1- Hello, thanks for answering to our questions. What are you guys currently up to?
Hi! I’m Alexey Markov – the founder, the singer and the guitar-player from Starsoup. We come from Moscow, Russia and we’ve just released our first album «Bazaar of Wonders». The cd will be available in about a week or two, and for now you can listen to it online or get it digitally from iTunes or Amazon.
2- First off, could you make some history of the band?
Starsoup is currently a studio project with my bandmate Andrew Gryaznov. I sing, play the guitars and the bass, and he plays the keyboards and writes a lot of music.
We met in a prog-rock project called «Crime of Passion» a few years ago. The band wasn’t bad, but we were composing like only one song a year! This was quite dissappointing for everyone, so we split. But the songs remained (four years – four songs, okay) and I in fact loved them – and wanted to record them in a nice studio. So at some point I just realised noone would do that for me and I just had to start doing something. In two years the album appeared.
3- How could you describe your sound?
It’s definitely not modern and it’s not classic either. I’d say we’re stuck in the 90’s. We got heavy guitars and a lot of piano. I also try to show different singing styles, from falcetto to heavy growls, some clean, some raspy voice, quite a few choirs. We may lack aggression and speed, but we have a lot of melody and (I hope) beat.
4- What are the band’s main musical influences?
My personal influences are of course Metallica and Dream Theater. I also enjoy classic German power/speed metal bands like Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray and Rage. But as for this project, it’s probably closer to heavy/prog metal acts like Savatage and Queensryche. Maybe a bit of Stone Sour and Disturbed if you think of currently popular bands.
5- How is the feedback for your new album being?
It’s mostly good. The worst thing I heard of is that the band name was stupid. I’m okay with that, cause I know it’s brilliant. A lot of people said we’re too similar to Metallica and this is definitely not true. We got keyboards, ha! A lot of girls do love our ballads, and I’m happy with that.
6- And are your personally satisfied with the final outcome?
The fact that I’m satisfied with (very!) is that there IS an outcome. I mean, at some point I began to lose hope. The recording took so much time, and I was waiting for the cover art for like half a year! I had a few songs completely recorded and then I started to think maybe I should release them as an EP just to make sure I release at least something! But then in this everlasting recording process new songs began to emerge and here it is. So yes, I’m satisfied, although I’d do many things differently now.
7- How could you describe this opus in just 3 words?
Melodic. Enticing. Sad.
8- How has the production process for your new release been?
We recorded all the drums in an expensive studio in Moscow – first we did «Angels» only, then 3 more songs, then three more, and then two again. The guitars were recorded in a smaller studio using the classic Marshall sound, some of the solos were recorded at home and then re-amped, same with the bass tracks. I don’t quite remember if I did all vocals at home (I have my own simple studio), then I sent the vocal tracks to one great guy who tried to change my crappy singing into something cooler. I mean, everybody does that (vocal tuning), and I obviously want to sound err.. appropriate – for an international release.
Then our sound engineer sent the mixes to me and I was telling him what and where he should change. I think the song that had the most iterations is «The City and the Stars» or maybe «Bazaar» at it has so many various parts in it. The only song that was recorded from the first try, is (surprise!), «Try». I was basically doing the demo for the lead-guitarist and suddenly it came out so well that I decided I didn’t want to redo anything.
9- And how do you use to work on the songwriting?
It’s always different. Every song was written in some unique way. Sometimes I was just playing my acoustic guitar and found a nice fingerpicking progression, then began humming a tune to it. Some songs were like glued from different parts and riffs (I hope you won’t find out which ones, ha!). Some were written by Andrew and he’s usually writing lyrics at the same time, so he almost always sings a vocal phrase. Or if it’s music only, he writes the full arrangment – all instruments at the same time. I never do that – I record the guitars first, then think of a melody, then lyrics. Sometimes my lyrics appear only after everything was recorded in the studio.
10 – Finally, what are you near-future plans?
It’s hard to say. I’m very eager to release a music video or two this year, but it’s both expensive and takes a lot of time to create (I mean, we can’t pay a lot, so we need to write a very good script for a decent video).
I hope we’ll record a new single or two in 2014 and maybe start touring. Depends on the listener reaction. We can’t have a nice setlist just yet because we don’t have enough songs for a good gig 🙂 Maybe if we add a few covers 🙂
11- That’s all from our side, thanks again for taking your time to answer our questions.
If you now want to add some final words; feel free to do it.
Thank you for your questions! I especially appreciate looking for the 3 words for the album. It was really cool. I should do this for every release I take part in.
Please check out our web resources:
http://www.facebook.com/Starsoup (like us!)
http://www.last.fm/music/Starsoup (tag us, okay? you can dl a few songs for free too)
http://www.jango.com/music/Starsoup (free streaming)
You might even think of buying the album. Ha!