You know, when we first met with Jane, we were both in high school. I had just moved to Moscow from the UK where I’d spent all my childhood and youth (my family lived in Southampton, Exeter and ultimately settled in Glasgow where they still live).
I was in the humanities class, planning to become a historian and/or politician, while she was in the biology class, planning to become a doctor. Little did we know of what was to come…
At that time I was listening mainly to punk rock. I could play the piano because when I was a kid, my parents made me study music, but I hated it. I could also sing a bit and play the guitar – also a bit. But I never thought of music as a potential career.
Jane was originally listening to rap – mostly Eminem (translating his songs and thus learning mainly English swear words as opposed to regular English lessons which were totally crap) – and had zero musical training. Who could even imagine that she would become a symphonic metal singer?
But as it happened with many girls of her age, once upon a time she was watching MTV (it was still airing in Russia back then and it still had some rock/metal music) and stumbled upon a HIM music video. And she immediately fell in love with the band and with the music (and obviously with Ville Valo as well). All of a sudden, she dressed in black clothes, coloured her nails black and became your typical gothic girl.
That was actually the time when we met. Of course I was curious of what she was up to and so she gave me HIM’s albums to listen to – which I too liked immediately (very uncommon for a guy, I know). From that moment on, I started exploring metal music, of course beginning with the big classics – Metallica, Iron Maiden, Ozzy etc.
At the same time my next door neighbour turned into a black metaller and started wearing leather, showing me posters with corpse painted guys etc. And one day he brought a CD by Dimmu Borgir – and I immediately liked the symphonic sound. However, at that point I didn’t quite get the vocals (I do like screaming now, and listen to tons of black and death metal, but back then I didn’t get it) and so he introduced me to Nightwish – and that was the turning point. I fell in love immediately and irrevocably, and nothing could stop me. Nightwish are the primary reason for all the music we have created.
After Nightwish, I started listening to Within Temptation and Therion – the latter were destined to become a turning point in our career, but that would be much, much later… Jane, keeping her affection for HIM (she now has a HIM tattoo as homage to their influence on Imperial Age), also started listening to heavier bands, such as Dimmu Borgir, Rhapsody, Cradle of Filth, Therion etc., and our tastes became very similar with time.
And so, when I just got into university to study as a historian (and my parents were finally happy with the “right” choice their son had made), I suddenly decided that I didn’t want to have anything to do with politics and science, but rather I wanted to become a musician and influence people not through the oppressive state institutions, but rather through their hearts and souls, thus making the world a bit better.
I immediately formed a band which I called Revelance, and it was your typical amateur band. We couldn’t play or sing properly, and the gigs were the local disaster you can always witness at the smallest local rock/metal venue in front of 3.5 shitfaced people.
The main problem was that everyone wanted to be rich and famous but no one wanted to work and/or sacrifice anything fro it. So that wanting was very theoretical and distant from reality 🙂 And – of course – we didn’t even record a single album.
That state of affairs continued for a few years. During that time I was completely broke (had to work at a record store selling CDs) and we were mainly boozing all the time instead of doing music.
Finally, I put the beer aside and realised that the road wasn’t leading anywhere. And so I disbanded the whole band, without a shadow of regret.
We met up with Jane and decided to make it proper this time. We spent 1.5 years thinking of a name for the new band and composing the music. And as a result, a whole new project appeared, now known as Imperial Age.
Fast forward to today – we have 2 albums and 1 EP, three European tours behind us and one ahead of us starting this January, we are friends with the people who have been idols for us from the beginning… but the most important link in that chain is… YOU.
In the end, its all about the listener. Because the band and the listener come together. Its two halves of one whole. Its pointless to play music if no one is listening just as it is pointless to listen to music if no one has made it 🙂 YOU are the one who makes it all matter in the end.
I look forward to many more sometimes-hard, sometimes-ugly, always-worthwhile experiences along this musical journey. Here’s to hoping that you are part of that journey.
If you’d like to hear the most recent milestone of that journey, click here to listen to our most recent album, ‘The Legacy of Atlantis”.
Thank you for being a listener and for making it all matter.