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Alkonost - Interviews

Interview Femme Metal Webzine

Interview By Robin Stryker

Alkonost is an epic folk metal band from the Republic of Tartarstan (Russian Federation). The band draws its inspiration from medieval music and Russian folk music, with mighty power metal riffing, black metal growling and symphonic metal operatic vocals added in. Femme Metal chatted with vocalist Alyona "Alena" Pelevina about Alkonost’s newest album, "On The Wings Of The Call".

Hello Alena! We’re excited to talk with you about Alkonost’s new album, "On The Wings Of The Call" (Einheit Produktionen 2010).

Hail! It’s very pleasant for me! We’ll be happy to talk.

Let’s start with the band’s name. What does Alkonost mean?

Alkonost is an ancient image of a female guardian spirit, which is a light side of fate with an appearance of a semi-woman and a semi-bird. As the legends say, when she gives birth, the sea keeps dead calm for 6 days. And by the way, she sings uncommonly well and brings joy and happy vein.

What have been the biggest influences on the musical style of Alkonost?

Our style was influenced by such bands as Iron Maiden, AC/DC, My Dying Bride, Bathory, and, of course, medieval Russian and West European music, as well as Russian folk music. And, definitely, the style of ancient legends had an influence upon the nature of our music.

When the band first started in 1995, it was a male-fronted band with Alexey Solovyov singing and screaming. How did you become a member of the band?

I couldn’t even imagine my future with a band of such kind. In 2000, Alkonost was looking for female vocals to record choruses in bonus tracks to the "Songs Of Eternal Oak" album and owing to the greatest fortuity, I managed to become one of performers. Probably my voice impressed the guys, so they discussed for two days my candidacy as a leading vocal and had given up thoughts concerning participation of male vocal. At once after that, I entered upon my new duties.

It sounds as though you have had classical training. What is your musical background? Were you in any other bands before Alkonost?

I have 8-year experience of music school of choral branch and 2-year experience of musical lycée. In the lycée in the beginning, I was engaged in variety vocal but as the teacher left his job, I had to occupy myself in classical vocal, so I learned in this way. On graduating from the lycée, I was eager to enter the academy of music and then the conservatoire. But as I strained my voice shortly before the entrance examinations, I had to go to training to be a psychologist. But I had a desire to sing; therefore I looked for any possibility and ran into Alkonost. Before that moment, I didn’t sing in any bands, and even didn't think about it.

Would you introduce us to your colleagues in the band, and tell us something about their personalities?

The band’s founder, Andrey Losev, is a guitarist and the band’s brain, as well as a composer and a rhymer, a hooligan and all innovations proceed from him. Dmitriy Sokolov is the second guitarist, a very strict and attentive person. All tours and negotiations bear heavily on his shoulders; he knows how to count money and to be unscrupulous. Anton Chepigin is able to play drums. He is very creative and he is a very sensitive person. When he is in the mood, he writes songs, and is engaged in designing of our web sites in the Internet. He is also a hooligan. Almira Fathullina, she is a good hand at the pushing of keys on her synthesizer. She is able to effervesce the spirits of everyone. She speaks six languages fluently, including German.

Alkonost has previously recorded songs in English, as well as Russian. Why did the band decide to use solely Russian lyrics for "On The Wings Of The Call"?

It is just a financial matter. We just didn’t have money for recording an English version of the album. Although, probably, there is an exclusive element in it.

Does the band intend to record an English version of the new album, like you did for "Between The Worlds"?

Yes, most likely the next album will be released in both variants. Comprehension of our songs by ear is very important for us.

Despite having been a member of Alkonost for 10 years, did you still feel nervous waiting for the reviews of “On The Wings Of The Call"? Have you been pleased with the response from reviewers and fans?

Of course, I worry very much waiting for reviews of the album, in spite of the fact that I sing for 10 years. As listeners gradually change, new listeners appear so it is very interesting to know their fresh opinion.

The songs sound mysterious and haunting to my ears, and I am very curious to learn more about the lyrics. Would you select a few songs, and tell us what the lyrics mean?

I suppose that I won’t retell lyrics, as they are in two languages in the album booklets, so most likely I'm eager to share my impressions concerning some songs. "Nivushka-niva" is a witness of bloodshed fight, it absorbed tears, bitterness and blood of the battle. "Nivushka-niva" is a very sad song for me, a hymn for the fallen ones. "Night Before The Battle" is anticipation of forthcoming battle in the morning. All power and fury are shown here. It invigorates, raises and induces very much. Well, the main theme of "On The Wings Of The Call" album concerns a road, and it is not known where it will lead and it is not known where it will come to an end. Our roads never come to an end and leave from plains through the Ural mountains into the dark taiga thickets full of secrets and adventures. And there is no return way anywhere.

Which song from the new do you think would make the most interesting music video? If you could create anything you wanted (without worrying about cost), what would your video look like?

We have already shot a video clip for "Ineffable Light" song; solely Andrey was engaged in the creation of the video sequence. I consider that his approach to video stories is the most unusual. But I would like to have a video for a song "Bird-Ship" where a combination of a play of light and night would be used, which would be very complicated for shooting but impressing with bright colours.

Alkonost is one of the most established folk metal bands in the Russian Federation. What do you think about the band’s sound today, compared to when you first started with Alkonost?

Certainly I see my development both on stage and in a voice, which is the main achievement for me. I had learned to vary my voice, thereby helping to reach integrity and intelligence of songs. Early albums were recorded with atmospheric sound -- more traditional for black metal. But it seems to me that now we have a lack of this primitive rawness and aggressiveness, and it would be difficult for me to express it, as my voice is gentle enough for this purpose. When I had just appeared in the band, I had heard such kind of music for the first time and it’s fabulous sounding, in spite of aggressiveness, was a redeeming feature for me.

Congratulations on signing to the German label Einheit Produktionen. What made Einheit a good match for Alkonost?

I guess their serious approach to work for all that.

What is the metal scene like in the band’s home of Naberezhnye Chelny? With the Internet, does a band’s geographic location even matter anymore?

Besides us there are folk metal groups and groups playing brutal death of every sort and kind in our city and I even can’t imagine how many of them here, as our city is of industrial type, and such kind of things is very widespread. The Internet really erases borders, so anyone can present himself for the whole world.

Alkonost first toured outside Russia in 2007. Did you notice a big difference between fans in Russia and other countries?

There is not any big difference in it; fans receive us well and warmly everywhere, although Europe receives us better than in Russia. It’s very difficult to define differences between fans, as they have absolutely the same clothing style and the way of chilling out… They drink alcohol in different ways, but aside from that, all fans are affable to us.

I was so disappointed to read that the tour in Germany and the Czech Republic had been cancelled. What happened? Will fans outside of Russia have the chance to see Alkonost live this year?

Believe, it was sad for us too and it is a pity, after all we were waited for by many of our fans… And unfortunately, this year we won’t go to Europe anymore. But next year we will necessarily go to the next tour across Europe in April, to all appearances. :-)

Other than Russia, in which countries are the most enthusiastic fans of Alkonost found?

There is no saying, because any special difference doesn’t exist… perhaps it is necessary to mention our German fans and friends. :-)

Alyona, thank you so much for talking with us today! Do you have any parting words for your fans at Femme Metal?

Certainly! See you!!!!!!!

Interview Monsters and Critics

Alkonost veröffentlichten kürzlich ihr neues Werk "On the Wings of the Call". Zu diesem Anlass standen sie mir Rede und Antwort und liessen sich weiter ein wenig in die Karten gucken.

Ich grüße Dich! Wie geht es Dir so und was liegt bezüglich Alkonost die letzten Wochen hinter Dir?

Hi! Uns geht’s gut, danke, und wir können ganz in Ruhe unsere Zukunft planen. Unsere letzte Tat ist natürlich die Release unseres neuen Albums „On the Wings of the Call“. Wir haben es eine lange Zeit geplant und am Ende vollendeten wir das, so dass dieser Event stattfinden konnte. Und natürlich ist es eine weitere gute Nachricht, dass wir die Zusage für unsere Teilnahme am „Brutal Assault-2010“ erhalten haben.

Erzähl doch bitte nochmal unseren Lesern, wie es bei Euch zu dem Namen Alkonost gekommen ist?

Alkonost ist eine Person von alten, populären Drucken, sie ist halb Frau und halb Vogel in alten russischen Legenden. Sie ist sehr oft mit einer Krone auf ihrem Kopf abgebildet in der Eckes eines Bildes und immer mit einem Lächeln auf ihrem Gesicht. Das ist sehr nah an unserer kreativen Arbeit, weil wir 2 Mädchen in unserer Band haben und eine Art von Humor, der uns ständig rettet.

Ihr habt Euch bereits 1995 gegründet. In den ganzen Jahren: Auf was blickt ihr da gerne zurück?

Wir erinnern uns immer an unsere Auftritte, genau während dieser Touren ereigneten sich verschiedene Abenteuer und erfreuliche Überraschungen passierten. Wir rufen uns oft die Situation ins Gedächtnis zurück, als wir uns in unserer ersten Show in Gitarrenseiten verwickelten und mit ängstlichen Augen rundherum liefen bei dem Versuch, uns zu befreien. Es stimmt uns fröhlich, wenn wir daran zurückdenken. Wir versuchen bei jedem unserer Auftritte Mitschnitte, um sie dann im Internet zu veröffentlichen. Und wir versuchen jedes einzelne Release von einem neuen Album als ein spezielles Ereignis für uns zu zelebrieren.

Wie kommt Folk-Metal in Russland an und was bedeutet diese Musikrichtung für Euch persönlich?

Aktuell sind wir die Gründer davon. Folk-music ist meine Passion, seit ich klein war, so nahm ich dann eine Gitarre und begann, die Musik zu komponieren. Dann nach 2 erfolglosen Versuchen war mein 3. Song eine durchaus tolerable Ballade in mittelalterlichem Folk-Stil. Und das ist der Stil, welchen wir leicht komponieren und es erreicht unser Publikum ganz eindeutig. Die Bilder von legendären Kriegern und verhängnisvollen Frauen, die durch unsere Songs ausgedrückt werden, sind uns ganz nah. Unglücklicherweise ist Folk-Metal wie auch Metal generell in einer schlechten Position in unserem Land, immerhin hat es bei unseren Teenagern Erfolg.

Wie kam es zu Frontfrau Pelevina? Haben für Euch weibliche Vocals einen bestimmten Stellenwert?

Einige Zeit suchten wir nach einem guten männlichen Bariton, aber es zeigte sich, dass es zu schwierig war, so jemanden zu finden in unserer Halbmillionen-Stadt, und zur gleichen Zeit nahmen wir unser Material mit einem weiblichen Chor auf. So, da zeigte eins der eingeladenen Mädchen Initiative und erbat sich die Erlaubnis, ihre Variationen zu unserem Thema zu zeigen. Wir hörten ihr zu und ließen es, wie es war, und machten ihr dann den Vorschlag, als unsere Hauptvokalstimme dazusein. So also erschien Alena und nun können wir uns Alkonost ohne sie gar nicht vorstellen.

Wie ist euer neues Werk „On the Wings of the Call“ bislang bei den Fans angekommen?

Generell gesehen freundlich. Alle unsere Fans mochten es sehr, aber die, die uns eh nie leiden konnten, teilten sich in 2 feindliche Lager, weil manche es sehr mochten und die anderen es nur einfach ein wenig mochten.

Berichte uns doch mal ein wenig über Euer Coverartwork.

Auf dem Albumcover ist ein fliegendes Schiff abgebildet, das 2 Liebende trägt. Das fliegende Schiff symbolisiert den Traum von Freiheit, Freude und dem Traum davon als solches. Der Traum deutet auf die Distanz zum Unbekannten, was besser zu sein schien als das, was wir hier hatten, eingeschlossen von 4 Mauern.

Gibt es auf dem neuen Album Lieder, die Deiner Meinung nach hervorstechen? Wenn ja, warum?

Die Mehrheit der Songs wurde im Jahr 2000 komponiert und dort warteten sie eine lange Zeit, bis sie wieder in Erinnerung gerufen würden. Vielleicht würden sie dann auf eine andere Art erfasst werden, aber wir waren’s zufrieden, dass sie nun endlich freigelassen wurden. Jeder der neuen Songs mag sich gut für uns ausgewirkt haben. Es ist hart, einen Song als Single herauszubringen, ohne die anderen anzubieten.

Was habt Ihr für Tourpläne, jetzt wo Euer Album herausgekommen ist? Sieht man Euch auf Festivals?

Wir werden das Album im August auf der europäischen Tour supporten, wir werden auch in Deutschland auftreten, das wird in Berlin am 10. sein. Um über die großen Festivals zu sprechen, wir werden auf dem tschechischen Brutal Assault am 13. August spielen.

Fasse doch mal grob die Thematiken Eurer Texte zusammen und berichte uns ein wenig davon.

Wir singen fast immer über Heldentum, die Schwierigkeiten des Treffens von Entscheidungen und all dieses präsentieren wir in historischen mittelalterlichen Kostümen, so z.B. im „Schaf-Vogel“-Kostüm, wir singen, wie ein Mädchen ihrem Ritter die Idee einer Flucht vorschlägt und spricht über ihre Liebe, sie lädt ihn ein in ihr riskantes Spiel, welches im Nichts endet. Nahezu jeder unserer Songs hat eine unvollständige Stelle und wir geben unseren Zuhörern die Möglichkeit, diese Stelle selbst zu vervollständigen.

Wie wüdest Du allgeimein Euer neues Album beschreiben?

Es ist unzweifelhaft ein typisches Alkonost. Das neue Album wurde in unserem traditionellen Stil gehalten, welcher unsere Visitenkarte ist. Eventuell ist es nicht so düster wie üblich, weil wir dem Sound einige kleine Tanzrythmen hinzufügten, um die ausgelassene russische Seele dort mit hineinzubringen.

Wie steht Ihr zu den deutschen Fans?

Wir haben viele von ihnen und sie sind bemerkenswert in ihrer Standfestigkeit, die sonst selten ist. Sie sind sehr taktfest und wir bekommen große Unterstützung durch sie.

Was erwartet Alkonost in naher Zukunft?

Ein neues Album, eine neue Tour und viele Fans.

Ich bedanke mich für das Interview. Die letzten Worte gehören dir.

Danke! Wir danken jedem, der uns unterstützt und nutzen die Möglichkeit, unserem Berliner Freund Verner unsere Grüße zu senden.

Interview Xtreem Music

ALKONOST, para quien no los conozca, decir que son una formación rusa que practica un genial Epic Pagan Folk Metal como pocos. Durante más o menos quince años han estado dando guerra, presentado una buena ristra de álbumes, con una trayectoria bastante buena, sobretodo en su país. Ahora, tras la unión a la discográfica germana especialista en la materia, Einheit Produktionen, están listos para asaltar Europa entera con su nuevo y genial álbum "On The Wings Of The Call". Hemos compartido unos buenos momentos con Dmitry Sokolov, guitarrista de la banda, sobre varios asuntos y estas fueron sus respuestas.

Hola, Dmitry ¿qué tal por Rusia?, un saludo desde España. Si no estoy equivocado, la banda se fundó sobre el año 1995. Tras la edición de varios álbumes y haber realizado numerosos shows, no se puede decir que la banda haya estado parada, ¿cómo valorarías la trayectoria de la banda desde sus comienzos hasta hoy en día?, ¿ha sido muy duro mantener esta en activo todos estos años?

Hola! Estoy bien, gracias. Sí, ha pasado una eternidad desde 1995. Ha habido casi de todo durante este tiempo, tanto un rápido ascenso como una caída rápida, volver a ponerse en pie y subir de nuevo. El camino es duro, pero cuando en un determinado momento entiendes que vas por tu negocio y pones todo en su lugar, no tienes por qué pensar que alguien vendrá de alguna parte y ocupará tu sitio. ¿Es difícil mantenerse a flote?, ¿podría ser que estoy bendecido?, lo sé ... tal vez. Creo que ahora, estamos en un crecimiento constante y lleno de poder creativo y nuevas ideas.

ALKONOST en Rusia, es una banda muy importante, pero ¿y en el resto de Europa?, ¿es más importante la banda dentro de Rusia que en el resto del mundo?, ¿por qué?

El hecho, es que por supuesto que habíamos llegado a ser enormemente conocidos en Rusia, y el mérito fue de nuestras discográficas Ketzer y Beverina. El habernos dado a conocer en Europa también fue debido a ellos, sin embargo al seguir con una publicidad deficiente, estábamos casi en el olvido. Es difícil para las discográficas en Rusia, el poder dedicarse a nuevos mercados

En los inicios, la banda en los shows utilizaba baterías programadas, en lugar de un batería real, ¿por qué?, ¿esto no es algo un poco irreal?

En un principio, nuestra banda constaba de dos personas y no podíamos tocar la batería y teníamos poco dinero para la grabación del álbum, por lo que utilizamos todos los medios disponibles para completar el material y también para las actuaciones en directo.

Si no estoy equivocado, en los primeros álbumes de la banda, utilizabais para vuestras letras el Inglés. Pero después, en los últimos álbumes las letras de las canciones están escritas en ruso, ¿por qué el cambio de idiomas para vuestras letras?, ¿por qué no habéis continuado escribiendo las letras de vuestras canciones en inglés?

Estuvimos en desacuerdo a causa de esto: algunos de nosotros considera que es necesario cantar en ruso, los otros, incluyéndome a mí, creo que deberíamos expresar nuestros pensamientos en Inglés, que es más claro, para todo el mundo. Los primeros son en su mayoría, aunque si que hemos llegado a un acuerdo para poder hacer dos versiones en el nuevo álbum.

Varios de vuestros álbumes han sido editados por los sellos Ketzer/Beerina, Soyuz Music, Metalism Records, Haarbn Productions, Sound Age, etc... ¿crees que estos sellos realizaron un buen trabajo?, ¿por qué tantos cambios de sello?

No tenemos quejas en contra de Ketzer / Beverina, nos ayudaron y nos dieron confianza en nosotros mismos, sin embargo Ketzer nos dijo abiertamente que no hacían negocios con bandas con voz femenina y llegamos a un mutuo acuerdo de no cooperar más. Con Soyuz, no tenía sentido colaborar más con ellos. Metalism es sin duda una buena discográfica, pero no estaba lista para nuestro desarrollo posterior. Creo que todo el mundo busca lo mejor de la cooperación.

En el año 2008, fue editado a través de Sound Age Productions, el DVD “In Front of The Arkona Walls”, ¿puede ser que este DVD fuera el final de una etapa en ALKONOST y la edición del nuevo álbum “On The Wings of the Call” el inicio de una nueva etapa para la banda?

Después del lanzamiento del DVD, hemos mejorado nuestros shows, y por otro lado “On The Wings of the Call”, es probablemente una nueva etapa en nuestra vida. Realmente hemos pensado en esto.

”On the Wings of the Call” ha sido editado por Einheit Produktionen, otra vez cambiáis de discográfica, ¿por qué con Einheit Produktionen y no otra?, ¿qué os ofreció Einheit para que decidierais editar vuestro último álbum con ellos?

En primer lugar, Einheit tiene una buena reputación y fueron ellos los que nos ofrecieron cooperar, también nos dan su valiosa experiencia de trabajo en Europa. Esta cooperación es conveniente para nosotros en este momento, aunque al principio los dos nos dimos muchos problemas, el uno al otro. Esperamos que esta cooperación se convierta en algo grandioso.

”On the Wings of the Call”, es un álbum de Epic Folk Metal de mucha calidad. Fragmentos Folk unidos a fragmentos Metal, voces limpias femeninas y masculinas, voces agresivas masculinas, muy buenas melodías, etc... un álbum muy variado, ¿cómo crees que será la repercusión de “On The Wings of the Call”?, ¿puede ser el álbum más importante que haya grabado ALKONOST?

Claro, lo será! Hasta que el nuevo álbum sea editado. Y después el nuevo, será de la misma importancia. Creo que nuestro álbum será criticado y maldeciremos y estaremos enjugándonos las lágrimas y agitando los puños impotentes y lanzaremos maldiciones a los críticos y a continuación, nos emborracharemos y juraremos que nunca jamás haremos esto. Hablando en serio, estamos muy nerviosos y nos preocupamos por nuestro trabajo.

Bueno, ahora ¿nos podrías explicar un poco sobre que trata el último álbum “On The Wings of the Call”?, ¿qué se cuece en las letras de este?

Trata sobre la nostalgia, los sueños no realizados, algunos pesares por la corrección del camino elegido en la vida y al mismo tiempo, es la mirada optimista al futuro, creo que para mí es absolutamente el más optimista de nuestros álbumes, no tan triste, como los anteriores.

He notado que el sonido del álbum es muy bueno, muy nítido. ¿Cómo fue la grabación de “On The Wings of the Call”?, ¿estás satisfecho con el sonido del álbum?

El sonido es claro, debido a la colaboración con Sergey "Lazar" Atrashkevitch de los famosos "Arkona". Estuvimos luchando toda la semana con la mezcla final y por supuesto que nos sentimos satisfechos. En general, el trabajo en el estudio es mi ocupación favorita.

¿Qué planes de gira tenéis para presentar “On The Wings of the Call?, ¿qué países vais a visitar?, ¿pasaréis por España?

Claro, habrá una gira por Europa, pero es demasiado pronto para nombrar ciudades concretas, que vayamos a visitar. Esperamos que España esté en la lista.

Tendrás que reconocer que es la escena Folk/Pagan Metal de Rusia tiene algo especial. Cuando escuchas un álbum de procedencia Rusa, sabes que pertenece a esta, es como si tuvierais algo especial. ¿Por qué los grupos procedentes de Rusia tenéis ese sonido particular?, ¿es por alguna razón en especial?

Estoy de acuerdo acerca de que son algo específico, pero es difícil decir algo sobre esto. No sé la razón.

¿Quieres añadir algo más sobre el álbum “On The Wings of the Call”?

Queremos que todo el mundo reciba de forma positiva la posibilidad de escuchar el álbum, hemos trabajado duro para que esto sea así.

Ya hemos terminado, muchas gracias Dmitry por tu colaboración y felicidades por la edición del álbum “On The Wings of the Call”. Gracias.

Gracias también a ti, y también gracias a todos los que lean esta entrevista y se preocupan por nosotros. Hasta luego, os esperamos en nuestros conciertos!

Interview Metalmessage

Aroused ancient legends

Founded in 1995, these extremely talented connection made it pretty short in time to one of the very best and also most original Russian Pagan Folk Metal-successors at all on these globe. And already their early written songs contain the typical massive dose of deepest passion for noble art and burning love for history, which one can hear until today in the drag-along catchy hymns of Alkonost. To one of the true trademarks of the band’s brand got the absolute charming female nightingale-vocals, which are still a highly fascinating part within their truly unique music. While others in the genre mainly laying their focus on a more or less rough attitude and harsh rumbling sounds, Alkonost on the other hand are the massive capable specialists for the admirable aesthetic type of Pagan Folk Metal-art. Currently they finishing the recordings for their upcoming new studio album „On The Wings Of The Call”, which will see the pagan light of day soon – it will be released through established German label Einheit Produktionen. So I’ve talked to guitarist Andrey „Elk” Losev and bass-player Aleksey „Alex Nightbird” Solovyov, to illuminate the motives and the backgrounds of these luckily abiding and honest Russian heathen enthusiasts from the autonomic republic Tatarstan.

Hope you guys are doing fine!?

„Yes! All is the best! But we have absolutely sunk in snow!”

Alkonost are one of the longest exixting Russian Pagan & Folk Metal acts – what do you think now, when you look back at the beginnings of your band?

„This way is rather difficult. Till now I can’t really appraise what we’ve achieved. And what we’ve been doing earlier always seems to be better than what we do now. I hope that’s not really so. But we still tremble with the thought that somebody wouldn’t like our music at all, however we put so much thoughts, energy and means into it…”

„Yes, Alkonost’s way was very long. But to my mind we forged ahead in 2002, having released our debut CD in Germany. At that time the groups that have released the professional CDs could have been counted on fingers. And the quantity of those who released their albums on the West is even less. I still perceive our forging ahead as a miracle, taking in consideration that fact, that we are a group from the province, not from the capital-city. When I look back I see a great work of Alkonost’s members (those who participated earlier and those who participate now) being betrayed to the idea of music. And the first thought coming to my mind when I look back at the history of the group which has been lasting for almost 14 years is that the development and the progress of Alkonost have always been held up by the indifference of those people, whom we trusted as professionals, on whom the quality of the record of the material, the quality of it’s sound and the promotion depended. And the another thought is that the music, that we’ve been creating and recording all this time together with Andrey was always my favorite trend and it sill remains being so.”

What means the band name Alkonost at all?

„This is half-a-woman-half-a-bird creature from Russian ancient legends. The legends haven’t been saved, but the image remained. It is always portrayed smiling with the open wings and a crown on its head. It’s believed that when it gives birth the sea is calm completely for seven days.”

When you take a critical look on our planet & the current dominating societies, what "modern days urban human robots" could learn from ancient heathen philosophies & rules in general?

„The respect for our ancestors and the world around us. It’s enough to look at the Japanese, who still remained being the pagans in some way. Till our days they live in harmony with nature, but there’s a great technical progress at the same time. I ‘d like our future be similar to something like that world.”

„We should honor our roots, get closer to our native culture, treat with respect those, who is worthy of it and study the respect-worthy cultures.”

In which individual ways the members of Alkonost praise the eternal beauty of mother Nature & the ancient heathen ideals day by day?

„Well, we keep some traditions. Personally for me the Shrovetide (in Russian – Maslenitsa) and The Week of Water-nymphs are sacred. Concerning the nature… unfortunately, we live in the “stone jungles”...”

„First of all I always try to maintain the individual spiritual connection with the world of the past and the world of our Gods. The astral power maintaining is very important for me. It strengthens the inner spiritual shaft of my world view. Also I try not to drop the garbage in the forest and speak with respect with those people, who might have been the great warriors in the past.”

How deep is your contact to German fans of Alkonost so far?

„I consider we know only those, with whom we communicated at the concerts after our performances, but, you know, the communication after the concerts is not very efficient.”

„During the period between 1999 and 2003 I’ve been receiving letters from Germany after dispatching our MC & CD to the European metalmusic magazines. And I remember that RockHard gave Alkonost 7,5/10 for the debut CD! We even advertised this event at a prominent Russian magazine! For us being a group from the outline city of Russia that was something amazing! Later there were fewer contacts with the European listeners because Alkonost received a refusal from Ketzer records to release the new album “Between The Worlds” and our music appealed mainly to the Russian listeners. That was caused by the fact that our debut album had got to Russia as a pirate edition and more people from our country knew about us. Besides, the largest Russian label «Soyuz Myzic/Metal Agen Records” offered us a contract. That was something like a beginning of a new life for us. But unfortunately that all fell short of our expectations. And that cost us too much.”

In which country of these earth Alkonost can count on the most & most enthusiastic fans?

„Of course, in Germany and in Russia. I came to this conclusion having communicated with them.”

„And personally I remember the contacts with the listeners from Indonesia, for example. Alkonost has a lot of listeners all over the world. And there are a lot of enthusiasts evaluating our music in all the countries! But of course most of them are from Russia thanks to our old age and 4 Russian-speaking releases.”

How developed your unique musical style over all the years? Under which influences?

„Actually we are ruled by a constant desire of making something unusual in metal school. The Slavic pagan and folk theme is expressed well in the music of such groups as Gods Tower and Arkona. We need our own sound having no connection with others. We began playing simple melodies and improved ourselves with each new album basing on medieval Russian music. But also our music was influenced by the creation of such groups as Iron Maiden and AC/DC.”

„I do agree. We try to go our own way.”

Tell me about the songwriting process for your upcoming album "On The Wings Of The Call"!

„We put together all our music material, the outlines of some melodies, which had been written during these 10 years, made some themes of them. After that we recorded three songs and a cover version of the song of the group from our city CANONIS, where earlier I played bass-guitar. After that we listened to the material in order to see the sense of conceptual purpose of the future album. Then we recorded the outlines of some more songs and finally understood what sound should be there. One can get mad thinking over the process when after some films having been watched, and the books having been read, after some emotional experience there appear the melodies in your mind, which are severely criticized by our friends in the end. After that they are subjected to the putting “into shape” so that there’s nothing from those romantic impressions left. That was a rather hard work.”

„Andrey hadn’t gone nuts yet! I’ve already wrote many themes for the future songs! But only old punk-rock musicians compose without a sound-producing, I consider.”

Did you make any changes in the new material, which will surprise the listeners?

Andrey: „Certainly. We think so, at least. Perhaps, some elements, which we’d used, would sound unaccustomed for our fans.”

„I suppose, that the amazing guitar polyphony and the author’s a-la medieval melodies polished rhythmically performed by Alkonost will venture to become a new milestone in the history of European and Russian pagan-metal stage!”

Where you’ve got all the creative ideas for your new songs? And when they come regularly at best in your mind?

„Oh, all these ideas are always in my head and day by day there appear more and more as it’s impossible to release all of them in time. I suppose one day my head will be broken off like a balloon.”

„That’s something like a delusion, like a voice from the inside. There are no influences from the outside! Only the voice of the internal force.”

Please be so kind and explain the readers the meaning behind the new great frontcover artwork of "On The Wings Of The Call"!

„It’s the image from an old Soviet cartoon about the flying ship. That’s a very beautiful cartoon with really beautiful songs! I don’t know why, but at one moment it came to my mind and I decided to use it partially as a plot for the cover of the album to make the expression of the world of the future. It should be mentioned that there are the outlines of a town looking like an ancient ornament under the ship…This is the solution to the plot of the design, the most of the text from the new CD of Alkonost!”

For what meaning exactly stands the new album title "On The Wings Of The Call" – please explain as detailed as possible!

„The title of the album is a symbol of a New Way!”

Please tell the readers about the main content of the lyrics of "On The Wings Of The Call"!

„The Fading-> The Reconsideration-> The Repentance-> The Way through-> The Fight->The Destruction-> The Rebirth”

Why you still do this music at all after so many years – which is also nowadays the most inner driving force within your creative heart to do such music?

„It seems to be something like an attachment to the art and to the scene. Besides, there’s a great willing to go further ant to make something new.”

What do you feel in your heart & mind when you playing with Alkonost live on stage?

„We just do what we do. This is the main thought, which nourishes us. We are here to give the pleasure to all of you.”

„During the performance I give myself up to the atmosphere of our music and texts, as though I tune my power canals for the emotional connection with the audience.”

Which is your preferred Russian traditional meal, beer & distillery?

„I can cook an amazing Russian “borsch”. Unfortunately, I drink very seldom and I can’t drink to tell the truth.”

„And I like spaghetti with cheese and the slices of chicken meat, and, of course, the real Ukrainian “borsch” with the sour cream and the pancakes! According to the alcohol I prefer drinking vodka with pepper! And the beer, of course! Especially dark!”

When you`re looking back in the beginnings of Alkonost – have your musical "dreams" mostly fulfilled until now?

„They have just begun to fulfill.”

With which expectation(s) do you looking forward to the upcoming way of the band, respective the new album deal with German label Einheit Prod.?

„First of all we are waiting for a new audience. We want somebody else like our music. You know, when we began creating music, we thought nobody would be interested in it. Now it turned out that we were wrong – so because of that we’d like to achieve more.”

„We are waiting for the next serious step of Alkonost concerning the promotion of the band.”

What's your personal current view about the pagan metal scene in your country?

„There are not so many original bands in our country. Mainly these bands have been made during the period between 1995 and 2004. It’s difficult to distinguish a good one among the new bands as almost all of them just copy the style of more famous groups paying more attention to the slogans than to the music.”

Most important goal for Alkonost in 2010?

„We began working on a new album.”

Special words at this point to the readers of this article?

„Be healthy and listen to the releases of Einheit Prod.!”

© Markus Eck


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