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Arshenic Q&A

Polish band Arshenic release four new singles over the coming months (one per month) which shows off the band's varied, powerful dark rock sound and their willingness to experiment with the genre. 'Bloodsucker', the first single, is out now on all the major digital sites and Ofilia and Vlad from the band took some time out to answer some questions for BBMATB on the new singles, livestreams and gigs, and the band amongst other things.

Arshenic are Oliwia Bartus-Staszuk (Vocals), Wlodzimierz Czuba (Guitars & Electronics) and Bartosz Staszuk (Drums).

'Bloodsucker' is out now on all the major digital sites, with the next three singles 'Extraterrestrial', 'Black Goat' and 'Lucid' due out over the coming three months. The band's two albums 'Arshenic' (2009) and 'Final Collision' (2019) and a host of earlier singles can still be picked up from the digital site of your choice.

Hello Ofilia, Guys, thank you for taking some time to answer a few questions. First off, for those readers who might not be familiar with Arshenic, could you give a short history of the band?

Sure :). Arshenic is an alternative rock metal band from Poland. Our music is influenced by modern metal, goth rock, Nordic folk, progressive rock and electronics. The name of the band is a reference to arsenic, which is a poison and also a cure. That duality can be easily heard in our songs. A strong female charismatic image, as they say :), is the calling card of the band and the sound is mainly defined by the various types of female vocals, both singing and screaming, clean and distorted guitars, diverse bass parts and dynamic drum playing with a little flavor of electronics. Arshenic was formed in 2006 in Gdansk by Ofilia (Oliwia Bartuś-Staszak), lead singer and lyricist. Since then the band has played about hundred concerts in Poland and Germany, and appeared in the Polish edition of “Must be the music” TV show. They are also initiators of charity events to support local animal shelters. We released our second album, Final Collision in 2019 with Sliptrick Records, and now we are releasing 4 new singles, one on each of the first Friday of the month, starting in June.

And who would you say were the main influences on Arshenic?

Ofilia: It depends on the song. We play heavy music, sometimes more rock, sometimes more metal. Our single 'Dear Remorse' was a doom rock metal ballad, that some people say sounds similar to an In Flames vibes. 'Cold', and 'Madness', are more Nordic Folk style, but I can't say any particular bands name. Our new single 'Bloodsucker' is a hyper energetic metal hit song, and I'm really glad to hear no references noticed by our listeners :D. I guess the cutting song in two and changing from hit rock song to progressive metal is a combination, they have never heard before :).

You're releasing four singles over the next four months (on the first Friday of each month) - 'Bloodsucker', 'Extraterrestrial', 'Black Goat' and 'Lucid'. Was there any particular idea behind releasing them separately rather than all together as an EP?

Ofilia: Yes :). Let's start with the obvious reason – people don't have time to listen to a whole album or EP. There is just too much content. Releasing one, perfect little single a month, makes them wanna listen to the song even more – I hope. We are working mostly on our own on the promo, we haven't worked with a big label that knows what they are doing, so I'm experimenting with the strategies I find. This is the one I wanna try out now :). So if you don't wanna miss any of our new releases, you can add us to favourites on popular digital platforms, the link is here:

Where did you record the singles? Was it somewhere you've recorded before?

Ofilia: We decided to change the way we produced the sound. Vlad and I bought some new recording gear and we decided to record most of the instruments and vocals by ourselves. Only the drums were recorded at the studio. We learned a lot about the sound production, having more time, because of the constant lock downs. We are also working with some new sound engineers.

Of the four new tracks, do you have a favourite and why?

Vlad: . Probably 'Extraterrestrial' and 'Lucid' are my two favourites cause they are both very unusual, sound great and also fun to play.

Ofilia: We worked on those songs for almost a year, and the last one 'Lucid', is still in a production phase. We picked the ideas through many more, so I love it all. I think my favourite song will be the most popular one :).

The four singles are all quite different from each other in terms of sound and genre; is having a varied selection of songs important to you as a band?

Vlad: We are not looking at new songs like an album where the sound and style should be more coherent. These four songs are like four singles that are all some kind of experiment. But it is important for us to always try to bring something new to the table.

Ofilia: I need to have challenges, to learn new stuff. All of those 4 singles were something different from what we did before. 'Bloodsucker' has this opera/musical type of vocals at the end with a 7/4 time signature that I have never written vocals in before. The second one – 'Extraterrestrial' has different type of fry screams from which I've used before. 'Black Goat' is a progressive ballad that has those nostalgic verses that we know from Deftones or Katatonia, but combined with gutturals in the chorus. That is also something new that I had to work on. As for 'Lucid', I love layered vocals and writing harmony, that is what I had a lot of fun with.

And are the new singles a precursor to a bigger release shortly – an EP or album perhaps? All of those 4 releases have one art cover, designed by an artist that is drawing for Killstar Clothing, so yes, they will eventually make the EP.

With a couple of albums recorded and a few other singles, do you have favourite songs from your past? And are there any songs you have recorded but haven't released yet, that you would consider releasing in the future? Ofilia: Every song we write is better than the last one, so my favourite songs are the ones I haven't wrote yet. We have so many ideas, that releasing something that we didn't think is good enough is not an option. My favourite songs from the past to sing at the concerts, are ''Madness' (coz' the lyrics are most personal), 'Dear Remorse' (coz' it is most emotional), 'Grzyby' (Shrooms – coz it's the song I started to growl with) I also like the 'Where Did You Sleep Last Night?' cover, coz I designed most of the sound of this song.

You're signed to DI Records in the States; how did you come to be involved with them?

We found them on the internet while looking for some labels to help us. Most of our listeners are from US, so that just makes sense :).

The general pandemic situation has prompted bands to try alternative ways of reaching their audience – livestreams, podcasts etc? Have you tried any of these and how did you feel doing them? And are they something you'd consider doing again even when live shows come back?

Ofilia: We are doing livestreams from the rehearsal studio sometimes on our instagram account, to connect with our fans. We didn't do any official livestream concerts, coz we need the audience – their energy and feedback to have fun, streaming feels like a normal rehearsal for us.

And talking of live shows, do you have any gigs currently planned?

Sadly no. This year we have eaten all our budget, and we also don't have a tour manager in our band, so the only concerts we play is when we organize it all, so for now we are focused on the new songs.

What do you think of the rock and metal scene in Poland presently; do you think it is a good scene? And are there any Polish bands you'd recommend to readers?

There are a few well known bands from Poland, like Behemoth or Vader, or lesser known but impressive Votum. Most of the good bands in Poland stop playing, coz we have no support or opportunities here.

What plans do you have for Arshenic after the singles have been released?

We want to see how monthly releasing will affect our audience statistics and, based on the situation we encounter, we will think about what we can do with it next.

And finally for us old rock fans (!) - Zeppelin, Purple or Sabbath? Vlad: For me it's a hard choice between Sabbath and Zeppelin, but if I must choose I would say Led Zeppelin. My favourite song is “ The Rover”, out of this planet.

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