Tvangeste: Black Metal Interviews area

Interview with Dead Tide magazine / USA

Miron, Tvangeste pretty much disappeared after release of Firestorm. Can
you give us an update on the band's recent developments?

Well….we were promoting our CD…there were lots of news. After our CD's out we got insanely great responses....
lots of interviews (I have written about 300 interviews so far!!!…kinda work..hehe)...
we are in all major metal catalogues....great sales worldwide....
we were awarded as "the best black metal album of 2003" in Norwegian, USA, Russian, German magazines..."The best metal band" in Russia!....
Dark Symphonies, Red Stream, Century Media sale lots of our CDs etc etc etc.............
“FireStorm” was licensed by many labels like Canadian NEOBLAST RECORD (http://neoblast.com), Polish record monster METAL MIND, Russian biggest metal label CD MAXIMUM. This spring Canadian movie “Sinners and Saints” will be released on DVD. Our music was used there as an official soundtrack.

2.  The progression between Damnation of Regiomontum and Firestorm is simply
immense. Firestorm is an album that can be listened from start to finish; it
does not have a weak song and completely eclipses any previous material by
the band.  What do you feel has been the formula to success on Firestorm? Do
you think it will be possible to write a better follow-up?

He he…Thanks Mike…thanks for Your kind words….I agree –there’s a big difference between “Damnation of Regiomontum” and “FireStorm”. Mainly because of the year of production and studio where album was recorded. “Damnation of Regiomontum” cosists of old songs (1996-1999). It was kinda our promotional CD…to show our skills, band’s potential etc…so we were very surprised when Norwegian label VALGALDER RECORDS offered us a record deal. We were shocked by the responses….metal mass media have accepted our debut stuff more than good. But “Damnation…” gave us a possibility to record new stuff, to use good studio, to collaborate with the real orchestra, to invite a session drummer etc etc…it’s sad but true- money still rule this world. So if You have 100 000 -you’ll make a really good album with the “little” help of great studios like Fredman Studio in Sweden or FinVox in Finland. We got a chance to show that we are able to make good music with more than poor budget (FireStorm was recorded for $4000 in total ! ) of course there are many reasons why “Firestorm” is better …our personal skills, new members (Naturelle joined the band in 2001 specially for the new album’s creation and in my opinion she brought a lot of new fresh elements to our style).
Will it be possible to exceed “FireStorm”?…Easily!….actually this album’s too far from my opinion on “perfection” word! But we got an incredible experience in collaboration with the classical musicians, work in studio etc. So now we have much more in our minds so prepare for better stuff from Tvangeste camp in future!…

3. On a similar note, is the band currently working on a new album and what
can your fans expect?

We are working on new album’s creation together with Naturelle now. New album will be much more powerful. You’ll be able to hear more guitar riffs, more dark and evil moments. Main goal is to continue our general style – complicated structure of the music…lots of different emotions, feelings….we have lots of fresh blood to make really good and strong album. We’ll continue our collaboration with the Baltic Symphony Orchestra and Choir. The classical parts will become more interesting…we are planning to add more choirs and make all choir parts much more professional and not similar to common crowds like Therion for instance. Also we are working hard in our side projects.

4. If I am not mistaken, all the classical arrangements on Firestorm are
courtesy of Baltic symphony orchestra. Who is that group of musicians and
how did you get in touch with them? Do you plan on collaborating with them
in the future?

Actually we are all-sufficient. We are able to make all our music by ourselves. So all orchestra and choir parts were made by Naturelle and Katya (violin). Over 300 music sheets (notes) were prepared for “FireStorm” recording….it was really hard work so we are proud of the result!
Naturelle, Victoria, Katya and Vano have musical education.
Baltic Symphony Orchestra…well…it’s our local Orchestra. There are many our good friends play. They tour often (Europe mainly) so it was hard to catch them between their concert activities…. Well…for sure we will collaborate with them in future. But we are discussing with Prague Philarmony Orchestra now…so maybe we’ll try to collect more money to work with them (Rhapsody, Dimmu Borgir used them).

5. Are you still under contract with World Chaos Productions? How do you
feel about your partnership?

After “Firestorm” we are free. We got an offer to continue our relationship with WORLD CHAOS. We are still thinking….they are really great! They helped us a lot!…Their promo campaign made Tvangeste name much more known in the Metal World so I’m absolutely satisfied by the way their do their business!

6. It puzzles me how a band like Tvangeste has not been able to land a
bigger label deal. Do you think any of it can be attributed to the fact that
the current symphonic black metal scene is oversaturated with Cradle of
Filth clones and even quality bands like yours unjustly get lumped into that
group?

Well….actually all that I can answer You – if Tvangeste was a western band – we would be signed to Century Media or Nuclear Blast without any doubts. I’m not boasting…I believe that Tvangeste’s music deserves to attract biggest label’s attention but…there are a lot of bad things and problems that make our live close to hell…just an example: we need to have visas to visit almost all countries in this world….and be sure –it’s very hard to get visa for all members at once. So if we’re planning a tour in the States – we have to:
Apply for visa
Wait for 1-2months
Pay money for is
Go to Moscow on interview in USA embassy
We have to prove there that we “won’t stay.. that we have enough money, car, house, family that leave in Russia….” Etc etc…so we’ll have to prove that we’re good and only IMMIGRATION OFFICER’S FINAL DECISION allows us to go to the USA…so let’s make it clear – about a half of the band don’t have anything…and note: it’s only USA.. the same things about all major countries like UK, Germany etc…
Look: metal industry is the same business as.. hmm…trading is. So money rile everything…all musicians in this world are GOODS for sale…so just imagine – our label says “guys…prepare for a big tour together with….Opeth”…we are going to get visas and get…yeah…big “fuck off” from the embassy.
so there are many attractive goods in the western world that don’t need any visas…
and note – that’s only one bad thing I explained….we have much more bugs so we are kinda happy we are able to show our music to world’s metalheads thru the WCP’s help!

7. On a similar note, how do you feel when people categorize Tvangeste as
⌠symphonic black metal?■

Actually it’s the human’s feature “to compare…to categorize”…I prefer to call our music just “music”…or “metal music”. But if somebody wants to categorize us – not a problem! I don’t care…in my opinion we have many different styles in our music…doom, black, death, classic music…even power and heavy metal!…so let people call us as they wish. As long as they are interested in our stuff it’s ok!

8. Undoubtedly, Tvangeste is one of the better known bands out of the former
Soviet Union. How big of a demand is there for your music in the former
countries of the USSR? Is it enough to make the band some money to live from
or does it all go to cover the studio costs?

We lost $3000 of our own money on “FireStorm” recording (tickets to Poland-Russia-Poland, food, accomodation etc) and we never get anything back!…we can’t live from music in Russia…no one metal band!…it’s always funny when western musicians complain that “everything’s bad”….just imagine that usual price of the studio per hour is about $10…
Usual salary in Russia is about $200/month…he he.. so almost all of Russian bands (even very known) can only dream about true American Jackson for $1500….I play on cheap guitar made in Poland (fake Jackson DR 3). Naturelle has composed all keyboard parts on ….4 (FOUR!!) octaves midi keyboards for 80 bucks!…our previous bassist borrowed more or less bass guitar for live shows!….damn

9. Staying with the CIS theme, one of the latest developments in that region
is the rise of a strong national socialist movement in the music. What do
you attribute that to?  Do you think people in that region are losing faith
in the government and all the unsuccessful economic, social, and political
reforms, and thus choosing alternative ways such as national socialist/Nazi
ideals and even voting for a Communist party?

Actually I don’t know what to say Man…but it’s true – there are a great deal of nazi bands and this tendency is growing….I don’t understand it and I can’t accept it at all. Actually nobody has faith in government in Russia now (btw – do Americans believe to Bush after those tricks with Iraq?). I believe that it’s kinda stupid herd feelings…..one band started it…other like a sheeps…there’s no future for such way but lots of people got into this trap =(( To Respect Your Land and To Blame Jews for Everything is not the same!

10. While Tvangeste advertises a strong, admirable bond to its homeland
through the lyrics, the message sent is nowhere as strong/idiotic as bands
like Temnozor, Nokturnal Mortum, or Dub Buk, for example. What do you think
of the craft of such bands?

Well…I respect all musicians just because they make music. Good it or bad (since it could be good for somebody even if I don’t like it at all, right?=)..he he….

11. Miron, the band obviously is proud to be [P]russian yet you sing in
English. Have you thought about singing in your native tongue?

Actually our albums were released in Norway and Japan for world wide. And it’s much easier to understand English that Russian to everybody on this Earth. Plus to be honest Russian isn’t so good for metal vocals….We are planning to add some clear male and female vocals singing in Russian on our new album…but we want to be undesrtandable…our lyrics is very important to us!

12. Most of the lyrics on Firestorm are written by Alexander Marchenko who
is not a member of the band. What is your affiliation with him and how well
do you think he is able to transcend the band’s message?

Actually whole lyric’s conception, main idea and all themes were created by me. But Alexander is my good friend so I believe in his talent!…I made whole conception in prose so Alexander made it in poetry. I’m absolutely satisfied by his work. And please note – three are two my own songs, one Naturelle’s and one song was created by Vladimir Zgursky (another our good friend).

13. Tvangeste’s music contains a perfect balance of melody, emotion and
power. Which of these three is the closest to you when composing music?

I believe EMOTION….and I’d say DIFFERENCE in music. Like a forest path…You never know when and where will it lead You. I like to make music as more different and complicated as possible…not just complex chords and rhythms but complex structure of the songs…so You can’t say that ”Tvangeste play evil…or good…or dark music”…
Each of our songs contain many different emotions..love..hatred….evil…sorrow ..etc…

14. The superb musicianship showcased on Firestorm makes me ask: are any of
the members classically trained?

Yes…as I said above Naturelle (she’s classical pianoist/singer) and Victoria (she’s classical flutist/orchestra conductor) have classical education plus Vano is a classical guitarist. What a pity I don’t have anything in my head…I even can’t read notes…but maybe it’s even good? =))

15. While each song contains an amazing classical piece, particularly
touching is the interplay between the violin and the drums in the middle of
Perkuno’s Flame. Who composed such an amazing part? Does it represent a
particular story?

This theme was made by me using guitar…and it should be guitar/keys on the album but we decided to try Katya’s violin and were very impressed!…violin’s sound is absolutely stunning!…so we recorded this stuff with a strings section of the orchestra. Cezar (drummer) did a really great job there as well! Actually each part of the song is supposed to represent a particular part of the album. We even had a plan where each song were broken to the different parts and each part had some specific text (like…INTRO OF THE RAVEN…guitars/drums from the 00:00 till 01:25 – Raven’s flying…and seeing the battle under his wings…)

16. You made it no secret that you prefer studio work to playing live. How
do the other members of Tvangeste feel about live gigs? Do you feel it is
the next logical step, along with selling t-shirts, to carry the band to the
next level?

Actually we have lots of ideas about Tvangeste’s next step. One of the biggest ones will be live shows. We decided to play some shows in Europe, Russia and maybe Asia (Korea, Japan…) (we’ll do our best to make it real). Also we will release T shirts (you were right!) and silver symbols. All this merchandise will be made only for band’s inner need…not for living! I hate to sell ourselves but this way we’ll be able to make much more (instruments upgrade for example)! It’s true I don’t like live shows but band must play live to promote itself. This is the best way of promotion for the metal band.

17. What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of working in a band
with your significant other?

No disadvantages! We compose music and we like it!…

18. I recently read that you and your wife have been working on a project
away from Tvangeste. What can the listeners expect?

Well….we are trying to work in TWO projects. One of them is Norwegian-Finnish-Russia project ECHOES OF SANITY…it will be a great mix of Tvangeste, Soilwork and some horror stuffs…There are members from mentioned above countries in this project. We’ll enter studio this summer to record demo. Another project is a secret now. I can’t tell You but be sure – Your magazine will be one of the first who will get an info about it!

19. Miron, this is all I have. Thank you very much for answering these
questions and writing such impressive music. Any parting comments?

Thanks a lot for the chance to introduce Tavngeste to Your magazine’s readers. Thanks for such interesting interview.
If somebody wants to get more info about the band, please visit us at:
http://www.tvangeste.com
You’ll be able to download three free songs for evaluation

http://www.allmetalmusic.com/mp3/Tvangeste_'FireStrom'_2_Raven.mp3
http://www.allmetalmusic.com/mp3/Tvangeste_'FireStrom'_7_Storm.mp3
http://www.allmetalmusic.com/mp3/Tvangeste_'FireStrom'_8_Tears.mp3

, videos, texts and other fan stuff. If You have any questions or suggestions – please write to: post@tvangeste.com

Thanks in advance!
Michael ‘Miron’ Chirva / Tvangeste

Mike@Deadtide.com