Singer Andrey Ind – Grenouer
Interviewed by: Anders Sandvall
Thanks to Mausoleum Records for the promo pictures of the band.
Thanks to the band for additional promo pictures of the band
Grenouer is maybe a well known band for all the Metal-Rules.com readers, if not, then make sure to catch up with what the band have been up to since the last time I spoke to leader Andrey Ind. The band’s brand new album UNWANTED TODAY was unleashed at the beginning of this year and I really liked what I heard. The album contains a bunch of alternative metal tunes and the band continued where they left off on the previous album BLOOD ON THE FACE. This Russian act deserves to be acknowledged and receive every inch of success they possibly can get! If you like alternative metal, and haven’t heard Grenouer – check out UNWANTED TODAY.
Hi Andrey, it’s really nice to talk to you again. Are you ready for a new round of questions from me and Metal-Rules.com?
Dear Anders, Metal Rules team, and all readers! I am pleased and honored to meet you again!
What have the band been up to since the release of your previous album BLOOD ON THE FACE 2013?
Grenouer were touring, shooting music videos (and completed seven official videos in total) and participating vigorously in promo activities. I do not remember a single day when I was just relaxing, even on vacation. There was always an issue that required to get resolved.
When did the work on the new album UNWANTED TODAY began?
We entered the studio in summer 2014 and by Autumn the album was ready. The song-writing went really fast, and that’s why all the songs share the same mood.
Who wrote the material, and what are the lyrics about? Any general topic you’ve been writing about?
Oh, it wouldn’t be bad at all to have someone like Desmond Child behind our backs, but in reality we compose the material all by ourselves. If any modifications take place – they are on the level of sound production and specific sound design. My lyrics are pretty much emotional and easy to understand, and the general topic represents intense feeling of loss. This is indeed the side-effect of growing older.
Awake – TRAILER (Unwanted Today Album Teaser)
Where do you find inspiration to write lyrics?
Oh, these days I do not ask myself where to find inspiration, I just follow it and for sure find that challenging and enjoyable.
Clearway – TRAILER (Unwanted Today Album Teaser)
Has everybody in the band got a say when it comes to the material or is it you and guitarist Motor that decide what stays and what goes on the album?
We always need the whole band together to decide, to complete a song and it is not correct to say that any band member wrote a particular song. A mere combination of riffs or drumbeats doesn’t form a song, and after all collective involvement is something that constitutes a band.
You released a teaser of the album on Youtube, what did fans think about the teaser?
You’ve got to do something very special to impress a fan but I know that our old die-hards are always happy whenever we release anything new – especially a new album.
Has the band felt any pressure to release something extraordinary this time?
Not really. Meeting deadlines was the only pressure, but we took the challenge; sometimes tight schedules make life even easier and more amusing.
Where does the title UNWANTED TODAY come from? Does the title have any special meaning to you and the band?
The lyrics can be reckoned as a projection of intimity onto externality. Those words seem to relate to personal affairs but they imply something quite different. UNWANTED TODAY bespeaks of the embarrassing position of an artist in society, though at first you might think of broken love.
Who did the cover art to the new album? What do you think of it and what’s the thought behind the artwork?
The artwork is based on an original photo by Didier Schohier of Artcore Design yet these matters were resolved by the record label and we did not intervene. So, no need to search for something behind it, it is just a picture. Music is in the spotlight this time.
I think that the music on the new album, as well as on the previous one, leans towards being alternative metal. What do you think?
The definition of genre was the last issue we were thinking about in process of production. The band was focused on songs with sincere feelings and credible arrangements. You know, ‘alternative’ is a treacherous word that might elicit associations with Slipknot, Limp Bizkit, Coal Chamber, Mudvayne and similar acts, while Grenouer is surely from a different planet. I hope that we are a crossover, a bit progressive thing balancing between new and old and aiming at proper melodies that make your soul bleed tears of anguish.
Blossoms In The Dust – Lyric Video
The label says that the vocals on the album are reminiscent of Devin Townsend and that the music includes riffs not unlike Meshuggah, how does it feel to be compared to acts like those? Do you agree with that description?
I strongly disagree, because this really confuses many reviewers, especially the ones who expect to hear Meshuggah’s style and those who are extreme metal minded. In my opinion, it would have been more correct to mention bands like Katatonia, Tool, Porcupine Tree, maybe Anathema or even Staind. As far as I understand that press release included a review quotation for the past album. Being compared to anyone or anything is fine in case it if helps a potential listener, even though I assume that UNWANTED TODAY is original enough to get along without any comparison. “…And yet by heaven I think my love as rare as any she belied with false compare”, – ha-ha!
I think that the album is great, you sing really great and Motor’s guitar playing is amazing. Are you happy with the outcome of the album?
Thank you very much, it is always a pleasure to hear words like that! Well, I am quite happy with the outcome and I can’t help giving full credit to our producer Giuseppe Bassi aka DUALIZED, his contribution, expertise and patience is hard to overestimate! And warmest regards go to all guest musicians who spiced the recording up.
The album contains 13 tracks, one intro and outro included, and clocks in on 40 minutes, do you think that is a decent amount of songs? Keeping in mind what a CD bought in a store costs?
That makes 11 full songs about 40 minutes length. I feel that’s quite traditional duration for an album, unless you are looking for something sophisticated and conceptual. It’s no use to deny that today’s fans naturally long for special editions – like a digipak with bonus tracks – otherwise they do not see much sense in buying a physical copy. The band is always ready to prepare anything additional and exclusive, yet this job’s got to be initiated by the record label.
Were there any songs that you written to the UNWANTED TODAY that you didn’t use?
Frankly speaking, Grenouer entered the studio with unfinished songs, but we really wanted to test the approach of completing and elaborating the songs on the spot, during the recording session, and this worked out just fine; otherwise, if we were too much focused on pre-production, the material would have turned out different. Not better or worse – but quite different.
Do you think that fans of the last album BLOOD ON THE FACE are going to recognize and like the music on UNWANTED TODAY?
Absolutely. The newest album is exactly for the fans of BLOOD ON THE FACE who have grown a bit older. But those who disliked BLOOD ON THE FACE will make certain that this band is not their cup of coffee – “…mirror of Sevendust, Linkin Park and any host of modern rock acts that plague North American radio these days, bla-bla-bla”.
What do you think the old extreme metal fans think of Grenouer’s music today? I mean, you have moved from the extreme metal genre to being a more alternative metal band.
It depends upon personal tastes, preference and open-mindedness. If a fan specializes in death metal only and doesn’t accept other genres, then we infringed upon his interests long ago. During our last gig I was approached by fans wearing jackets with Mayhem, Darkthrone and Cannibal Corpse badges, and I did not expect any informative dialogue, though it turned out to be a nice conversation; these guys told that they were enjoying various forms of metal, they mentioned Tesseract, Opeth, Riverside and they seemed to like our newest songs very much.
On a Rainy Day – Music Video
The bio say that the band’s elaborate blend of metal and alternative rock with intense and cathartic live performances has earned you a devoted fanbase. What can the audience expect from attending a live show with Grenouer?
The bio is not written by musicians and I am afraid not for the audience. The audience either already knows what to expect or gets along without exterior help. Again – a lot depends upon personal tastes and current state of mind. In any case Grenouer are doing the best on stage, we are sincere and dedicated even in smallest venues. We are a rock band doing it with a very classical line-up, and in a rather unrestrained manner.
You shot a video to the song “Point Of No Return” what can you tell us about the video?
Oh, with pleasure. It is a delicate music video about a man writing a letter to himself in his childhood years. But the video does not give answers, because we presume on your imagination. I guess the video, as well as the music here, has something in common with Genesis, Peter Gabriel, The Police, and even Sinead O’Connor, yet by no means I impose my point of view on you.
Point Of No Return – Official Rock Metal Music Video
Are there any plans on shooting videos to any of the other songs?
As one might expect we have more than one music video in production, yet it takes time and additional efforts to meet standards, and here I mean not just the quality of picture. I expect that within a couple of weeks we’ll see the light at the end of the tunnel for the title track.
The bio doesn’t include much info about UNWANTED TODAY, why?
Oh, that’s got to be updated, really. That’s the thing I got to tell the webmaster immediately.
Have you read any reviews of the album? What do the critics say and dose the band care about critics points of views?
Yes, I read whenever I receive any feedback or just find anything occasionally. As I have mentioned, the press release is way too confusing and meeting a careful listener is quite rare today. Even old and merited magazines have a bunch of new writers that cast severe criticism without thoughtful listening. Nevertheless the album did manage to obtain very positive reviews, including 10 of 10 points in Powerplay magazine.
Did you throw a release party for the album? If so when and where?
No time to party! We have to keep going, the time flies fast, I am already 40 years old this summer.
Enrico Erk Scutti and Eddy Carvazza makes guest appearances on vocals, lead guitar and keyboards. How did they end up on the album and on which songs do they perform?
Let me mention all the guest musicians then. Eddy Cavazza is a member of Dysfunction Production team, he can be heard on Grenouer’s previous album, and no wonder our producer Dualized attracted Eddy to participate in our newest record as well. The reason why I invited guest vocalists is that we wanted additional colors and each performer definitely served a good deal. We have Demian Von Dunkelwald (from Italian band Overunit Machine) on “A Little Too Obsessed” song, Enrico ‘Erk’ Scutti (ex-Figure of Six) on “I Can’t Stand It” and opera singer Dmitriy Yankovskiy on “Don’t Let Them (Get You Down)”. Thank you so much, dear friends, for wasting your breath on us, that was an exciting experience, and I love the results.
Studio and production
In which studio was the album recorded?
The album was recorded in Saint Petersburg at the studio where our bass player works. So, it is obvious that he engineered and edited all the tracks. The mixing and sound production took place in Italy, Dualized of Dysfunction Production superbly implemented this job.
You once again worked with producer Dualized, is it a duo? How was it to work with him again and what’s his strongest feature as producer?
Dysfunction Production currently presents itself a team of two professionals – Giuseppe Bassi aka Dualized and Eddy Cavazza. They work over projects either together or separately. With the BLOOD ON THE FACE album both were actively involved, as for UNWANTED TODAY, Eddy Cavazza appeared only as a guest musician and Dualized took the main responsibility. We enjoyed every minute of cooperation with Dualized, looks like he has very good understanding of how to produce and represent Grenouer’s music. He is an amazing person, easy to deal with, cooperative, open-minded, careful with details and unbelievably hard-working!
The most recent news is that Giuseppe “Dualized” Bassi is featured on FEAR FACTORY’s upcoming album ‘GENEXUS’. Another big name is Mnemic, you can hear Dualized and Cavazza on the “MNEMESIS” album. For sure Dualized is responsible for producing a bunch of great Italian bands, both metal and non-metal.
Grenouer will be very pleased to proceed in the future, the past experience was unbelievably great! And we hope to meet with Dualized face to face, and even to record under his supervision.
Dualized implemented mixing and mastering for UNWANTED TODAY. At first we thought of making mastering at Finnvox studio, as we did with BLOOD ON THE FACE – and many previous albums, but in the end of the day resolved to rely entirely on Dysfunction Production.
Personal with Andrey Ind
For how long have you been singing? Have you taken classes or are you self-taught?
My first singing experience is dated early 90’s and that was mainly grunge style yet soon enough I was captured by heavier genres and ended up growling and screaming for at least 15 years. In the meantime Grenouer’s music started to change and that drove my urge to switch to clean singing and that naturally required taking lessons and regular practice.
Well, first of all I enjoy the vocals of my favorite bands – Black Sabbath, Kiss, Van Halen, Guns N’ Roses, Ugly Kid Joe, Stone Temple Pilots, Alice In Chains, Filter, but I am not sure if they influence me. It is the matter of great songs, not just great vocals. I do admire such workaholics as Meat Loaf or Paul Rodgers, but in many cases you just do not need to compare, to get focused on single element only. I have mentioned it earlier that a guitar riff taken by itself doesn’t form a song, and it fully corresponds to vocals in the same way.
Do you play any instruments?
I can play the guitar and the piano but do not practice that regularly. I normally use these instruments to clarify harmonies of lead and backing vocals.
Before Grenouer you were a part of C.O.D and Tartharia, what kind of music did those bands play?
COD was death metal/industrial project and TARTHARIA performed black/death metal, way too extreme stuff. TARTHARIA released several albums worldwide, but I do not appear on each one.
Motor was also part in those bands, did you two became friends when you were in the bands or did you knew each other earlier than that?
To be more precise Motor entered Grenouer through COD back in 1999. I started this project in 1999 and invited Motor to join in, and then in late 1999 Grenouer were searching for a new guitar player and Motor seemed a well-proven candidate. In 2002 COD was put on hold.
RJD was a fantastic vocalist and I am sure a very nice person. In my younger years I listened a lot to Rainbow and Black Sabbath a lot, and later to Dio, and I absolutely enjoyed his inimitable manner. I am afraid my words are never enough, Ronnie James Dio fully deserved his iconic status. It’s no use to pick any era, and Heaven And Hell was the quintessence of power that sadly came to the tragic end. (Here’s a worthy tribute publication I was invited to participate in: http://www.metalcrypt.com/pages/interviews.php?intid=447
What’s it like fronting a band? Is it you that does the most promotion work?
If nobody makes the job then I have to do it, this is the only correct principle of a being a frontman. I wish I could forget about promotion work, daily e-mails, abracadabra social networking, having a trustworthy and solid performer for that, but I was well trained in the ’90’s with hand-written letters, flyers, mailout of physical copies, so I don’t complain.
Which one of the Grenouer albums is your personal favorite?
Every album is important in Grenouer’s history but traditionally I lay stress on the debut album and the most recent album, it is always great to check where we started and where we have arrived. Though Grenouer’s debut is really a worthy album – classical death metal recorded on magnetic tape.
Do you listen to the old albums at home?
Frankly speaking, there’s no need for that. I remember every song without listening. Only in case someone asks me to play the record.
Label and management
You’re still signed with Mausoleum Records, are you happy with the work the label have put into the band and the new album so far?
Grenouer signed two album deal and we fulfilled that agreement, I am not sure if there’s anything to add.
Has the new album gained priority from the label?
Oh, in most instances you expect only the best but real life is not always a piece of cake.
The band has been signed to a few different labels since the beginning, what are your opinion about the record industry and the music business in general?
I wish I met a record label that completed its job to the utmost. I haven’t been that lucky to date and hopefully it’s too early to rave against fate.
Do you see any problems in the fact that MR is based in Belgium?
Definitely not, for instance, one very successfully Russian metal band is signed to an Austrian record label.
It’s really hard to find Grenouer’s albums in a record store in Scandinavia, why is it so hard? Where can fans legally download or buy the album on the internet?
I guess all Grenouer’s album are easily available on the Internet, speaking about physical distribution – these questions are to be addressed to record labels. We always wish we were available everywhere.
Is Grenouer available to listen to on Spotify?
Grenouer must be there, otherwise I have a reason to get a bit indignant.
MR releases the album in Europe but who distributes it in North America and Asia?
They claim they carry out these activities, and I hope very much that any kind of distribution does take place.
Are you happy with the selling points BLOOD ON THE FACE got?
I do not need much to be happy, but at the same time I am not a dreamy freak. Objectively we invest a lot into production of the album and devote our lives to music and these are heavy expenses.
Yes it does, but you know, any promotion is called fair if it is almost unlimited and infinite.
Are the old Grenouer albums out of print today or is it possible to purchase them anywhere, and I don’t mean download.
I think eBay and Amazon are the easiest way, but it is also possible to surf mailorder catalogues.
Are there any plans on releasing UNWANTED TODAY on vinyl?
I am open for that but making it all by ourselves is impractical today. Well, sooner or later then.
The last time we spoke you said that the band was looking into working with a booking agency, where are you regarding that today?
Grenouer entered into agreement with one agency, yet I cannot say that gave us any results. Theses are the rules of never-ending rock and roll adventure.
What’s it like being a metal band from Russia? Do you meet any prejudice and opinions when you’re out touring?
I do not feel anything like that, our recent abroad gig took place in Poland and everything was more than nice there. Meeting new friends, and there even were friends who arrived specially to greet us. Perhaps, metalheads are the most loyal people in the world, but in most cases everyone understands that ordinary people are not responsible for bullshit coming from political leaders.
When we last spoke you said that there were many metal bands in Russia but it was almost impossible for them to achieve success back home. Has anything changed in the metal scene since then? Are metal music still struggling the same battles?
There’s no basic prerequisites to update the situation, and political gambling affected badly on the Russian entertainment industry. By saying that it is hard I do not mean that there are no musicians playing decent music and no fans ready to appreciate it.
Which one of the Russian metal acts is the most successful one and is Grenouer big in Russia?
Folk-metal Arkona is certainly the most successful Russian export today. Grenouer have never been that big.
Must be Russia, even though two recent albums are available here in digital format only.
Which metal genre is the most popular in Russia?
It’s not a simple question. The overall fanbase is divided into two categories – old-school and new-school. While old-school fans, like established customers, listen to the same classic metal bands they have been listening to for more than 20 years, younger kids reject anything untrendy. If anything is promoted heavily, they will listening only to that.
Do you think that the band have gained any success worldwide with the release of UNWANTED TODAY?
I do not see things through rose-colored spectacles, we obtained more fans of course but it is impossible to talk of serious success of the album.
Writing a press-release or a bio is always a matter of writing ambitious statements. I think, the bio means that Grenouer’s music today can be easily perceived by the North American audience. Still by no means we wish to cut ourselves off any part of the world.
UNWANTED TODAY is the band’s 8th album so far, do you think that the band have grown musicwise through the years? If so in what way?
It’s no use to deny that Grenouer is an adult band now, I just hope this doesn’t mean boring. Anyway, we have more capabilities and self-expression provisions to play whatever we want, and these days Grenouer are aiming at well-tempered melodies and distinctive atmosphere.
You did three shows in St Petersburg and one in Poland this year, how was that?
Poland was a nice open-air event, St Petersburg gigs were more standard club events, but it is always breathtaking to start bringing new songs on stage.
That’s right, we had such plans and entered into the agreement with a booking agency. And… the booking agency just did not fulfill their job.
Why haven’t the band toured and performed more through the years than you’ve done so far?
I wish all the parties were fulfilling contractual arrangements, but in reality contractors would forget about that upon receiving money. I will not give you names, since I have never been a successful fighter for justice. It is obvious that music industry is about cheating artists with passion for music. But you know – we always survive.
Does the band have any festival shows booked for the Summer so far?
Are there any other shows planned besides the ones you’ve done during May?
Not yet, Summer is a low season anyway.
At the beginning of 2015 the band held a Symbol Design Contest, what was that? Tell us about it and who won?
That company was launched by 11 Dimension Press, a Canadian Press House. The contest is still unfinished, which means that there’s nothing that really grasped our attention. I do appreciate efforts of 11 Dimension Press though, because even if we have no winners, the contest brought us some attention. And in case of urgent need we can hire a professional designer.
The band’s got a really nice website, who runs it? Do you think it’s important to be active on the social forums and interact with fans worldwide?
The website was initially designed by Didier Schohier. Web presence is highly important and interaction with fans is vital, but let’s not forget about real life. Making music is not only about social networking.
How come the band doesn’t have a webshop?
Call me Jack of all trades, master of none.
Are you happy with what the band have achieved so far as a band?
I’d better say that I am happy, isn’t that what Taoism preaches – let’s be happy and thankful for life.
Are you working on any material to the next album yet?
Yes, this is the best thing about being an independent musician, if you do not receive great piece of luck, you are still lucky because you have a gift from above – you can compose music.
At the beginning of 2014 you unofficially changed the band name to GreNOwar, why? What was that about?
That was about the severe political crisis, about Crimea at first and then pro-Russian separatism in eastern Ukraine.
Is Grenouer a political band?
Absolutely not. I felt the impulse to say something about that. Of course this is just a statement, yet I wish the crisis were over as soon as possible and we could forget about GreNOwar.
Is it hard to be a metal band with opinions in Russia today?
Not hard at all. Because nobody cares.
The band is featured on the compilation ADRENALINE 2 RUSH HOUR, how did you end up there?
That was several years ago; such a job is called product placement and it was executed by the record label that released our fifth album. I am not a gamer myself, all I know that it is a car racing computer game with a huge soundtrack.
Could you give the readers three reasons why they should buy UNWANTED TODAY?
That really depends upon what kind of music appeals to your heart. I am afraid that if you are limited to any particular genre, if you are on extreme, ultra-fast, zero-tolerance diet, then today’s Grenouer will not satisfy you. We also do not guarantee smash hits or very easy listening. Just check out the tunes, if they do not tickle your fancy at once, maybe you will give it a chance in other circumstances later. For a score of reasons, that album is objectively good. And untypical.
What would you like to say to the one who haven’t heard Grenouer before?
You are welcome to taste the solid lump of my personal experience. I understand that not everyone is a metal anthropologist, but if you are, that is going to be a fat feast. I always enjoyed atypical music development of certain bands, and finally my own band joined this caste. How many bands do you know that changed dramatically, but all these changes were predetermined? Check out every Grenouer’s album and use an analytical mind.
What are the plans for the band during 2015?
Grenouer have already started working over new songs and prepared a cover for Paradise Lost tribute album. We have to finish music videos for UNWANTED TODAY and then should finalized the active phase of promoting that release and go ahead. Gigs will take place, and something else is going to happen. I am still positive and believe in tomorrow.
Before we say goodbye do you have any words of wisdom to share?
I cannot guarantee any absolute wisdom but I really enjoyed this interview – thank you very much. And of course I have to thank all readers who have got to this final question. The oldest and the most powerful Jedi used to say: “May the force be with you”, which in our case implies – may the music be with you!
Thanks again for taking the time making the interview. I really hope to see you and the band live on stage soon!!
Thanks Anders nice to talk to you again.