EMQ’s With IMMATERIUM
Hi everyone! Welcome to another EMQs interview, this time with Polish Epic Symphonic Metal solo project, Immaterium. Huge thanks to main lady, Ma’ar Gareth, for taking part.
What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?
My real name is Małgorzata but it’s too hard to write or pronounce for foreigners, so I use the English version, Margaret. My music is influenced by many bands because I like almost all kinds of metal, and I’m a fan of soundtracks too. So, I would just call it ‘Epic Symphonic Metal’. Still better than calling it ‘Epic Symphonic Melodic Progressive Metal with Djent and Opera influences”.
I formed this project because I couldn’t deal with the amount of ideas that I had in my head. I could create a whole fantasy universe during a boring lesson or write lyrics for a concept album when I had a few free days. When I had a lot of song lyrics, I decided to learn music theory. I never believed I could to that, but after about ten months I wrote the orchestral parts for my first real song (Hymn of The Warmaster). The songs I wrote before? Well, let’s pretend they never existed.
Then came the worst part. Finding band members. Where I live, I have only a few friends, and they aren’t interested in music, especially in my genre. I browsed the internet but everyone was like: ‘new project? Wow, great, I want to join!’ Then there were two weeks of silence and a response: ‘Sorry, I can’t write anything and I quit.” Finally, I just found musicians for hire. I asked if they are interested in music like this, they wrote the rest of the song, and we all were happy.
How did you come up with your band name?
I knew it had to be some kind of reference related to science, sci-fi or fantasy. I had a few options: Exocortex (brain-computer interface), TechMage (as the name says, the magician dedicated to technology), Mechanomachia (Titanomachia was a mythical ancient Greek war with titans but make the titans mechanical), CyberSkull (can’t imagine how cheesy that would be), Kyber (crystals used in Lightsabers in Star Wars universe), Korriban (a sinister planet in Star Wars), Katana (sorry, taken!), a bunch of technobabble like ‘quantum/cyber/space + random word’ names (bonus points if they were in Latin), and then the final choice: The Eye of Terror, Warp Storm, or Immaterium. All of them are related to a fictional realm from the Warhammer Universe that could be called ‘the opposite of reality’. Think about hyperspace in Star Wars but with monsters, demons and suffering souls that drive people into insanity.
My stage name is just my English name with more letters. Margaret sounds like a normal girl, while Ma’ar Gareth sounds like some kind of ancient magician or goblin warlock or whatever like this.
What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?
I’m from Southern Poland, also called ‘Bieszczady’, and we’re the home of the legendary Tech-Death band Decapitated. I’m not very much into the local scene, but the bands that I can recommend are: Kalt Vindur (Atmospheric Black/Doom Metal), Hermetic Evolution (Djent/Industrial Metal), Diaboł Boruta (Folk Metal) and Neolith (Death Metal).
What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)
The latest, and also the first release is the EP called ‘The Primal Evil’.
Who have been your greatest influences?
The first two bands that gave me the idea were Nightwish and Epica. If they can play metal with orchestral music influences, why can’t I? Then I dived deeper and found many Symphonic Death Metal Bands: Ex Deo, Septicflesh, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Shade Empire and Wintersun. But the band that helped me make the final decision was the band that I love with my whole heart: Mechina.
What first got you into music?
Weird story. When I was a kid, I absolutely hated music. The thing I disliked the most was lyrics. Love, broken hearts, romances… boooring. Then, when I was 14, my classmate started listening to Rammstein in front of the whole class. That was it. Raw, heavy, and catchy. I fell in love with that band (now I like still like them, just not that fanatically). This led me to the whole big, vast realm of Metal. The beginnings weren’t so easy. It was very hard for me to find something more impressive than Metallica, Slipknot or Nirvana. When I thought I almost lost my interest, I accidentally saw a Facebook ad about Behemoth. That was a revelation. Finally, I found what I was looking for and with all those years I was discovering more and more interesting music, not only Metal.
If you could collaborate with a current band or musician, who would it be?
Brittney Slayes, the vocalist of Unleash The Archers. No one can change my mind that she is the best vocalist in Modern Metal, and one of the greatest vocalists in the whole Metal history. She can do pretty low and deep cleans, high Power Metal screams, and even opera, that is all I need in my music. But that’s just a dream, too perfect to be real.
If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?
ProgPower. I like Prog and Power, I play Prog and a bit of Power, do I need more?
What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?
Someone paid $4 on Bandcamp, when my price was $0.90. I had only one song, I could give up at any moment, but someone trusted me that much. That person believed I can do more. That was heartwarming.
If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?
Not only my fans, but fans of any underground band: if you can’t or don’t want to spend money and buy my things or donate to my Ko-Fi page, you can always help me in many other simple ways. Share my music or posts, tag your friends, tag me under other people’s posts, recommend me to other people. It costs nothing, takes only a few minutes or even less, but it helps a lot.
If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?
Probably Alexi from Children of Bodom. I wasn’t a big CoB fan, but they influenced many bands that I love: Kalmah, Skyfire or Norhter. Without him, the Melodic Death Metal scene would feel empty and ordinary. He and his band have many worthy successors, but those bands wouldn’t be the same without his influence.
What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?
Storytelling. I love telling or retelling stories. Writing music lets me unleash my imagination, it’s like creating fantastic events and universes, or travelling through places that no one else could think about.
And the thing I hate is music promotion, marketing, and social media. Wake up, send messages to bloggers, add posts on Instagram or you will lose all your reach and engagement, then browse through playlists and submit your music, then go back to Instagram and look for followers. Earlier I posted only when I had something to say. Now, after the Instagram change, I need to do it three, four times per week or their damned algorithms will bury my account.
If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?
I would grab all those scammers, lock them in a big underground cage and throw a bunch of spiders or cockroaches on their heads. Why? I’m frequently looking for a new ways of music promotion and the amount of scammers is unbelievable. All this ‘5k Spotify streams in 2 days, 10k likes on Facebook, you will go viral and be the next Lady Gaga, and every time you tag #music, don’t forget to DM us for promo!’ gives me a gag reflex. Someone should take care of those scammers and bots. I heard about way too many artists who get scammed by very believable and professional looking morons. Before you pay for any promo, do research. Don’t trust anyone who promises you too much in too short time for too little money or who got hundreds of five-star reviews from fake accounts.
Name one of your all-time favourite albums?
Mechina – “Progenitor”.
(Beware, spoilers!) Every time I promise myself I won’t cry during the lines ‘At any moment this will end, my final breath, like embers turning to dust’ or ‘The price we pay begins with boundless pain. Awaken, only to die’. And I fail. The goosebumps I get during the orchestral parts feel like some kind of frozen mist. The beautiful and powerful voice of Mel Rose plays with my feellings. It can make me feel like I was one of the characters from the story: depressed like I was the one who got betrayed by her own sister, lost like the character who got deprived of memory in order to survive or awed like the creators of godlike machines. Enough spoilers, go and listen to this band (in chronological order of the story!) and visit their Wiki to understand the awesome lore. Seriously, this could be the sci-fi series in history!
What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CDs, or Downloads?
Of course, the feeling of holding a vinyl or CD in your hands is a special kind of experience but not everyone can buy them. I don’t have enough space to hoard hundreds of CDs, ordering CDs from more underground bands in other countries is expensive, and sometimes I just like a few songs from the album. My personal choice is to buy music from Bandcamp.
What’s the best gig that you have played to date?
I never played a gig because I’m in an international project and the whole logistics would be too complicated and expensive. I only took part in a few gigs as a fan and the best one was a Vader live show (the scene was very low, someone pushed me and I fell on the scene. Fun times.)
If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?
Now I’m studying photography and that’s what I’m going to do in my life. Aside from that, I would be a writer if I were smarter and better at marketing. I hope I will be able to go back to writing one day.
Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?
Thomas (ex Gloryhammer), Christopher (Alestorm), Jonne (Korpiklaani), Michalina (Eluveitie) and Arjen (Ayreon). Let’s order a big pizza and a lot of beer and we can party long after the dinner!
What’s next for the band?
A full-length album. I will be back even stronger with even better music. Trust me.
What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?
Instagram was my favourite site ever but after the algorithm changes, I hate it, but I still need to use it because it gets a lot of attention (comparing to other sites). This platform is still pretty easy to get reach (use hashtags, comment, follow people and they will come to you). The engagement is pretty high too (30 likes with less than 300 followers, while on Facebook where I have over 150 likes, I barely get one like per post.)
Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?
Both. Biscuit is a subtype of cake. Trust me, I’m a certified baker (seriously).
Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?
Thank you for responding to my message and I wish you a nice day.
Remember people, a healthy dose of sleep is very important in your life.
And the last thing: support the underground because a long time ago, all the legends were small bands.
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