среда, 19 ноября 2014 г.

Urt/Sojaruun Interview

And I still continue to investigate Estonian scene. Last time I interviewed an originators called Tharaphita, and this time I got a conversation with members of two bands - Urt and Sojaruun. Their names are Thon, Henri, Oliver and Sander and they asnwered my questions with really big enthusiasm! Enjoy!

1.      Hi, For the first, present yourself and bands Urt and Sojaruun, about which I want to talk in this interview!

Thon: I and Henri formed Urt in 2004. We have had a strong lineup ever since. Only 1 member (Argoth – bass) has left us in these 10 years of activity. We have released 5 studio albums and some demos and splits. Our music is a mix of black metal and old school death metal with pagan merit.

Sander: We had some ideas that didn't quite match Urt's repertory. So, therefore we decided to make a new band, Sõjaruun.

Thon: Sõjaruun is more melodic and straight forward black/pagan metal.

2.      Just few words about every bands where you play and something about origin development of Estonian BM scene. How did you entered it and how Sojaruun and Urt were born?

Thon: I have been in the “scene” from 1996. A lots of things fit into those 18 years. For a complete list of my bands/projects visit thon.bandcamp.com there you can also listen to most of the stuff.

Henri: Same here, I started with some school friends our first band Diabolos in 1996. And then came Realm of Carnivora in 1998. Later Urt and Ürgsiug, they are in moment my only bands.
Oliver: We have several bands, so we can express ourselves differently in each band. Urt is something dark, deep, aggressive and needs more technique. Sõjaruun has more varieties of emotions, anger but also some mysticism and magic. If I joined Urt, it was already musically born and full of power. Sõjaruun came after Tarm, we had some ideas which didn't fit into other bands.

3.      Describe the meaning and conception of bands’ lyrics, first Urt and next Sojaruun, and meaning which you put in these names?

Henri: Word, Urt, has in different world languages lot of meanings 
like – herb, root, wise, silence, mountain. Somehow all these translations seem to be relate with each other. But specifically to the band we took it from the Old Setu dialect, where it stands for soul of death or master of death. The lyrics are basicly about humanity or human being, who has gone totally lost in its inner and outer world, so it needs to face honestly its ultimate death to stop struggling in the vicious circle of fear and greed. So, I guess the conception is mainly murky and dealing with fucked up (unbalanced) life.  
Oliver: Our lyricmaster in Urt is Henri and he knows the deep side of the lyrics. But for me the lyrics express generally death, anger, some strange theories/visions of Henri's “braincosmos”. I really don't understand where these lyrics come from, because they're not traditional. They are full of hidden messages and you have to delve into all the lyrics. What I want to say that, all lyrics are like peace of art. In Sõjaruun we use other written lyrics, but mostly they are about mystical forests, magic, wars.
Sander: Sõjaruun's lyrics mostly speak about ancient nature and human harmony with it. Also they include some violence, rage... It's more like a national thing. Every country has it's own history and in some point, it's affected by wars and intruders/enemies.

Thon: Yes, Sõjaruun lyrics are more mystic folk and dark folkloore oriented as well.

4.      Tell about Estonian folk epos, heritage and cosmogony. To be honest, I know nothing except psychedelic cartoon named Suur Tõll, and I wait most extended answer.

Henri: Estonian folk epos is held to be Kalevipoeg/Kalev`s Son, 
that was through the time put together from ancient legends by various authors, who were actually christians. Only one eighth of the verses are authentic, the rest are imitation. The epos is basicly similar to „Suur Tõll“ and Finnish epos „Kalevala“. The giant hero named Kalevipoeg was the youngest and strongest of brothers, he fought against other giants and agressive nations, til his legs were cut off by his own sword that was cursed by Finnish blacksmith, and in the end he was put to guard the gates of hell. But there is another epos recently written by Aleksander Heintalu, called „Kuldmamma!“, it is a totally different story and vision about our cosmogony and matriarchal ancestors. So, for me these stories are not so important anymore. I personally prefer an very simple Old-Greec version of cosmogony, where from the timeless darkness was born Chaos from which was created Order, but the rule of life is that what is once created will be once perished. This is also somehow similar to physics nowadays.      

5.      Can you tell about origin of Estonian folk and appearing of it’s nationality from the depths of age.

Henri: I have read some theories and fictions about it, 
but honestly, no I can not - who knows it exatly anyway? I can say only that we belong to Finno-Ugric languages, and we are very related with all Nordic nations and other smaller ethnical groups in Russia. Nowadays we are just very mixed with lot of nations and our culture with lot of cultures as well. I´m not a nationalist, I belive basicly that people are all over the world born as free and natural human pagans – the rest is something learned and trained to us, that may be more or less overrated. 
Thon: I just add that with all the various conquerers 
and different authorities, lordship etc our culture has been also somewhat altered. Like for example our ancient holydays have been occupied by Christianity and replaced with all kind of fake Christian celebrations. There are also some diehard Estonian folk and folkloore researchers (Aleksander Heintalu for example) who have been writing books about the real deal, but this would be a bit to long to write here. Sadly nowdays Estonians do not celebrate our own stuff anymore od do it less every year.

6.      I see, that album Saatanhark got three parts, forming trilogy itself. Tell about meaning of albums’ name, lyrics and motive of all trilogy.

Henri: That is true. The translation of the word, Saatanhark, 
is fork of Satan. The deeper meaning of it as trilogy is the past, present and future, or allso the under-, middle- and upperworld. The first album of the trilogy, Püha Sõda/Holy War, is essentially about the war against Christianity. The second one is mostly about the fight for smaller nations against big agressive ones. And the third is more philosophic and visualizing what could be.  

7.      In 2014 you released new album called IXI. So, also tell about it’s meaning and how is it different from the rest.

Henri: Well, the albums name is a rune, which symbolizes in the alphabet 
the letter D. Its meaning for us is the death or death moth, because it looks a bit like moth. Also it means, Deade (The roman number X is ten), because Urt has acted by now 10 years. So, I think the name is really clever one. :D The new album is all made in our home studios by ourselves. We had some guest performers – female  and clear male vocalist and couple other friends - to add just some special colours into our murk space of sounds. Probably this is our moust complete, classy and considered album so far. Also we`re really satisfied that our ideas came out on the digipak and booklet in a deep and minimalistic form, that fits very well with the whole dark stuff.
Thon: The whole process was over 3 years. We had several setbacks, 
recorded the drums and guitars twice, but in the end everything came out just like we wanted! It is like mentioned the first Urt release we made 100% ourselvs.

8.      I now also you (Thon) got a project Realm of Carnivora. What does it mean and how do you see a mission of this project?

Thon: Realm of Carnivora was formed by Henri and me in 1998. It is at the time probably the oldest still running black metal band in Estonia. Nowadays Roc is only a studio band and the only member is me. New material is being recorded as I write this interview. I hope that the new MCD will be out sometime beginning of 2015 and then maybe at the end of 2015 also a new full album. There is enough material.

9.      When I looked on Metal Archives an info about your bands, I read, that Realm of Carnivora lyrics are dedicated to Paganism, Misanthropy, Anti-NOW. If it’s right what NWO means in your opinion? New World Order, ZOG or something like that?

Thon: It is with every release a bit different. The lyrical genre in metal archives is probably old and goes better with the album “Khonthaminion” 2009. I was reading lots of material and watching documentaries about the New World Order etc. so as a natural result also most of the lyrics dealt with the themes of mass slavery and so on. “Verd” 2011 was a more personal album, both of my grandfathers passed away in a short period and also there was a foul play suspected in one of the retirement homes, where one of my grandfather died, so it had more deep and profound lyrics, probably do not make sense to no-one but me. And of course lots of shit that came from various human beings makes you to express with some misanthropic approach also. All in all the lyrics I write nowadays are more personal in a figurative sense.

10.  According to this, your opinion of beginning of new world war, when Russia started aggression against Ukraine (and this aggression I don’t support) and role of Estonia in it. As I know NATO endeared it’s army in Estonia near borders of Russia.

Henri: Our knowledge about the rulers of this Planet may be too naive 
and emotional, so we can choose any side in this war between Putin & Co versus other Western superheroes. Though I see, this is exactly what the plunderers of the Planet are up to – searching for support of soldiers and dead innocent souls.
Thon: I am a musician not a politician. But of course I feel 
commiseration for the peole, who have been caught in the middle of this unnecessary and inept bloodshed. Who are forced to live in the eye of this brutal and barbaric storm.

11.  Do you agree also that if Russians want to get in really relations with the rest of Europe, they should lay to rest all their imperial and Soviet complexes?

Henri: Don`t know if they want it?

Thon: I think it will take some time, because the „propaganda“ 
machine is running 25 hours and 8 days a week, so to say. And it is running on both sides, so the people are constantly under  heavy lobotomy.

12.  Let’s turn back again to the music. Tell about how Sojaruun was born, about it’s development and do you got some plan for future materials?

Sander: Before Sõjaruun was born we played in another raw black metal band, Tarm. After split up we had some ideas that didn't match the songs we had in Urt. So we created Sõjaruun as mentioned before. It has been 4 years from our last EP "Talv". Since then we have been writing new ideas, songs. Had few gigs also, but mostly we have kept low profile. It took like 3 years to get Urt's last album done. In this period of time we didn't have the energy to deal with another studio session, but for now we are finally making some plans for Sõjaruun. Hopefully there will be a new album sooner or later!
Oliver: The beginning of Sõjaruun was interesting. We split from band called Tarm and we had some written material for it. And it didn't fit to other bands and we were full willpower so we had to make Sõjaruun. We made some rehearsal recordings and quite quickly we got our first label Black Devastation Records. So we released quite soon our debut Sõjaruun which got good reviews and stuff. We were flying high, haha. After our album Talv we went to a mini tour in Europe which included contcerts in baltics, czech republic, switzerland and germany. In all concerts we got very warm welcomes. Also we performed in Estonia's biggest metal festival Hard Rock Laager. And in some time we settled down and started to work more with URT's new album IXI. But now we have some new material going on and quite while we start to rehearse and who knows, maybe we do some new recordings also.

13.  When I first looked Sojaruun logo with deer horns, first association I got was horned god of Celts named Cernunnos. Am I right in my guess, that you also got the same god in your native mythology and his image inspired you, when you done a logo?

Thon: Not really. The logo was drawn by our label Black Devastation Records personnel.
Oliver: Quite interesting theory, I personally never heard about this Cernunnos god. But I think there are some nature gods in estonian folk. But yes, our logo is inspired by nature, that's true.

14.  How do the artworks for your releases and tell about its meaning in the context of releases.
Oliver: In Sõjaruun it's all about the beauty of Estonian nature. We like to show everybody, what we have here. Especially on “Org” cover/booklet we have different photos of beautiful spots in our region. And also we weigh on natural stuff which is nature, feelings and stuff like that and it's in our all releases.
Sander: You mean have the artworks of our releases a deeper meaning?

Henri: The artwork ideas for the Urt are mostly generated by me, 
which in each album symbolyzes the structure of Kosmos, but every time through a bit different perspective.  
Thon: Sõjaruun artworks have always been nature released, 
using pictures that we have taken ourselvs. Freakly Art Design was behind first releases and the layout for our latest „Talv“ was made by a very talented tattoo artist Priit „Pagansorts“ Salusoo (Dark Symmetry). He also made the layout for Realm of Carnivora EP „Ancient ire“ and the Ürgsiug logo and most of my tattoos. Probably more, but I can`t remember at the moment more.

15.  Tell about label Arhailised Helid which released a most of material of bands, where you take part in.

Thon: Arhailised Helid (Archaic Sounds in English) was created as a label for our/my music only. This label releases only music that we have made. It is also now the name of my new music studio.

16.  As I know, Urt performs live shows from time to time. Tell about it, how do you make it, your feelings. About Estonian fans, clubs, organizers and so. You favorite and most hated gigs, and also bands with whom you divide a scene.

Thon: This year 2014 has been a really great year for Urt. We have had lots of gigs, our new album came out and we also made a music video. All the gigs have been supper, except maybe the one in Kaunas was a bit odd, I had a bit too much booze. I apologize for the fans in Kaunas, we will be back and then we will destroy the venue I promise that!!!!

Henri: Yes, certainly we would like to do bit more live shows, 
but the fact is that we live in a rapidly aging small country (1,3 million people) and in a very small town Põlva (6000 people). It means that here our listenership is very limited and there is no point of doing more than 4 or 5 lives a year. Seems that the audience in metal gigs has in last years significantly decreased. The clubs are mostly small and it`s good if we get with our expenses to zero, wich doesn`t mean that we cannot have much fun. But the truth is that here are rising a lot of guestions for the future. There have been couple of hated gigs in small towns, where the audience sits coldly behind tables and doesn`t show any sign of life, so it`s like another usual band rehearsal. But our moust enjoyable lives have been sofar in Lithuania, where it`s allways fun to perform – young audience there just is somehow more relaxed and feels free. Lately we have divivide a scene mostly with Aghor, Tharaphita and Tapper.
Oliver: Urt live concerts are mostly aggressive and dark. Mostly we choose fast “in your face” songs, use dark stagelights, fog. We have special outfits which are selfmade which are noirish, black. Most popular clubs in Estonia are Tapper in Tallinn and Rock'n'roll club in Tartu where happens all these underground and normal concerts. My favourite concerts were all in Lithuania. There is really good crowd!!!

17.  Name same worth bands in your opinion about Estonia and worldwide. What do you know about Russian extreme scene and can you name some bands from it, which you like?

Thon: When I think at my music collection I recall Russian bands like Drama, Ragor, Einfall, Kartikeya, Theosophy. And from older bands Nosferatos. Greetings go out to Roman “Thomas” Osnovin, I do not know if he still remembers me, but it is over 10 years ago. I was in Manatark and Thomas was in Postmortem (Est) we both were the support acts for Mayhem. I remember we were having some alcohol in the backstage and talking about metal and equipment, it was cool. There is probably more Russian music in my collection, but I can`t remember at the time.
As of Estonian and worldwide the list is big, you can`t point out only some, there is so much great music and bands out there and I do not mean just metal.
Oliver: In Estonia i'd like to mention Aghor, Catafalc, Tharaphita. With them we have performed the most.
Henri: In worldwide there are so many good bands and I think there is 
no need to name them all out. From our country were my favorites Kalm and Manatark, but they are not active anymore. Now the front-bands who are still performing on stage are Metsatöll, Tharaphita, Aghor, Catafalc, Tapper...  and of corpse Urt and Sõjaruun. From Russia we don`t know very many bands, but I´ve seen that Psilocybe Larvae from St. Petersburg is really good. 

18.  Tell about your tastes in cinema and literature. Do you got some inspiration from such things?

Henri: Yes, of course we get some inspiration from literature 
and other stuff. Mainly from historical, philosophical, magical, horror and sci-fi things.
Thon: Some years ago I used to watch almost all the new blockbusters, 
but with time there is too much movies, books and music coming out everyday, so you just can`t anymore. From time to time I usually visit Apollo (Estonian major book, music and film store) and buy their discount stuff. I have to admit that I have already lots of books at my home that I bougth, but have never read, but I will read them – in the future. Speaking of music, inspiration is everywhere, also when I drive my car to work for example.

19.  Your daily hobbies, interests and activities behind the music?

Sander: I'm really interested in photography and occasionally go fishing. Also I'm interested in stuido production. I built a little home studio where we recorded and mixed Urt's last album also.

Thon: I am a family man so I live a normal family mans live so to say. And of corpse deal with my studio and several bands/projects most of my free time. So mostly hobbies, interests and activities still revolve around music.

20.  Do you got some final words of House Of The Whipcord Zine and its  readers?

Henri: Our materials and more info from bandcamp and facebook. Stay pagan!
Thon: Yes, visit thon.bandcamp.com  https://www.facebook.com/urtofficial 
and also check out our music/videos in youtube.

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