Singer Andrey “Ind” and Guitarist Alexander “Motor”
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Promo pictures provided by Grenouer
Grenouer is a Russian act that’s fairly unknown to the western world. When I heard their latest album LIFELONG DAYS I was stunned by their amazing way of playing their industrial/death metal. The band started out playing thrash metal at the beginning of the 90’s so it’s hard to put Grenouer into just one musical label. Listen and you will find out what I’m talking about. However, I felt obligated to share Grenouer’s amazing music with the rest of the world because these guys deserve recognition. I think you can all agree that it’s fun to hear from a band from an “exotic” land as Russia. Here is what me, singer Andrey “Ind” and Alexander “Motor” the guitarist talked about.
Let’s start with talking about your band called Grenouer, when and where was the band formed?
Andrey ‘Ind’ (Lead Vocals): The band was formed quite a long time ago – in the early 90’s in an average industrial city called Perm, in Russia. Nobody within the current line up had anything to do with the band’s conception. In the early years Grenouer were an underground band going nowhere.
It was only in the mid 90’s that the band began to take shape. At that time, both myself and Slavij – our current bass player – were already involved.
Alexander ‘Motor’ (Guitar): I joined the line up in the autumn 1999. I remember that Andrey called me and I was asked to play guitar with Grenouer. At that time I could only have dreamt of joining Grenouer who were quite famous locally.
What kind of metal do you play and was it decided from the start that you were gonna play this kind of music?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Right now we play a mixture of rock and progressive based on djent metal, but back in the 90’s and early 2000 it was all death metal which could sometimes be quite not so inventive. A change in sound had been planned a long time ago but never actually happened until after we moved to St Petersburg and Ilya ‘Grave’ joined us on drums. Some reviewers mistakenly associate us with industrial metal although we never make reference to the industrial sound when we compose our music.
Alexander ‘Motor’: Our current sound is also not that far from that of nu-metal. However, we have added elements of other genres like post grunge and math metal. We obviously like experimenting; we just search and introduce into our music some missing elements. Ultimately, this has created our own musical feeling.
Did the original band members have any common musical idol or role model/band that they looked up to or were inspired by?
Andrey ‘Ind’: The founder, guitarist Sergey ‘Hendrix’, who didn’t actually manage to last until the band’s debut demo was produced, was a great fan of Creedence Clearwater Revival. The other guys were inspired by typical bands such as Cannibal Corpse & Napalm Death. All of this was supplemented by the usual Russian lack of interest & slackening as well as teenage disorderly behaviour.
The band comes from Russia. Where exactly in Russia does each member come from?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Slavij, Motor and myself come from Perm, and Grave comes from the heart of Siberia – Irkutsk. For over 6 six years now we have lived, worked and produced music in St. Petersburg.
In 1993 Grenouer recorded a debut demo. What response did it get from both fans and the media?
Andrey ‘Ind’: The sound quality of this demo was very good considering our circumstances and totally acceptable for an audience of close friends. The band was advised not to circulate outside of its circle of friends and so they followed this recommendation. However, a badly recorded demo is better than nothing at all and while sometimes it proved useful – for a local radio or a festival – we didn’t even distribute it within the underground scene. In 1996 Grenouer recorded its first full-length album. It was a good album and I was happy that the band had started to conquer the underground with this material. In time the original 1993 demo achieved a minor cult status, but it’s nothing to write home about.
When did the band do their first live show?
Andrey ‘Ind’: In the summer of 1993, in Grenouer’s home town of Perm. It was a big success. Death metal was at the peak of its popularity and local fans welcomed a new brutal band with open arms.
Three years later in 1996 the band recorded its first studio album called BORDER OF MISTY TIMES. What do you think of that album now when you look back on it?
Andrey ‘Ind’: By 1996 what was a group of loafers turned into a band who were more capable of learning & playing music as well as expressing themselves through such a medium. After the album’s release people were commenting on what a suspiciously good debut it was. To be honest it did take years to produce such a debut. The band had been through many up’s and down’s including some really dramatic changes. However, a combination of palatable studio conditions and everyone’s best efforts resulted in the recording of an elaborate blend of death and thrash metal. I believe that we executed and delivered a well created album just at the right moment, and even now, when I listen to Border of Misty Times – which I do every now and again – I still think it withstands the test of time.
You started out playing death metal but on your 1998 album GRAVEHEAD you played death/black metal. Why the change of musical direction?
Andrey ‘Ind’: This was merely a natural progression in order to broaden the genre because classic death metal was restricting us a little. It wasn’t a conscious decision to break away from the confines of death metal. Around that time so many brilliant black metal albums were released, it was hard to resist the temptation to adopt elements of black metal into our sound. To be fair though, we only borrowed the atmosphere of the sound, the riffs were formulated “outside the box”. In my view the album was a success but it didn’t push any boundaries.
On the 2000 album THE ODOUR O´FOLLY you did a cover of the old A-Ha song ‘Take On Me’. How come you chose to cover that song?
Andrey ‘Ind’: I don’t recall exactly how & when we came up with the idea. I imagine that we used to talk about this old A-Ha video and someone thought about recreating a mean and brutal version. It was probably after this that we considered covering the actual song. I’m not sure if it was good or not but for many years ‘Take On Me’ was almost like our calling card.
Alexander ‘Motor’: This was actually my first album with Grenouer. The guys had been covering this song before I even joined the band, but I was happy to record it and play it at gigs. I also managed to contribute something of my own in there.
It took you guys three years to follow up that album with the 2003 release PRESENCE WITH WAR. Why did it take so long?
Andrey ‘Ind’: As a band, this is about as fast as we are able to ‘spawn’ new material. What you need to bare in mind is that it takes time to compose songs; to practice playing them; to prepare; to earn money for recording sessions; to actually record the album; to find a label; to wait for a release date; to promote the album by touring; etc; etc… For a Russian metal band these tasks are almost impossible to achieve, especially when you consider that the whole situation is aggravated by harsh social & economical conditions. There are simply too many things to do and we have no choice but to manage them all by ourselves. However, elementary support from a label would normally speed the whole process up.
The album is a concept album, can you tell us a bit about it?
Andrey ‘Ind’: You’re talking about our latest release, LIFELONG DAYS. The albums deals with the concept of time – that it runs either too fast or too slowly – and with the difficulties that man has to overcome along the way. Sometimes a man is destined to always suffer and to never see his dreams realised.
Alexander ‘Motor’: You reach a certain point where you feel that the most important day of your life is actually completely inconsequential. This day is just your life from all vantage points – good and bad. Sometimes you can’t remember what happened yesterday. One day simply merges into another and it appears to be the same as any other day of the month or year.
Essentially, your time on Earth is just one long, drawn out & wretched day. On this album we attempted to convey with both words and music, the circumstances which allow us to feel and sense the passing of a lifetime.
Are there any differences between how the foreign press and the national press treat you as well as how they write about the band?
Andrey ‘Ind’: During the 90’s the national underground press was very positive about us while the foreign press was pretty critical. In the last decade the situation has completely reversed, foreign reviewers now see us in a far more positive light. I guess that the old underground reviewers in Russia can’t forgive us for changing our sound over the years, while the newer reviewers are more interested in younger acts. But all said and done, I welcome any reviews – even the negative ones!
How would you describe the kind of metal Grenouer play today?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Pure metal! Music without striking imagination but which comes from the heart. Our future -the path that we have not walked yet.
Alexander ‘Motor’: Metal today has many sub-genres and I am not really into sorting & defining them when I listen to an album. However, I will judge music according to the following principles:
a) Its quality and professionalism.
b) Personal taste – whether I like or dislike it.
Therefore, if I were to apply these principles to Grenouer I would consider their music to be good enough to be of interest to me as a listener and at the very least their style of metal is in keeping with my personal taste. I mean, I definitely would have bought the last album))).
The French magazine Hard Rock made your demo TRY ‘demo of the month’ in 2005. How did that feel?
Andrey ‘Ind’: It was wonderful. As a teenager I had lots of posters from the Hard Rock magazine. These days though, the magazine is not as big as it used to be and being ‘demo of the month’ will not necessarily result in a Grammy nomination. Just being realistic here really.
The demo was made into an album in 2007 when you added a further 7 tracks as well as 2 remixed tracks. Could you tell us about the 2 remixed tracks, which songs were they?
Andrey ‘Ind’: The two tracks in question were A Passage In The Sky and Wanting To Be Alone and they were remixed by our friend Gipnoz. He was very creative and imaginative. In a way, these remixes actually sound better than the originals.
Alexander ‘Motor’: That is why we decided to include them on the full length album. These remixes heighten the atmosphere originally created on TRY – “a revived mechanism, a work station with a soul and thoughts’.
Are Grenouer big in Russia these days?
Andrey ‘Ind’: It depends on how you define ‘big’. We’re nobodies within showbiz circles but we’re quite respected within the Russian underground scene.
Alexander ‘Motor’: We don’t play to huge crowds, our venues are usually quite small, but a lot musicians and metal fans still respect us. What’s more, people continue to be interested in what we produce and in anything new we are going to bring to our audience.
Where does the band name come from?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Grimoire, the textbook of magic. The combination of letters was mutated and ended up becoming a completely new word.
I noticed that Grenouer is written in such a way on the album that it can be read both forwards and backwards. Was that intentional?
Andrey ‘Ind’: That’s right! The new logo is an ambigram – a symmetrical depiction of letters. Such duality also has a metaphorical meaning.
Alexander ‘Motor’: Yeah, no matter how you rotate it, it’s the same thing. Basically, no matter how we change, we remain the same!
I have read that Grenouer is one of the most respected metal acts in Russia. Is that true and how does it feel to be called that?
Andrey ‘Ind’: There’s nothing wrong with being respected because of experience, creativity or individuality, but ultimately this hasn’t made us any more popular or bring us the financial rewards which normally come with success.
How has the response to Grenouer been from the rest of the world?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Sometimes I get e-mails from fans or someone posts comments on our website – nothing special really. Things have not changed very much since the release of our debut album. Issues relating to supply in the music industry correlate with the actual demand. Winning an army of fans is always subject to a set of very specific circumstances.
What’s the climate for extreme metal acts and music like in Russia today?
Andrey ‘Ind’: There are a lot of metal musicians here and the scene appears to be thriving. The climate seems to be facilitating growth in the metal scene, for instance you can easily buy all the gear you need and rehearse day and night if you want. But to be honest, quantity very much out weighs quality and this is because many bands lack experience. Local metal acts are isolated from corporate affairs, basically underground metal stews in its own juices – there are no metal radio shows, no metal TV programmes, no big open air festivals, no infrastructure, etc. Only the bands who are supported by a sponsor can hope for any success, receive publicity or get themselves on track – but let’s face it, metal bands will always be the last in line for sponsorship.
Alexander ‘Motor’: Any fairly big city has plenty of bands and as long as they can get hold of instruments their choice of music is metal, so the climate is alright. The bigger the city – the more bands will emerge. Generally, there are many skilled musicians here and quite a few of them reach the level of European bands and go professional. I only wish that the situation would change and Russian bands start to get the recognition abroad they deserve.
Are there many big extreme metal acts that come from Russia?
Andrey ‘Ind’: There isn’t a single extreme metal band from Russia who are successful outside Russia. Some bands were signed by foreign labels but that hasn’t resulted in any a meaningful success for them outside of Russia. There still seems to be some form of ‘iron curtain’ acting as a barrier. A European label would much rather sign a band from Western Europe. Of course there are record labels in Russia but none of them are capable of securing international success for a band. You have individuals and organisations doing things, but they never actually achieve anything significant.
Your latest album is called LIFELONG DAYS and was released 2008. How long did it take to write and record that album?
Andrey ‘Ind’: The material was composed over a one year period however many of the songs were changed at the last moment before the recording. We entered the studio in autumn 2006 and estimated recording the album in two weeks. This estimation proved to be wrong – it took us half a year to complete the recording. But we didn’t spend all our time in the studio, be we were only there periodically. In spring 2007 we had produced a master CD and then immediately started to search for label, which it took us almost one year to find.
From what I have read you write the music/lyrics together in the band. Who actually does what?
Andrey ‘Ind’: The lyrics are my responsibility. Sometimes the guys throw in ideas, some of which I use and some I don’t. I also get a little help from some British friends. For the next album they will help me to make sure my lyrics are expressed using correct English.
Alexander ‘Motor’: The music is normally written as a group. If anyone – though usually me or Ilya ‘Grave’ – comes up with an idea or a riff it becomes a crude starting point around which the band can start creating songs.
What are your lyrics about?
Andrey ‘Ind’: They are a combination of external issues – a specific theme, and internal factors – personal feelings and emotions. The last album deals with the concept of time as well as social themes which derive from my personal memories, senses and ideas as well as from painful personal experiences.
You have worked with the well-known producer Anssi Kippo a few times now. What’s it like to work with him? And what do you think is his strongest trait as producer?
Andrey ‘Ind’: I can only say good things about Anssi, he is a true professional, a workaholic and above all, a big fan of music. We enjoyed every minute in his studio. He was always positive; he liked a good joke and would always tell us politely: “Very close, same mesto” (the same place, one more take). Finally he moulded all of our takes into an album with fantastic production. In the end we were all very proud of the results of our efforts.
Alexander ‘Motor’: That’s right, Anssi is a marvellous person to work with, despite making us work extremely hard in order to get the very best out of us. After recording 3 songs I felt like a docker at the end of a working day. But that was cool, as far as I am concerned, if we were able to, we’d love to work with Anssi Kippo again and again.
And you have also worked with Mika Jussila a lot. What do you think of working with him?
Andrey ‘Ind’: That was also cool, but also much easier! Mastering only really takes a few hours.
Alexander ‘Motor’: And to be honest, it actually doesn’t require any effort from us. Mika Jussila simply did what he always does best, he works his magic.
Did any of the band members take part in the mixing process for LIFELONG DAYS?
Andrey ‘Ind’: We made our own suggestions and recommendations but ultimately, I have no idea if they had any real impact on the final sound. Our live sound engineer was also present in the studio and his comments were probably more useful.
What do you think of working in Finland?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Finland and its citizens were great. Furthermore, the studio was very comfortable, it has beds, a kitchen, a living room, toilets and sauna. We even celebrated New Year (2007) in this studio!
Alexander ‘Motor’: Staying there was cosy and created positive vibes. Working there gave us excellent results.
You shot a video for the song ‘Employed Beggar’. What can you tell us about that video?
Andrey ‘Ind’: This video was rather improvised, in the style of either Napalm Death stuff or video-installation. But it did create the necessary atmosphere. The lyrics of the song are about a worker with a truly horrible life, he spends his entire life working and never receives a decent days pay. His money goes nowhere fast and he is constantly at the bottom of the barrel.
You also shot a video for the song ‘Patience’. Has it been shown on any TV channels?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Basically, a totally different director shot a totally different video for a totally different song. It was decided to shoot a conceptual video without any musicians being featured. None of our videos have been shown on TV, but to be honest, this doesn’t surprise me at all. However, this director (Bogdan Drobyazko) did recently promise to use the song in his film.
The song ‘With No Concern’ features a guest appearance from Igor Lobanov. Who is Mr. Lobanov?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Igor ‘Cache’ is the frontman with a popular alternative band in Russia named Slot. During the 90’s he was in a more ‘metal’ orientated band called End Zone. As a matter of fact, his contribution was more than simply providing backing vocals for that song. He also participated in the recording preproduction and gave us some good ideas.
You use a lot of programming and keyboards on this album that is played by Kippo. How do you recreate this for a live show?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Anssi Kippo did play all the keyboards but introduced them in such a way as to emphasize the character of the songs while not actually overpowering them. In live situations, we don’t use keyboards and compensate for the lack of ambience with the sheer energy of our performance.
Who did the cover artwork for the album? And what do you think of it?
Andrey ‘Ind’: The artwork was done by a creative team called ‘Art’s Kill’. I think that the designers did a good job of the booklet and the multimedia section (CD extra) is excellent. In all honesty, we expected something a bit different but nothing is perfect and you’ve got to expect an artist to have their own vision.
What do your fans think of LIFELONG DAYS?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Our real fans say it is the best work Grenouer has ever produced and this is also what we think.
Did you throw a release party for the album?
Andrey ‘Ind’: We had a couple of beers, but that was pretty much it. Our labels promised us that there would be several release parties in Germany, so we sent merchandise to potential fans – posters, postcards and signed valves from the amp that was used for the recording of the album. But afterwards we were told that there wouldn’t be anything.
When was LIFELONG DAYS released?
Andrey ‘Ind’: June 2008 in Europe and the USA, and in the beginning of 2009 the album finally saw the light of day in Russia.
You didn’t do much touring at all during 2008. Why?
Andrey ‘Ind’: A good question would be what do you consider to be ‘a lot’ and what do you consider to be ‘not much’? By our standards we played a lot. We played in Russia, Ukraine, Finland, Slovakia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Check Republic and Germany. OK, we didn’t have a continuous tour consisting of at least 10 cities, but a proper tour requires a certain level of support from promoters that are ready to meet all our technical as well as administrative requirements. We cannot rely on simple enthusiasm; we need accommodation, catering and above all technical expertise while we’re on stage! It involves a lot of effort.
Are you happy with the way LIFELONG DAYS was promoted, etc?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Not at all! The label only managed to organise 1 official interview and a dozen reviews. For the most part we promoted ourselves, for instance by sending out CDs to magazines, radio stations, etc. In fact we still do that.
You supported Testament in Moscow in 2008. How was that?
Alexander ‘Motor’: It was awesome!! Testament influenced me and the way I play, I’m a total fan. As a kid I could play their songs by ear and I was inspired by that. Testament’s technicians treated us with complete respect; they helped us with our back-line/equipment and worked as a team in a professional manner. We didn’t see the band before the show, but later on we managed to chat with them afterwards. Chuck Billy is a damn huge guy! Everything was good and very positive. I also got a chance to watch their set as well. It had all the biggest hits except those from the Demonic era. I would love to thank them for their great contribution to metal music. By the way, the last Testament album is very cool. A great old school come-back! I liked it very much!
Andrey ‘Ind’: Not much I can add really. I also remember Alex Skolnick signed our guitar cabinet.
Who were the original members of the Grenouer line up?
Andrey ‘Ind’: It’s a slightly complicated story. In 1992, the line up consisted of ‘Hendrix’ on guitar, ‘Def’ on drums and ‘Coffin’ on vocals. However, they drank far too much alcohol to last the distance. ‘Hendrix’ stayed on and took the key musicians from a thrash metal band called Sarin – Sergey Lialin on drums and ‘Dekan’ on guitar. Then two more guys joined – ‘Kaban’ on vocals and ‘Bathyscaf’ on bass. They performed their first few shows together and then ‘Hendrix’ left. I then joined the band in 1994. At this point everything in the band was very unstable until we recorded the first album. The line up was then as follows: Ind – vocals; Slavij – bass; Igor Klimov – guitar; and Sergey Lialin – drums.
Guitarist Igor Klimov was the first member to leave. Why did he leave the band?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Igor lost interest both in death metal and with being in a band. He therefore decided to become an instrumental guitarist like Joe Satriani, Yngwie Malmsteen and Steve Vai. Unfortunately his solo career has not so far been successful.
Was it easy to find a new guitarist?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Very! As Alexander ‘Motor’ has already mentioned, Grenouer were very popular locally at that time and we were fortunate enough to be able to select from a number of potential candidates. We chose Alex Shatov because we had good reason – he had very long hair)).
And on the third album Alex Shatov also left. Why? Did you expect this to happen?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Yes. Alex Shatov also had his own band called Tintagel and ultimately his priorities were with this band. Sometimes you have to make a choice and in this case his decision wasn’t in Grenouer’s favour.
Your drummer Sergey Lialin also left and was replaced by Grave. Who is he and what was he up to before he joined Grenouer?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Ilya ‘Grave’ played in Uncrossed, a great technical death metal band. It is also important to point out that he did not join us straight away. For a period of about two years we tried playing with several different drummers and none of them really managed to fit in.
The only two original members left are you, and bassist Slavij. Do you consider yourselves as the core of the band?
Andrey ‘Ind’: A little I suppose. In all honesty though, the true core consists of all the current members of the band. Everyone has an equal right to express their thoughts and ideas. However, in my role as band manager there are certain issues for which I must take full responsibility.
What have the fans thought of all these departures? In your opinion, has it been a turbulent period for Grenouer?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Turbulent is the right word. It is always discouraging when people leave because you pin your hopes on them. But what else can you do if people don’t fit in or not pulling their weight. For instance, Slavij replaced my childhood friend and believe me that was not easy at all. Obviously, in an ideal situation there would never be any line up changes at all, but how often does that ever happen? I think that in many cases it depends on the desire to achieve success quickly because not everyone is prepared to wait for it.
Are you and Slavij still friends with the members of the band who left?
Andrey ‘Ind’: We don’t hang around together like we used to, but I still consider us to be reasonably close friends and I do wish them all the success in their future endeavours.
Your newest edition to the Grenouer family is guitarist RT who joined in 2008. How did he end up in the band?
Andrey ‘Ind’: He joined us from an extremely obscure black metal band – I can’t even remember their name now. He turned up for a rehearsal, we jammed a bit and he said that he would like to join the band.
Was it nice to have two guitarists in the band again when RT joined forces with you?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Two guitars definitely create a meatier sound when playing live and there was more presence on stage.
The latest promo pictures on your website don’t feature RT, has he left the band?
Andrey ‘Ind’: He just decided to leave the band, for no particular reason. Since his departure some time ago, we have continued to play as a quartet, but are currently looking to start playing gigs again with 2 guitarists.
A few of the band members have taken on aliases within the band. Why?
Andrey ‘Ind’: The guys joined the band with aliases. Sometimes it is better not to know where these aliases came from, but I don’t consider them as a handicap, quite the opposite really, they simplify things. Let’s face it, Russian names are not always the easiest to pronounce sometimes.
How come you have done so few live shows over the years?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Touring is only really possible if it provides you with a minimum income, or if at the very least it doesn’t result in bankruptcy. If we were touring a lot, we would have lost our jobs and therefore our incomes. As a result we wouldn’t be able to continue to invest in the band.
Most of the shows you have done are in Russia and in nearby countries. Why haven’t you come to Europe or Asia yet?
Andrey ‘Ind’: We have been to Europe, but not Asia. Though it depends upon what you call Asia. Russia is huge and so any territory behind the Ural Mountains is technically regarded as Asia, and we have actually been there, for instance in Siberia.
Is it hard to get tour dates outside of the Eastern states?
Andrey ‘Ind’: It is quite hard as there is no real demand for us to play in Western Europe. Russian metal bands are very willing to play there. They are even prepared to cover the cost of their own travel, food, accommodation etc. Despite this, nobody is in any real hurry to invite them because most promoters have never heard of these bands. It is the label’s job to promote a band. Anything which a band does on its own in this respect is a mere drop in the ocean compared to what a record label is able to achieve with all the resources at its disposal – you cannot defeat a tank with a knife.
Last year you did three shows in Berlin, Germany. What was that like?
Andrey ‘Ind’: They were three totally different shows but each one had its own particular highlight. Club culture of Berlin is really something special. We loved the audience; they were very receptive and friendly. Everything was organised properly and I must say we felt quite at home there.
You have been signed to many different labels over the years, but you are now signed to Locomotive Records. How come you signed a deal with them?
Andrey ‘Ind’: It is a very simple story and it is the same thing we always do. We started by recording the album, we then picked three songs from the album and began to send them out as demos. Lots of labels weren’t interested, many never even replied and some made offers. Locomotive offered us the best deal at that time and so we signed the contract.
Are you happy with the work the label have put into the album and the band so far?
Andrey ‘Ind’: There’s not really anything to be happy about. I didn’t see any noticeable results from the label’s activities. The fact that the album was released on CD and became available on iTunes is hardly anything special. Despite being are an underground band, we invested a considerable amount of our own money in studio time and expected something in return!
What’s the main difference between Locomotive Records and the other labels you have worked with?
Andrey ‘Ind’: No difference at all really. Our latest release has resulted in pretty much the same as all our other releases – absolutely nothing. Not many people have actually heard or seen the album and we’ve got nothing out of it as usual.
For how many albums are you signed to Locomotive Records? And I have heard that Locomotive Records have gone bankrupt, is that true?
Andrey ‘Ind’: It was a 1 album deal plus an option for 1 more. I guess Locomotive Records is closing its activities. Just before Locomotive went bankrupt we received notification that they were unable to fulfil their obligations to us. All the other bands received similar notifications except the ones who were able to cancel their contracts with Locomotive first.
Who own the legal rights to your older albums?
Andrey ‘Ind’: If the label has gone bankrupt I assume we will get the legal rights back. As for our previous albums, the rights are owned by the labels concerned, however some limitations have already expired.
Casket Music have re-released ODOUR O’FOLLY/GRAVEHEAD. What do you think about that?
Andrey ‘Ind’: I’m not bothered really – it’s just a re-release of two of our old albums on one CD, who cares.
Is it possible to buy your older albums in stores or do you have to purchase them through internet?
Andrey ‘Ind’: I doubt you can buy them in the shops. But it is easy to buy them online, for example on Amazon.
Have your albums been released worldwide?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Yes. All of them were released worldwide. In fact, some of them were released outside Russia first.
Do you have a deal with any distribution company today?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Oh, no! I only do a little business with some small distributors. To be frank, I have no idea how to arrange a distribution deal.
In 2008 you started to work with The Flaming Arts management. What do you think of them and are you happy with their help?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Not bad at all. They did what they said they would. But that contract has already ended.
Are you working with any booking agencies at the moment?
Andrey ‘Ind’: No one in particular at the moment, but that doesn’t mean we are going to remain idle. Firstly, we are writing some new songs and as soon as we are satisfied with them we will address any business matters.
Does Grenouer have any plans to try and conquer the American/Canadian market anytime soon?
Andrey ‘Ind’: First of all we’d love to simply appear in the ‘New World’, only then we can speak of conquering it. Our desires are one thing but reality is something completely different. A couple of years ago we began working with an American company called ‘Strictly Heavy Management’. They promised us a lot and delivered absolutely nothing. Before this, we were contacted by a fan from the USA, he was a veteran of the Iraq war. He was fascinated by our music and was planning to start a record label with us as the centre piece, but he wasn’t able to raise the necessary finance from the banks and so his idea never became a reality.
We think we are good enough for the US market but the $100 million question is ‘how do we get there?’ The only propositions we have received from the USA came from con artists who use the word ‘promotion’ as a means of robbing gullible musicians. For example, you can buy a book for just 99.99 USD and use it as a guide for succeeding in the music business. Or you can pay a mere 2000 USD for a killer press release which can be posted everywhere. Or send someone your song and pay only 50 USD for each minute of its duration and you will be put on some compilation album.
Who runs your website? You also have a blog, who writes there? Why is it only written in the Russian language and not in English?
Andrey ‘Ind’: We run it ourselves and all the technical stuff is dealt with by Ilya ‘Grave’. We’ve given up on the blog now; we have neither the time nor the enthusiasm for it anymore. But we have recently opened a Twitter account and if anything interesting happens we briefly post it there.
Are you active on the internet? By that, I mean on MySpace and Facebook?
Andrey ‘Ind’: We kind of keep up with MySpace. For some stupid reason they ended up blocking our songs and it took a month to unblock them. After that our enthusiasm faded slightly. As for Facebook, there is something about us on there, but we just ignore it.
Do you get a lot of mail from fans? What’s the most common question they ask you?
Andrey ‘Ind’: We do get quite a bit of mail. I do try to answer all questions, even if they are very similar. The most common questions usually relate to when we are going to come to their city and when we will record any new material. Sometimes fans are interested in specific issues relating to our creative and private lives.
Do you think that MySpace is a good way for unsigned bands to get attention and to get out their music heard by the masses?
Andrey ‘Ind’: I doubt that MySpace helps unsigned bands. It’s just a place where someone can get a brief insight into a band; what’s more, the sound quality there is far from perfect. Last.fm is better platform for this kind of thing. In my opinion, the best way for a band to get attention is to use a variety of methods. Writing good music is not always the only thing a band must do to promote themselves.
According to your website are you currently working on your up and coming album. How’s it going?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Quite slowly. The last album didn’t happen easily, so we’re not in any particular hurry at the moment. Presently we are just rehearsing a lot. Sometimes these rehearsals can be satisfying and sometimes just disappointing.
Can you tell us any of the song titles or even the title of the album?
Andrey ‘Ind’: I can mention some of the song titles I have come up with so far – Full Stop, Silent Pictures, Different, Deadlock…not very self-explanatory I know! Some of the new songs do have conventional titles and as for the album title, this hasn’t been decided yet.
Have you booked a studio yet?
Andrey ‘Ind’: No, we’re going to wait until we have plenty of songs to take into the studio.
When do you think that the album will be ready for release?
Andrey ‘Ind’: We really hope that it will take no longer than a year.
On the new album, are you going to continue where you left off musically or do you have any other plans when it comes to a musical direction?
Andrey ‘Ind’: We’re going to leave behind the sound of LIFELONG DAYS and create something new, a mixture of what we have already done and what we hope to create. We’re aiming for more melodies and songs which are more memorable, but who knows. As usual, listeners will always form their own opinions.
Well, we’ve reached the end now, thank you so much for taking part in this interview. I wish you and Grenouer all the best for the future. Do you have any final words of wisdom for the fans and the readers out there?
Andrey ‘Ind’: Thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us and for your interest in the band. I thought the interview was very in depth – you’ve done a great job! I also want to give my sincerest greetings to all the metal heads around the world. It is metal music that unites us forever and helps us to understand each other. Metal music is like a ‘brotherhood’ that creates a feeling of solidarity which encourages us to overcome the mundane routine of life and even supports us in times of need.
More info about the band
Last Fm Page
Fan Page on Facebook