About Me

Interview with Winter’s Verge

A small island can have great bands and musicians too. Winter’s Verge are no exception. They come from Nicosia, Cyprus, with less than 1 million people. 
They released “The Ballad Of James Tig”, last September (11th), via Pride & Joy Music. Miguel Trapezaris (bassist) talks about the history of the album, Frixos Masouras, Stratovarius and more. 

M.I. - Hi there, guys. I hope you are great. You come from Nicosia, in Cyprus, so could you tell us please, how is it like being a musician and a band on an island? How do you spare your free time and tour?

Hello! Miguel here! Well, we are a small country, population of less than 1 million, so, of course the market and scene are limited here. However, I believe we have a strong scene! We are also very lucky in that there are a few very good venues here as well. We, all have ‘normal’ jobs, either as music teachers or working in different fields. 

M.I. - Why did you choose this name for your band?

Winter is a very special time of year – for us especially, it is a time of cold, reflection, and intensity. We feel that it captures the feeling of the music we create, with a hint of the coming cold and a sense of unpredictability.

M.I. - Your new album is called “The Ballad Of James Tig” and was released on the 11th September, via Pride & Joy Music. Who is this character? Is he from the popular culture from your country or a tale? 

James Tig is a fictional character we created, who lives in the mythical world of Tiberon, where all our songs’ stories take place. The characters from Eternal Damnation, Captain’s Log, Wolves of Tiberon, I Swear Revenge, Dark Entries, Reflections of the Past, A Call from the Deep, Semeni, and others take place in this world.

M.I. - Your lyrical themes are based on dreams, fantasy and love. What kind of ballads will we listen to and tell us the story behind it.

James Tig suffered a great loss to a sea monster, who killed his family, and as he grows up, he wants to seek revenge and convinces some others to follow him in his cause… but is the monster real? What is the truth? Stay tuned to find out! 

M.I. - How did you create the sound and lyrics? I know renowned local author and playwright Frixos Masouras had influence on it, isn’t that right?

We worked very closely with Frixos, not only on this album, but with constructing the world of Tiberon throughout our other albums. Frixos is the band’s scribe, so to speak, and he is very important to us – sort of like a seventh member, really. He wrote the story of James Tig, and George was in talks with him, to turn it into a solo album. We then, decided to produce it as a Winter’s Verge album instead and we are very happy with the result! As we had had a few lineup changes at the time (our longtime brothers, Harrys Pari and Andy Kopriva had to retreat from the band for professional and family reasons, meaning we got two new guitarists in) George wrote most of the guitar parts himself and focused more on the symphonic aspect – meaning we have a much more symphonic sounding album, as a result! However, we feel it still very much sounds like Winter’s Verge.

M.I. - Could you, please, tell us what were, for you, the most difficult and easiest songs to write?

“Blood on The Foam” was a challenging one, mostly to get the balance of the dynamics and textures just right! As for the ‘easiest’, I’m not sure there was an ‘easy’ song to write on this – perhaps the simplest, was the title track, as it is an acoustic ballad, which means production wise, it was the easiest to produce and record!

M.I. - After 3 years in the making, we may say that this might be your most ambitious release so far. How do you feel about that and do you agree?

Yes, it certainly was, but not for the reasons you might think. As I mentioned earlier, we went through a couple of major lineup changes, while writing this album. It meant we had to learn to work with different people, say goodbye to others, who had been part of the band for years and had imprinted their identity on the band and the songs they’d helped write and perform. So, in effect, this was the album to help ‘rebuild’ the band, and I think it achieved that well. We have a different-sounding album, certainly from “IV”, which was more guitar-driven – this is much more symphonic and reflective. It’s a bold choice to make and kind of goes against the very riff-based approach metal seems to be taking these days, but why not try to be different?

M.I. - George Eracleous (Oneirism Studios) helped with mixing and mastering your sound. How did you guys meet and where did the magic happen?

George Eracleous has been a close friend of mine for many, many years now. We met through bands and have a band of our own (Oneirism). He works in composing, production and sound design, so when we needed someone to master the album, we talked to him and he did a great job. We wanted to keep this 100% in Cyprus, production-wise, and I think we produced something we can be proud of.

M.I. - A boat, James Tig and a woman are the characters on the album cover. It’s very good artwork. George Vasiliou was responsible for this work, did you give him any help? What do the locations and people on it represent?

We mostly just told him the concept of the album – he then produced what we asked! The ship, James and Nina contemplating the next step of the adventure. The spooky, ethereal nature of the cover gives it a supernatural vibe, and it really does seem like it’s taking place in a magical world. We were very happy with the result.

M.I. - “I Accept” is the first single. George Charalambous’ vocals are awesome, Deniel Pavlovsky and Savvas Parperi’s guitars are beautiful, Stavry Michael’s keys are very fantastic, your bass and Danny Georgiou’s drums are very structured. What does this song mean? Who is the woman who sings in it with a magical voice?

“I Accept” is the point in the story, where James Tig comes to terms with what is happening. It is desperation, but it is final. I think George really transmits the emotion in the song, with just the right balance of feeling and rawness. Teodora Stoyanova, of the Bulgarian band Freija, lends us her voice for this track, with a beautiful operatic sound. She is a fantastic singer! We are very lucky to have her on this album.

M.I. - “Blood on the Foam” is the next single. Why did you choose this song, and will you release another song? Which one?

We chose this song as it’s a really good cross-section of the album – big symphonic chorus, powerful singing, quite interludes, and some progressive elements. We felt that this song would give listeners a quite good idea of what to expect from this album as a whole! There are no plans yet to release another single from this one, but maybe we will!

M.I. - You’ve toured with Stratovarius, for the Polaris World Tour. How did it go? If you could tour and work with another band/singer, who would it be and why? Any countries you liked, and which one do you plan to visit for the first time?

It was a dream come true. Stratovarius have always been one of my favourite bands and very influential on me, and others in the band too! They were super friendly and professional – we learnt a lot from them, and they were very gracious in helping us on the tour. Very nice guys. For the future, we would love to tour with Powerwolf, Alestorm and Sonata Arctica – I think their fans would really like us, for different reasons, of course! We loved playing in Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia and Austria, amongst others, and would love to visit France, Spain, Portugal and the UK! 

M.I. - After fifteen years, 4 full studio albums and 3 EPs, is Winter’s Verge where it wants to be? Any dreams that haven’t been fulfilled yet? 

Sometimes, things don’t go the way you want – a lot of obstacles are thrown in the way. We have many dreams still to work towards and we will continue to do so! We want to play the major festivals and do more touring across Europe. Playing in Japan I guess is the ultimate dream – I want that to happen, for sure!

M.I. - Thanks so much for this opportunity. Any final words for the Portuguese fans?

Thank you for having us! I hope you enjoy the album, have a chance to check out our other albums as well, and we really hope we can come and visit you in Portugal some time! Take care!

For Portuguese version, click here

Questions by Raquel Miranda