. Marta Gabriel, the front woman of heavy metal stalwarts CRYSTAL VIPER, and Rob Bendelow, the founder and original guitarist of the legendary British rock band SARACEN. Joining them are Paul Bradde on keyboard duties and Andy Green (PAGAN ALTAR) on drums, you can imagine the result, a hard heavy classic sound that will never get old and they represent and execute perfectly. But as you fill out in the following notes Marta has played an important roll in kicking off this project. Enjoy it!
Hi Marta! The first question that rises looking at the line-up is: can we talk of a super band? Maybe on the underground level but super band anyway?
Well, you are very kind, but it’s not me to judge. We had a lot of fun working on this album, and I believe that the music we created is very special. Time will show how it will be received and remembered by the people.
Moon Chamber combines the expertise of guys like Rob Bendelow or Andy Green with the youth and boldness of Marta Gabriel. How did you get the idea to kick off the band?
It all started after my husband reissued Saracen on his label, and Rob Bendelow wanted to check who this guy is. That way he found me, and one day we got a message saying that Rob loves my voice, and he wrote a song for me. And the next day, he sent another song. It was really cool coincidence, because I anyway wanted to launch some kind of a side project, and I already had a name for it: Moon Chamber. So when Rob sent us these two songs, we said why not, why not to build this project I’m thinking about around Rob’s songs? We asked him if he is interested in doing full album, he agreed, and was very enthusiastic about it. Please keep in mind I’m a huge fan of Saracen, their vocalist Steve Bettney was even a special guest on one of the albums we did with Crystal Viper. We agreed that if we are going to invest our time and effort, it needs to be done really well, so Bart offered to produce the album, and he invited Andy from Pagan Altar to complete the lineup. In the meantime Rob asked his Saracen band mate Paul Bradder, if he is willing to record keyboard tracks for the album.
So, Moon Chamber is one album project or is destined to last?
You never know what the future will bring. At this point we are enjoying the fact, that the debut album is about to come out, and that this music will be shared with people. Let’s also not forget about Chris and Edyta from No Remorse Records – they heard the demo we did, and immediately offered us releasing the album., and were very supportive through the entire process of making it.
Then our acknowledge to No remorse too. If I’m not wrong most of the members live in the UK but not all, how was the recording process? Did you get together any time to put all the pieces together?
Vocals, drums, bass guitar and acoustic guitar were recorded in Poland, in the Kosa Buena Studio – the same one we are using with Crystal Viper, and this is also where the album has been mixed. Paul and Rob recorded their tracks at home, and sent them to us for mixing. We’ve met on various occasions, and Rob was present in the studio when I was recording vocal tracks.
I think Marta you were in charge of the bass during the recordings but now Rob’s son is on that position, right?
That is correct, I recorded all bass guitar parts for the album, but then when we started to talk about possible live shows and a video clip, we agreed it would be pity if I would be glued to a bass guitar. As Rob’s son Richard is playing bass (as far as I know he was even helping Saracen at some point), we approached him and he agreed to join.
All stays inside family then. How was the composition of the songs? Old material or all songs are brand new?
Both. Some of those songs or pieces of songs were written by Rob few decades ago, even before Saracen, and some of them are brand new. Of course all of them got upgraded and rearranged for Moon Chamber.
If we have a look at the lineup we might suspect a egos fight, but it doesn’t come that way, the album is very balanced…
I agree, the album is very balanced, you can hear that it’s a real band playing, not a bunch of random musicians. Sometimes when this kind of albums are being recorded, you can clearly hear that it was just someone’s solo project . In case of Moon Chamber you can hear that it’s one big piece. “Lore Of The Land” is definitely a team effort.
The album offers different types of songs, although Rock is the base of it, isn’t it?
You’re right, it’s definitely a Rock album. Some of the songs are a bit heavier, and basically could be labeled as melodic heavy metal, some of them are very light, but it’s all deeply rooted in the Rock music of the ’70s and ’80s.
The songs were composed thinking about Marta’s voice or you have adapted to everything they have writen?
Rob wrote all the music and lyrics for this album, and then everything was arranged for Moon Chamber. It was actually quite challenging, as for example in Crystal Viper I used to write everything on my own, and now I was about to sing and record songs written for me by someone else.
Any rehearsals before recording the album or all straight ahead?
We did a complete pre-production, the entire album was firstly made in the demo version, so everyone had a lot of time to prepare for the actual recording. And then in the studio everything went straight ahead.
I have watch the official video for “Ravenmaster”, a charismatic song without doubt, but the question is: the scene with you and the raven seems for real, even in some moment it seems you makes a face a little like “hope this thing knows how to land on my arm…” 🙂 Right?
The raven in our video clip is real, her name is Mordred (yes, that’s a male name and she is a female), and she is kind of a star in the UK, as she already played in several TV shows. It was a great day, I love all kind of animals, so it was quite an adventure to work with Mordred. And I think she knew what is she doing better than me (laugh).
Hahaha Another star in the album… Mordred! Some of the songs could fit perfectly on a Saracen album, what do you think?
Honestly? I agree. I actually even suggested to Rob that perhaps he wants to use at least some of those songs in Saracen, but every single time he was answering me that no, this is Moon Chamber and that’s something different. I’m a big, big fan of Saracen, “Heroes Saints And Fools” is such a phenomenal album!
Add myself to that, an eternal album. I think the songs are well defined, good and catchy melodies and choruses, classic sound but contemporary at the same time?
Yes, we didn’t want to do something outdated or retro sounding. The songs are indeed very classic sounding, they are very different and very unusual, and I think that this contemporary production lets them shine even more.
Can we expect any tour dates in the near future?
Hard to say, currently there are no plans like that. However, it would be great to play these songs live on stage, I really like them, and I think they would sound great in live versions.
Thanks Marta, a pleasure to talk to you once again. Congratulations for the album, if you wish to add something…
Thank you for support, I’m really happy that you like our album.