Hi! Tell me about Woe Unto Me. Why did you decide to name the band with such title? What kind of ideas do you explore?
Artyom: Hi! Well we have started the band in the end of 2007 and our aim was to take out all our sensitiveness, heavy personal experiences, feelings of loss, loneliness, depressive states, all our tears and sufferings and reflect everything in our music. You know we wanted to create something beautiful from all of these negative emotions and feelings cause we believe that the darkest thoughts can become the most inspiring if you use them the right way. And searching for a good name for our band we came up with an idea to name it “Woe Is Me” cause it was perfectly reflecting our ideas and creative thoughts. But some time later we have found out that there is a band in the United States with the same name playing some core music or something so we decided to change the name, but as we were so addicted already to our idea we decided to change just one word using preposition “unto” instead of “is”.
“Among The Lightened Skies The Voidness Flashed” album to be released on Sept 29. How does that make you feel? Do you feel you have put album into masses without any wishes to change something now?
Artyom: Very often it’s one of the biggest problems of the musicians I think. If your album is not released quite fast after being recorded you always want to change something, the new ideas are being born constantly so the main thing is to release the record on time while it’s still consistent with your vision, because not always the things you want to change after the recording are better than the first version. So it’s better to leave it as is. And with “Among The Lightened Skies The Voidness Flashed” we were lucky to make everything in a timely manner and for now we are absolutely satisfied with the form in which it reached the listener.
Tell me more about “Among The Lightened Skies The Voidness Flashed”? Album ideas etc…
Artyom: Just like it was with the first album this one is also a reflection of ourselves, our feelings and emotions but “Among The Lightened Skies The Voidness Flashed” is much more personal and even intimate than “A Step Into The Waters Of Forgetfulness”. It deals with the events of our personal lives, sometimes very tragic events, that’s why this album is almost a catharsis for us. It may seem less conceptual for the listener than our debut but emotionally it’s one indivisible canvas which is full of grief, regret and affliction.
Where do you take all inspiration from?
Artyom: Everywhere where it’s possible. The main source is our life of course, everything that is happening around us, everything that stays in our hearts and minds.
In your opinion, what is the best way to define Woe Unto Me’s sound?
Artyom: Heavy, sullen, grieving and devastating.
So, are you on hiatus now, just relaxed and looking for album feedbacks, or did you started to compose new stuff immediately?
Artyom: We don’t have time to relax. We are getting ready for several tours promoting our new release. The first one which is called “The Fall Of Affliction Tour 2017”will start in two weeks with our appearance at Doom Over Kiev Festival, where we will for the first time present our new material and share the stage with such bands as: Swallow The Sun, Saturnus, Clouds, Eye Of Solitude and many others. Then we will continue the tour with our friends Psilocybe Larvae from Russia, Frailty from Latvia and Nebulae Come Sweet from Belarus, visiting Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland, Russia and Belarus. And the second tour is going to take place in January and will be concentrated mostly on the Balkans. We have already announced the show in Sofia, Bulgaria on January 21st together with Ophis, Evadne, Self-Hatred and some more bands. And the rest of the shows will be announced soon, around 15 shows in general on that tour.
What are your main musical influences? How huge is their influence in your sound?
Artyom: We listen to different music and every kind of music can be inspiring and can influence our oeuvre, and it’s not always doom metal. If we speak about influences of doom metal and the sub-genres then I can name Shape Of Despair, Clouds, Hamferð, Yob and many others, but there also bands of different genres who have also a very strong influence, like Opeth, Katatonia, Mastodon, Leprous, Pain Of Salvation and many more. We are really open-minded and try to draw our inspiration from various sources. Anyway of course we are trying to build our own sound and I think you will definitely notice it listening to our new album.
Is there some well-known musician in particular that you would like to use in one of your upcoming albums?
Artyom: It’s too early to think about it at the moment. We have invited some really great musicians to take part in “Among The Lightened Skies The Voidness Flashed” like Daniel Neagoe from Clouds, Eye Of Solitude and Shape Of Despair, Thomas A.G. Jensen from Saturnus, Jón Aldará from Hamferð, Barren Earth and Patryk Zwolinski from Proghma-C, ex-Blindead, and we are very satisfied with such collaborations so I think that we will continue to invite some guest musicians to take part in our upcoming albums.
What is your personal strategy for making your music heard by a larger audience?
Artyom: Frankly speaking we don’t think about the strategy, we are just making music, we do what we love to do, we are not making any limits for our creativity by thinking about the commercial success or something like that. This is just what we feel and we are always happy to see that someone understands our feelings and maybe feel the same way. Of course we will be more than happy if we will reach the larger audience, however we are not focused on these thoughts while creating our music.
Do you have any other hobby beside music?
Artyom: I practically don’t have time for any other hobbies. I play in 5 bands, compose music for most of them, write lyrics, and I also sometimes work as a session musician. I work in a concert booking agency, organizing some tours and travelling with the bands as a tour manager, so my whole life is connected with music. Of course I have my personal life, I love to travel, I love to watch movies and read books when I have time for this. So in general music is both my work and the main and the biggest of my hobbies.
Are you all supported by your relatives towards your devotion to music?
Artyom: As far as I know – yes, most of us don’t have problems with that. My family always supported me and I’m very grateful for that. I know that I always can count on them.
How’s the metal scene in Belarus right now? Is it easy to play gigs, to buy records etc there these days? I know some bands out of Belarus, for example Gods Tower, Kaira and some more… I also heard there was a festival which has been cancelled by politics this year, sounds weird!
Artyom: Well, it doesn’t sound weird to us. Many shows were cancelled in Belarus for different reasons, sometimes politics, sometimes religion. The censorship is pretty strong in our country but fortunately it closes its eyes sometimes. We have many very good bands in different genres in our country but it’s more difficult here for the bands to promote themselves than it is in the Western Europe for example. It’s not a problem to play a small show in the club now, but many smaller venues are being closed or went bankrupt, so only few big clubs are left which demand enormously huge prices for renting. It’s not so easy to organize a bigger show with a bigger band from abroad. Too many obstacles, different permits, taxes, paper work and bureaucracy. In most of the cities there are no music shops where you can buy records, only in the capital and maybe 1 or 2 more cities, so you can only order via internet. So as you can see the metal music life is not very colorful here.
Thank you for answering my questions, see ya on the road!
Artyom: Thank you very much for this interview and this opportunity. Listen to our new album “Among The Lightened Skies The Voidness Flashed” which was released by Solitude Productions on September 29, support us and our label by ordering your copy if you like the music and hope to see you at the shows.