When you listen to something quite diverse from what you’re used to, it’s inevitable not to get your attention. That’s what happened when I first played “Stopover – Life” by Moonrise. Its musical quality and the smoothness of its harmonies were enough to make me want more. Thankfully, the songwriter, keyboardist Kamil Konieczniak spoke to Grande Rock about the new album & his band… read below…

Hi Kamil. Your third release was meant to be the best so far! Kudos! “Stopover – Life” is a wonderful work by any means.
K: Thank you very much! This third album was planned as a form of sequel to previous releases - without serious changes in band’s style. I wanted to present honestly how I feel and what every single day brings to me. Of course I don’t want to stick to this as a rule, since - apart from what my heart tells me - I also feel a strong urge to search for something new. That’s why I’m curious myself what the next album will be like. (i.n.: So, do we…)
Three years have passed since “Soul’s Inner Pendulum”. What happened in those years on the band’s camp?
K: After “Soul’s Inner Pendulum” Moonrise, though treated as a band, was not necessary a band in the real meaning. The guest appearance of lead singer was undermining our plans, that’s why needed to focus on searching new singer on regular, band’s basis. This was not that easy however - as the level reached by Łukasz Gall on the second album seemed impossible to exceed. Meanwhile, I was still working on new material, but for the rest of the band it was a dead period. I finally met Marcin Jajkiewicz and decided to make Moonrise a real band again.
As for the new singer… why did you make that change and what new things did Marcin Jajkiewicz bring over to the band?
K: This change must have happened sooner or later, Łukasz was always credited as guest. I had to make some compromise in that case, I felt limited in a way. I started feeling tired and finally decided to invite regular singer to the band with whom we could play live. Marcin brought to the band his heart, passion and involvement.
It’s true that by listening to the album you get a feeling of euphoria. What are you trying to achieve with the music you’re delivering?
K: Freedom, peacefulness, some different perspective on reality, some place and own space for myself.
What does “Stopover – Life” imply?
K: To put it shortly - we will not live forever, life is just a stopover, we appear in this world from nothing, and to the unknown we will pass after we die. There is life but material is all that surrounds us. We often forget that we really need to live this life and sometimes step aside to see what’s hidden but more valuable.
What’s that kinda palace/temple that has that big crystal ball in the middle? Where’s that land that we see inside the crystal ball?
K: What we see is the creation of human’s hands - buildings of complex structure is definitely worth admiration. This sphere presents us the world we would like to see.
Can you tell us a few things about the songs?
K: “Stopover-Life”: The awareness of our existence…
“Surrender to Win”: Sometimes you need to stop - to get better perspective and see more…
“Start Up Song”: Live in accordance with oneself, sometimes just make a “reset”…
“Let It Flow”: Power to fight, taking care of a place inside our souls where we can return to and “charge our batteries” to stand up again…
“Flying in Empty Lands”: Inner fight with one’s weaknesses, although the land is barren, empty, there is no hope in sight, man needs to find strength to fly above it…
“Blind Faces”: Cleansing of bad emotions, you need to peak those emotions to reach the breakthrough. Ego has the face without eyes - hence the title…
“Guardian Angel”: About the power that protects us, the power that we’re not aware of and even push it away. Internal conflict is the effect…
“Unravel Your Soul”: Tranquility, peacefulness…
“Mr Strange”: The alienation of an artist, people who don’t follow the crowd... The effect is that the crowd stigmatizes the artist…
As far as I know, the album was recorded at your own Island Music Studio. Did you also do the mixing & the mastering of the album? I must tell you that the production is top-notch.
K: Yes, mixing and mastering was handled by me, thank you for your kind words!
Are you planning to release any videos any time soon?
K: Not yet - however we’re planning to record and release a live DVD.
Are there any plans for a tour or something in the near future?
K: Yes, we’re meeting at the rehearsals and working on several songs from all three Moonrise albums. I also have the plans to reissue the first album in 2013, change some samples and finally record this with a real drummer… our actual drummer, Grzegorz Bauer
Your music is smooth, atmospheric, melodic, ambient but yet prog & dreamy… I think that putting Moonrise under the prog rock or neo prog tag is kinda limited. How would you characterize your music style?
K: When you look at the boarders of this genre, this looks limiting, however you need to answer the question - what is prog rock or neo prog? I translate this for myself, don’t want to know the definitions of it. I understand it as music reaches the soul, it fires up emotions, gives the listener another perspective. I don’t like labels in music, but often myself called it prog rock - as this music gives me freedom, for me it’s limitless. That’s why I, maybe unintentionally turned the listeners to classify it that way.
The addition of sax along with the atmospheric synth layers and the wonderful guitar solos is something that catches one’s attention as soon as they listen to your songs. Are these some of the elements that separate your band from other groups around?
K: Synth layers and guitar solos are typical for many bands. I’d rather point saxophone as something that differs us from other bands, although it’s not a groundbreaking experiment in prog rock context. However, I feel that the way it sounds may distinguish us from others.
I’ve written: “…The album flows in the same pace more or less and you are about to enter one imaginary soundscape after another… as long as it lasts. I was actually captivated by its soft, classy and sophisticated musical allure…”. Do you agree with that?
K: Yes, I agree. It’s very flattening to hear that people get my music in this way. It reached where it should reach.
Poland has indeed a good music scene after all, Riverside may be the most known group coming from your homeland. Yet, there’s a lot of going on right there… isn’t it?
K: Yes, definitely. There are many new bands with interesting ideas.
I’m sure that you are aware of the new releases as well. Can you say that 2012 is a prog rock Year? I do believe so… we have so many great releases from old and new bands every month or so.
K: To be honest, in 2012 I focused mostly on recording and composing my music, so I didn’t have much time to follow this year’s releases. I’ll try to catch up as soon as possible... (i.n.: You better do so and you will be totally surprised…)  
Moonrise band pic

We see lots of new progressive rock bands… mostly inspired by the 70s prog rock bands and some “borrowing ideas & themes” from them. Why do you think this is happening? Does progressive music rely on going back to take some things so as to progress eventually?
K: I often ask this question myself. If somebody loved the progressive music of the 70s, which was very innovative at that time, he’ll always have it in his heart. It’s impossible to be free from something that you love, so I sometimes unintentionally pass some ideas in my music. However, music is an art and apart from borrowing some inspirations needs to present something more... soul of a creator.
Coming to the new technologies… are you willing to give some songs or probably the whole album to the fans for free at some point… or you are not so much into this downloading notion?
K: I love to share my music with other people. It’s a passion, I don’t treat it as a way to earn money. I’m glad to see that promotion of music nowadays, thanx to new technologies has that far range. The other side of the story is that CD sales are very poor in general. It’s easier to download MP3s, than buy physical copies. Therefore, I’d like to thank especially those fans who bought our albums, respecting the effect of our work at the same time.
What do you think of the Internet as a means of promotion & distribution? Conversely, it is also a way for people to get music free & illegally. What’s the right way to control it so as not to lose time & money as a musician/band?
K: It’s very hard to control it, so maybe we should just treat it as a way of promotion, a thing that will bring some advantages as well.
How can we make people love and buy music in this time-period with all the financial problems and the easy way of getting it for free with just a few clicks? Some say that going back to vinyl is the answer… but there’s not only that. What else can the labels and the bands do?
K: Back to vinyl is interesting idea. I’d love to release all three Moonrise albums on LPs. However this will not change the problem of illegal downloads, it will just satisfy the needs of music connoisseurs.
It’s time for the Weird Questions now!!! Why did you name the band Moonrise? You’re aware of the fact that there are also other bands with the same name out there, right?
K: When I thought about the name I didn’t keep in mind that there were more acts called Moonrise. One evening I saw a beautiful moonrise - at that time I was working on a song that eventually appeared on our first album. Moon was creating fantastic atmosphere for many hours. Soon I decided to name the band this way.
What are those bands that stigmatized the progressive rock movement?
K: King Crimson, Genesis, Camel, Pink Floyd, Porcupine Tree, Collage... (i.n.: Alan Parsons Project, Aphrodite’s Child, Eloy and so forth…)
If you could put together the best prog rock band in the world who would participate and why?
K: It would be hard or maybe impossible, because all those musicians that I respect are great individuals, and combining them all into one band might have been not effective neither for them nor for the listeners.
Were you obliged to give just one album to extraterrestrials that would represent the whole human music evolution, which album would it be and from which band/artist?
K: Maybe “Up the Downstair” by Porcupine Tree…
Do you believe in luck and coincidences or you believe that the human mind and will can affect all things in life?
K: Human’s mind has a great impact on most things in our life. Man is a mystery, unknown, with unexplored abilities. But I also believe in destiny or coincidence that is beyond humans control. However man can always draw a conclusion…
There are people who support that even if we have everything we would still find or invent flaws in our life. Do you believe people need troubles so as to appreciate blessings given to them?
K: Yes, sometimes people need a “kick in the ass” so as to appreciate what they had or hopefully still have. Unfortunately, sometimes this is the only way to learn something. Experience the cruelty to see the beauty.
Who is your favourite philosopher and why?
K: Don’t have one specific, to be honest. Sense of life is my favorite philosophy cheeky
Which of the Seven Wonders of the World would you like to visit and why?
K: Maybe Cheops pyramid, mysterious and impressive building...
If you were a God’s messenger what would you tell Him to do for the well-being of humanity?
K: That he should take away from humans the lust for power and money…
Imagine that your wife is selling your whole album-collection just to buy an expensive ring for herself. How would you react?
K: I’m absolutely calm, because my wife know how much this is worth to me.
That’s all for now Kamil. Thanks for the music! Wish the best for you and your band. Please leave any message you want for the end… Take care!
K: Thank you! And pass my greetings to all readers!