Petr, the drummer of Svartstorm.
1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the band since the recording and release of the new album?
Hello! We’ve been rehearsing our material with our new guitarist Alex, because our guitarist Vladimir left the band recently to pursue other musical interests. Alex is also known for his work in a folk-metal band Rvi Mekha and right now (July) he and me (I’m also involved in Rvi Mekha) are playing some big folk-festivals here in Russia. After we get back in Saratov we’re going to prepare to hit some cities with concerts in the fall as the part of the tour. Also we already started to write new songs for the next release – about 7 are done or almost done already, so the process is smooth but steady. We also look for any type of collaboration or tribute we’re interested to take part in. So, lots of work to do and many more to come!
2.In March you had released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
Well, the thing is that the material on the album is very much like everything we released before – it’s like a stylistic continuation of our first EP “Scars Instead Of Wings” and all the released singles also appear here. The album was supposed to arrive in 2014-2015, but there were many obstacles and problems, so it was ready for release only by the end of 2016. There are only 2 songs that may describe the style we move to now – the opener “Мы Просили У Вечности Рай” and “Мёртвый Город” – because they were recorded last year. As for the musical sound we tried to express everything that we like musicwise which ranges from melodic death metal to gothic metal, heavy metal etc. We call this stuff “gothic” because of the keyboards and the lyrics and somehow melodies and because that’s the easiest way to describe it, although it’s not 100% gothic metal that listeners are used to. Maybe it’s gothic metal with many elements of other styles of metal. And with keyboards!
3.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?
For us the lyrics is the hardest thing to compose, because it’s quite easy to do some typical metal lyrics that tell about some monsters or disasters or love or butchery. But that’s not for us, we need something good. From the very beginning we tried to explore the dark side of humanity and human soul or the subjects that touch people. Like “Мёртвый Город” that speaks about abandoned town of Pripyat or “Ненужные Люди” that tells about people that are rejected from society because of not being normal or usual. And all the other songs like that. I think we will continue to abuse the theme of human decadence but gonna make it in some ways more touching for listeners. We’re not trying to shock or charm people – we just speak about things that everyone is familiar to.
4.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Svartstorm'?
The name Svartstorm came accidently in some ways. Before the band was formed many of us played in a local band Князь Тьмы (Prince Of Darkness) and we had a song that everyone liked called “Svarta Vigseln” which is “black wedding” in Swedish. It was written by a guitarist of KT, he was learning Swedish language then and he decided to call the song like that. He was very inspired. Then, at the beginning of Svartstorm, we were thinking about the title for the band and thought that the Swedish word “svart” that appear in that very song could be quite catchy and impressive as the part of the band’s title. There were some examples of the title with “svart” but nothing was approved 100%. And the final choice was made accidently. In the fall of 2011 we’ve recorded our debut single that was supposed to become a part of a local rock-compilation. And we gave them (the compilation makers) the song while being unsure about the band’s title. Then one of them called me and asked about the title because then it was the deadline to finish the booklet for the CD – they were waiting for us. And the only variant I actually remembered during that phone call was “Svartstorm”. That’s how we became that band.
5.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
I can say that our show at Metal Crowd festival in Belarus in 2014 was quite good – and it was our most far-far-away from home gig which was very nice to remember. The same year we got some good gigs with Аркона and on the Open Rock Concert which was an open air gig in the heart of Saratov. Somehow not underground and a lot of people came to see us. At that time we had elements of fire show as our ex-keyboardist had some connection with that. But then we abandoned this idea because we came to conclusion that fireshow was not what we needed and wanted so far within our music. In 2015 we played in Volgograd an Volga Metal Open Air and it was very nice too. As for stage performance we don’t have theatrics or stuff like that – only us headbanging and our music. But I think we might have something interesting soon to make us more spectacular. We’ll see.
6.Do you have any touring or show plans for the future?
Yes of course! Because our guitarist Vladimir left after the release of the album we didn’t have the opportunity to build a tour then. So we will make up soon, I hope. In the fall and maybe next year also. We have big country, so it’s plenty of places to play. And maybe next year we will also hit some big festival stages. We’ll see what comes next but we’re open to any opportunity to play.
7.The new album was released on 'Requiem Distribution', can you tell us a little bit more about this label?
The label is run by my friend Alexandr Lebed. For some years it was a part of a NitroAtmosfericum Records, an underground metal label which mostly worked with black metal bands. Last year he decided to make his own independent label because he had bands to sign that were not black metal so it was kind of strange – not black metal bands on black metal label. There might be also something that made him split his ways with NitroAtmosfericum but he didn’t mention it. So that’s how Requiem Distribution was born! The label also has it’s magazine, Requiem. Recently the fifth issue was published and the new one in the works. The label has released 4 or 5 CD’s so far – death metal and gothic metal bands. And some are also to follow.
8.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of gothic and extreme metal?
We’re not much known so far on a worldwide scene, maybe because of Russian lyrics. But that’s not a problem or an obstacle, I think – Russian Аркона is a successful band, many German, Swedish or Finnish bands are successful and they use national languages in the lyrics. But still we get some positive feedback from foreign listeners and foreign media so far. Not much, but steadily and warmly. And many really like our band, we sent CDs to Chile, to New Zealand, to Turkey, to Germany. Thanks to sites like bandcamp it’s very easy now to discover new bands and for the bands to find new listeners.
9.What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that some of the band members are a part of.
Yes, there are many projects and bands which members of Svartstorm participate in. For example me and guitarist Alex play in Rvi Mekha – the folk band which is quite known in Russia now. In March the band released its debut album “Жаворонок” (Skylark) which was received well. We recently played at Folk Summer Fest with Korpiklaani and Tyr among others and many more fests to come. The band is going to tour this autumn. I also play in a slamming brutal death metal band Psychosurgical Intervention and the debut album is going to be released in October via Rotten Cemetery Records. It is also quite known after the release of a 2-song demo last year that attracted much attention. Our vocalist Alexandr also has a studio side-project Druknroll which has 4 albums already and recently released an EP. So we have a lot of music around us. Somehow it slows Svartstorm down but that’s not a big problem.
10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future? What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Future hasn’t been written yet as Doc from “Back To The Future” said so we can’t figure it out right now. Although new songs have a bit different direction we can’t predict the whole thing, where our music would take us. What we’re sure about as for now – we’ll play metal because we like it. Even if we strip down our music it will still be heavy enough, because right now we’re not interested in playing anything else. It also depends on the music that inspires us – and the influences changed within the years. It began with In Flames and Paradise Lost, then Moonspell and many more like this. Recently I began listening to modern music like Oomph! and Dead By April, but I don’t think we ever play metalcore or stuff like that. Cause we didn’t play death metal but we listened to Hypocrisy, Death and Cannibal Corpse. I think the band that influenced us most of all is our previous band, Князь Тьмы – that was the band me and Alexandr, who are the only original members of Svartstorm, played in. We kind of reached the understanding of what and how we can play, what and how we may play, what and how we like to play. And after that we also understood what is musical influence for us – many bands play good but only few have something that really inspires. It may be one single song but it changes your view on what is music forever. So, we’ll see where future brings us.
11.What are some of your non musical interests?
Well, there are many. We like to go fishing, we like to go hiking, we like bicycling. Our guitarist Alex and bassist Dmitry are keen football fans, they like to watch it and play it. We spent many evenings watching World Cup and Confederation Cup. Alex even took part in a football team at recent Folk Summer Fest! I’m a keen bike rider and musical journalist, I did interviews with Oomph!, Testament, Suffocation, Sodom, Dragonforce, Caliban, Soulfly, Sepultura and many-many others. Me and Alexandr also like to go fishing, but this year we didn’t succeed in hanging out. That’s it, maybe I forgot something.
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
We in Russia usually try not to say “final”, we say “latest”. I’d encourage people to support underground music especially now, when bands try hard not even to succeed but to stay on the scene. And would like to thank those who does it. I also would like to thank you for your interest in supporting bands with drawing attention to them. Much respect and cheers from Russia!