Thank you very much for taking your time to answer this interview. Your music has truly pleased me, it’s just what I needed, what I was searching for. First, let’s start with the usual question, for those that aren’t familiar with your band as of yet, so, please, I kindly ask you to introduce yourself and talk a bit about Second To Sun. No need to detail it all yet, as I would like to uncover your music in the following questions.
Hi Marcus and everyone who read Metal maniac. I’m guitar player from the Second To Sun and we are the most silent band in the world.
The description of your music completely hooked me up even before listening to it. Fortunately, it lived the high expectations I had. It’s indeed a tapestry of interesting flavours, which created a rich atmosphere. As far as I know, the band is from the Karelian region. Could you tell us how this influenced your music and in which way? I ask you this since it has a very Russian finno-ugric ethnic feel, as it was mentioned in your page.
Thanks. What about Karelia it’s not exactly like that, the band members live in different regions, we kind of got lost in the amount of cities we were living in (which are located within three different countries) so we just wright everywhere Pertozavodsk. Personally I live close to Karelia in the Northern Federal Region, just few minutes to the Karelia’s capital Petrozavodsk. But that’s not so important.
Since childhood I was curious in my own origin and due to some circumstances I became an activist of native people of Russia, to which my people (Finno-Ugric) belong. Just to say, I know that for Western Europe and Americans Russia is just Russians, but there are more than 190 nations of very different origin. So when you say “Russians” it’s not necessary only about Slavs. Russian language is an international language for us.
So I was an activist of Finno-Ugric people. At some point I’ve got an idea to bring the cultural motives into extreme music. Finno-Ugric people live on a very large territory, almost whole Eurasia. Moreover all those people are very different and can be even at the different stages of cultural development (some graze deer, other invented Skype). It’s like bottomless well of ideas with purest untouched water. And since all of it is my native it wasn’t too hard to combine it with music.
In my modest opinion, music is always better when you can sense the feeling behind it, that it has real emotion. Which I sensed in Second to Sun case. I feel like there’s despair, insanity in this music. It really capture the moods of the concepts of the band. How does your song writing process work and how did you manage to achieve such level of excellence? It’s interesting how some bands can blend extreme music and beauty at the same time.
Despair and insanity? Visit the Mari El republic. Believe me, you don’t know what despair and insanity are. In some of the Karelian villages there is no electricity at all. I lived in such places myself so I know this concept and communicate it by music and producing. It is a hard task, but I do music since I was 10 and gave a big part of my life to it. All my experience as a session musician or as a sound engineer I put into STS.
Regarding quality, all of the bands from huge labels like Nuclear Blast sound the same today, not enough money to make a good record with proper producing. Usually in agreement or contract there is a “non-disclosure” point, but that’s not the topic of our talk, just some business questions (laugh). Of course for this reason youngs listen to metal much less, it’s understandable, when you have a very high quality examples of hip-hop like Bones for instance, certainly one’d rather listen to that, than another band which using Steven Slate Drums and sounds like a copy and hiding behind the big names. That’s why, as you probably noticed, new listeners of metal prefer underground, such bands have a free budget to make music, there are no managers who push on them, and the bands have more time to think through and create something really interesting, in simple words – no obligations leads to higher quality. Freedom in creativity in such genre as metal is quality indeed. We do what we want. Every track has its own art. By the way, about what we want – the cover for one of the new tracks called «Mrakobesie» (obscurantism in English) will be just marvelous.
In a way, connected to the previous question, I find the “lyrical” aspects of The First Chapter amazing. And when I say “lyrical”, I mean the musical thematic, the concepts, what is behind the instrumental music. Well, I guess this is one of the reasons why I have truly enjoyed the band, the background stories, the Dyatlov Pass, for example. What drew you to compose music about these themes? Have you always been interested in these themes?
From one point the reality urge me to compose, I live side by side with this, and since this is the reality it comes absolutely naturally to transfer the information. I mean it’s not made up stories, it does happen or happened. In Russia we don’t need to think up superheroes, every region here has a dozen of them. No need to think up vampires, everything was real or maybe even is real, who knows what’s going on in deep forests somewhere around Murmansk.
From the other point – common self-realisation. I just want to make such music like a movie. Not necessary horrors, but movies.
I have read that the band is already working on a new album. It has also been stated that it shall also be “gloomy and cold”. I am sure that many of the admirers of Second To Sun’s music are already awaiting it with much anticipation. Of course you can not talk about all the details of this new endeavour, but, what could you tell us in advance about it? Especially when It comes to a release date and, perhaps, a few of the concepts here and there. What is only possible to say.
Yes, and we finally will turn towards black metal side where our roots are. It’s going to be 7 tracks and a couple of bonuses. We try not to make it too long so it wouldn’t be tedious. However, the song Durak (The fool in English) which continues the line of the eponymous Russian movie (for those who haven’t seen it – watch it), will be up to 7 minutes long. Talking about concept, the first song, Vasilisa, will be about the Russian artist which was drawing his paintings in the deep Tver’s Karelian forest. There will be songs about Sami’s devil, about darkness and devilry, there will be madness at Ladoga lake and another song about a girl immured alive in the wall… Well, traditional diversity. By the way, the name of the record will be Blackbound, it reflects the point or the release quite well: a little bit of darkness from each track.
I believe that you are admirers of Bathory’s music and attitude. That is what I can conclude from the aforementioned interview. Concerning this, I ask you about how you got in touch with the metal world, which were the main aspects that drew your attention to this musical style and why do you think it is such a passionate genre.
That’s true. We don’t do live shows and have minimum photos as well. Rejection of commerce today, when black metal bands sell thousands of vinyls, would rather seem delirious, so we decided to replace “anti-commercial” factor by giving up CD releases and demonstration that the band works exclusively for fans, not for everyone. Today’s bands became something disgusting and nothing interesting. They just posting their concert’s photos in social media and printing packs of merchandise. Everything they want is just be famous, and don’t pay much attention to old fans. Music became some kind of accompanying element and everybody is just forcing this shit, like “buy a CD”. That’s why we refused plastic. Buy the music, if you want to buy music, and not a “piece of the band” in shape of plastic or fabric. You all buy games in Stream, don’t you? You don’t demand a “piece of the game” and a rag from developers. This entire situation with physical copies is the last attempt of the music industry to squeeze the last drops out from musicians and absolutely fatal for the music. My opinion is simple – if you want a “piece of the band” – go to the other musicians, I don’t mind. I’m actually very up for that, and this is what they want. STS you may just listen or read. And you know, it gave its fruits. In Russia we were in the national charts on iTunes and Google Play for three weeks. I’d rather preferred our music to be listened right away, not awaited for half of a year for a piece of plastic with one signature out of 500 and poorly manufactured in the same day.
We also got rid of the term «frontman» which is based on the visual image. For how long can one copy Phil Anselmo, talk bullshit from stage and so just to sell few more CDs? Just why? Where is the music? Music have to be primal, and the question about who make the music, whether it a biffy guy or a drinking vodka squirrel, is another one. Today everything is marketing, all around is a cute frontman with a mic, everything is so colorful and clear, less lyrics and pictures and just faceless music. So yes, we got a lot from Bathory and turned it on our time. Even in music. And my opinion about metal I just said – there is almost no music if it’s not underground bands. When I was starting to listen to metal I was around 10 and everything was quite different. I’m not a killjoy person who is saying “all new bands are shit and only Pantera rules”, I’m just saying that the time now is different and the approach should be different, without trying to squeeze out all the juices from selling the plastic.
The Karelian region is one of the places in the world I want to visit the most. It seems to be so beautiful and filled with rich history and traditions. I have already been to Russia but, in the future, I plan to make this dream come true and travel around Karelia. Could you share with us some of your thoughts about Karelia, anything you would like to talk about it.
I think there is not so much I could say. Karelia today is actually a historical region and it has not so many representatives of actual Karelians, we just spread out around the world. Karelis is a great place for tourism. I think you definitely should visit Marble canyon (Ruskeala), Kizhi and petroglifs at the White Sea region, Vottavaara and Ladoga.
I always ask the musicians I interview their personal life, but, nothing intrusive, of course. I just wanted you to, please, share with us some of your main passions outside music, be it about cinema, literature, travelling, studies, some of your hobbies, if you have any, your favourite activities when not playing music.
I like to read, sometimes something about ethnography, recently I read letters of Uno Holmberg. These letters are 100 years old, it’s just unique! Same time I like comic books like Walking Dead and Marvel universe. What a contrast. I’m also interested in Vedmak universe and the Egg app for android, the second part is quite enthrailing.
Related to the question above and I don’t even know if you like cinema, imagine Russian cinema, but I’ll take a shot and ask about it. I am a huge fan of Russian cinema, there are such different directors, stories, themes ever since the communist times up to the latest ones. Lately I have watched the movies of Alexei Balabanov and I am highly impressed with his works. Are you an admirer of Russian cinema as well? And if so, please, let us know some of your favourite artists. Apart from that, and in relation to your music, you have mentioned that Second To Sun’s music is also based on cinematic soundtracks from classic horror movies. Could you share some of those with us as well?
Oh yes, there will be a track called Durak (The Fool) on the new album. This one is entirely created under impression from the movie The Fool, which is dedicated to the memory of Alexey Balabanov. You think Holywood horrors are scary – just watch The Fool. I like Svetlana Baskova’s art house, Celestial Wives of the Meadow Mari of Alexey Fedorchenko. I recommend to watch his First on the Moon and Silent Souls. Great director.
And about horror movies, I guess it’s predictable. John Carpenter’s The Thing (1982, USA), Viy (1967, USSR), Heart of a Dog (1988, USSR), The Green Elephant (1999, Russia), Suur Tõll (1980, Eestonia). Mirjami Kuosmanen is a great actress from Finland. I also like the soundtracks to these movies, especially to The Thing. It’s not like Satan and stuff, a soundtrack like this indeed make you tremble. I also like, you will laugh now, The Fearless Vampire Killer by Roman Polanski, there’s a great soundtrack too. I can list for long.
Alas we have reached the end of this interview. One more time, thank you very much for your time and answers. All the best in your present and future plans as well. I leave to you the last words of this conversation.
Thank you for the interesting questions, and thanks to those who read our dialog. I hope we will release new album as soon as possible. Listen to our music and live life to the fullest. All the best!
August 11, 2016