Tvangeste

 •  Posted in: Kogaionon Interviews

TVANGESTE's actual birth dates in 1997 when all musicians gathered in one place and started rehearsals. So many things have changed since those times... The first CD "Damnation of Regiomontum" was recorded in the end of 1999 and brought us a great success. TVANGESTE was chosen as "the best Black Metal acts in ex-USSR countries of 2000". Over 5000 CDs of this album were sold in CIS countries. In 2001 TVANGESTE has signed a contract with Norwegian label VALGALDER RECORDS for two albums. VALGALDER re-released "Damnation of Regiomontum" for Worldwide. For TVANGESTE it was a great step into the future. There were tons of great reviews. The album was played on many radio stations from all over the world. VALGALDER did a great work for TVANGESTE's promotion. The greatest magazines of Europe, South and North Americas and Asia interviewed the band. Mexican bought licensing on "Damnation of Regiomontum" and Indonesian labels. In June 2001 well-known British magazine Live For Metal gave a "Band of the Month" award to TVANGESTE. In the March of 2001 Naturelle (Miron's wife) joined the band as a keyboardist. Later her excellent abilities brought a great part of new, fresh melodies to the TVANGESTE's sound.

In the beginning of 2001 Miron and Naturelle began the new album creation. It was a horrible long work... months of laborious work. They decided to create not just a "Damnation of Regiomontum" sequel but something more professional, much powerful, really interesting, fresh and new. BALTIC SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA was hired for this recording. It was amazing work with the professional people. Naturelle and Katya (first violin in the orchestra) created all scores for each instrument. 300 sheets of notes! Also PRUSSIAN CHAMBER CHOIR took a part in the recording session. With their greatest help TVANGESTE got a lot of dramatic vocal moments in the songs. It was the first experience for TVANGESTE to work with professional musicians and this collaboration helped TVANGESTE to find their unique style of playing metal music. In December 2002 TVANGESTE has signed a contract with World Chaos for "FireStorm" release.

At last! September the 1st - Album's out! So long awaited release date! There are two versions of "Firestorm" available now: usual jewel case CD and limited edition of Digipack (with absolutely different design and TVANGESTE symbol sticker). The album is available in many music stores on all continents. After only one month from 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! The album was restocked three times on RED STREAM and FOUR TIMES on another North American metal monster, Dark Symphonies. Many world 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 (the biggest Polish metal label) attention. Polish guys have licensed "FireStorm" for Poland and Germany . One of the biggest Russian metal labels CD MAXIMUM has licensed "Firestorm" for Russian Federation and CIS countries + Baltic Countries. The CD was released up to the end of October 2003. WORLD CHAOS is negotiating with Mexicans and Americans about license deals.

Hi, Miron! Your new album was recorded and finally done in February of 2002 but it's out only from 1st September 2003, just because Valgalder Records and their financial problems. You also have a fresh contract with World Chaos from Japan . What else happened since "Damnation of Regiomontum" until now with TVANGESTE?

   "Hails! Yeah, it was a big time space for us. After we got our first CD 'Damnation of Regiomontum' released through Norwegian label, Valgalder Records, we got a chance to show our actual songwriting skills. As it was agreed in contract we should record two albums for Norwegians so the second album was 'FireStorm'.... It was a great experience for us to work with real orchestra musicians. The album was ready in the beginning of 2002 and that horrible delay was so annoying.... We thought that our work wouldn't be released at all but guys from Japan WORLD CHAOS made it real and after 1,8 year delay 'FireStorm' was released for worldwide in Japan. We got insanely great promotion from World Chaos and all that I can say - I'm really glad that we got such good support. World's Metal mass media's response was just fantastic! We got (and still are getting) a lot of great reviews and awards. Right now we are working on new album's creation. I can't tell you any details but TVANGESTE will enter studio next autumn or so...."

   Some of you play in other bands too. Vano and Victoria play in Dis Pater. Victoria also plays in Bleeding Skies and Romowe Rikoito. Do you agree with that? Isn't it difficult to make music in such conditions?

   "Yes. Not only Victoria has side projects. Vanoe plays in Dis Pater as a guitarist as well... Our new bassist plays in Equinox... Our drummer has two own created bands DOMINIUM and BRIGHT OPHIDEA. Only I and Naturelle concentrate on work in TVANGESTE and I think it's honest. Almost all music for 'FireStorm' was created by us so I don't mind that all members play in other projects too. TVANGESTE is a crew - for sure but all main music style, conception and performance belongs to me, Naturelle and Nikolay Kazmin (our guitar player)."

   You and Naturelle play only in TVANGESTE and live for that band without any side projects but I heard you had some ideas about "additional" art. What's all about? Also, how does it go the work with your web development agency? Programmers/ designers have a good reward from such work there?

   "Haa... yes. I'm glad that I have such good work and I'm glad twice that I work with my wife. We offer a wide list of design/programming services. As about additional ideas... well... we have a lot of thoughts in our heads. Right now we are going to start making our first movie. I am writing a book/manual about martial arts for one big Australian publishing house. Naturelle's painting a set of postcards with beautiful Polish town Gdansk '' views. We have a great deal of ideas... but trying to concentrate on music... to make a priority to our new album."

    Do you think technology is just a medium for humanity or, as a lot of people say, it will annihilate human fantasy?

   "Well... I think that technology is a great help. I think that nothing can annihilate human's fantasy if fantasy exists in human's mind. Sometimes high tech even widens art's horizons... just think about 3D graphic or new possibilities in music creation. I think that people should use high technologies as a great help to improve their own ideas... to find new solutions."

   The CD's cover was painted by Margo (a good friend of yours) and designed by Naturelle (your wife) at Avesta Media Studio. What can you tell me about the significance of the cover?

   "We tried to make our entire album conceptual. So our main goal was to make a one indivisible piece of art. The CD cover is our musical themes' reflection... being a visual part of 'FireStorm' it completes our artwork and allows all listeners to feel our music deeper. Margo and Naturelle made a really good job."

   On the last album you don't use Russian language like in "Damnation of Regiomontum" album. Why? Is there a chance to listen to future songs made in your native language or it's a final option not to use your mother language anymore in music? You want to be understandable for everybody or is it a way of looking for success and nothing else?

   "I was asked about Russian language in our songs so often! Yes - I absolutely agree with you - Russian language should appear in our songs. Actually 'FireStorm' was created in two languages version: Russian (with really good poetry) and English (just translation made by professional interpreters)... My idea was to record our CD in two versions: one for Russian and Slavonic speaking nations... and another one for the rest of the world. Of course understanding of our lyrics was the main thing. But because of the low budget we weren't able to make two versions. And as You can gather - we recorded this album for western countries first and we were interested to be understandable for all over the world's listeners. New album (we are working hard on a new album now) will contain some Russian elements in clear vocals. As about wanting my creation to be understandable - Yes... our lyrics is a great part of music and I am interested in to be understood on all continents. English allows us to be understood and that's very important!"

   Also almost all of Baltic Symphony Orchestra members you collaborated with were at beginning very arrogant but till the end almost all of them were impressed by working with a metal band and have changed their notion on metal music! To do this kind of changes in their minds needs proving certain professional abilities. Where did you get that education?

   "Yes. There were some complications during recording session since all classical musicians (OK - almost all) think that classical music is supreme thing.... that there are some brilliant composers like Bach, Mozart, Tchaikovski and that's all... so they think that if music they are going to play wasn't made by great composers of past centuries - they wouldn't play this music! Because of this strange point of view some of Baltic Symphony Orchestra even rejected our invitation... but right after CD was recorded, mixed and mastered many of that guys recognized that TVANGESTE's music has all chances to be accepted by professionals because of the interesting and unusual structure, frequent rhythm and tempo changes etc... I'm glad to hear that because I respect classical school musicians and their opinion's very important for me! I don't have any music education but Naturelle , Victoria and Katya do have. Katya's and Naturelle's work on orchestra arrangements was good! I'm glad by the result but... now we have a great experience how to record real orchestra, how to collaborate with classical guys and for sure our new album will be much more professional in all ways! As an additional important factor - orchestra recording requires insanely big money. We managed to record all orchestra and choir for record low sum - $1500 and to be honest it doesn't sound like real big orchestra because of the many things like: track by track recording. We weren't able to record all orchestra in one place... it costs so much... so we did a really great and very hard work but our music is still far from the thing I call perfect sound. 'FireStorm' was a big step to the top of metal Olymp but we have to work hard to improve our skills and make something real!"

   TVANGESTE was a small site of ancient settlement destroyed in 1255 by Teutonic knights. In this place was a knights Castile , Koenigsberg. Which are the most interesting moments of the Prussian history? What is the most characteristic feature in the Prussian character?

   "You know... in 1255 Christians destroyed a small settlement TVANGESTE... by the end of XIII all Prussian land was conquered and almost all its citizens were either killed or assimilated to German culture.... Prussian culture, language etc. were lost.... we decided to remind people that our region has a really rich and interesting history... to remind people that before German part of history this Land was populated by absolutely unknown nations... to show people the true face of Christianity... I hope you understand why I can't tell you about the most characteristic features of Prussian nation..."

   I heard about some of TVANGESTE members that didn't even have a chance to visit Russia ! How is possible?

   "Yes... it's true... our Kaliningrad region is a part of Russia ... it's a small piece of Russian territory between Poland and Lithuania on the Baltic Sea shores.... If you'll take a look at the map of Europe you'll understand everything... After Lithuania 's applies to be a part of European Union were approved they closed their borders... We can visit main Russian territory only by crossing some borders... one of those borders is Lithuanian one... So we have visa to visit Russia ... insane thing isn't it?"

   In early days you had problem with your logo, an ancient Prussian symbol that means heaven (sun and clouds), and that was confused by many people with a Nazi symbol. A similar problem had also Adhur from Spain . Do you still have this problem? How much these stories affected on you?

   "That's true - You are extremely well informed! Our 'Damnation of Regiomontum' cover was with the symbol on the first page and many German labels and music stores said 'NO'... because all kinds of symbols that even slightly remind swastika are prohibited. Damn - sometimes people are so... hmm... not wise... of course it affected too bad on all TVANGESTE's promotion in Germany... there were some talks that 'TvangesTe is Nazi...' so I'd like to declare that we respect all nations and all people while they respect us. I don't care if somebody has not the same nationality or skin color as I have... the main thing for me - attitude... and if somebody doesn't care about me - I don't care about him... if somebody's attitude to me is bad - he'll get the same attitude to him."

   In "FireStorm" there are two main lyrical lines... one of them is an ancient Prussian history and anti-religious feelings. Another (and the main) part of your lyrics is thinking about human mind and soul in this world. All songs are dedicated to STRONG FREE INDIVIDUALS, to people that have their own point of view. Can you describe deep message of this album?

   "Yes... in all interviews I use one line from our lyrics that describes our thought in the best way:

To be or not to be / There's no such question! / To be! But to be WHAT? / A weak-willed sheep that's taken to the slaughter house / Or a proud wolf / Whose heart is filled with freedom? / What's in your eyes, Human? / Fear or Rage? Blind Submission or Resistance? / Love and respect your friends / And let your enemies die!"

   The spiritual part of TVANGESTE's music is FREEDOM OF MIND. So, what are your favorite psychology orientation and writers? Also, which are the books and writers that helped at the creation of your personality? I know you find a lot of wise ideas in Nietzsche's books indeed. In what way his philosophy influenced you and what is your favorite theory?

   "At the beginning of TVANGESTE's creation our goal was too trivial and even childish: to unleash the war against Christianity... yeah...It was a nice but funny time... young people... after some years I understood that Christianity is just a part of big iceberg of different treatments which goal is to make slaves of people... Religion, Law, Education... every main bases of the modern society are rotten - aimed to grow weak willed mass... strong and wise people are very dangerous for the System and our attempts are to call to people's INNERSELVES... to make people THINK USING THEIR OWN BRAINS... to make people BELIVE THEIR OWN BELIEVES...

Every sheep needs a shepherd / Every shepherd needs a sheep for his flock. / They are walking to the horizon of their ideas / Trampling the sprouts of freedom and despising pride / But rise above the Earth and you will see / WHERE this herd is heading ... / It's heading to the precipices.

I don't agree that I was influenced by Nietzsche's books...actually I've read his 'Thus Spoke Zarathustra'... that's all... I prefer my mind guiding me in this world..."

   In complex, what is your life's philosophy?

   "It's simple: BE YOURSELF. BE STRONG. BE WISE. LIVE YOUR LIFE. I don't want to write a lot about it since these main topics describe everything the best way. Just believe in Yourself and let your mind be Your guide."

   If your music and your ideas could be expressed through images, which kind of figures and colors could better describe it? As you say it somewhere, the main thing in music is IDEA and SOUL of the composition. Can those things be described into images?

   "Hmm... to be honest it's hard since all the time music themes have different feelings... this way music could be associated to different image forms. I don't think it's possible to describe our music using just limited quantity of pictures... You'll need a picture gallery to get a full conception! ... and Yes - SOUL of the composition is the main thing for me... music should live... sound should breathe..."

   Themes from "Firestorm" will be used as an official soundtrack for "Sinners and Saints", a mystic action movie with some erotic elements. How did they find you? Can you tell us more about this movie? Also, what kind of movies do you enjoy and why?

   "'Sinners and Saints' will be out up to March 2004 on DVD and distributed by some big companies. It was an interesting thing because the movie's producer Melantha Blackthorne is our fan. Melantha sent me a letter with the offer to use some themes from our new CD for their movie as an soundtrack...after some talks with World Chaos we got agreement so I'm dying to get this movie! As a matter of fact - our next video will be made of the best fragments from the movie and will be available after New Year. I can't tell you anything since I haven't seen it yet... just a trailer... so I'd say it should be an interesting movie for mystic/erotic/action lovers. He he... the kind of music I like... well... I'm a great fan of Jackie Chan's movies."

   Valgalder, and now World Chaos compare your music with some big names as Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth, Therion, Old Man's Child for marketing reasons without caring about your advises. Don't you have any right to describe yourself the music without comparing it? In this case you will stay at WCP for the next album?

   "Actually it's one of the bad sides of our promotion. After our 'Damnation...' release Valgalder made a big mistake! They described our style as a Dimmu, Old Man's Child, Enslavement of Beauty... and we got a bunch of reviews 'Dimmu followers... a great Old Man's Child's influence... etc'... we were compared to Enslavement of Beauty so many times! And I even have no idea what these guys play! I've heard one song from old Dimmu's stuff ( Mourning Palace ) and their new CDs only! But we were compared to 'Stormblast' I hardly can imagine how it sounds! In spite of all these problems, 'Damnation...' has got really good responses. After our 'FireStorm' release I asked World Chaos not to mention any well known bands to prevent new comparisons... You know that's always like this: label sends CD for review and a small description of the band... kind of 'press release'... so all reviewers simply read it and after listening 1-2 tracks write a review according to the words in press release. I warned World Chaos not to mention any bands but they decided to use Cradle of Filth and Therion ... maybe it was wise business decision since Cradles are so popular... but because of this crap we have various comparisons... almost in all reviews... thanks to those people who honestly listened ALL our tracks and have written honest review! But it's WCP's album and they are free to call our style like they want. They are too good to blame them for this crap!"

   I now you are an old style Metalhead, you like more complex music, skilled musicians, Bach's strings, Paganini, soundtracks from the movies ( Jerry Goldsmith, Alan Sylvestri etc) and your dream is to make a conceptual symphony to be performed for serious classical music lovers. Another dream of yours is to make music for movies. Is there a chance to do it soon?

   "Yeah... we have an agreement with that Canadian company so we'll create music for their next movie I hope. It's really an interesting thing for me! This work will widen my own horizons. I'd love to write a true symphony and even think to incorporate some parts of our both albums into one classical conceptual creation that would be performed by a big orchestra. I always liked skilled musicians and complex music since it's so interesting to listen to music that is changing all the time... that allows you to flow in the stream of sounds to nowhere!"

   Do you think that dreams can give hidden messages, that later might give you the possibility to use them for writing your lyrics or music? Do you think the universe could influence our life and in which you might feel yourself as a part of it?

   "Yes... I really believe in it and I think that there's one general energy information field that contains all information about everything. And when you are thinking about anything hard - solution will come. Remember poets' inspiration... sometimes it comes to poets in the nights... sometimes somewhere or sometimes else... mathematicians say - 'if You can't find to solve a problem... thinking hard on it... just go and sleep and solution will come'... and almost all the time solution 'strikes' to the head... not logically... simply 'boom!... here I am!'... So I believe in something like general power grid..."

   You practice martial arts since 1989 and you still dream to play in movie with Jackie Chan, your favorite actor. Do you make something to release this unconventional dream? How did you get in contact with this sport?

   "I was a small boy and was simply impressed by Jackie's art in his old movie "Drunken Master"... right after that movie I came home and started my first training... it was funny but it was my first step. I'm grateful to Jackie since then... because of his movie I don't smoke, have no idea about alcohol's taste (even beer and Champaign !)... I can lift 250 lbs, I am able to fight with a group of enemies with my hands only...I know how to use simple match box as a weapon to kill. That's good to have such lifestyle for me since it suits to one of my main motto: BE STRONG. People should be strong since only strong persons can feel themselves really free without any discomforts...

I hope that my dream one day will come true. I'll visit Hong Kong for sure to apply for small role... he he... You never know! Maybe my tries will help me to express myself in new kind of art?... we'll see..."

   You say somewhere that Russia had the best martial art system. Can you tell us more? How could such help you not to feel stress and fear, and to control your emotions?

   "Actually yeah - it was a complex system of body and spirit training. Ancient Russian warriors (it's a true fact!) were BODYGUARDS FOR CHINESE EMPERORS!... but this greatest martial art was lost and now we can see just small parts of it... but even those small parts show the difference between usual Karate or Kick Boxing and Russian style... Russian style is close to Chinese WUSU... but based on different movements and principles... I can't tell how it can help you not to feel stress and fear, and to control emotions because I am not an expert in this style and I have just approximate idea about it. As about martial arts generally - I'd say that training your body you train your spirit as ancient Chinese or Japanese said. There is a great deal of different methods to work with your mind like meditations. The main idea is to speak to your sub-consciousness... to think without thinking..."

   The greatest experience of your life was the army period (for two years), as an explosive specialist. You are also famous because of your interesting gigs. There are a lot of lights, pyrotechnic, ancient martial arts elements like swords fighting... I think your shows are a result of your past-education. You still pay by yourself such? Is any chance to have support from WCP to put a gig on DVD?

   "Ha ha.. ohh... noo... all pyrotechnic effects were made by our good friend Dmitry 'PyroDimych'... he's a true professional in this field. He is able to make explosion showy and spectacular - I can just blow a building or a car (very useful specialty in our days... he he... Army wasn't so good and useful time for me. We are thinking about making DVD... some short fragments will appear on our site soon."

   Also I heard you don't like gigs, noise... you prefer silence. What does silence mean to you and on which occasions do you feel and listen to it?

   "He he... there's a good expression: SILENCE IS THE BEST SOUND. Sometimes I agree with that! I really don't like gigs...I like music and I prefer to listen to it in good CD quality in headphones in the comfort of my home. Of course live shows are very important... They give to fans so gig energy... but I believe I'm just not that kind of people... I understand guys that like to go to concerts, stage dive etc but I prefer more quiet way of spending time in the Naturelle's company... I'm not a misanthrope but I can't say I'm sociable... just trying to live my own life..."

   Does World Chaos have any plans for touring with you in foreign countries?

   "They offered us two tours but because of some great problems we weren't able to accept both offers. Also we get about 3-5 live shows invitations every month... I missed concerts with Ancient, Moonspell, In Flames etc... because of the inner problems and visas we won't be able to play live abroad for some time."

   Did you keep the contact with Cezar Mielko, the drummer from polish band DOMINIUM? What can you tell about your guests on "Firestorm"? Will you ask for their help for the next album?

   "Yeah! We are friends! I respect this guy for his excellent drums playing abilities and... be sure he'll join us for our new stuff's recording! Actually this album is featuring so many guests! I'd love to mention Olaa - our magic female voice that was acclaimed as 'one of the best female vocals in metal for all times'. You know - we are very lucky! We got an excellent drummer, our new bassist Max Naumoff is maybe the best musician in the band - he plays bass as Dream Theatre's bassist! Olaa... and her talent helped us a lot on our debut album "Damnation of Regiomontum'... after the CD release we got a great deal of letters from our fans 'add more Olaa's vocals on new CD please!'... so we did!.. On the new album Olaa will appear even more often!"

   Your first video, "From Nameless Oracle", was made by SELANI studio ( Poland ). What can you tell me about the new one? It should have been included on the CD but...

   "We wanted to add a multimedia track to our CD but for some reason we can't do it. Anyway both our videos everybody can freely download from our official web site. To be honest I don't like this video at all and think it's not professional... we got an offer from Alex Chendon ('Cradle of Fear', almost all CoF's videos)... but his price unfortunately was too high for us... I believe that the new video (featuring 'Sinners and saints' fragments) would be much better."

   You want to invite on the next album, if budget is big enough, some musicians from the 'stars' of metal music...not black...like WASP... to make something more powerful, energetic, with more riffs, more orchestra parts... Kind of Fear Factory-TVANGESTE-Rhapsody mixes. I heard you would work again with Baltic Symphony Orchestra and Prussian Chamber Choir for the next chapter of TVANGESTE suite. What can you tell about that and when should we expect your new album?

   "Yes! I'd love to ask Blackie Lawless to join us for one track recording since I believe that his voice is a true diamond! And it's so stupid when young metalheads say 'who's Blackie Lawless?... what does WASP play?' As about our new album - we are working hard on new material! Prepare for a great deal of new and fresh ideas... TVANGESTE's 'Damnation of Regiomontum' was completely different from 'FireStorm'... so our next stuff will be different to 'FireStorm' as well... it's kind of evolution of the band. I don't like to remain the same... I want to create different music. It will be a really interesting album. Now we have a great experience in collaboration with the real orchestra, choir... we know and remember all our mistakes during 'FireStorm' recording and be sure - we'll do our best to prevent all crap during next recording session! The CD will be more aggressive... more guitar... but we'll save our difference in themes. Choirs will be performed by another choir and we'll do it really professionally (to add choirs to 'Firestorm' we decided during recording session so it was just an experiment for us). Orchestra sounds will reflect even more powerful... we'll add many new instruments... more winds... more kettle drums... also we have a great deal of new ideas I can't tell You about now since it's kind of secret... to tease people... prepare for really good and interesting musical composition!"

   You want to work for next album with Fredman Studio from Sweden . Why? Selani Studio from Poland it's not so good as you want? Or is it much too expensive? How much would you pay to record an album there?

   "SELANI was a cheap studio... it was the best way for us to record more or less good quality CD because there were some guys that were experienced in metal recording. It's the main thing for me - Metal mind of sound engineers! Our sound master was Szymon Czech and I'm glad by his work... but I don't like our sound and think that guitars and basses should sound absolutely different... and it's possible to make in Sweden since as far as I know DIMMU , IN FLAMES, SOILWORK and others have excellent guitar sounds... so I'd love to get the same!"

   I now you like geography and to travel too. What is your favorite country, place that you visited or you want to visit?

   "I'd love to visit China , Japan , South America's forests and Africa 's savanna. But I'm interested in all World's countries... I had a chance to visit almost all European countries but I hope my dream about world wide trip will come true one day...."

   Thanks Miron for the time used to answer all these questions and I wish for you to make available all your dreams....

   "Damn! You got the first place and the ''The Longest Interview' award indeed!! Thanks a lot! I appreciate so detailed interview. It took some time to answer all questions (remember - I answer 1-2 interviews DAILY now!). I thank all guys (and girls) who have finished this interview reading since it wasn't so easy... I hope we'll get many new friends in your country! Thanks for the chance to introduce TVANGESTE for Your magazine's readers! If somebody wants to ask the band about anything: just write to post@TVANGESTE.com ."

November, 2003.