Tuesday, September 3, 2013

... Interview with Kamille from THE GRAND ASTORIA

I never thought I would have to say it but it seems that The Grand Astoria is a bloody unappreciated band. It is a psychedelic stoner / heavy project from Saint-Petersburg, Russia and known amongst its listeners thanx to  insane hard work considering tours, albums records, fashionable t-shirts and so on. Kamille Sharapodinov (vocals, guitars) did start the band in 2009 and look – they have four good, professional and quite diverse albums, they have two vinyl Eps and they did about 10 or 12 really big European tours. The Grand Astoria are heading in another tour in September – check their schedule, maybe they’ll play in your city too, eh?

Hello Kamille! What kind of news are you ready to share? Have you already packed your baggage for another tour?
Hey, buddy! The things are almost packed but it's always a very nervous rush that starts few days before the tour. I have to decide which books to take and what music to upload to my mp3 player, very important hehe!

The Grand Astoria has returned from European tour in August, how long were you touring this time? And can you say that this tour differs from previous ones?
That was our regular tour for 60 days, the way we like it. We played 40 shows, had to be more but some shows were cancelled. It was quite the same actually.. the difference was maybe in that we played in some cities we never been before like Oulu in north of Finland, we also had few good festivals in Estonia. But basically it was across the same countries that we usually touring: Baltics, Poland, Germany, Holland, Czech Republic and Scandinavia. I am looking forward to France, Spain and Portugal in November-December to be honest!

You have 4 full-length albums, 2 Eps and also took part in few compilations, what kind of program do you prepare for this Autumn?
The set-list contains songs from all of the albums and few songs from forthcoming EP, we try to change the list of songs we play before each tour

The Grand Astoria have released new full-length “Punkadelia Supreme” two months ago, do people dig into your new songs? I find them more psychedelic and bit more difficult to listen. What was main reason of such changes?
The main reason is that I don't like to do the things I already did musicwise. I don't want to be predictable. I like all the songs I wrote but I want to move forward. I heard only good words about new album so I am quite happy with the response.

The band balances onto such genres as stoner, psychedelic rock, heavy metal and punk; do you feel recognition from some of these scenes?
Not so much. I can't say that classic metalheads dig what we do, the same with punks, I even heard that punk community here in Russia doesn't like that we tag our music with punk. But I don't care. Punk for me is the attitude and ability to do what I want but not just the genre of music. So most lovely definition of our style we got from the promoter in Slovenia: Tripped out psychedelic fuzz rock having sex with heavy metal. That's 100% true. One day I gonna call the album like this hehe.

Your activity is something unique – a damned lot of gigs, a couple of solid and professional albums, but Walter still didn’t call you to play Roadburn, did something cardinally change for last 2 years for you? That’s right – it’s a continue of previous question!
It changed in a way that now I don't worry that much about why bookers and festival don't invite us. Few years ago I was very upset with this fact cause to my taste the most of the bands that play on that kinda festivals are very boring. I don't want to judge anyone but it's my opinion. Suddenly at one point of time I stopped being nervous of this fact and understood that just the fact of making music makes me happy. If somebody likes it - I am very happy, if not, - I just don't care. I do it for myself first of all.

Kamille you did take vocal courses, can you say that you could continue to move along without such education? And is it important for you to evaluate band’s sound, discover something new for yourself and maybe listeners?
Yes, I think I am improving. Very slowly, but I am doing my best. Here is the time for some big news. in November one of my friends Danila will join the band as the permanent (I hope) member as the second singer/keyboardist and noise generator! So we will be five people on stage. Can't wait to start playing with this expanded lineup. This means more good vocal melodies, more harmonies and the better quality of live performance.

You already work over new album, how will it sound ? Will you keep a bit of “Punkadelia Supreme” in your sound or will you take a step radically further?
Yes, we already recorded most of our future album. It will be another step for us, can't describe it so far, but I want to release it in the near future, so it won't take long. Money is the only issue right now. We have to pay for the studio.

Can you name some songs which represent The Grand Astoria best? And do you have a certain balance in your songs which you’d like to keep?
If you are new to The Grand Astoria it's better to start with our longest complex songs, they represent us the best: Score, To Whom It May Concern, Something Wicked This way Comes, Wikipedia Surfer, Salvation Is Near and others. I like writing long songs and I will keep on doing this.


What kind of merch did you prepare for this forthcoming tour? Do you have few more t-shirts with Gandhi and Ugly Billy playing chess?
For this new tour we made the tees with simplified cover art of the last record. We will make more of Gandhi t-shirt later. We also try to change the design of our merch quite frequently.

How often do you see drunk people at your gigs? Does it disturb you or is it okay for rock gig?
From time to time. I have no problems with it if they are not throwing anything on stage. But luckily it never happened.

How does the process of producing The Grand Astoria live album go? Is there any chance to see it this autumn?
We still need some money to finish it, but I hope it will happen this autumn.

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