Interview: Groza

In July Groza released their new album, titled The Redemptive End. DutchMetalManiac’s René Müller already reviewed it here, now he also interviewed Groza’s P.G..

Hi Groza! Das Interview machen wir in Englisch, aber vorab herzliche Grüße aus dem Süden!

Hey guys. Thanks for taking the time for the interview! First of all, how are you doing?

Hello, thanks for having us. We are doing good so far, played a couple shows again this summer and finally released our new album, so things could be worse right now for sure.

For everyone who does not know you yet, how would you describe your music?

We play melodic, emotionally driven black metal.

How did the writing of The Redemptive End go? What’s the songwriting process in the band in general?

The writing process was a bit different for this album compared to the last one. I started this project in 2016 as a solo project, where I wrote all the music myself. So also, the first album Unified In Void was mainly written by me, since I only invited the other members to join GROZA a couple months before recording the debut. Most of it was already written before that.
For this new album though, it has been more of a team effort. I still come up with the basic ideas and concepts most of the time, but the other members now have more influence in arranging the songs and giving their parts their individual touch.
So usually, I record a rough demo myself which I then present to the other guys and we continue to work on it together from there. Also for this new album, we wrote some parts out of jam type situations at rehearsal, which is also something, that we haven’t done before.

In the press material I read that recording and mixing was done by P.G. himself. What’s your setup and experience with production, because the album sounds absolutely stellar! Respect, extremely professional. How much was influenced by the mastering support of Michael Kraxenberger (Sick Of Sound)? Can you walk us through your process a bit?

Thanks for the compliment. All the recording was done either in our rehearsal space (mainly for drums and vocals) or in my home studio. For mixing, my setup is rather simple. I do most of my mixing work ‘in the box’ (meaning without use of external audio hardware), so all I really need is a computer, a good audio interface and a pair of studio speakers, that I know very well to produce a record like this.
I just always happened to do the recording / mixing / mastering stuff for all my older bands and other projects, simply because we couldn’t afford to go to a proper studio back then. I just learned through trail and error, more or less, reading books about it or watching tutorials online and then applying it to my own projects.
It just grew from there. It’s also easier now for me to do it that way, because sometimes, I have a hard time expressing my vision through words to other people. I would much rather do it myself, before explaining it to someone else who then might interpret / understand it differently and so on.
It just makes sense to do it myself, if I have the skills for it. About the mastering: This time we chose, to hand over the mastering duties to Michael Kraxenberger. He’s a friend from the local scene, that we’ve known forever and I felt, that mastering was the main field in our production, that had potential left, because my mastering skills are limited.
That’s why we gave that to someone more capable.

In my review, I have assigned Unified in Void some strong MGLA influences, while The Redemptive End reminds me of UADA. While this in itself is by no means anything negative, how do you see GROZA in regards of individuality in the black metal scene?

Good question. I think that everyone starts by making music, that is influenced and oriented towards their favourite bands. It has always been that way. There is no need for me to reinvent the wheel with every song, if you know what I mean.
Black metal just provides a certain set of stylistic tools, that have been defined by the greats of the genre and through tradition, so why not use them and ‘risk’ being similar to this or that band that way. Out of that, with time, bands then start building their own sound by combining more influences and trying more things. That’s how new sounds and styles emerge and how music develops in the end.
With GROZA, we currently are in this state, I think. The first album was obviously heavily inspired by MGLA, who remain my favourite band (probably of all time).
Being younger than most people would probably expect, I really don’t see a problem with that and couldn’t care less, if that was too much for some. But now, also with the other members contributing more to the songwriting process, we have tried new sounds and directions for our music, which made us develop our sound quite a bit on this new album, I think.

Besides the music, GROZA also has a very similar style in regards to “the dresscode” of e.g. MGLA and UADA. Is this a deliberate choice or homage? Or is this just what the “black metal uniform” (in itself an antithetic idea) looks like nowadays?

Probably a combination of both. We chose this way of appearance to take the focus away from us as people and guide it towards our music, as many other bands have been doing for years. MGLA and UADA also were not the first doing this, many people seem to forget. I also see more and more bands do the same and don’t see a problem with that whatsoever.
I think art should always be about art itself and not about the people behind it, that’s why I approve this look and think, it should be done much more in the future.

Do you have many live gigs planned for the release? What is the situation with the pandemic?

Yes, we have played a couple of shows supporting the release of the album. Mostly festivals but also some club shows.
Of course, with the pandemic still going on, these shows were a little bit different from what we are used to with people wearing masks and sitting down in some cases etc. But the energy and enthusiasm of the people in attendance still remained the same, so that way, it made no difference in the end.

Thanks a lot for taking the time for the interview. I wish you guys lots of success with The Redemptive End and everything after that! Is there something you would like to say to our readers?

Thanks again for having us, all the best and hope to see the Dutch readers at a show in The Netherlands in the not so far future!

Groza Facebook

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