DOOM QUIZ PART 1: ABSENT/MINDED, ARC OF ASCENT, BEVAR SEA, BYL ZAMECHEN, CONAN
Jurgen of Absent/Minded
(Today our Russian contributor Comrade Aleks begins a six-part series in which he puts the same five questions to doom bands from around the world, and introduces us to their music at the same time.)
Sometimes I use this unpopular “quiz” format because there are too many interesting bands that I would like to bring to light, and in my opinion it’s a good way to spread some news and to get new points of view on a few issues (including even some political questions). So here’s the first part of our Doom Quiz, and the list of questions I put to the bands is below:
1. What is the band’s latest news and what are your plans for the near future?
2. What do we get (in the broadest sense) from the release of your last album?
3. What is the best response that your band has ever received?
4. What role does the church (or any other religious organization) play in your life or (let’s take it wider) in the life of the heavy scene? Is there any spiritual, religious, or antireligious component in your songs?
5. What does the Media in your country tell about the situation in Ukraine? And how do you view that situation? Some people from other countries have asked me strange questions about Russia’s policy, and let me say that I have a few friends in Ukraine and my colleagues have relatives there, and believe me, there’s no media in ANY country that is showing the problem as it really is. We can watch as the Cold War turns into real warfare.
Today, we bring the answers to these questions from Absent / Minded (Germany), Arc Of Ascent (New Zealand), Bevar Sea (India), Byl Zamechen (Ukraine), and Conan (Great Britain).
Absent / Minded (Germany)
1. We are writing new material right now for our 3rd album. We want to go to the studio in 2015. And we are working on our first official video clip, the release will be autumn this year.
2. A few things changed in the band and in our songwriting process. We had some new influences and the songs became more focused and more intense. Our standard in sound and production is a bit higher than on our first releases. So we wanted to go a step forward with the latest album Earthtone. And one year after the release it feels like we make the next step forward. 😉
3. First, Earthtone was voted for the “Demo of the month” in the RockHard magazine, one the biggest heavy mags in Germany. At second, at some of our gigs the crowd reaction was overwhelming.
4. No, we have no religious stuff in our songs. I think it´s not wise to believe in the power of a god or diverse gods instead believing in our own power. It doesn’t make sense to put the responsibility for so many things in this god or that god, because we are all 100 percent responsible for our behavior. And the stupidest thing is to fight against each other because of different views about life and death. I think it’s arrogant to behave as if we know the answers to where we come from or where we will go, because no one knows things like that. And it doesn’t matter, the only thing that matters is the fact that we exist in the here and now, and the fact that nature and the universe are the strongest forces, not man.
5. Well, it’s difficult to get a clear sight from the media. It’s different if you are watching the news channel or if you are part of this crisis day by day. You see pictures from the streets in Ukraine, sometimes these guys are the bad boys sometimes the other guys.
And I cannot really believe in what politicians say. They have to lie because in most cases no one wants to here the truth, especially the citizens of their own country don’t wanna hear it 😉
Arc of Ascent (New Zealand)
Sandy Schaare (Guitars)
1. You never know what the future holds and time is shorter than I care for… I would hope the songs we have been working on will be realized in the next 12 months or so. We have some great stuff swirling in the cosmos just waiting to be birthed.
2. Well, for me personally The Higher Key was a great achievement, and the feedback of the international community was fantastic, receiving it very well. I would hope people will revisit it often, searching the true depth of the work. It has many layers that need to be meditated upon in a completely open high state. Play in a darkened room, very loud, straight after 3 cones… it will come to you.
3. There are many small clubs deep in the bowels of Auckland and we have played a lot of them… one night does stand out. It was a crazy night with a few local bands, the air filled with electric swirling cosmic energy!
4. All of our songs have a deep spiritual edge but not in a conventional way. Craig can tap into the universal ether searching for the smallest piece of enlightenment to impart to the listener. Conventional religions can be an easy target, we prefer not to project any negative energies.
5. I don’t believe in what the media has to say on this subject as there are too many political agendas. This unfortunately means I am too far isolated from the conflict to understand the truth and to comment. I do, however, hope that the many people, families, and children affected can stay safe and that peace will come quickly to this region.
Srikanth Panaman (guitars)
1. Greetings from India! Bevar Sea are currently busy writing for our second album. We’ve booked studio time in October and have most of the songs ready. We will also be recording a few extra songs for something else, so this is going to be a lot of work. We really want to tour outside India to promote the upcoming album, so hopefully we can get a decent tour organized, and money saved for our flights. Interesting times are ahead for the band for sure.
2. We’re very happy with the way our first self-titled album was received, both in India, which doesn’t have a great market for this kind of music, and internationally. The stoner and doom circles abroad gave us good coverage and we’re now in a position where we’re actually talking about playing live to some of those people. That is what the whole thing is about. We want our music to reach fans of this kind of music no matter where they live, and thanks to the internet, we got that done fairly well. With the second album we’re hoping to step it up a lot more.
3. Every time we play songs from the first album in Bangalore, the crowd sings along to every riff and goes completely nuts especially when we play the song “Abishtu”. That’s always great to see happening. But that’s home crowd for you, and if you don’t have a good home following, then there’s something fundamentally wrong with what you’re doing – unless you’re in Manowar (who’re still way more popular in Europe and S.America than at home).
The best responses to us are from kids who come up to us, and say that they bought their first patch ever from us, or our music got them into the doom kind of music. If that sort of thing happens when we just play what we want to play, it’s really a cool thing. It’s also great when we see a non-familiar face or a name knowing the band. This is happening increasingly to us, and it means that we’re doing something right and people are paying attention.
4. We’re all atheists in the band, but we all had religious upbringings of varying degrees. Our lyrics are based in fantasy and fiction though. We have no interest in talking religion and politics. It’s meant to be an escape from all that crap.
5. The media in this country have been too busy covering the big elections that just got over here. It was the loudest, noisiest, and the most corrupt media coverage any one of us had ever seen. Why would they cover Ukraine when they’re getting paid to say great things about whichever political party has just been paying them? We just rely on the internet for our news, so we can cherry pick the sources.
As for what my view on the subject is, I’ll keep it short. What Ukraine needs is a few decades of stability without being pro-Russia or pro-EU. It needs to grow its own identity over the next few years, and do what Germany and Japan did after the second World War.
Byl Zamechen / Был Замечен (Ukraine)
Khleb (guitars, vocals)
1. After the release of our first self-titled album the band went underground. Our gig a few months ago was the first in two years. Nonetheless, we are recording new material right now. We prepared five songs with a collective length of about one hour and big enough stylistic differences, due to traditions of first album. Also we are going to record a single, but I can’t say anything specifically about it yet.
2. It seems to me that creation in its true view is possible only in the imagination of the artist, because of imperfections in the instruments and the ways of expression. The album release showed us who and what we are and the direction in which we have to go to get results that coincide with our initial ideas.
3. The best response is, “Thank you for singing in Russian and not copying lyrics about hot rods and deserts”.
4. It seems to me that the influence of faith and religion on some aspects of social behavior is minimized right now. The results of polls show that the percentage of religious people is big enough, but this religiosity has a rather ostentatious character, as one of the social norms (I’m talking about the places where we live, the big cities of eastern and central Ukraine). Rock music, in turn, has to break this norm in some way. Because of that, some go to church because they “should go”, others turn the crosses upside down to oppose themselves to the first, while the third turn the crosses back to spite the second. It all looks like trends, and everyone can explain his own choice by individual preferences inside of it. There is a spiritual component in our music, as one of the features of our outlook, but it doesn’t have a leading role.
5. I’m not strong enough in geopolitics and sociology, but I suspect that what is happening is a predictable result of the evolution of political and international relations in the modern world. Someone just decided to expand its sphere of influence, and the side effect of this was the sacrifice of a number of their two-legged counterparts. Nothing new. Some can say that it’s easy to talk when you have something to eat and a place to sleep and so on, but I try to take a neutral point of view. And in my opinion, humans haven’t changed since the first monkey took a stick and hit its neighbor with the bough. The difference is only in the quantity of the apes and in the size of the sticks. It is not a question of nations, flags, and languages. For some changes to occur, human nature has to change first, but in current conditions it is unfortunately unlikely. The media tell us what is profitable for them to tell us. Sometimes they give us some paranoia, sometimes they try to soothe us. Do they tell the truth? I think, usually not. It’s all in accordance with market conditions.
Conan (United Kingdom)
Jon Davis (guitars, vocals)
1. Our latest news is that we are planning some more shows in Europe this year and also a trip to Australia.
2. With Blood Eagle we gained a realization that we are now slightly better than we were when we released The Battle In The Swamp demo.
3. From my kids. They shout SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE when I am singing, as that is what they think our lyrics are.
4. We are not interested in any religion, nor do we wish to write music based upon it.
5. The Media tell us what they want, they do not represent the true picture. Therefore, I try not to watch the news. I know that there are some unpleasant things happening to innocent people all over the world, Ukraine included. I just hope that good will prevail.
Fascinating article, well conceived and great choice in contacts.
Thank you Comrade Aleks. Indeed a nice way of getting us all into new stuff. Absent/Minded and Arc of Ascent(especially them) are great finds. I’ve been a fan of Bevar Sea for 2 years now after seeing them live in 2012. And he’s dead right about the crowd chanting along when the song “Abhishtu” is played.
I did mention them in my 2012 year-end list as well. https://www.nocleansinging.com/2013/01/03/a-top-6-list-of-recommendations-from-deckard-cain/
Great article and bands! Loving this series! Doom metal needs more recognition these days!
Thank you very much. We’re lucky that Aleksey is doing this and that the bands are engaging with the questions in such interesting ways.