“TRIUNITY” is a conceptual split-album of three Slavonic groups: OPRICH (Russia), PIAREVARACIEN (Belarus) and CHUR (Ukraine). The project “Triunity” is to express historical solidarity of the Slavonic nations and their kinship of cultural roots, and, at the same time, underline the unique features of each nation’s heritage. The album is released by Casus Belli Musica (Russia) as a limited edition hand-numbered collection CD. Recently Metalshock Finland had a chance to interview the TRIUNITY Project members, please join the conversation…
Hello, i’m Kostya, welcome to Metal Shock Finland! How are you?
OPRICH: Hail, Kostya! In fact, things aren’t bad. We constantly receive reviews on CD “Triunity” project, and all of them are good. At the same time, we aren’t idle, but work on our new material.
PIAREVARACIEN: Hi! Things go pretty good, thanks! The Triunity project has been just released and we are really glad that the work is over. I think many listeners were waiting for the release and finally it came out!
CHUR: Frankly speaking, it’s something wrong with my mood – I’m ill, and got tired a little bit. The main thing is that everything is good with my family.
To start, can I get some background on the band biography?
OPRICH: Up to date from the group’s previous line-up only two persons are left: I and Pustosvyat, who has played the bass for a long time, and now he is just a co-author of our music, and who is not included in our concert line-up. The first time we went on stage far back in 1994. At that time we played malicious and quite minimalist hardcore in the band called Contra. Till 1998 we were accumulating our musical skills, from time to time playing in Rybinsk and making attempts to record our stuff. It was a golden underground time – the time of simplicity and sincerity. As I have been fond of history since my childhood, images of Russian national art began to appear gradually in our music and lyrics. Then in 1998, old Contra went out of existence. The new band concentrated on pagan metal at once. The flutes appeared among other instruments, and our melodic patterns were directed towards Russian folk and in a way evaded from traditional hardcore. By the way, the song “The First Wintry Touches” from our new album “Birdless Heavens” can serve as an example of our creative work from those far times.
We took this song from the past, dressed it up in rather an advanced arrangement, and recorded it. The band’s line-up changes have been taking place since the day of foundation. People came, being involved by an interesting art project and then left, either being exhausted in music, or, on the contrary, having found an own musical vision and decided to create their own project. As Rodoslav did (Krynitsa, Temnozor), who started his creative activity in our Oprich.
I am, as an author of lyrics and some parts of music, influenced by my historical education in no small measure. In spite of the Soviet education system (one of the best in the world) went out of existence together with the USSR, professional and talented teachers still remained in Russian universities. And I was lucky to be well-educated in such an environment at the University of Yaroslavl. Unfortunately, I had to interrupt the follow-up scientific activity right at the very beginning because of some life circumstances, but today I use and I increase constantly my obtained knowledge and skills of work with historical sources (ancient texts, folklore).
Also outside the stage, Pustosvyat, as I mentioned earlier, and our studio member Mikhail, responsible for all parts of folk instruments (we constantly increase their number) as well as sound engineering and mastering, cooperate with us taking part in music composing and recording.
PIAREVARACIEN: The band appeared on scene in 2006, since that we have had many gigs in Belarus, Russia and in Ukraine. For this time we have been working with different musicians, till we got the current line-up.
CHUR: I created CHUR in 2005 as a studio project. People liked it. I tried to create a group, invited adherents and for some time CHUR played with in different line-ups, but then it became clear to me that rehearsals, organizational issues and performances are not the things I would be desirable to spend my time for, and now CHUR is a studio project again. I consider it a good thing as now nothing will actually disturb my music creation.
What lyrical themes do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?
PIAREVARACIEN: Our major themes in lyrics are Motherland, Nature, Life and Death. As a rule we have no aim to send a particular message to the listeners. We just play music and tell what we think, feel or know ourselves.
CHUR: Nothing new. It is possible not to listen to CHUR at all – just read traditional fairy tales and listen to folk songs. The lyrics of CHUR’s songs have the same outlook on the morals, ethics, life values.
OPRICH: Such question means a certain answer full of emotions. Something like: “we want to wake you up, we want to tell you…” Probably, partly, and we really have something to tell our listeners indeed. However, it should be noted that we devoted ourselves with pagan art because, first of all, we cannot but do it. The internal necessity to express ourselves makes us to take instruments again and again – and this internal stream hasn’t grown scarce yet. I hope, such matter of things will be in the same way. The fact, that we live in the middle of the ancient and majestic land, predetermined a way of expression for our art. It is Russian traditional melodic pattern plus heavy metal in its widest boundaries. Pride and love of our land and our people make us to sing in the way we do it.
How have the gigs been that you have played?
CHUR: Not many, but enough to understand, that I don’t want to spend my time for it. I rather like to be at home and compose music.
PIAREVARACIEN: We mostly participate in Black / Pagan metal gigs. Of course our impressions depend on many aspects, they are place, time, equipment, etc. But we ought to admit that the best gigs we have ever had were In Ukraine. We really love the way we disported there!
OPRICH: During the whole time of the band’s existence we played many concerts, but all of them took place inside of Russia. At the same time, it’s quite a good thing, since our country is very big. During the recent period there was a two-year break in our concert activity, it was connected with changes of our line-up and recording of the album “North The Boundless”. After that, the group played three gigs at Russian festivals – two regional and one big festival featuring our old friends – bands from Belarus and Ukraine. In the summer-period there is a concert slack in Russia, and the new concert season begins in autumn. We’ve prepared a new program for it.
The album was released by Casus Belli Musica (Russia) as a limited edition hand-numbered collection CD. How did you met the guys from Casus Belli Musica and how you see your collaboration is and will be in the future?
CHUR: Our manager Sergey Pavlov and the publisher of CHUR Dmitriy Levashov are engaged in it. I trust them completely. It was their idea, very successful idea. I had some problems with creation of my part of the split, but finally everything came out well. That’s great. And we will look forward on what will be in the future.
OPRICH: We got acquainted with Dmitry many years ago when he wasn’t engaged in the music releasing yet. He suggested making an interview with us for his new-coming (at that time) Casus Belli webzine. Subsequently the magazine gained its popularity and authority, and Dmitry decided not to stop at what had been accomplished and created a label. At that time we were on Stellar Winter Records – well-known and respectable label, however when our album “North The Boundless” was prepared for issuing, Stellar Winter found themselves in the state of temporal laying-off. We could not wait and consequently passed under the banner of Casus Belli Musica. This label made its work professionally and in required time, and we, of course, decided to continue our cooperation.
The next step was the issue of the joint Belarusian-Ukrainian-Russian “Triunity” project, where personally I played a role of a co-author of the concept, and OPRICH was featured with three new songs. “Triunity” project, itself, is very interesting, and it received good responses and a considerable resonance that did the label well and strengthened its positions even more. Our cooperation became fuller and more various (for example, I and Dmitry created the website of “Triunity”), and the label opened the widest opportunities for us. Now we’re preparing the following full-length album for the release. However, the plans of cooperation between OPRICH and the label stretch much further, and I am sure that it will be fascinating and mutually beneficial cooperation.
PIAREVARACIEN: Dmitry was introduced to us by Oprich, though we are not yet familiar in reality. We are satisfied with the work he’s done. If he hadn’t preplanned things thoroughly the split wouldn’t have been released yet. Because there were a lot of people who took part in the work on the project (musicians, designers, artist and so on). If we’ll have a chance we will work with Dmitry, indisputably.
What equipment do you guys use?
OPRICH: Let’s begin from the instruments. Besides a standard set (drums, a bass, electro- and acoustic guitars) we apply the most different Russian folk instruments. We’ll tell about them in more detailed manner, since they are, I believe, the most interesting part of our arsenal. In fact, all our songs include the parts of flutes with different musical pitches. Also for recording, at different times, we used pipes and a dzholomiga (a double sopilka). In record sessions for “Birdless Heavens” and the songs for “Triunity” we used two zhaleykas. Zhaleyka is a peculiar and rather loud wind instrument, and its sound reminds the bagpipes a little bit. A horn and a shepherd’s horn close the list of our wind instruments. As for traditional string instruments, we used a gusli, whose sound is very organically blended with heavy guitar riffing. All this magnificence at this stage sounds only in studio recordings; however we will include some of wind instruments to our concert arms soon. For some time we used digital processors as guitar effects for playing alive, however, though they are convenient, now we use transistor and lamp effects, including custom-made ones as well. It had a beneficial effect on vivacity and density of our sound. Now the mighty roar of guitars found worthy sound application in live scenic attack of our group – the fast and ruthless attack – fast and ruthless as an arrow blow in a throat of an uninvited guest.
PIAREVARACIEN: Actually, we play two guitars, the bass, the drums and the flute. On the split we also used the acoustic guitar, and while a live set sometimes we use the duda (it’s rather close to the bag-pipe, but originally Belarusian).
CHUR: A laptop, USB-type sound card, a microphone, earphones, an electric guitar, a midi-keyboard, and electronic drums and two domras appeared now.
What bands have influenced your band and its sound?
OPRICH: So, each participant of the band will tell you about it in his own way. If we talk about influences of the general creative aspect, it is not a rock or metal group, but various collectives and performers of Russian folk music. As for metal, well, its influence is in the very wide range – so, it’s not so easy to tell about it. After all, what is the influence? For example, the drummer listened to a group, and he liked some rhythmic structures or ways of playing. After that, he applies them in our own music, however as our music initially sounds in our own way, then this method will be used in other way. Another example: our guitarist enjoyed the sound of guitars of other group. It’s impossible to copy this sound, as a lot of factors influence it – instruments, equipment, sound elicitation, sound engineer’s work – so, while attempting to come nearer to this desired sound he develops his own sound. It looks like when you say yourself: “Oh, here it is! That’s right! Definitely!” All the more, tastes change over time and the general understanding of music as harmonies of sounds and rhythms is always on the move. We never copied any group or its sound blindly, as it is just uninteresting. Music is too fine and fascinating pastime, so it’s senseless to become imitators of your idols consciously.
PIAREVARACIEN: The bands which influenced us the most are Pink Floyd, Nirvana, Burzum, Temnozor.
CHUR: It is difficult to say. There are different periods in my life – so, now I listen to one, then to another group. At the moment I listen to Eluveitie a lot, but don’t worry – the new album of ChUR won’t be similar to them at all
What is your opinion about people downloading albums from the internet instead of buying them?
OPRICH: The issue of music downloading is a big problem, indeed. A man on his way, as well as any living creature, always looks for getting something without giving anything in exchange, without spending his resources. The Internet gives such possibility. It opens wide the huge world of possibilities for the person, where everything can be taken for nothing.
At the same time, there’s no any, even formal, prosecution for such an unfair change, which can be called stealing. That is, there are no any uniform public or any other regulators for acquisition of someone’s property by means of the Internet. Only moral ones exist, but they are so unsteady and ambiguous, so they can’t become universal. As a result, (nearly) everybody download from the Internet for free.
As we have such a situation, my attitude to such people is rather complex. Certainly, there is a negative aspect of this phenomenon, and we, as a group, feel it. But at the same time, if the state of things is as it is, then it’s not easy to blame people for it. So, we need the universal worldwide regulating norms excluding any possibility of acquisition of somebody else’s intellectual property via Internet without payment. While there is a possibility not only to buy, but also to download for free, people will download for free.
PIAREVARACIEN: We think it’s OK, but if a listener likes the album he should buy it to support both the band and the label, otherwise there won’t be a chance for non-commercial bands and labels. This is the only fair way.
CHUR: We build the world around ourselves by our own money. So, if you downloaded mp3 of your favorite band, bought beer and cigarettes – then your favorite band broke up, and musicians go to work to brewery and cigarette factories.
How did you guys come up with your band name?
OPRICH: Once, long ago, when we were young and played hardcore, our group was called as Contra that means “against”. The protest condition is a natural state for young and ardent ones. Over time, having changed the style towards pagan metal, we came to a conclusion that we need a Russian name. The word “Oprich” is not a literal translation of the word “Contra”, since “oprich” has such meanings as “except”, “on the contrary”, “from the outside”, “separately”, and “against”. In other words, this name is not so much protesting, as isolating. We are on our own.
PIAREVARACIEN: PIAREVARACIEN is close to “werewolf” in its meaning. Nothing new, but we wanted it to be Belarusian and to be referred to paganism.
CHUR: I didn’t understand. If you mean how I invented the name of the band, I should tell you that in fact I didn’t think about it too long – I found it immediately.
What can the fans expect to see from you in the future?
OPRICH: We plan to record an Internet single, and issue a full-length album intitled “Birdless Heavens”. This conceptual canvas will narrate about Russian winter. Seven songs are already recorded, and now are in the process of mixing. Besides this, we’re working already on the following album as well.
PIAREVARACIEN: We don’t think it will be the same we’ve got already. It is likely to be a mix of our style with some new influences and an inch of lyrical and musical experiments.
CHUR: Absolutely new sound – I became captivated with a new instrument – a bass domra, and I refused to use the electric guitar. So, my music will contain less distortion, but more drive at the expense of the rhythm section. I will play drums myself, so don’t wait for blast beats The absence of heavy guitars and absence of the machine-gun type drums may frighten some fans of CHUR, but… I’ve already told that the absence of the group and the lack of necessity to care about a line-up for the concerts will make music of CHUR more qualitative.
Thank you for the interview! Any last words you wanna say to our readers and to your fans?
PIAREVARACIEN: We would like to thank you too! To all our listeners and fans we want to say: “Never give up! Deserve to be called European Pagans! Constantly develop yourselves! Hail the Victory!”
CHUR: Let’s buy some beer and sigarettes, and then download “Triunity” and a new album of CHUR download in mp3 format! It is a kind of sarcasm
OPRICH: If you downloaded our songs from the Internet and you liked them – don’t be too lazy, buy the CD. We certainly will appreciate it – even if the sense to sell disks disappears. We are persistent and strong. However, if you want to be together as one with the world of the powerful and majestic music called Metal, if you want to be a part of this brotherhood and support it – buy a CD. And if you are convenient for the roles of inhabitants and consumers – download from the Internet, it is your choice. But after all, I would like to finish on a positive note. Friends, I hope, we will meet you at concerts, and then hold on to your hats! You won’t find the indifferent ones!
Interview by Kostya Aronberg
TRIUNITY [Oprich / Piarevaracien / Chur] – official teaser