If you need an epic symphonic album to get you thru these dark days “Siberian Heathen Horde” from Welicoruss should be your go to listen. The latest album from the transplanted project from Russia to the Czech Republic is their 3rd full length and their first on their new label El Puerto. It also features many new and exciting twists and turns while retaining sounds more familiar to their existing fan base. Vocalist and composer Alexey Boganov took some time out of his busy schedule to field some questions for us regarding the new album, the artwork, the label and a few other questions… check it out…
Siberian Heathen Horde
Congrats on your latest release “Siberian Heathen Horde”…. how has the feedback been so far regarding it?
“Thanks! We have been waiting for this day for a very long time! Release of new album is like the birth of new person! Painfully long, but in the end you experience great joy and happiness! Reviews are great! A lot of laudatory reviews, for us the new album is a big step and pride for us all!”
Let’s go back to 2015 and your previous release “Az Ezm”…. did you already have an idea of what the new album was going to be or a direction which you intended to take it?
“Honestly, no. Not a clue. I just started to compose something new and as a result of many hours of work on the computer with guitar, something completely new matured grew.”
There was a substantial time span between the albums…..was it that long a process in preparing it or did other factors delay the album?
“When we released previous album “Az Esm”, we literally just came from Russia to Europe and process of acclimatization and adaptation, getting to know the stage and so on – went on for a very long time. We tried to play wherever possible, in fact, nobody knew us. During these 5 years, we made a giant leap after playing more than 400 concerts in Europe and introducing a lot of people to our music. It was a difficult process, but we can handle it. In parallel with this, we tried to write new songs and we had disagreements with our past guitarist Gojko Maric for a number of reasons. Because of this, the whole process of interaction dragged on for a long time, I would say at least 1.5-2 years. I tried to force the process as much as I could, but it just didn’t go anywhere. Subsequently, Gojko decided that he was leaving Welicoruss and after that few months later we completed the entire album and found a label. In general, the situation looks like that. We are very sorry that our fans had to wait so long!
I am a huge fan of the album cover, how did it come about and was the album title an inspiration for the cover or the other way around?
“I had an inner vision of how main coverart should look like. I tried to depict it on sheet and then just showed it to my friends from “Theoretical Part” with whom we have been cooperating for some time. They did what you now see under my strict guidance. I would like coverart to fully reflect the frantic, unstoppable spirit of title song and whole album – it showed the greatness and power of the atmosphere of music! Inspiration comes to me by itself, not by invitation but suddenly. It’s hard to say what inspired me in the end.”
The album has a more symphonic/orchestrated feel from the previous releases…. are you more confident in being able to structure complex vocals/programming and traditional instrumentation into tracks? Has the songwriting processed changed?
“Process of composing of song has not changed much. I wrote almost all the music, Gojko participated in several songs, which undoubtedly enriched the album. I want to say the same thing about drummer Ilya Tabachnik, who wrote stunning drum parts, made the album even more interesting and livelier. Perhaps the only difference is that before we go to the studio we spent almost a year playing songs on stage and at rehearsals and literally clearing all the dirt from the music, making it clean, powerful and breathtaking!”
I think you have successfully transitioned into lyrics in English for the album. While most acts that do this always seem to miss something making this change….how did you approach the lyrical content and making it work? Were there times that it was harder than having lyrics in Russian from a translation perspective?
“It’s hard to answer. I had no problems) I just wrote the text in Russian and then translated it into English and then my English-speaking friend checked lyrics 😉 We would like to sing in English for a long time and that finally happened. But it does not mean that we will stop singing in our native language – definitely on the next albums there will be even more Russian!”
You have been signed to El Puerto prior to the release of the album, how did this come about? Are your obligations/processes different now being on a label?
“In the past, we thought that there is no sense to have a label in our time of digitalization, but we met many famous bands, chatted with different people in business, we came to the conclusion that we still need to have someone to represent us on the world stage, to promote us and do a lot of the things that musicians shouldn’t do at all. In the past, I have done million things besides writing music. It took a lot of time and I just did not have time to make new songs, I no longer want to frustrate the patience of our fans, whom we simply lose in the process of waiting and they will lose interest in Welicoruss. As they say – one in the field is not a warrior!”
You have now made the Czech Republic home for a few years now…has the acclimation of your new home now changed your musical trajectory/direction? What is the biggest change you have developed?
“Probably “new home” influenced me somehow, but I don’t think that it concerns writing of the music itself. Composing is meditation, when I go off with my head to myself, it doesn’t matter where body is, I can be under water in this way and do the same. Undoubtedly, the beauty of Prague probably somehow influenced me, but so far I have not noticed this in terms of music :)”
I primarily think of you doing a ton of live shows throughout Europe, with the recent virus outbreak, how has this altered your tour plans? Will this hurt you financially? How do you plan on promoting the album without touring?
“I’ve already done a lot of interviews, and everyone has a question about corona! What is the panic around? _)
It so happened that in March 2020 my daughter had a birth and I intentionally did not book concerts in the first half of the year, there were literally few cancellation did not affect band much. In the second half-year, tour is scheduled for which I fear. Of course, financially it was very reflected, but we will survive that. During 15 years Welicoruss experienced a lot of problems! We promote album mainly through social networks and the Internet, which is going quite successful! At the same time, label also does a good job!”
Was there an album or artist that you used as inspiration for the album…..meaning did you try to fashion the album and/or feel similar to another artist?
“Many people say that the album is very similar to album “Abrahadabra” of Dimmu Borgir. Perhaps the sound and texture of the music are somehow similar, but for me music is completely different. When I compose music, I abstract from everything and it`s going by itself. There was no thought of copying someone or doing as they do. This is out of the question.”
Any favorite albums from 2019? Albums you are looking forward to this year?
“Honestly, I don’t follow what is happening on scene now and it’s hard for me to tell you something about that. I was impressed by the last album of Behemoth, I like the last album of the Architects as well.”
“New album is deeply personal act for us, it is the same as the first long-awaited sex with a person whom you love very much. For us it is a lot of emotions and colors and we want you to experience it – just listen to it!”
Photography: Crow Photography