Interview by Mick Mercer for "The Mick" magazine www.mickmercer.com
Even a title like ‘Saturating Cemetery’ implies a strong gothic link but the album itself seems closer to dark electro dance and perverse Ambient Industrial. What do you think you are?
<YZ> First of all I shall say that Saturating Cemetery is the way to the total emptiness intensity, the opposite directed current, the tension of disjoined. The title track is little bit aggressive and I can explain it the way death, being the phenomenon or the condition, has the hidden outlines projected in our world and in the world of human mental action. The initial death outlines have an aggressive and scary nature. This outlines seam baring the way, but the same time opening it. It is not mere chance, that I have put this song ahead, to corroborate the rule, to open the doors. As to stylistic conventionalities, I think that the dark electro dance and gothic are still conventionalities. In any case it’s like this for me.
What Gothic traits do you admire and enjoy most?
<YZ> To tell truth – non of them. Although I try to perceive it versatile, I do realize that Gothic culture nowadays – is the appointed totality of the typical manifestation of special persons mind condition. Is the special mind position, where the world outlook peculiarities of person, who is in this social culture environment, are clearly contoured, made dependent on it that, certainly, tells badly on easy view of conventionality free person.
You could go even more dancey – why haven’t you?
<YZ> I do not try writing the 100% dance hits albums, I try to escape
not only styles, but realizing of if the music is rhythmic or not, and what
style does it in. On my opinion, the music must “work”,
must immediately attack the mind of listener. Besides it, music must be driving, and this is an obligatory condition. I realize rhythmus and dance rhythmus aspect, as initial primary. I think that rhythmus is to be how it has been known since ancient times – the ritual awaking. That’s why musicians who correctly understand rhythmus, can’t perform bad, because when they understand rhythmus, appeal to its source, they find rhythmus structure impulse. The cycling of rhythmic strokes, coupled with correctly constructed headline, projected in the very center of human’s nature, opens the unconscious human’s outline, and opens the abyss inside him.
In the title track you give us a brilliant rush, and that’s a VERY Russian voice to Western ears. Are there times when you decide a clearly historical Russian folklore style seems appropriate, when at other times it clearly sounds different. What makes you choose?
<YZ> Yes, that’s it. That is what I felt drawn to. Experimenting with Russian folklore, I didn’t want the direct harmony, I wanted to have my own sound, ‘cause it is the most important. I think that the folklore and historical Russian style in this case- is my reflection on Soviet imperial music and variety dance music of 60-70s, which I was listening in my childhood.
These ‘Russian Village’ tracks are some of the weirdest in terms of noise, gentler and disturbing. What are these about in your mind?
<YZ> This tracks are conditionally called «The pictures of the Russian village». It is the cycle consisting of 5 songs. This album includes 2 of them, and the rest I decided to include in the «white tranquility» album, which I’m going to start this summer. «The pictures of the Russian village» - is the trip to the center of natural primary, in the temple of an animate nature, showing itself in the emanations of the Invigorating Genius of the Earth. As the point of departure I used the national colour and the folklore in its the most clear display. When I was writing this plays, I used to walk in the night forest for a long, and it was pleasantly to realize yourself being in the Forest Temple. It was pleasantly to dissolve, to glide with my thought through the condition that we call the forest nature. I like the forest trance of the Red Awakening of the Invigorating Genius of the Earth.
I’d welcome descriptions of what some songs are about, obviously.
‘Clearness’? It has a strong dance beat but also seems quite moody and watchful?
<YZ> “Clearness” – is the life reflection of the current
day, through the mind of dead, through the Ecstasies of the Abundant Soul. Clearness,
peace, and tranquility. The creating principle of the reflection in the mind
of the dead – is the live condition of eternity in our soul. The lines
of the song are “The clear calling of reflection signals the innocent
view to itself” (translation from Russian), this is about it. This song
was written by me last spring.
As the attendant therapy was my trip out of city and visiting morgue. When I was there, I was told that there is an unforeseen accident - the flood of one of the morgue cellar rooms. Spring water had squeezed into the cellar and flooded it. I went down and found bodies floating round in the water, making strange figures. The bright sunlight was lighting, the water was running down from the walls, everything was shining, flowing, glistening and spinning. I understood that my next creature will be named – clearness.
The sorcery element is, certainly, presents. All my youth long I used to work in magic lounges, and it has told on music. Currently I teach and busy with privet occult practice. I have realized, that I can’t spend 5-6 hours a day working in magic lounges with patients, ‘cause I must write music, besides, I need time for a walks and good sleeping. My life is very empty and I consciously remove everything depriving my life with emptiness and air, everything disturbing the sweet dream of my earth life.
The End Of Summer’ being just music, how and why does that happen?
What does it
mean to you?
<YZ> The end of summer – is not my song. This minuet was written by my old familiar Alexi Mikhailichenko, I just made the cover version in retro style on this, I think, splendid work. It is the only cover version in the album. As for me, it is the memory of the short and happy days, spent with this gifted composer.
‘Sweetness’ and ‘Stomenov Trip’ also sound
VERY Russian, with some really odd vocal
effects and a very dark mood. What might these songs be about?
<YZ> Sweetness – tells about the sweetness of existence into not existent, in the movement without action, about clear pursuit, about merging of the live and dead. It is the fascinating in the evening of days. Just a glance, just a word said nothing about, said before leaving. Just a sweetness, because there is no other senses in the fullness of what is over, in the world of eternal happiness, in the white heaven. Stomenov trip is kind of reflection on Vit Tsenev’s book “The report of sorcerer Stomenov”. This is absolutely devastating story about Russian village necromancy of 19-20 century. Very bright, scaring and exciting outlook on our life. In my case, “Stomenov trip” is the musical illustration to the events of this book.
How do things like that, and ‘Eschathology Of Ununiverseless’,
compare for you with
the simple fun of ‘The Little ong For The Little Devil’? What do you get from each
<YZ> Yes, I think that these songs are badly compared, but we shall notice, that ‘The Little Song For The Little Devil’ is bonus track for the dance floor. Things like this sometimes happened and it explains of my own predisposition. ‘The Little song For The Little Devil’ is what I call nonsense. Things like this are not in the way of Necro Stellar.
What exactly does Eschathology Of Ununiverseless’ mean?
<YZ> Eschathology Of Ununiverseless is the science of the final endlessness. It is kind of pun, being at the same time the show of another passage through the layers of Infernal Space Fields.It is like the calling of Arira – waking up demon, like the sharp invisible knife, cutting the curtain in the temple on two. This play, being the music is the experiment with Software virtual synthesizer – Absynth and Reactor. I decided to write the play only on the software synths which had been always suspicious for me, and I wished to know the difference between Software and analog FM synthesizers.
What do your weird masked dancers represent onstage?
<YZ> They represent onstage Petro, Guede Loa and other bodiless beings of past away forerunners Egun, Egungan, Ebora, Egun Igi and other demons.
Are there any traditional Russian folklore/fairytale aspects from your childhood which you include in your set live, or in the songs themselves? What influences do you genuinely call upon?
<YZ> Like any author, I wish listener to feel the same I do, working on the album. The other way, the individual interpretation of my music is very pleasant and exciting for me, very unusual. And what about fairytale aspects. Of ‘course, they are. When the song is born, it is almost absolutely arranged and I start to work it out once more, psychically intensifying the sense of the song, the sensitive channel and the channel I’m going to discover for the listener. I may say that I take music through my final spiritual ultramaximizer. It is very important for music to “work”.
Are you familiar with Dvar, you’re clearly every bit as good, and unusual in some of byour work?
<YZ> Yes, we are familiar with Dvar. We are clearly every bit as good, but let listeners make up there mind.
Are there Russian musical traits you definitely avoid?
<YZ> Of’course. I try to receive Russian national music as an interesting experiment, that gives the extraordinary chance to reach the set up goal through the gained and worked out information, trough it’s genetic fund. National music as itself is very stupid and monotony, besides, Russian music is tend to merge with criminal music culture and pop. The emotional aspect and the text of the folklore and national music, not only Russian, but the whole world – are very base and, unfortunately, well known beforehand. I tried to look into it, but the results were not very comforting. It is either heroic epos, or miserable love and an instinctive sex interaction. This is what Wilson was writing about. And, of’ course is not “the village girl” of Truckle. You can hardly find the live existence there.
In European countries were Goth and Industrial are well established there are clear lines drawn between the scenes, although some bands cross boundaries. What’s it like in Russia – are there separate Goth, Industrial and Electro scenes, or is it all in together?
<YZ> Yes, industrial and electro scenes are separated in Russia.
Financially are things difficult? We kept hearing that Russian has a strange economy? Are gigs really cheap or is it a big percentage of the weekly wage to attend?
<YZ> If we speak about gothic and electro discotheques, I may say, that the entrance ticket is about 5-10$. The bar prices are moderate. Discotheques and concerts are very often. Almost every day. The middle party attending is 800-1500 persons. The competition is very high, so those organizers who are not popular, can’t have more then 300 visitors on there party. Unfortunately, I don’t attend clubs. I love silence, and hate crowds of goths and smoke that makes my cloth stinky. In my days I made enough parties and they were successfully, I was glad. I carried out the fashion shows and discotheques – it was sure thing. Presently, I don’t care of it. I’m still the musician and all this fuss is useless for me.
Yura – you are a man who plays seemingly everything. Where does this knowledge come from – were you made to learn instruments when at school by your parents?
<YZ> I have finished the school of guitar and fortepiano and studied
the theory of music and
composition. I had been playing guitar and singing in different punk, hard core and metal
bands since 14 years old. It stopped when I got 16-17 . When I heard Joy
Division, Throbbing Gristle and so, was the feeling as if I came to myself, woke up of a long
sleeping. Since 18 years old, till now (now I am 29) I have been playing what I’m playing.
You are also credited with playing human bones Is that legal??? How do you get them?
<YZ> I can’t say that playing human bones is legal. If Zero Kama played human bones legal? I play in clubs – the closed establishments, absolutely responsible for what is inside. I don’t take bones out of graves, don’t disturb the tranquility of ancestors, but tend to bury the already used bones. I take bones from morgue. I receive them from my apprentices and familiar workers of anatomic centers. I am often used to watching disgusting attitude of students-medics to human remains. So when I take a head or a tibia of any tramp from instruction center, I clearly realize that it will be better for this dead with me, ‘cause he will stay on the altar, drinking wine and pigeon blood till next celebration, and then will set off for wet ground by my help. When bone sings, it as if is opening all the life tension of dead.
And how on earth do you play a scythe?
<YZ> I play a scythe with a thin metal stick, using it as the percussion instrument. Once I was listening the recording with Russian village music and there was scythe playing. After that, I went on the kitchen to take a bite and turned TV on. One of the channels was translating a program about Russian national music and it’s guests (People’s Artists) told that their ensemble use scythe as one of the music instruments, and began to explain the scythe playing principle. I had impressed me so much so I went on the market where was choosing a scythe for a long time. I wanted it to sound on the note A. Finally I took two of them, sounding on A and C notes. The “Saturating Cemetery” includes not much of its playing. The new album “Pulsing Zero”, that is underway includes more of it. It’s like this.
Anastasia – you haven’t sung as much as I’d expect on this album – will you be doing more in future?
<AP> I wish you would know that the final words in the “Saturating Cemetery” track are made of my voice. As well as roar singing in “The Seven Rays of Da Kapa Preta” and “The Little Song for The Little Devil”. During the concert I mainly try to mix my classic female voice with demonic roar. It really shocks the audience, because they don’t expect to hear such an unusual thing from the blond women. I hope that the next album will include more of my singing.
What happens live, is it Anastasia who sings more, or do you also
work with the
<YZ> We have refused of dancers. We have refused of small clubs and onstage decorations. We have three band members: me, Anastasia, and the drummer of American bands Purge, Bamboo Crisis – Alex Sect. On our concerts I play analog synthesizers, synthesizers of physic modulation, bones, different percussion and sing. Anastasia sings and plays percussion. Alex plays samplers and electronic drums. I’m very responsible of my concerts, but never worry before show, may be because I have had a lot of them, especially before. We didn’t use to record before, but we used to give more concerts - it was interesting. Once I decided to remember the number of given me concerts – it was about 500. The main thing for us on the live concerts is how we show ourselves to the audience, how we behave ourselves, and it must be red and furious. That is what I call RED BAEST THERAPY. Slow and not rhythmic songs are not played on concerts. We always play our concert program more aggressive then it is on the album to make red beast-atmosphere in club. So sometimes it seems to me, that I play in death metal band.
Which bands do you feel closest to in spirit outside of Russia?
<YZ> Not many. Bands like Staruha Mha and Boskh s Toboy. Their style is closer to dark ambient, but is very originally and musically.
What overall effect do you wish the album to have and what are you working towards? Spreading your reputation outside Russia as a priority, or really establishing yourself there as a potent force first?
<YZ> Presently I work at the very aggressive and at the same time very sensitive, experimental and ritual material. It is dedicated to dead time and the fairy rotation of the circle of absolute zero. Mainly, it is the material of 2000-2002, that hasn’t been realized for different reasons. Their is one song composed in 1995 and 5 other composed in spring and winter 2005. As soon as I have finished this album, I hope it’ll be soon, I’ll begin looking for a label. as to me, I’m tend and trying to stay modest. Do not plume myself on the past, but do my work.
What can we expect t hear next?
<YZ> I have time up to the end of the spring, to finish “Pulsing Zero”, which I have been recording since autumn. By the way, I’m going to make remix of Moon Far Away for their autumn album and to make a few exclusive tracks. In summer I’m going to begin an acoustic album “White tranquility”. Next autumn and winter I’m going to record a new electro album named… it hasn’t got name yet…
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