PROMISE TO TAKE: Striking Chords

Promise to Take

Russian metalcore unit Promise to Take are set to launch their new EP entitled ‘Animosity.’ We have recently premiered a video for the song “Gravedigging,” and about this all and more singer Slava Antonenko speaks in the interview below.

Define the mission of Promise to Take.

We’ve always wanted to simply play music not limited but genres and have fun. That’s why we mix so much, from heavy breakdowns to melodic leads and deep gutturals with clean singing. If we feel like something works and souns good – we’ll use it. One thing that remains consistent though is the lyrics. While we don’t really have a general common theme, we definitely stand for the same ideas everywhere. Live your life, get the best out off no matter how hard it gets and make sure get stronger with any challenge. And if our songs help anyone to find their footing, then we succeded.

Tell me about the creative process that informed your new EP “Animosity” and the themes it captures.

Unlike our previous releases there was a lot of back and forth making this new EP. It was the first time we actually adapted the music to lyrics and vocal parts here and there, trying to actually make sure every song is a complete experience where melodies, lyrical themes & vocal performace maintained the same vibes. “Animosity” can really be defined by its title, however its not about hating people around you but rather about dealing with self-defeat and inner struggle. In our songs we admit that sometimes you find yourself in a very dark place, however even if you’re destined to fail, you should still fight until the very end.

What is the message you are trying to give with “Animosity”? 

Life isn’t easy, and everyone has his own demons, values and definition of “living”. Some people struggle to make a living, others to achieve success in their area of interest. And while it may seem that one is tougher than the other in the bigger scheme of things it doesn’t matter. Each one of us, has to deal with his own challenges and what may seem like a simple thing to you may be an incredibly difficult thing to someone else. So we don’t concentrate on anything specific, what really matters is all of us should stand our ground, whatever we belive in and make the best of what we’ve got.

Promise to Take - Animosity

How did you document the music while it was being formulated?

We’ve actually attempted to have a video diary of our progress, but making of this EP took such a long time that this idea had to be abandoned unfortunately belive it or not. Usually we used to have a couple of demos for each song and maybe a few versions of it with a couple of different vocal performances, but this time around we have literally dozens of demos for every song. Since we adapted songs to lyrics and vocals, and then after making changes once again adapted vocals and lyrics to the instrumentals, rince and repeat, it was very important to keep a good track of things. So we have a huge amount of DAW projects full of unused riffs and hooks, so maybe we’ll return to them next time around, who knows?

Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?

It is. As I mentioned before, we really tried to make every song a self-contained story, a full experience with it’s beginning, middle and end. If we wanted a particular part to have more impact we actually worked on it, adapting all preceding parts to achieve that. And however subjective it may be, I feel like we succeded in what we wanted to do.

Describe the approach to recording the EP.

It was technically a 4 step process, that was repeated over and over again. It all usually starts with Vova and Ilya brainstorming and tracking some guitars, outlining the general structure of the song. Then it goes to vocals and lyrics, where core rythmical pattern and theme are set, these are almost always a subject to change, since instrumentals evolve and change accordingly. We repeat those 2 steps until we have a more or less complete compositon and that’s when Alex lays down his bass parts. He’s incredibly good at coming up with stuff that supports guitars and at the same time stands out on its own. And then Ilya finalyzes the songs with some arrangements and samples.

How long “Animosity” was in the making?

Surprisingly initial comprosition didn’t take much time, maybe a couple of months. However once we started laying down vocals and changing things around it ended up being a couple of years. The biggest challenge is probably the fact that we don’t live in the same city and in Russia traveling from one town to another can take days, since they are so spread out across the country. We probably should figure out a faster workflow, but honestly as long as music ends up great, there’s really no reason to rush anything. And we’d rather spend years making a single song instead of releasing something half-cooked.

Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?

That’s a very sough question and we probably won’t be able to answer it honestly. When Promise To Take just started it was mostly influenced by new-school hardcore and new wave of progressive metal bands like Periphery but as time went on, we kind of stopped looking anywhere for inspiration, focusing on our own creativity instead. There are probably some influences here and there, but it’s really difficult for us to point them out.

What is your view on technology in music?

Objectively there would be no promise to take without accesible DAWs and VSTs. For example, Russia despite being a huge country isn’t exactly rich when it comes to musicians. Sure you can find a decent guitarist in almost every city, but you won’t have same luck with the drummers. And in such case drum programming is going to be your only option outside of learning the instrument yourself. Nowadays plugins & samples got so good, with good mixing you can barely tell them from the real thing and in a way that’s great. We have to admit though, that it sort of nullifies the actual performers in some cases, but when you have no other options, why not?

Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?

We feel like as people grow older they begin to see music as just that – music. They do pay attention to lyrics from time to time, but they don’t connect with them. Younger people though, teens & young adults on the other hand can definitely benefit from a good message here and there. All of us were that age at one point, so it’s no surprise to come to such conclusion. While your mentality and beliefs are still just developing and taking shape you pay so much more attention to things you hear and care about and that’s where we feel like our themes can strike a chord.

What are your plans for the future?

Honestly as of right now we just want to get back on the road and start playing shows. It’s been a while! But we’re already working on new music and who knows, maybe a couple of music videos as well, haha. Our goal right now is to make sure as many people as possible hear this EP, so that’s what we’re going to focus on. We never cared about making money with our music, so if you want to pirate it – go for it! As long as you spread the news, share our stuff with your friends – we’re happy. And true to our music and lyrics, we’re going to try to make the best out of it.

Stay in touch with Promise to Take by following them on Facebook, and have a look at their Bandcamp page.

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