Interview by Rali Demireva
The A.X.E. Project is based in Bulgaria and defines itself as a symphonic Gothic style band. They have their roots back in 1991 when inspired and lead by Georgi Georgiev a line-up was gathered in order to record the grand and spectacular for its times project called “Tangra’s Last Battle” – a rock-opera.
In 1998 the two brothers (Rosen and Georgi) decided to dramatically change the project’s musical direction and the concept as a whole, searching for a unique own style. At that point they started developing a brand new conceptual Gothic project which took almost 3 years.
The band went through some changes in the personnel, but it currently has the following members: Rossen Georgiev (Rhythm guitar, founding member), Stoyan Petrov – Stoich (drums), Yordan Todorov – Animus (keyboards), Petya Plukchieva (vocals), Martin Emilov (solo guitar) and Georgi Georgiev – Greg (bass, vocals, founding member).
The band participated in many festivals including Gothic fest Sofia, BerkRock, Red Alert Open Air (Ukraine), Battle of the Bands and more. They also had many performances around Bulgaria – alone or with other Bulgarian bands like Beninda and Ellenium. They were also invited to be opening acts of international bands like Evergrey (Swe) and Stonegard (Nor) and in 2011 had the unique chance to share the stage with BLIND GUARDIAN on their 3rd and most successful visit in Sofia, Bulgaria.
The band has two albums and one DVD released – “Stories From a Lost Realm Part One” (2010), “Dark Tales: Live 2011” (2012), live DVD and the newest one that just came out – “Stories from a Lost Realm: Part Two” (2015). All of them received praise and great reviews by media and fans!
In the beginning of 2015 the band signed a 2 year publishing deal with the Spanish Art Gates Record label for their second album, which came out in October in Spain and will be available in the end of November throughout the rest of the world. It has the title “Stories from a Lost Realm: Part Two”.
We find them for this interview after they just came back from Italy where they promoted the new album and were a support act for the Italian leg of the Leave’s Eyes European tour.
1. Hey guys! Thank you for agreeing to give us an interview in this super busy period for you. In the beginning, can you tell us more about how you decided to name the band The A.X.E. project?
Well, we were always fascinated by sharp tools and weapons so I think it came naturally (joke)! It was around 1991 when we (Georgi and Rosen) decided that our future musical project should be called AXE. Later in 1997 we added dots between the letters in order not to be confused with an American band with the same name, so we became A.X.E. In 2001 when we started to work on our demo album we extended the name further to better suit our concept of having many different guest musicians and it became The A.X.E. Project.
2. What are your influences? Do you have some bands that inspire you to create your music?
Oh, there are many! In the very beginning we were inspired by Moonspell and Anathema, but later we were fascinated by Blind Guardian, Nightwish and all sorts of metal and progressive bands. Rosen Georgiev was always amazed by the medieval harmonies and rhythms and that influenced the compositions a lot. We are also very influenced by classical music.
3. Are there other sources of inspiration for you – books, movies and other things that help you create your music and lyrics?
The biggest source of inspiration are the horror stories, especially in the lyrics and this defines the Gothic vibe in our music but sometimes we are inspired by fantasy books and movies, we even have a song dedicated to Tolkien’s Middle Earth!
4. You have been a supporting act for Blind Guardian. Can you tell us more about this great experience?
It was a big surprise that they chose us! They held some kind of a contest and we sent our press package as well as our debut album. It was the second time that we tried to open for them. They liked our music and it finally happened. We rehearsed hard for 3 months and we were more than ready for that show. We decided to shoot a DVD just 3 weeks before the gig and it was a great luck that everything went so smoothly – you know it’s so much technical stuff which can fail. We recorded the audio from the show in multichannel format in order to have the best possible quality for the DVD. We had the best audience we ever met on a show – the fans of Blind Guardian! They responded great to our songs and as a result the DVD has a unique atmosphere. As a gesture of our gratitude for their warm welcome we put some of the names in the DVD credits! And last but not least – we’ve shared the stage with one of our all-time most favourite bands! What else could you ask for in one’s lifetime?!
5. We know you just released your new album – “Stories from a Lost Realm: Part Two”. Congratulations! This is really very good news for all of your fans and it got excellent reviews from critics and media. Can you tell us more about its creation?
As the title states (Part Two) this album is a continuation of the saga about the Lost Realm. In the beginning when we started to write songs for the band we gathered enough ideas for not one, but 3 albums. We recorded the first one, then put some songs aside for the next one. Our process of writing is to create first the basic musical structure, then we arrange everything and the lyrics come last. So this album is new, but the songs it contains are well gathering dust in our musical archives for quite some time. Some of them are already performed in public, but some are brand new. In terms of sound this album suits for a smooth transition from the more ‘ambient’ and atmospheric feeling of the first to faster and epic sounding tunes but without losing much of the magic of the first one. It’s not a jump but more like a step in the evolution to the band’s signature sound. It’s also technically more proficient compared to the debut album.
6. Do you plan a tour around Bulgaria or abroad to support the new album?
Of course! We already did a small promotion in Italy but expect a full tour in Bulgaria soon! We plan to do a promo concert in Sofia at the end of November parallel with the album’s worldwide release and maybe in Plovdiv. The full tour will happen in the beginning of 2016 and will cover as much cities as possible.
7. You just came from Italy and we learned that you not only promoted the new album but were chosen as a support act for the Italian leg of the Leave’s Eyes European tour! Tell us more about the whole experience.
Well, it was a big trip! We travelled by road about 4000 kilometers and crossed 4 borders! It’s a kind of adventure one never forgets! Fortunately we met some great friends on the road, especially in Zagreb, Croatia where our van broke and we needed to rent a new one. Without them this trip was doomed so we wish to thank them for the support!
Despite the fact that the two shows in Erba and Rome were not so much crowded it was a great experience to share the stage with such great people! We’ve talked with everybody and we befriended with other bands especially with Melted Space so you may expect some interesting events to happen very soon! In short – we recommend every band to try that kind of travel – it’s fun and you always get new friends!
8. We heard some rumors that soon you will surprise us with a video clip of one of your songs. Is this true and if yes, please tell something more to unveil the secret to our readers.
Yes, the rumors are true! We shot a video in the middle of June and since then it is in post-production stage. Unfortunately the whole production depend on one guy so it takes some time to render all the visual effects and compositing but it’s half done so far and you can expect some video caps to emerge soon on our official pages. The video has great production values and it has even a dramatic part which includes some acting with nice dark Gothic atmosphere. We will start revealing details very soon, just be patient!
9. What are your future plans after releasing the new album?
As we already said we will do some touring here and there and we plan in the middle of 2016 to start working on our 3rd album. This will be the final chapter of the trilogy so we already chose the songs and it should not take much time to record it. Of course all this depends on the Part Two sales and let’s hope it will perform well, at least we did our best creating it!
10. Thank you so much for this interview. Do you have anything to say to your fans and to all those people who meet you for the first time?
To all the fans: thank you for the support! The times are tough to make music, especially metal and we need every single one of you in order to continue our journey together!
For all the others: please, check the band, you will never regret it!
Thanks and love to everyone!!!