SEVI are:

Svetlana Bliznakova, vocals

Rally Velinov, bass

Stone Angel, guitars

Peter Petrov, drums

SEVI released the album “Genesis” in November 2023 and the reception has been overwhelmingly positive, including a solid thumbs up from Stevie here at the magazine. SEVI is Bulgarian based, but they are looking to expand those frontiers and have expectations that this album could be the driving force behind taking their music into markets such as the UK and US. In Bulgaria, they are known for performing at some huge motorcycle events. With the band talking about UK shows in November 2024, Robin 2 in Wolverhampton for December (link here for tickets), and the Troon Winter Storm Festival in Scotland at the end of November already announced, the opportunity to chat with lead singer Svetlana Bliznakova was a chance not to be missed. She sat down with us in her home studio and we explored the music and history of the band.

We began by noting that the album is sung in English, which certainly helped our reviewer! However, it also reminded us of a talk with Gene Simmons, where he told us that although he spoke other languages before English (Hungarian and Hebrew), the need to perform and sing in English was essential for gaining traction internationally as an artist. Aside from complimenting Svetlana on her English, we wondered if this was a point she agreed with and whether the band performed in Bulgarian too. Also, were the songs written first in Bulgarian and then translated?

Svetlana: I was trained in English at school, as everybody is here. Also, I have listened to English music since I was born, it has always been there in my life. When you start with Queen and Bon Jovi, these are the bands of my childhood; and Elton John, of course. I listened to a lot of Elton John when I started to write my songs. I was trying to understand how to write with the piano as I play the piano, and Elton John helped me a lot in this. However, the lyrics would come to mind in English; I don’t have one song in Bulgarian, it sounds strange, perhaps. Here in Bulgaria, we play and sing in English and we have no songs in Bulgarian. But I feel that rock music generally sounds better in English because it was historically constructed that way. Both of these things combine when you sing and perform in English. But the decision was also an easy one because, here in Bulgaria, it is hard to emerge internationally when you don’t play and sing in English, but music itself has no language. People understand us here, we have a strong following in Bulgaria and English helps you reach out beyond Bulgaria. We are understood in Japan, Australia, and wherever. You make music to reach people.

We agree. Rock music certainly has that English history, but folk music probably needs the native language. 


“Hate You” was one of our favourite songs on the album, Stevie had it as one of the standout tracks. She wrote on the song that it “ is full of angst and I have to say I liked the lyrics on this one a lot! Great chorus, and quite a lot of fun! I kind of know the sentiment here, tongue in cheek and commercial. Lyrically, it’s interesting,

“Now that it’s all over, how did I deserve, the damage, that you’ve done?”

Of course, it never ends, and love and hate remain closely entwined.

“In my veins, I Feel the poison, You’ve become a monster, I don’t wanna hate you, But I’m gonna hurt you, Just the way you did it…”

Svetlana: For sure, this is one of my favourite tracks on the album. I really love the way the song was created, too. It was created from pure emotion, when the emotion has to be expressed at that particular moment, right then. I remember one afternoon when me and our bass player were checking out some ideas on the computer and one of our closest friends, who is a huge fan of Metallica and has a band here in Bulgaria, sent us the riff of the song and said, ‘I’m trying something here at home, do you like it?’ When we heard the riff, Rally, our bass player, grabbed the guitar and I just started to sing. The whole song came together in less than an hour. I didn’t overthink the lyrics, they just came to mind and I knew it had to be the single with fast cars and energy. It was so much fun working on that track, I love the way we created that track. Usually, when I create a song like that, I will be jumping around the house, saying how much I love it! We put a lot of effort into the track and worked with the amazing Kane Churko on the mix and mastering. He did a great job, putting in some extra touches to really make the song sound like a hit. I believe fans like the song too, and it is a song to listen to when driving the car!

We have placed the video for that one below. As one of our friends at the magazine, Shirley King, said, ‘great songs have emotions that connect to life experiences. It is the lived experience of the blues that comes with experience.  You need to have lived to develop your songwriting and the band’s comment on the press release for the album says: ‘”Genesis,” represents our emotions, feelings and beliefs during the past 3 to 4 years in the dynamic of this strange world that we all live in.  We illustrated some of these emotions through the six singles that we chose to release. The album also marks the “genesis” of our sound, ideas and line-up!” How does Svetlana feel about that?

Svetlana: I do feel more mature in my songwriting now, my lyrics have developed. Looking back to the beginning, fourteen years ago, we didn’t know exactly where we wanted to be style wise. We tried different approaches and sounded a bit more like a classic rock band for a while. As the years went by we got heavier and our messages changed as we got more experienced. Everything we had to fight through and live through became a part of the music. Now I feel I have more to say to the audience about life, love and the world—things that concern me. Connecting to others who feel the same way is one of the amazing things about art. I believe this last album, “Genesis,” is really Genesis in the sound, but also in the band as well. We made many changes in the crew before we released the album. It also took us three years to create the album and during that time we had the COVID thing, which collected these emotions that we all went through. Everything we have been going through is within that album. I believe it is the album I always wanted to hear from us.

Sometimes albums start really well but then tail off with some fillers. This one didn’t. If anything, it picked up as it went along with that great triple whammy of tracks that our reviewer loved late in the album.

Svetlana: We really tried to have no fillers on the album, we worked hard on every song. Everything we wanted to say was thought about, and we believe that being on stage is a big responsibility as you speak to people with your music and people listen. We believe it is important what you say. Maybe “Hate” is not the track for that! But we can permit ourselves to have a track like that on the album.

“Drowning” is a track that certainly has a strong message. It was another that we highlighted as one if the best.

Svetlana: “Drowning” is close to the message of our last single, “The World That Doesn’t Fit,” and I duet with Johnny Gioeli. I do love how our voices match together on that one and their lyrics are also speaking of these moments when you feel lost in the middle of nowhere and you just need someone to give you the light to move forward. We need to find the strength to carry on.

We support work promoting mental health here, and music has the best way to lift you out of troubled times. Music therapy over tablets every time! 

Svetlana: I think the answers are inside us, and we just have to find them. We have fans from all over the world who often write us letters and they say they have been through hard times and they found a song in our music that helped them fight through. So this is really the time when you know you are doing the right thing. If you can just help one person, that is enough.

Turning to the tour, there are some festivals on the way, like Planet Rockstock, Wales, in November for example. So what can we expect here in the UK from you guys?

Svetlana: We are definitely looking forward to the UK leg of the tour, as this is our first tour in the UK. It is part of the “Genesis” tour and we will present the album with gigs here in Bulgaria before heading off to Switzerland, Italy, Serbia and Belgium. We are on the big stage at Winterstorm, Scotland, in November and we are playing the Robin Club in Bilston on December 1. Then we are back in Sofia, and there are also a few gigs in Sweden being planned in early 2025. We are excited, as we will be presenting the new songs. Things will be concentrated on the new album, with some of the hits.

A quick question on the drumming next. We complimented the drumming of Enrico Valente on “Insane,” but we noticed that Peter Petrov is now the drummer for the band. 

Svetlana: The album was largely recorded with our ex-drummer, Pavlin Ivanof, he was with us for twelve years and he recorded most of the songs. But Enrico Valente is our friend, a session drummer from Italy. But for the new line-up, we have two new members going forward: Stone Angel on guitars and Peter Petrov on drums. But we should give credit where it is deserved.

Is the band consciously presenting an image in terms of dress and on stage ‘look’ or does it just come naturally as they choose?

Svetlana: I believe image is highly important; it goes along with the music and it is really important how you look on  stage. I think you should look different to your audience, as you are there to perform. The audience is listening, but they are also watching. You should look interesting and your image should suit your musical style. We have made changes over the years. As a new band, at the beginning we tried to make things theatrical, we used to dress as pirates, for example and give a full show. We would draw attention in this way as people were unsure of what we would do next. Now, however, I feel we have found our style. We do have a stylist for clothes and stage, and with the new guys and album, we have worked on the new look too. 

A couple of quick ending questions. The last album listened to by Svetlana was?

Svetlana: It was the last Metallica album. I really liked it. I like how they keep their style and signature, yet remain interesting for their fans. I am also listening to Mick Jagger’s solo album, as I’m a big fan of him. I listen to Jagger nearly every day. I think the younger me would still listen to the same material, although I try to be aware of the music world, including the world of jazz and soul. I actually found some of my earlier songs the other day on a computer and these were written back in the day, I was quite surprised by them!

And the last question is who Svetlana would most have liked to see in concert, but she never got the chance to.

Svetlana: This is an easy one for me. It would be Tina Turner in the early eighties. We even did a small tribute to her in a show last year in Bulgaria. I would have loved to see her, she was one of a kind.

We hope you liked the feature, dear reader! If you did, please check out the other pages of the magazine; we have many great features, merchandise, editorials and even poetry! We work hard for you, and if you want to show some appreciation and support what we do, then do use the Support Us link below! Always appreciated.

You can stream the album here

Band Website here

By Mark C Chambers


Lorraine Foley

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