Earlier this week we announced that Darkyra were being forced to cancel their European dates (Germany/Netherlands) due to frontwoman Darkyra Black (Gina Bafile) being diagnosed with breast cancer. Breast cancer is something that has touch my family and I’m sure, statistically speaking, the families of many of you reading this. Gina very kindly offered to share a few words with us both about the band, her prognosis and plans for when she kicks this disease into touch.
Huge thanks to her for answering our questions and for helping us to raise awareness of breast cancer. Please check out the many links in the article for more information. They are Australian, but there are similar charities and organisations in most countries. Give them your support – it could be you or yours who need them next.
A bit about the music. You’re billed as a solo artist but have two releases now with the Darkyra “band”. Would you say you’re a group now, in terms of recording at least?
The two albums Dragon Tears and Fool were recorded with hired session musicians. But yes I can be called a band now as I have been performing here in Australia with a group of musicians and plan to record an album with them as a band.
You’re based in Australia but the rest of the group are over here in Europe. How did you find yourself writing and recording over such a distance? Do we just have better musicians over here? ;)
I am based in Western Australia, the musicians from the first two albums were based in Greece, France and Brazil which made it a little difficult to plan shows. Creating the music took a little time for the first album but everything came together great. They all knew what kind of vibe and sound I was going for as I would always send a rough midi version of the song for them to work on.
The second album Fool was much easier to put together as the style was already established from the first album. At the time I first began Darkyra, I couldn’t find any musicians here in my own country that shared the same vision and knew the symphonic style of music well. We have a lot of talent here in Perth but most are into Thrash, Death and Black Metal. I got lucky toward the end of recording the second album and have found a fantastic bunch here; Dave, Kim, Maciek and Dan in my part of the world who have adopted all the Darkyra songs as their own. So now you can officially call Darkyra a band and we have already begun collaborating on some new songs as a group.
How did the writing/recording process go? Was it the same for both albums?
Yes, both albums were the same in most circumstances where everything was recorded separately at the musicians’ individual studios. However with Fool, I made the trip over to Athens along with Garry King from France and Betovani from Brazil. We recorded all the vocals with George Boussounis at Morph Flow Studio with extra percussion, strings, daduk and some of the guitar overdubs and solos.
Do you perform live in Australia? And if so, have you had the band travel over for that or do you use local musicians?
Yes, I have been performing live here in Perth with my Australian band mates.
What do fans have to expect from a Darkyra live show?
We try to perform the music just like it is on the album. We have spent a lot of time putting together sequencing to give a full production sound in our shows.
Of course, German and Dutch fans are going to have to wait a little longer for the opportunity to see you due to the news announced this week. When did you find out about your diagnosis and how long did it take to decide to postpone the tour?
It took a while to get an official diagnosis. Although I found a small lump a little while ago, it takes weeks of biopsies and testing. There were cancer cells present but we really didn’t know how severe things were and were still under the assumption that it was very early breast cancer which could be removed first and treated with an easier option. I got my official diagnosis of how things looked only last Thursday after having a lymph node biopsy and another core biopsy. These gave me the full picture of what was happening. Up until then I still intended to make the trip away.
For those unfamiliar with how cancers are graded, on the scale of things how “serious” is Stage Three? Can you put it into some kind of perspective?
The Stage relates to the size of the tumour and Grade relates to the rate of growth. In my case a Triple Negative Cancer which doesn’t have a lot of treatment options beside Chemo and Stage 3 being quite large, around 10cm and also present in a couple of my lymph nodes. It’s a Grade 3 tumour which is very aggressive and has a pretty fast growth rate.
Breast cancer is a disease which strikes a terrible number of women (and a smaller number of men) each year. Is there any advice that you would like to pass on to anyone reading regarding it?
If you have a history of any sort of cancer on either your paternal or maternal side of the family I would recommend you get gene tested. Check your breasts regularly and if you find something abnormal go straight to your doctor and get it checked.
Having spent some time in Australia, the vast majority of the cancer awareness material I saw was regarding skin cancer. Do you feel more could be done to ensure people are more aware of other types?
The Cancer Council here in Australia covers all types of cancer and has a lot of useful information. Australia has one of the highest success rates of treating Breast Cancer.
I gather that you’re looking at rescheduling dates in around a year’s time. I assume this means that your prognosis is good?
I have a positive outlook on my prognosis. The cancer is definitely treatable and I’m confident that the tumour will respond well to the Chemotherapy.
A quick look online showed a number of breast cancer charities and organisations in Australia, some nationwide and some state/territory-related. Are there any in particular that you would like to encourage people to support or give a shout out to?
- The National Breast Cancer Foundation
- McGrath Foundation
- Australian Cancer Research Foundation
- Breast Cancer Care WA
Thanks for the interest and helping to spread Breast Cancer awareness.