Well, I have been dealing with “music archeology” for some time now… lest we forget top bands from our domestic underground. There have indeed been so many great bands who`ve disappeared in the seas of oblivion. One of these precious gems are FUNERAL VISION from Cracow; they released just one recording and vanished from Poland`s underground music scene. In order to refresh their music, I decided to re-release their IT… and instead of providing you with their dry biographical facts, I opted to interview the band instead and thus elaborate on their history a bit further. Ok, no need to waste our time. Lads and ladies, this is FUNERAL VISION from Cracow. 

1. When I interviewed you guys last time (for Equilibrium of Noise Zine), you were about to get your debut cassette released (IT). Well, it was like 30 years ago, right? Seems like we`ve come full circle, haven’t we? 

Yeah, indeed been a while, right? We sort of feel like …that IT is about to be released again, like it was back in 1993. Same emotions, so to say, but this is not, however, a starting point – a “wrap up”, is perhaps a better word in this context. We are someplace else these days, enriched with different experiences, including various music experiences, too. I did enjoy going through our band`s archives, looking for some extra stuff we could use for this re-release. We managed to add three unpublished songs from the era as well as a couple of unseen photos.

2. In 1993, Loud Out Records released your cassette demo. Those were really ground-breaking times for the music market in our country. Your debut ep was timed perfectly since death metal ruled supreme in Poland at the time. Doom was doing ok, too. Seemed like everything was going fine with FUNERAL VISION and the band was about to become successful. But it didn’t happen…you didn’t have enough determination to go ahead? Why did you split up? I would say that the response from zines was really great back then, am I right in this regard?

The timing was, indeed, perfect. Well, we parted ways, unfortunately. We all chose different directions to follow in our future, we were busy with our own things. So, it wasn’t done on purpose, FV`s splitting up, I mean, but that were rather a medley of unfavourable conditions which affected our band. Undeniably, music, or creating music (as a band) is very time consuming – both at the level of your personal skills and your involvement, the time you devote to your band, including rehearsals, recording sessions and live shows. Interestingly, those years definitely influenced us and have been present in our lives later. We all have always longed for that kind of music, the yearn which resulted in a short-lived, but very fruitful reformation of FUNERAL VISION in 2013. 

3. Let’s talk about your beginnings. Why did you decide to form the band? How did it happen?

Well, it seemed so natural and obvious to start a new band back in the day. It was as natural as using FB is presently. Most of young people back then had long hair, they would buy their first guitar and would try to start a new band…but composing and playing music weren’t that easy, indeed. It turned out that very few had the audacity, enough will power and talent to turn these career dreams into reality. That was how FUNERAL VISION was created – selected from the most persevered ones. 

4. Well, the early nineties were a truly “refreshing breeze” for our everyday situation here in Poland. Yet, extreme music, despite being very popular, didn’t gain too much support. A lot of bands had problems getting a decent rehearsal place, for instance. How did you deal with that problem? How often did you rehearse? Did you have any issues/problems with practicing music?

Totally different times from the present, that’s for sure. We were in our twenties, at the time. Plenty of issues with equipment, rehearsal rooms, this and that; not even mentioning using a professional studio to record our music. Even getting new music releases was tough at the time. Much harder than it is presently. As mentioned, only the most stubborn and strongest survived, those who were totally involved in music. We were quite lucky, to be honest, because we found a very good, very friendly and welcoming place to rehearse – the Podgorze Community Centre in Cracow (or more precisely, its Solvay branch). We could rehearse a couple of times a week; the sound equipment was really ok, and more than enough for our needs. Most importantly, the vibe was very positive, both when it comes to creating music and socializing. At this Solvay place, there were some fellow bands hanging out like FORGET and HELLIAS, for instance. 

5. I can sense in your music some influences from such bands as early PARADISE LOST, SEMPITERNAL DEATHREIGN  or DESECRATOR. But I am sure you were inspired by other bands and genres as well, right?

Well, PARADISE LOST seemed the most important influence for us, at the time. But each and every of us would listen to slightly different kinds of metal music (and music in general), which was then reflected in the music we created. If I recollect correctly, the guitarists were fascinated with technical music – CARCASS or CORNER, this kind of stuff. Me as a bassist was into Geddy Lee from RUSH, we also liked FAITH NO MORE and bands from Seattle: SOUNDGARDEN or ALICE IN CHAINS. I have always claimed we played the music we were listening to at the time. Which was heavy, slightly melodic, a little harmonic and a bit technical. It must be remembered that, as a rule, one initially always plays the very music one is able to create; then one can improve, together with the band, his skills and coordination – which, of course, results in more complex and sophisticated sounds produced. 

6. When I interviewed you back in 1993, you mentioned such bands as PARADISE LOST, FATE NO MORE, RUSH, TYPE O NEGATIVE/CARNIVORE  and… WILKI. Quite a colourful blend, I must say. Yet, despite these different influences, you guys managed to create an extremely heavy sounding music. Did those different styles of your influences was a positive or negative thing as far as creating your music was concerned?

All right! Yeah, there was one fine medley of different styles in our heads at the time, no doubt. But we were quite “open” to different ideas and funneled our influences into our music we were creating as a band. Sure, some rehearsals turned out into discussions about what to play. But this is what I find fascinating about bands…that an idea, which is unique and peculiar to the person who`s initially come up with it, can evolve and further change, when a number of people keep working on it: adding new ideas to it, rearranging it one way or the other, and finally forging something completely new – still based on the song`s initial concept. This abundance of ideas always helps a lot, what it needed is acceptance of other people and their will to work on it. That was what FUNERAL VISION was all about. 

7. How about live shows? If I am not mistaken, you did play a couple, right? Please elaborate a bit on your concerts. 

Live shows were, at the time, the only way bands could utilize to present their music to masses. There were no social media, maybe a couple of guest spectators at your rehearsals, that’s it. We never managed to play at “big” gigs but some shows are still quite memorable, like the one from Klub Pod Przewiązką in Cracow – this concert will be added as bonus DVD to our IT re-release. Another good gig took place at a community centre in Miechow, you can watch it on our FB page, so check this show out (two parts available). And, of course, some live shows from Solvay, which was a great live music venue with a great stage. I can’t quite recollect the very bands we played with, to be honest, but I am sure those must’ve included such names as TARANIS, MORDOR and SAGITARIUS. 

8. I would claim that in the 90s you didn’t have too much competition as for your music style, right? Of course, there were powerful MORDOR from Czestochowa or PANDEMONIUM from Lodz and some others, more or less important groups performing this pitch-black sort of music. But, in general, that was death metal that ruled supreme at the time in Poland. Therefore, a band like FUNERAL VISION should have been more noticeable due to this original style, so different from the bands imitating DEICIDE, MORBID ANGEL and CANNIBAL CORPSE, right?

LOL, beside PARADISE LOST, there was no competition at all, eh. There were plenty of good bands at the time and plenty of good musicians, including our Cracow`s scene. However, stylistically speaking, we were different or, I daresay more original. Many bands used to deal with traditional thrash in the METALLICA vein or some faster death metal area. However, we attracted attention of a quite respectable label. I am a bit disappointed with the fact we didn’t utilize that stylistic niche to the max: medium tempos, the pulsating rhythm section, powerful riffs with harmonic elements, melodic solos and that scary vocal; that was a great blend, doomed for success! 

9. At the time, Loud Out were quite an important label here in Poland; they released a bunch of our best, domestic bands (GHOST, BLOODLUST, HAZAEL, IMPERATOR) as well as official tapes and cds of MORGOTH, THE GATHERING , ASPHYX or COMECON. I would say you guys were lucky Loud Out took you under their wing…eh? So, what went wrong?

Before Loud Out Records released our stuff, Barbara Mikula (Mystic Productions` CEO, presently) got interested in our stuff. Thanks to her and her interest in our music, we decided to record our first songs professionally. We were very lucky since we ended up at Gamma Studio in Cracow; our producer was Jurek Oliwa, the guy who later cooperated with a number of well-known artists here in Poland. He was the person  responsible for IT`s superb sound. In hindsight, I still am of opinion this peculiar sort of sound is very unique and therefore fits our music perfectly. It needs to be mentioned that all the songs were recorded using analog equipment and magnetic tapes, which is quite unbelievable these days! And that was all the luck we had back then, I suspect!

10. In hindsight, do you regret having given up playing music after IT was out? Would you change anything if you could? 

I like to joke that we might`ve evolved like OPETH and their Heritage album – and could’ve done it 15 years before they did, since that was exactly where our music was directed at. When we reactivated the band for a short time back in 2013, we realized that the unreleased songs from 1993 aged very well. We rehearsed them and we came to conclusion those cuts were really, really good. A bit later, we played music as BEDZIE PIEKLO – different music, but it featured some riffs, ideas and melodic parts from the FV`s stuff composed after IT. Those songs were recorded on some shabby tape (and in our heads of course) that we managed to salvage. Well, all in all, good times for us, those were. Of course, each and every member regret that we didn’t move forward, that we didn’t play tours or big festivals but hey, only a very few bands deserve this kind of honour; musicians who are very involved, talented and ready to devote a lot to reach their goals. 

11. Anything to add for your ardent fans who`ve never forgotten about funeral vision`s music?

Well, I need to mention the fact that we are present on FB. In result, we have been contacted by fans from all over the world; some remember the 90s, some other discovered our music just a while ago, but all of them email us about how much they are interested in our music and how much they appreciate its unique character. And I need to mention that our tape was sold online for a large sum of money! We are very happy that IT will be re-released, and it`ll include bonus features. Well, this is our band`s 30th anniversary so this re-release seems like a great birthday present, methinks! 


Poprawiony (piątek, 16 kwietnia 2021 10:11)