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Interview with Nikolo Kotzev (Brazen Abbot)

Interview with  Nikolo Kotzev (Brazen Abbot)
BANDS : Brazen Abbot


Hello Nikolo and welcome into the pages of Since many of our readers probably don't know much about your history, please provide us with the most important moments in your musical career, starting with your activity in Baltimoore and up to our days.

Hello and thanx for the interest. It is a pleasure to give this interview. I think this is the first interview I am giving to a Romanian magazine.

I made two albums with Baltimoore and during those times I made contacts in the music bizz in Sweden . There came a time, when I felt that I must continue on my own and I immediately started the Brazen Abbot. I already knew good musicians in Sweden , so launching the first BA record was easy. To this date I have made the following albums:

Live And Learn, Eye Of The Storm, Bad Religion, Guilty As Sin, A Decade Of Brazen Abbot and My Resurrection. In 2001 I released the double CD rock opera Nostradamus.

I produce and engineer for other people and bands too, among them are Saxon, Molly Hatchet, Rose Tattoo, Company Of Snakes, Trilogy, Messiah's Kiss etc. etc.

I often wonder how did a person that came from the Eastern Europe ( Bulgaria to be more exact!) adapt so well to the life in Finland ? We're talking about a different climate, a different culture, a different attitude in people.

It is tough. If I must be honest, I still have not adapted to living in Finland .

However, I am used to working most of the time and lots of the downfalls connected with living in Finland pass me by unnoticed, since I am extremely busy.

Do you still have family or friends in Bulgaria ? Do you visit them often?

I try to visit as often as I can. Actually last year I visited Sofia six times, that's quite OK.

I still have lots of old friends and make new ones all the time. Bulgaria is a fantastic country and is getting better and better all the time.

Now let us get to the musical part. Why Brazen Abbot?

I needed a project, where I could be myself and write the music I had in my head. BA was the perfect form and vehicle for doing that. It started out as a project and that gave

me the freedom to decide the musical direction. I had the luxury of calling the people I liked and invite them to participate. It worked out rather well.

Your first record, Live and Learn, was released ten years ago. How did you manage to get so many "celebrities" around you, and I mean Glenn Hughes, Thomas Wikstrom, Goran Edman and last but not least, some of the guys from Europe, Mic Michaeli and Ian Haugland?

I was all down to the quality of the songs. Of course, all these people get paid for what they do, but no-one of them would have agreed if they didn't like the songs. Fortunately, I made all the right choices and the first record was received very well by media and fans.

What was the media's feedback to this record? I know that it also had a Japanese release and it was very well received there. How do you explain Asian addiction to melodic metal acts?

I was very lucky to package great names, great talent and great songs into one CD.

Fortunately that was enough for getting immediate attention from the media and the response was fantastic. To this day I am very thankful for that. When it comes to the musical scene in Japan , I think they like European rock so much because they could not make the same kind of music on their own. This explains their interest in what we do in Europe .

Eye of the Storm, released in 1996, was more compact than its predecessor and Brazen Abbot was starting to have its own trademark sound. Ex-Europe bass player, John Leven, also joined the band. Was USG Records still doing a good job in promoting you?

USG were very good. Indeed, their main effort was put into the Bad Religion record, because it was brand new then. The other two had been on the Japanese market for quite some time already. Brazen Abbot was getting stronger and stronger, the album was received very well.

1997 saw what the media and the fans consider your best release (except for your latest album, of course!), Bad Religion. It is also recorded in the same line up. I guess it was more than just musical affinity between you and the guys.

It is a very strong album. I try to slightly change direction with each album. It usually takes me eight months to make one. BR came in a time when things were quite right style-wise. I kinda foresaw what will happen in the business while I was creating it. I had gathered lots of experience and of course my judgment about all production issues was right in the pocket. Also, I knew the guys in the band better and the chemistry between us was at its peak.

Why did it take you so long to record another album? I mean there were 6 years between Bad Religion and Guilty as Sin. What did you do all those years?

During these years I made Nostradamus and that was not easy. I also completed my academic studies and became a Bachelor of the Musical Arts. I had a lot of unfinished family business etc. etc.These things take a lot of time.

Guilty as Sin also meant your first album for SPV Records. How did they get you and what was your relationship with them?

I worked as an engineer for a German producer and he was doing lots of projects with SPV. I asked him if they were interested in releasing Brazen Abbot and that's how it all started. The first record they released was Nostradamus, after that came Guilty As Sin. A good company, very strong on the market, very good distribution. They will release my entire back catalogue on August 22 nd . All the records will be with completely new artworks. That's quite exciting, because many people ask for these records and it was about time someone re-released them. I am very pleased with that.

In 2004, with the occasion of your ten years anniversary, you released your first DVD, A Decade of Brazen Abbot. It contains some shows in Varna , Plovdiv and Sofia . How did the Bulgarian public react? How did it feel being again in your homeland?

The audience was great - we gathered big crowds and it felt great to play for so many people. The feeling fantastic - I was extremely happy, cause I had never played in my home country before. I collected great material for the documentary DVD. The very special thing about the DVD is, that there are absolutely no studio overdubs on all the live footage. What you hear is 100% what happened on the concerts.

I have never got the chance to watch this DVD but I know it was recorded in a very professional manner. Can you give me some details about it?

It was recorded by a professional mobile unit. I wanted them to capture the moment and the sincerity of the performances. I didn't want to release a "shiny" product overdubbed to death in the studio, cause a product like that wouldn't be real. My goal was to let the fans hear and see what really happened, so I edited the film in a way, which allows them to get the feeling that they are on the site. That's why I call it a "documentary" and not "Live".

This year you released My Resurrection. It has some important line-up changes, as Haugland, Michaeli and Leven left and joined Joey Tempest and John Norum for the Europe reunion. What's your relation with them? Will you make another album with them in the future?

These guys are great musicians and friends. It is understandable that they are very happy about the Europe reunion, as this has always been their greatest success and priority. I hope we can work together again in the future.

The name My Resurrection is not randomly chosen, that's for sure. Do you think that we're dealing with a new Brazen Abbot era and with a "resurrected" Nikolo Kotzev? After all it have been more than ten years, you changed the line up and also the record company.

The truth is, that there is no concept behind the name. My Resurrection is a strong song, it feels great to open the album with it and it just happened to have a name, which could be used as the name of the album. Brazen Abbot has always been alive and kicking, there is no need to "resurrect" it.

Why did you choose Frontiers Records? I know that they are into melodic metal, but also a small record company.

Frontiers are a good company, they are very professional and like the music I write.

It is simply a matter of priority for me. Obviously, I am most interested in companies

which are interested in working with me. I had known Frontiers for few years and when I saw the chance of working with them, I simply went for it.

Now tell my a little about the concept of the album, the lyrics and the story behind it. Who dealt with the cover and booklet design? I see the burning guitar is still there J .

I wanted the new album to be darker, heavier and powerful. That's why I chose to use the orchestra too. It was a great pleasure to add real strings to these powerful riffs.

Lyric-wise I was careful not to make a "love" album, but stayed away from politics too.

The lyrics are mostly dealing with social issues, common sense, human values etc. etc.

The artwork was done by a very talented Swedish guy called Carl-Andre "Monowasp".

He is working for a great number of bands and makes lots of artworks. The burning instrument this time is a violin, with the obvious connection to the real strings I used throughout the album.

What do you think about this Internet era? Are you computer addicted?

I love computers and everything we can do with them. I have four PCs at home, placed on different floors and hooked-up in a network. I also use to carry a laptop with me.

Do you think that free mp3 sharing has disastrous effects upon musicians in general and music in special or it's just a useful marketing tool?

It is absolutely disastrous and kills the music industry day by day. We musicians find it much harder to find record deals, 'cause the illegal downloading causes much lower sales and the record companies can't pay enough money for making decent records.

Now tell me something about the person Nikolo Kotzev. It will be interesting to find out.

Workaholic, perfectionist, I like achieving fast and precise results. Very loyal to those loyal to me, and furious at those trying to take advantage of me. I like movies, that's how I relax. I never drank alcohol and quit smoking four and a half years ago.

I enjoy to being busy every single second. I adore being effective and usually try to plan every step I make. I enjoy doing what I do and will keep on doing it 'till I still enjoy it.

What are your future plans and where do you see yourself and Brazen Abbot in let's say ten years from now?

I am writing a new rock opera. This will probably keep me busy for a couple of years, since it is a quite huge project. I will keep making Brazen Abbot records and hope that I can start touring as much as possible. I love playing live and think there is a lot of interest for BA out there. Ten years from now I will probably spend most of my time writing music in all of its forms.

In the end I would like to thank you for your kindness in making this interview and wish you all the best in the future. Say something to Romanian metalheads!

Thank you very much for the kind opportunity to reach Romanian fans. To all of them I would like to say: Stay true to Rock' N Roll and stay fight illegal downloads - it kills musicians!!!!

Autor: Sake
Vezi galeriile trupelor: Brazen Abbot

   July 31, 2005  | 0 Comments  | 5814 Views « BACK

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