At the beginning of the month was released Slovo the latest opus of Russian pagan metal band Arkona. A great successor of Goi Rode Goi, and so far one of the best albums of this year, the band will be touring europe this fall with Alestorm, Turisas, Finntroll, Trollfest, Wintersun and Skalmold as part of the Heidenfest 2011, also they recently announce their first ever tour in Canada. The Age Of Metal had the opportunity to talk with Masha Scream vocalist of Arkona about, Slovo, pagan metal and their upcoming tour. This is what she told us:
What is the concept or Idea behind Slovo?
The main idea we have always the same – to bring to people our worldview and ideology, which come to us from the depths of centuries. We are looking at all around us with the view from the past. People call it paganism, but we don’t want to call it somehow. The concept of “Slovo”(“Word” in translation) – is that keeps ancient stones, rivers, mounds, “Slovo” – is that inside your soul, with it you speak with your gods, with nature, with people and with yourself; “Slovo” – it’s the tale about something, about the past or present, the forgotten or returned, “Slovo” – is the voice of nature, the voice of leaves and grass, the roar of the river, singing of birds. With Slovo man can do many things: to kill and to recover lost…
What is the difference between Slovo and your previous work Goi Rode Goi
All our albums are completely different musically, we have no similar albums in our history and “Slovo” it’s our new new stage. The most important difference between these two albums – character and atmosphere. “Goi, Rode, Goi” was more mythical, “Slovo” is more melancholic, perhaps more folk, because it contains a lot of slow folk songs. I can’t tell more about it, because everyone sees these albums in their own way, above – it’s just my thoughts about it, but to me, as to composer, it is difficult to evaluate my work.
How was the experience of working with the Chamber orchestra of Kazan State and the choir of Moscow state conservatory?
We are lucky, as always. At the beginning of the recording we didn’t have even half of those ideas and arrangements, which we have on recorded album. Vocalist of Rarog band, Alexandra Sidorova – a student of the Moscow Conservatory. She told us that she can get enough students who would be interested to participate on our album. So we got a full professional choir (on Goi, Rode, Goi was only a female choir, male choirs was recorded by 2 people separately). Guitarist of Ruyan band help us with the orchestra. He said, that his girlfriend is studying at the Kazan Conservatory, and many students would be interested to take part in the recording of a metal album. We went to Kazan and recorded orchestral parts for our album. In both cases we worked with professionals, the Russian school of classical music – one of the best in the world. We have no problems on the recording, each musician play perfectly his own part, which he have in notes.
What can you tell us about the cover art? And who made it?
Cover was made by famous Belgian artist Kris Vervimp, who is also like our music a lot and he is simply great man! With him we have been working for several years, he designed two previous albums and DVD “Noch Velesova” . The script of cover is fully consistent with the concept of the name “Slovo”, as you can see – there are warriors who read a message, which is also”Slovo”. Idea of the cover was taken from the story of the famous Russian picture of the artist Viktor Vasnetsov, “Na rasputie”, with the same idea as we have.
Any reason in particular on releasing a Stenka na Stenku (EP) and now Slovo with just 2 months of difference one of the other?
Preparing for the recording and the recording process were laborious and long, and we decided to make a pause between albums shorter and release EP with songs, which were would not be included in a full-length album. “Stenka na Stenku” has completely different atmosphere.
What can you tell us about the concept of the video Stenka na Stenku?
We did not plan anything unusual, make a revolution in metal videos. We see no meaning at the most of metal videos, there is not a lot of really good metal clips. That’s why we decided to make a simple, funny clip, with scenario of ancient Slavic fun, which is called “Stenka na Stenku”(“Wall to wall”), also introduce to people with Slavic traditions.
During the last decade the Folk/Pagan metal movement has been getting bigger not only in Europe but in other parts of the world. How do you see the movement now?And What do you think Arkona has to offer to it?
We saw a lot of bands, with some of them we played on stage, and I can say that many of them have already break the limits of commercial in this “fashion” style. And the popularity of such bands is crazy big! I don’t understand it. There are not a lot of ideological pagan metal bands, unfortunately, we are not very often sharing the stage. It is difficult to find people who really put their hearts into their songs. About this I can say for sure, that Arkona has its own, separate from all, the “place under the sun”. We have a different path.
Arkona recently announce their first visit to Canada, what are your expectatives of that tour?
We will be there for the first time and, of course, very interesting to visit the places, which is so far from our home. We can’t wait, because we know nothing about this part of the World and the people. We don’t know how people will react on us. In any case, we will be happy to go there, meet new people, like Russians says “look at others and show yourself”.
Are there any chances to see Arkona In the United States?
We have a plans, but can’t tell you now, because all in negotiations. We will see, but hope all will be ok and one day we will come there.
What is next on Arkona’s career?
This I for sure can’t tell you! Let’s see!