Hello Luci! Thank you for accepting this interview. I grew up listening to False Reality and actually your band was one of my first experiences with the local Underground scene. What can you tell our followers abroad about your band? Can you sum up a short history of the band?
Hello, Bogdan! It is my pleasure to do this interview!
Playing a mixture of melodic death metal, progressive, doom and black metal, False Reality has a long and troubled history, starting with December 1998, when a group of friends aged 16-17, who at the time were playing hard rock at the Pupil’s Club Music Workshop in Brașov, decided to take on a more aggressive sound. In short time came the first songs, followed by concerts, more songs composed and more concerts, also some appearances in Romanian rock and metal festivals (Samus Rock Alive Satu-Mare 1999, Top T Buzau 2000, Metalheart Fest Constanta 2002). This all went up to the releasing in 2002 of a five songs EP – “Tales of Eternity”, with the help of a small Norwegian label – Sidekick Records, on the www.mp3.com website. Sadly, the band’s existence came to an abrupt end in 2003, when Cristian, the drummer and the one who handled all the management activities at the time, left the band.
For two years nothing really happened with the False Reality, but in 2005 we started a long and frustrating journey of finding the right members to fill in the vacant positions. It all came together only in 2011, when after eight years of hiatus, on the 28th of May, False Reality finally returned to the stage in the now well-known Rockstadt Club from Brașov.
Things didn’t move very fast at first, as we were still trying to synchronize ourselves in order to deliver a better live performance, all while composing new songs. In time, we managed to get more gigs, including the one at the first edition of Rockstadt Extreme Fest and also opening for Arkona in our home city. We started recording for our first full length album in August 2014, but due to financial reasons we were only able to release “End of Eternity” in October 2016, with the help of Loud Rage Music, a label from Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Right now we’re touring to promote the album, but we’ll take a short break in April and May, since our keyboards player will leave the country at the end of March, so we’ll need to work hard with his replacement to be able to continue doing live gigs.
Last year you released your first full length album, after 18 years of existence. What can you tell us about your first material?
“End of Eternity” has seven songs and a total duration of about 51 minutes, the majority of songs being composed from 2011 to 2013, the only one that we inherited from our first period of activity being “Bewitched”, the first track. It was recorded, mixed, mastered and produced by Robert Cotoros (Hteththemeth, The Bipolar Disorder Project), a very good friend of ours and the artwork was done by another friend, Claudia Negrilă, both of them from Brașov, our home city. We have a story behind the release of the album, because we were in no financial position to do this ourselves very soon, but chance had it that Adrian from Loud Rage Music came to see us perform in the Wacken Metal Battle Romanian semifinals from Cluj-Napoca in March 2016 and after seeing us on stage he offered to release our album via Loud Rage Music, which we actually did in October, same year.
Each of the seven songs featured on the album has its own distinct sound and personality, while still retaining the False Reality sound, anchored in melodic death metal, black metal, doom and progressive.
In my opinion your music is very personal both in lyrics and in composition. What where your main influences?
As I see it, music is or at least it should be very personal. Whenever I play my music I reach a state of mind and of spirit which is the most sincere expression of myself, losing all censorship and all social masks and conventions, achieving a form of inner freedom, exteriorized in music.
Musically speaking I have a lot of influences, from extreme metal all the way to hard rock, pop, electronic music, trip-hop, flamenco, blues, jazz, classical music and so on, but the artists and composers that really speak to my soul are Dream Theater, Opeth, Pink Floyd, Crematory, Therion, Diablo Swing Orchestra, Queen, Steve Vai, Eric Clapton, Vicente Amigo, Depeche Mode, Louis Armstrong, Ennio Morricone, Portishead, Chopin, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Mozart and many others. As for the lyrical part, I’m inspired by those very strong feelings and thoughts that have stayed with me throughout my life, imprinted in my soul, shaping the way I see the universe and everything I try to achieve in this existence, my favorite poet being Nichita Stănescu. I even drew inspiration from the fantasy and SF works of Isaac Asimov, J.R.R. Tolkien, Robert Jordan, Frank Herbert and the list could go on and on, since I am an avid reader.
What is on the background of the fourth track „Rih al Khamsin” from your new album? Who is Tarek Zakaria and why did you choose him?
We wanted to create a background that will set the song into the Arabic landscape where you find the Khamsin or Rih al Khamsin (the 50 days wind – bringer of sandstorms), so we wanted to recreate the sounds of an Arabic city or village, where the sandstorm hits right after the imams’ call to prayer. We were helped in our quest to find the perfect sounds and meanings by Tarek Zakaria, an Egyptian bassist and student of Medicine who had a scholarship in Brașov and whom I met during the 2014 Rockstadt Extreme Fest, through Mihai, the Hteththemeth bass player, as they were colleagues. Since I didn’t know other persons that spoke the Arabic language and since he is a fellow metalhead and musician, it was the only choice we had at the moment, but as it turned out he also wrote poetry in Arabic, including some about the desert sandstorms, so the only choice became the perfect choice. He recorded himself reciting bits of his poetry and also did some recordings in crowded marketplaces in Cairo, but sadly we weren’t able to use the marketplaces recordings on the album.
I’ve noticed you have a few guests on this material. How did you choose them?
I’ve already covered the story behind Tarek Zakaria, so I’ll move on to the others.
Robert Cotoros, our producer and sound engineer had a lot of ideas while recording and mixing our tracks and he really did a great job with the overall atmosphere of the songs, and in doing so he ended up recording additional guitar tracks in some songs and even an EBow guitar track on the outro of “Dear Friend”, for which we are very thankful!
Then we have Tică Losu, who is a guest vocalist on the same “Dear Friend” track. We actually composed the song with the intention of giving him some vocal parts, since it is a tribute to friends we lost too early, one of them being Flo, a very dear and close friend of ours, but especially to our vocalist, Ioan, and to Tică Losu. Another very sad absence that we had in mind while composing “Dear Friend” was that of Marius, one of the founding members of False Reality.
On the “Bewitched” track I had the idea of beginning with an incantation to the Moon, an enchantment spoken in Romanian by a girl, very close to the actual pre-Christian lore and traditions of our ancestors. So, I composed the words of the incantation and had Alina, my girlfriend, record it. In the end it turned out pretty much the way I imagined it.
Finally, we have Radu Grosu, our bass player during the period we composed and recorded the songs. We might say that he’s in a very small part a guest on this album, since he left the band before we managed to release the album, but we gave him his due, crediting him with the bass parts that he composed, arranged and recorded in his time with us.
What are your expectations about the promo tour with Hteththemeth?
We’re not exactly doing a promo tour with Hteththemeth, since there are only four shows together. The first two, in Târgu Mureș and in Cluj-Napoca were a result of a birthday present concert for Zita, a very good friend of ours that lives in Cluj, while the next two, in Târgoviște and Constanța are a consequence of Hteththemeth not finding a band to open the shows. Of course, since the bands share two members, myself and Codruț, our drummer, it’s a lot easier to plan and do all the logistics together and given the fact we’re all friends, it’s going to be a ton of fun. Things will turn out a bit tiresome for me and Codruț, but we are going to enjoy every moment on stage, with both bands. I don’t really set out with expectations from any concert, I believe each gig has its own energy and vibe and the expectations I have are related strictly to our performance, as I really expect us to put out a very good show.
Did you ever thought about performing outside Romania with False Reality?
Of course we thought about that, and we’d really like to perform outside Romania. Given the fact that we’re collaborating with Graham Robinson and his Anglo-Saxon Booking Agency, we might be given this opportunity even this year. It is a very important step for a band to cross the borders of its native country, but we must plan this step carefully and take into consideration all the risks involved.
What are your musical preferences nowadays and what is your opinion about the Romanian metal scene?
Frankly, I don’t really have much time to just relax and actually listen to music nowadays, since my day job and the activities with the two musical projects that I’m a part of keep me really busy. I think that I mostly listen to music while driving. I try to find new music usually following recommendations from friends, but I always go back to my favorites (the list is very long, but if I must name some from the metal/rock scene they are Dream Theater, Opeth and Pink Floyd). Of course, I listen to a variety of musical styles, since I believe the genre is less important, while the main focus should be creating quality and composing and performing from the soul.
The Romanian metal scene has been rising and rising in the last 10-15 years. Every now and then I see broken up bands getting back together and playing again, which was our case with False Reality too, I see old bands still performing and also new bands appearing, I see a lot of different styles and I see quality bands that could have easily been headlining big festivals, if they had the luck of being promoted by big labels and supported financially and logistically. The aspect that really feels good about our metal scene is that we have a good depth of the age interval of people involved in the metal scene, as opposed to the 90’s. You get to see artists past their youth still dedicated to creating and performing at maximum levels, beside youngsters barely turning 18, and also you get to see older people in the crowd, being the heart and soul of an audience. I think the Romanian metal scene is really starting to become more mature and versatile and I’m sure it will keep improving. Sadly, we had Colectiv where a lot of good people from the scene departed, reminding us we’re not immortal, nor are we always safe, but it’s up to us to remember them and thus to keep doing what we love.
Thank you very much for your time Luci and hope to hear from you very soon. Do you want to add something at the end of our discussion?
Thank you very much as well, Bogdan!
I want to take this opportunity to remind all of you to support your local metal underground scene, especially the acts you enjoy, because the underground scene is the birthing pool of the next rockstars and the bands really need all the help they can get in this period of their existence!
Rock on! \m/
Photo by: Gheorghe Paraschiv