Hello! Allow me to show my appreciation for your time and answers first. It is highly appreciated. Let us talk a bit about Chur first, introducing the music and the sound to those that are not still familiar with the band. Please, give us an introduction about Chur.
Hi! Thank you for your interest to my old band 🙂 To be simply, CHUR is a mix of three things – Ukrainian language, Ukrainian music and international heavy metal. Just Ukrainian Folk Metal as it named. As for me, it is what folk metal is has to be – traditional music in modern arrangement. And, of course, CHUR has strong traditional mythological base in its lyrics.
As I have already mentioned to you, I highly enjoy your music. There is a pagan feel behind it, that Ukrainian sound, an epic atmosphere. I have read that you are influenced by Ukrainian paganism and folklore. You can conclude that by your music as well. Of course, this is a broad question, but, please, let us know how these “subjects” influence you… I mean, since when did you get interested in paganism? Is this something that you have been in contact since you were a child? Or did you become more interested later in life?
My interest to “paganism” was born in adult age as some kind of interest to “ancient practicism with many centuries of experience”. Our ancestors were a pure practicians, they were need only real, working thing for their hard life, not useless theories. So they knew HOW exactly many things were working, but they didn’t understood WHY those things were working, so they created stories, myths, gods, rituals – all things, which we call “culture”. But their practicism was allowing them to “steal” working things from another cultures and use them. For example, Ukrainian Cossacks used their own and also Turkish, Polish, Russian, Tatar etc. military weapon, wear and tactics and it was Cossacks military culture. I think real, modern paganism is to create BEST airplanes for Ukraine, not TRADITIONAL airplanes. Do you understand what I mean? I don’t like those “paganists”, living in the woods and praying to wooden idols. My paganism is to learn and use the most real, effective knowledge and use it. We in Ukraine have one “traditional” Ukrainian martial art, created by ex-karate master from Ukrainian traditional dances. But I didn’t see any of his pupils as champion in Octagon 🙂 (Maybe I’m wrong for today). Instead I think Connor McGregor with his not “traditional Ireland”, but effective capoeira, boxing, wrestling etc. is true NATIONAL Ireland warrior 🙂 So, as for me, “paganism” is “pure effective practice”. If something is working – I will use it, if not – I will reject it. I will paint Perun sign not onto wooden idol, but on the armor of modern tank 🙂 With ancient Gods and modern weapon! 🙂
I have read once a statement from you concerning Chur’s lyrics and fairy tales and folklore. You have said “the lyrics of CHUR’s songs have the same outlook on the morals, ethics, life values”. You have explained the lyrics meanings and made them available. But, when it comes to the legends and tales that have influenced you, for many of us, even though we are very interested in them, we cannot find all of them translated, as a matter of fact, there are many of them that we are not familiar with. So, having that in mind, could you let us know a bit more about some of the tales that you are more interested in and what they represent to you?
Oh! Even before I went to the school, I was read a lot of Ukrainian and Russian folklore tales 🙂 Mostly ALL of them, seriously, I’m not lying. So I can’t tell you about all of them in this interview. But the main goal of all tales of all nations is to grow up kind, honest, strong and smart children as the future basement of nation.
Now for the historical aspects of Chur’s influences. You are Chur, so, I think this category concerns you and the band. There are historical lyrics in Chur’s music, such, for example, the song “Йду на ви!”, Sviatoslav I of Kiev and Vladimir the Great. Are historical studies a big part of your life? How much history influences you, as a person, and Chur’s music and lyrics? What periods of time are you mostly interested in?
All historical periods are the lives of real people, so all of them is very interesting. But if I think about alternative history, I’m interested why ancient national religions, which people created for themselves for many centuries, were defeated by young religions, which somebody wrote for them in one moment? Maybe traditional paganism was too much “tolerant”, but new religions were aggressive? I don’t now. But it very interesting – to see another world, where Christianity and Islam didn’t conquer the world. Will be that world better or worst than our? That’s the job for guys like George Martin 🙂 And yes – I have history teacher diploma 🙂
One thing that I found very interesting is that you said that “A nation language is its soul. Sometimes one can understand the nation’s soul without comprehension of the language. A translation verbatim deprives songs of their soul.” I find much more interesting when bands sing in their native languages. Do you think that music is a universal language? What are your opinions on that?
Music and singing are universal language. Any national language has unique sound and pronunciation. And it’s very difficult to translate it to another language without some loss of sense. So if I will create a song in Ukrainian, I will not translate it word by word – it’s just impossible. I will write some kind of “short meaning of song” instead. But If I will create a song in English, I will use English without translation from any language.
And, still on this subject, how do you feel when you get to know that people from countries far away from Ukraine, such as Chile, Brazil, US or Japan, are fan of your music?
That’s great and I understand them totally! I like to listen Mongol traditional songs, Chinese, Crimea Tatar etc. I don’t understand anything, but I enjoy them anyway.
When it comes to the music side of Chur. You have been influenced by different bands in different periods of your life. That is what I have read about Chur. But, how did you get in touch with rock, metal and folk music? What attracted your attention to these musical styles? Could you name some bands or musicians that have influenced you in some sort of way?
Hmm. Give me a minute. I remember the first cassettes in my school life and they were Def Leppard and Europe. And then I got Exodus 1990 cassette and… became a real metalhead curse for my parents – Metallica, Ozzy, Judas Priest and worst – Morbid Angel, Obituary, Sinister and worst again – Burzum, Emperor, Dark Throne… But later I met In Extremo and it was love from first sound. So now I’m “folk metalhead” to the end of my days. I’m not so interested in any metal if it doesn’t have traditional instruments and national language & singing. It’s my personal musical taste, nothing more.
A question concerning the future of Chur…are you working on new material? Or, at least, thinking about recording a new album in the future? I know this can be quite hard to answer, but do you think that a new Chur album would sound too different from the previous ones? Do you think about experimenting with music under the name Chur or would you create a new entity if you would change the musical style?
Oh, you are read my thoughts. Yes, I’m planned to create a new album of CHUR and then I will decide – it will be the last album or not. I have about ten new CHUR tracks on my hard drive, but maybe they are too similar to old CHUR of 2009 and, as for me, it’s not interesting for today. But, if I will record a new album, I promise that it will have:
– better guitar sound and harder riffs (because I like it 🙂
– more choruses and traditional singing (because I like it 🙂
– bass-domra as bass (because I use it and… yes – I like it 🙂
– totally new sound of drums and woods (maybe sampled by me from ground)
What is your opinion on the Ukraine metal scene? Do you feel that the scene over there is getting stronger?
Oh, again that question! Sorry, but for my shame, I’m not familiar with modern metal scene, because I’m 38 and I’m too busy with my jobs and family to search for music news. I’m some kind of “music downgrader” – I’m listening old albums of old bands.
And as for the Folk Metal/ Pagan Metal scene as well, what is your opinion on bands that simply sound happy and merry, singing about drinking and not having an actual respect for the past?
Everybody have their own taste of music and of Folk Metal too. And that’s ok. I understand what you mean, but sometimes I like to listen Korpiklaani about vodka, and sometimes I’m sad andI like to hear Estatic Fear.
A little about yourself. I don’t want to be intrusive, so, let us know just a few things about you that you would like to share with us,
– some of your favourite activities
I need some sport every day to live fully, to be calm, positive, to think clearly.
To make new interesting music sometimes 🙂
I don’t read often, because I read TONS of books during my lifetime, so I think it’s enough to have basic erudition. Now I need information for using in real life, to be effective in my activities. Sometimes I read books in my computer, and sometimes I buy books for my home library.
Folk, Metal and… yes, Folk Metal 🙂 And electronic of classic music sometimes.
– what you usually prefer doing to relax…
I’m trying not to be stressed. I like Chinese traditional proverb: “It’s easy to be wise man in mountains, but it’s hard to be wise man in market”.
– are you more of an urban or nature person?
I prefer to live in nature with modern equipment. For example, play domra outdoors and then record it to Mac. Or breathing fresh air and listen relax music. Good or bad things doesn’t exist – it’s just a question of balance and measure. I don’t drink alcohol, but sometimes I like to taste a good vine.
As for Ukraine, I have not visited it yet, but I am planning on to go in a near future. It is a childhood dream. Which places would you say are a must to visit that most people do not know about? Places that are not a tourist trap as there are everywhere in the world. Of course it is easy to google things out, but it’s never the same as getting an advice from a national.
If you will visit Ukraine, first of all you must to visit “Ukrainian Stonehenge” – Berzvodovka ancient solar observatory. Then you must to visit one and only European desert – “Oleshky sands” in my region. And then you must go to my city, Kherson, to take canoe and swim around water corridors of our Plavni.
And so we reach the end of this conversation. I hope you have enjoyed it and so the readers of this website as well as Chur’s fans. I also hope that people got to know a bit more about Chur and yourself. Thank you very much one more time and I would like to wish you the best in your present and future plans. Do you have any last words for our readers?
As usually, I can say ancient Ukrainian proverb – “Trymaytes’ya Pravy!” what means “Keep the Balance!” Thank you for interview, have a nice day and good luck!
May 16, 2016