Heaven Grey- a doom Metal band, taking one of the leading roles in the Latvian Metal scene. We put out our demo in 1994 titled “Under The Grey Clouds.” In 1996 we recorded and edited the first album “Memory River” that has been sold for over 1,000 copies all over Baltic states (for Latvia, it’s quite much). Nobody here (of course, Metal bands), has sold so much. We have been invited to almost all the biggest rock/pop festivals here in Latvia. We played more than 120 gigs not only in Latvia but also in Lithuania. By now we have recorded the new stuff called “Northwind”, with that it would be popular not only here but also abroad.
In the beginning, Heaven Grey used to play total death Metal with doom and grindcore elements. So, why did the music changed drastically in “Memory River”?
We really started with death Metal. The demo “Under The Grey Clouds” shows that. The change of style was connected with some personal changes as well as with personal opinions. The music of “Memory River” is more interesting and emotional than on the demo.
Besides the musical concept, what are the other things that you think differentiate your demo and the album?
The differences between the demo and the first album amongst musical are: covers, quality, amount of songs, amount of edited MCs.
Why did Heaven Grey decides to include cello as one of the main instruments? What is so special about the usage of cello in the band’s music?
The cello is used for years. Ernests was asked to play some stuff even before the recording of the demo. At first it was played only on the parts with acoustic sound, but later we decided to have fun and use it more and it sounds great. Cello brought more melody, pain to the music. The music become more beautiful, atmospheric and melodious.
Ansis was your manager before he became the vocalist of the band. How could this occurred?
During the time of the original vocalist Andris, Ansis was kinda manager. He helped us to organize gigs and was like a member of the band. After the deporting of Andris we sought for another guy but it was difficult enough to find one. On one of our rehearsals we asked Ansis to try himself as a singer. He tried and it was not bad at all. Step by step he worked out his voice and after some gigs we decided to have him for eternity.
“Memory River”… being released by the band independently? Couldn’t find any label address in the inlay, but what’s the relationship with MAPL Music?
The “Memory River” was financed by ourselves as well as the design of the cover. The label MAPL helped us just to promote and distribute it here in Latvia- that’s all. If I have to answer why there is no address on the cover- I don’t know. My opinion is that they weren’t interested in because they sign mostly pop-dance music but helped us because of good friendship.
Vyacheslav Niketin composed most of Heaven Grey songs right?
On “Memory River”, the themes mostly were written by Vyacheslav but it doesn’t mean that the others are less productive. The main part is done by him but their own things and shades are done by everybody. But on this new album, Sigvards and Vyacheslav write songs partly.
And what about the lyrics? They’re kind of depressive, I think.
All the lyrics are written by Ansis. They tell about relations between people, about life, about love, hate. There is no aggression or evil, or satanic stuff in the lyrics.
What’s so special about the music that made you choose doom Metal?
The style of doom is the most emotional, atmospheric, sorrowful, among the others. You can brightly show your inner, emotional world, your experience.
Looking at the current doom Metal scene, what could you say about it?
I think the style of doom is interesting enough but, unfortunately, there is tendency to play it as it was already played. However, the new bands will take place of the old ones.
What about the gothic music, which is much more associated with doom Metal these days?
The style of gothic is much equal to doom. The lyrics and music. I like such bands as The 3rd and The Mortal, Funeral, Moonspell but actually I don’t care about the names of styles. We like all music and who cares about titles.
I don’t know much about the Metal scene there in Latvia…
By now the scene of Latvian Metal has become greater as it was some years ago. Big festivals take place once in a two months, but little club-gigs every week. Riga (our capital) is the hometown for all the leading bands- Skyforger, Neglected Fields, Sanctimony, as well as there are some bands with perspective all over the country.
You will release your second album, “Northwind” on Wild Rags Records?
In days we had to cut the relations with the label WILD RAGS in the US and Richard Gee because of his now very understandable way of working. He said too much unspecific things. Also many good friends from other countries told us to cut off the deal because of the bad reputation of the label. We have many offers from different labels and we’re seeking for the best contract.
The album title, why “Memory River”?
The name “Memory River” presented vocalist Ansis. I think he wanted to show some episodes of his life but I don’t know which ones, really.
Will Heaven Grey remains like this in the future, sound-wise etc?
We’ll be truthful to the style we play. The approvement is the new stuff “Northwind”. The new one is more melodic than “Memory River”, but also includes some hard rock stuff. The vocals are more extravert and atmospheric. You can’t live without experimenting.