Interview for "BEAST OF PREY" Magazine (Poland),
- Hi, Ash! I’m so glad that you agreed to spend the time for responding to this interview!
- Zdravstvui, Tomazs! It pleasure time for me again to talk with Polish people. And our special hi and love to all those visited our Poznan performance this march!
- First I’d like to ask you about the climate which is at your place in Archangelsk because we’re melting in the 40-degrees heat here. I’m currious how the current season in Archangelsk looks like?
- As You may be know, our city, the city of archangel Michael, lies in the delta of Nothern Dvina river, very close to White Sea. Its a very specific place, full of unique Beauty and strong, pure Russian spirit. The usual weather here is wet, rainy, - and very snow in winter. But some last summers we fill the real hot in Archangelsk, sometimes its about 40 C heat happens here, too – and, as for me, it is more problem then 40 C frost.
- I asked that question not without cause because as you have said you’re very inspired by the nature of Nothern Russia, especially Soulvetsk Islands. I suppose that they’re indeed a beautiful and full of magic areas.
- Yes. This summer I’m visited Soulovki again, and had the great 2 weeks sailed across the arctic White sea. Here, in my region, there are some ancient forest and sea-coast Ortodox monasteries here, too. And, the monks built them in a very beautifil places, everytime...
- Ok. Let’s come to the point: to the music of MOON FAR AWAY. Your beginnings were with two demo tapes „Slovisha’s Songs” and „PRA”. Since I haven’t heard those materials and I suppose that they aren’t available to hear already, please, define precisely how the MOON FAR AWAY face aspect look like on this materials?
- Well, You may listen most part os songs, included to these demos on our firs CD, “LADO WORLD”. Of cause they were remastered, and some – re-recorded. 2 or 3 songs from demos was not included on CD – I was not satisfacted their sound quality and artistic level at that momemt. So, I think, You don’t lost to much, if You will not listen this material. „Slovisha’s Songs” was released in 200 copies, and “PRA”... sorry I really forgot it. Today the tapes are not in distribution, of cause, and for me its just the memory about first MFA steps.
- How was the origin of MOON FAR AWAY? In which circumstances have you called your group into being and what was your motivation to create exactly that genre of music?
- Some years before MOON FAR AWAY I was a member of number of local bands, which played post-punk and axperimental music. And I learned many kinds of music from classical, art-rock and different indies to industrial death-metal and so one. And I find for myself albums of 4AD & Hyperium artists, more folk and gothic vein, I really find myself. And I understood, that its possible for me to add something in the music of the world, to birth some new ideas, to speac some original words... MFA stayed the best form for my activity in these fields of sounds and spirituality. I’m going this way about 10 years – and, - my God! – its the most true way for me. Since 2002 we going this way together with Anastasia.
- Your official debut is the „Lado World” album from 1997. You’ve claimed that this album has been dedicated to the Earth. How (from the perspective of the time) do you approach this material?
- At this period I was very fascinated by Antique tradition, ancient Greek art, philosophy and the view on life and around world. I learned ancient Greek language and try to read some classical books in original. So, thats why You may find some pagan elements on “LADO WORLD”, and the dedication came from those my passion. Antique tradidion – its just like childhood of humanity, it’s paganism was one of the first steps of spirituality and the basis of European culture, the Earth, from which the Corn grown. Even today, when my oun philosophy was really changed, I find thirst MFA CD very important for our evolution.
- How is your opinion about pagan tradition? Unfortunately by the cause of the Church many of that traditions have been erased in a sizeable manners. How’s your opinion about this topic?
- Its a very hard question to discuss, because of their ideological aspect. I just think that the Stone Age was replaced by History, Antique period – by Middle ages, primitive spirituality – by paganism and gods, and paganism – by Christianity and God. History is a process, moving the Man to grow from Earth to the Sun, from the animal to God. Its just the rule – the new kills the past often.
- In my opinion your second album „Sator” is much more mature and much more spiritual album at the same time. How’s your opinion about this album?
- Yes, I think, its more mature work of mine, as a composer. And it is much more closer to my today philosophy, being into esoteric-Christian tradition, and, musically, in ritual-ethereal style. This album is more integrity, too, - its the single composition, from the beginning to the end. Shadowplay will be re-release this album in the end of 2006, with exclusive video & photo section.
- Since „Sator” many things have changed. There’s no Heleg with us anymore and Anea was replaced by Anastasie. Especially the change of the vocal was propably the best thing you decided to do because the voice of Anastasie is just enchanting. How did it happen?
- First of all, I’m a great fan of female vocal, deep and clear, especially the folk-manner. I liked very much the Anea’s voice, she have a uniqie timbre. But, in some musical aspects she limited me, as a composer. When she became a mother and distanced out of music, I invited Anastasia to take part a project. Since we are work together.
- Exactly, and how are You, Ash? I know you play many instruments and you compose particular pieces. Are you a self-taught person or do you have a musical education background?
- I have not special musical education, and, of cause, I’m not the professional musician or composer (I think, it is possible to hear in our music). Anastasia is no professional, too, - I just have teached her to sing some folk songs some years ago, and her vocal level today is the result of her excellent talent only.
- Ok., go further to your latest album „Belovodie”. To me it’s the one of the best albums of last year and propably the best of „ritual neo folk” genre. How long were you working on this album?
- I needed some years to form the album in my mind before the recording... The first version of one of „Belovodie” tracks, „Na Zore”, we recorded during the work on „Sator” yet. We started to record the whole album in 2003, and finish it in spring 2005. We worked at our home studio, just doing some breaks for concerts.
- The most enchanting things in this album are splendid sound and gorgeous mystical climate since the first second of listening. You’re propably very proud of this album, aren’t you? Which feelings were accompanying you during the creation process of „Belovodie” album?
- I felt the great duty to make this work to the end. And I was absolutely devastated when recording and mastering were finished... Some months later I understood - we created good music...
- Mentioned album has been released by two companies – French Prikosnovenie and Russian Label Shadowplay. How did it happen? By the way, Brudenia wasn’t interested in publishing this piece?
- Unfortunatly, Brudenia don’t release new CDs now, the label was frozen some years ago. Anyway, PRIKO and Shadowplay did everything in the best way!
- The very important thing are your concerts as well. You’ve had quite a lot of concerts so far. I’m currious what do you think about live acting/playing? How do you treat the concert with a real audience?
- Some years ago MFA, from pure studio project, became a concert band. And we are fell the great power playing the concerts – it is so pleasure to present people the better part of ourself... Its like a mistery, in which we try to draw an audience. As said the Conductor in Fellini’s “Prova D’Orchestra” film (one of my favorite films): “Music is sacred, every concert is Messa”. It’s my point of view, too.
- Few months ago you were having concerts in Poland – in Poznan, with DESIDERII MARGINIS and HOROLOGIUM. What do you think about that show? I was standing speechless during your concert – like the others there.
- Great thanks to all of Polish, Italian, German and Russian people, who visited our Poznan live, again! And special kisses to Johan, HOROLOGIUM, and, of cause, Szymon and Iwona from Wrotycz. It was a outstanding experience for me and Anastasia. DM and HOROLOGIUM did great performances, I like their kind of music very much, DESIDERII especial. I hope, they liked our songs, too... And we’re spent our time great in Poznan, its very interesting place.
- I know it wasn’t your first visit in Poland. I’d like to ask you what do you think about Poland then? I hope it wasn’t your last visit in our country...
- We are very hope so, and ready to play in Your country again.
- I hope so. I’d like to ask you about your clothings which you wear during concerts. I suppose that this question has been asked hundreds of times but why do you wear these masks and white outfits? What does it represent? Which meanings and symbols do they carry?
- ...I remember, once, after our concert in Vjatka city, we have met one of the listeners, who very want to talk with us. Don’t know why, but when I looked to him, I thought: “it’s disguised black-metaller, or, may be, the guy from FSB” (todays name of KGB) - he was dressed very well but had very long hairs, and was very serious. So, he ask me: “Please tell me one thing about Your masks and clothes: is it some analogous to Ku-Klux-Klan?..” It was rather strange to hear for me, and I begun to explain him some our artistic ideas. But he interrupted me and resolutely said: “Ok, I will ask You this question in another way: what do You think about niggers???”:)))
Our masks and clothes symbolize, what the real artist is someone who forgets his face, private life, and, as medium between people and God, let to higher language to speak through himself. Almost like a monk, may be...
- Ok., changing the topic a bit, not so long ago the second part of compilation „Colours of Black” has been released. This compilation represents Russian underground stage very well. I know you were an initiator of making this compilation so please decribe the musical stage in your country for us. What would you recommend to our readers?
-Well, I think, Russian scene is one of the most progressing in the world. I have to say, even some bands are not so professional or good recorded, but really charismatic! – unfortunatly, I may find this thing not so often in the European scene today. If to speak about dark-folk – the best are NEUTRAL and, especially, ROMOWE RIKOITO. Also, I’m very like beautiful dark-folk of BLOOD & SAND from Saratov, but the band still haven’t CD (You may find one of their tracks on “Colours Of Black Vol. I”). I will recommend to You my favorite goth-neoclassic LACKLUSTRE MIRROR band and their ethereal sub-project called DECEMBERED, of cause, CAPRICE from Moscow with their outstanding „elven” and baroque music, and the charming girls band from St-Petersburg called R.REFUGEE (ex ANNO DOMINI). There are some good electro/ebm bands here (like intelligent and patriotic music of T.3.R., and also NECRO STELLAR or PURPLE FOG SIDE), too. Another great band called THEATER OF POISON, they play unique music between gothic, post-industrial and wild experiments with sounds and words. Sometimes I listen old Rissian rock and pop-projects, like PIOTR MAMONOV and INNA ZHELANNAYA and, of cause, many of Russian true folk-groups (actually, its my favorite music genre). But I think its not so interesting for You.
- There’s one more thing which I must to ask about. What is the meaning of the upside-down „A” letter in the name of your band? I know you reveal this thing unwilingly but maybe I could take this information from you out?;))
- Yes, its hard to “translate” any symbol to human language, but I’ll try... Upside-doun “A” in the center of MOON FAR AWAY name is just the element of MFA’ Symbol, in which that latter is like the Gate, the Funnel, transferencing immortal Ideasand Spirit from Higher One (first Sun of the Symbol), to the Lower One (the second Sun). And the process inscribed to Year Circle, which may be understood as Eternity symbol... Hope, my thoughts are clear for You/
- How about your beyond-musical interests? I know you write things to Shadowplay magazine. What else then?
- Please, no questions about our out-of-musician interests, job, etc. The music is the more important thing, You don’t need to know anything more about our persons. MFA music will say You everything.
- Our time is nearing to an end. So tell me when we can expect the new album of MOON FAR AWAY? And of course – the last word is yours. Thank you very much for your time and greetings from Poland!
- First of al, excume me for my terrible English – of cause, I prefer to talk in Russian. No concrete info about the new MFA albums – just wait, and You will hear it! Anyway, it’s no time to say last words now!:)
All the best to You, our Slavonic brothers and sisters!