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Interview: SnakeyeS

by Ivona Bogner

SnakeyeS, traditional heavy metal band from Spain, released the second full-length album “Metal Monster” in November 2017. Metal Jacket Magazine brings you interview with mighty Cosmin Aioniţă.

Hi, Cosmin! First of all, thank you for your time. Since this is your first interview for MJM, please introduce SnakeyeS to our readers.
Hi there, we’re SnakeyeS from sunny Andalusia: Justi Bala (guitars), Carlos Delgado (drums) and Jose Pineda (bass). Oh there’s also me, Cosmin Aioniţă on vocals, from not-so-sunny Romania. We aim to write, play and record traditional heavy metal, with updated sound and production.

In November 2017 Snakeyes released second full-length album ″Metal Monster″. If I got it earlier it would be on my list of top ten albums in 2017. How was the feedback by now?
Well, most people who had the chance to listen to “Metal Monster” ranked it as one of the best albums of last year. We’re extremely happy with this feedback and we can hardly wait to take the new songs on the road, on our upcoming Metal Monstour 2018.

What label need to offer to the band so you would sign the contract?
Actually, that’s an easy question. A label should offer some kind of palpable support if they want us to sign any kind of contract. Nowadays, the majority of smaller labels just want the finalized recording, the finalized videos and artworks (without offering any kind of support for actually producing them) and they only cover distribution, while giving the artist a measly percent of the sales. If things aren’t going to change, we prefer self-releasing our music, like we did with “Metal Monster”.

Astonishing album is followed by great album cover signed by Francisco Garces. Can you tell us something more about that cooperation?
Without taking anything away from Francisco’s amazing creation, the whole cover artwork thing for this album was all Pepe’s (Jose Pineda) idea. He insisted for this vision and Francisco provided a great embodiment of what the “Metal Monster” is supposed to be.

When you are working on album what comes first: music or lyrics?
Music’s first, there’s no doubt about that. But lyrics do come in as a close second. Usually, when we have a demo ready for a song, the lyrics are also at least 90% completed. So, yeah, lyrics play an important part, but music will always be first.

You live in Romania, the rest of the band is based in Spain. Where did you meet and how did you decide to work together?
Ha, ha, we actually met online, via Facebook. I did a vocal cover of some song, posted it on YouTube, Pepe found it and looked me up on Facebook. He asked if I’d like to do vocals on a few songs from what was supposed to be a solo album of his. After recording two demos, we liked them so much so we decided to start a proper band.

What are the advantages and disadvantages living and working at different sides of our continent?
There are actually a lot of advantages of working this way, rehearsal sessions being one of them. Usually, before the beginning of a new tour, I practice for around 1-2 months, weekly, at home. The guys do their own thing back in Cadiz, Spain and we only play together on the actual tour. Believe me, this removes a lot of stress related to rehearsals. Everyone’s really professional and we never had problems using this “formula”. We also like writing this way, everyone in the comfort of their own home, then share our ideas through the Internet. When we do get to meet face to face and spend time together (usually during touring) we do enjoy each other’s company and we have a great time. Getting from Bucharest to Andalusia is just a matter of a 3-4 hour flight, so it’s really not a deal-breaker.

A lot of people are comparing SnakeyeS with Judas Priest or Primal Fear. I am sure those bands had a huge influence on your music taste, but still, how positive or negative those comparisons can be?
At first, we were humbled by these comparisons. As time passed on, we really felt we had a lot more to offer than this, and I don’t think we’re still comfortable with simply being labeled as Judas Priest sound-alikes. People should really listen to more music before placing a “sounds like this and that” label on a band just because it makes use of some high pitched vocals. That’s the main reason “Metal Monster” features A LOT less high pitched vocal parts than our previous album “Ultimate Sin”.

As DIY (do it yourself) band with no label to support you, what are the limitations when it comes to album promotion, concerts…
If you have enough money, one could say the sky’s the limit… But being on a tight budget, we really need to choose carefully what we’re going to invest into. Pepe is really handling all of this for the band so we can concentrate on actually writing and playing the music we like.

Can social media be helpful if we are talking about promotion?
Of course, we’re living in an online age so we must take advantage of any promotion method out there. For example, the pre-order special packages for “Metal Monster”, the so-called Monster Packs (album + a lot of goodies, including an exclusive, never released before, song), were sold out online weeks before we actually released the album.

How do you see SnakeyeS, as a hobby, profession or something else?
I see it as a very important part of my life. A part for which I train as often as I can and I take very, very seriously.

Unfortunately, at this point you cannot live from your music. What do you do for life?
It’s true, I don’t make my living from music: my daily job is being a gaming journalist, writing the latest news about video games, playing and reviewing them. But Justi and Carlos are professional musicians, licensed professors of their instruments and they make their living off playing or learning others how to play. On the other hand, Pepe is also writing and producing music for other bands, while also being a talented web designer and programmer.

I have been to Spain twice and I was amazed how strong is metal scene there, from local metal clubs both in villages and big cities, over great concert venues to loyal fans. Still, Spanish metal bands are not recognized worldwide. Why?
Coming from Romania, I was also surprised by how much bigger and healthier the Spanish metal scene is. But, as foreigner, I cannot help but observe just how few people from Spain, bands included, actually speak or understand a foreign language. That’s probably one of the main reasons Spanish bands are not so well known around the world.

Can you tell me your personal favorite bands from local metal scene (Spanish and Romanian)?
From the Spanish bands I’ve had the chance to listen to or see live I really liked Cherokee, Dark Moor, Guadaña and Angelus Apatrida. From Romania I like my own local band (9.7 RICHTER). Ha, ha, just joking… The thing is… The Romanian metal scene is mostly about extreme or folk metal and I’m not really a big fan of those genres.

What are you listening these days?
My most listened to album this past week was Saxon’s brand new “Thunderbolt” album, great stuff. I also enjoyed Judas Priest’s new singles and I’m really looking forward to their “Firepower” album. Also recently listened to some Gotthard, Samael and Amaranthe.

I am 100% sure that you are sick and tired answering the same old questions every time. So, let´s reverse our roles: what would you ask yourself if you were at my place? Of course, answer that question(s).
Hmmm, let me think…
One question would be “When are you going to tour the rest of Europe?” and I guess the answer would be: “Soon”.
Another question could be “When are going to release a live DVD?”. The answer: “Let’s hope sooner rather than later”.

Thank you for your time, all the best! I hope we will see SnakeyeS in East Europe soon.

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