Out of the ashes of the former Wartha from Belarus rises the now Vojstrau. With the last Wartha release being the epic “Azure Lakes” from 2015, a Vojstrau release would have a lot to prove to match its greatness. Fortunately for us, the recently released “Vasmikancovaja” does just that, while also introducing us to a new style and direction. Blending some heavier material with some familiar Wartha touches seems to be a solid start for this project going forward. I was able to speak with Oleg Zelyankevich once again (the sole member of Vojstrau now) to discuss the new direction, the new name and the new album, check it out…
Congratulations on the amazing new album “Vasmikancovaja”… have you received any feedback regarding it so far?
“Thanks! I’ve gotten mostly positive reactions and I need more. There can’t be too much feedback.”
So I have a lot of questions regarding the transformation from Wartha into Vojstrau… why did you feel it necessary to change the project name?
“I just was not OK with band name. It was a horrifying transliteration from my native language, that had too many equivalents in other languages and cultures. For example: one German town is named like that. I had no idea about that. Also, there was catastrophic changes in line-up, so… Here we go again, with new a new name, shining bright.”
I don’t have enough experience as a music instruments player, so I needed some help
What does Vojstrau translate into English as well as the album title “Vasmikancovaja” ?
“The word “Vojstraŭ” is an old version of “vostraŭ”(востраў in Cyrillic). “Island” in English and “Vaśmikancovaja” (васьміканцовая) is “vosiem”+”kančatak”. “Eight pointed” in translation.”
I am huge fan of your previous release (“Azure Lakes” from 2015) What direction did you want to take this new album that was different than “Azure Lakes” as well as what you wanted to keep as part of the new album?
“I wanted to make things more solid, more interesting and more honest. I think, this kind of music must tear soul in pieces, transmit the pain, work as visionary art. It does not mean, that there must be no “light” and happy songs – there is and there will be more. But the feeling and image transmission is the point.”
You have opted to take this project on all by yourself as far as vocals and all instrumentation, was this a decision you consciously made or were you not happy with collaborating with others? What are the biggest challenges and rewards of doing this solo?
“Well. I wrote all the music and lyrics. I don’t have enough experience as a music instruments player, so I needed some help. Previous line-up had some problems with time and other stuff… So, other helpful musicians helped me record and mix my stuff. Wonderful. It was like you have a full band line up, but, in fact, you don’t, All things were the same, but a bit faster. I liked that. The only possible challenge is contacting person: not all musicians will understand your raw material and play it correctly.”
After that comes recording, production, sound engineering, etc. That’s all. Easy
What do you think style/genre Vojstrau is as far as a metal sub category? Is it a different category than you would have put Wartha in?
“No. Mostly the same stuff. I let listeners decide about categories, styles and sub-genres.”
Are you approaching the writing process differently now? What are the steps you go thru to create new songs?
“I was always writing all the music and lyrics. So, there is no difference between then and now. I only changed bands name. And about steps… Really, don’t know what to say. I have an inspiration – I write a track. After that I have a raw-piece of a future song. If I like it, I will work with it more closely, put some more details and accents. After that comes recording, production, sound engineering, etc. That’s all. Easy.”
The entire album is in Belarus as opposed to some English tracks on “Azure Lakes”… was there any specific reason for this or just happenstance?
“Yeah. I wanted to make my first “Vojstrau” work in Belarus. I think, there will be more English songs later, why not? I know, that some fans appreciate it, but also, there are some guys (not from Belarus) willing to hear mostly Belarus stuff. I don’t know what to do, so, I think, I will keep it a bit random for some time)
Is there any sort of specific concept or idea behind the tracks on the album?
“Of course. The concept is based on the idea of archaic, primordial light, that can guide a way through blackest darkness, through abyss of obscurity and helps to once again find yourself. Even if you were broken and shattered it will heal you. It also refers to the history of Belarus.”
Did you have other tracks that were written but didn’t work for one reason or another to put the album?
“Opposite. Originally there were less tracks. For example, the first track of the album was the last one to be recorded and added. There was a several months difference between the first mixes of other songs and recording start of “Vasmikancovaja” track.”
What have you found the most difficult aspect of doing all the music on your own now?
“Learn to play guitars, or you will end like me. If I was a multi-instrumentalist with a collection of guitars I would make music faster. Because I wouldn’t have to go and teach some guy to play my stuff. More “steps” – more difficulties.”
Would there ever be a chance that others might become involved at some point either for writing, recording or playing live?
“Yes. It would be nice to play live once more.”
Any favorite releases from 2016?
“Insomnium – Winters Gate \ Helion Prime – Helion Prime \ Warduna – Runaljod – Ragnarok \ Raven Throne – Šliacham zabytych”
Be honest. 🙂