METAL PULP AND PAPER: Oliwia, thank you so much for taking the time to speak to us here at Metal Pulp And Paper today, we appreciate it.
Paul Kenney formed Kroh in Birmingham, UK in 2011, soon after calling it quits in 2013. Shortly after you would soon join Kroh in 2014 after answering an advertisement Paul had put out needing a lead vocalist because he wanted to reform the band he had started. Why did you answer the advertisement when in 2013 you had left your previous band, Red Inferno, to pursue your university degree? Was this a great music opportunity for you that you just couldn’t pass up?
OLIWIA SOBIESZEK: Since I remember, I’ve always looked for ways to express my creativity. Throughout my teenage years I participated in various projects that helped me to define my goals and improve my work ethic when it comes to making music. However, most of these projects were rather short-lived and did not fulfil my artistic ambitions. Once I turned 19, I knew it was the right time to look for something more. I wanted to reignite my passion for singing and songwriting. When I came across Paul’s advertisement and listened to some of the music he wrote, I knew straight away that Kroh would be something special.
MPAP: Did you put off getting your degree for now until a later time? What are you wanting to major in?
OLIWIA: I am still continuing my studies; currently I am a 3rd year Psychology student. I soon plan to progress onto clinical psychology training.
MPAP: Precious Bones, a short Ep with two songs, was your first with Kroh released in 2015. What was it like to be singing and fronting a band again?
OLIWIA: Very liberating. It’s that 'right place, right time' kind of feeling. It’s rather hard to describe the unique connection that takes place between the band and the audience during the peak of the performance. When I am on stage, nothing else matters. The adrenaline kicks in and the mundane daily struggles fade away. Playing to new audiences is especially thrilling, I love to see first time reactions to our sound. I must admit that the recording can be a bumpy road full of hurdles and obstacles. When you’re an unsigned/independent band, you have to be your own boss and strive to keep the creative juices flowing despite having limited finances and resources. However, working with Paul was a real pleasure. I’d like to think we fuel each other’s creativity. The mutual exchange of ideas and influences was crucial in making of Altars, our first full album with the new line up.
MPAP: One of the songs on Precious Bones, "Heaving Earth" was previously already recorded on Kroh’s self-titled release in 2011. 2016’s Altars also has a song previously done from the self-titled release as well, "Stone Into Flesh". Were "Heaving Earth" and "Stone Into Flesh" songs you really liked and wanted to re-record them with your vocals on them?
OLIWIA: Exactly. I enjoyed being able to give these tracks a new life. "Stone Into Flesh" is actually one of my favourite tracks to play live. It perfectly reflects the sinister intoxicating atmosphere we aim to capture in our sound. Some people seem to think we decided to disown the early era of the band, which is not true. The 2011 self-titled release is an important part of Kroh’s history, but it is inevitable that the band’s sound and influences will change over time. We also went through some unexpected line-up changes, and acquired a new drummer, bassist and an extra guitarist since late 2014. The new material we released since then is a reflection of how Kroh’s sound evolved.
MPAP: How would you describe Kroh’s genre of music? Some consider it to be a Stoner/Doom Metal band with lyrical themes of Satanism, murder, madness, and death? What messages are you trying to convey when writing your lyrics?
OLIWIA: I have never been a fan of labels. I believe that the best way to fully explore band’s genre is to simply listen to the music, approach it with an open mind and form your own opinion as to what style or genre is reflected in the tracks. It’s rather hard to define our sound within strict categories. However, I would say that our sound merges elements of Doom with a psychedelic touch. Indeed, my lyrical themes are largely based around dark topics. I tend to write a lot about the mind, human vices and nihilism. I aim to convert my lyrics into a cathartic experience that will allow the listener to think, feel, reflect and react, but the interpretation of my lyrics should remain subjective and free. Hence why I avoid revealing the specific stories and messages contained within each song. It is very possible that some lyrics don’t even contain any coherent messages; sometimes they’re simply a confusing medley of fragmented thoughts and experiences that I need to get out of my system in order to keep sane.
MPAP: What was the inspiration behind the artwork for Precious Bones and Altars done by Coven Illustración?
OLIWIA: We wanted our vision for the album to be reflected in the artwork associated with the release. The artwork is largely based on juxtaposition, just like our music; it clashes beauty and femininity with obscurity and gloom. Coven Illustración did a great job in merging the heavy occult themes with subtle mystical elements.
MPAP: When you put the microphone down for the day, what do you like to do outside of music? OLIWIA: Travelling. Exploring new places and interacting with the nature allows me to mentally recharge and keeps me inspired. Leaving the comfort of one’s home is the best way to expand your knowledge of the world, history, and different cultures. It truly changes your perspective on what is important. When I’m not travelling, I’ll be screaming my heart out at a gig. Or going crazy at a rave – I love to dance.
MPAP: All good things must come to an end, but before we go, any chance of Kroh crossing The North Atlantic to come play in the United States sometime in 2017?
OLIWIA: We would absolutely love to play in the United States. We’re working on it, keep your eyes peeled! Thank you to all Metal Pulp and Paper readers, we truly appreciate your support. And massive thanks to you Geoff, and the whole team at Metal Pulp and Paper, I really enjoyed answering your questions. Best of luck! MPAP: Thank you, Oliwia.
Oliwia Sobieszek/ February 6th, 2017/ Interview #25