It seems that more and more bands from Poland show up at the international scene, one of them is Pathfinder. The guys just released Beyond The Space, Beyond The Time and this album is reason enough to talk to their singer Simon Kostro!
For many metal fans Beyond The Space, Beyond The Time is the first encounter with Pathfinder, so please tell us about how it began!
The beginning of the band was very simple. Two music fans as the Arkhain and Karol Mania decided to create a power metal band based in Poznan (Poland). After couple of months of search, they found the rest of band members and then the whole story begins. First rehearsals, ideas, plans, parties and some standard stuff. We are not a boys band – we didn't have to pass any kind of casting or anything like that. So as You can see the beginning wasn't anything special...
Why did you choose the name Pathfinder? What does it mean to you?
The name 'Pathfinder' can have a couple of different meanings, and we are not trying to force ourselves that 'it has to be this way' and all the rest is shit. 'Pathfinder' can mean a lot of different things at the same time. I think it's cool name, because we are also leaving some free 'imagination space' for our listeners. For me, name of our band reminds me that it's very important to search and look at many other ways and to be open minded for other ideas and people for the whole life. To search for something till the end...You know what I mean, heheheh.
First you did a demo CD which you recorded / mixed in Poland, but the mastering was handled by Mika Jusila. Why did you decide to give the mastering to Jusila / Finnvox?
Why not to try some different ideas and things? We are Pathfinder's, hehehe. As you said, it was our demo – so we left ourselves for experiments and we were trying to do something which will make our music the 'world class material'. We didn't have nothing to lose, because it was only a demo, not the whole 70 minutes long material, so we could afford some experiments then. We knew also that the sound in power metal is very important and even if our songs are quite good, if the sound will be 'not on our side' then we can throw our music to trash bin. So we decided to try our idol, we sent him a details, we chat a little bit on email and then we send our tracks to this studio. Then realized that how important it's to have a good sound engineer and that in Poland we'll never reach that kind of production level as in Finland, for example.
The songs of the demo CD can be found that your debut album, did you use the original recordings? Or have you re-recorded them?
No, they are recorded as the new tracks. You can hear the differences. Some people were accusing us that we are putting the old material on out brand new CD, but please remember that these tracks were never released before to anyone....we were selling this CDs only on our gigs. Hard to say how many were sold but maybe few hundreds. We do really think that these are the good songs, and we wanted that others fans have the same opportunity to listen to these track. I think we weren't wrong, because we are getting a lot of good opinions about them.
How long did the recording of Beyond The Space, Beyond The Time took? And do you use mainly the same setup you use live?
It's hard to say how many time we use for recording our debut album, and I think it's not really important. We are new band, we were learning at the time of recording, the material was also made at the time when the band was 'setting up'. We were doing a lot of other, non-music stuff at the time of recordings. We were working on material, we were creating our website and MySpace, we were playing a gigs not even having a full length album. You can say that it took a quite long to record this album, but right now we are more experienced and you can be sure that the next album will be recorded in faster way, because we are smarter then we used to be before recordings. We thought that it's all going to take less time, but we miscalculated. On the other side, we were not rushing also ourselves because it's our first CD so we tried to do it as best as we could. I think it's better to record one good album in three years time, then to record a week album every year just to have a bigger discography. At this time, we are playing only the material which is on our debut LP + two cover songs. Believe me, right now it's enough for us, the whole album is more that 70 minutes, hehehe.
What inspired you musically? And lyrically to write Beyond The Space, Beyond The Time?
We are all inspired by many artists and lots of things. I don't want to tell you that in the name of my band's friends, but we are all inspired on our own way. Karol (guitar player) and Arkhain (bass player) are band members responsible for the whole music on the LP album. They are the main brain of the band, and they also found US - the rest band members. They created the vision how the Pathfinder supposed to sound and look like - it's doesn't mean that we are on the back. We are putting our ideas all the time, but they are the leaders of the band, and if something is fucked up, they are responsible for that, hahahah. Arkhain is also person responsible for the most of the lyrics on the album and for the whole 'story telling' concept. From the beginning we knew that the album will be a recorded as the concept so the lyrics has also to be written in this way.
You cite Ludwig van Beethoven as well as the main theme of X-Files which indicates that you listen to a lot of different stuff. How important is it to for you be open-minded? And can we expect to find other references in future?
We are trying to be open minded people as you can see, and we are not closing ourselves for some new and fresh ideas. Why we should do so? That would be so boring... I think that's one of the reasons why Dragonforce was so successful - they were looking for something totally different then all power metal bands, and now they do have their own style. That's what we are also trying to do.To find some elements and parts in music which will be our 'business card' for our listeners. I can't tell you anything about the future, because I do not know what is going to happen. I hope that only the good stuff, thou.
Why the Edgar Allen Poe quote inside the digipack?
That question supposed to be sent to Arkhain because that was his idea and concept. I think that's one of his inspirations and we cannot discuss that. Remember that some of our choices will never be explained, and you can only imagine what was inside his head when he was doing this, hehehe. You'll never know that... But at the time this few words are giving you the idea of what is on CD - that's the way I am translating this.
You have some guests on the album and as an unknown band it might not have been easy to convince them to add something to your album. Are you glad about how it worked out? Anybody you asked who couldn't do it this time?
Yeahh. We are very glad - you know it's like your dream came true. I never thought that we are going to make a record with Labÿrinth vocalist or with a guy from Firewind. It is great that we made it. You are right - we are an unknown band, but it seems that the music done it for us in some way. We send the material to our guests and they just send back us a track filled with their instruments. All guests were very professional and before we made any record, we had a few, small internet chats. You know, talking about music industry, gathering experiences and then recording. It's great honor for us that the people from the world know bands, wanted to play with us and recorded some track on our first album. As far as I know all the guests accepted our invitation. Please remember that we were planing to invite guests to bring some 'fresh elements' to our music only. We don't want to be second Tobias Samet's Avantasia, and we are not building our music only on guests. It's just some sort of improvement and also a catchy trick to invite some new listeners to us.
The album wasn't released by a renown label, no good offers so far?
We are working on it. Of course we had some good offers, and the shitty ones, but we are focused on playing our music live, and we are also demanding something from the label. We do not need label just to be labeled. Am I right? We can sell out CD by the internet, and on the gigs. These days labels are doing nothing for the bands, and they are expecting that the band will do everything by their own. That is not the cool way of doing business. If the label is not giving you the gigs what do you need it for? You can do all the stuff by yourself - we are living on internet age. We are looking for a good, 'partner' labels. We are not trying to rush also about this non-music things. I cannot tell you all the details, but I can say that we are on good way to sign some nice contracts. And we are happy that we didn't take the first deals we were offered. Music is not everything in this business. Even if you are playing the best music in whole world, when you sign a wrong contract, anyone will not heard about it. That's what happened to some Polish band like Sceptic or Archeon. Watch out what you are signing....
You also took care of the artwork yourself. Do you like to have control about all artistic elements?
Yes - you are right about that. Person responsible for the graphic side on the CD, MySpace and website was Gunsen (second guitar player) and Arkhain which was cooperation with him and bringing him some new ideas at the same time. I think that it is very good to have a freedom about what you are doing. Then if something is cool you are proud from yourself, and if something is fucked up you can only blame yourself. I think that's the way it should be. Sometimes it's hard to make everyone in the band happy, so sometimes you need to compromise and you have to accept the website for example as the way it is. Like in a big family. You cannot compromise about the quality and the whole concept, that's for sure. We do have an idea how the band image should be like (including graphic side) and we are not changing it cause of any kind of limits.
Have you already started working on new material? Is the positive feedback you got for BSTBTT give you a creative push?
Great, creative push. First album and first great feedback from the metal world gave us a 'wings'. Before we were showing our music only on live gigs or on the demo CD. Right now, we have closed episode in Pathfinder's history and now we can be focused on the future. As far as I know, guys are working on the new material and they are doing good. I am doing my vocal staff at the end of creating process. I am quite sure that we are going to take the best parts from out debut LP and we are going to bring you even more power as it was on BSTBTT. To be honest all music industry is quite positive about our album and a lot of musical journalists are giving us a high notes. You can red some of them on our website. Definitely, we are more motivated when people are showing us that they are waiting for new music and songs.
You played quite a few festivals, some club shows and in 2009 even a tour with Paul DiAnno. How was it to tour with the former Iron Maiden shouter?
Hmmm. I never thought that I am going to meet first Iron Maiden front man by my own. At the beginning I didn't even know what to say, hehehe. I was listening to this guy when I was like 15 years old. I know all the lyrics from the first Maiden albums - I am a big fan of Paul, so as you can expect it was a great fun for me to talk with him. He is a great and kind person. That was also our first tour ever, and our first gigs ever abroad our country. We didn't know what we could expect. It was also a very big school for us as a band. The whole tour was a big lesson for us and a great fun. We meet a lot of people, we drink a lot of beers and we know how to say an 'asshole' in the Norwegian, heheheh. We were the support of the support on the tour, but believe me it was our pleasure to tour with Paul and Thunderbolt. Next time, we hope that we are going to play more gigs on one tour and we are looking forward to do that.
What about more shows outside your home country? Or do fans have to wait til there is a second album out?
No. Right now the whole band is focused on promoting our debut LP. Believe me, we spend a lot of time on it, and we need to promote it as much as it's possible. That's the way it should be. Release the CD and then the promotion - am I right? So far we are talking with some big labels, we are planning tour in year 2011, and we are trying to do the new songs all the time. We are also looking forward to play on some summer festivals in 2011. As soon as there will be a good label before us, I hope that some new doors will get open to Pathfinder. That would be great to see all the great bands and play with them at the same stage. The 'Masters of Rock' Festival in Czech would be a perfect place for us I think. (Editor: Me too!)
What's next on your schedule?
Touring, playing live, gigs, interviews and everything which will make our LP more 'visible' to the music and metal world. We do have a plan, and we are doing small steps forward all the time. As far as I know we need to do a tour with this album, and after that we'll be focused on the second LP. We are looking forward to do more interviews also for our friends from different countries. Cheers!
It seems that they already have a very clear vision of what they want to do in future and after doing such a debut in DIY style, I'm pretty sure they will succeed. If they find the right business partners then we will hear a lot from them soon! If they continue with DIY then it might take a bit longer, but no doubt they will make it.