It is typical for music to awaken various emotions in a person, to pull them out and make them experience them to the maximum. This year I was lucky to see some legendary bands personally, the professional work of which I noted more than once. Such groups are akin to aged wine. Each group with its own special energy, its own history. The finish of the concert is with you for a few more days. And the memories will stay with me for many years. Watain is one of these groups, my inspirators. Such magical work on stage charges with colossal energy and passion that raged inside of me and burst forth. And Watain absolutely calmly coped with the similar energy of the audience, as if forging something new from us, sprinkling blood on it. Real alchemists! In social networks, I have repeatedly mentioned their concert and my emotions flowed over the edge. I think everyone will understand me who has ever visited their concert and loved them even more. I had an interview with Eric before the concert, but knowing that I would see them soon in Kiev, I decided to wait with the publication and tell you my impressions after their performance.
Leslava: How are you? Trident. Wolf Eclipse is a great strong album. I would say burning and otherworldly beautiful.. How is life on tour? What is the atmosphere, the reaction of people, the complexity?
The life on tour mirrors the album quite well; it is dirty and mean and hard but also with many moments of great depth, reflection and silence. In almost everything we do with Watain you can find a similar meeting between high and low, between the sacred and the profane, between beast and god. The reaction of the people is a bit depending on which side is the most prevalent on the night in question. Those who experience more of the wild and savage side will act accordingly. But many people get confused and intimidated by the other, more sacred and magical side. I like both reactions, as long as they are strong reactions and not soft and lukewarm.
Leslava: Watain after 20 years of progress is ...
The sum of our life work. The world which we built for ourselves and that we are now living in day and night. And our humble sacrifice at the altar of the Gods that have held their blessing hands above us.
Leslava: Black metal with your efforts are still explosive and toxic. And on the world stage, what happened to the black metal in recent years? How do you see it now?
It has to be explosive and toxic, otherwise you are doing it wrong! And many people are doing it wrong, believe me. You have to have lived the Black Metal life style and know its traditions and codes for many years in order to perform it with the power and dignity that it requires to be called Black Metal. You must have a deep understanding and burning passion for the Satanic fundaments of the genre, and how they are to be dealt with. Only then can you wield the weapons in this war that Black Metal is. But many people are too eager to be “a part of something” and jump into it without respecting what has been before them and the need of upholding certain traditions. They are not ready to give in order to recieve. Not ready to sacrifice all they have. And you must be ready for that if you want to do what we do. You must always be ready to die.
Leslava: Who owns your soul?
Leslava: Many metalheads have often heard statements about why they surround themselves with destructive things or bad, or ugly). What are you really surrounded by?
Destructive, bad and ugly are all terms with multiple meanings that will vary from person to person. But yes, metal is indeed a representation of poewrs that are an enemy to the common world; the things that dwell in the darkness, in the burning hearts of revolutionaries, in the eyes of the predators and in the wild chasm of the Abyss. Normal people fear it, and they should! Metal is for people who have chosen the path away from their light, the path away from their rottening society and their shameful gods.
Leslava: And if you look into the abyss for a long time, then the abyss also looks at you. What did you see in the abyss?
My best answer to that question can be found when listening to Watain and reading my lyrics.
Leslava: I am inspired by the band and you. Really complex picture: from lifestyle, texts and to visual effects. A serious approach to music and passionate feedback. I believe Outlaw and Nuclear Alchemy. I feel this energy. Tell me about the recording process. How much time do you spend working on the recording? Because it looks natural.
We have always chosen to do things all the way without compromise. We take the time and affort to pay attention to the smallest details because we consider what we are doing as something sacred, and everything deserves our full devotion. I think that is one of the things that people find value in with Watain. There is a reason to what we do, and a burning passion that is present in the way we work, live and act. The recording sessions are of course colored by this approach, no matter how sterile and repetitive an album recording can be sometimes. We always try to make it into an experience that can represent the album in one way or another, and we always delve deep into the recording process with heart and soul. We usually live in the studio and rarely go home or anywhere else for that matter until we are done. Hopefully this kind of dedication and determination can be heard in the albums as well.
Leslava: Tell me pls about yourself as an artist, designer. You pay great attention to symbolism. What is inside you? What is bothering you? What inspires? What cultures and designs are you interesting in?
I am no different as a musician, writer or a graphic artist. I always have the same approach; if you are doing it you must do it all the way, you must master the techniques needed and you must have a strong vision that feels acute and utterly relevant. This is my basic approach to all artistic things I am a part of.
The visual side is something I have been doing for as long as I have been in Watain, but I also work for other bands and sometimes I also do stuff just for myself, for exhibitions and so on. Since I work mainly with music artwork I take a lot of inspiration from my personal music related preferences such as the old DIY techniques of the 60s, 70s and 80s before there was any digital part of the process. To me that is the way that creates the most soulful content. Metal and punk fanzines, underground political pamhplets, hand made flyers etc. I like primitive techniques that doesnt require the help of a factory.
Leslava: What are you outside the band in everyday life?
My life and Watain are so intertwined that I don’t really make a difference between the two.
Leslava: Recently, I knew that in 2014 in Ukraine registered satanic church. There is no unity in this area too. Different organizations in the world have a different worldview and interpretation. How do you feel about satanic organizations? Is it cohesion or business and manipulation?
You are talking about Sergey Nebogas church of satan. That organisation represents a kind of Satanism I am not particularly interested in. Neither do I care particularly about the many different variations, organisations and practises claiming to belong to Satanism these days. I’ve seen and heard enough of that “scene” through the years to not want to have anything to do with such people. That being said, there are also people and groups existing today who are doing highly noble and important work in the name of the true Satanic tradition. Those who are meant to know, they know. Omerta...
Leslava: What do you think about modern witches, black magicians etc.?
I was initiated in these things in a time where such matters where matters of life and death. The way people expose themselves as this or that on the internet these days makes me sick. I have had people close to me killing and dying for the Black Arts. I see it as a disgrace to their memory and their work when these teenage cunts post pictures of sigils, talismans or symbols that they have nothing in the least to do with.
Leslava: What are your favorite horror movies? Can you tell a horror story in a few sentences?
I am not a mega fan of horror movies but I can enjoy them from time to time. I just watched “Martyrs” from 2008 again which I really like. Viktor Rydbergs “Körkarlen” is a good Swedish horror movie.
Leslava: What are you afraid of?
This is the second interview from Ukraine that I answer this week with this question in it. What is it with you people? (*hmmm... with me everything is fine... almost :-) Except for those moments when I’m crazy about your music. Actually I’m asking about fear since 2016 because of horror magazine topic. And I’m not waiting for serious answer ;-) Hmmm.... right now not only me interesting in this question — cool :-) ) My fears are my own, why would I want to share them with unknown people? Fears are to be dealt with and conquered. If so, they can be gateways to great things.
* author’s note