E-mail interview: Maja Trstenjak
Photo: SnifShot

Croatian demo scene – proud of its lots of great and quality demo bands nobody knows of. As time passes, those same bands are trying to dive out from misty underground and break through in real music world. Downcast Art is one of them.

VENIA:Introduce yourself and your band to readers.
How did it all began? How did the process from the idea about the band till band go? What made yout to form this band?
SAŠA: Idea itself was created by Zdravko and he told it to others, trying to form the band of this genre. Some of us played in some other bands, but we still had something in common – love towards the music. This line-up came by accident, but we knew each other before official band enterance, so we funcion great!
IVA: Zdravko had a wich to form something like this band, but is small town as Karlovac it is hard to find whole team who would have same wiches and goals so they would all fit as a group. Because of that we managed to find our last member few months ago, who fit in well and now we have all for great future collaboration.

VENIA:In which music genre do you create your music? Is there some band that inspires you the most?
IVA: I mostly gain inspiration from bands like Epica and Nightwish, their vocals had biggest influence on my own, which, of course, can be heard. The rest of the band listens, beside similar bands, and completely different bands which gives us some kind of speciality during our music making. But if i had to specificate something – i would sad we belong to symphonic metal genre.
SAŠA: By style we belong to symphonic metal, but still, we don’t go to some rules that song has to consist some perticular parts. Someone simply arrives with and idea, then the base of the song is being developed, we give our aruguments and ideas while we don’t create the song. I thing that each of us in the band has some personal idols whose style has influence on our own. (what is normal) To me those are Maidens, AlogiA, Deep Purple, Pink Floyd…

VENIA:What is your music background, did you play in any bands before?
SAŠA:Sure, but never something serious. It was all based on ideas of youg rebels who are creating something, but never actually created something. That was more like joking other than playing, but still; there must be some beginning. There were many genres, from old rock, till heavy to HC.
IVA: Yes, something was going on, although it was nothing serious and those were earlyest beginnings, while we were all beginners, band has no real name, and the same song sounds each time differentely, hahahah J. That is when Zdravko showed up and introduced us is idea, and I liked i….and Downcast Art was created…

VENIA:How important is to you playing in the band, do you have any other interestes besides music?
SAŠA: Well, playing makes me complete. Somebody has hobby like paper collecting, somebody makes ceramical pots and so on. I have found my peace in music. That is something that makes me complete. Unfortunaly, no matter do i want it or no, i have to have daily job besides the music, because this kind of music (well at least so far) on this place stil doesn’t bring me food on table. Job has to be done and save mone for the equipment. It is hard, but i don’t feel sorry for it.

VENIA:Where did the name Downcast Art came from?
SAŠA: Zdravko made up the neme. To me personally it represents the band, four more people with which i do something in common with – the music.
IVA: Well, story about the name is pretty interesting, but I still don’t know what did Zdravko exactly thought with that name, because when i once asked him, if this name means like “failed art” he thought and said: “Yea, it can be said so as well.” So, what the creator thought…remains hidden. 😉

VENIA:You were doing Nightwish covers in past, what made you to cover this band?
IVA: Common love towards this band. Zdravko, myself and former guitarist had only this band which we had in common, so we began to start with the most known… But the goal was from the beginning to work on our own songs.

VENIA:What do you think about Croatian demo scene? What bands would you mention as most perspective ones?
SAŠA:Demo scene exists and i consider it as big, only because of number of bands, but that it is big in sense on profitability that is definitelly not true. It would all be ok if there are no good bands, but bands who exist on demo scene, whose music isn’t known to people are definitelly even better then bands who are played on TV and radio. To me personally i like most our collegues AlogiA. They have that something. Then you have Southern Storm, which is today called Irina & Storm. Rising Dream are also musically good, although i am not a fan of this type of covals, but i sitll thing they have one of the better albums that was released in this area in last few years.
IVA: Demo scene in Croatia definitelly exists and there are some really quality bands. I would mention as favourite Ashes You Leave from Rijeka and Omega Lithium from Umag, with who we already had a several chances to play with and for who i think that have a great chance to break in “outside world”, and they have already started.

VENIA:What do you think Croatian scene misses?
SAŠA: Everything besides more bands and band’s wishes to play. There is lack of media promotion, money, someone to invest in them. There are people who have interested and are ready to do something, but those kind of project are dead in their rooths. Unfortunetely i have felt that on my own skin..

VENIA:When you think about domestic scene, with who would you most rather do a tour? With who would you from world scene would love to do a tour? Why?
SAŠA: From domestic Osmi putnik (Split), Hard Time (Zagreb) and AlogiA (Smederevo). Those are bands i personally really like. Among bands outside Balkan…hm..definitelly Maidens. Haha J. Edguy as well. Halloween… well there are lots of them, it is hard to get any kinf of gig without paying it ourselfes, which we aren’t really in possibility to do.
IVA: It is really hard to put anyone from domestic scene with us, besides some demo bands. And from outlands – with some of my favourite bands, because i really appreciate them because on influence they had on us – Epica, Nightwish, Within Temptation, Evanescence, Tarja Turunen.. I hope one day will at least something of that happen. 🙂

VENIA:How much effort does it take, and what should someone do in general to gain attention from Croatian audience?
IVA: Much, much effort! It is most important for people to hear for you, on any kind of was. Shows are most important part and it is important to appear on many various places, in as many as possible towns so people can hear us and remember. Appearences on radio shows, many interviews, articles, reviews…it all helps people to “get in their ear” and that they became aware of us. Most important is that we are good band, so the impressoion we make is positive!

VENIA:Since you are a demo band, most of the audience comes to see you, without actually knowing you at all. How do they usually react on you?
IVA: So far, the audience even surprised us with their interest! Many times we didn’t expect anyone to even know for us, our songs, but the miracle is that in every town we had an audience who enjoyed our music, that is why it happens that several times we come to the same town, invited from organizators (Pula, for example). But i am sure that audience will grow bigger with time, we only have to be given a chance.
SAŠA: Well, audience reacted surprisingly good so far. In Duga Rese club was totally ful and some people were standing outside of in, asking for encore. To me that was definitelly the best gig. Mostly we get good critics, besides one gig in Karlovac when we were dissapointed on every possible fields – from making deal with organizator to sound that was awful. Bad equipment is not what we want and we don’t want for people to gain wrong impression because club owner is avaritious, and he decided to save 200kn more. But still, it had to happen. One more experience.

VENIA:Right now you are in studio, can you tell us something about upcoming work?
SAŠA: There will be three songs that were releassed on promo album, but little changed because we started to play them differentely on some parts. Small stuff. But there will be some new songs for which will hope audience will like. I will personally be very glad when demo album will be released so we can finally introduce to people what else were we doing.
IVA: Exactly we are working very hard. We are working our new demo with new songs, which are our best works so far and as time goes, so we develop more. This songs that are noe recorded are my most favourite (besides “Whisper Of A Dying Rose”  from our first demo “Downlight”), and i think the audience will be pretty satisfied with them! 🙂

VENIA:How do your songs come to life, who writes the music, and who the lyrics?
SAŠA:  So far, music was made by Kristian and Zdravko, while lyrics were written only by Zdravko. Songs come spontaniously. Someone gives us an idea so we try, think, so if we like it, we try more, making it better, change and so on. Few months after first idea of song i still think how should i play some part (ah, drummer, i have to complicate). 🙂

VENIA:Besides new album, which are your other future plans?
SAŠA: Gigs, and outside Croatian borders, album making, signing for some record company and same things other bands want but that is something that should we really fight for. So far it went well, so we’ll see how will it continue. 🙂
IVA: Playing, playing, playing and only playing. 😉

Official web page: www.downcastart.com