The SLoT interview (04/2019)
|With:||Igor Lobanov, Daria Stavrovich, Sergey Bogolyubskiy, Nikita Muravyov, Vasily Gorshkov|
A little while back, I reviewed the latest album from The SLoT, the Russian alternative metal band whom I have forced into Metal Storm's sights time and time again over the years. As the chaser for that review, I was given the opportunity to ask some questions of the band, thus fulfilling one more of my life goals. Here are the results.
SSUS: Hello and thank you for doing this interview with us at Metal Storm.
The SLoT: Hi! It's our pleasure!
SSUS: 200 кВт is your first regular studio album whose name isn't numbered according to its position in your discography. What prompted you to abandon your numeric system of titles, and what is the significance of the name "200 кВт"?
We wanted something new in our way. New in everything. We were thinking for some time how to attach "8" to this album, but it didn't work out naturally, and this album is too vigorous for such an abstruse and artificial name. In the meantime, "200 кВт" absolutely reflects the album itself.
We were just kind of tired of numerology, and there was no perspective in it anymore. We should have taken the method of Morbid Angel, who name albums in ABC order. )
SSUS: This album has quite a different feel from anything you have released before, except for the 2015 single "Сила Притяжения," which seems like a precursor to this. How did your writing process differ from past albums?
Before it was ID who was preparing most of music drafts, and then we worked on it all together. But for this album it was three of us - me, Ghost, and ID - who delivered music ideas. But we agreed on the music style in the beginning.
Most of the work took place in clouds, and lyrics were written in Skype, where we discussed every letter.
live in Tallin
SSUS: How would you describe the style of 200 кВт, and what would you say about it to longtime fans who would not have expected an album like this?
I would say - HandsUP metal )) This doesn't cover all the tracks, but it is pretty close. I like the Nietzsche quote - "Selfishness in art is a self-preservation instinct" [referring to Nietzsche's reference in Ecce Homo to "that masterpiece in the art of self-preservation which is selfishness"]. Of course it is selfishness to afford such experiments. But you need to change in order to stay honest, because even the most sincere word being repeated for the 1001st time will become a falsehood. And all this fusion and multiple genres, it's what is happening now in rock music, and we have it in our album. This rocks me, and hence it will rock our fans. Anyway, this fusion has always been in The SLoT's music.
This does not fully describe the album, but I like what I found in one music magazine - "trap metal." We know that such a style exists, and it's more like rap with distorted vocals and it is what you can hear on the track "Кукушка," for instance.
SSUS: The details are somewhat lost on me as an outsider, but I understand that some of your music, particularly on this album, is quite political (I think the subject of "Ильич" is easy to guess, though). Is it risky for you to be outspoken politically, as artists in the public eye in Russia? Are you subject to scrutiny from the government and/or the media?[/b]
I'm kind of in doubt that you did get the "Ilyich" track ) I would talk about that with you online and would hear your version )) Concerning the state - it doesn't see us anyhow. Nothing good, nothing bad. We don't exist for the system.
It's muddy times in Russia. We are OK so far, but this freedom is illusive.
SSUS: For our non-Russian-speaking readers, could you elaborate more generally on the themes and subject matter of this album?
The main idea is about the person who lives in Russia, is not going to emigrate, is not a "hundred-percenter" patriot, but identifies himself with this country while he has this serious discomfort from many things happening aroundů At the end, in "Вселенная" ("Universal") we show respect to our fans; without our people we are nobody. They have been supporting us for so many years, so there is something more between us, rather than just connection between musician and listener.
still live in Tallin
SSUS: In the past, you have had great success with ballads and other quiet songs like "Зеркала," "Качели," "Ave Maria," etc., and now 200 кВт shows The SLoT being comfortable with a very electronic-focused sound, but the band always stays grounded in a heavy metal style. Do you see yourselves ever abandoning your metal side entirely, if only for an album, and releasing something that was, for example, purely hip-hop or electronica?
The power of The SLoT is in this explosive mixture. We have always had it, and I hope it will always be in our music. And we wanted to have this maximum contrast mix inside our new tracks. Not in all tracks do we have this level, but these driving heavy riffs after some electronic stuff - this is it! This is what we wanted! To give up metal? - No, it's not for us; it's like voluntary castration.
"Вселенная" is quite a ballad, I think. It just has been done in a modern way; it is how we think it should sound nowadays.
SSUS: You have so many albums to choose songs from now - when you go on tour, how do you create set lists? Are there certain songs that you feel that you always have to play?
Nikita is responsible for set lists, and it is a big relief that he has taken this!
When we are on tour to support a new album, obviously the set list is based on new songs; we can play the whole new album at such gigs. But, of course, there are also must-haves like "2 Wars", "Круги на воде" ("Circles On The Water"), "Бой!" ("Fight"), and "Мёртвые звёзды" ("Dead Stars"). You can't imagine our concerts without these songs. When we do "best of" concerts, we try to cover all periods of the band's life. Sometimes we add rarities in new versions, and lately we have also added some old stuff with new arrangements close to the 200 кВт sound.
SSUS: Now let's dig into the history of the band a bit. Why did you decide to re-record 2 Wars when Nookie joined the band?
Me and ID, we had realized that we'd gotten the voice we had always dreamed of and couldn't imagine we could have it. Of course we decided to rerecord the album. There was no way not to do it!
yep, still live in Tallin
SSUS: Back when you recorded Break The Code, how did you choose which songs to record in English? Was it a matter of choosing songs that would be easier to translate/rewrite, or were they the songs you most wanted to present to an international audience, or were there other motivations at play?
I don't even remember now. I guess the tracks were chosen by Travis Leake, who was the producer and lyricist for that album. He is the author of the English text versions, and in a couple of tracks, which we couldn't adapt, he wrote the whole texts from scratch.
SSUS: I already asked Nookie about this when I interviewed her last year, but how did her success on Голос/The Voice affect the rest of the band? What was it like for you as spectators, and did the band itself receive any significant exposure as a result?
I'd been watching "previews" on our manager's smartphone and felt shivers down my spine from how she performed "Zombie". That was the main effect on me! It was bigger than the fact that she performed on the main state TV channel for the first time.
SSUS: One of my favorite things about The SLoT is how inventive your covers are; they always add something to the original song. I would say that this has precedent as far back as End Zone's version of Sepultura's "Refuse/Resist." What is your philosophy when it comes to playing other people's music?
ID would say more about that, but, shortly, there are two points - either the track is rocking you very hardly, or you have an idea of how to make a song more interesting than original version. In the case of Sepultura it was both.
SSUS: When will you cover Высо́цкий?
Ha! This is the only rocker among the bards. If were to make a cover, he is the first option! Once we were offered to play an Okudzhava memorial concert and we said no, as it is totally not our piece of cake. We had an idea with ID to perform one Vysotsky song at one of our cover concerts, but somehow didn't do it eventually. I kinda regret itů
SSUS: You have released two full remix albums, featuring contributions from many DJs and other artists, and most recently you collaborated with Нейромонáх Феофáн on a remix of your song "Русская душа." What about remixes is appealing to you?
Someone else's point of view on our music.
SSUS: In our interview last year, Nookie mentioned plans for you to record with Grizzly Knows No Remorse. Are you still going forward with that? Do you have any interest in more involved collaborations with other groups?
Still looking forward to Grizzly Knows No Remorse's offer ))
SSUS: Question for Cache: Before The SLoT, you were in some heavier and more progressive bands, most notably End Zone. How did you make the transition from that style into The SLoT and what was your impetus for doing so?
It was this wave of alternative nu-metal and it kind of hooked me in, especially when I saw Linkin Park's "One Step Closer" on MTV. It made a really big impression; I would even say that there could be no Slot without Linkin Park.
you guessed it, still Tallinn
SSUS: Question for Nookie: What's a question that I neglected to ask you when I interviewed you last year but that you really wish I had asked (and how would you answer it)?
What creature do you associate yourself with? With Paramecium caudatum - always in motion against logic with the blunt end ahead.
SSUS: Question for ID: You've been involved with The SLoT for 17 years now and you are also the guitarist in Nookie's band. Do you have any interest in branching out on your own for a solo project, since everyone else in the band has something on the side?
Yes, my career has started in both bands from the very beginning. Maybe I'll do something solo in the future, but now I don't feel I really need it; I can fully realize my ambitions in both bands at the moment.
SSUS: Question for Nikita: You are the only member of the band who does not go by a pseudonym. Is that not something that interests you? If the rest of the band told you tomorrow that you had to pick something else to be your professional name, what would you choose?
I didn't figure out any nickname for myself when I joined the band. And honestly I didn't really want to, so I'm glad that Slot didn't push me on with this and allowed me to keep my own name. But if they didn't, it would be just "Nickname".
SSUS: Question for Ghost: Before replacing The Dude as The SLoT's drummer, you replaced The Dude as the drummer in Cache's project ModeM. Has it been difficult having to follow up the same person twice, and, musically speaking, which of these two bands is more in line with your own musical background?
It wasn't complicated for me to replace him. I've had enough freedom in both bands, and there was no goal to copy The Dude. I'd started to work with Cache in ModeM something like a year or two before Slot. And we worked on music where The Dude already had no parts. From a musical point of view both bands are very interesting; it is different and you should take different approaches in composing and performing, and this really expands your scope. But Slot is a bit closer to me, as I grew up on music heavier than ModeM.
SSUS: Thank you once more for your time. Do you have any last words for our readers?
Boys and girls, ladies and gentlemen, wherever you are, whoever you are - it is a metal storm that gets us together and lets these inside extremes protect us from extreme cataclysms from the outside; we all will be safe and sound!
Thank you to The SLoT for taking the time to answer these questions and to our own Ivor for providing the visual aids. 200 кВт is out now and can be streamed or purchased through the usual platforms.
This interview has been lightly edited to ensure the clarity of the translated responses.
||Posted on 02.04.2019 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.|
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