Interview With Chity Somapala
Power Metal has become very popular over the last 5 or so years and is still growing . The early days saw the likes of Omen, Helstar Liege Lord, Lethal, Crimson Glory, early Fates Warning and not to forget Pantera. Now there's bands like Firewind, Dream Evil, Brainstorm etc.. delivering a classic NWOBHM mixed with the U.S. classic Power Metal sound and it certainly works well. Firewind are no strangers to the scene after all they have 3 previous albums under their belts, and this new album is sure to open up an new capture for the band, with a new singer and a powerful new album titled 'Forged In Fire', released on their new label Century Media. An album which is highly recommended (see my review). With the new release and a debut live show in the UK coming in March I managed to speak to new singer Chity Somapala, formerly with Avalon. Here is what Chity had to say to the following questions. Ok Chity, at what age did you learn to sing and who inspired you?
Note: Look out for a European tour in March, the play with Nevermore in the UK on 18th March @ the Underworld (London).
"Well I began to learn to sing at the age of 18-19, which is pretty late on in life but before that I was a bass player so I have been a musician now for a long time. I started to sing about 10yrs ago as a metal singer and stopped playing the bass guitar. I found it boring to play the bass in a Heavy metal band. So I decided to learn how to sing which for me is a lot better. My influences are: Deep Purple, Rainbow, Black Sabbath, so I was inspired by Ronnie James Dio, Joe Lynn Turner, Tony Martin, Glenn Hughes all these type of singers. Rob Halford and Biff Byford have also influenced me too into the metal era."
As you were once the frontman for 'Avalon', who released 3 albums or so, what other band was you in before you joined them??
"I was in a band called 'Court Jester' and we released 1 album and then I got the break and joined 'Avalon'. My previous band 'Court Jester' was more in the vain of the 'NWOBHM' somewhat like 'Judas Priest', 'Omen','Saxon' and so on!!!!
So how did you become the singer for your next band 'Avalon', who recorded a few albums? Also which was your favourite album you recorded with Avalon?
"Well it was Limp from LMP Music who really liked my voice and he suggested my name to Sebastian from Avalon, and Limp liked my old band before I joined Avalon and he knew I could be in a better band so he told Avalon about me and I recorded the last 2 albums for that band. I think my favourite album by Avalon would have to be 'Eurasia' which was the last album. Avalon broke after a tour with 'Metalium', we toured with them and after that we decided to take a break and nothing happened so I moved on.. It was very hard for us back then because nobody seemed to be booking Progressive Metal bands for festivals so we were just doing a tour now and then but no festivals so we decided to leave the band."
Ok moving on, how did you become the new singer for 'Firewind'?
"Well the band were looking for a new singer for a long time & Dave Chastain knew me for a long time from my previous band 'Avalon', and so he sent me an email asking if I was interested in joining 'Firewind' as their new singer. I had already known about Firewind as my friend had their CD's so I managed to listen too them and I liked what I heard. So Gus got in touch with me and asked if I was interested in doing some auditions so I asked him to send me some songs for me to check out & and to see how my vocals would sound. So we ended up rehearsing half the songs from the 1st album and half from the 2nd album, which really worked out well.
Besides yourself, who else did the band audtion for a new singer? Also why did Stephan Fredrick leave the band?
"They had a lot of singers, but they thought I was more suitable for the replacement. Stephan left the band because he did not want to tour anymore he only wanted to record albums."
So who is in the line-up for this album?
"Well we have Gus G as you know, also with (Dream Evil & Nightrage), Petros Christo (ex Breaking Silence), Stian Kristoffersen (Pagans Mind), & Bob Katsionis (Nightfall/ Imaginery) and myself."
So Am I right in saying that Fredrick Nordstrom had something to do with the recording process along with Gus?
"Well Gus produced the album and Fredrick mixed the album and we are very happy with the way the album turned out."
Where the songs wrote as a team effort or did you write the lyrics and Gus write the melodies? Also what are the songs about on the record?
"The songs were wrote by Gus and myself . I will give you a little description of what the songs are about. Here goes: 'Kill To Live', that is about King Alexander, the next song is called 'Beware Of The Beast', that is about a beast that hides in foggy mountains. 'Tyranny', that is a song about George Bush. It is hard to describe that song, you really need to read the lyrics and as you only have a promo copy Jason I could be here for ever explaining the song. Next is 'The Forgotten Memory', that is a song about the kids today and when I grew up it was a totally different situation and world we live in today as there is more violence. What future do the youth of today have?? Next is 'Hate World Hero', it is about somebody new coming to this world, kind of like me entering 'Firewind', as I'm the new singer within that band. Next is 'Escape From Tomorrow', this is about a person who see's illusions and a crystal ball by your side. I guess you could say it's like Nostradamus, looking into the future. Next is 'Burn In Hell', that is about Hitler (Laughing). ED: Why write a song about Hitler? Well he loved the world with hate inside of him. Next is 'Perished In Flames', that is about Jew's who were killed during the 2nd World War. The last song is 'Land Of Eternity', that is a tough song to describe. I would say its about countries that have suffered like the Tsunami in South Asia, and also other countries like Africa, which nobody seems to care about."
This album also features some guest guitar players, one of which happens to be a friend of mine and a awesome guitarist -James Murphy. It also features ex Megadeth/ Cacophony member Marty Friedman, how did you hook up with them?
"Well Gus hooked up with James a long time ago and he decided to call him and ask him if he would like to appear on the new album. As for Marty, we actually met him in Japan when we were on tour, which was last January and he came to one of our shows. He is a really ncie guy and Gus asked him if he wanted to do some guest solos on the next album, which he agreed to. The solo's for their parts were recorded in their own studios."
OK moving on, why did you decide to call the album 'Forged By Fire'? Were there any other titles for the album too? Also does the title reflect within the art work for the album?
"Well it's about King Alexander who was forged by fire and we wanted to have 'Fire' in the title because of the bands name. You have a mountain with fire coming out of it and this flame in the shape of a eagle with wings. Yeah the title and artwork does reflect within the music."
What time period did it take to record this album?
"Well Jason if I told you, you would not believe me. It took me only 5 days to record my vocals and the rest of the album took about 4-5 weekends in total with the whole recording and mixing."
So what labels are you signed with in total? In Europe you are signed to Century Media, who else are you signed too?
"Well we are only signed to EMI/ Toshiba in Japan and for the rest of the world it is Century Media."
Has both labels been supportive towards the band with advertising etc...??
"Yes both labels are looking after us, they are great labels to be with."
Besides Century Media, who else did you approach for a new deal??
"Well we didn't approach any other labels besides the labels are r on now. We were signed to Massacre records but we are not happy with them, so Gus mentioned Century Media as his other 2 bands are signed to that label. So we played them the album when we finished recording it and they liked it & signed us up."
The new album also features a video clip for the song 'Tyranny' and also some live & making of as extra footage, can you tell me more about this please?
"Well we had some funny things happen to us whilst we were in Japan and its kind of a making of a tour and not everybody in Japan speaks English. So when you are playing a gig out there they listen to every word you say between the songs and when were playing songs I have never seen somebody bang a head for so long as the Japanese do. We played in front of 2500 people as headliners and it was awesome!! The video song for 'Tyranny' is set in the studio and it was recorded whilst we recorded the album."
What sort of press reviews have you been getting for this album so far??
"So far it's been getting awesome reviews!! The German press love it more than the rest of the world."
Most bands seem to write songs for the next album as the new album is released, is this the case for you guys?
"Yeah it is, I have finished writing songs for the new album already and we are doing 1 cover song from Bruce Springfield, it is called 'Dancing In The Dark'. (ED: 'Bruce Springfield' really sucks, why do a cover of his?? Are you going to fuck it up Laughing?) Yes!!"
How does the band rehearse as the band are from different countries, Germany, Norway, Greece. Where do you rehearse?
"Well if we are going to tour, we usually meet a week before the tour in Greece or Germany or Norway. We usually meet in Greece as the weather is better and the food is too!!"
Well Chity thanx for taking your time out, it's been a pleasure to finally speak to you. Is there anything you would like to say to your fans reading this?
"Yeah I would like to send my best regards to all Firewind fans in the UK and every metalhead out there should check out our album. I will see you in March Jason for a beer or 2 with Nevermore. Till then keep on rockin!!!"
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