Metal Bulletin Zine (est. 2006) is a metal music zine (Seattle region), online and on paper. 160 issues so far.
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Wednesday, May 8, 2019
interview: Andrey Tollock (Ukraine)
It is difficult enough to be a one-person project and take care of all the music and details yourself. It’s more so if the political situation around you is chaotic, tense and violent, as it has been for several years now in Ukraine where Andrey Tollock lives. Generally speaking, since 2013 Ukraine has experienced upheaval and violence, and some general estimates say that 9,000 people have died, other estimates put it closer to 13,000, or more; it’s hard to say what the real numbers are. In Donetsk where Andrey lives there has been fighting between the forces of the Ukrainian central government and the separatist Donetsk People’s Republic, and this conflict is not resolved.
This publication sent some questions to Andrey about the music that he makes. Check out the music at the links at the end of this interview.
Hello! Can you give us information about yourself and your music?
Hi there! My name is Andrey Tollock. I’m from Donetsk, Ukraine. I have two projects: Haissem (melodic black) and Sunset Forsaken (melodic doom/death). I’d started to compose music for Haissem in 2014, but the debut album has been done only in 2016. At the current moment, Haissem’s discography consists of four albums: “Maze Of Perverted Fantasies” (2016), “Hatavism” (2017), “Panacea For A Cursed Race” (2018) and “Demonotone” – the brand new one (2019). Sunset Forsaken has the only one work for a while – “Chameleon Waters” (2018). The second album is in process.
Do you do it all by yourself? Do you collaborate with others?
Right you are. I compose, perform and arrange music by myself. My friend and the part-time owner of the “Vetkin Records” studio, Vitaliy Dorofeev, helps me with drum programming. I always have the model of the drum arrangements and Vitaly successfully assists to realize the plan. As for collaboration with other musicians: I’ve begun to do it since 2018 when the instrumental part of “Demonotone” album was completed. I’ve decided to involve the session vocalists into process. Denis Schwan of Bredor band on the lead vocals and Dmitriy Kufley of Datura band on the backing vocals have done their work perfectly! There are my vocals on this record, too. By the way, “Demonotone” includes the tracks that were removed from “Hatavism” album due to discrepancy of musical concept. My next work, “Куһаҕан тыын” (it translates as “The Maleficent Spirit”, Yakut language), that will be out in 2020, also contains session collaborations: there will be cello and female voices.
What can you tell us about your work and your experiences in making music in Ukraine with finding other musicians and the scene there?
The area I live is called Donetsk region and it’s rather huge. Till the tragic events of 2014, there were over 5 million denizens. As for my civil occupation: I’m miner, I work down the ground, almost at the bowels of Hades …I live with my wife and kids. I performed a lot of shows in my country being a member of other bands that played pop-rock and punk, but not Haissem and Sunset Forsaken. My concert activity was from 2006 till 2013. I was winner and laureate of a number of festivals and competitions. Now I’m also having pop-rock project “Ampula Seven”.
Ukraine isn’t good place for metal music. The bands who strive to promote their music prefer to do it abroad, in Europe. Ukranian fans know about my projects, but their support leaves much to be desired. I have no budget for additional advertisement and PR. So I remain in deep underground. My music is totally dedicated to the 90s and it’s not fashionable and not popular among the fans.
Why are Haissem and Sunset Forsaken separate?
The 4th release of Haissem is done. On the 25th of May “Demonotone” will be available on Bandcamp. This work stylistically differs from the previous ones. It’s more death-metal oriented release inspired with Florida DM-school. Haissem and Sunset Forsaken are fundamentally different projects. Haissem includes the elements of melodic black, melodic death, dark metal with slight progressive influences. It’s inspired by Rotting Christ, Old Man’s Child, Cradle Of Filth, Moonspell, In Flames, At The Gates, Dark Tranquillity. Sunset Forsaken is the melodic/doom death unit. I cannot title it “side project”. It’s just another genre and style that is not suitable for Haissem’s sound and concept. SF is inspired by Paradise Lost, Katatonia, My Dying Bride, October Tide, Draconian.
Did you learn instruments and recording by yourself (with YouTube?)?
For almost a year I took guitar classes. But my further practice was exceptionally done by myself. I didn’t learn to record my music, ‘cause my friend Vitaly Dorofeev helps me with the recordings. In times when I started to practice there was no YouTube. I bought the lessons on VHS. I do not consider myself as a good instrumentalist.
Do your lyrics cover life in Ukraine? Do you write in English, Ukrainian and/or Russian?
The lyrics of Haissem & SF are only in English. And these lyrics ain’t connected with life in Ukraine. It is just the offspring of my imagination. The topics are very vast to discuss: from the appearance of religion as the way to enslave mankind mentally and physically to the reason why the people do strive to self-annihilation.
Is your family ok? The news report violence and conflict in Ukraine!
My family is OK, thanks. The political, economical & common situation in the place where I live is very complicated. But there’s no violence here locally. We are rather safe. But violence happens everywhere, even in relatively prosperous regions. Please, let me give you a piece of advice: don’t believe everything you read. We live in time of informational war and total propaganda. Mass media do lie!!!
Does the political tension make it more difficult for you to make music?
My music remains independent. It’s out of any political shit. The only thing I support is the idea of peace, the idea to stop this f***ing war and stop killing people from both sides.
Anything else you’d like to mention?
You can support Haissem below. I wish all American readers health, wealth, money, success and good luck! And, of course, be yourself! And I also wish the progress, the growth and the enhancement to The Metal Bulletin’ Paper zine!!! Thanks for interview!