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April 18, 2019

Interview The Guests

° Hello. Give a brief history of The Guests, music style, and the members.

Hi there.

We are pretty old actually – band was founded in 2002.

We did not manage to make it to the stadiums, but some people say that we are one of the most important bands on the Russian dark scene which was blooming in the beginning of the 2000s (and is now faded out).

What is certain is that we were one of the first “modern” bands in Russia to intentionally play gothic-rock and succeed in doing so.

Today we perform as a trio: keyboards + voice (Dmitry), guitars + voice (myself), drums (the other Alexey of the band).

° Give in more detail, some information about Highlands (EP) and how well it sells so far?

This EP is a bit of a stretch between our previous sound and our new “back to the roots” direction.

Title track was written one year ago, and is the first recording where we decided to sing with Dmitry.

All the other tracks on the EP are remixes of a song which was recorded previously, with our previous singer, and released as a single in 2017. We had to release those remixes, as they sound really cool, and we have Bruno Kramm from Das Ich as one of the remixers!

In other words, this EP is like a transition, and therefore our goal was not to make billions of kopeks out of it, but rather to show our new sound to people.

The reaction so far is pretty good – Highlands has been included in a couple of compilations (Gothwaves by Nightingale Moon Records and ReBirth by Venus Aeon – if you like traditional goth rock, you should check them both, they are really cool), with probably more to come.

° What is the difference between your latest and the very first records?

Well not so much difference really, except the fact that we hopefully learned to play and record better than 15 years ago (not 100% sure though).

° What inspires The Guests music and lyric writing? What does The Guests lyrics talk about?

Could be anything. Random noises heard in the mountains or in the woods, or bits of music heard on a crowded street. Sounds of a musical instrument (any instrument). Good music is still an inspiration of course.

I try to make lyrics personal, but enough nebulous, so that anyone can find his or her own meaning. It is always fun to play with images that mean something personal to you, but at the same time understanding that they could mean completely different things to other people.

No politics, no violence. Don’t like it. It’s not goth-rocky enough.

° Do you play live often? Do you like abroad gigs?

We play as often as possible, usually at least once in a month. Mainly in Russia. We do like abroad gigs, but in the last years we did not do them often, as we were mainly concentrating on the local scene. Now life is different, we are ready to come to your house anytime soon.

° How often does the band practice and work on new material?

Generally we rehearse once a week (sometimes twice, when there is an utterly important gig around). Drummer drinks a lot of wine and therefore rocks three times harder at the end of rehearsal. I drink a lot of coffee and try to have some fun too.

For new material I prefer to work alone, and then send a demo to the other members. If they like it, that’s done, they just rearrange their parts a little bit.

I don’t like when people manipulate music too much, as ultimately the band is losing its integrity and sometimes ends up playing music that none of the members really like. That’s a great way to suck at what you’re doing.

° How did the band come up with the name The Guests and tell what does it means for you?

Initially we were searching for a name that was in the vein of The Sisters of Mercy, or Fields of the Nephilim, or The Smashing Pumpkins. I came up with “The Guests”, then our former bass player suggested to add “unholy”. I believe he liked eponymous song by KISS. So we launched as The Unholy Guests in 2002.

Then, as time went by, we started to feel less unholy, and one day decided to shorten to “The Guests”, which I still think is a great band name with no special meaning at all.

° What does the band plan on doing in near time?

We plan to release a second EP in September or October this year. It will probably include 2 new songs, in the vein of Highlands but with more rock in them. And we are slowly working on a new album, which will be ready at the very end of 2018 or beginning of next year. We do not yet know how it will be released, we will see when the time comes.

We have also several gigs planned, but still nothing outside of Russia for the time being. At one moment we will probably have to embark for a European tour, but we are still thinking of the best way to set this up.

° Any message to Sick and Destroy readers?

Actually your ‘zine name made me remember of lyrics of a song by The Stranglers, not Metallica:
I used to dream about destruction
But now that I feel it getting near
I spend my time watching the ocean
And waves are all I want to hear…

All that to say, I wish you to be sick and destroy of course, but in a good way.