Mike: Would you like to introduce yourselves?

Shrine of Reflection: First of all, we’d like to thank you, Mike, for inviting us here and saying hello to everyone reading this. We’re two friends from Poland who once came up with an idea to create an independent and experimental music project now known as a Shrine of Reflection.

Mike: Where did the band name come from?

Shrine of Reflection: The name describes the place we are in when writing the music. It’s a metaphor for a state of mind that one feels during the process of creating art, like some sacred act you participate in, reflecting your thoughts, feelings and visions onto a certain work of art, in our example: the music. This state of mind is a place where we feel powerful, enlightened, safe or even omnipotent. Therefore we called our project Shrine of Reflection.

Mike: How did you get together as a band?

Shrine of Reflection: We know each other since elementary school, and in that period, we started to share music with each other, different kinds of music, also in that time, the idea of creating a band emerged for the first time. We arranged a few meetings and focused mainly on writing lyrics and talking about existential issues, so it wasn’t much really *chuckles*. Then we split up for some time as we were studying in different cities. Maciej created a band called ‘Moonlight Meadow’ in Lublin and was discussing with me a lot of what he composed for his band. Some of the great stuff that he didn’t really fit for his band, and we both agreed that it cannot go to waste, so during the outbreak of coronavirus, we decided to create a Shrine of Reflection.
The idea behind this project is not to limit ourselves and not to stick to one style or genre, we wanted to experiment and make our music feel like a kind of audio spectacle for the listeners, and I think it is still our biggest trait as a band

Mike: What are your backgrounds in music?

Shrine of Reflection: Throughout the years, we were influenced by many different bands and genres. Our taste in music changed as we matured, so I think it would be best to name the most recent influences: it’s Nick Cave’s music – the Birthday Party, as well as his and the Bad Seeds and his solo albums. We admire the atmosphere of his songs and the great lyrics that transport you to the worlds created by him. Apart the Nick Cave’s art, it’s also worth mentioning bands like Camel or Anathema and the classics like The Doors and Pink Floyd. These projects had and still have a big impact on our lives and, thus, on our art.

Mike: What influenced you to get into music?

Shrine of Reflection: Experiencing someone else’s emotions and world and admiring the magic coming out of it in the form of music makes you wonder how to create such places on your own, to become some kind of pathfinder of your own mind. With that kind of thoughts, the idea to start working on music emerged in our minds, so now we’re here addicted to creating, which is also a very therapeutical experience by the way

Mike: What are your influences when it comes to the lyrics etc?

Shrine of Reflection: Our inspiration comes predominantly from our subconscious but also from our inner selves and partly from existentialism. It may be contradicting, we’ve always based our esthetic sense on contrasts, though, so for us, it makes perfect sense and often leads to some original ideas while writing. But surely you would like to know what we mean by saying that subconsciousness is our inspiration. Well, the music is created first, along with some melodic lines, and at that point, we already have the vowels that go the best with that part of the song. Then we just fill the rest of the lyrics tuning into the atmosphere of the song and the visions that come along with it. So, answering the question, our lyrical inspiration comes from the combination of melody and subconscious correlations that we have with that melody. 

Mike: It has been nearly a year since your last album

Shrine of Reflection: Sure! We’ve just released our second LP album called ‘Through Torture to Salvation’, and we’re going to release another two albums this year, more info soon on our socials:)

Mike: Midnight Garden is a fantastic album

Shrine of Reflection: We’re glad you find this album that way, thanks:) Most of that album came from our fascination with pagan, fantasy stories, which mixed with the experiments we took on classical guitar recording at the time (as we record and mix all our material at home). Those sounds took us to the place we later started to describe as the Midnight Garden, and that’s how the album was born. There are a few exceptions, like ‘Song of Traps Shut’, for example – full of bitterness of the surrounding world, more rebellious stuff.

Mike: You have a very unique sound that just grabs you

Shrine of Reflection: That’s mainly because we do record and mix everything by ourselves and find the sound by experimenting. We do little research on how to ‘properly’ mix something etc. Instead, we just focus on how it sounds to us and how to overcome things that limit us technically, as we don’t have a professional studio

Mike: The Pulse, The Storm & The Secret Bay 

Shrine of Reflection: The base, which is that strange rhythm, actually was created by mistake during the early stages of recording a demo – the guitar simply was hitting the voice recorder during recording some other riffs. When we transcribed that rhythm and put it into bass synth, we suddenly found ourselves in the middle of a Nordic battle, full of rage, blood and glory. After that, the rest of the song just came up to us. 

Mike: What is the creative process like in the band?

Shrine of Reflection: We initially compose separately because of the distance, and then we discuss and develop the songs instrumentally. We often create the vocals with one sentence or without any meaning at all; then, we give them meaning by writing the lyrics. At that point, we record a demo of a song and collect a number of songs for the album. We record the ones that we chose during a recording session, and then we mix the raw material. When we are pleased with the effect, we publish them, and the process repeats itself.

Mike: Where do you see the future of the band?

Shrine of Reflection: We aim to reach as many people as possible with our music, so our future focuses mainly on writing and promoting ourselves. However, we have a dream to do a professional gig one day. As we’re only two, we need quite a lot of people to hire in order to deliver a 100% Shrine of Reflection live experience. It also would be awesome to involve some actors in it and make the gig more theatrical. One day hopefully, we’ll be able to set this up.

Mike: Do you have plans for collaborations or anyone you would like to collaborate with?

Shrine of Reflection: It would be amazing to work with Nick Cave… but let’s get down to Earth. We don’t have any collab plans at the moment, nor do we have anyone we’d like to collab with. However, we’re open-minded about that idea, so whoever reads it and wants to work with us, feel free to contact us:)

Mike: How easy or difficult is it coming from Poland to be heard?

Shrine of Reflection: Well, it’s hard to say because we don’t have a solid comparison. Given that we’re all connected on the global web nowadays, the difficulty of being heard from Poland is similar to other countries, at least if you use an international language.

Mike: Do you have any tours or festivals planned?

Shrine of Reflection: As we mentioned before, we’re only two, so we don’t plan any live shows at the moment. We hope to set something up in the future. However, it requires hiring quite a lot of people to play all the instruments and guitars we use on records, so for now, we focus on reaching as many listeners as possible.

Mike: Thank you, Shrine of Reflection for taking part in this interview.

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