Rozhovor 04.01.2024 Odd Crew en - HELLMAGAZINE

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Dominika Šimová • Viktoriya Vucheva (photo)

ODD CREW



Boyan ‘Bonzy’ Georgiev
I am very happy today to be able to introduce to you one of the most special bands I have discovered in years. ODD CREW from Bulgaria. My today's guest is the drummer of the band, Boyan ‘Bonzy’ Georgiev.

 
 

Hi guys. I´m so happy to be finally able to talk to you. How have you been?


We are great, thank you! It's a pleasure to talk to you Domi!

It's my pleasure to talk to you. What's new in Sofia? Why am I asking? This is my first time interviewing somebody from Bulgaria, as far as I remember.


It's total chaos in Sofia, as always, but we're used to it, haha!

Odd Crew started playing back in 1998, but I don´t think you are very well-known in Slovakia. Have you ever played a show here?


In ‘98, when we started the band, we were still kids. I was just 9 years old and we were still learning to play. However, we released 3 albums under a different name while we were just four silly boys. Bonny's father is a very famous blues singer in Bulgaria and when we got a little better at playing, he took us as touring musicians and so we were able to gain experience playing on stage as well. Until we turned 21-22 years old and changed our band’s name to Odd Crew. Since then, we've been trying to play live in as many places as possible. We haven't been to Slovakia yet, but we really want to visit your country in the very near future, and meet lots of cool new people.

Let me ask you about the name of your band. Why odd and why crew?


Haha, not a typical metal bands’ name, isn’t it? Initially we started playing under another name but as we grew up we decided to change it. We wanted the new one to be something that expresses us as people, not just as a band, and be collective for people with a similar perception and love for metal and rock music.  And the feeling of being in a familiar environment surrounded by like-minded people is very valuable in the metal community. Oftentimes people like us are quite odd in the eyes of a “normal” person. The “crew” part is because the band is not just four people playing music on stage. We consider everyone who listens to our music, lives with it and likes the idea behind it as a part of the crew. The crew is no longer just the four of us and our families, it’s getting bigger and bigger every year.

Can you, please, introduce your band a bit to our readers?


As I mentioned, we started the band when we were still kids. We used to live in the same neighborhood and that's how we met. 25 years now that the four of us have been playing together. Maybe that's why the band is still here - because we grew up together. We've been through a lot, but our love for making music has always brought us closer and that's why we didn't give up. Whenever we play, we put our emotions in our songs. They are a mirror of our souls.

What´s your music background or who is the author of music lyrics and perhaps reveal something interesting about the members of the band.

 
The interesting thing about us is that we all write our music together. We are all involved in the whole process. Yes, each one of us has the freedom to come up with the parts of any other instrument in each song, and this is discussed between the four of us. Everyone can have suggestions for changes. For example, our guitarist Vasil Parvanovski sometimes comes up with the vocal lines of a song, and our vocalist Vasко Raykov upgrades them, fitting his own voice and the lyrics he writes. Both can make suggestions for changes in both vocal lines and lyrics. This also applies to other instruments in the writing process.

I actually have fallen in love with your sound! What´s your inspiration?


Thank you very much, we appreciate it! Moreover, we record our albums ourselves in our studio and we are our own producers. But we, like most bands, have been searching for our sound for a long time. After all, we have come to it ourselves over the years. Right now we can say that this is the sound we want for the band. It took us quite some time but it still happened. As for our inspiration, every one of us has their own, but what unites us is that we all love Black Sabbath and will always say that it is the greatest band ever. They are our biggest inspiration. As kids we used to skip school and sit around all day watching their live performances on VHS. We guess that influenced us quite a bit. In May, we had the honor of warming up the Pantera show in Bulgaria. We really love Pantera and they've also been a big influence on our sound as a band over the years.

It's probably just me but I can hear some not strictly-speaking European elements in your music. Is there any other influence?


If you mean the ethno elements in our last album "Dark Matters - Part II", for a long time we were into the standard stuff in metal. With this last album we decided to experiment more and show through music that part of us as a nation. Bulgaria is a country of over 1,300 years old and has a very rich folklore, which is not much talked about outside the borders of the country. That's how we felt it - we decided to include some of that. It is even a very small part of the whole thing, there is so much more that can be shown and heard.

Your newest album is called Dark Matters - Part II. Why just dark is the thing that should matter?

 
If there is no darkness, there will be no light. That's why the dark matters. The music for the four parts of "Dark Matters" is also quite dark. But its goal is to bring light-filled emotions. That's why we named the albums like that. There must be darkness in order for there to be light.
 

The songs are quite long, 8 minutes… when it comes to performing them live, isn´t it more complicated?


It is not a problem for us to perform long songs live, as long as the setlist is selected in such a way that we keep the dynamics of the show. The songs from our past albums are much shorter and we manage to combine them with the long new ones in such a way that every person attending our show can both spend energy head banging and moshing and also be able to enjoy a melancholic experience.

I can read many comments on your social media and the feedback you´re receiving is incredible. How does it feel?

 
We cannot help but be happy when our music touches other people’s lives. We have been told more than one or two stories about how our music saved someone's life when the person could no longer see a way out. We have also been told stories about how our music has helped a person in a difficult time losing a loved one. Even if there was only one such story, then everything we do has been meaningful.

With this new album you celebrate your 25th anniversary. Are you preparing anything else to celebrate it? I mean a tour or something like this.


We celebrated the band's 25th anniversary with a big concert on August 1st this summer in our hometown Sofia. The set contained 25 songs and we included songs from every album of the band. The release of “Dark Matters - Part II” is the other thing we'll be celebrating our anniversary with. We are just starting to promote it at the upcoming shows.

In September, you released Dark Matters - Part I - The Movie. What kind of a project is it?


When we began working on the videos for "Dark Matters - Part I" with the director Petar Dimov, we really liked how things turned out and we decided to make videos for all eight songs from the album. Since we were shooting in a lot of locations and there was a lot of material that was left out behind the scenes, he suggested that we include it in some form of a long video. Thus came the idea of a movie, in which we would tell the story of the album song by song, including every video from it. We did interviews with each of us, which we edited into a complete narrative of the songs on the album. We also decided to include archive footage as a sort of introduction to us as a band so that anyone who doesn't know us and watches the movie can learn a bit more about us and our history as a band. We aired it in cinemas in Bulgaria, and in Sofia it was sold out, which makes us think that people do like this kind of cinema music format. It can now be viewed online on the new platform for metal documentaries.
 

I've just noticed you produce your own wine, don´t you? It's called Odd Wine. Tell us more details about this.


Long story short. Two brothers, big Odd Crew fans, hung out with us after our show in the city of Varna, and invited us on the next day to go and see their boutique winery. In the winery they gave us a great tour explaining the whole process of wine making. We tried a few of their wines and at the end of the tour we got to the cellar and there was a barrel that had a hand-written “Odd” on it. We tried it and it was incredible…and this is how the first edition of the Odd Wine was made. It is a cabernet-franc wine from a specific, carefully selected vineyard in the Varna region. We just released a second edition, this time the wine combines grapes from two different vineyards.
 

Earlier in 2023 you also performed some acoustic shows. Was it successful? I assume it was not your first time because your music, in my view, might fit the acoustic arrangement.


Before we started writing the "Dark Matters" albums, we released an acoustic album called "The Lost Pages". It does not contain remakes of our songs in acoustic versions, but entirely original works. The songs on it are quite deeply emotional and personal, and it got nothing but positive feedback. That's why we try to do acoustic shows every year, because the fans really like them. The atmosphere is very different, let's say more intimate, and the show itself can sometimes last up to 3 hours. But it's not tiring for us or the fans at all, on the contrary - everyone we've spoken to says it's very emotional, charging and wants to experience it again and again.

Can we expect you to perform in Slovakia or somewhere nearby?


Like any band, we want to play live in as many places as possible. However, you know, touring requires a lot of resources and the right contacts. We will do our best to book a tour that includes Slovakia and the nearby countries very soon.

Is there anything you would like to tell our readers?


Who does nothing - does not fail. Don't be afraid to fail! Beware of evil forces, believe in yourself, and if you fall, stand up and continue with an even more confident step!

That's nice. I want to thank you so much for your time and let me wish you and the band all the best!

 
Thank you very much Domi, all the best to you too and thank you for your support!
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