Interviews: Symphress

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Symphonic Metal/Progressive Metal band Symphress from Romania. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE.

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you plan it or come out just like that?

We thought about it a lot and we went through a lot of brainstorming for the name but in the end, we settled upon Symphress back in 2015/2016. “Symph-“ comes from <symphonic>, while “-ress” stands for <progressive>, and it is a subtle statement in that we wish to incorporate the best of these two worlds into our unique style.

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

We all are fans of progressive rock and metal in one form or another, while some of us also hold symphonic music (and symphonic metal specifically) close to our hearts. For example, Mihai (guitars, vocals) is a huge Nightwish fan, while ‘AC’ is a very big fan of Dream Theater. Others, like Alex (drums), love Sleep Token, for example. It is through these subtle differences that lay among us that we decided we should focus on variety and versatility. We believe the label “symphonic progressive rock/metal” is extremely inclusive and may include everything, as seen on our latest release, Pseudo, where we presented 5 tracks, each in a different style, from jazz and country to prog metal.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Mihai and Alex knew each other before Symphress, back from high-school when they had another project in their hometown, a band called White December. Similarly, Sergiu (vocals), Andrada (vocals) and Paul (guitars) knew each other to a point from different past projects. ‘AC’ and Paul are the most recent people to join the Symphress family.

4. Each band member's favorite band?

Andrada’s favorite bands are Deftones and Nightwish, but she also likes the music of In This Moment and Paramore. Sergiu’s all-time favorite band is Queen and he considers Freddy Mercury the biggest frontman of all time. Mihai is a long-time Nightwish fanatic and that’s the band that helped him basically discover rock and metal music. Paul’s favorite artist is Jorn Lande and he usually cites Jorn’s projects as his favorite. When it comes to Alex, it seems the trio The Prodigy – Linkin Park – Disturbed represent his choices as favorite bands/artists. ‘AC’ preferences are vast and versatile – he states that Rachmaninoff, Tchaikovsky, and the American band Dream Theater are among his favorite artists/composers. Alina (keyboards) has Nina Simone as her all-time idol in music, but she also often mentions the band Haken as a powerful influence.

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

It depends on the concept we wish to approach. Almost all of our songs are conceptual in nature – that is, they all serve a greater purpose than the music itself, or, seen from another perspective, most of our music is tied to clear ideas that often allow for interpretation but are seldom vague. For our debut album, Father Time (Part I), Mihai took inspiration from a wide range of philosophers in creating the album. Musically, inspiration came mostly from film music and from the main influences of Symphress – the bands Nightwish and Dream Theater. Pseudo was inspired mostly by Plato’s works while musically was influenced by bands such as Yes, Genesis, Pink Floyd, and of course, Dream Theater.

6. Where was your last gig?

Our last gig as of the time of this interview was in our hometown of Cluj-Napoca, where we opened for the folk metal band An Theos. It was a beautiful evening filled with great music and nice moments all throughout. We can’t thank them enough for giving us this opportunity.

7. Where would you like to act?

As a long-term goal, we’d love to play shows in other European countries, and hopefully, it will come in time. We’re not sure if we can point out a specific venue, but we’d love to play in Budapest for example. It is an amazing city and Hungary is a beautiful country. We have some surprises stored for our fans for autumn in this regard. More on this in due time, of course.

8. Whom would you like to feature with?

This is so hard to answer as we admire tons of artists of different styles. We as a band have pretty different tastes from one another but we’d love to have a song featuring Mikael Åkerfeldt from Opeth. He is an amazing vocalist and his growling is one of the best in the genre, in our opinion. Who knows? Maybe one day we’ll get to that point as well.

9. Whom not?

Any artist would be welcome, of course. We’ve always tried to be as inclusive as possible and as versatile as we can be. This versatility is what Symphress is all about as a band – you could listen to five random songs from our catalog and probably you couldn’t tell it was the same band on three of them if you didn’t know beforehand. So yes indeed – any feature will be more than welcome.

10. Have any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that?

Alina, our keyboard player, has suffered from stage fright some time back and initially she found it difficult to deal with it. Mihai also had similar problems in his early guitar-playing days. The best piece of advice we can give on this is to just go on that stage and have fun. Remember that the only thing that really matters is that at the end of the day, you are enjoying what you are doing. By feeling that joy and giving it to the public, you will receive something back which is incredibly beautiful. The public will give you their energy and joy back. It’s this awesome cycle of positive energy that keeps us going as musicians. Bottom line – go on stage, have fun, take pride in the privileged position you are in (that of a musician and entertainer) but stay humble and work as hard as you can. It’s better to enjoy the show and live in the moment fully than to live with fear yet manage to play the concert perfectly technically. Emotion beets technicality any day.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

We take many artists and bands as inspiration and influence for Symphress. Probably the most audible influences come from Nightwish, Dream Theater, Opeth, and Epica. Film music composers such as John Williams, Hans Zimmer, and Ennio Morricone have also inspired us a lot. Mihai also takes a lot of musical inspiration from video game music, which is sometimes audible on our debut album, Father Time (Part I).

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

Probably the oddest situations involving fans are those in which certain fans know more about the band's future planned projects than some of the band members themselves. If it happens Mihai leaks some info in an online interview or has a discussion with somebody about plans that weren’t yet discussed, sometimes band members will find out about these when they talk to those fans who follow us thoroughly. We were asked when a certain music video would come out even before some of the band members knew we were going to film. It’s crazy but cool at the same time to know your work really matters to some people.

13. What do you think of your fans?

We think they are amazing and we wish to thank them for their continuous support. None of what we do would matter if it weren’t for them. We take pride in the people who enjoy our music as we believe they are versatile listeners with varied music tastes, open-minded individuals who love music for its own sake, not for a genre or the other.

14. What do you think of our site?

The website is well-made and contains a lot of cool content. It’s also easy to navigate and it’s structured very well. Good job on the work you’ve managed to pull off with the website.

15. Something to add?

We wish to thank you from the bottom of our hearts for the opportunity you gave us with this interview. We are really happy to share our thoughts and stories with anyone interested. We hope we’ll see each other at a Symphress concert once so we can have a few beers as well as a great time together. Cheers!

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