Symfobia is a symphonic-metal band; its songs are dominated by orchestral arrangements, prominent guitar solos and choir parts. In both its albums recorded so far, the band has used a professional choir, which is not common on the Slovak metal scene. Symfobia is one of the few symphonic-metal bands in the world that has two female-fronted singers. The contrasting voices and the performance of the singers offer the band the opportunity to experiment creatively and to enhance the monumentality of the songs.
Lyrics for the band are written by talented text writer Rastislav Getta. Symfobia’s songs push to change the minds of each and every one of us, to become conscious beings in the real offline world and not end up as slaves believing every message served up by media. The depth of the texts is often hidden in metaphors referring to the concepts of a right attitude to life. They draw attention to today’s diseases, such as loss of critical thinking, over-consumption, and environmental misconduct.
Since the release of their debut album, Way of the Queen, Symfobia has performed with world-famous metal bands such as Nightwish, Arch Enemy, Therion and Sabaton. They toured with Tublatanka, Helenine oči and Citron. Since its inception, the band has performed at the biggest music festivals in Slovakia and in the Czech Republic – Topfest, Masters of Rock, More than Fest, Legend Festival, Rock pod kameňom and many more.
Erika Strečková – vocals
Simona Janovičová – vocals
Fero Molnar – Keyboard
Milan Sitár – guitar
Peter Varga – guitar
Peter Bugár – bass guitar
Viliam Putz - Drums
RK : First of all, thank you for accepting our invitation for an interview. Congratulations on completing more than a decade of musical journey. How does it feel to have been active for so long?
Symfobia : Thank you very much. Well, Symfobia was created by our keyboardist Fero Molnar in 2007, but the band is active since 2013. We enjoy playing our music, work, compose and spend time together as a band, it´s something that connects us.
RK :Symfobia has started their journey in 2007. Can you recall the moment when you thought you could be in this group together? How did you first meet each other? Has anything surprised you about it all so far?
Symfobia : Each band member joined the band at different times and has his own story. The most important thing is that we understand each other as people and we are a good team.
RK : What was the first song you played as a band?
Symfobia : We never played cover songs. From the very beginning we did our own songs and worked on the first album. The first album was released more than 4 years ago, so our first song had to be one from the Way of the Queen album.
RK : How strictly do you separate improvising and composing?
Symfobia : When we compose songs, someone always brings the main motive. Usually it is our keyboard player Feri or our drummer Viliam. At the rehearsal, we improvise and try different instruments, different vocal melodies, then we record it and we use the best result.
RK : Let’s talk about your latest album, “Smog of Tomorrow” released in March 2019, which is already a massive hit. Tell us something about the album.
Symfobia : In our new album “Smog Of Tomorrow“, we are mainly dealing with current issues. In the first album “Way Of The Queen“ we dealt with the problems of the individual, the behavior of man, the moral values and the outcomes of his behavior, the good but also the bad. While in the second album we are dealing with more global issues such as technology dependence, consumer society, loss of critical thinking, environmental misconduct, etc. Smog of Tomorrow is the darker side of mankind and therefore us. We must praise our writer Rastislav Getta who writes our lyrics. We always discuss each text together but he is the one who comes up with the theme. We ́re very glad we have him.
RK : What was it like putting this collection together? Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
Symfobia : The recording itself took quite a long time - two years, as a lot of people participated on our new album. To name some of them: Choir band Echo, painter Svetozár Košický who has made a booklet of our CD, great team from Randal Group recording studio, excellent guitarist Jimi Cimbala, Peter Vlčko who helped with orchestral arrangements etc. Organizing such a mass of people was a hell of a challenge but the overall result is fantastic. The reviews from the music critics we are receiving are only positive. “Smog of Tomorrow” is definitely one of the best symphonic metal albums ever released in Slovakia.
RK : Your debut album ‘Way of the Queen’ became popular immediately after the release. How did it feel when you got so much support from your listeners?
Symfobia : Our debut determined way of genre of our music. Songs are dominated by orchestral arrangements, prominent guitar solos and choir parts. We got many symphonic-metal fans in a very short time. It was amazing! It's hard to describe feelings, absolutely amazing.
RK If you had all the money and time in the world, what song either yours or someone else’s would you love to recreate? What the video be like?
Symfobia : All members of “Symfobia” are big Whitesnake fans. Maybe we ́ll choose one of their songs. Our singers Erika and Simona were joking about Duo Baccara cover. We ́re open to all ideas, who knows which one wins at the end.
RK : Where do you think you are all happiest: In the studio recording new music, on stage performing or elsewhere?
Symfobia : Absolutely clearly on the stage. We love all that energy that circles between us and our audience. But we also like to spend time together in the rehearsal room, where the atmosphere is slightly different. I'd say a little more relaxed.
RK : Since you are on the metal scene for quite a long time we are sure you went through many challenges. Was there ever a time when you simply want to quit?
Symfobia : This time has not come yet.
RK : What advice Symfobia would give to fellow bands when picking up a studio?
Symfobia : The most important thing is the sound you want your album to have – so choose the recording studio wisely. The second most important thing is that you have to feel good in the studio and you must have a good relationship with the other band members.
RK : Outside your genre, what music do you like?
Symfobia : Our members are mainly metal fans. Mostly power, symphonic or progressive metal. Our keyboardist likes classical music, singer Erika loves Queen, Simona prefers hard rock, and our bassist Peter likes reggae...
RK : How has 2019 been treating you so far? What is one musical goal that you have had for this year and how close are you to reaching it?
Symfobia : Our goal is to play good music and we are very pleased that our fanbase is still growing. We try to choose good concerts and festivals where we want to play. This year we performed with bands like “Powerwolf” and “Amarathe” and we really enjoyed it. The big challenge for us this year was to play at the festival Masters of Rock. It was our first time on the main stage on this festival. MOR was always a highlight of the festival season for us, the crowd there is unbelievable and this year was the best. We were very excited to be on the stage with the world's biggest stars. So we really appreciated it.
RK : Is there anything you want to let people know about, other than your recent album and tour?
Symfobia : A few days ago we released a new video clip to song Bury it and we would be happy if you watch it and let us know how you like it. We are also preparing two more music videos and another tour in the autumn, this time around the Czech Republic.
RK : We (Retro Kolkata) are trying to build one single stage for all the artists, because we believe that artists are the most beautiful creation of God and geographical boundary can never break their unity and harmony. Please say something about our initiative and any special message for your followers.
Symfobia : Great idea! We wish you all the best in your project. And to your readers we want to say - live in love for yourself, for others, and for good music. Thank you very much for the interview.