(Today our Russian contributor Comrade Aleks brings us Part 6 of 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). 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 see 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 Djinn and Miskatonic (India), Et Moriemur (Czech Republic), Hooded Priest (Netherlands), Mythological Cold Towers (Brazil), Orthodox (Spain), Soom (Ukraine), and Talbot (Estonia).
Djinn and Miskatonic (India)
Jayaprakash Satyamurthy (bass)
1. We’d split up for a while, but that didn’t last. We are working on another batch of songs – not all new, some were composed at the same time as the songs on our debut. This time the topics will include zombies, dying gods, and even a few grisly scenes from Indian myth.
2. Personal satisfaction, a dream I’ve had since I was a teenager coming true. The album has not made a big impact, internationally or in our country, but at least it’s out there. Chapter 1 is over.
3. The best response has been from an American reviewer who calls himself King Rhino, who spoke about going to sleep listening to our album and waking up about half an hour later completely freaked out by the back-masked spoken word intro to our song “Weird Tales”! But I’ve been very happy that we have been featured on sites like Hellride and Doomantia. I hope we can make bigger inroads into the international doom scene with our next album
4. Personally, I am agnostic. Gautham and currently I write all the lyrics, and interestingly many of our second batch of songs engage with the idea of god and with myths – so much so that we have decided to call our second album Even Gods Must Die. I don’t think these songs are really religious or antireligious; they are either based on myth or a more philosophical curiosity about what gods and religion mean to human beings.
I think religion is a reflection of human hopes and fears. Myths are fascinating daydreams and nightmares shared by a culture. We’ve drawn on modern myth as made by fantasy authors and now, in some of our new songs we take inspiration from the many grim, doom-laden passages in the Indian epic, the Mahabharatha. But we’re going to become India’s Amorphis!
5. Not much, just a little coverage when the Euromaidan protests were happening. I don’t know if allying with Putin’s Russia is the best way forward. I find Putin to be typical of the new breed of successful national and global leaders – a hardliner with low tolerance for dissent and a frightening level of ambition. People like him are trying to build a new imperialism and I am afraid they may be winning.
Et Moriemur (Czech Republic)
Zdenek Nevelik (vocals)
1. The biggest news is that we have finished recording our new album, the successor to our full-length debut Cupio Dissolvi (2011). It will be entitled Ex Nihilo In Nihilum and we are delighted to announce that it will be released on the prominent doom label Solitude Productions.
As for our immediate plans, this autumn we are organizing a small tour with our friends from OPHIS and MARCHÉ FUNEBRE. We will play in Germany and the Czech Republic and possibly in Poland but some gigs have to be confirmed.
2. We ranked second as “New Artist of the Year” 2011 in Britva awards (Czech rock/metal publicists awards) and we had the possibility to play at the legendary BRUTAL ASSAULT festival. Plus we played tens of gigs since then and made some great friends, here and abroad, musicians and not. What more could we ask for? 🙂
3. Probably at our gig in Banska Bystrica, Slovakia two years ago. The audience was totally amazing and created a beautiful atmosphere for our performance. And we had to do like three encores, they didn’t want to let us go! Unforgettable.
4. My life is not influenced by any religious institution but I have deep interest in religions, Eastern ones most of all. So even if I don’t abide by any rules issued by some religious authority, I feel inspired in my life by certain considerations, explanations, or whatever you want to call them. And spirituality plays a big part in my lyrics as well.
As far as the metal scene is concerned I don´t think religion or god(s) have much influence on it. Maybe in a negative (like satanism) or bombastic sense (like the occult), but I suspect these stances are most of the time only part of the show, not an expression of a genuine spiritual feeling or quest.
5. Russia invaded Crimea because the peninsula has always had a strategic value for Moscow. That’s the plain truth without embellishments in my opinion. And I have to admit that Putin planned it very well. But I definitely have to condemn it as the invasion of another’s country soil. So the Ukrainians have all my sympathies on this.
The Czech media see the situation much in the same way, plus many are weary of what could come next, if the Russians will invade us again, etc. This is too much for me, and I see a hidden Russophobia behind it: Kremlin has no interest in expanding so far in the heart of Europe. Our country is not as relevant as we might think.
Hooded Priest (Netherlands)
Luther Veldmark (vocals)
1. Hello Aleks, thanks for this little quiz/interview. Right now, we are recording drums for a 3-track demo of the new material we wrote the last year or so – a kind of preproduction for our second album. We’re also planning to do a short tour in central Europe again later this year, this time together with the great Reino Ermitaño from Peru. We hope to have the recording and mixing of the demo all finished within a few months, so we can present our new tracks during the tour, although it may be a very limited edition… we’ll see. Once we finish the tour, we hope to start recording all 5 tracks for our second album and to do a tour of Scandinavia in 2015 after it’s released.
2. Well, it gave us quite a few opportunities to promote Devil Worship Reckoning, both locally and internationally. The response we received was always good, so people definitely seem to like what we do. We also toured the UK and Central Europe together with our friends Iron Void and Arkham Witch. Aside from that, Devil Worship Reckoning seems to have found its way around the world quite well, even to distant countries like Ecuador, so I guess the distribution worked and there’s an interest in our music.
3. We have played at Doom Over Vienna a couple of times since we released our first demo. Every time we visit that city and the Doom Over Vienna festival, well… we really look forward to it and do our very best to outperform our previous gig. And I believe the audience appreciates that. They go completely bonkers at our gigs and they’re absolutely amazing to play for! Even though it’s some 1000 km from where we’re all from, Vienna definitely feels like our hometown, the response is always great, and we can’t wait to play there again after the release of our second album.
4. I’ve left organized religion, the church and the influences on my life, both personal and musical, behind me. I had a Catholic upbringing and did find a lot of inspiration and wisdom in the New Testament, but I still prefer ‘The Legacy’ and ‘The New Order’, if you understand what I mean. For my lyrics, I mix and combine stories from different religions to get an interesting theme or storyline – mostly there’s no religious conviction behind them… they’re metaphors, just like religion itself maybe. The lyrics for our second album, by the way, will almost be completely a-religious, focusing on profane, real-world topics.
5. I rarely watch the news or read newspapers so I’m not really up-to-date on the subject. Aside from that, Hooded Priest is not a political band. We all have our interests and convictions, of course, but we express them in other ways. They’re not related to the music we make, so I think it would be wise not to comment on this question — respectfully, of course.
Mythological Cold Towers (Brazil)
Fabio Shammash (guitars)
1. We have just finished the recording of our 5th studio album. There are eight songs of the purest, col,d and melancholic Doom Metal, keeping the epic essence which the band has had for exactly 20 years. Its title is Monumenta Antiqva and it will be released via Cyclone Empire, the same record label which released our previous album Immemorial. Unfortunately we can’t say its precise release date.
2. Immemorial received an excellent response from the true doom metal fans and specialised magazines. It provided us our first European tour. We played in Portugal (SWR Festival), Ireland, and Holland (Dordrecth Doom Days) with Saturnus and Ophis, among others. In Brazil, our audience has gotten bigger and bigger. Summarizing, Immemorial gave us great opportunities and we’re really happy with its result.
3. Definitely it happened during our European Tour. Thanks that we managed to reach a better promotion both in Europe and Brazil. Since that tour, we’ve become better known in our country and we’ve toured in places we’ve never been before.
4. To be honest, religion is a subject which doesn’t make part of our lives. We are not religious people, so church and religion play absolutely no role in our lives. If religion ever plays any role in the heavy scene, it’s a sign that something has gone wrong.
5. Unfortunately, the only source of information about the situation in Ukraine which comes to us is provided by TV, internet, etc, therefore I suppose it’s not so complete. Government and media always show a shallow image about their problems to the World. It also happens in our country; many people believe that Brazil is a place with consolidated economy, magnificent nature, and beautiful women due to a fake promotion exposed to foreign eyes.
We know that part of Ukraine’s population wants their country to become a member of EU. On the other hand, the other part wants the country to be part of Russia. We also know about the manifestations in Crimea and how its protesters have had problems with the militia.
It’s known that both EU and Russia are in Crisis, so I can’t figure out what would be a better choice for the country, but I believe its people have done something to better their lives and will claim their rights.
Marco Serrato Gallardo (bass, vocals)
1. Orthodox is sleeping right now. We are all busy with other projects. Can´t talk about any plans at that moment.
2. Almost nothing… in the broadest sense.
3. Some articles and reviews like the Gran Poder review by Julian Cope, or Matt Cibula’s article at Burning Ambulance. Supporting Corrosion of Conformity and Voivod were highlights too.
4. The Church as an institution has nothing to do in my life. I wasn’t baptized, which is not a common thing in Spain. But Christianism, paganism, and even magic have a big place in Orthodox. We offer a pagan vision of Christianism which brings some contradictions to the table, but also brings some light about other angles. There’s a lot of recycled paganism under Christian make-up. So it is a more ambiguous thing than just being with or against something
5. Shit. I don’t even have a TV and I don’t have enough information to make a solid stand about that. The image we have here is that since USSR broke up, those countries have become the partyland for the mob and corrupted politicians. I have read some long articles that I don’t get to understand because of my lack of previous information… but if you want a rough vision, I can say that from Spain the Russians are seen as the bad guys fucking Ukraine… I understand the hate that other ex-USSR countries feel for Russia. Putin is a crazy motherfucker… but becoming a part of the EU is also a shit. Spain is paying a big price for being a part of it, It was a mistake from the beginning. The people have to choose. I can´t help being against OTAN and the EU, but Putin sucks too…
Kova (guitars, vocals)
1. Well, a new bass player have just joined our band. It is a milestone in our “history”. We were boiling in this psych-doom pot from 2012 with our former bassist. We have created a lot of different songs, from crazy-porn-southern and fucked sludge to dark psych mind-flows about our personal themes. For example, the song in the memory of the Heavenly Hundred.
2. I’d better combine previous and current questions. Our new upcoming album is now preparing to be released. All the tracks are done. There are just a few finishing strokes with a booklet. Also we are currently searching for a label to release it. Hope all the trippy fans will be able to hear the result of our pains and trips in the nearest future. So we intend to release this album and present it to the people all over the Ukraine. But to include Europe would be much better 😀
3. “Totally satan-posessed psychedelic kossaks” – there is nothing to say better than this, I think.
4. We have very strange relations with God, particularly with some very stoned reps of religious and anti-religious confessions. All these fanatics can’t see any other point of view, except their own. Because of this, I want to be LaVey for some, and the Holy Father for others. As we all know, the Church is the stronghold of fabular spirituality and pseudo-morality with a face of KGB.
In fact, every person has their own relations with god and we don’t want to impose our own point of view through our music. The God is often mentioned in our songs, but only as an abstract character. For example, he helps you to grow up some weed trees in the center of a desert 😀
5. The convulsions of the Soviets are happening in the Ukraine. This should have happened 25 years ago. There is nothing become better yet. The government promises to replace the old acarid with a new awesome eastern acarid. They primrose it to be loyal and pleasant. If we choose between old and new, sure those will be better who give more money.
All these under-revolutions are good in the view of raising national identity and morale. But to enkindle the international conflicts is the job of the total jerks only. Bloodshed, constant lies, hell, and Sodom are the main tags of the Ukrainian and Russian mass media. The truth hides somewhere between those, and it is individual for everyone.
Magnus Andre (bass, synths, vocals)
1. Talbot is now working on new material, with a new drummer this time. Hopefully we can release something this fall, but we’ll see how it goes. A full album should be ready next year. Also there is a plan for touring. In October, some routes are already planned, but official information will be out soon.
2. In the broadest sense… Maybe confidence to continue what we’ve been doing so far. All the feedback we’ve received have risen the level confidence of our musical direction. And of course, many positive reviews and prizes, for example an Estonian Metal Album of the Year.
3. Quite hard to say. We are sometimes labeled as pioneers of a new metal genre (post-doom or something), probably because of the uncommon use of instruments. Maybe this could be a highest recognition so far.
4. I’m not a religious guy, but that doesn’t mean that I wouldn’t believe in spirituality. As a musician, I think there are some unknown forces showing you a way, giving hints, something that’s leading you. It’s known that there are many metal bands wearing a Christian symbol, but I think church is more like a question of faith, not as a Christian religion itself. Talbot’s songs have always had a sonic layer of spirituality, describing a subconcious feeling of unearthly presence and environment.
Overall I think everyone should just trust themselves and walk the path they trust.
5. This whole situation there and what the media are telling us is a part of a political game. It’s just sad that there are actual casualties of this conflict.