Claymore formed in Ruse, Bulgaria during the summer of 1999. Drummer Kamen, guitarist Martyn, and bassist Velislav were the founding members. The band soon underwent radical lineup changes, and in time adding keyboardist Tsvetelin (in 2000) and vocalist Svetoslav (in 2007) as permanent members. The band’s first concert was in September 1999; they later released several EPs and a bootleg. In 2008 Claymore signed with Distributor of Pain (D.O.P.) for their album “Prolonged Active Antagonism” after they self-released it first. They also signed with Toxity Records and their songs are included on “Vodafone live!”. In the next year they signed with Forces of Satan Records (owned by Infernus of Gorgoroth and Vile Horg).
Welcome Claymore. Thanks for participating in our question and answer session with us.
Hails from Bulgaria! Svetoslav here.
Hello Svetoslav, so what’s the story behind the band’s name ‘Claymore’?
The Scottish two-handed (Highland) claymore was a large sword used in the late Medieval and early modern periods. It was used in the constant clan warfare and border fights with the English from circa 1500 to 1700. An allegory could be made with us, fighting for personal and spiritual freedom.
How long have you all known each other and how did you meet?
We knew each other from different bands that have played together on stage, having endless drinking parties, etc. There was a need for a heavy band to be created in town, so we felt we must do it. Several member changes happened here and there, but now we are an unshakable machine.
Where have you performed and what are your favorite and least favorite venues?
Claymore has done lots of shows from small clubs through bigger halls, to open air festivals and stadium shows with very well known international acts. It does not really matter where we play. Every scene has its advantages. For example you are closer to the audience in the smaller venues and you can connect with them easier but when you play festivals they are too far away from you. You can’t really bring all of your scene production to a small venue because you won’t be able to move on the stage but in open air, doing whatever you want is negotiable.
What should we expect to experience at one of your shows visually and musically?
Ah.. we are preparing a new decoration for the scene and we want to make it more realistic and atmospheric. We are also planning to do a fire show with the new decoration but let’s see how that will turn out. All will be safe and operated by a pyrotechnician, of course… so let’s keep the details a secret until it actually happens, ok?
Okay, we’ll exclude that part from the interview. Uhm.. so tell us, what is your routine like during the one hour before going on stage?
Watching the other bands that are playing, getting to know the place better, etc.
Any special rituals that you must do before going on stage?
We used to have this god pelargonium with us all the time… Nobody knows where the deity went… no one would ever see it again…
However, seeing is not believing… Some stare but never see…
What’s the best, strangest and/or funniest thing that has ever happened to you on stage? Do you hate cables?
Fans climbing up on stage to sing with us, technical problems… not hearing anything from the monitors, a sudden lighting of a whole hall turned on by a security guard by mistake, etc. And, yes, we hate cables…
Sorry about the cable question. So what do you and the band love most about performing?
Every single part of it. It is the ultimate reward for every artist. It brings you artistic satisfaction and gratification.
Do you ever get tired of playing the same songs show after show?
No, we like all of our songs. Why would we perform or publish them, if we didn’t!? Of course, when your band develops, older material always sounds strange… And you say to your self… Ah.. We could have made that better… He-he!
What has been your biggest challenge as a band?
Ah.. there is a constant challenge. I’d rather say it is the biggest challenge for a band to build a team within the members at first, but then everything starts going way better… nothing else really matters that much.
What do you think is the importance of music in the world?
When we set aside the imperfections of external coloration, we see a colorful image, no matter if we live through it from the inner self or externally. When we enter the musical sphere, we entirely merge with the internal experience of the human soul and we must leave matter and space entirely. The musical element is linear and undimensional. It could be experienced undimensionally through the line of time, thus one perceives the world as one’s own world. If we go deeper into the secrets of music, we could understand that the musical experience is extremely close to the harmonic/melodic cosmic relations, from which the whole human being grows. The human being is internally made of music and one has artistic and musical perception insofar as, as it coincides with the secrets of one’s own musical structure. The true art is always coming down to the fact that the human being is looking for it’s relations with the spiritual world.
That was incredibly profound. So do you use your music to help promote awareness?
Of course. Listen to our music and you will feel it.
Hearing is not listening… We will also add theatrical sound images to our music to make it more vivid.
How many roads must a man walk down?
A lot, of course. Although, it is sometimes when someone helps you and you just can’t or don’t see it.
Seeing is not believing… and some things must remain unspoken.
Are there any projects that you are working on now, what’s next for the band?
Yes. We are in pre-production stage for a new album. Maybe we will make a video. We also have been working on our new scene production.
Some of us also have side projects and day jobs and so sometimes we’re moving slow…
Do you have any advice or words of wisdom for other artists?
Be yourself. It is to the ability of everybody to express an experience.
This is not original… and it does not make you an artist.
Svetoslav, thanks again for taking time out to chat with us today.
Thank you for this interview!