I spoke with Jordan from CARMERIA about the path to the release of their album, which is due out this Friday, May 14th.
Every band has a covid story lately. CARMERIA have a bushfire story to add to that. Recording delays, tours on, tours off, it seems they copped it all.
Check it out below.
Right talking to Jordan from CARMERIA. Jordan, thanks for taking the time.
Yeah, no worries. Thanks for having me on.
Excellent. Good to have you on. Whereabouts are you guys based?
We're currently based out of Sydney, Australia. We're all sort of, you know, all around the place, really. I think at the moment I'm actually out in Bathurst, like Midwest New South Wales but yeah, the majority of the band are based all around Sydney.
How did it come about that you joined the band? You haven't been in the band since the beginning. How did you come on board? And did you know about the band beforehand?
Yeah, so the band originally started around 2012 and it was originally like, a sort of female fronted prog-rock band. I'd sort of, you know, been aware of them for a little bit and they released one EP played a couple of shows and then they sort of disbanded, I think on the grounds of creative differences. I think Jerry and Lisa, the guitarist and original keyboard player wanted to go sort of more in like a more Symphonic Metal/Gothic direction and I think the other band members were looking to go somewhere else. So they split around 2013 and I had actually known sort of Jerry, I think we might have met at a night out at some sort of Rock Club, but we had each other on Facebook and he actually put out an instrumental demo asking if any singers were interested in auditioning for the new kind of version of CARMERIA and I sort of was aware of the band and I was absolutely in love with the Symphonic Metal genre and the idea of performing in a Symphonic Metal band. So I downloaded the track and I think I recorded like a really shitty vocal demo through my laptop microphone I think using GarageBand or something and threw all these vocal layers in and sort of made it all big and bombastic and a bit ridiculous. And I sent it through just not, not sort of knowing, you know, whether it would, you know, give me a chance for a shot at getting into this band, and yeah, the response from Jerry was 'Fuck, man. You can't send that through and not want to audition'. So, we spoke a bit more just about, you know, the sort of direction that they were looking to go in and a bit of my background and my history and where I wanted to go. And yeah, I think, you know, after a couple of months of discussions they made the decision and swore me in as a, if I think like the end of maybe 2014. And yes, since then it's kind of taking a whole new approach to everything. There's been a lot of lineup changes through the years but we're currently at a really good place and I think the lineup we've got at the moment is definitely the right people for the job. It's been an absolute journey with this. This album's been six years in the making so to finally be putting it out as it has been quite surreal.
On the bio that I've got in front of me, there's no bass player listed. What's going on there?
Yeah, so we parted ways with our bass player about a month ago, he was looking to move to Melbourne and we'd sort of, you know, we tried the interstate member thing before a couple of times. And, you know, it hadn't really worked for us, so we sort of made the decision to part ways as of a couple of months ago, but he played his last show with us I think on April 10th, which was the Scream It Out Festival, which is a festival that our guitarist put on as a sort of like a community outreach program, raising awareness for mental health and giving an outlet to alternative youth. So, it was an absolutely amazing show, but yeah, that was his last official day in the band and since then, we've held a couple of auditions for a new player. And I think we've found the right person for the job. So that's exciting. But we haven't made any announcements yet. So, we'll hold off on that for a bit, but I think it's safe to say that the low end of CARMERIA is in very good hands.
Okay, so tell us about this album. How did all the covid carry on affect you? Seems to be the question I'm asking everybody these days because everybody's got a covid story. What's CARMERIA's covid Story. How did you get around it?
It was quite challenging and I think like a lot of other bands we had to adapt as further development started to come about but yeah, it really fucked us up last year. Obviously, we had all these plans to record and release an album and tour it and all that kind of stuff. We originally started recording vocals for the album, so all the instruments are done and we originally started recording vocals for the album in December, 2019. So you know, started doing that and then of course, the bush fires hit. And so we record the album with Lord Tim and he's based in Wollongong and I was sort of driving down every couple of days to lay down more vocal tracks, and all that kind of stuff. And due to the bush fires, the roads end up closing between Sydney and Wollongong. I couldn't actually get there to finish it, so we had to postpone it, I think a couple of weeks, or a couple of months and then of course, covid hit and it was like, fuck, are we gonna get this done, having this album be six years in the making, you know, you kind of have these obstacles start popping up right when you sit on the home stretch and it's kind of like 'does this album not want to be made?' or what's going on? but we ended up getting it finished but we were actually meant to tour last year in April with VALHALORE the epic Viking Metal band from Brisbane and we were meant to do like an East Coast run with them. The week before we were about to leave for it, that was when all these new restrictions came in, they locked everything down, shut the borders and that's kind of where it all started going out of control. So you know that was probably the biggest hit to us so we managed to get the album finished in the end. Obviously that's coming out this week so really excited for that. But yeah that covid thing just kept developing and you know we had more plans that we have to push back and most recent one I think it was with VALHALORE again, in April, again, where we had a couple of shows on their intimate and acoustic tour and yeah, I think that week it was meant to happen or the week before there was another couple of cases, I think up been Queensland and so they shut the borders again. So unfortunately though VALHALLORE had to postpone their to again and that was like the second time that happened to us in in in two years.
Just avoid booking a tour with VALHALORE, lol.
Yeah yeah exactly what that's the thing that seems like a bit of black magic going on behind the scenes or something. But that's actually now been rescheduled for late June/early July. So really looking forward to that because we absolutely love those guys and always have a really good time when we catch up. Can't wait to play with them.
Now I've seen the 'To Lead The Blind' video. What else is happening on that front?
Oh that was a lot of fun that video that we actually reached out to a family friend of Mishka's, our keyboard player. And he's this award-winning director, phenomenal guy, absolutely amazing to work with. And we put out these two previous single, 'Morningstar' and 'Celestia', and they're big and grand in scale. And the guy we worked with for them. Alan Brady, amazing to work with, and a lot of fun to work with too, but we sort of, wanted to go in a bit more of a different direction with the 'To Lead The Blind' video clip. And yeah, that was seen in the way of working with director Roderick Gadaev and he was fantastic to work with. I sort of have a bit of a process with the music videos, where I'll come up with a brief, give them the lyrics, give them all the info and sort of what we're thinking, and then they just basically take the reins from there. And so that was actually shot like, in a TV studio and had a full production team, it was nuts, it was the biggest thing we've done. So like, you know, lighting rig, set building, multiple locations, all that kind of stuff. So that was a lot of fun. A lot of work but, you know, we're really happy with how that came out and what we got out of it. That was sort of the last big single I guess you could say, in terms of having a grandiose music video to go with it. And I think, you know, we pulled it off, it definitely looks great and we were really happy with it.
Yeah, excellent. So the album is coming out on the 14th of May, how are people going to be able to get hold of this? I'm assuming it will be streaming everywhere but some people still want the physical product. How are they going to go about that?
Yes, so it's going to be available via all major streaming and retail Services online, but we're also, we currently run a shop through Merch Wizard and the website is shop.carmeria.com. and we've got everything from physical hard copies of the disk to full merch bundles with, you know, hoodies and shirts, and bags and all that kind of stuff. So, there's multiple different bundles that you can look at purchasing and yeah, that includes physical, like, anything for physical copies of the albums to hoodies and shirts and stuff like that.
Okay. So any other videos or singles released before the album comes out?
So yeah, we released the last single off the album about a week, two weeks ago. So April 30th it dropped and that's titled 'Relinquished', and it came with a lyric video that was created by Wayne Joiner and he's a phenomenal artist. He in terms of that, you know, animation and motion graphics and all that kind of stuff. He's worked for a lot of, you know, sort of big bands I think he's done like SABATON and AYREON and all these major European bands that we really look up to. So the opportunity to work with him was fantastic and we had a lot of fun with it and he's just, you know, such a breeze to work with so that came out a couple of weeks ago and that's the last offering from the album before it drops this Friday. We've got an album launch show on the 29th of May at the Factory Floor in Sydney, tickets are available via the link on our page, and we're performing that with good friends SVLEM and WICKED SISTERS, so that should be a really fun night, a lot of Gothic energy going around for that for that gig. So that'll be good fun.
That's an album launch show coming up very soon. Any plans for a tour? What have you got lined up? Or what are you hoping to line up?
Yeah, so we've got a couple of shows with VALHALORE for their intimate and acoustic show. We're playing the Sydney gig and I believe the Newcastle one as well. Our gig dates escaping this the moment but all the info is available via our page and then we'll look at doing probably, I think, an East Coast run around late September early October and we'll announce that big announcement with posters and all the exciting graphics and all that stuff. Keep an eye out for that.
All right. Jordan. CARMERIA, brand new album coming out, May 14. Looking forward to that. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk to me today.
No worries. Thanks so much for having me on.
Carmeria are an Australian symphonic metal act who formed towards the start of 2012. The band
quickly garnered a reputation for successfully fusing progressive and symphonic elements to create a
diverse sonic experience, both in their studio recordings, and live performance. The original 5-piece
initially labelled their sound as ‘progressive rock,’ gaining support slots for national metal acts such
as Lord, Hemina, and Caligula’s Horse to name a few.
2013 provided the newly established band with the groundswell to release their debut EP
‘Awakening.’ This 5-track musical expression saw the group move towards a more symphonic metal
sound with elements of prog and classical. The EP caught the attention of music fans and critics
alike, with Mark Furtner of LORD praising the band’s ‘great mix of simplicity, technicality, shred and
feel.’ Towards the end of 2013, Carmeria gained the support slot for American rock powerhouse
Flyleaf, on the Sydney leg of their Australian tour. At the start of 2014, it was decided that the band
would commence an indefinite hiatus due to the departure of 3 members on the grounds of creative
Carmeria’s creative process was put on hold indefinitely due to the focus of the remaining members
leaning towards finding the right people for the band’s new vision and direction. Midway through
2014, interest was shown in the filling of vocal duties by Jordan Von Grae (Kvlts Of Vice). After
lengthy discussions over creative direction and a vocal audition, Jordan was inducted as the band’s
new vocalist. This addition allowed for the band’s style to move towards a heavier, and more
theatrical sound, with the introduction of character development, dynamic vocal stylings, and a
focus towards conceptual lyric writing.
The 3-piece worked on writing and recording a single with Von Lehmenn of Black Vault Sound at the
end of 2015, for release upon completing the group’s line-up. This search proved difficult due to a
shortage of available musicians who fit the groups new-found directional criteria. Over the following
year the band put the search on the back-burner due to the prioritising of other commitments. The
members maintained contact, and often shared information on potential new members and ideas
for new material.
Halfway through 2016 saw new opportunities in the form of bassist Tory Giamba (Snow Leopard),
and drummer Johny Rock (Bury The Veil). This new rhythm section clicked almost immediately, with
an impressive technical proficiency and professional attitude, providing Carmeria with the choice of
members they’d been waiting for. This new line-up was decided upon following a live audition and
was announced officially via the bands Facebook page in September of 2016. The band released a
video clip for their long-awaited single, Carpe Noctem, featuring the new line-up in December 2016.
This was followed by a second standalone single, Solaris which was released in April of 2017. In the
months following the release of Solaris, the band locked in a series of shows, supporting national
acts such as Hemina, Toehider, Valhalore, and Seraphic through the months of June to September. It
was during this time that Johny Rock decided to step down as the band’s drummer, due to
scheduling conflicts. He was replaced for these shows by Andrew Craig (Rise of Avernus), a long-time
friend of the band.
The start of 2018 saw the induction of Lachlan Blackwood (Oberon, Ex Curia) as the bands full time
drummer. This period also saw the departure of Elizaveta Gudkova, the band’s original keyboardist,
on the grounds of creative and professional differences. She was replaced by Mishka Bobrov, a long-
time friend and collaborator of the band’s singer, Jordan Von Grae.
This iteration of the band made their live debut in April 2018 at Sydney’s Manning Bar, supporting
international shock rock icons, Wednesday 13, and Davey Suicide, respectively. As it were, this line-
up change allowed the band’s audio-stylings to flourish, resulting in a highly evolved, and defined
symphonic metal sound.
Their latest singles, ‘Morningstar’, ‘Celestia’, and ‘To Lead the Blind’ have garnered international
attention and recognition for the group as one of the up-and-coming bands of symphonic metal to
watch out for this decade. 2020 also saw the band sign to the prestigious DAL Agency for bookings in
Australia, as well as management & international bookings with Australia’s premier artist services
agency - Hard Drive Agency.
Despite global circumstances halting the growth of many bands at the turn of the new decade,
Carmeria have shown that no obstacle is great enough to stop the momentum of Australia’s future
symphonic metal powerhouse. Carmeria’s debut album ‘Advenae’ is due for release on the 14 th of
May, 2021. The final album single, titled ‘Relinquished’ will be released on the 30 th of April.
Returning to the fold with a bombastic new line-up, Carmeria fuse gothic and prog-power elements
to create a cathartic symphonic metal soundscape.
Jordan Von Grae – Vocals
Jerry Zahija – Guitar
Mishka Bobrov – Keys
Lachlan Blackwood – Drums