What I love the most about music is that it gives you the adrenaline to express yourself 100% freely. It helps you speak when you cannot do it with words. It helps you explore the depth of your soul and it pushes you beyond your limits, increasing your confidence and self-esteem. When I play music, I see life more positively and more beautifully than it really is.

My name is Edvin Parmeza and I am a technology professional with a development background, including designing, building, and testing software products. I have previously worked as an Intern at many companies in Albania, gaining industrial experience while also studying in university. I have a Master of Science Double-Degree (in Computer Science) in both Sweden and Albania. Now, I work as a freelancer, building and maintaining web pages and games for different businesses. I have also built online booking systems for several agencies.

I was born in Shkodra, Albania, in 1994. My family and I lived there until 2006, when we moved to the capital, Tirana. I lived in Tirana until 2019, when I came to Sweden to continue my Master’s Studies. Now, I live and work in Stockholm. I decided to go to Sweden because I wanted to have a new academic and industrial experience, and I also wanted to explore a new environment. In Albania, we always used to hear positive feedback about Scandinavian culture and people’s work mentality. Another reason was that my brother had also studied in Sweden years before me, and he has been working and living here ever since. His personal feedback and encouragement pushed me to try this new experience, which turned out to be one of the greatest of my life. It helped me grow as a person and as a professional in my career.

Before starting as a freelancer, I studied at Mälardalen University in Västerås, Sweden, as part of an Erasmus scholarship programme that I won during the first year of my Master’s in Albania. The scholarship was a double-degree agreement between my home university and Mälardalen, and would enable me to complete my studies with two theses in the end. During my time as an Erasmus student, I had the chance to know and work with different people of different cultures and backgrounds, and I learned a lot about the Swedish work / social environment. My colleagues and I worked on different programming and testing projects, which would include building an official Webpage for some of the most famous Swedish football teams, building Robot frameworks, performing Combinatorial Testing, Coverage and Mutation Testing, and Valgrind/Memcheck with Linux.

The most important work I did in university was my Master’s Thesis, the topic of which was Experimental Evaluation of Tools for Mining Test Execution Logs. It helped me extend my knowledge of testing. I explored this area by experimenting with different testing tools, like Jenkins, Splunk, Loggly, JIRA, Logstash, Kibana, JMeter, and Katalon. One part of the thesis was a survey I sent to different practitioners around the world to gain more expert-based information about the testing industry. My survey received 26 responses from 8 countries around the world, providing me with diverse and professional information. In addition, the thesis was performed in collaboration with the company Westermo, which is based in the city of Västerås.

After finishing my thesis, during the summer of 2020, I did an Internship in the company HiQ in Vasteras. After finishing my internship, I came back to Albania to finish my second master thesis. At the end of my academic experience, I graduated with a double-degree. Since then, I have been working as a freelancer, creating products for different clients.

I am currently working on a team project in collaboration with a company in Sweden, building a platform that will facilitate the process of hiring for recruiters and managers.

Besides programming, my main hobby is Music. I started showing an interest in music at an early age, almost 20 years ago. I would listen to different rock bands on the TV or radio, and there would be a certain moment where I would think “this is definitely the music I like the most”. From then on, I would always be a rock fan. I would start playing with pencils in different places, like the desk during my time in school, pretending to play drums. I did this frequently until I started to gain the reflexes that a drummer needs to play precisely at the right time and with the right tempo.

In 2005, I started composing different melodies on a recorder and writing lyrics as well. That’s when I realized that I wanted to be a musician. But my dream would not come true until 2010, when a friend of mine asked me to start a band. We called it R.A.Y (Rhythm of Albanian Youth) and were mostly influenced by UK classic rock and Albanian ’90s rock. In the following years, I would be part of other projects and bands as well.

My biggest supporters, both in programming and in my music career, have always been my parents and my brother, who encouraged me to work hard to achieve my dreams. All the credit goes to them for everything they have done for me: the freedom they gave me to follow my passion, as well as teaching me how to be a strong and humble person in life and career.

My main influence in music was the industrial metal band Rammstein. Since the first time I discovered them 14 years ago, I always admired their style in composing songs, the poetry in their lyrics, and their performances in live shows. They were always the type of band who would push things to the limit and take risks that no other band would dare to – not to forget that they are at a similar level of popularity to other legendary bands without even singing in English.

I have also been influenced by a large variety of musicians, bands, and drummers from different genres. Having a lot of extremely different musicians as an influence helped me to become more creative and innovative.

I have always been a fan of hard music, so I mainly prefer to play and sing industrial metal, but I also have played other genres as well, like thrash metal, grunge, indie rock, classic rock, nu-metal, electronic, and European folk music. Sometimes, I prefer to play (although rarely) classical music like baroque and romantic.

I was part of three different rock bands back in Albania: R.A.Y (Rhythm of Albanian Youth), Neverland, and The Social Sons. Additionally, I supported many other new and old bands in different concerts, but I was not a member.

R.A.Y was mainly influenced by 1960s rock ’n’ roll bands like The Beatles and 1990s Britpop band Oasis, and our music was a mix between the two. We were also influenced by some of the most prominent Albanian bands that were popular during the ‘90s. The band was founded in 2010 by me and the singer, and then the other members joined immediately. Our first gig was on the Independence Day of Albania on 28 November 2010 (where 6 other new bands performed as well). The concert was one of the best that has ever been done with new bands in Albania since the 1990s, and the crowd went crazy that night. Many other concerts followed up in the next months and years. We wrote many songs, some of which we recorded, released, and performed at different festivals. The topic of the songs was mostly based on the philosophical view of life. Our most famous song is called “Kalimtarë” (Passengers).

In 2011, I founded Neverland with 3 friends of mine. Neverland was an alternative and grunge-oriented band, with influences from Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Metallica, and classic bands as well, such as Steppenwolf, The Rolling Stones, and Pink Floyd. Our songs were more influenced by grunge than by other genres. The lyrics are ironic and critical of the part of society that always judges and tries to put down the people who think differently. The group’s most popular song is “Teatri I Jetes” (Life’s Theatre).

In 2013, a friend and I started The Social Sons. This band was influenced by pop-punk bands of the ‘90s, like Blink-182, The Offspring, and Green Day. The songs we wrote would always have a funny tone, but with meaningful lyrics, expressing people’s mixed feelings about their everyday lives in a humorous way (similar to Blink-182, but the context of the lyrics would be based on Albania’s reality and Albanians’ way of living). The most famous song we wrote is titled “Rritu Dhe Pak” (Grow Up A Little Bit).

Overall, I played with these bands from 2010 to 2014. After leaving them, I decided to focus on writing my own songs, and after meeting an old friend of mine (who is also an experienced musician), we decided to work as a duo and record some of our songs. As I also play guitar and keyboard, I played almost all of the instruments for each song during our album recording.

I have played with my bands in many concerts and festivals in Albania. One of the most memorable experiences was our multi-time participation in one of the most important music festivals in the country called Top Fest, which was an equivalent of the MTV VMAs in the United States. Other memorable experiences would be:

  • Participation in a music competition for young bands called Promo Zone.
  • Participation in the Fete de la Musique (or The Music Day) Festival, which allowed us to gain more recognition in the local music scene.
  • Playing gigs in different hostels in the capital, where the majority of the crowd were foreign, thus helping us share our music abroad.
  • Playing open-air concerts as a support band for famous musicians. We would also be invited many times to radio shows, where we would have interviews and then play 2 to 3 songs at the end.

I’m currently working with a friend of mine on our own music, which is a mix of both our influences. We have recorded 8 songs so far (although we both have written tens of other songs as well), and we intend to release an album at the beginning of 2022. Our goal is to continue making music in the following years and advertise it as much as we can internationally (hence, the lyrics of the songs are written in English). In the near future, we also plan to start performing live.

I see a few similarities between my music and my job. From my perspective, having an idea (and working around that idea to make it a reality) is both a programming and a music process. The art of creating something, having a million different ways of doing it, and using tools to achieve the end-product are some of the features that my music and my job both share. When you create a product, you test it many times to see if something is right and then fix it if it is not – it’s the same when you write a song and play it many times to see if any part should be modified or not. I have applied this method in both of my occupations, and the results have been a success.

I definitely think my musical experiences have been a benefit to my technological career. When I was learning to drum, I used to be obsessed with drumming movements in different places until it became a reflex. This approach was very practical in my programming experience; I became obsessed with practicing to code a lot of times, and I imagined the different outcomes that I wanted to produce in the end. This gave me a lot of creative ideas during the process.

Also, backup vocals helped me push myself to talk even more fluently and naturally during presentations or job interviews. Before, I was too shy to speak and would get stuck on my own words, but my music experience helped me overcome it and become confident.

My advice to anyone interested in playing music is that you first need to be obsessed with it – but most importantly, be obsessed with a particular goal that you want to accomplish. Work hard to become a better player. Follow musicians who had similar goals and are more experienced – listen to their catalogue and their own perceptions, and then try to understand their artistic world. Ask yourself if this is the path that you really want to follow for a big part of your future before seriously investing in a musical career. Following this process will make your personal artistic growth a lot easier and faster. You won’t see your work as a chore, but instead as a game to enjoy.

There is always more than tech. I think from today’s perspective, given that technology has progressed with light-speed steps, sharing passions helps us unite very quickly and easily, even if we are from different places around the world. When you share a common belief with millions of other people, it becomes easier to connect with other countries, no matter the huge difference between our spoken languages. In the end, the language of art is universal and it doesn’t need words to be understood by other people of other cultures.

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  • Denis Balla

    Gjigand, We miss you!

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