Zmey Gorynich interview
I may have already “discovered” the debut album for 2018 with the first full length from Zmey Gorynich from Russia. Entitled “Mother Russia” is filled with mostly out of control, blazing fast folk metal with tons of catchy vocal lines and memorable riffs with dashes of humor and electronica. Vocalist Mityay answered some questions for us regarding the new album, the name, the label, the scene in Moscow and a few other things of note….check it out……
The debut album “Mother Russia” has been out for a few weeks now, how has the response been to it so far?
“Hello! There are hundreds of responses, and in general 90% of them are very, very positive and even enthusiastic. Well, of course there are a few some inadequate negative opinions, although it’s hard for me to understand by what our creativity might not be liked… Sometimes people just take it too (who’s very serious in neo-paganism, I think) they do not like some kind of humor based on folk and mythologies…”
Let us go back to the beginning of the band….how did you form and did you have a plan of what you wanted to sound like?
We were formed in 2012 year, it was a spontaneous, unintentional decision… Then I and Kudeyar still played in the band Izmoroz, and we were disappointed with the album “Zigomed”, we decided in a cheerful way to leave the band and make a draft response to Izmoroz and generally to ALL threadbare folk metal scene and genre. So the idea to combine folk with core appeared instantly. Kudeyar and me are very good at deathcore, djent, extreme progressive metal, so there is no problem. The problem is just in the folk-metal players, very closed on black, pagan, and therefore sounding one-sided and already very boring in hundreds, thousands of bands around the world.
The name Zmey Gorynich has an interesting origin….could you describe it to our readers and how you decided to name the project this?
“We quickly found this name in Russian mythology, which turned out to be unoccupied in metal. Moreover, this is an evil furious image – an ancient mythological three-headed fire-breathing dragon, one of the creatures of darkness and evil. He is the guardian of the Kingdom of the Dead – well, ideal creature for the metal, even black metal! Also, he is popular in Russian culture, known to everyone in the country, children like him like dinosaurs, he is a cartoon character (in which, incidentally, he acts as a rather funny fool one), in general, I think we have the ideal name, ha!”
Do you think that just because you include some folk instrumentation that you could be considered a folk metal band? Is that too simplistic a way of describing your sound? What would be the best tag or genre to put on the Zmey Gorynich sound for you?
“Of course, we are a extreme folk metal band, but due to the fact that on the one hand, we are very unusual, and on the other hand, we have a very special lyrical concept based on the traditions of Russian scoffing (named “skomorokh culture”), we prefer call our genre – lubokcore or skomorokh-metal. In fact, it ideally describes what we are doing in every way. Skomorokhi were wandering musicians-actors in Russia (before USSR times) who sang and performed songs and dances of frivolous, mocking and blasphemous content, and they were usually mummers. They practiced ritual forms of “antipodesy”. And everything in our band: music and verses and images – are done strictly by these definitions.”
“…our main musical influences are the great Russian composers”
There are so many different styles of music included in your sound…..how do you make all of them work into your own style? Is it basically “anything goes” as far as song writing goes?
“Everything is composed in advance, very thoughtfully and specially, not spontaneously:) And about the articulation of many different genres into one thing – well, we are music lovers, we love all the genres of metal, we play quite diverse music in our other projects, so it is not a problem, in fact, well, for us – for sure.”
How do approach writing the songs in general? Is there a basic structure and then parts added on or do you have full songs thought out in advance of them being worked on?
“First I compose all the verses and the exact final structure of the song, compose a chorus melody, and then Kudeyar composes guitar riffs, orchestrations and notes of folk arrangements for these basics. We always work according to this scheme.”
Do you think that singing in Russian has a more authentic feel to the tracks? How do you feel about singing in English?
“The lyrics are on the same level of importance with the music in Zmey Gorynich. It is humor, a game with Slavic mythological images, the distortion of the Old Russian language that make our band what we are. In English, this is in no way to convey, since we use a lot of specific jargon, and even very often the musical moves themselves are determined precisely by what is sung before them or what is sung during them.”
You are part of killer Soundage family of music….how did being part of the label come about?
“We have known each other for a very long time, in fact, I used to have my own label Grailight Prod. before, and many of the bands that I published were published before me at SoundAge, or they are released right now at SoundAge after releases on my label. We have a guild here :)”
Rimskiy-Korskov, Borodin and Mussorgskiy
What other bands are the biggest influence on your sound whether popular acts or not? What other things outside of music influence how you sound?
“Oh, it’s: Periphery, Devin Townsend, Guttural Secrete, Unexpect, from folk perhaps only Moonsorrow, and to a lesser extent, Finntroll. But our main musical influences are the great Russian composers Rimskiy-Korskov, Borodin and Mussorgskiy.
What sort of metal scene is there in Moscow? Is there a “folk metal” scene?
Yes, there is a huge folk metal scene here. probably we have the most folk at all. There are also many black, doom, death. A lot of very good bands.”
How do you feel about performing live? Do you have any live dates to tell us about?
“We do not often give concerts, but from time to time it happens. September 8 will be the presentation of the album, then in November we will perform at a big club folk-metal festival together with another cool folk-core band Drygva. So far, only such exact dates, but I’m thinking about organizing a big tour.”
Any thoughts on the ease which music can be downloaded nowadays without artists compensation?
“Oh, c’mon, I personally think that we artists first of all make music in order to do it, as this is our thirst for creation. All the rest does not matter!”
Favorite music from 2018 so far?
“My personal: new Skeletonwitch, Stortregn, Powerwolf, Immortal, Wallachia, Tamerlan Empire, Nekrogoblikon, Amorphis, Parkway Drive, On Thorns I Lay, Varathron, Hatchet, Obscura.”
“We advise everyone to expand your horizons in everything always and continuously!”