Powerhouse metal/hard rock vocalist Margarita Martirosyan of the Edge of Paradise took us on a cool trip into their music and forthcoming new album, ALIVE.
Breaking through the LA scene and gathering attention among top metal and hard rockers, the vocal prowess of Margarita melts rock to the core.
Song River: Edge of Paradise sound is more than just metal. In every track, there seems to seep a story. Would that be a correct assumption?
Margarita Martirosyan: Thank you so much, that is very cool to hear as we do try to make each song have its own life. On this album Alive, every track carries a story that makes up the underlying meaning of this project.
Musically as well, I feel like the sound of each song really reflect it’s meaning and that was important to me as I want people to feel the words!
Alive is about us humans, being so, caught up in the digital world, obsessed with convenience and monetary gain, we have begun to sacrifice our humanity. We are becoming corporate-led consumer machines!
We want to encourage people to break away from the constant bombardment of advertising, social standards and the never-ending race with time, and just breathe! Be part of nature, remember what it’s like to feel alive!
SR: With the joint forces that make Edge of Paradise who they are- in the world of metal where do you feel you fit or do you think you are pretty capable of hitting all forms of metal and hard rock?
Margarita Martirosyan: I consider us a hard rock band, at first it was hard to pinpoint what we are, but I do not think it’s a bad thing anymore [laughed]. We definitely do not fit with the death metal crowd, but anything else rock or metal I think we can be a part of that.
Our music is diverse, the older stuff is definitely more classic heavy metal with a symphonic and theatrical edge. And the new music is more industrial, more modern, so I think we could hit a lot of forms of metal and hard rock. We just try to create the best music we can, something that can stand the test of time!
SR: Margarita, it cannot be denied your vocals are unusually haunting/charming/comforting and disturbing all at the same time.
Margarita Martirosyan: Thank you! I try to put my heart and soul into every word so if that comes through then I feel like I’ve done the song justice.
SR: The first time I listened and watched your video for some reason Nina Hagen came forth. Not that you sound like her, but there is something in your presence.
Margarita Martirosyan: That is a compliment, thank you! She is pretty fierce [laughed]! I love her theatrical style!
SR: Is this world ready for a breaking out of ‘uniform’ when it comes to music?
Margarita Martirosyan: I think so! It’s not easy because of how things are wired in this mechanism of our society, but I think people yearn for something a bit different! And I think it’s only natural for music to take up different forms over time, it’s part of our evolution as people, as creators and it’s important to allow it.
I do not think we nurture art as much as we should, I understand putting money into new technology and science, and that is the evolution of our mind, and we have to make sure we evolve our heart and soul too and music and art are a way to do it!
SR: 2015 was your last album release, Immortal Waltz and it received accolades for its unique sound. Now 2017 has found your newest album, Alive due out March 10th. What is this last album bringing to the diversity found in Edge of Paradise?
Margarita Martirosyan: I think Immortal Waltz really introduced us as a band and solidified our existence. Also, having Michael Wagener produce the album was an incredible and very inspiring experience.
Now, we have grown as musicians, as people, as a band, we toured over 30 states, we have been together as a solid lineup for over three years now, and that all reflects in the music and I am excited to say that Alive is definitely our best music to date. It explores the heavier more industrial sound of the band. Also, I’ve evolved as a vocalist, and we introduced new sounds that you would not hear on Immortal Waltz.
We brought the energy up a notch on Alive as well, it features faster tracks, with sweet grooves that will get your heart pumping, every song has its own personality. Overall it’s edgy, heavy, emotional, energetic, dynamic, modern, I cannot wait for people to hear!
SR: How did working with Chuck Johnson as producer come about? What was it you think that he brought to what you envisioned?
Margarita Martirosyan: I think Dave got in touch with him over Facebook and we have been fans of his work. We all began talking, became friends and started working together. He is super cool and great at what he does. He was the guy behind first Korn and Slipknot records, he is worked at the legendary Indigo Ranch studios for many years!
With the new songs, we wanted to bring forth a heavier, thicker, more modern sound, and he was great at guiding us and bring these songs to life! I think having a producer is so important, cause when you write the songs, you are too close to them so sometimes you need another perspective, someone who understands the vision and what you are capable of, to hear what the song needs and bring it to its full potential. So Chuck has done just that, and we are all very proud of the outcome!
SR: When the band turned the mixing over to Jay Ruston, Mike Plotnikoff and Michael Wagener- what role did each of them play?
Margarita Martirosyan: The songs on Alive, all have their own personalities in a way, and every mixer has their own style. Jay Ruston mixed the tracks “Alive” and “Shade Of Crazy,” those songs are thick, heavy, in your face, and he made them sound just like that!
Michael Wagener mixed “Mystery,” it’s our epic piano ballad of the album and Michael are the king of ballads, he really breathed the life into that song, it sounds huge, yet personal, very dynamic, it will give you chills!
Mike Plotnikoff mixed “Dust To Dust” and “Humanoid.” These songs have very interesting sounds, they are modern, industrial, edgy, and Mike is so creative, every part of these songs has its own place, leading you into the next one, really takes you on a sonic roller coaster. We have so many layers, especially on “Dust To Dust,” it’s an epic song, but still sounds crystal clear.
They all really did a phenomenal job, we were extremely lucky to have worked with these amazing people and could not be happier with the outcome!
SR: Is there a particular track of this up and coming album that speaks to you personally Margarita? If so, which and why?
Margarita Martirosyan: That is always the hardest question, these songs are like my children [laughed]! All of them carry a meaning that is equally significant to me! I would say “Mystery” and “Dust To Dust.” I really cannot pick one over the other, they really bring home the message of this album, that our life here on earth is a true mystery, we basically do not know anything about our existence, but I believe that there is more to life than just our physical form, there is more than what we see.
In a way I justify all the pain and suffering in this world by accepting that it is a beautiful mystery we live in, and we are very lucky to be experiencing that on this earth in our human forms, and without the darkness, we would not appreciate or even recognize all the light and love we experience. I am not a religious person, but I am definitely spiritual and if you listen to the words and the melodies of these songs, that is really a piece of my soul right there!
SR: Choosing as the first video/single “Alive” from this album who did you work with on creating the video story concept?
Margarita Martirosyan: I had an idea for the concept for this video. I wanted to have this artificially created humanoid that wants to feel alive and what it means to be alive.
It’s a music video so much of it is portrayed through the emotion of the performance and the visuals. We had a lot of fun with it!
It was filmed and edited by Val Rassi, he did a really great job with what we had. I wish we had a big budget then we would go all out! So I hope soon!
SR: What was it about this song’s lyrics that connected the visual and audio so well do you think?
Margarita Martirosyan: We tried to create a think that this humanoid was made in a lab, and it’s confined to space but wants to break free and taste the life.
The words in the verse, “Inside my darkness, find my soul, you are in control…” The message we are trying to send through the song is that life in a way, is built around human connection, and without that, we might as well be robots. I think when you film a video it’s really up to feeling the song and just knowing what you want to say to the viewers, and it all comes together through the performance!
SR: Margarita touching on the side of you that is the pianist. Are you a classical student? How do you incorporate and still feed this side of whom you are?
Margarita Martirosyan: Yes, I grew up playing classical piano since I was four years old, that was my whole life and I continued that through college, I went to NYU for theater and music.
Honestly, I never imagined I would be fronting a band, let alone a heavy metal one! But everything happens for a reason I think, and when Dave and I started this band, we really found our sound by figuring out a way of how we could blend our two styles together.
Without my musical training, I do not think I would be writing the songs or coming up with the melodies that I do, everything kind of lead me to this and I really love what I am doing now. I’m lucky to have gotten the skills to do it! I’ve always been a performer growing up, this band allows me to do what I love, create something I am proud of and show the world who I am!
SR!: Would you say that you and Edge of Paradise guitar player David Bates are the Yin/Yang of EOP?
Margarita Martirosyan: I guess so, we started the band together and our sound is a blend of our styles, we write the songs before showing them to the rest of the band. But we definitely not Edge Of Paradise without our drummer John Chominsky and bassist Nick Ericson.
We have a great dynamic as a band and are very lucky to have found those guys! We went through a lot of members and crazy stories until the lineup was finally solidified!
SR: After the album, when can we expect the next video release?
Margarita Martirosyan: End of March or early April, so subscribe to our Eyes Of Paradise YouTube channel so you do not miss it!
SR: In the land of social media, where has the band found most success and which do you as a band focus on the heaviest?
Margarita Martirosyan: I mostly handle our social media and at times it can get, overwhelming. Our fans are very important to us and I try to answer everyone and it’s really cool that we have built some amazing relationships with our fans through social media, and then meeting them in person at our shows are the best thing ever!
We started with our Facebook, so that is our strongest bass currently, but a year ago, I started our Instagram page and we are already at 14K, it’s growing fast! It’s a bit of a different audience which is good, cause we need to expose the band to as wide of a demographic as we can! And Twitter is cool too!
We also have a YouTube channel where we post behind the scenes stuff and live videos and our Vevo channel where our music videos/lyrics videos live!
We are very social, we love hearing from fans, metal and rock community is composed of really cool, kind, passionate, interesting people from all kinds of backgrounds, and it’s awesome to be a part!
SR: Looking at your continued tour schedule on the website you have a few places marked here in the states this year… then one in the Netherlands? A female metal event. Do tell?
Margarita Martirosyan: We are still booking more tour dates, and will be announcing them soon for this spring/summer! And yes we are very excited to bring finally the band overseas! We are playing at Female Metal Event in Eindhoven, Netherlands September 23 alongside Delain.
We will be booking more European dates around that time. So keep posted on our website and Facebook, we would love to meet as many of you as we can on the road!