Ravna’s “Pillars” New Album Very Strong Start + Interview

In the ever-evolving landscape of metal, the audacious Ravna’s latest LP, “Pillars,” is a testament to the band’s relentless pursuit of artistic expression, pushing boundaries and boldly going where no band has gone before. Their latest LP is a fusion of diverse genres with, at times, unconventional voices and instruments for a metal album. These elements come together to form a sound that is as intricate as it is unexpected.

Pivotal Moments

Reflecting on their journey, they recall, “At the beginning, as Ravna, we played for the sake of art itself, not bothering to specifically promote our work. The breakthrough came during a memorable concert at the Torpeda Club in Gdańsk. We played then, among others, with our friends from Hail the Seeker. The concert overlapped with the Opener Festival, so we didn’t expect crowds. Suddenly we had a full room. Each of our songs received an incredibly enthusiastic response. It was fire. Although it is a small club, the energy of these people could blow up the Chernobyl reactor”.

This event was transformative for the band, providing them with the motivation to push their music further. “Suddenly we felt that we weren’t doing it just for ourselves. We got an injection of motivation to show our work more widely”.

Tracks like “Levitation” and “Implozja” exemplify this blend, standing out as emotional rollercoasters that perfectly encapsulate the album’s essence. One of the most intriguing aspects of the album is its interlude, “Zaklinanie Drugie“. This track diverges from the musical journey, offering a spoken word piece accompanied by sparse, eerie, and scary sounds, blurring the lines between a poem and a story. It’s a bold move that adds a layer of mystique and depth to the album.

Musical Roots and Influences

Ravna’s influences span a broad spectrum, from black metal and sludge to jazz, cold wave, and even electronic music. This eclectic mix is evident in the complex arrangements and varied tonal shifts throughout “Pillars“. The band’s ability to seamlessly integrate these diverse elements into a cohesive whole is impressive.

Their journey has been deeply rooted in the folklore and natural landscapes of Pomerania. This connection to their heritage is palpable throughout the album, infusing their sound with a sense of place and history. As they mentioned, “Our music has a strong ethnic element. We didn’t plan it, it just happened. This is because we are deeply steeped in folklore. Both nationwide and specifically in Pomerania”.

The band’s lyrical approach is both direct and abstract, allowing listeners to find their own interpretations within the songs. “Levitation” serves as the album’s quintessence, a track born from a collaborative jam session that encapsulates the band’s musical philosophy. It combines sludge metal motifs with black metal influences, folk-infused chants, and djent twists, all while lyrically exploring themes of transcendence and acceptance.

Ravna’s Pillars” is a bold, emotional, and innovative release. With its intricate sounds deep thematic exploration, and seamless integration of diverse musical influences, “Pillars” is an album that demands attention and rewards listeners with every listen.

All Pictures courtesy of Ravna & Bang Your Head Photography

What are some pivotal moments in your musical journeys that led you to where you are today?

At the beginning, as Ravna, we played for the sake of art itself, not bothering to specifically promote our work. We needed a space to express ourselves and that’s what this band was for us. The breakthrough came during a memorable concert at the Torpeda Club in Gdańsk (a great place!). We played then, among others, with our friends from Hail the Seeker. The concert overlapped with the Opener Festival, so we didn’t expect crowds.

We were ready to play a gig as usual, have fun on stage and end the evening there. And here’s a surprise. Suddenly we had a full room.  Each of our songs received an incredibly enthusiastic response. It was fire. Although it is a small club, the energy of these people could blow up the Chernobyl reactor. 

Suddenly we felt that we weren’t doing it just for ourselves. We got an injection of motivation to show our work more widely. 

What’s also great? Many of these people stayed with us to this day. They come to our shows, listen to our music. Thank you for that evening. It was a new beginning for us.

How did you all meet and what made you decide to form a band together?

The bands we played in before stopped giving us artistic fulfillment. Their breakup was rather inevitable. Since Northern and Ontagma often played gigs together, we knew each other as people and musicians. As ex members of these bands, we’ve decided to create something new together.

Ravna is an entirely new chapter and it’s not a continuation of eighter, but it does contain the legacy of both to some extent.

Could you share a memorable story from the early days of the band’s formation?

It would be difficult to name just one story, especially without talking about anything illegal or particularly embarrassing. In fact, most concerts or other things done together have some unusual stories behind them.

The beginnings were actually relatively calm. The party started when we started touring the country. A soundguy who caused a short circuit in the equipment, and we had to sound the concert ourselves. Chasing some morons who stole our merch. A brawl in the middle of the club. Spontaneously joining the lineup on the eve of the concert. This could go on forever. There’s always something going to happen. A musician’s life. We recommend.

Where are you each originally from?

We’re Pomerania boys. Mazur and Marcin are from Gdańsk, Biernat is from Pruszcz Gdański and Eryk is from Gdynia. At the beginning, we were playing rehearsals in Gdańsk, but two years ago we moved to Gdynia. We built our DIY rehearsal space in the basement of Marine Automobileclub. Music is about sharing, and we decided to share some pain with their neighbors.

How have your roots influenced your musical style and the band’s dynamic?

Our music has a strong ethnic element. We didn’t plan it, it just happened. This is because we are deeply steeped in folklore. Both nationwide and specifically in Pomerania. 

Do you know what I think should be done to find out what shaped folk music in a given area? Go out into nature, find an open space and shout. Shout as if you wanted to call someone standing far away. The space in which the sound will spread, the silence that will follow, the sounds of animals that will react to your call. There you will find the answer.

And you will hear it in our music too. The Baltic Sea, its coasts, the forests of northern Poland, Kashubian Lake District. It’s inside us, hence it’s inside our art.  

Our fans some time ago came up with a name for our style – Gruz Folk (Rubble Folk) and we gladly accepted it.

In just a few words, how would you describe the sound of your band?

The balance between heavy and oneiric which we like to disturb at our whim.

What emotions or imagery do you hope to evoke in your listeners?

If the album “Pillars” was a movie, the most important element of camera work would be the manipulation of the zoom. Sometimes close, sometimes really far away. Some songs speak directly about the concerns and struggles of human life, others delve into space, mythology and philosophical concepts. 

On the one hand, it is a story about suffering, and on the other – about the meaning of life found in how fascinating the universe around us is. 

If there is a force that can counter the pain of existence, it is curiosity about the world. And this is what we want to infect people with. We do not want to talk about hope in a direct and literal way. We don’t want to tell anyone «It will get better”. Probably it won’t.

Who are some of your biggest musical influences? Have these influences changed over time as your band has evolved?

We would have to divide our inspirations into metal and non-metal. We have quite different musical tastes, but we find a common denominator in all of it. Our metal inspirations range between black metal, sludge metal in style of Amenra or Acid Bath, old Sepultura, the changing faces of progressive metal (sometimes Meshuggah, sometimes Opeth), European death metal and core classics like Converge and The Dillinger Escape Plan.   

From non-metal genres: folk from different parts of the world penetrates our music. Hence you can hear, for example, tagelharpa or throat singing. We also listen to jazz, cold wave, rap and psychedelic rock and it influences our work. An important non-metal inspiration for us is electronic music – drum’n’bass and related genres, as well as dark electronics in the style of, for example, Czeluść.  

Some inspirations won’t be audible at first listen. For an example, the drummer who influenced Biernat the most was Joey Jordison or the one of the most influential bands for our guitarist Mazur was Polish band Obscure Sphinx.

Let’s talk about your brand new LP, PILLARS! What was the overall inspiration behind the record?

Pain, giant turtles, magic and outer space.

Were there any specific events or experiences that particularly shaped the theme of this LP?   

Sometimes it was mystical experiences, other times it was a trip or a meaningful book. Often it was a cool riff played during rehearsal that told us a story that we developed together. Many times, nature has given us the right sounds or words, as we have already mentioned.

On the other hand, creating something gave us some sense of control over our lives in this messed up reality. When observing world events, it is difficult not to be overwhelmed by powerlessness. We are witnessing genocide in Palestine, multi-billion corporations destroying the environment for money, and war on our eastern border. This happens when we’re stuck in our jobs and apart from activism and spreading awareness, there’s little we can do. We have been fed with heroism by culture, but we cannot save the world. This is so damn frustrating. Art is a good way to cope. Creating something in a civilization whose leaders love to destroy so much.

Which track on the LP do you feel best represents the overall sound and energy of the band, and why?

That’s a good question. It made us have a little brainstorm. Levitation. This is a piece created by all of us equally. It was made as a result of a jam to which each of us contributed their own riffs and ideas. Musically, it contains our quintessence; a sludge metal leitmotif, black metal influences, folk-infused chants, and djent twists. Basically, everything that excites us about this music.  

Lyrically, it has two meanings. Of course, the listener can interpret the text freely and find content that Tur had never dreamed of when he wrote it, which is one of the greatest advantages of poetry. One of the intended meanings is the concept of transcending human perception during one incarnation, taken from Hermeticism. The second is a depiction of accepting the loss of hope. We like ambiguity, so the lyrics to this song are representant too.

Could you share a bit about the creative process behind this track?  

We got carried away and liked the result.

What are your hopes and aspirations for the band in the future?

Grow as artists. Explore and improve our style. Don’t stop searching for the sounds we want to give to the world. Play rock’n’roll and get a lot of satisfaction from it.

Do we want to become a big thing, reach many people with our music, fill the largest halls? Of course we want to. Most people who pick up an instrument have such a dream somewhere in the back of their heads. However, this is something we have no control over. We release our music into the world, and what the world does with it is its business.  

How do you see your music evolving in the coming years?  

To be honest, we don’t wake up thinking “let’s introduce new stuff to our music”. The changes come naturally as we evolve as artists and human beings. Based on new songs we are currently working on; you will hear more doom and post metal influences. Many a time, the compositions will include some elements of post punk and early gothic rock. This doesn’t mean that we intend to switch to “landscape” songs. Our music will still be intense, often brutal. An important part of it will still be both black metal riffs and djentish breakdowns, which have been our trademark since the very beginning. Also, in recent jam sessions, noise music is increasingly penetrating our ideas. We would venture to say that what was heavy in our output will be even heavier. Nonetheless, powerful sound wasn’t and won’t ever be the only thing we’ve got to offer. We play music first. Then we play metal.  

Reshuffling of genre influences is not the only upcoming change. New songs might become more theatrical with vocals paying more attention to storytelling. The bond between lyrics and tension in music will tighten. Especially since you will hear more than one singer on the upcoming records. It opens up many new possibilities: dialogues, themes with responses, wider harmonies, etc. It’s going to impact both our lyrics and the formula of Ravna’s live shows.

Instruments unusual for metal music like saxophone and tagelharpa will get more screentime and bigger role this time. On “Pillars” they were introduced when the album was technically ready. Now we take them into account from the beginning of the song composition process.  

That’s all we can say at the moment. What our new music will ultimately look like? Even we don’t know. We allow ourselves to be carried away by fantasy and let our art be a journey without a set destination.  

Do you have any upcoming shows, tours, or collaborations that you’d like to share with us?

Our next concert in Tricity will be a gig celebrating the fifteenth anniversary of our singer’s stage activity in early autumn this year. As for concerts in the rest of the country, please stay up to date on our social media. We regularly add more concerts. A little spoiler: Silesia and central Poland, get ready for us soon.

We are also quite an “interactive” band. If someone writes to us asking if we will play in their city, there is a good chance that we will book a club there and come, even if they were the only person at the show.

When it comes to collabs, there are several bands with whom we are friends and share common visions. There are talks on this subject. We don’t rule out splits or feats in the near future.

What can fans expect from your live performances?

At first, people at our gigs were like “these are some weird guys”. Even today people who see us for the first time often come up and say that their initial reaction was “WTF?”, but after a while they were completely immersed in our show.  

It quickly became our trademark. People want us crazy; people want us strange. The good example is “Zaklinanie Drugie” (The second conjuration). It’s basically a story saying that the Earth stands on an endless tower of turtles and Demiurge looks with horror and helplessness at his structure which will inevitably collapse. It’s an introduction to the title song – “Pillars”. This story has been with us since our first gig, and it has become so distinctive to us, that people started to recognize us as the “turtle tower band” – our audience was demanding us to feature it on the album. It was quite funny because we had planned to do so for a long time. But let them believe it was their idea. You won’t tell them, will you?

On the other hand, what fans really expect from us (or any other band playing heavy music) is to deliver them to the promised land of rock’n’roll. And that’s what we do our best to give them. Whatever ideas you smuggle to your music, the riff must rock.

Pictures by Bang Your Head Photography
Music by Ravna FB | Listen to their new album on Youtube Music

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