As promised since announcing their participation at Cyprus Comic Con!
Members of popular local power metal band Winter’s Verge, Andy Kopriva (guitar) and Miguel Trapezaris (bass) reveal their geeky side in an up close and personal interview with CCC!
So are you guys “geeky” at all? Who is the geekiest of the members?
Andy Kopriva – Absolutely. I am an avid consumer of pop-culture.
Miguel Trapezaris – I think most of us could be considered ‘geeky’! I’ve always been into comic books, video games (up to a point) and general nerdy stuff. I have an unhealthy obsession with Star Trek, and have spent a worrying amount of time and effort on pursuits which can only be described as geeky. As for who the ‘geekist’ member of the band is, that’s a tough question! Harry, Andy and George are all really into their video games, George is a Warhammer player as am I and into a lot of fantasy-related stuff… I think we’re a pretty nerdy band overall! Only Danny may not fit into that description, although since his life is like a fantasy movie at times, maybe he doesn’t need to!
What is your relationship to comics then? Any favourite titles, favourite characters?
AK – When growing up I used to love the old (circa-mid 80s approx.) Conan comics along with Asterix. I then discovered Manga comics around the age of 12-13 (so around 1995) and loved Genocyber. That said, I was never really a collector of comic books but would thoroughly enjoy animated/film adaptations with some favorites being Akira, Ghost in the Shell, Watchmen, Dragonball, Sin City and a whole bunch more. Most recently, the film adaptation of Attack on Titan was pretty cool. Silly, but cool.
MT – My first exposure to what you could call ‘comics’ was Asterix and Tintin – really great fun. After that I was a huge Spider-Man, Batman and Iron Man fan as a kid, I’d get my hands on the comics as often as possible. Superman was always around as well, and I’d get those every now and then, but I didn’t find him as relatable as Spider-Man or Iron Man (which is somewhat strange since I am not an alcoholic multi-millionaire engineering genius…) X-Men was a constant part of my life as well until a later age, and then I sort of moved away from comics and got more into fantasy novels.
How did the comic book idea for the new album come about?
AK – The majority of Winter’s Verge material, since the band’s inception really, is story-based. Following the recent lineup change, we considered the idea of beginning to flesh out the characters and their stories in a more substantial way and a comic book seemed like the most appropriate delivery method. We chose the Forsaken storyline, as it was the longest running story, consisting of four parts, each of which were on a different album. Ergo, it functioned as a good starting point as there was already a bit of an arc in place.
MT – for sure, we have such a strong narrative element to the band that it just made sense. Most of our songs already fit into a fantasy theme after all, so we figured why not just consolidate everything? As soon as we had the idea for it, we got really excited – it totally opened up new doors, you know? As well as the Forsaken storyline, we always have songs about sailing, the sea, the ocean, and figured that there was no reason all those couldn’t take place in the same world. I think all of this has been happening all along subconsciously.
Growing up did you obsess over any video games?
AK – I’ve been playing video games for the past 30 years or so, having started at the tender age of 2 on an X086 pc with its glorious CGA/EGA graphics! I’ve pretty much consumed every bit of video game related content for that duration in one way or the other. So yea, pretty obsessed. Old favorites include the old Sierra adventure games (King’s Quest series, Quest for Glory etc), the Lucasarts games (The Dig, Full Throttle, Sam and Max), most good FPS (Quake series, the Doom series, Unreal and Unreal Tournament, Blood, Duke Nukem 3D), some RPGs (Daggerfall series and then the Elder Scrolls with Oblivion being the most played, Fallout – all of them, though I kinda preferred the 2d ones, Diablo – all of them, Torchlight I & II, Final Fantasy VII and VIII), fighting games (SF series though I’m not really that great at it, Tekken series with 3 being an all time fave, Samurai Showdown series, Bushido Blade on the PS1 because it was pretty unconventional), a couple of strategy games (C&C up until Generals, a bit of Starcraft, a bit of Warcraft (1-3), Black and White, Syndicate & Syndicate Wars, UFO Enemy Unknown (the original) and a bunch of other Microprose titles) and yea, that’s all I can think of right now!
MT – Well, my first exposure to video games was before I can even remember – I think it was like, Prince of Persia on DOS or something. Anyway, when consoles became a thing and having decent home computers was possible for people who weren’t super-rich or drug dealers, I started getting into a lot of flight simulators (TFX: EF2000, ATF and Strike Commander were some of my favourites) and of course strategy games (Command & Conquer, Warcraft 2 and Dune 2 especially). I also really enjoyed all the Star Wars-related games (Dark Forces, X-Wing, Tie Fighter, X-Wing vs. Tie Fighter (bet you didn’t see that coming), Battlefront) and was a big fan of all the usual FPS games (Doom, Duke Nukem 3D, Quake). I was also really into adventure games – Full Throttle and Gabriel Knight had a big impact on me.
Do you still play and what?
AK – I still enjoy video games and believe that they have evolved in interesting ways (eg. ‘Dear Esther’, ‘Gone Home’) though nowadays time is fairly restricted. At this point, I’ll occasionally play Diablo 3 with my wife or spend the odd hour here and there on an interesting looking indie game, such as The Forest. I’ve considered looking into ARK as well, though, apparently the online community is relentless and I don’t have the time to be as vigilant as required. If I find the time, I have a backlog of around 260 Steam games waiting for me – damned sales!
MT – I haven’t really been able to play games all that much now… since I was always playing on a PC, which kept needing upgrades to keep up with all the best games, I eventually fell behind when all my spare resources started going to music-related costs and Warhammer. I am however really happy that lots of great PS2 games have started coming out on IOS, which means I’m now playing through GTA: San Andreas on my iPad. It’s a lot of fun.
Console or PC?
AK – Primarily PC though I have owned consoles before. After the previous generation, I saw them as redundant since they’re practically budget PCs at this point considering that they’re built with slightly customized off-the-shelf parts.
MT – PC for sure.
Do you like board games or TCG (trading card games)?
AK – Never really got into board games though I remember having and liking Hero’s Quest when growing up. As far as TCGs are concerned, I got into a few variations through video games such as the one in Final Fantasy VIII and, more recently Hearthstone, and I enjoyed them. I like the premise and can understand, and appreciate the dedication exhibited by ardent fans/collectors/players but I was never drawn in to the point of setting up a Magic deck and hunting cards etc.
MT – Does Warhammer count as a board game? If so, that. Anyone who gets it, gets it – it is all-consuming, both in terms of time and resources.
I don’t really play it much anymore for time reasons, but I am into Magic: The Gathering, which is also a drain on resources but at least less time-consuming!
What about movies – are you into fiction, sci-fi, superheroes?
AK – All of the above though they are pretty difficult to pull off masterfully. Superhero film have grown somewhat tiresome due to Marvel’s incessant barrage with some feeling, despite their opulence and skillfully crafted visual prowess, somewhat hollow.
Regarding sci-fi, things get even more complicated as it’s pretty hard to pull something off which manages to be both interesting and plausible. That said, I loved Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror series.
MT – I love Sci-Fi and fantasy movies. I will usually enjoy the occasional superhero movie, although I don’t think any have really lived up to the Dark Knight which was really what boosted the whole genre into overdrive. The studios seem to have gotten the formula right and people are happy to spend money watching them (apart from the last Superman film, which started well and ended up boring) but let’s see how long this goes on for.
What was the last film you watched at the cinema and really enjoyed?
AK – I don’t particularly like going to the cinema anymore as I find it fairly difficult to concentrate on the actual movie due to external factors (ie bad seating, crowds). We watched Jurassic World recently and it was a fairly enjoyable, high budget, B-movie.
MT – Interstellar for sure. I love Kubrick’s 2001, and am generally a huge fan of Arthur C. Clarke’s books, so it was really interesting to see Nolan’s take on what was basically the same theme. I mean, people were going on about the science not being spot on, and nit picking and whatnot, but as Nolan put it, they really should’ve just enjoyed the ride. It’s a film vast in scope and an amazing achievement.
Let’s talk series! Any binge-worthy titles?
AK – Tons really. The aforementioned Black Mirror series, Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell is exquisitely crafted and worth watching, Sherlock, Fargo, Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul are both phenomenal shows and masterful character studies, Jane the Virgin was a fun a little show with an interesting take on the telenovela format which actually worked, Mr Robot is brilliant as well though season 1 isn’t finished yet, How to Get Away with Murder was also pretty fun.
On the comedy side, the most recent one binged was Catastrophe which was a charming story with amazing chemistry between the leads. The same can be said about Episodes as well.
MT – If I spent all the time I’ve spent watching Star Trek on other pursuits, I’d probably have a PhD or something by now. It’s addictive. I really like Weeds – short episodes make it so easy to end up watching 5 or 6 in a row. I am also totally in love with the Fargo series, and am anxiously awaiting the new season – perfect mix of extremely black humor, horrific violence and homely, Minnesota politeness. Twin Peaks was of course one of the big ones for me, and the fact that David Lynch will be back along with the full cast to produce a new season has me dizzy with anticipation!
Tell us about Winter’s Verge’s plans for the future, do you have any upcoming gigs after the con for the promotion of the new album?
AK – Winter’s Verge is currently working on some pretty interesting and somewhat unconventional ways of developing as an entity. We’re definitely promoting the new album with a dedicated show on the 11th of September and are currently looking into touring opportunities for 2016. In tandem to that, we will reveal parts of our larger, long term plan in the near future.
MT – We’re hoping to get a lot of attention for our next show on 11th September from Comic Con. We’re also looking for the next tour that would be right for us, so I guess watch this space!
Where do you want to take your music next?
AK – In new and interesting places really. The current focus is to enrich the story-telling component of our music through a variety of different ways which we’re currently exploring. We’re also fairly aware of both the industry’s shifts and the way that music is being consumed and distributed in this day and age and are exploring ways to provide our fans and listeners the best possible experiences.
MT – I think now that this new lineup is settled, we can really start experimenting and seeing what kind of sound would be the best for going forward! We’re not short of ideas, this much is sure.
Lastly, are you excited to be playing at Cyprus Comic Con this year?
AK – Exceptionally!
MT – Absolutely, it’s an amazing opportunity for us to reach out to all kinds of new fans, and we’re totally thrilled and honoured about being able to do that!