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Heureusement que j'ai mis ma fourrure avec le froid qu'il fait. Si vous voulez en savoir un peu plus que ça sur ce que pense Masha, la hurleuse du groupe de folk metal Arkona, suivez le lien vers l'interview mitonnée à l'occasion de la sortie du nouvel album du groupe Goi, Rode, Goi!.
Arkona interview (september 2009)
English version below
Prince de Lu : It's great that "Night of Veles" was released. The show is impressive and everybody (the band and the audience) looks very exhausted at its very end. Will there be such release party for your new album?
Masha (vocals/songwriter) : I think there is no point in releasing DVDs or concert albums frequently. “Noch Velesova” was a kind of compensation of our first DVD “Zhizn vo Slavu”, which was shot in 2005 in a small club and did not reflect the situation within our band properly. In that time we just started to give concerts and shooting a DVD was a hurried decision, imposed by the label. By the time of recording “Noch Velesova” (end of 2007) we already had something to perform before public, so we shot second DVD. When we reach the next level and be able to shoot something more impressive than our last concert video – we will do it, but until that time there is no point to release similar concert videos.
I feel that "Goi, Rode, Goi!" is less melancholic than "Ot Serdtsa K Nebu". This new album is full of energy and epic.
Many of my songs are filled with melancholy and pain for the past heritage, forgotten by my folk. The new songs are written more consciously because with life experience grows the wisdom, which can be reflected in creativity. I think there is no point in comparing the releases – they are different, the condition of my soul was not the same when I composed each of them. I think, to compare, analyze and comment – is a work of listeners and critics, but never of the author. I just can say, that I am sincere in my song, and I am just not able and don’t want to do trends.
Since the last album, are the other members more involved in the creation of your songs?
No, Arkona is my creation, so only I do song composing.
What are the lyrical themes developed in your new album? What kind of positive energy would you like to spread through your words?
The lyrics theme has not changed since the very first album. It is all about history of my native folk and my belief. The Faith is my ideology, it give me energy to for the creativity and the idea I spread through my music and lyrics.
Last year, you said that the lyrics still be written in Russian or Slavonic language. Do you still agree with that? Would it be impossible to sing your land in English?
Slavonic pagan metal in English? Don’t you think it already sounds funny?
What are the traditional themes included in your new album? I feel there is less "obvious" folk songs than before (like "kupalets"). Unless they are well hidden in your metal parts, is that an album more "metal"?
No, all the songs on the new album are of my authorship as against the previous disk, where were 4 folk themes – “Strela”, “Gutsulka”, “Tsigular” and “Kupala and Kostroma”. The new album is really more metallic, it seems to be our heaviest album.
"Yarilo" is a very different song, with a symphonic atmosphere created by the violins. What has inspired you?
In the song “Yarilo” there is no single sound of the violin. But in almost all other songs there is a sound of string quintet, which we recorded for this album. Maybe you are being confused by the track list, which is different in the album itself and its promo-version. String section – 2 altos and 2 violins – sound really good. They replaced the synth strings, which had been recorded for the album initially. So the sound became much better.
Your voice is better than ever. The beginning of "Liki Bessmertnykh Bogov" is a powerful and melancholic chant. Do you continue to improve your voice, helped by the members of Rossomahaar?
I thank you! Perhaps my voice sounds a bit different because I recorded it beings 8 months pregnant. The hormones, developing during pregnancy, change the tone color of voice, making it more warm and feminine. Well I’m also happy that this fact did not influence my growling and it didn’t lose its brutality. I decide how to sing on my own, so there’s no one to help me with this.
"Na Moey Zemle" is an incredible journey. If I'm not wrong, this is the longest song written by Arkona. How have you composed this song?
I had started to write this song in 2003, then I abandoned it and finished it only in the middle of last year. This track has a complicated composition, and we could make a whole another album out of the variety of themes, used in this song. In these 15 minutes the whole life of the man is displayed, who devoted himself to the journey around many countries to find the happiness and joy. Travelled through many lands, he returns in his Motherland and he recognizes that the joy he has been looking for had always been close to him – his land, folk and culture.
An impressive list of singers participates to "Na Moey Zemle". Have you planned every single voice in this epic track? How have you organized all these guests and the respective lyrics which they have written?
The traveler from the song is asking the same question to the people he meets – “What is your joy and happiness in?” And everyone said his own answer, and all answers are filled with pride for their native land. First I contacted musicians from these bands whom I already had known personally and whose music I loved. And my choice was right – almost everyone gladly agreed to take part in this project. I sent the song to everyone, told what the idea was, and then asked to choose the fragment in the song they liked the most. I wonder, but they all picked different fragments, leaving place for my narration. So when I received their recorded parts, I brought it all together with the main plot. No difficulties appeared while working with these people because they recorded their parts on their own.
Last year, you said that Heidevolk is one of your favorite band. I guess it was great to work with the two Saxon singers.
Of course, this is one of the few REALLY pagan bands, just like Skyforger, Manegarm, Obtest, Menhir – those, who participated in “Na Moey Zemle”. I am proud to have made something together with these men.
Who are the other guests of this new album?
The chore and the quintet - I think, they make the majority of the guest musicians, are professionals, who work for money. All the rest are my friends, who don’t need to be convinced. They gladly agreed to take part.
Since you have inked a deal with Napalm, you're distributed in the European countries. Will there be a Sound Age release of your new album?
As far as I know – Sound Age will release the new album in Russia under Napalm license.
As a Napalm band, when will you see you on stage in the western countries? Have you planned a European tour?
January 24 we perform in Paris. Come and we’ll conquer you with pleasure! Several other shows are also scheduled, but not as many as I would like. I’ve got 2 children now to take care of.
Again, Kris Vervimp has illustrated your new album. What do you like in his art? As many pagan bands which use his art, do you think that his drawings fit perfectly with your music?
Kris is not indifferent to our music. So he depicts his own impressions after listening to it. I think it’s important when man feels what he does – this is a great inspiration for his creativity. Surely, it’s hard to manage something without professionals, like it was with chore and string quintet. But if an artist or musician FEELS his own doing – that’s much better.
Masha, you're a mother and your life has changed. According to your thoughts, what will you teach to your child about this world and its roots?
It’s important to give to the child the understanding of the world – that everything that surrounds us is just a projection of one whole. And that it’s so important to be united with it. The child must learn love and care to the surrounding world. Children are the continue of us and the plot of our being and the being of our ancestors. This is the only which remains after us and grows further. They are our future, which must be taken care of now. And we are their roots, which must be remembered in future. I feel sorry for people who don’t understand this and abandon their future for the sake of their personal right-away pleasures.
Did this birth have influenced your way to compose for the new Arkona album?
I think, it influenced in some way. I became older and changed. And along with this, my creativity has grown up too.