An Interview with Alkonost…
First of all, thank you very much for taking your time to answer this interview. I highly appreciate this. I remember the first time I heard one of your songs in the year 2002 and became a fan ever since. Please, introduce yourself to our readers.
Andrey: Greetings! My name is Andrey. I’m the founder and the songwriter of Alkonost band. Pleased to meet you!
Dmitriy: Hello to everybody, my name is Dmitriy and I’m a guitar player in Alkonost.
Your latest album, Сказки Странствий (Tales Of Wondering), was released in 2013. This question is not about just this album but Alkonost’s work in general. How does the band work when creating an album? What are the main inspirations when you compose your lyrics and music as well?
Andrey: Anything could be an inspiration. Love feelings, impression from a watched film, a book you’ve read or simply a good mood. Music for the song “Tales Of Wondering” was written literally in 15 minutes just because I’ve had a great feeling about pleasant summer weather. Mostly you come up with the melody first and then you start to develop the verbal image. Later you pick songs with the same theme and sound, form the concept of an album and give it a name.
It took three years from На Крыльях Зова (On The Wings Of The Call) to release Сказки Странствий. And another three years before the recording of На Крыльях Зова (with DVD releases between 2007 and 2009). Can you tell us why it take this time to record a new album? And can we expect a new one only in 2015 or 2016?
Andrey: Originally we planned to issue “Tales Of Wondering” just after half a year since “On The Wings Of The Call” was released. However some events happend involving lineup changes and rethinking the future of the band itself. So it forced us to stop working on the new album and for a year we were in a depressing state before deciding to give Alkonost a second birth with the renewed lineup. That’s why you can hear both our original and new vocalists on this album. But inspite of everything the album turned out to be successfull and it didn’t lost any relevance.
Dmitriy: And concerning the new album we are not planning to postpone it until 2015-2016. We’ve already started the recording and believe that it will be possible to release it this autumn.
In my humble opinion Alkonost’s music is great. Your music is way more interesting than many of famous folk metal bands, but still the band hasn’t reached the “popularity” level that Alkonost deserves, again, in my modest view. Deserves way more than those bands I’ve said… How do you think, what’s the reason for this? Maybe the band needs more promotion?
Andrey: Yes. I have to agree with you on this. We are really lacking good promotion. And only through such magazines as yours people still can have some information. We need big tours now and a strong promotional campaign.
Dmitriy: Thanks for such a kind comment. I like your humble opinion :)) Yes, it would be really great to have more promotion for our band. The labels could do this for example.
I’ve read an interview with the band in which it was stated that “comprehension of our songs by ear is very important for us” when asked about recording an English version of your album. I personally love listening to a band singing in their native language. Do you intend to keep on releasing English versions of your albums?
Andrey: We do not intend to break this tradition. “Tales of wondering” has also been recorded in English version, but we’ve decided to suspend the search for a publishing contract for now. It’s time will come a bit later, most probably it will be coincided with a big European tour.
Dmitriy: Apart from translating the lyrics we are also changing the sound and the mood of an album. This makes it quite a separate release which gives our fans a chance to see another colors and shades in our songs. To look at them from a different angle.
You’ve released a video for Подруга Ночь (Night Time). The video is ethereal much like the music. How important is this form of art for the band? What do you have in mind when creating a video for a particular song?
Andrey: Our videos are as much part of our art as the music. Often they are a way to express ourselves, to show us in the alleged circumstances. So these videos could be overtly comical or they could be romantic and mysterious. The idea behind Подруга Ночь video was based upon the contrast between night and day. And at dawn they confluence in an image of our vocalist Ksenia. We have the script ready of a new video for a brand new song which soon will be presented to our most respected audience on shows and in social networks.
The band has stated before that “it’s not necessary to join some movements in order to be a part of past time by the mind and to pay tribute to once the Great Nation”, something that I completely agree with. What are you feelings and thoughts about such heathen movements and why the band had to make sure that Alkonost stands on non-political and anti-racist positions? I mean, what was the reason to make this public (not that there’s anything wrong with it, obviously).
Andrey: It’s all very simple. We create our fantasies for everybody, not against someone. There’s no hate in our music or lyrics. I still have in my mind this, probably utopian, idea about the brotherhood of nations. One like those that hippie once had. And I also think that a band supporting political movements is lying to their listeners.
Dmitriy: Well, maybe not lying but at least they are boggling. 🙂 And we have absolutely no desire to mix our art with politics. What about making it public, well, we did this just because we don’t see a reason to hide it.
How does the band feels about having fans from such far away countries, such as Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, Mexico or South Africa? When Alkonost was created, did any of you think that one day you would reach people from such countries, not only outside Russia, but Europe as well?
Andrey: We are very pleased by the fact that we can find fans of our music around the whole world. When Alkonost was created I couldn’t even think about that. But since this happens and our music is so widely known then it means that our ideas are understandable to completely different people. And it’s good.
Dmitriy: We hope that someday we’ll have a chance to play for our fans in Brazil, Mexico, etc., to give them opportunity not just to listen to our music, but also to see our live shows.
Ever since I was a kid, I’ve been always fascinated by Russia. I love the nature, the authors, the movies, some of them are among my all-time favorites. Dostoyevsky and Tarkovsky just to mention a few. Do you have any suggestions, concerning directors or writers that are contemporary in Russia’s culture?
Andrey: That’s why they call classics “gold” – because of its uniqueness, unattainability and perfection. To my huge regret I can’t mention anything outstanding among contemporary cinema or literature in Russia. I think that’s because modern directors and writers are more and more shifting towards quick earnings leaving artistic value of their works aside. And here’s what we have: a huge number of slogan authors and directors of commercials.
As I’m a fan of the band for a very long time, I’ve read some of your older interviews and one thing that I remember is that the band didn’t have such a favorable opinion on the Russian Black Metal scene, but that was a long time ago, I don’t even remember which year. Has this somehow changed? Do you have a more favorable opinion about the scene or has it actually become worse?
Andrey: Yes, it changed. In the light of recent events when a Christian leaders intervening with lives of Russian dwellers I’m afraid that our country will cease to be secular. And in this sense our Russian black metal stage became completely honest in its hatred and anger. After all, this is the music of aggressive protest.
Dmitriy: I can give you a fresh example of “recent events with Christian leaders intervention”. Not as long as a couple of weeks ago the band Behemoth was expelled from Russia during their tour thanks to a Christian leaders. It’s a flagrant interference of religion into secular affairs, pure obscurantism. The same persons now are conducting a campaign to cancel upcoming shows of Marilyn Manson.
Now the part where I ask something about you, nothing that will invade your privacy, of course. I just wanted to know some of your favorite activities or hobbies outside the metal/music world. Anything that you would like to share with us.
Andrey: I work in a gymnasium, rising a new generation of rock musicians. And also I like making amateur movies and collecting soldiers.
Dmitriy: Except music I’m interested in and doing all sorts of IT stuff. I’m interested in modern gadgets too, but I’m not going to share them with readers.))
And we’ve reached the end of this interview. I hope you have enjoyed answering it and so our readers. I also would like to thank you one more time and to wish you the best in the future. Do you have any last words for our readers?
Andrey: Thanks a lot for the interview!!! I’d like to say to all readers that metal is the most honest and uncompromising music. Be honest!
Dmitriy: Listen to more good music!
All pictures belong to their rightful owners.July 23, 2014