All the answers are mainly given by Artem Bachturin unless otherwise specified.
Hi! Tell me about DEVA OBIDA. Why did you decide to name the band with such title? What kind of ideas do you explore?
Heya! Back in 1998 we started the band, in the Northwest of Russia, in Murmansk. Being influenced by formations, such as Amorphis, Tiamat, In Flames, Gates Of Ishtar etc. we were willing to play Doom Death Metal. We also were inspired by Black Pagan scene and its ideology accelerating all over the world and especially in our region. Our first demo “В Поисках Мира, что Явью Зовется…/ In the Search for World, called Yav’” demonstrates well what we were alike at the time of establishment. The name Deva Obida was chosen for it excellently combined both Pagan and Doom sides of our sound. Дева Обида (smth like Maiden Offense in English) is a swan-maid from ancient Russian folklore. The dark sign of the impending global disaster and cataclysm. Plus, the caption was rather catchy and ingenious, and still nowadays it’s rather unusual even for Russian ear. Further constant search of sound led us to the side of Power Metal in its Finnish incarnation and into the weeds of Metalcore and Modern Metal. Currently, in our opinion, we’ve found and integrated into our own genre, but we’ll talk about it a bit later. Ideological component was focused on nature, folklore, history right from the start. Growing older, we widen the range of subjects. There appeared cosmological themes, problems of present times and Recent history. Much attention is paid to inner life – feelings, emotions, problems, questions and fantasies. Present-day issues is being expressed through traditional imagery in lyrics. It’s always exciting and amusing to push the envelope of creativity.
“Rudiment” album was released on March. How does that make you feel? Do you feel you have put album into masses without any wishes to change something now?
Right you are, at the time of answering this interview there more than 3 months passed. However, the promotion of of an album runs rather weak. We signed a deal with label for distributing of “Rudiment” but can’t feel any advertising support. So we have to look for different ways to advertise and support our release internally. DIY and undergroung as they are. We expected more and still are in search of label. With regard to change something, as for me, I’ve got no such obsession. It’s always wanted to change something during recording and production, but as soon as the release is out, I accept it the way it is, as totally completed reference and don’t bother myself with assumptions of making it better. What’s done is done. The next one will be better.
Tell me more about “Rudiment”? Album ideas etc…
Work on the album took us quite some time. Release is hard-won in large part. Songs were composed generally between 2014 and 2016. RIDIMENT isn’t a concept album. Songs’ subjects are different, but all of them are linked by general idea – one can trace a message dedicated to something rudimentary, disappearing but very valuable phenomenon for everyone’s life in every song. That’s the ideological essence of an album, the main sense of tracks’ titles, united under the caption “Rudiment”. We’ve worked with different illustrators for a long time on the cover art but finally realized that it has to be as simple as possible. Band appearing on the cover is our own rudiment on it’s own. From the musical side this album turned out our most eclectic and stylistically rich writing. We increased the proportion of folk sound, added more clean vocals and choirs. We made rather warm and soft rock-alike guitar sound as for metal. We were shifting between genres but almost totally refused using electronic samples in favor of live sounding.
Where do you take all inspiration from?
As it was mentioned before, the first springs of inspiration and ideas about own group were sown by bands from our roster when we were teenagers. Their music and lifestyle were the things that we wanted to do. After all, when you’re teen, you avidly absorb everything surrounding you, the medium you stew in. And we were inside the fresh, burgeoning scene of Black Pagan Metal, with all its zines, Scandinavian stage, gigs, videos and ideological debates and reasons on history, religion, nazism and philosophy. Anyway, every topic is global when you’re young. Nature became one of the main sources of inspiration of course. It’s obvious, especially taking into account the region we live in. Nowadays our lyric is a reflection of inner self and environment. Aside from all of that, inspiration may come from different sources: books, poetry, movies, surrounding events, primarily in the North of our country and any spontaneous ideas as well. The music that’s composed first, often provides definite thoughts and notions and turns out an inspiration for lyrics.
In your opinion, what is the best way to define DEVA OBIDA’s sound?
Earlier I told a little about our starting phase and our path to our actual sounding. Some words for how we sound at present time. After a period of Modern Metal came a strong sense of need to change sound, and we made such step in the form of releasing our single “Varaka” in 2014. That’s when we realized the direction we ought to move and evolve. That was Melodic Metal, perhaps with some Gothic shades and folk ambitions. Everything we’ve been waiting to do, everything that must have already appeared according to our ideological background, pecked out right on “Varaka”. The single became rather successful. Distinctive video, shot and release eighteen months later, leveraged its success. We got an idea we were doing it right and composed the new album with understanding the genre basis. “Rudiment” didn’t turn out a duplicate of “Varaka”, there’s more of evolution of ideas enshrined in single. We try to refresh Folk Metal sound and bring something new to this scene. Furthermore, there can be heard Death and Heavy Metal riffs, some Gothic elements, Progressive and even some kinda House. It’s very hard to define it with one or two genres. Maybe that’ll be easier for you on your side. Once we used tag Nature Metal. Nowadays we sometimes apply the definition New Wave of Russian Folk Metal. Anyway, it’s just words and we don’t play strictly defined genre albeit it’s still Metal.
So, are you on hiatus now, just relaxed and looking for album feedbacks, or did you started to compose new stuff immediately?
We’re on the summer rest now, scattered. Someone stayed at home, our guitar player Aleksandr is involved in archaeological dig in the East of country, as for me, I’m texting from the coast of Black Sea. In other words, there is a small hiatus. However, that doesn’t mean we a totally switched off. Promotional campaign of our album is just gaining momentum, we started collaboration with PR companies and currently participating in different interviews. The new stuff is also being composed, but all we have so far is a bunch of draft demos and we can hardly say when we start to work on them. Our actual mission is to present the new album, play it live, so when everyone comes back from vacation we’ll be focused on refinement of future live shows dedicated to “Rudiment”.
What are your main musical influences? How huge is their influence in your sound?
Can’t say I’m greatly influenced by any exact bands. It’s an obvious fact in youth, when you gain experience and build your own style, based of the music of credible artists but everything changes with age. I listen to a bunch of different music and frequently find good ideas both in oldschool and contemporary music often distant from Metal. Afraid I can’t exactly define the amount of that influence, but it clearly exists. Luckily, we’re not in information gap yet and I like to be informed what’s up there in the world of Metal and music on the whole to avoid being sidelined with all the confusion and scold.
Is there some well-known musician in particular that you would like to use in one of your upcoming albums?
We’ve been thinking a lot about it and had so many ideas but we weren’t ready for their realization. Ido find featuring of guests very intriguing, I always listen to collaborations of well-known artists with great interest. I’d love to cooperate with Max Cavalera, it seems to me that we’ve got a lot of common aspects in our creativity and I still have a great respect to him as to one of my idols in my youth. Kristoffer Rygg, as one of the most talented singers of Scandinavia, could also grace us by participating in one of our songs. Satyr, guys from Mastodon really rock. There are so many gifted people around and cross-genre collaborations could be of equal interest, but let us stop right there.
What is your personal strategy for making your music heard by a larger audience?
Our personal strategy is to find a label which is able to promote our release. Our present label placed out album in all digital stores but we have to do everything else on our own so far. Popular sites, shooting of resonated and extraordinary videos supporting album – all these steps are rather effective. Plus, gigs and tours – and here we have an ideal alloy, the recipe we strive to. Then one more and perhaps main aspect – creation of an outstanding music to differ from the rest and to attract the attention of new fans.
Do you have any other hobby beside music?
Right, all of us have regular jobs that we have to combine with our musical activities. Three of us work in travel agency, we provide tours over Kola Peninsula, that’s partially our hobby – traveling and exploring nature. The rest are involved in different fields of activity, such as banking. education and IT.
Are you all supported by your relatives towards your devotion to music?
Sure thing, our relatives got used to the idea that we’re stranded in our childishness long ago, but our musical business doesn’t cause a great inconvenience. Although the ones obligated with families have to agree and make various compromises, that’s OK on the whole and our folks support us.
How’s the metal scene in Russia right now? Is it easy to play gigs, to buy records etc there these days?
It’s a fragile time for the Metal scene. Hip-hop rules the world. Actually, there hasn’t ever been a lucky time for Metal in our country. We’ve got no large Metal festivals, no booking agencies cooperating with local bands. Sales exist in deeper underground only and have very small print-runs. Local gigs usually take place with no trouble, but the arrival of a star like Behemoth or Marilyn Manson may make agog some militant forces that provide censorship and decide what present youth may listen to and attend. They seek cancellations of shows. By the way, nowadays not only Metal bands suffer of their activities, some Hip-hop performers also face pressure. In general, there’s a lot of mess and lawlessness in our country at present day. There was a time of big but transient rise of scene in 00s and has become a meme “2007” for now. That was a significant year, when Russia reached common trend and the rising wave of Emo and Metalcore covered it. Plenty of bands, festivals, tours, special TV channels and awards. All we can is look back at those times with the tear on nostalgia in the eye.
Thank you for answering my questions, see ya on the road!
And you, thanks for the interview, hope to see ya! Don’t get sick too much and destroy only the required things 🙂