The worldview of Arkona
Arkona been establishing and making a name for themselves in the pagan metal. Led by she wolf Masha Scream. Arkona starting making noise in the frozen hitherlands of Russia with explosive live shows. Which soon caught the eye of Napalm Records. The first release I had the pleasure to listen to was "Goi, Rode, Goi". Arkona sings all their songs in russian. Even though I understand a word of Russian. "Goi, Rode, Goi" is an adventurous, bombastic and excellent pagan metal masterpiece. Not yet caught on here like Finntroll. Arkona quick establish a steady fanbase outside the frozen steppes of mother Russia by touring Europe playing major european festival and number of pagan fest. With a possiblity of USA tour in the works on the tail of their new album release "Slovo". Arkona
is ready to bring the style of russian pagan metal to the forefront.
Greetings Masha, I hope the russian summer is more tolerable than the one I'm enduring here in Texas?
I don’t know about summer in Texas, but we have 2 years 30-35 degrees in Moscow summer. It’s very difficult to work and think in this conditions, mind is burning alive in this hell. I’m waiting for autumn and first cold days.
Couple of years ago I turned my little sister and my nieces on to your last release "Goi, Rode, Goi". I was quite taken when they said they like it cause one listens to r&b and the other listens to emo. I'm the only black person in my family that listen to metal.
It’s great, so I hope you will continue you promotional job in your family and your great relatives will understand, that nothing is better than metal and finally will stop to listen r&b and emo :-)
Last month they released "Stenka Na Stenku" in the USA. What have the reaction been from this side of the Black Sea?
Our audience was divided on two parts. Those, who waited funny and cheerful songs, were happy, but fans of epic and atmospheric side of our songs was disappointed. I think, after release of “Slovo” they will change places.
Why a six song album instead of a full length and when is the expected release date for the Arkona album?
We divided the releases, on one hand, not to make a long album as “Goi, Rode, Goi” (80 minutes), but on the other hand, to leave the epic atmosphere of the album and make it without fun and simple songs, except “Stenka na Stenku”, but it just one on “Slovo”.
New album will be released 27th august.
To satsfy my curiousity, can you give us readers an english breakdown of the title "Stenka Na Stenku"?
Wall on wall (Stenka Na Stenku) is an ancient Slavic entertainment for men, that was basically a fist fight. Such a thing was conducted quite often on July 24, the Perun (the war god) festival. Two rows of men stood facing each other like two walls and at run they started the fight in the middle of the ground.
I know Arkona been touring sucessfully in the motherland and Europe and there's been bands from Russia been touring USA. One being the red ellvises gain some popularity touring here. When it's going Arkona's turn to invade these shores?
I know, that we have plans to play shows in Canada in November, also there is negotiations about tour in US. We are still not enough popular in US and to change this situation we need a tour with more popular, “bigger” band. I hope, that all will happen very soon!
I love the accoustic version of "Goi, Rode, Goi". What inspired you to do an accoustic version?
9th January 2010, on my birthday, we decided to make something special – acoustic show, where I sing my songs, which I created many years ago and also some songs of Arkona in acoustic versions. Goi, Rode, Goi was better than others and it have very big difference from “normal” version. That's why, we decided to record it for this release.
Freki of Varg lended a hand on the track 'Skai', seem like you always get some great talent come on board. What is the atomosphere like when these musican are in the studio with you?
When we went to our first professional tour – Paganfest 2010, we were in one bus with Varg. Before it we didn’t know this band and didn’t hear their music. They were great guys and alcoholic drinks flowed like a river. They taught me to this alco-hymn, which is sounds quite hard in translation, and I created the music. We sang it many times in this tour on parties. After tour we recorded this song, but many German esthetes made a wry faces :-)
Varg recorded their vocals in Germany and sent us tracks by internet. So I don’t know, what atmosphere was in studio, maybe they were drunk :-)
Thought Russia's history seem like the country's history been forge by war, uprisings, and revolution, what kind of inspiration you take from Russia's past and how you appliy to music?
I’m not interested in politics, but i know, that all politicans are bastards, which are living by gain on human sorrow. I hope, that in future, this form of authority will be more wise and progressive.
There is not a lot of history in my songs. First, I never studied history very deep and second, I’m not sure, that if I will study it – I will know truth.
I sing about my worldview and it’s more about our days.
Can you give me some of the name of the songs that are going to be on the new Arkona album?
Arkaim is the city of ancient Aryans, the ancestors of Slavs, it existed and was destroyed many thousands of years ago.
This song is the symbol of the return of the lost, but not forgotten, native things.
2. Bol’no mne (It’s painful for me)
A song about the dying nature, about the suffering that the tormented souls of trees experience…
This song conveys the idea that in the future humankind, after destroying all living things on this planet, will destroy itself this way.
The Leshiy is a forest spirit in the Slavic mythology. The spirit of the dark “Nav” underworld, who guards his dwelling-place and can make a person never find a way out of the forest…
4. Zakliatie (Incantation)
The song is an incantation, a pagan prayer to the chief Slavic god Rod, the forebear of all living things.
5. Predok (Ancestor)
An address to a deceased ancestor, a prayer for help during hard times, asking to give advice to follow the course of life that is before us.
6. Nikogda (Never)
This song conveys the idea that in spite of the imposed, wrong conditions of the modern life, we are still alive and will never leave our land, cherishing in our hearts freedom and the true traditions of our people, we’ll carry it into the future through our children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
7. Tam za tumanami (Behind the mist)
It’s an acoustic ballade that describes a warrior’s death, about the despair of a young woman, who perishes from the frost in a winter snow-covered field, waiting for her beloved.
8. Potomok (The Descendant)
The address of a descendant that has just appeared in this world to people. He explains that he has went through many centuries and was born to glorify his land and continue the traditions through the ages.
9. Slovo (The Word)
The Word is something ancient stones, rivers, tumuli keep inside. The Word is what is inside your soul, with its help you can address the gods, talk to nature, people, yourself; The Word is a story about something, about past and future, about the forgotten and the returned; The Word is the voice of nature, the rustle of leaves, grass, the noise of rivers, bird singing, with The Word a person can do many things: to kill and to revive, to lose and to return.
10. Odna (Alone)
A song about loneliness in this strange world that is trying to impose its life laws, rules and moral, and all of them wear lying masks on their faces. There’s an impetuous desire to run away to people like you, but unfortunately the reality is harsh, and there is no one left like you. You have to live on, closing your eyes, hoping that in centuries people like you will come back to this land, together with you.
11. Vo moiom sadochke… (In my garden)
An acoustic ballade that describes a young widowed woman, who tells about her suffering to a river, how she saw her son off to war and lost him forever.
12. Stenka na Stenku (Wall on wall)
We already spoke about it.
13. Zimushka (Winter)
A cover song of an ancient Siberian native song, the motives are according to Tatiana Naryshkina (‘Vedan Kolod’ band).
The song is about the unhappy life of a family couple, the wife kills her husband in the end.
Did you made any video for promoting "Stenka Na Stenku"?
We made a video on title song. There you can see Russian tradition in action. Welcome: http://youtu.be/xDrKpYn-8u8
What summer festival is the band planning to play this year?
We played on Graspop Metal Meeting, Hellfest, Masters of Rock, Metal Camp, 3 Metal Fest open airs, With Full Force, Exit and some other summer festivals. Thanks to our agency - Rock the Nation! I think, that our summer audience was more than 100 thousand people.
Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. Do you have anything else you like to add?
I hope, when we will be in Texas – will be cold, because I can get heart attack in my stage clothes :-) Stay Metal!
Interviewer: Paul Lewis
Aug 3, 2011
Aug 3, 2011
Next interview: Iron Lamb supports energy, aggression and madness