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Interviews Stimulans

Interview with Darko Grubišić (guitar)

Interview conducted by MetalMike

Date online: January 30, 2011

MetalMike: How about starting us off with a history of the band? How did you get together? How long has the current lineup been in place?

Darko: StimulanS was formed in 2001 by Mario Culjak (g/v) and Ivan Dabro (b), who have known each other for a long time, along with being involved in various death metal bands in the early 90s. Alen Djurasinovic (d) was also in those circuits so it wasn't long before he joined ranks as well. I myself joined the band in early 2004 and the lineup has been stable ever since.

MetalMike: What are your influences? Which bands did you listen to growing up? Which guitarists?

Darko: Our influences span several decades, from 70s onwards, but 80s are the best decade for metal and music in general in my opinion. We all started with classics such as Maiden, Metallica or Slayer when we were teenagers in the late 80s/early 90s and added the bands such as Sepultura, Death, Morbid Angel, Suffocation, King Diamond, Mercyful Fate, Dio etc, etc, from there. The guitarists which always had some kind of magical touch that made them special for me and Mario are Marty Friedman, Y.J.Malmsteen, Andy LaRocque, Jeff Loomis, Ritchie Blackmore and some others, but these would be the most important. I should also mention great guitar duos such as Smith/Murray, Tipton/Downing and Reale/Flyntz cannot be mentioned one without the other.

MetalMike: Where does the name "StimulanS" come from? Does it have a particular meaning? How about the name of your debut, Dust?

Darko: StimulanS is the Croatian form of the English word "stimulant." When the guys were seeking an appropriate name "stimulans" was mentioned and it kinda stuck, since we wanted to stimulate people with our music and sound, and we find music to be a great stimulant as well. Our debut was named partially after one of our more popular songs "Dust the Road," but the name also refers to the content as well. The songs on the CD are the first one the band had made and we felt they were "dusty" in a way and by releasing them as a package we kind of shut that old dusty book and left it behind – hence the title and the cover concept.

Not that we would abandon the songs, but we were eager to release them so we could move on to newer material which is pretty much finished.

MetalMike: With so many bands recording in their native languages these days, what was behind your decision to record most of Dust in English?

Darko: It seemed more natural for heavy metal to us, largely due to English lyrics found in the majority of the bands on the scene. The bands recording in native languages are mostly black or folk metal or ones addressing to large local audiences (Rata Blanca, for example). English is kind of universal language in metal and it's much easier to reach wide audiences by singing in it.

MetalMike: Who writes the songs? Does a single person handle the writing or is it a band effort?

Darko: Mario is the brains behind the band alright... :) He has done all the music so far, with our contributions for arrangements and the songs' final shapes. Lyrics are also his domain, but with a little help from his friend Petra.

MetalMike: You included one song in your native Croatian, "Omiški Gusar." Was that a personal decision or more for your fans?

Darko: It was totally our decision, since it was written for a local MC and it would be absurd if it was in English I think. It was written and recorded in just a few days and none of us expected it would become a staple for our live shows and a crowd favorite. But there you go, it seems the best things come out by themselves, when you're doing things quickly and not letting the thinking process get in the way of spontaneity. :)

MetalMike: You and I have talked a bit about the subject matter of "Omiški Gusar," the "Corsairs of Almissa" who defended the city of Omis against an armada from Venice. How much has the turbulent history of Croatia influenced your music and lyrics?

Darko: Well, not that much so far. We're not that much into history themes, although our rich and long history certainly provides many interesting subjects to deal with. Also, it would take a serious history buff to do such lyrics and none of us are, really.

MetalMike: StimulanS has an old school sound and in the video for "Omiški Gusar" you play a Gibson Flying V, definitely an old school guitar. Is this a conscious decision or did it just grow out of your influences?

Darko: I've wanted a Flying V for a long long time and I really liked the guitar when I got it. Of course, all the artists who have made it an icon (Accept for one) definitely influenced me to get it, but the thing is that I really dig Gibsons in general, not just the V. Explorer, Firebird and especially Les Paul will all find their place in my guitar stable one day, that's for sure! :)

I'm a fan of classic sound both in amps and guitars and I seek to achieve such sonic qualities with my gear.

MetalMike: What is the metal scene like in Croatia?

Darko: It's very varied and there are some really cool bands. It's pretty hard to maintain a metal band in a serious level here so many have come and gone during the years, but the likes of E.N.D., Rising Dream or Flamethrower definitely have something worthwhile to say.

MetalMike: Have you toured much outside of Croatia? Where have you enjoyed playing and where would you like to play in the future?

Darko: We did a few gigs in neighboring countries but that's all, there wasn't any actual touring, but we'd love to, of course. We enjoyed playing at Metal Camp 2006; it was really a memorable experience.

MetalMike: What other bands would StimulanS like to play with on tour?

Darko: Riot, Jag Panzer, Rage, Saxon, Jorn, Accept, Iron Maiden, Pagan's Mind, Beyond Twilight to name a few.

MetalMike: What do you guys do when not playing or recording with the band?

Darko: I'm a computer technician and a freelance producer/engineer when I have time, Mario does video editing and sings in National Theatre's choir, Ivan is a construction worker and Alen is currently unemployed, but keeps himself busy with his other band, an indie quartet called In-The-Go.

MetalMike: Is there any one person, living or dead, you'd like to meet?

Darko: Of the living Mark Reale of Riot would be my first choice, I've been a fan of his music and playing for a long long time. Of the dead, Dio of course. It's so sad he died, he had the energy of ten younger men and his voice showed no signs of weakness despite his age.

MetalMike: Priest or Maiden?

Darko: Uhhh, that's a tough one. But I'd say Maiden, just because of their unmatchable 80s output, I think no one will top that. But gotta say I really don't like the direction they took after Bruce left them in 1992, especially the latest releases.

MetalMike: Thanks for taking time to answer some questions for our readers, is there anything else you'd like people to know that we didn't cover?

Darko: We're already preparing our next full-length CD which will probably be out during the next year and are actively seeking gigs to book, so any invitation is very welcome.

MetalMike: Thanks again and good luck with Dust!

Darko: Thanks for this interview Mike and salutes from Croatia to Metal Crypt readers!

Other information about Stimulans on this site
Review: No Words
Review: Dust

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