It's not often that you hear about promising young bands from the country Slovenia, but this nation currently does house one in the form of naio ssaion. The band's new album Out Loud is quickly becoming a hot topic for Napalm Records, as the bands mix of gothic hard rock, melodic metal, commercial pop, and jazz fusion is garnering strong reviews. Sea of Tranquility Publisher Pete Pardo caught up with violin player Rok Kolar to talk about the history and future of this promising new group.
Read on for the full interview!
Sea of Tranquility: Can you talk a little bit about the formation of the band and how you all came together?
Rok: There are 6 of us in the band right now-Barbara Jedovnicky on vocals, Rok Kolar on violin, Tine Čas on guitar, Luka Verdnik on guitar, Lenart Jerabek on bass guitar, and Mitja Melanšek (Mic) on drums. We know each other for a long time now. Some of us were school mates, some were attending music school together in the city we all come from, Velenje. Some of us had been already playing in bands before, but in this formation we have been playing together since September, 2000.
SoT: What are some of the band's early musical influences?
Rok: We began as most bands do with performing well known covers. But actually we have also been working on our own songs from the beginning. They were a mix of everything because some of band members brought songs which they had made in previous groups, and also each band member hastheir own musical taste. But through time we found our own music style, which was a combination of many different genres, but I think the biggest influence on our music was nu metal, which was very popular in those times and there were many good bands of that kind we all liked very much.
SoT: Your sound is pretty unique-mixing contemporary rock, gothic, and jazz-fusion/progressive rock influences (thanks to the violin)- how did you come about to create this kind of style?
Rok: As I said before - each member of our band has a little bit different musical taste than the other. We also do not limit ourselves to music we listen to. We like all kinds of music, from metal and rock, to electro, jazz, classical. Especially the last one is very important for us, because we have all been to music school and got some classical education. We are also exploring all the time and looking for new, crazy ideas to put in our own music. The last thing I have to mention is the violin, which is at first very unique in this style, and second, it gives our music a new dimension with a completely new way of playing this instrument.
SoT: What is the popular music scene like in Slovenia?
Rok: At the moment the most popular is Turbo Folk. I don't know if you have such music scene in the USA, but it is some kind of country with accordion and a disco beat. It is really, really bad, but the crowd likes it. So, at the moment there is not so much place for rock and metal bands. However, there is a very popular band called Siddharta which have been the most popular rock band now for 5 years in Slovenia, and the legends you probably also know – Laibach.
SoT: naio ssaion's music is pretty commercial sounding even for the US market-have you been approached at all, or had any early success getting on US radio, even at a lower level like college or satellite radio?
Rok: Our album Out Loud is only just now getting released, so I think songs haven't had enough time to reach radio stations yet, but as much as I know the USA music scene, I am quite sure that people in the USA will like our music, and that it is also commercial enough and especially on a high enough level of quality to reach the biggest TV and Radio Stations across USA.
SoT: Female fronted rock bands are pretty hot right now, as bands like Evanescence, Nightwish, Lacuna Coil, Leaves' Eyes, Epica, Mostly Autumn, and a host of others are fairly well known. How do you feel that your band can fit in with some of these, and do you consider yourselves competing with them at all?
Rok: I think we don't have much in common with the bands with a female singer which are popular at the moment. We like and respect all these bands, but naio ssaion is nothing similar to most of them. They are all more metal and gothic, and we are closer to rock or maybe mainstream metal. We believe our music is unique and special enough to be able to plow its own way for us. Well, if I still haven't convinced you, come to see one of our gigs!!
SoT: That would be an expensive trip for me to see that gig! The new CD has lots of catchy hooks and memorable songs, but it's also evident that there are some serious musical chops involved as well, especially on the song "Bow Link in E Minor". Will the band expand more on the instrumental side of things on future albums to include more violin/guitar/keyboard interplay?
Rok: I see that song as an intermezzo on the album. It is a very interesting song, different to all others on the album, and the band shows its technical skills in it. I think it is so cool just because it is only one on the CD. If there were more of them it would probably not be so special anymore. So you can expect also on our next albums some experiments like this is, but it will probably never take the main role on a naio ssaion album.
SoT: Are there any plans to tour Europe or the US in the near future?
Rok: We will definitely have another tour in Europe in 2006. We will also play on some of the biggest festivals across Europe. Playing in the USA is one of our biggest wishes and we hope we will come to USA sometime in 2006. But, as I said, our album is just releasing now so it will probably take some time to set some gigs in the USA.
SoT: How often do you get to play live at home?
Rok: Not often. We haven't been playing in Slovenia for more than half a year now and it will probably take another half to come back on stages in our country. At the moment we are oriented towards other markets. But when we come back to Slovenia we will definitely make a hell of a show!!
SoT: What do the band members do when not doing naio ssaion? Do you all have full time jobs or attend school or have families?
Rok: We are all still students. So we spend as much time as possible which remains from everything concerning naio ssaion, and to finish our studies. We like to do music and we want to do this in our lives but we believe education is very important as well, and we will do our best to do this also.
SoT: What other artists on the current music scene do you all admire?
Rok: There are many really good bands so it is hard to point out only few of them. Well, if I take some common taste of the whole band, these would be Ill Nino, Slipknot, My Chemical Romance, Mudwayne, The Prodigy, Hoobastank, and Placebo.
SoT: What is the next step for the band?
Rok: I hope a USA tour. This would be amazing!
(Click here to read our review of Out Loud)