Arkona back in this world

arkona druidCongratulations on the release of ‘Yav’! Could you please elaborate on the album? Does it have a theme or concept?
‘YAV is a concept album. Concept not in the sense that each song relates to the previous one and the whole album is in the style of history, but that all the songs are about our world today and it describes my point of view on it. The album’s lyrics are made in philosophical manner and narrates about the world around us. The world how I see it. It also describes my feelings about some nowadays problems and opens the philosophy of my views about the future of our generation and empathy to the changes which have started.
What is the meaning behind the title: ‘Yav’?
‘Yav’ – is “Reality”. The world we live in. In slavic mythology there are 3 worlds, Yav’ (our world), Nav’ (the other world, the dark one) and Prav’ (world of gods and spirits)’
Compared to previous albums, ‘Yav’ seems to have an increased focus on composition. Am I correct and was this intentional?
‘I never do something in special. I do it like I feel it. It looks like it’s connected with the development of my perception of music. At the moment I dont perceive simple music. It isn’t
interesting to me. On our older albums I did music as I felt it in past. I can say that ‘Yav’ describes my perception of music at this moment.’

Arkona_YavIn what ways does this album differ from its predecessors?
‘I don’t know how to describe our works. Every album differs from the other one. Every song has its own tint and character. If our old albums are classified by people like folk pagan metal and it was true according to the stylistics of different elements, but this album has limited number of folk moments, in comparison to our earlier ones. I want to admit, that pagan metal is first of all based on ideological lyrics and don’t have any genre limitations. Pagan metal can be folk/black/death..etc. You can add prefix folk to our earlier albums, but you can’t do the same with ‘Yav’ because there is no folk in this album.’

We all enjoyed hearing guest musicians on your previous albums. Will we be surprised with further collaborations?
‘I don’t want to make plans, everything depends on what the time will present to us.’

arkona_forestI really like the album artwork and it seems to fit the music. Does the band get involved in choosing an artist? How does this process work? Have you worked with this particular artist before?
‘All our old covers were designed by the Dutch artist Kris Verwimp, but this time we worked with Gyula Havancsák, the famous Hungarian artist. I want to say that he really felt all the ideas and images I asked him to depict in the images of our new artwork. He literally took images from my head and painted them like I see it! He is a really talented man who draws not only with hands but with soul.
First time we had met Gyula during the Paganfest tour last year, he was on tour with his Hungarian group Bornholm. During Paganfest we became good friends with these guys. We didnt’t know Gyula draws. When our album was ready and the concept was made, we started to look for an artist who can realize my visions. Kris Verwimp is an excellent artist in his genre, but I wanted more detailed pictures this time. So we tried to look for something over the internet and designs of covers of different metal groups. When we came upon the site with gorgeous images and looked on the contacts of the artist we were amazed! That was our friend Gyula! In a minute I wrote him on Facebook something like: Dude! We didn’t know you can draw! And your pictures are amazing! During that moment we started our collaboration. And the result of it is the design of our new album.

How do you view the period between the release of the first album ‘Vozrozdenie’ and the current one?
‘There were a lot of changes during this period. We are moving ahead, step by step, over all the obstacles on our way. When we come to crossroads we choose where to go. Our ways lead us to the result we have at this moment. Since this time we have released 7 albums, signed the contract with one of the leading european labels Napalm Records and with the concert agency Rock the Nations. These things are the main news. By the way all the information you can read on our official site. I can say that there were changes in my perception of music that reflected in our last work.’

Are you excited about the tour with Eluveitie and Skalmold?
‘We certainly glad to meet our old friends! We know the guys from both groups for several years and I think we will have an excellent time together!’

With the success of Arkona, how do you feel about the increased number of folk metal bands from this region?
‘Yes, it is really noticeable and cheerful, that people go in for the art and look themselves in creativity. But regretfully, there are few true and honest groups, like elsewhere. There are single honest groups all over the world. Maybe there will be more good folk bands, who will make music not only because of fashion, but with soul.’

What are your plans, hopes and dreams for the future?
arkona shaman‘I have huge plans and dreams. To build a house, to plant trees, to bring up children.. And of course to realize myself in future creativity.’

Is there anything you would like to say to the readers of folk-metal.nl?
‘Thank you for the interview! Hope to see you on the concerts! Good luck!’

By: Michel