RED ROSE started in the beginning of 2010, in Israel. It was a mixture of musicians from two different bands, which came to an end of their existence. The musicians had years of experience on stage and experience in song-writing. Together they started a new project, aiming on a debut album “Live The Life You’ve Imagined” which came out on October 2011, via BakerTeam Records. Some days ago I had a chance to interview Red Rose’s keyboardist Deion Kristen, here’s what we talked about…
1. Hi Deion, I’m Tarja. Welcome to Metal Shock Finland! Let’s start from the beginning, which is not so far in the past… you’re very young as a band, but what is the background of your band-members?
Greetings Tarja and Metal Shock Finland readers! First of all let me thank you for your time and interest. It’s a pleasure to be noticed in such a distant country from us as Finland!
I think I will begin the story with introduction of the band’s members: Leve Laiter – vocals, Elnur Aliev – guitars, Eli Reeve – bass, and me, Deion Kristen, on keyboards (and Sam Davidoff – session drums).
Before we gathered as Red Rose, we all had several years of experience playing in hard rock/metal bands. In fact Leve, Eli and I played in the same band that performed covers and just started making first steps in writing of original material. That band didn’t work out so well eventually, and our dissatisfaction was one of the reasons to create Red Rose.
Elnur played in a more “advanced” band then, whose sound was much heavier. They recorded and self-produced an album, but experienced rough times too at approximately the same period we did. And the two parted bands formed one new. Although Elnur’s musical background is much heavier than ours, his love for melody and harmony made the connection with us easy and natural. He was the best match for Red Rose’s guitars.
Maybe a bit of prog metal… I don’t know. We weren’t really thinking about styles when we wrote the music for the first album. It just seemed to flow right and sound good – what we did intuitively. We wouldn’t want to stick to something specific in the future as well. I think it’s best to keep the minds open and define a style along the way of writing…
3. Who and what bands have influenced you the most?
Each of us has his own main inspiration sources. This is why the music we wrote turned out to be various, sparkling with different elements even in one single song. But we also have common favourite bands. Royal Hunt, Dream Theater, Queen, Scorpions, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath… Classics of rock and metal are the real influence for us I think.
4. To be a metal band in Israel… what is your every-day-reality in the music scenes?
The reality is pretty harsh. There’s not enough space in Israel to gather big audiences, not enough space for touring, and generally the rock culture is not developed. But though the metal scene is small, it does exist. There are many good bands here. We just hope that the rock-metal movement will come out from the underground and expand in the future.
Actually this was the exact idea of this name. I wouldn’t hang the meaning of it to our music right away. We still want to write songs on different subjects. But the main concept of beautiful melodic music along with heavy, thorny rocking guitars will remain. Let’s see how Red Rose will evolve.
6. Your debut album “Live The Life You’ve Imagined” was released in October, via Bakerteam Records. Tell us about its songwriting process… already from the title I could say it’s a concept album, a receipt for a happier life on earth…
At the inception of this album, it wasn’t meant to be conceptual. And actually I’m a bit surprised you used that term. Yes, there is a line that connects all of the songs, but it was only after they were finished that we realized this line exists and came up with the album title that best suited the title track.
For the songwriting process, we had several ideas from previous bands, which we wanted to rework, and some new ideas too. Some songs were developed from a guitar riff, some from lyrics with simple chord progression, and some from a single piece of melody. Each of us contributed to the writing process to create the final piece. We tried different ways in composition, and it seems to work well. I believe will continue with this approach.
It’s the band’s introduction album. It is intended to show our current vision, taste and capabilities and give anticipation for the future. We are very young as a band, like you said in the beginning, and there’s much to learn and develop in ourselves. I would call this album a big tryout. And “the best is yet to come!”
8. The album was recorded at Jailhouse Studios, Denmark, with renowned producer Tommy Hansen… tell us more about this collaboration.
We wanted our debut album to sound the best possible way. And we knew this couldn’t be achieved in Israel. So when it came to deciding where to make a recording, Eli shared an idea he’s been up to for a while: to record the album in Denmark, with the legendary producer Tommy Hansen. Though it seemed crazy, we all agreed that Tommy’s signature sound could be just what our songs demanded.
We decided to go for it, and after a couple of months of hard labour for affording such a trip, we took the tickets and travelled thousands of miles away from Israel, without knowing what’s expecting us there. But the result of such an insane step was far beyond satisfying! We now recall the Danish experience as the best thing ever happened to us.
Oh… we never wanted to pull it that way. It was just the best place for the logo – in the middle :)
As for the artwork itself, it does show two worlds that symbolize good and bad. And it is related to the choice that everyone has to make constantly. You see, living the life you’ve imagined is not necessarily good. The whole point of it is that it’s up to you what your life will look like…
10. MSFinland has recently reviewed your album with honors, claiming however that its 8 songs are too short… the entirety of album is within for a little more than 30 minutes… why’s that?
Yes, many reviewers touch that point. But you are the first to ask about it, Tarja :)
Well, the main reason I think is that this album was meant to be an introduction album, as I already mentioned. We didn’t want to go crazy with quantity of songs. Just enough to show our intentions. And the other reason says “better be brief than boring”, which is true for new bands I think.
From some of the reviews we learned that our songs, though short, make you wanna play them again and again. And this means we succeeded in what we planned! But our next album will sure be longer and will contain more material. Now that we are big boys and got some experience, it will reflect in the songwriting of course.
It was mixed, but mostly positive and inspiring. We didn’t expect this album to be a groundbreaking, or to hit the top charts. After all, this is a debut album, and we’re just at the beginning of a journey. But people loved our music and could hear the potential of the band, as we understand from all the reactions. And this gives us strengths and will to go on.
12. How are you gonna support the album?
We already had an album release show here in Israel, which went pretty well. And we have another scheduled live show in the close future. I think we’ll keep it up with local shows.
But of course we’d like to have a tour outside our small country. We hope we’ll be able to make it happen soon. We gotta follow our own message from the album, and realize our dreams! :)
13. You’re one of the first bands that has been signed on BakerTeam Records, how you two found each other? and what are you expecting about this collaboration?
Our collaboration started thanks to Angelo Mora, a journalist of HardRock Italy and A&R agent of Scarlet Records. He got into his hands a promo package that we have sent to numerous labels in the world, and really liked the album! He was the one who introduced us to Scarlet Records (which was about to open a new partner label), and stood for the collaboration between us. And so the new label, Bakerteam Records, offered us a deal. We couldn’t deny!
We are very pleased with their work. Our album has been reviewed in so many countries, and our songs are played on radio stations… Bakerteam records did a good job in the promotion, and we hope they will continue to help us reaching more and more listeners. I believe we made a right choice with the label.
14. Returning back to our review, it states that RED ROSE is a journey, a destination, a long path that can be hindered… so, what are your next plans?
Well, as I mentioned, we’re gonna keep it warm here with local shows, and hopefully arrange something in Europe. Perhaps we’ll make an official video to one of the songs.
But our main goal for now is new material and new album. We already got some ideas, and are working them out. So it won’t be long till you hear from us again!
15. Thanks for this interview! And now the word is yours… what would you like to say to our readers?
Thank you very much Tarja! It’s been a pleasure answering your questions.
For all the readers, don’t stop dreaming and make your dreams come true! And give a listen to our album, perhaps you’ll like it! :)
Interview by Tarja Virmakari
For more information, please visit: http://www.redrose.co.il