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After a career break, due to Marta Gabriel’s health issues, Crystal Viper are back on the road and stronger than ever. We talked to the amazing Marta about the long awaited come back of this incredible band that, no doubt, is here to stay!

M.I. - First of all: wow! Crystal Viper are back on the road and with a brand new album. How are things going, so far?

We are happy to be back and to be able to play again and we’re very excited for releasing our sixth studio album, "Queen Of The Witches". And, yes, we have just completed the European Tour, so now, in the next few months, we will show up on a few summer festivals.


M.I. - Tell us the story behind the title “Queen Of The Witches”; what is this new record about?

"Queen Of The Witches" is a concept album that tells the story about fighting the true evil that lives within some human beings and getting revenge. I don’t want to tell you what each song is about, because I don’t want to spoil it. Following the lyrics is like reading a book or watching a movie, plus every single song can be interpreted separately.


M.I. - By the way, how was the creative process of this album carried out? Did you guys meet and the songs emerged from jam sessions or is there, like, an order: an instrument that leads the song/the writing process and, then, all the other instruments follow that riff/those chords? Who’s in charge of what, how and when? Basically, how do you make music?

From the very beginning I’m the only composer in the band. When I have an idea for a song, I simply sit down with my instruments, usually by the piano and record the whole song, or just an idea, which will turn into a song in the future. I compose when I’m inspired by something: music, the weather at the moment, how other people behave, how I perceive the world in general. Movies from Hammer Films and Amicus are very inspiring, books, history of the world... A lot of things. I absorb everything that happens around me like a sponge; afterwards, this "everything" turns into a mood for which I compose a soundtrack. I keep on composing all the time, I have, literally, hundreds of ideas for songs. The process has been the same for years. When I start working on a new album, I revisit some of the old ideas, I complete them with new ideas and I simply make the album, without thinking about how many songs I should have, or how many are still missing. When I see that there already are many songs completed, we pick the best ones with our producer, and we decide which of them will be on the album. Then, I send all of those songs to the rest of the guys in the band, so that they can learn their parts and prepare for the recording sessions.


M.I. - Your last album was released in 2013. We all know that you guys had to stop for a little while, because of your health issues, but did that mean that all the band members had to rest as well or did you all keep busy in the meantime?

We were a hyperactive band, between 2007 and 2013 – so during 6 years –: we released 5 studio albums, 7 singles and compilations and we toured in 15 countries. In 2013, I faced serious problems with my health, my singing was under question mark and we had to stop with Crystal Viper. But because I love music - it’s my whole life -, in the meantime I did lots of stuff connected to music: I appeared on stage a couple of times as a guest for other bands, I played with Jack Starr's Burning Starr as their guitarist at the “Keep It True Festival” in Germany and, one year later, I played at their short European tour. I was also invited to sing with the Heavy Load cover band Heathens From The North and I sung with them two songs at the “Up The Hammers Festival” last year, I also recently joined Tytan on stage in Sheffield, during their show at the “HRH NWoBHM Festival”. They invited me to sing "Women On The Frontline" with them, since this song has this part originally recorded by Jody Turner from the heavy metal band Rock Goddess. I was also composing new songs for all of the time.


M.I. -  Did you face any constraints from the music industry because of this time gap?

It’s never easy to come back after such a long break, because when you’re not an active band, people forget quite easily about you. There's so much going on, so many bands, albums, festivals and tours, that it's very hard to be up to date with everything. Of course, our loyal fans were keeping their fingers crossed for us and were supporting us, as hard as they could. But, to be honest, I consider “Queen Of The Witches”, a new start. We had to remind people what Crystal Viper are all about.


M.I.- Still regarding the music industry: what feedback have you been getting from the industry regarding your return, especially considering that, nowadays, there are so many new bands popping up? Do you feel like you have to face bigger difficulties now, due to that circumstance or, fortunately, you don’t feel like that’s a crucial obstacle? 

The feedback was fantastic, we’ve been having a lot of interviews and reviews, our label AFM Records supports us in everything that we do and our fans - who have never let us feel like they’ve forgotten about us –, they were very happy that we were back! Regarding the difficulties, new bands and so on, you know, I don't think about it. I focus on what I love to do: writing music, recording, performing live. It's in my blood and I can't imagine living a different life. I compose music and if someone likes it too, then it's absolutely great and I'm both happy and honored. That is the most important.


M.I. -  What can you tell us about the new tour of the band? Unfortunately for us, we’ve come to realize that you won’t be stopping by Portugal, at least for now, right? Tell us all about it!

The tour has been very good, we have had a lot of fun! I think it was a very good package as Bloodbound plays melodic Power Metal and we play traditional Heavy Metal. So, we're different, but both bands have a lot of fans in common. We also had the opportunity to play in front of new audiences, as well as to meet with our fantastic fans who had been waiting for a long time to see Crystal Viper play live. Touring is something we could do for all the time. I could be on tour permanently!


M.I. -  Actually, Crystal Viper were supposed to play in Portugal, for the very first time, in 2014, at the Pax Julia Metal Fest IV, but you had to cancel the show because of your health issues. What do the Portuguese fans have to do, to get you here? Have any suggestions?

We would love to perform in Portugal! I know we have a lot of fans out there, as they contact us through our Facebook page and keep on writing us e-mail messages. Sadly, after our come back, we haven’t had any offers to play at your country. I also know and like two bands from Portugal, Ironsword and Midnight Priest, it would be cool to play with them!


M.I. - Your debut album, the very first one, was released ten years ago. What comes to your mind when you listen to it?

For me, our first album was like figuring out if we could really do this. I was not an experienced composer and I couldn’t play other instruments, except for the piano, back then. I was at the beginning of my journey with singing in the style I sing today, so everything was very wild and, I don’t know how to name it, but it was very, very, "first". Our skills were different; for sure we all are better musicians today, than we were eleven years ago, when we were still recording our debut album. But, in general, "The Curse Of Crystal Viper" is a very important album to me, it was like a dream come true. Thanks to this album, I understood that music is the only thing that I want to do in my life.


M.I. - Finally, tell us: with this new record, new videos and new tour, what are the main goals of the band, at least for a near future?

We’re currently focused on promoting "Queen Of The Witches" and we plan and hope to play as many concerts as possible. This is most important thing at the moment.


Interview by Evie