Wednesday, February 20, 2019

metal from Russia; interview: Second to Sun

This publication has reported on the extreme metal of Second to Sun by sharing the band’s videos. Upon researching the Russian entity’s discography and history, it became obvious that something interesting in happening with prolific music coming out under the name Second to Sun. In this interview Vladimir Lehtinen answers questions about the music and life in Russia.
Friends! How is the Russian winter for you in 2019? I’m near Seattle and it is usually not very cold here and we don’t get snow, except on occasion. But we do get lots of rain. How is life for Second to Sun in Saint Petersburg?
Hello and greetings from Russia, despite all the crap that media keeps saying, this winter was beautiful, not very snowy though, but you might be surprised – actually rainy. I might be mistaken, but we have quite similar weather, seeing that Seatle and Saint-Petersburg are on the same latitude. We are doing good and working on new songs. Gleb (vocals) and Maks (bass) are living in Siberia, that’s where you find real cold weather.
Did your band really have two albums in 2018?
In 2018 we have actually released three albums: “The Black”, re-release of our instrumental album “Blackbound” with vocals and “The Walk” in standard and instrumental versions. So that is correct.
Do metal fans in your city come to your shows?
Honestly saying, we’re not playing gigs. Although, we have many listeners. And I feel bad for this, but at the same time we still don’t do gigs, because I’m a stubborn person and I want to create new music and not work at shows. Showmanship is musicians work, but writing albums is art.
Russia is a big, big country. Do you tour in Russia and the neighboring countries?
Russia has the same picture as I have described above: we have listeners, but not everywhere. To have a tour around Russia popular bands needs a few years, we’re not so popular on the other hand – so we’ll manage in one year, ha-ha. As for neighboring counties, if we take internet statistics, we’re more popular in Germany and Scandinavian countries than in Russia, also in Canada and the U.S. We would be very happy to visit those countries and Seattle too.
Tell us about The Walk. What inspired this album? One song is called “We Are Not Alone” and then another is called “We Are Alone,” ha ha ha! You have one called “From Outer Space.” Are extraterrestrials an important theme on the album?
Heck, we publish detailed information for each track in our social media and you can easily find it and read it, we have it on Bandcamp as well. We’re a band with idea, since we play black metal music, but you might find it funny that the name of the album is taken from Pantera’s “The Walk” and it’s intertwined with the album art and tracks, when each separate track takes you on some kind of trek: Say for example, “We Are Not Alone” is about a priest, who went to baptize pagans during christening of Rus and “We Are Alone” is about time, when I went to my father’s grave and recorded ambience at the graveyard. “From Outer Space” is somewhat an intro to a next track about a train, which was enveloped by some kind of mystic or alien power, which moves with incredible speed. In short, the main theme of album is mystic, but it is hard to tell the story in one sentence. I’m trying to make musical pictures and embed them with philosophy. It might be stupid nowadays, but I can’t fight my own nature.
Who are the members of the band in 2019? It began as a solo project, right? What motivated Vladimir to become such a hardworking musician?
Well, I’m basically project’s mastermind. Gleb Sysoev on vocals and Max Sysoev on bass guitar (Max and Gleb are twin brothers) and Fedor Brovskiy on drums. I write all instrument tracks, music and lyrics. I have my own home studio and I mix a lot of Russian bands and some international bands, but also my own friends (Max and Gleb’s other project Ultar and their yet another project Grima). I’m not motivated by anything in particular, I just feel that this is my life’s calling.
Here in the United States in the movies and in the news Russians are always evil people. The news never has anything positive to say about Russia. If you were to see the U.S. news, I think you would be surprised how much bad news about Russia there is in the U.S. How is it in Russia? Is the news in Russia always bad about the United States? Are the Americans evil in the Russian movies ha ha ha?!
Man, that’s totally screwed up, you know. I think it is all based on a fact, that in the U.S. people don’t know much about Russia, because they never spoke to any Russians, and nobody in Russia ever spoke to Americans. Last year I have mailed about 100 CDs of my music to US fans. I never met an unpleasant person out of those, I spoke a lot to them in social media and in person on few occasions. All these news are political bullshit, which our governments need to keep milking money off us and show us some form of enemy to keep us together. Because when people are together, they are a flock. And every flock has a shepherd. We have entirely the same here in Russia and I’m so sick of this media bullshit. I don’t want people to argue, I want them to experience positive emotions and clarity from good music. I fucking hate these media, that keep publishing all this paid bullshit. I know that’s what they do to earn their living, but is it worth making a conflict between millions of people basing on some fake causes. I don’t think so.
And yes, in mainstream Russian movies, Americans are depicted as evil and dumb and this is bullshit, too, this is sick and not right.
Here in the U.S. the working class is concerned with having a job so that they can provide for their families. American workers are not like the CIA, FBI and government agents in the movies. How is the life of a metal musician in Russia? What types of jobs do you have? What are some cool things about life in Russia? What do you like about living in your city?
Well, again I can say it’s the same here: no KGB agents and people are working to make ends meet.
But Russia is not as you might imagine it in America. Probably you think of us as a unified country, but in fact we’re united only in our language. Imagine that Saint Petersburg HDI is as high as in New York or Canada, but a neighboring Russian region has HDI, just as Uruguay or even Cuba and they’re practically living in communism. And don’t forget that we have many religions spreading across the regions and we don’t have racial diversity as you have. Probably it’s hard to imagine, but this is how Russia is. In some northern parts you can actually meet a bear on the street, and in Kuban’ region they have ostrich farms. This is the way it is. Metal musician’s life in Russia is not much different from life of such individual in Norther (less) and Eastern Europe. If you take Siberia and Urals, it’s quite slow paced and depending on the region you might be earning less than what you need. I have my own business in music, I write, mix and supervise music for hire, Gleb and Maks are renting costumes, do audio recording and teaching and Fedor is a sound engineer.
City where I live is 300 km away from Finland and the climate is pretty much the same and everything else is similar to Europe, aside from more people. Saint Petersburg is a cheap city by US standards. Food, alcohol and clothing is cheap and people are not very talkative. We often go hiking in nature in Russia: hunting and fishing are very popular as well as sauna bathing (with vodka or beer, just like in Finland). Russians spend a lot of time in gyms. But here we don’t go to the mountains a lot, because there are no actual mountains in the region and you get used to the grey weather and I personally don’t really enjoy, when the sun gets out. Such weather has a special artistic atmosphere. Russian people “When in Saint Petersburg – drink”, because we have so many bars and drinking spots around. Saint Petersburg is really fond of its soccer team – Zenit, we have local wrestling federation, but it’s not so popular and I personally love ice hockey.
But if you go 2000 km south, you’ll find an actual Wild West version of Russia with their own rednecks – Cossacks. So keep in mind, what I mentioned earlier. And 2000 km is not much in scale of Russia, some people take plane trips that long to get to work.
How are you feeling with multiple albums finished and released in 2018?! Does it matter to you if you get good or bad reviews? How can U.S. fans support your band?
I feel great. And it’s marvelous to be a creator. A lot of reviewers don’t really get in depth on our albums, thinking that if the band doesn’t go touring, you can just forget about it and skim through the album randomly. For example, one guy in Germany first made a negative review and only after three months he actually got to listen to it and read some additional information (initially he found out about the band from a video on Train 1702), in the end he was so inspired and bought a CD. Our music has an idea and nowadays it can be considered wrong and difficult. But aside from that we stick for heavy and atmospheric sound and despite having memorable hooks and refrains, but people prefer distilled and compressed sound of modern metal.
On the other hand there are people who make actual serious reviews. And we would like to thank them greatly. Listen our album all the way through, that’s the reason why it was made. I put my soul into each album and it’s very important for me not to become popular, but to find somebody, who shares similar perspective on the world and enjoys what I do. And judging by the positive reviews, there are some people like this. You can listen to our music on any digital distribution service: Apple Music or Spotify. You can easily find us.
We also have merch and it’s all presented at Bandcamp: You can always support us by buying digital release, CD or T-shirt.
Or you can just share our music with other people, that’s also a good way to show support.
Are you working on new music already?!
Hell yeah! And you should expect a new single album this or next month. We’re working hard, but music is what we dedicate ourselves to.

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