Privjet Miron. Let's do the usual starter...the band introduction!
Hails and “Hallo” Man! Our biography starts in 1997. So as you can gather - quite a lot of different news…I believe that most of them aren’t too important so here’s the main info in brief:
1997 – birth date
2000 – “Damnation of Regiomontum” CD was released by Norwegian label VALGALDER RECORDS. This debut album brought many awards and great critics to Tvangeste from World’s mass media.
2002 – “FireStorm” was finished. Tvangeste signed a contract with big Japanese label WORLD CHAOS PRODUCTION.
2003 – “Firestorm” is out. Excellent reviews, incredible mass media responses, great sales world wide! Album was licensed by many labels from different countries… METAL MIND PRODUCTIONS has got a record deal for Poland and Germany.
Only one month after the release date, "Firestorm" got the top places in different metal charts from all over the world's metal magazines and radios! Sales are going just great! Restocked several times on RED STREAM and on another North American metal monster DARK SYMPHONIES! Album was added to all major music catalogues and chain stores worldwide.
Many world's metal magazines have recognized TVANGSTE's "Firestorm" as "one of the best metal creations ever that will remain in world's metal history for ages" !!!! Critics that "Firestorm" got so far are just awesome!
TVANGESTE attracted METAL MIND's attention. These Polish guys have licensed "FireStorm" for Poland and Germany. One of the biggest German promotion agencies was hired to make all promotional activities for Tvangeste (Shure Shot Works.. hails Jan!!!) and their work was really good. One of the biggest Russian metal labels CD MAXIMUM have licensed "Firestorm" for Russian Federation and CIS countries + Baltic Countries. The CD was released up to the end of October 2003. It also was licensed by Canadian label NEOBLAST RECORDS and Brazilian HELLION RECORDS so we have 6 releases of our CD on this Planet and I believe that “Firestorm” has already exceeded all our expectations…..
NEOBLAST RECORDS has released the "FireStorm" CD in April 2004. "FireStorm" was #1 in top 10 of bestsellers for FIVE MONTHS!! Now Tvangeste is in all major metal charts in Canada now!!...and even more....some NON METAL radios have Tvangeste in rotation and the band is competing to non metal artists there now! The music of Tvangeste was used for the official soundtrack of a Canadian horror movie called "Sinners and Saints" that already got a lot of positive critics
Earache offered us a contract and we are negotiating conditions now….so probably our new albums will be released under the wings of mighty Earache Records from the UK…we’ll see….time will show….
Of course there were a lot of different things that happen to band but I’ve tried to be as short as possible. You’ll be able to find our full history on our official web site:
Anything you would like to tell us about the new album?
Yes. We are working hard on new album’s creation….Also we are working on new music score for the movie that will be released this year. This work is taking so many power and emotions that sometimes I even don’t want to do anything related to music…but after one-two days of relaxation I am okay again and eager to continue ….the new album is a top secret project, but -of course- I can tell you some details regarding its development….there will be a lot of new and interesting themes. We’ll incorporate many fresh and innovative parts to our music and I really hope that our fans won’t be disappointed! Expect for the better quality (we are going to use Finnish studio FINNVOX to record our new stuff….after two albums we got quite a big success to we have enough money from our label to produce a really world class material and we’ll do it!)
I collect all critics on our latest album, I analyze all data and think how to improve our music. So new album will get much stronger guitar sound, more guitar solos, more female vocals performed by our opera diva Olaa…from the top secret stuff I can tell you also that our image will be changed dramatically! After two pro-pagan albums we decided to stop this theme so from the new album you’ll be able to hear and read absolutely new music and lyrics. No more bloody and never ending sword fights and ancient legends….new era has come!
Writers always tend to compare bands and their music. I know, you're not happy with all the Cradle Of Therion comparisons. How comes some many people name these two bands to describe Tvangeste
Well .. it was (and still is) a bad karma for Tvangeste and me personally. I clearly understand why do people compare us to CoF and others….first of all it’s a known thing that people NEED SOMETHING TO COMPARE….and it’s because of the limited human brain that doesn’t allow people just to enjoy music. I remember that time when we were recording “Firestorm” and I sung some themes with the difference in voice…so all people at the studio said “Man…we’d aware you to use this type of voices ‘cause there is one really big star called “Dani Filth” and if I am going to use the style he uses – we will be doomed to comparisons….and at that moment I thought that it’s a bullshit: just put one or two songs of Tvangeste and them Cradles…you’ll be able to hear the big difference. Cradles never were my ideals of good band and my goal is too different from their music (and as you can hear in all our songs - all our music structure is absolutely different!)…so I really hate all those comparisons and insist that Tvangeste has its unique way in this live.
But there is still this slight difference of enjoying music and describing music. I pass the hard task to you, now. How would you describe your own music?
To describe music with words is nothing! Just download some tracks and evaluate.
Here are some of our Songs for download
Our music is a mix of death, black and doom, heavy and classical elements. The main goal in our music is to create mature complex music compositions, well arranged and recorded. We use real orchestra and chamber choir parts because this way we are able to make music much more powerful and interesting. Work with classical musicians is a really challenge and experience! So briefly: melodic metal with symphony orchestra, choir and female voices…different as hell…
….and also dark, gloomy and evil...
Actually, if you’ll try to listen our album from the beginning to the end you’ll get many different impressions and this is one of the most important thing for me! I’ll explain…put Dimmu Borgir – from the first track to the end will be a pure anger…evil and dark atmosphere will fill your mind!.. but all songs will be all the same…evil and dark. Put any of CHILDREN OF BODOM albums and what will you be able to notice?...right!.. all songs are fast, technically well done, great melodies and power, power, power….but damn! One track, another….all the same..all is great but made all the same…. I try to create music that will be like a story…like a path thru the forest…so you will never know what will be beyond the turn….one song is filled with true bitterness and sorrow…another is a true evil and angry…you are able to hear even love themes and that’s what I mean: DIFFERENCE! So if you listen to Dimmu and see them - they just MUST BE “evil as hell guys” with a lot of leather, thorns and angry faces….we are just a normal people without “overhated” and extremely angry natures….we are just people who walk our own ways thru this life…..
Speaking of Difference: The progression between Damnation and Firestorm is enormous. From my point of view Damnation is very complex, while Firestorm sounds heroic and has more catchy melodies. How would you describe the development?
The songs of “Damnation of Regiomontum” were created between 1997-1999…it was a great time…the cradle of me as a musician I’d say… I got my first guitar lesson in 1996 and most of the material that could be found on “Damnation….” Was created at that time. It was my first experience and it was a very low budget album recorded at poor studio in Kaliningrad (Koenigsberg). “Firestorm” was created by me and Naturelle (my wife and our keyboardess) within 2001. We got enough money to record “Firestorm” at more or less good studio (SELANI where such bands as BEHEMOTH and VADER were recorded). Of course we were much more experienced and skilled musicians after our first work on “Damnation…” We were able to create a notes for the classical musicians and hire a real orchestra to record some parts. Naturelle and our session violinist Katya created all note sheets (over 300 sheets of notes for all orchestra guys!!) So better knowledge of how to create a metal music, better financial situation and better studio made it possible to create better product….but I still think that “Firestorm” is too far from the word I call “perfection” and we are going to develop ourselves to show much better results in the nearest future!
Although Firestorm was released some time ago, I still would like to talk with you about one important trademark of it: The Baltic Symphonic Orchestra, how was the work with them? What were the biggest obstacles? How did they react to support a pagan/black metal band? How are you going to perform the Firestorm-Tracks on stage? I guess the whole orchestra would be to expensive...
It was a great thing to work with classical musicians. Now I know that the worst enemy of metal band is “overcrowded” by keyboards sound. Acoustic instruments have shown me the true way to incorporate all I have inside my head to the metal sound without a big harm to metal sound! Of course there were a great mistakes during “FireStorm” creation but we got an incredible experience that will help us in future! Classical musicians were really skeptical at the beginning of our collaboration but when we have shown them a final result many people said that we have created a really good music. Of course it was a first steps…first tries and first experience but with that knowledge we got from the work with them we really KNOW how to create a good orchestra sound combined with metal music!
We won’t be able to use a real orchestra since we are not SCORPIONS…but we have a good keyboards and you know….we live in a quite technological century so…modern technologies make wonder and after some tests we found that 2-3 keyboards will replace a whole orchestra for live performance. Just some knowledge about how to use samplers and additional keys stuff….
I find your music covers a wide range of emotions. If your music would be a person, which character would it have?
Hee….so big difference in emotions could be found only inside the mental hospital patient’s mind. (Joke). All of us have a lot of different emotions…people can’t be “just 100% bad” or “100% good”…our world isn’t a black and white - there are a plenty of colors and shades…so I’d say that all of us could be that person….
So let’s stay in the philosophic part of the interview. I picked up some quotes of your lyrics. Please comment them!
"What's in your eyes, a Human? Fear or rage? Blind submission or Resistance"
Humanity is a crowd….definitely crowd of different people. Damn.. so many characters, histories, dooms, lucks and tragedies. There are two main categories of people and countless kinds of them….so main are: WOLVES and SHEEPS. People who follow the rules, written by others (bile, law….) are typical “sheeps” …all their life is “to be guided” …to be like a dolls….without their own thoughts, ideas, believes and points of view….
Another “camp” is “wolves”…these guys live without any rules…they have their own point of view and they don’t care about lots of thing that typical people care about. They have their own codex and live according to it.
"My life is flowing through the veins of trees, My love blossoms in the field, My faith is breathing in the crowns of trees"
A typical poetic part of the song written according to the canons of pagan style…no more….
”But better die standing with proudly holding up head Than live kneeling with the mask of hypocrisy...”
Quite easy to understand. Just read two lines before :
“Damned cross like a black shadow has came to my Land- Everybody under this shadow either starts to lie or die...' It means that 99% of people that live now were “loyal” to the new order of Christians….they just tried to survive and accepted a new faith…”the mask of hypocrisy”…at the same time people who decided to protect their own believes and their own land till the end got killed.
"But What is the God? What holy fathers teach them?"
A thinking ….a philosophical thinking about ever ending theme “What is the God”…
And if you’ll read the next line you will find following:
“They teach to be resigned to fate...But What is Fate?
They teach to be humble, submissive...
They grow the weak willed herd of sheep...”
"Oh, mighty gods, where are you (turned away, forgot, don't see), Suffering and pain set in on our land! We asked for protection You did not hear us"
Just a part of the song that shows us a people who countless times asked a protection from their gods and never got it. So standing near the death they understood that:
“The god will die without a man
But will a man die without a god?
And we will prove it…”
Reading and thinking about all those lines: What are the most important influences in your music?
My own feelings. And Naturelle’s feelings of course. Our thoughts, ideas….all that we really feel. The music we create goes from the deep parts of our hearts and souls and it’s not just a “boasting passionate” words…
From the philosophic part to Tvangeste's ideology...
I find the Ideology-section on your homepage quite interesting and thus would like to find out more. Tvangeste is an old Prussian word. Are you interested in the language as cultural heritage? I mean does anyone of you speak Prussian?
Man….it’s sad but after 750 years since Christian invasion to Prussia almost all traditions were killed and destroyed so there’s no such term “Prussian language’….Lithuanian is the closest to Prussian language and no…nobody of Tvangeste members speak Lithuanian. I was really into the history of our land and all this stuff was really interesting for me. It was really sad when I told people about Tvangeste and they didn’t know that it was a small site of ancient settlement right in the center of Kaliningrad. Everybody knows all about German part of our territory and nobody have an idea about Prussian times before XIII century! So I decided to change the situation.
As you live in the small enclave between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea. How do you define your cultural identity?
We have our own culture. I’d call it just “normal culture and well education”….it’s hard to understand but after 70 years of communism in the USSR and over 1000 years of Christian Orhtodox Church we lost almost all signs of real Russian culture…Baltic countries have saved some of their own culture and I really respect them for that! But we aren’t a Baltic tribes anyway…Prussian…well…only because we were born in Prussia.
Please note: Not all! Only I have a roots here and actually roots are just since 1950 on this land….so….
As I said before – I prefer to identify myself as a “just a human”…
As far as I can rate it from far away: A lot of Pagan and Black Metal bands from the former USSR tend towards extreme right-winged political issues. Is this as a "Russian" band a problem for you? I asked especially, as you had also a swastika on the cover of your debut album...
(Only to get it in the right context: The Swastika, sun wheel, Lauburu or also cross of the cosmos is one of the oldest symbols of mankind. It is a holy symbol, the link of nearly all developed cultures. It stands itself as symbol of the expanding galaxies and the universe for the relative range of the life. In it's original it never meant to be a political symbol)
Yes…our first album got a great problems in Germany. “Damnation of Regiomontum” was banned by many German labels and stores because of the sign that was described by them as a “nazi symbol” which means – Tvangeste is a band with a nazi philosophy and all that shit.….actually we are not a nazi at all…we respect all who respect us and we don’t care about such shit as a nationalism…there are a lot of assholes within all nations for sure! And there are good guys as well….so yes- we got a troubles but the symbol still exist on our site and on our second album (only inside the booklet this time). Narrow minded assholes see what they want to see…so it’s easy to recognize a nazi stuff in …hhmm…Columbia clothing logotype…(http://www.columbia.com/)
The swastika is a Buddhistic symbol, while you describe your philosophy as anti-religious. So what does it in it’s mean to you?
It’s a long theme to speak about. I’d just tell you that this meaning is really very personal and I doubt it could be compared to Buddhism (just think that together with Buddhism this symbol could be found in almost all religions on this Earth!)
A short description of OUR point of view on swastika – this is an ENERGY IN MOTION…the vortex of creation sign.
You say "don't think we are nazi or something else...we don't hate any nation but WE WANT RESPECT OUR NATIVE RUSSIAN CULTURE..." On the other hand you seem to have "problems" with Jewish culture or with religion in general? And -as far as I got it- you also underline, your Prussian cultural roots, while singing in English. How does this all fit together?
Just try to find a brief history of Russia and you’ll get an idea about it….damn…Russia lost the true belief …its own culture…Christianity like a true plague has killed so many cultures…so many nations! From WHERE have we got this plague?... I don’t blame a jews themselves…it will sound sooo stupid….as I said I respect all people who respect me. I have recorded an album for Israeli band ARAFEL as a guest vocalist. I respect jewish culture but I’d love to see it inside Israel and no more!...all that Russia has now is a total bullshit ..that’s sad but that’s true….
As about English as a main language in our songs – damn…even this interview I am writing an English and if I would answer you in Russian – will it be ok for you? I doubt ‘cause you know English and I know it….we both speak English and we are able to understand each other…so the same goes about all guys who want to UNDERSTAND us….we simply MUST be understandable by our listeners.
Miron, thanks for this interview. The famous last words are for you.
Thanks a lot for the chance to introduce Tvangeste to your magazine’s readers. I’ve answered so many interviews from Germany and I am really appreciate your hard work on this long and interesting interview creation! If you want to get more info about the band, please visit us at: http://www.tvangeste.com. Our site will be totally updated within the next 1-2 months…
For now you are able to download three free songs for evaluation, videos, texts and other fan stuff. If you have any questions or suggestions – please write to: email@example.com
Thanks in advance!
Miron / Tvangeste