The Grand and Epic Adventures of Winter’s Verge
The Grand and Epic Adventures of Winter’s Verge
Winter’s Verge is one of Cyprus’ most successful metal bands. Since its formation in 2005, the band has released four studio albums and three EPs, presenting a powerful blend of epic, melodic and symphonic metal. In a live setting, Winter’s Verge has opened for the likes of Stratovarius and Mystic Prophecy, and are becoming very well known for their very own exhilarating onstage presentations. The latest auditory epic from Winter’s Verge is entitled The Ballad Of James Tig, now available worldwide through Pride & Joy Music. Highwire Daze recently interviewed bassist Miguel Trapezaris to find out more about the dynamic artistry of Winter’s Verge, the story behind The Ballad Of James Tig, news about his other band Arrayan Path, and additional topics of intrigue. Read on…
Introduce yourself. tell me what you do in Winter’s Verge and how long the band has been together.
Hi there! Miguel here, I play bass in the band. The band has been together since 2004 and I joined in 2005!
Where are you based out and what is your local music scene like there?
We’ve been based in Cyprus all this time. The scene here produces some really talented and interesting bands, generally the level of musicianship is very high and while it’s a small scene, we produce some really good albums. We all know each other and work together.
How did you wind up signing with Pride & Joy Music?
We produced our latest album and decided that we should look to getting signed with a label again – we self-released the last two and it was a lot of work! Our agents managed to get a promo copy of our album to Pride & Joy and they liked it enough to sign us! We’re very happy for this.
Is there any overall story or concept behind The Ballad Of James Tig CD title?
The whole album is basically the story of the novella of the same title, with lyrics written by the author Frixos Masouras. It is a fantasy story involving themes of loss, redemption, revenge and atonement. The book is available from us and a new edition will be published at the same time as the album!
Select two songs from The Ballad Of James Tig and what inspired the lyrics?
Well, I Accept and Blood on the Foam are the two singles from the album – the first deals with understanding and accepting that sometimes things happen beyond our control or understanding, the second with the unfortunate series of events that comes as a result of questionable decisions. They’re named after chapters in the book.
Who did the cover art for The Ballad Of James Tig and how much input did you have on it?
The cover art was done by George Vasiliou. We had a lot of input as we wanted to capture the spirit of the album in the cover – even though physical sales are certainly not what they used to be, the ‘whole package’ of an album is still important (the cover will show up on the back of the Spotify or YouTube player) so it still gives a visual aspect to the music for the listener to identify with.
What is the background of female guest vocalist Teodora Stoyanova Freya and what other bands has she been in?
Teodora is from the Bulgarian band Freija, based in Plovdiv. We played a show with them in Bulgaria in 2016 and had a great time, her voice is magical and unique and we felt she was perfect to play the part of Nina in the album’s story!
What has it been like to record and release new music in the middle of a worldwide pandemic and so much social unrest in the world?
It’s been very strange – we haven’t been able to play teaser shows or previews – the last show we played was in September of last year in Israel. We managed to play a couple of the songs from the new album there and they got a great response at least, but of course in normal times we’d be planning many more shows, maybe even a tour, and generally being a lot more active than we are! So recording and producing an album hasn’t been too difficult, since we have the technology to do it remotely, but live shows are of course a different matter. Everyone is desperate for things to return to normal, and performers (musicians, actors, dancers, etc.) are perhaps more desperate than anyone because what we do is defined by bringing people together in a physical space. We will get through this, the world has been through a LOT worse – try to find anyone who lived in Europe or Asia during World War II, or at least read their stories, and you’ll see this is nothing compared to that.
What could one expect from a live Winter’s Verge show?
We really try to get a connection with the audience, we’re certainly not one of the bands which plays and just stays still and performs for them – we try to get them involved. So expect a lot of singing along, some banter, and truly join in the event. That’s what we feel makes a live show really special. We really do try to give it all when we play.
What was it like opening for Mystic Prophecy and did you get to meet or hang out with them at all?
RD Liapakis was actually the one who ‘discovered’ us in a sense, he took us to Germany to record and produce our first full-length and helped us secure our first record deal. We owe a lot to him, his advice and support was invaluable throughout the years, especially in the beginning. So playing with them on the number of times we did was always a treat, we felt like they were an extended family. We spent a lot of time talking, drinking beers and chilling out. All very cool and fun people, I miss them!
How did your tour with Stratovarius go and what were some of the highlights?
It was a dream come true, for me especially as they’ve been one of my favourite bands since I was a teenager. I honestly don’t know how many hours I spent listening to their CDs, trying to figure out the basslines and really trying to delve deeper into the music, so suddenly being backstage with them and hanging out, hearing Jens Johansson’s and Jorg Michael’s stories from the road was a real treat. Also very good, genuine people. They were very welcoming and didn’t try to act like big diva rock stars to us, they showed us a lot of professional courtesy and respect which was very much appreciated and goes to show what kind of characters they are. The shows themselves were epic – huge, adoring crowds and they even seemed to really like us! One definite highlight was in Vienna and a few other shows, after we finished playing the crowd carried on singing the chorus of To You I Sail Tonight even as we were taking our stuff down to allow for the next band to come on! That really made a mark on me, I felt we really connected to a lot of people.
Has Winter’s Verge ever played here in the States or plan to do so in future days?
We haven’t ever played there – the logistics and costs are a bit too high, but we would absolutely love to. Any European band dreams of playing in the US. As soon as the right opportunity presents itself you can bet we’d be on a plane over there immediately!
If Winter’s Verge could open up for any band either now or from the past, who would it be and why?
So many! I think the best bands we could open for now (apart from Stratovarius and Mystic Prophecy of course!) would be Powerwolf (we have a lot of fantasy themed songs, and an entire EP about warewolf pirates!) Alestorm (we have a lot of songs about the sea, pirates and adventure, plus we like to have fun!) and Sonata Arctica (their sound and approach has had a huge influence on our music right from the start). I think opening for those 3 bands would be ideal, as we are fans of their music already, so their fans would enjoy our show I think!
How did you become involved with Arrayan Path? Would Winter’s Verge and Arrayan Path ever want to tour or do a show together. Or has this already happened?
I joined Arrayan Path back in 2017. Their longtime bass player left the band, and I figured I might as well get involved as I’ve always really enjoyed the albums and shows. It was a chance to work with some really great musicians as well, like Nicholas Leptos of course but also his brother Socrates on guitar and the amazing Huseyin Kyrmizi (a.k.a. Japon) on the keyboards whose work I always greatly admired. I have to keep busy as much as possible with music, it’s like a drug to me – I play in another 4 bands as well! I am the type of person who cannot stop practicing, playing, recording and composing songs, it’s almost compulsive. So while a show with both Arrayan Path and Winter’s Verge has yet to happen (at least while I’ve been involved) I would be quite open to do shows or even a tour together – it would take a toll on me for sure as the music for both projects is quite demanding, but I’d definitely give it my all. Music is life.
What is currently going on with Arrayan Path?
Actually finishing off the final touches to our latest album! Should be released this year at some point on Pitch Black Records, so it’s been quite busy for me in terms of releases and creation. We had some great shows in Greece lined up for this summer, but those obviously didn’t happen… hopefully soon.
When you look back on your very first album Another Life, Another End, what do you think of it now in retrospect?
It’s a good, honest demo album. The music is quite raw, the songs are genuine and we weren’t scared to show our influences but at the same time inject something unique into them. The recording quality is of course nothing like what we can do nowadays, but that might be part of its charm. We were still trying to find our feet, musically, but we definitely knew the direction we wanted to go and we weren’t shy to really try it. We made some mistakes but overall, I think it’s a really good genuine effort and I’m still proud of it. It certainly showed what was to come!
What’s up next for Winter’s Verge?
Well, doing as much promotion for the new album as we can, given the current circumstances! As soon as we are able to, we want to play a big special release show for our fans and friends here in Cyprus, and then see where we can travel to. I think things will start getting back to normal in about 6 months’ time, so we just have to hang tight until then.
Any final words of wisdom?
The paper is blank – you write your own story. Some things in life we cannot control, but it’s the things we can control define us. Make your own path and be who you want to be.
Thank you for taking the time to answer these questions!
Thank you for talking to us! Stay safe and stay metal!
Winter’s Verge is George Charalambous (vocals), Deniel Pavlovsky and Savvas Parperi (guitars), Stavry Michael (keyboard), Miguel Trapezaris (bass) and Danny Georgiou (drums).
(Interview by Ken Morton)
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