Interview for "MOONLIGHT SHADOWS" Magazine (Greece),
- Good evening. All the best here – we works with news songs, and our Homeland is still the greatest and most beautuful place place on Earth. About MFA’s concerts outside Russia – everything was excellent. We played in Poland and Belarus, and had a very good experience to talk with non-Rusian speaking auditory. And it was not unfaced “crowd” – we spoke a lot with many people after the concerts, and have a great number of new friends now. Thanks them a lot.
- In some photos that I’ve seen from live shows of yours, you seem to give a “ritualistic” dimension to your concerts in a way that, at least judging from what I can see on the pictures, adds a lot of mystery on stage. Do you enjoy playing live, or you do it just to promote your music, without associating this procedure with any deeper sensational, mystic feelings and experiences?
- Some years ago I really dont liked play any concerts. May be because of this I don’t felt myself really ready to talk with people face to face... So, in the very beggining, MFA was a totally studio project. After releasing of our debut CD “LADO WORLD”, and, especially, the second one, “SATOR”, we received many invitations to play concerts. I changed some my ideas about live showes and understood, that it really possible to do strongly conceptual, in MFA vein. And when Anastasia joined MFA, it became possible. Today the concerts is a very important part of our activity, we played in many cities of Russia. And yes, we try to talk with our concert auditory not as pop-group, but on a language of higher Images and ideas, in the fields of art-rituals. No words on stage, nothing except music and songs...
- You are one of the most known gothic bands from Russia, so you’re the most appropriate person to ask you about the gothic movement in your land. Can you give us some general information about it? (other bands, live shows, magazines).
- Well, I may talk about it a lot... To my mind, Russia has a very interesting and strong gothic-dark scene today. Many our bands bases their music on the great Russian culture, and it’s gives best results! During some last years Russian scene presented to the world some oustanding bands like CAPRICE (neo-classic from Moscow), ROMOWE RIKOITO (dark-folk, Koenigsberg), THEODOR BASTARD (ethno/dark-rock from Sanct-Petersburg), NECRO STELLAR (dark-electro, Moscow), KRATONG (dark-experimental, Koenigsberg), CISFINITUM (ambient-experimental, Moscow), NEUTRAL (dark-folk, Moscow), MAJDANEK WALTZ (neo-folk from Rjazan). And I’ll be recommend to You such bands and projects like EMILY A.SAAEN (beautiful ethereal), Moscow’s LACKLUSTRE MIRROR (neo-classic/dark-wave) and their sub-project DECEMBERED (ethereal/ambient), THEATER OF POISON (outstanding dark-experimental!), T.3.R (patriotic EBM), REQUIEM FOR FM (synth-goth), ANTHESTERIA (dark-ambient/neoclassic), CANONIS (romantic darkwave), VISHUDHA KALI (folk-ambient/traditionalism), ANTISISTERS (dark-electro), PARA BELLVM and DOPPELGANGER (gothic rock), OTTO DIX (dark-wave), RITUAL FRONT (neo-folk), HOLOCODER (military/EBM), NOISES OF RUSSIA (noise/experimental), AETERNA ANIMA (esoteric/ambient from Siberia). Many of these bands took part in “Colours Of Black: Rissian dark scene 2CD compilation” released by Shadowplay Records (www.shadowplay.ru/label, www.shadowplay.ru – magazine), our label, the main goth label in Russia. And some bands released on Shadowplay their albums. This year was released the second part of the compilation, including 37 bands from our country. Another label, Gravitator, started his activity a year ago and bases on most old Russian gothic internet-portal, www.gothic.ru. Among the best paper goth-magazines – “ROCK ORACLE”, “R.I.P.” “GOTHLAND” and “DARK CITY”, there is a great number of gothic internet-sites, too, - my favorite is SEIDR, Russian neo-folk home (http://seidr.woods.ru) and Belorussian STIGMATA (www.stigmata.name). I think, everything goes in a best way with this music in my country.
- MOON FAR AWAY. Beautiful name!
- Thank You.
- What does it mean? In my opinion, it goes hand-in-hand with your music, as it has this melancholic and dreamy aura that your albums are full of…
- Its hard to talk about the Symbols and Names, to “translate” them to another language... Well, I’ll try again. In the first days of MFA existance the image came to my head, and some time ago my friend-artist created a picture: two flowers in a desert – and a Moon in a sky overhead them. The Moon at the picture looks like a third flower, as a twin of these Earth creatures... That picture is a kind of analogy of verbal image MOON FAR AWAY, I think, something symbolised the sadness of being Here, and remembering the High World, from which all of us came to Earth. I hope You understand me.
- All the songs in your third album “BELOVODIE” (translated from Russian as White Water Land) are traditional ones, collected by the White Sea coast (“Russian North”), Archangelsk region, Russia. Can you give us some information on those songs? How old are they? Do they have a special meaning for you? Why did you choose those ones? What about the region of Archangelsk? Can you describe this place to us, in a few words?
- Well, at first, the Russian release of “BELOVODIE” (Shadowplay Records) is longer for one song, and that song written by me, not traditional. As for the traditional songs, collected on “BELOVODIE”, some of them I find during our folk expeditions in my Archangelsk region (it is a VERY folk-lore rich region of my country, and the great number of collectors of deep and clear Russian traditions worked here, gathering songs and folk handicrafts, which keeped here in inviolability, may be because of fact, that the Mongol-Tatars igo never been here and the lands stayed free all the time). And some I learned being a member of Russian North folk-theatre SLAVUTNITSA, in which I took part for 5 or 6 years. I learned these songs from old people, and it was a really very important experience for me. It is very difficult to say, how old these songs – of cause, all of them changed in their history. There are some songs, dedicated to concrete historical ivents, mut most most of them are lyrical or strongly ritualistic, and analysing the text, we may assume, that they older than 5 o 6 centuries. But, often, we may think, that its just a variant of more ancient text.
I know many more another North Russian songs for playing as MOON FAR AWAY, and, may be, we will be record some of them in a future. But, we don’t want to create “BELOVODIE Vol.2”, anyway.
- Was it an easy job to re-arrange those songs? What direction did you chose when re-writing them, as far as the instrumentation of the songs is concerned? Despite all of them being traditional ones and not your songs, the album is governed by a general melancholic mood that makes it hard for one to believe that this is a mere compilation of re-arranged traditional songs. What sort of feelings did you wished to fill this album with?
- I know that songs a long time, and the idea of “BELOVODIE” album was born in one of the moment, when I sang some songs and plaing some chords on guitar and keys. And the main idea of “BELOVODIE” is to re-create the soudscape or arragement of these songs, which they are hes in Higher Dimensions, in a Worlds of absolut artistic freedom! Yes, we never changed anything in texts or words, or singing manner of the material, but we try to add them by possible harmonies, and to do it by the Orders of Beauty, which used their ancient authors.
- The images of the booklet of the Russian version that I own are full of dark and grey colors, whilst many religious symbols (and to be more specific crosses) appear all over the pages of it. How important is religion in your life? Are the crosses a hint that you’re religious persons, or it has a different meaning, a different kind of symbolism that I failed to discover?
- Yes, the artwork of Russian release of “BELOVODIE” is full of Ortodox crosses, the photos was made on Soulovetsk islands and the coasts of White sea. I find it really beaufiful, even You don’t religious person... It was an ancient tradition between Russian sailors: if their was in a great sea storm, they prayed God to save them. And if they was keep alive, they create by hands a great wooden cross right on the sea cost. It calls the Promised Crosses... The Ortodox Cristian spirituality is something very important for traditional art ant view to world in my land, something single with Russia, in general.
And yes, I’m into Ortodox Christianity, and try to go this way in my life. Anastasia is not so religious, but she is practicing yoga. But it is not a problem between us.
- What are the lyrics of these songs about?
- The most wondeful thing in all of this – sometimes I really can’t say what is the song about! Well, of couse, they are consists of ancient, but translatable words, but... The meaning of song is more great, then just the summa of words meaning. Thats why the singing of these songs is a living ritual – some minures during the song You live the life of the unknown author... And sometimes I think, that all traditional songs just parts of one great Book or Opera, hidden from us by the Time.
- The worldwide marketing of your latest album is handled by French PRIKOSNOVENIE label. Which are the reactions/ feedback of the European magazines about your music? I suppose many of them haven’t heard of you before. Are you satisfied? Has the mission been accomplished, in the sense that finally more people have listened to your music? I am referring to people outside Russia, Ukraine and Belarus (places where you were already famous).
- Yes, I read only positive reviews about “BELOVODIE” in music magazines and Internet-sites from all over the world. I hope, our music will help to people to touch the unique culture of Russia, ant the auditory in my country – to realize themself in their soul. Yes, I satisfited it, let it be as God wish.
By the way, we have never been in Ukraine! And I think, Ukrainian people steel knows our music not so well, as French or Polish, for example.
- Do you think the tradition of your homeland has an influence in your music? In case you weren’t from Russia, would you still make the same kind of music? Is the environment/ climate of your land, an influence?
- I really hope, MOON FAR AWAY is a true child of Russian culture. And we will to go this way – in a musical and lyric fields. Today I have some ideas of new MFA albums, which will be more into Russian methaphisic and spirituality. Of cause, I’m very interested in a culture, folk-traditions and philosophy of another countries and peoples, but I feel myself Russian, first of all. And I’m certain: every man which is without any roots, culture and traditional spirituality of his own land – just a dead man, a future victim of invisible monsters of globalism.
Russia is a GREAT country with greatest culture, history – and future. We dont care about that real information war, which is against Russia and Belarus from US and world’s shadows... It’s just a policy of lie! Anyway, the time of Russia is coming again, and, I think, our country will save the world from global destructive powers.
- Ash, how did you start playing music? Have you begun from an early age? Which was the first instrument that you learnt to play?
- Some years before MOON FAR AWAY I was a member of number of local bands, which played post-punk and axperimental music, sometimes rather extremal in sound. All these bands had not releases, except SIX DEAD BULGARIANS, old-school industrial project from Archangelsk, - “THE RESIDENTS from the Russian North”, - with which I recorded some tracks together. 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 learned to play the guitar when I was 14, and I still often creat songs, using this instrument. Today I also play on keys, different whistles and percussion, and another instruments.
- Can you offer some information on the other members of MOON FAR AWAY? What’s their contribution in the process of writing new songs?
- No other members in MOON FAR AWAY now, except our friend Heleg, who is not a musician, but only photographer and the spiritual chain of the band.
- What’s music for you, dear Ash? A way to express yourself or a place to hide yourself into when problems come up?
- I try don’t hide myself from any problem or something else. I’m not a monk, I’m living in the World, and I think, that every man must to service to its society. God presented a gift of Music, and it is just a perfect kind of living, felling, and servicing to people, for me.
- Over the last years, digital sound has taken music by storm, in all its forms, in all its expressions. Do you approve of this digitalization of music, especially regarding the procedures of recording music at a studio? There’s a certain amount of people, presumably vinyl-lovers, which support the idea that analogue sound and old-fashioned methods of recording music is still the only way to write good music. What’s your point of view?
- I really don’t care about it. I think, “the vinyl-only loving” is just the kind of fetishism. Yes, I like vinyl sound too, but its not the principal thing for me, as for some my friends, who made from LPs real cult in their lifes. I’m dont like fanatism in every form. To my nind, sometimes vinyl is really bad – for example, it impossible to listen vinyl on the way or in travel – but I like to do it very much! Its not so important, if You listen vinyl, CD or mp3 in Your Walkman. Its more important - TO LISTEN GOOD MUSIC!
Interviewer: John Zikos
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