Interview With Crossbones
By Keith Clement
Greetings from Metalheads Forever Magazine, I’m Keith the Editor In Chief, how are you guys doing?
Thank you Keith. I am Olsi Ballta, founder/vocalist of Crossbones. Nice to meet you.
Earlier this July you released “The Awakening” tell us how is the overall reception of the album so far?
Actually is quite good so far. Our new album was released on July the 12th and we played a promo gig for that occasion which was really great. We also promoted it at Flex Fest Open Air festival in Arad, Romania on July the 6th. Also we had some really great appearances on the British press, Fireworks rock metal magazine with three full pages of interview, a quite extensive one plus one of our new songs “Realigning The truth” on the covermount CD and also a great review of our new album on Power Play rock metal magazine. Both of the magazine in print and digital formats. We must have done something really great to get on the radar of the British press haha.
The album was recorded at Alpha Omega Record Studios in lake Como, Italy last November.
It was recorded and produced by Alex Azzali who is also the band manager. It took around ten days to record everything but the postproduction process took longer of course. This is our first record to be produced entirely abroad. The second album with a worldwide release and the fourth full length album of the band. A great experience to learn from. We had some really great times in the process and the place was awesome.
How it all started for Crossbones, tell us how the band started?
I guess it was first year of high school when I first watched ‘Nothing Else Matters’ of Metallica on MTV. I immediately got hooked and the day after I asked a friend who was already into metal and heavy music. This is how I was introduced to heavier music than I previously used to. It was such a huge impact. Eventually, I bought the album on cassette tape, a copy of course not the original and I started listening to it nonstop. Then I went back on their discography and bought all their previous albums. Very soon I realized I didn’t want just to be a passive listener, I wanted to sing along so I started to write down the lyrics on school note books. It was a difficult process because I had to start-stop the tape a ton of times. Internet was an exotic word back then.
I was pretty good at singing as a fifteen-sixteen year old teenager. Very soon after I heard that a very close friend of mine (future co-founder) had started to play with some other guys, you know, cover songs of Nirvana, Clash, Sex Pistols, Deep Purple, Hendrix and so on, so I told him I can sing. The ‘audition’ song was ‘Big Cheese’ of Nirvana.
It was a piece of cake for me because I was already singing Metallica and Sepultura songs. So ‘I got the job’ hahahaha.
The band had no name, just a bunch of teens having fun playing music in a basement. So this was the prelude of what was coming. Soon after I came up with the band name that I found in an English-Albanian dictionary at my friend’s house. We changed the lineup and brought in new members who became our best friends and brothers. The band was a very serious matter, constantly rehearsing and writing our own songs that eventually ended up in our first album ‘Days Of Rage’ self-released in 1997. The first ever rock/metal album released in CD format in Albania. How crazy is that?
Tell us about the metal scene in Albania?
It goes back to the early 90’s when many rock/metal bands emerged, mostly in our capital city Tirana.
But then it kind of declined really quick due to lack of interest, support and the total absence of music industry regarding rock and metal. Nowadays we have a rather small rock/metal scene and very few concerts or festivals that promote rock music. Anyway I am confident that it will grow and there are really talented young musicians who are doing a great job.
What are the plans in the upcoming months for the band?
We are planning more gigs and tours to promote our latest album. After all the main thing a band has to do is playing as much as possible. We are also expecting reviews on the album which are important so we know if people dig it or not, why and what stands out.
We will continue our path, move around, play and meet new people. We are already thinking about our next album but anyway one step at a time.
What are some of the best times and great moments for the band?
We have a lot of great memories in more than two decades of band history. I can mentioned just a few here. Being nominated for emerging metal band in Global Metal Apocalypse UK last year, our tour in the Baltics in 2018, our tour in Ukraine last spring, headlining Balkan Metal Meeting 4 in Bosnia and Herzegovina and our latest appearance at Flex Fex in Arad/Romania last July. Also a great experience was the hosting of Metal United Worldwide for the Albanian edition here in Tirana for the second time I a row. That’s the beauty and the magic of music, it brings people together. I am positive that a lot more great stuff is coming.
Do you have a message for the readers and fans?
On behalf of Crossbones I would like to thank you for your time and I really hope we see you metalheads soon in the battle field.
Band line up
Olsi Ballta – vocals
Theo Napoloni – drums
Ben Turku – guitars
Arlind Zerdja – bass
Thirty eight minutes
- Under My Scars
- Enlightened Fury
- Realigning The Truth
- The Awakening
- Face Off
- Facing My Fear
- Man-made God
The Awakening (July 12, 2019)
WWIII (January 13, 2017)
Alive (EP 2015)
Toxic Waste (2015)
Days of Rage (1997)
MHF Magazine/Keith Clement