got slow tempos, fast tempos, crazy guitar solos, great vocal tracks by Fenris, so I think it summs up that period of the bands existence better than any other track.
Lou: What sort of subjects do you cover in your lyrics?
Damyen: The lyrics are usually done by Fenris. Mostly there are references to antient mythology, a bit of nihilism, misanthropy. We talk mostly about the negative aspects of human nature. It’s a strong metaphore to our times, because you can spot the links between what we write about and what you hear on the news these days. People are a self-destructive species. We love to fight with each other. We fight for freedom, we fight for power, we fight for food, we fight for religion, we fight sometimes just to fight. But that’s kinda what you’d expect from metal bands. We won’t go around writing about peace and love while playing blast beats (laugh).
Lou: I see that you’ve shared the stage with some pretty impressive bands (Lost Soul, Azarath, Nammoth, Neuropathia)… Which has been your favourite so far?
Damyen: Well I’m still waiting for my favorite band, because in July we’ll be sharing the stage with Decapitated, but from the bands you named I’ll say Lost Soul. Great band doing really great music especially on their last album.
Lou: If you could go on tour with any other band, who would it be and why?
Damyen: I would say Behemoth. Great musicians, Polish, they want to perform always 110%, and they did a lot for the Polish metal scene, which now we are a part of. And our style of playing isn’t far off, so why not? Mr. Nergal, give me a call (laugh).
Lou: How would you describe a Northern Plague show?
Damyen: I’ve never seen one, so we can only guess what the audience can experience while we perform. But we want it to be not just four guys going on stage, playing. We want our performance to be a spectacle. Building tension, giving not only music to the crowd but also raw energy. Its quite a strong correlation. Because people demand a lot from you to be properly entertained, but when you manage, and you really can perform on a high level, the crowd gives you back a lot more.
Lou: Do you have any pre-gig rituals?
Damyen: I don’t do anything unusual. Just warming up, getting focused, checking if everything is okay from a technical point of view.
Lou: Do you have any plans to tour outside of Poland? The UK would be good
Damyen: Yeah, surely. “Blizzard of the North” got so many good reviews outside Poland, that we would like to go out, and play the stuff live to in those countries. We first wanted to tour in our own yard. That worked out good, so now we’re thinking about the next step. And don’t worry. When we hit the road, I guarantee we won’t miss the UK!
Lou: Where can we buy your music from? Do you have any other merchandise available?
Damyen: Because “Blizzard of the North” is self-released by us, you can only buy it from us ( as a digipack ). You can buy the music from iTunes, Myspace, and many other online music shops. As for the Northern Plague branded stuff we have T-shirts. We didn’t want to get carried away with stuff like Northern Plague Underpants, and nonsence like that. But soon we’ll add some new merchandise, some new Shirts, hoodies, stuff like that.
Lou: Do you prefer CDs, MP3s or vinyl?
Damyen: Because everything today is digital I’d say mp3, because you can have your music always around you, but then again, nothing beats sitting down on my bed. Turning a CD on and just relaxing.
Lou: What are your views on illegal downloads?
Damyen: No one should be able to just download and keep someone else’s work. It’s not free for a band to go to a recording studio and record the stuff, so it shouldn’t be free to listen. But then again there is an advantage in the music being online. Because there is so much to choose from, and people don’t earn so much these days its a good idea to download the album I’m interested in, listen and if I like it, I go and buy it, if I don’t, I’ll search for something else. If this music wasn’t online, and with people able to buy only like one CD a month, only first league bands would benefit from it. Young bands would struggle, because people not knowing them, wouldn’t want to risk their money on buying something they don’t know and may turn out to be rubbish.
Lou: I’m addicted to social networks… Are you? Where can we stalk you online?
Damyen: Sure I am. As most bands today you can find us on Facebook – facebook.com/northernplague, Myspace – myspace.com/northernplague and on our site northernplague.pl. Social networks are really helpful, because you are in touch with your fans and can promote the band in so many ways like having contests etc. I really like the idea, because some fans are far away, you wouldn’t be able to get in touch with them on a daily basis and tell them the lates news within the band. But now you can and it really helps.
Lou: Do you think that social networks have been a useful tool for you?
Damyen: Absolutely! Most of the promotion we do is done by social sites, and even on a personal level you can always talk to friends that you haven’t seen in years, so its a wonderful tool.
Lou: What’s next for Northern Plague? What are your plans?
Damyen: Touring til the end of 2012. If the world doesn’t end, we’ll record our first Album. Then tour again and so on…
Lou: Thank you for answering my questions! Please feel free to leave any further messages for the readers of Loucifer Speaks now…
Damyen: You’re welcome. So to any reader of Loucifer Speaks, check out our Facebook profile at facebook.com/northernplague, listen to “Blizzard of the North” share your views about the band, the record and where would you like us to perform! Cheers!
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