Interview with Aleksey Evdokimov, author of Doom Metal Lexicanum

January 8th, 2018
by J P

Interview with Aleksey Evdokimov, author of Doom Metal Lexicanum

 

How did you first get into Heavy Metal?

I discovered bands like Black Sabbath, Iron Maiden, Manowar, Blind Guardian in mid 90s. I was 14 or so, blood boils, hormones play and so on. Though back then I already distinguished depressive side of Blind Guardian’s “Imaginations From The Other Side” and – later – “Nightfall In Middle Earth”.

What first attracted you to the Doom genre as compared to there genres?

My first encounter with death doom is ‘Beauty In Darkness – Vol.1’. So Celestial Season, Cemetery Of Scream, Substance For God and Tiamat were first death doom bands in my phones. Then there were Paradise Lost and My Dying Bride, somehow I wasn’t huge fan of Anathema until they released “A Fine Day To Exit”, that might sound funny.

Speaking about (more or less) traditional doom metal… Cathedral with their groovy video for ‘Hopkins’ and “Ethereal Mirror’ album. I can’t tell that it turned to be my favorite band at once, but few years alter I return to it through Reverend Bizarre.

But to answer your question – I found attractive doom’s darker mood, slower pace and deeper atmosphere.

I understand St. Petersburg is a huge modern metropolis, but is it hard to find Doom albums in stores there?

There are few rock shops (4 or 5 maybe) which are specialized on all heavy genres, and there are fewer vinyl shops for collectors and fans. But even ten years ago there were more, and in late 90s and early 00s they play significant role, it was only source to get music you love.

Is this your first book?

Yep. I wrote few pretty long technical descriptions and instructions for my job though.

 

What inspired you to write an Encyclopedia of Doom?

At that moment (autumn 2015) I had about 500 interviews done, probably the amount of reviews were bigger but first 100 don’t count – that was shitty written stuff. Actually I wanted to finish my doom journey, to sum up my experience, to pay homage for the bands I love, to support some new bands who deserve more recognition from my point of view. And there was no book about doom metal since 2003. I knew that the genre deserves something… serious. I knew (or I though that I know) how to do it. And it was right time.

I wouldn’t name it “encyclopedia”, though it should be an encyclopedia from the beginning. I started with the list of bands in about 550 – 600 names, but as far as I know even in UK they print the books on paper, not on rubber. Can you imagine if someone would buy such huge tome? So I see it rather like proper, really good guide for traditional doom scene and some related sub-genres like doom stoner, psychedelic doom or doom rock if you wish.

I had idea to do it as research, I really would like to invistigate some genre’s cliches (you’ll find a part of this in Lexicanum appendix). But it would take much more time and energy, I didn’t have both.

How long did the project  take from the day you decided to start to publication?

I suppose that it was started in September-October 2015 and I’ve put the final line at late night (04:00) of 1st to 2nd of July, 2017… Then I compiled photos from the bands (as you see it was a problem), then we proofed the layout… And I need to tell that we updated discographies of the bands until the very last moment! The book is really actual, topical thing! I guess that it missed only one album released in October (I’ve discovered it later) and there’s no mention of Jack Frost new EP. Right now it’s precise and wide slice of current scene.

How did you link up with Dayal Patterson and Crypt Publishing?

It was difficult to find a publisher. Much difficult than I expected, so I waste almost three months on two variants, and in the end both were useless for different reasons.

Meeting of Dayal is a lucky circumstance. I asked few gentlemen from the bands which you can find in the book, if they know a publisher and Kostas Panagiotou (Pantheist, Landscape) recommended I speak with Dayal. We surprisingly swiftly came to understanding each other, and in the following months I was only convinced that it was the best choice. I appreciate his professionalism and his temp of working. And I really enjoyed last periods of our collaboration when we were verifying the layout. It was exhausting for both of us, it was time consuming task, but I like how we deal with it.

It was interesting to see how the name of the book and cover art changed. How did that happen?

The first version of the cover art was done by my friend Mila Kiseleva, she’s from Moscow. She got my idea right, and she done that painting you see in the back cover of the book. It was when I discuss the publishing of Lexicanum with one serious Publishing House, so I need a draft for layout, an artwork – something to show. When we got in touch with Dayal, he works over David Thierree’s art-book ‘Owls, Trolls & Dead King’s Skulls’ (it sums up his work from the last 25 years, an outstanding edition). Dayal asked to change the artwork and it was good decision, as David gets all nuances of original plot and makes the amazing job. He really saw that I keep in mind.

What were your writing habits like? Did you like to write at night, in the morning, or all the time? Was it hard to stay motivated and focused with your job and family?

I would prefer to write at day. But daily job and family demand my time and energy. Then I became a father, and only 79% of the book was done. Thus yes – it was bloody difficult, but not impossible. I used every minute I have as always: I write down some core ideas for reviews listening music in transport or during my work; tablet computer really helps. And at home my free time started about midnight usually, so I have to choose. After all, despite of everything I wasn’t fired from the job, my wife is with me, my daughter recognizes me and the book is done.

What were a few of the best new bands you discovered while doing your research?

Through all this period I constantly received promos from few labels, because I write for Fire (Italy) and InRock (Russia) magazines and three e-zines (doom-metal.com, nocleansinging.com and outlawsofthesun). So the flow of new music was constant. I name only few releases of 2017, ‘cause otherwise the list would be much bigger: Bretus ‘…From The Twilight Zone’, Cardinals Folly ‘Derranged Pagan Sons’, Norilsk ‘Le Passage Des Glaciers’ (though it’s death doom), Olde ‘Temple’, The Ossuary ‘Post Mortem Blues’ and… okay, it’s heavy metal and it’s 2016 – Sumerlands!

What is the Doom scene like in Russia?

For years doom scene here were rather represented by “death doom” bands. Comatose Vigil, Otkroveniya Dozhdya (Revelations Of Rain), Who Dies In Siberian Slush – there’re really good outfits here. There were interesting albums in 90s recorded by bands like Deceptive, Gods Tower, Goresleep, Great Sorrow or Painful Memories and Voy, but some of these bands changed their style or were disbanded for different reasons. Death doom scene is active still.

For years the only epic doom band was Scald, and traditional doom… probably Noviy Zavet (New Testament). In late 00s few more or less traditional appeared – for example Without God and Lord Of Doubts (disbanded). The Moon Mistress had interesting ritualistic vibe till they turned to dirtier sound and was renamed. The Grand Astoria have a good share of doom in their music besides stronger prog and psycho influences. Evoke Thy Lords do intriguing mix of groovy and absolutely heavy doom metal with flute, growls and yet mesmerizing atmosphere.

But I think that most of the scene if concentrated in Moscow and it’s mixed tightly with sludge scene. I can’t say that there’re a lot of bands who regularly work in studio, most of them love to play loud and dirty gigs, and it’s something that I try to avoid nowadays.

When you get your first big royalty cheque what are your plans?

I already spent it on villa in Miami. And I think over the plot for next book – ‘How Become Rich And Famous Writing About Doom Bands’.

How has initial response been to DML?

Very enthusiastic. Most of the bands who’re included in the book send really warm feedback. These gentlemen (and few ladies) supported me since they learn about Lexicanum. There were some critics though: why I didn’t include this or that band? I told it many time, it costs me nothing to repeat it again: these bands (which were named by the critics) were in my original list, but it’s impossible to put all of them in physical edition. However some of them may appear in the second part if we solve few questions.

Lastly, do you have plans for another book?

Yes. I don’t want, but it seems that I’m doomed to write the second part covering more extreme and heavier side of doom scene. It’s like monkey on my back, I couldn’t get rid of this feeling. Now me and Dayal know how to do it a bit more faster, more effectively, a little bit less stressful and probably better. I can’t tell you that it’s carved it stone, but… I slowly start to sort the things out.

Thank you!

 

Check out Doom Metal Lexicanum at
http://www.cultneverdies.com/p/doom-metal-lexicanum.html

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