First of all congratulations for "Children Of Gods".
Would you be so kind and introduce "The Arrow" to our readers. The band was formed in 1994. First shows were played in 1996, but the debut album was released only in 2001.
Due to some difficulties of various kind, our way was marked with trouble and obstacles - in many respects connected to realities of living in our country.
And we can fearlessly say we had no chance to fight our way through and to get the adequate attitude towards our work at all. And what is more, we knew from the very beginning that our music would be appreciated only in case of getting a deal abroad.
What is the message behind the band name? Why did you decide to change the former name “Black Arrow” to “The Arrow”? We wanted to choose something symbolizing freedom, firmness of purpose, independence as our name. In our opinion, the arrow serves as the symbol that reflects these qualities perfectly. We were absolutely satisfied with our name, but the question was that it was stolen by one of our former bandmates, and it was impossible to contest it legally. We had nothing to do but to change our name without parting the meaning of The Arrow.
The production quality of the "Children" CD is amazing. Where did you produce it and what can you say about the technical equipment in Russia, especially in Moscow. The “Children Of Gods”-album was produced by the main composer and songwriter Pavel “Blackie” Blischenko at our personal studio Black Cat Records. As far as the level of technical producing of our CD is concerned, here, in Russia, it seems to be entirely agreeable to the western standards. The matter is in labels releasing albums of our native bands. There are no labels in the proper acceptance of this word in Russia to date.
Your music is classic Power Metal. What is in your opinion the difference to other Power Metal bands? We cannot totally agree with the statement that our music is considered to be classical Power. The matter is that we were brought up in terms of classical Heavy Metal Rock, and the creative preferences today are thrash-metal arrangements and sounding in spirit of
Rage, Megadeth, early Annihilator, Testament, Overkill etc. But this seems to have a certain attitude towards our second LP “Damned Land”. The sound of “Children Of Gods” is somewhat more gentle plus the fact that the majority of songs were written in 1988-1994 and they were not fundamentally changed during the recording process. So you may follow the difference while listening to our second CD.
According to your lyrics , Heavy Metal is more than "just music" for you. Please outline the band's philosophy. In our work we always tried to shed light on questions actual not only for our country but for the whole mankind to date. We were always worried by such topics as human’s fate, the relationship between him and surroundings and the stand between a person and
society. The meaning of life, fate, influence to which we are exposed every day of our existence. Here are the themes of our songs, and it is also the thing where The Arrow differs from many other power-metal bands that compose fantasy-based lyrics.
Where do you gather the inspiration for the songs and lyrics? Do you know the expression "True Metal" and what do you think about it? There’s no use in special search for the themes, ‘cause they are evident to us, appearing on every step of our being - making barriers and putting questions on edge.
Since metal is the style that reflects strength of mind, justice and pronounced ideology of freedom, we think that our songs are competent to all these standards; moreover, our mission is to lighten these aspects of life and to help our fans in finding answers to their own questions. This is what we call True Metal.
The bands lyrics are completely in English.
Surprisingly, as in my point of view Russian is the ideal language for hard music. Our lyrical choice of English language was not at all accidental, because it is considered to be
international and understandable to many persons in every country of the world, and we’d like our music to sink in everyone, to whom it may be needful and useful. As far as Russian language is concerned, we think of it as of narrow specialization for the bands that work for the Russian musical market only.
By the way: The vocals do not have that typical thick Russian accent. Our vocalist was also brought up in terms of classical rock music and studied vocal from the age of 11, copying western rock-bands, songs and devoting special attention to pronunciation and articulation. In such a way, he reached some positive results. Besides, we watched the pronunciation closely during the recording process.
You are ready to launch your new CD. Any remarkable changes in sound and lyrics? If some changes exist, they happen towards thrash-metal arrangements and sounding, as it was mentioned above. Basically, the material approached to the creative level we wanted to reach. Accordingly, these are more heavy, more actual topics that worry us, and we want to share them with our fans in order to make them reflect a bit upon these themes. As for the rest, we didn’t betray our style at all . It is still heavy metal with some thrash elements.
How would you describe the band's development ? One might could say we are trying to grow and develop constantly and in all directions. And certainly it is the most important thing for the composer. We always watched our songs to reflect definitively the realities of today-and-tomorrow’s living, especially in our country. It is connected with the existence of lots of mistakes or simply lack of information ‘bout the practical situation in Russia. We’d like people in the whole world who hear our songs to imagine how we live here and what worries the most progressive minds of the present.
Did any western labels contact you yet? Exactly at present time we are trying to establish contacts with record labels abroad. It is connected with the fact we’d like to have adequate distribution and attitude towards our band. In our opinion, it is possible only abroad . Here, in Russia, nobody is interested in shedding light upon this direction and in investing money into bands who perform in English.
There are no appreciable results to date, that’s why we consider all offers and get into contact with everyone who gets in touch with us.
Did you receive any reviews or comments about your CDs from abroad? And what about the reviews in Russian press? At the moment a series of reviews in western metal-editions is planned, but still it is difficult to speak about it specifically. As far as the Russian press is concerned, a number of metal magazines issued interviews and reviews of our debut album “Children Of Gods”, and the majority of them were positive. We were blamed only for the excessive classical sounding and certain conventionality, and some foretell us success only among old Heavy Metal-fans. But, contrary to all predictions, we had an opportunity to make certain of necessity of our material both by the old and new generation of hard rock fans, that is, undoubtedly, good for us and assures us in accuracy of the chosen direction.
How many concerts did you perform so far? Whereas the band exists since 1994, as it was mentioned above, and performs live since 1996, one might could conclude that we did lots of shows. We had time to conquer recognition and love of real Heavy Metal Rock fans and gain certain popularity among them. The question is in having the opportunity to give high-quality concerts and perform in and on acceptable for the band conditions. The atmosphere of our shows is always exclusively well-wishing and
friendly, we are glad to meet our fans, and fortunately this feeling is mutual.
Do you see a possibility to play some concerts in Western Europe? We’d be glad to play live in Western Europe. The matter is just in such a suggestion. We are planning to perform in the network of the festival dedicated to
the “Tribute to Blind Guardian”, where we, being participants of the project, must appear with our track, but, unfortunately, this is the only opportunity for us to play abroad and to introduce the band to Western listeners to date.
Is your music influenced by other bands?
How would you rate the influence of Russian Metal legends like Arija or Gaina? Our music was unquestionably influenced by the bands in terms of which we were brought up. Such bands are Accept, Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Manowar, Helloween, W.A.S.P., Gamma Ray, Stratovarius etc.
Such bands as Aria, Shah, Cruise, Black Coffee, Master, The Black Obelisk influenced us first of all by showing us how to work with heavy music under the Russian reality circumstances. They were our elder brothers in arms, whose example didn’t let us lose hearts and made us believe our work was not in vain.
What was The Arrow's best and the band's worst moment ? Perhaps the worst moment for the band was to find out that the record label that released our debut album “Children Of Gods” was going to pay us for it nothing at all.
It seems the best moment for us is still ahead...
A few words about the following bands:
Tanya Bulanova (eine russische Sängerin, der man nachsagt, bei jedem Lied ob der Texte in Tränen auszubrechen – Anm. des Verfassers) We give preference the early Helloween works.
Being our fellow countrymen that managed to reach the high creative level, Aria is worthy of respect but, unfortunately, they are monopolists in the field of heavy metal music and can boast of having a number of impressive sponsors.
In our opinion, Manowar is worthy of respect and worship, for this band stays true to its ideals and traditions, that were laid in the origins of it, for all these long years.
Korrozia Metalla, as it follows from their name, is not metal but its corrosion, so this is a show-band with electric guitars and anarchical lyrics, attractive to teenagers of the beginning of 90s.
Bulanova: Who is it?!?!
The 5 most important Metal-albums of all times and the 5 most important Russian Metal albums! Accept (‘84) - Balls To The Wall
Helloween (’85) - Walls of Jericho
Europe (’86) - The Final Countdown
Judas Priest (’90) - Painkiller
W.A.S.P. (’91) - The Crimson Idol
Aria (’91) - Blood For Blood
The Black Obelisk. (’90) - The Wall
Adolf Castle (’94) - Real Crazy Germans
Archontes (’97) - Saga Of Eternity
Seducer’s Embrace (’02) - Sinnnocense.
What other local bands could you recommend?
Of all existing bands we consider Archontes (power) and Seducer’s Embrace (melodic death) to be most professional and worthy of attention.
Actually, in the Western Press Russian Metal is sometimes associated with radical ideas. Rumors or truth? Hard to get what radical ideas are meant here. It’s quite possible that some bands hold to similar views. But it is more like their own specificity than a tendency.
And in general words :What can you tell us about the Metal Scene in Moscow/Russia and how would you describe your status in that scene?
It can hardly be said that Russian metal-scene is on the upgrade. As far back as the 80s Aria were monopolists in this field, and since then nobody could break their records. It is connected with the colossal promotion of the band during the “perestroika” period,
and with inertia of this promotion to this very day.
As for the rest, here we have different bands and clubs for shows, sometimes, unfortunately, in a very sad state. This is pure underground. Nobody intended and intends to bring our metal culture to the deserved standard, to invest money, to promote bands etc. All of this is needful only for the musicians themselves, beyond the dependence of their professional level.
But we continue working even under these circumstances, ‘cause still there are people who need it and who visit out shows. It is a pity to deprive them of pleasure of seeing their favourite band in action. As far as our band is concerned, we can say we have our fan-club, the members of which always attend our shows, and with the release of the new album we
got new listeners, and we don’t lose hope of promoting our works into masses later on.
Is it possible for a professional acting band to earn enough money for living? Let us answer only about ourselves. We do not earn for living by means of our music, though we dedicate all our spare time to it. It concerns the majority of Russian metal bands. We all do many jobs in order to buy new strings and be able to bring our own equipment
to the concert club. It is unreal to earn for living by dint of your music in Russia . even if you are a professional musician.
Can you tell us how the internet has helped you so far? How important is the web to bands especially in Russia? What about the armies of mp3-downloaders? The Internet for us here, in Russia, is the only way to be in touch with Western labels and to exchange information with interested persons. Only when the Internet appeared in Russia, we could communicate with our western associates and not feel ourselves like we
were torn from reality. So, it is very important for us.
As far as the MP3-download-lovers are concerned, for us they are potential fans who can become familiar with the band’s works only this way. What is bankruptcy for Metallica is promotion and salvation for “The Arrow”.
How much is a CD in Russia and how many Rubels can your people offer to buy CDs?
The CDs prices differ. So CDs released by Western labels cost about $20-30. Those released by Russian companies, licensed CDs for about 130 roubles.
Irrespective of the value, they buy the disks, trying to economize on everything possible. You see, the CDs in Russia are not expensive, but the level of living is too poor. But this doesn’t frighten away the fans, they simply got used to it.
Who are the persons BEHIND the music? Aside from the personnel of the band, our staff include programmer, engineer and system analyst Dmitry Volgin, sound producer Gennady Lapenko, manager Nikolay Simkin, director Alina Roslova and press-secretary Olga Shmyreva, whose help and support in all our affairs is deeply appreciated.
Our hobbies are very manifold, basically special interests we studied at the university and continue to study at post-graduate course. For some it is economy, for some . physics. We don’t ignore such simple human pleasures as fishing and tourism. But, unfortunately, we do not have enough time for it. Our musical preferences remain the same since the days of our youth. It is hard rock, heavy metal, thrash metal. On the grounds of frequent authentication of The Arrow’s style with power-metal, we avoid listening to the bands that perform it, as we would like to evade random borrowings. We also take interest in bands that play death or black metal.
What is the most important thing that your band offers you as a person?
It appears that our work in The Arrow gives to all of us the opportunity to practice what we love most, that is our music, and keep hoping that someday everything will change for the better, and we will get what we deserve and what we are working for. It gives us the
opportunity to realize our thoughts and feelings, to lighten our sore points and to express our opinion.
Why do people begin to practice music? For us it is the only way of self-expression and struggle with the mass passivity.
On your homepage you used the Maltese cross as a background graphic. Are you very religious people or is there another reason for using it?
The Maltese cross was used by our web-designer as a symbol that reflected our mood and request for the graphical fulfilment of the site at that time. One cannot say we are extremely religious people. Even if it is so, then our religion is Heavy Metal Rock, for which we served and continue to serve until we have the strength to keep on working and creating.
What are your future plans? We’d like to hope to make a productive deal with Western record companies, metal-editions and concert organizations, whereas, in our opinion, here, in Russia, we did everything possible for the Anglophone heavy-power metal band to reach the level that satisfies us. It is disappointing and bitterly to work into the void. Our fans were the one and only support
during the hard times, they prevent us from giving everything up, they are the only consolation on our thorny path, they help us to continue working under these unacceptable circumstances.
The last words are of course for you… In the end we would like to thank everyone who supported and continues to support us in our work, not allowing us to despond and to be cast down.
Thanks to all our fans for their love and confidence. We frankly hope to enlarge our audience, and that the replenishment will be pleased with its choice just like those who have been near us for all these years and continue to believe in our success and love “The Arrow” for what we are. We keep on believing and hoping that everything we have already done and continue
doing was not in vain and our happy hour will finally come. Only this faith helps us to carry on. Thanks again to everyone who helped us and also to those who wasn’t hampering us.