Solomonar – Interview

Interview with Andrei Oltean (Solomonar) and Pete Devine of Pete’s Rock News and Views (

PD:  How would you describe yourself or your band as an artist?

AO: I have always been fascinated by music more or less alien to the people around me, and this has been visible time and time again when composing new materials. I try to blend influences from different cultures, often “unblendable” at first sight. Particularly with this project (i.e. Solomonar) I have a fixed goal, which is to paint a sonic picture of the exactly 51 facetes of my soul. This started in 2015, and it is going to take a while as I will have patience to also describe a certain evolution throughout the upcoming years.


PD: Can you tell us briefly about your background – i.e. where you’re from, how you came to make music, etc.

AO: My name is Andrei Oltean, and I am a musician from Romania. My main instrument is the whistle (particularly the recorder), and I am generally a wind instruments musician. Besides the whistle and various other derived wind instruments, I play the bagpipe, the accordion, jaw harps and other lesser-known instruments, and I am also a vocalist.

I am extremely passionate about music, which often works against me, as I have a tendency to fill my plate with way more than you can eat (as you are about to see). My main band is E-an-na, a folk metal band with a multitude of style-deviations. I also play in Dirty Shirt, which is another well-known Romanian folkcore band. With both this bands I have travelled accross Europe, playing for thousands and thosands of people. With E-an-na, we even participated to some awkward national TV shows such as Eurovision and Romania’s got talent. With our evershifting musical styles, we managed both to anger and to amaze people from the metal community and beyond.

Besides folk-influenced music, I have a plethora of other bands where my musical fingerprint can be heard. I am a full member of the funeral doom metal band Clouds, with which we have achieved some amazing things as well, such as playing in some very special venues accross Europe (cages, cathedrals etc.) as well as collaborating with some amazing people, such as, for instance, Aaron Stainthorpe from My Dying Bride.

I have a folk-atmospheric black metal band called Prohod, with which we are currently working on some new stuff as well. There is another yet unreleased project from Chile that I am a part of (but I won’t disclose anything yet). And there is a huge international project that I have started, which I hope to kick off publicly in 2024, but again, it’s too early to disclose anything. And generally, I am involved in a lot of musical projects: honestly, too many to mention them all in one interview. So, if you are curious about this side of my life, I guess you’ll need to follow me online to see what I’m up to.

Particularly with Solomonar (which is both my one-man project as well as my chosen stage name) I allow myself to explore music in a relaxed manner, without any strict rules that I need to follow, so the music can be much more organic.


PD: Who and what inspires you to make music, both in terms of musical and other influences? What do you like to write about in your songs?

AO: It is no secret that my greatest musical influence is Arkona, a pagan metal band from Russia. Just like the generations before us grew up with Metallica and Sepultura, I grew up with Arkona and Eluveitie and other less mainstream bands that were just exploding in the 2000s. For instance, I never got into stuff such as Slipknot for some reason. As I have stated earlier, I am, of course, the product of numerous influences, so I’ll try to keep the following list very short, just to exemplify the wide range of styles: Diablo Swing Orchestra, Car Bomb, Igorrr, Igor Stravinsky, Zoviet France, Septicflesh, Falls of Rauros, Alcest, Tali Rubinstein, Cristina Pato, The Silkroad Ensemble, lots of traditional folk music, both Romanian and from various parts of the globe (with a tendency towards central-asian sounds), The Dillinger Escape Plan, Svarga etc.

In terms of general inspiration that goes beyond just the sonic components, I very much enjoy reading and hiking, which both inspire me greatly. From Bulgakov and Dostroievsky to fantasy books, there is so much in the world that makes me want to create. I write about much of this, I write about inner feelings, about the wrath of man destroying our planet. Sometimes I write about despair, sometimes I write about hope and the belief that we can get better. Like any human being, I am not just tied to one thing or topic.


PD: What are your aspirations as an artist?

AO: I try to write the music that I want to listen to. I hear it in my head, and I need it to take shape. I love composing more than any other aspect of music. Of course, I absolutely love being on stage and flooding people with my emotions, but songwriting is my primary activity.


PD: What is the proudest moment in your music career so far?

AO: It is incredibly hard to pinpoint one. I have had so much amazing stuff in my musical life already. I shall try to pick a few.

In the 2nd year of playing shows, we got to play at Wacken with E-an-na, in front of 7-8k people, winning the 2nd place at the Metal Battle. Wacken invited us to play again in 2020 at the online edition that was organized during the pandemic.

With Dirty Shirt we collaborated with the magnificent violin player Caliu, gloablly known from Taraf de Haidouks. We got to play to seas of people time and time again, such as Wacken 2019, Hellfest 2022 and Pol’and’Rock 2021 and 2022. The latter was our record audience, with about 50k souls in front of the stage.

I got to collaborate with musicians that I respect enormously, from bands such as Thy Catafalque, Eluveitie, Swallow the Sun, Nokturnal Mortum and so many more.

I am proud of all of this as a whole. I am proud that I haven’t lost my mind yet (or if I did, I bounced back). I am proud of the tens of albums I’ve been a part of, and I’m most proud that I’m not done yet, and that I strongly believe that the best is yet to come.


PD: Promoting one’s music is such a challenge these days, especially with so many new artists emerging from bedrooms in the day of the home studio. How is that going?

AO: This is definitely true. It’s such a weird reality, if you think about it. You see all these things I have been just boasting about, yet this means nothing in the world of promotion and visibility. Why? Because human attention is increasingly short-spanned. Today you are in the spotlight. Tomorrow nobody will remember your name. You need to be constantly in that spotlight, and this leads to two things that I don’t really enjoy in the music business: competition and tasks that are not related to art.

For the second one, there is the solution of delegating these tasks to a team, but this can only happen once you get “big” and you can afford it. But the first one, competition, is a plague that no-one can avoid. And it’s really a shame, as music should be a thing of community, of achieving great art together and supporting each other. For me the term “music business/industry” is somewhat of a paradox. It contradicts itself.

And I’m not saying this because I am bitter. Some things work, some don’t. I never write music for other people. It is I who must enjoy it. If someone else will resonate as well, that is damn amazing, but it’s just a bonus. One I am grateful for, of course.


PD: And how do you book and promote your live shows and tours? Any performances coming up?

AO: I don’t book. Solomonar is exclusively a studio project, and with other bands I am not the one booking shows anymore. In terms of promotions, I follow regular strategies as long as I have the time and energy to do so.


PD: What do you think about downloading music online? What about streaming sites like Spotify?

AO: I do not condemn either. Whatever can take the music further to more people. In Romania, especially 20 years ago, music piracy was a big thing. Both methods are somewhat financially detrimental to the artists: piracy is considered stealing by some, and streaming services are critiqued for paying musicians ridiculously small amounts for their music. But as I said, both are methods of propagating the music as well. Without the ability to download music, I wouldn’t have had the chance to discover all these influential albums that shaped my taste.


PD: What song do you wish you’d written and why?

AO: Never thought of that. I am too focused on my own music, and too in love with the music of others to imagine it as my own. It’s their artistic identity.


PD: Is there anything you don’t like about the music industry, which you would change if you could?

AO: I think I already mentioned the things I don’t like.


PD: So, what are you working on at the moment?

AO: I am working on some new songs, even though I have just released my newest material last month. I don’t have any set released schedule. We’ll see where inspiration takes me.


PD: Where can we learn more about you and buy your music/merch online?

AO: I’ll leave some links. I don’t have any merch, as Solomonar is an obscure, unkonwn project. Maybe in the future.






Solomonar links:
Band/Artist location – Romania
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Instagram – Apple – Spotify – Amazon – Deezer – Last Fm
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