Marta Gabriel is the singer, songwriter, guitarist, and driving force behind her band CRYSTAL VIPER. They have been around for about 10 years and pack all the punch of the metal forefathers who came before them. I was able to have a chat with Marta by e-mail as she was gearing up for the U.S. release of the band’s fifth studio album Possession to hear what’s going on in the world of CRYSTAL VIPER. Observe:
Amps: So, CRYSTAL VIPER has been around for 10 years now. What do you think is the key to your longevity in an era when so many bands come and go?
Marta: Hello Damian, great to hear from you! I think I could answer this with just one word: passion. We love what we do; we love writing, recording and playing Heavy Metal. Sure, it wasn’t easy to survive 10 years, there were better days and worse days, but we are still here. As Nietzsche said “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”, and so here we are, 10 years later, still playing Metal!
Amps: Tell me all about this new record Possession. Where did you get the ideas for the story? And do you have a favorite track?
Marta: Well, first of all as the title says it has something to do with Possession. So you will find there are subjects which most metalheads really like, haha… It’s not a typical ghost /exorcism story, as it all has an unexpected twist, and actually the whole story happens during one night of Friday the 13th (which is also the album’s release date). I don’t want to tell too much as it would be like saying what’s at the end of the movie to someone who is going to watch it, but I can assure you it’s a nice little horror story, where you will find a few historical facts being thrown in. We wanted to achieve an atmosphere similar to this one like in the movies The Exorcist or The Fourth Kind with Milla Jovovich that you can also see in the video clip we did for “Prophet of the End”. And yeah, I think I would list “Prophet of the End” and “We Are Many” as my two favorites on the new album.
Amps: How much fun was it to have so many fans sending in their “screams”? What was THAT listening session like?
Marta: Look, the truth is if there would be no fans, there would be no music at all, no Heavy Metal and no CRYSTAL VIPER. Except that, we – all members of CRYSTAL VIPER – are die-hard fans of Metal, we love a lot of bands, we keep on buying albums and t-shirts, we travel to live shows and festivals as fans. We thought it would be something cool to do something special, something unique – you know, everyone can buy CD or t-shirt, but how often can you find your name in the album booklet, and say “hey, it’s me!” when you listen to some song? I think it’s really cool. And you are right, it was really funny to listen to these screams, as in a few cases people were screaming my name, the words “heavy metal”, or something else.
Amps: Are you excited to get out on the road to support this record? Any chance of a U.S. tour?
Marta: Now I have a question: how the hell is it possible we never played in the United States? Haha… Yes, I would love to play in the States, I know we have lot of fans out there! So promoters or festivals, get in touch, we are sitting on our bags and we are ready to play for you even tomorrow! We love playing, the stage is our home! We love to deliver Heavy Metal madness live on stage!
Amps: As far as writing goes, do the songs start with your ideas personally, and then get fleshed out, or do the other guys ever come in with song ideas?
Marta: I write all the songs and lyrics in CRYSTAL VIPER. I asked guys from the band if they wish to contribute many times, but looks like they prefer to keep it as it is now. I basically compose and write all the time, I always have some recording device with me, so I can record my ideas. For the previous album I wrote something like 70 songs, for this one around 50. I also have several other projects in mind.
Amps: How are things going with your line, Thunderball Clothing?
Marta: Very good, thank you for asking. I do custom and stage clothes, and it takes most of my time. I’m addicted to creativity, and doing stage clothes or custom clothes for people who want something unique, is something I really like and enjoy, so far I was doing clothes for guys from SABATON, VADER, WIZARD, and several other bands.
Amps: What do you do to unwind, away from writing and recording?
Marta: I would say that it’s the usual stuff, I love watching movies, and I’m very much into classic horror movies, especially those from Hammer Films Company. It’s one of my biggest dreams, to write music for a horror movie! I also love reading books, but recording and making clothes in Thunderball Clothing takes most of my time.
Marta: A lot of different stuff. I simply love good music, so between my CDs you will find those from Classic Metal acts, be it IRON MAIDEN, VIRGIN STEELE or OMEN, lot of Black and Death Metal stuff from acts such as DISSECTION, WATAIN, NIFELHEIM, VADER, or DESTROYER 666. But also more melodic stuff such as NIGHTWISH or WITHIN TEMPTATION. I also love Mike Oldfield and I listen to a lot of classic music and movie scores.
Amps: Is there anything you’d like to say to the CRYSTAL VIPER fans out there?
Marta: Yes, thank you for your support! If there would be no fans, there would be no CRYSTAL VIPER! Thank you for being there, we are Metal Nation!
Marta Gabriel was so much fun to chat with. Her enthusiasm for all things metal is infectious! Plus the fact that she’s a horror buff makes her OK in my book, and I imagine many of yours, right? CRYSTAL VIPER’S album Possession comes out here in the U.S. on January 21 via AFM Records, so check them out!