Interviews with the bands ŁATANU and VERWÜSTUNG were planned at a time when they were, as they say, budding and relatively new formations who barely released their debut albums. However, at that moment I decided that the list of questions turned out to be a bit short, and decided to wait until the bands release their second albums. Meanwhile, the task was seriously complicated by the delightful first issue of Black Curse zine where the bands gave such an inspired answers that I could only scratch my turnip, wondering if it is worth making my interviews now. I still managed to scrape together some fresh questions, as well as interpret the stale ones in a different way, and I believe that the following huge interview will be interesting not only for new readers / listeners, but also for those who have this first issue of Black Curse zine in their collections.
This material uses photos from Hitkiller.com and Homo-faber.net portals, as well as few pictures from the photographs unknown to me. I hope they won't be upset.
Greetings! I understand that there is nothing more boring than answering the same questions several times, especially if they already have such comprehensive answers as in the interview for the first issue of Black Curse. But since Bagnik Zine is an online publication, I will ask you - especially you, P.Z. - to do that again to perpetuate the history of Niezgal and Łatanu in the space of the global network.
P.Z.: Greetings, Raman. Indeed, the vast majority of your questions were answered in an extensive interview for the first issue of Black Curse analog fanzine, and adding something fundamentally new to them is very difficult. I do not see any special need to perpetuate anything that will be said below, let's just try to recall some details and discuss some things from a different perspective.
Let us start: how did your acquaintance with heavy music begin? How did you come to Black Metal and why did you decide to focus on it as a musician?
P.Z.: I heard rock music while still lying in the cradle. My parents and uncle were fond of various popular Western bands such as The Beatles, Queen, The Doors, etc., and they woke me up in the morning before kindergarten and elementary school wit the songs of these bands. I still remember how my dream was interrupted by the Beatles' keyboard entry to “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da”, ha ha ha! In addition, at the village house of my grandparents there was a vinyl player with "Melody" records, among which, in addition to the mentioned groups, were The Rolling Stones, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Песняры. My uncle turned them on to the full loudness for the whole house. I believe that this is how I was instilled with a love to simple melodic music. In subsequent school years, there were some nuances, because practically no one listened to such music there, trends have been changing spontaneously and was mainly dictated by high school students; I remember in the late 90s rap was fashionable, closer to the beginning of the 00s - the so-called “Alternative”, then everything turned over to Russian rock / metal. All this gradually burst into my fragile mind and settled there, but in 2004, again thanks to the older buddy, I was handed the Satyricon CD “Nemesis Divina”, and this was a great revelation to me, although, of course, I learned about Black Metal as a genre before that. Impressed by what I heard, I finally realized that I want to not only listen to this, but also to play it.
Tell us about how you met Stogn and created Niezgal. Was this your first music project?
P.Z.: We met in the summer of 2003, when we got into the same squad in a summer camp. I remember our first meeting - I walked from the smoking room, which was located in a forest near the corps of our squad, and Stogn (of course, he was not Stogn yet then) was going in my direction to smoke. He wore a Cradle of Filth shirt and he had, like me at that moment, long hair. We, two metalheads, saw each other. "My name is Pavel" - I said, holding out my hand. "Oh, I am Pavel as well" - he shook it back, smiling. On the same day, it turned out that we had a lot of mutual acquaintances in the camp, and most importantly, that he and I arrived with our acoustic guitars. In general, we understood each other instantly - both in terms of musical preferences and in personal things. True, the Black Metal theme did not yet arise between us, but, returning home at the end of the shift, we often called each other up, met for a drink in the city and constantly discussed different music. Arriving at the camp again next year, we brought with us not only guitars, but also CDs that we loved at the time. It was Immortal, Mayhem and Satyricon, which we turned on a CD player, so the entire floor scared counselors and especially impressionable vacationers had to listen to that. It so happened that we, without saying a word, formed approximately the same taste preferences in music, in particular in Black Metal. And then, in the summer of 2004, he showed me some kind of early version of his own slow song. I was pleasantly surprised that he was composing something himself, and not only playing someone else's stuff, and we began to sort out these chords into parts of two guitars, where I played the bass line. For a long time this song was listed between us under the title “Ancient Cucumber”, and in appeared on our demo as "Da advarotnaha tvaru žyccia". After Stogn began to compose more and more riffs and show them to me, we began to analyze all this material together on acoustic guitars, either on benches in a park near Komsomolsky Lake, or in his house in Pines or in a neighboring forest. A little later, Stogn proposed the name Lutaść (fury, rage) for our duo, and all this was the beginning and the prototype of Niezgal band.
Essentially yes, that was my first music band. I consider the word “project” inappropriate, it smells like a bunch of people who were asked to play something with someone, as well as something secondary and optional. I have never been involved in projects, but played exclusively in groups of like-minded peers. Before Niezgal, I had some attempts to get in touch with someone somewhere and play something, but it was very dull, boring and superficial.
How were the commitments at Niezgal shared (meaning the authorship of texts / music, organizational issues, etc.)?
P.Z.: Obligations were divided spontaneously, according to the principle of "who can make this better". Stogn had the undisputed ability to quickly write a fairly voluminous amount of material, and all we had to do is to analyze it afterwards; archives were replenished quickly enough. In addition, he tried to write lyrics appropriate to the style of this material, but today it is simply impossible to read them without laughing (I still have them in archives). In my opinion, song lyrics were not what he was strong at, but at that time such naivety was OK for us. The main thing is that they were about death and darkness, ha ha ha! Subsequently, when I formed a new concept in 2010 and came up with the name Niezgal, the lyric component became my field of work and the overwhelming mass of musical material remained with Stogn. The circumstances were such that in the abundance of material brought by him, my participation in the writing of the music was minimized - it was easier for me to work on what he had already brought than to throw my own stuff on top, so there are only a few songs that I wrote specifically for Niezgal releases.
We made decisions on all organizational issues together, having equal right tp vote on any questions from music and lyrics to participating in concerts or making any decisions on the group’s affairs.
What comes first - music or lyrics?
P.Z.: None of this was and is not primary to the other. Both successful riffs and unbound successful text ideas can arise in your head. All of them are waiting in the wings to coincide in mood and spirit, complement each other.
The Belarusian latin alphabet is used in Niezgal and Łatanu from the very beginning. What was the reason for this choice?
P.Z.: There was no reason. The choice of the language came naturally naturally in 2004: "Let's do it this way?" - "OK". Because I wanted to, that's the whole choice. We did not sweat over thinking about which language to choose, did not follow any trend for Belarusian language, and even more so we weren't thinking if maybe we have to sing in English to be more popular on the West. We didn't give a shit about who would understand us there or not. By the way, in the last five or six years, I notice that using Belarusian has nevertheless become a fucking trend - for example, local bands that previously wrote lyrics in English, began to switch to Belarusian one by one. Apparently, to attract attention.
The sound of Niezgal was fairly independent from the start. It is difficult to trace any influences. Did you consciously try not to copy anyone, perfecting your own style? And a related question - were you both self-taught?
P.Z.: Yes, we are both self-taught who learned to play acoustic guitars first, and then to compose Black Metal on them, and only two years after meeting we bought ourselves an electric guitar and bass. Yes, we are both self-taught who learned to play acoustic guitars first, and then to compose Black Metal on them, and only two years after meeting we bought ourselves an electric guitar and bass. We were never interested in any technical guitar nuances, any musical terms, effects, equipment in general, all this did not have the slightest significance. There are riffs, furious melody and blast beat, what else is needed? I still barely show on the fretboard where the notes are located, only approximately, and I know the name of a dozen chords with a couple of simple terms like “palm mute”, but hell if I will try to learn something else about that.
In the same way, we don't give a damn about playing “l
In the same way, we don't give a damn about playing “like someone else”. Why play like someone, if you have your own material and ideas, why the fuck you will consciously copy someone and make a disgraceful recyled material? While some buggers in our field of vision tried to repeat Behemoth or some other mainstream group and discussed whose guitar is more expensive (because if you have one like that, then you certainly play better than others), we played only what we wanted to play - ours, and we did it the way we wanted. No one tried to copy something or consciously avoid copying - such behavior was also completely natural and was not even discussed.
On the issue of sound in general: Niezgal always had a very loud, clear and aggressive sound, devoid of "necrotic" atmosphere and dirt. What was the reason for this choice?
P.Z.: The sound of releases was always determined by those who were responsible for the sound engineering work, taking into account the advice of interested people from the party. We did not particularly understand these issues, our role was to listen to the final mix and say whether we like the sound or not. The demo was recorded and mixed by a sound engineer named Garik, who also recorded the first album and EP of Pestilentia. The recording and mixing of our next EP and "Statut" album was done by Vo1d from Victim Path. Split with Do Skonu was made by 121 (there's no need to explain who is he). Goat Worshiper (Goathorned, Sacrilegious Profanity, Doomslaughter etc.) and Plague666, who joined him, made the posthumous release. The latter, by the way, has patronized the sound of almost all Niezgal releases except for the "Statut" album.
When did you start performing live? What is the significance of live performances?
P.Z.: Our first performance was in the summer of 2010 at the forest open-air festival “Shades ov Summer” hosted by Niemaracz Clan. At that moment, the name Niezgal was not yet invented, it occurred to me about a month after this concert, and our group was not exactly Niezgal, but rather a snake egg from which Niezgal crawled out some time later.
What is the significance of live performances? Well, the usual. I'm really sick when I read how some band "performed a ritual" or “made an unforgettable show”. You are simply on stage surrounded by proper people and trying to show to them and to yourself what you are capable of.
The first Niezgal demo was released with the assistance of Niemaracz Clan. How did it happen that the band became a part of the clan from the very start?
P.Z.: In September 2009, I met with the last vocalist of Deofel, and at his invitation almost immediately after meeting I got to the clan's rehearsal base.That evening, Pestilentia played there with: Plague666 on drums and T.D. on guitar and vocals. We talked, drank and jammed a little. Almost immediately after that day, we put together a band that included the aforementioned vocalist, drummer of Deofel, me on the bass guitar and one guitarist. By the end of that year, I proposed taking a second guitarist into the band and called out Stogn. Actually, this connection with Deofel members and a credit of trust given by the Clan helped us to get an excellent rehearsal base, the ability to perform at good festivals and record our stuff. The five of us made eight tracks for a full-length album and recorded all instrumental parts, but at the same time there was a conflict of interest in the group, and Stogn and I split from that line-up, taking the name Niezgal and three out of eight songs of our authorship. We decided to make a demo out of these songs.
The relations between the clan and us, the schismatics, were very tense at that moment, until the general clan meeting in May 2011 on our occasion. I had to rake for two, because Stogn did not deign to come and sent everyone his fuck offs which further aggravated the general claims to me personally ("it's your guitarist", blah-blah-blah). But personally, I was not going to break off all relations with anyone and tried to preserve everything that we had achieved by that time. It was a difficult period for us, and it is wonderful that after some time we all cooled down, settled down and reconciled.
The "Kali pahasnie sonca" demo was a pretty serious work in all aspects. By and large, it can be called a mini-album: three exclusive songs, studio recording, high-quality cassette release. How do you feel about this demo today? What was it like at the time of its release - your peak or a statement of bigger ambitions?
P.Z.: As I said, the three songs on the demo were a piece of the band’s unfinished album in the previous line-up. When the question arose of who will record the vocals, Stogn suggested that I record vocals for my song and he will record his voice for his. But, having thought, I refused this offer and told him that he should sing everywhere himself, because the principle of "who can do this better" was still actual.The mentioned engineer Garik was recording us; was well versed in his business, but had a delightful habit to drink dead a day before the session, and then stupidly not to come to the studio and ignore the phone calls. It got to the point that I found out his mother’s phone and called her to wake him up and drive him to the studio. A couple of hours after the call, completely drunk Garik came and the recording began. I remember the case when Garik once again came from a wild hangover, and during the break we went outside for a smoke (the studio was located in the basement). Garik asked for a cigarette, we finished it faster than him and went down. We sit down, wait five minutes. Still no Garik in the room. We are waiting another five minutes. Garik is still gone. I think: “What the the hell”, come upstairs and see a picture - Garik goes down the stairs, or rather slooooooooooooowlllllllly crawls down the wall like a slug, sticking to it with his whole body and holding on to it with both hands. Probably the cigarette was too strong for him.
At the very least, we were still able to record vocals and began to decide who will mix the demo. Plague666 told us that AL-LA-ShT-ORR (Ithdabquth Qliphoth etc.) did not mind helping. I asked Garik to drop the project on my flash drive and sent everything to AL-LA-ShT-ORR. A guy writes me in response: "you have only drums in the project". I say: "How is that possible, where's the rest?". No, he says, nothing more. I'm coming to Garik's studio, asking him where are the other parts of the project? It turns out that he, most likely under slow cigarettes, recorded all the tracks hell knows how and managed to loose them on his HDD. Somehow we managed to put them together in one project, but it happened so that we left this final project at his computer - I never took a copy from the studio for myself. Plague666 and T.D. listened to these source files and helped with advice, and as a result, everything works together normally. After some time, Plague666 called me, saying that he and Garik are sitting in that studio over mixing the Pestilentia album, and asked what to do with these project files for Niezgal demo. I was already completely squeezed out after this situation and replied that I do not care. As a result, they wiped these files out so the source material for the demo is lost forever.
A quality cassette release was provided to us by our then publisher Kronum Masochrist, who in 2012 was killed by Pavel “Smutak” Selyun (who also killed his wife in that incident). Being also a talented artist, Kronum himself drew excellent artworks for the demo, and in general he was very suportive towards us and our thing. I still like this demo very much. Take a look at the spread of the booklet and the line-up of people who participated in recording - hell of a picture: "P.Z. and his dead men: Slaughtered, Shot, and Hanged". At the time of its release, the demo was not a peak of our opportunities nor a statement of bigger ambitions, we just really wanted to realize the material already recorded so that it would not sink into oblivion like the remaining songs of that unfinished album.
In 2013, the powerful EP “Apošnimi krokami lutaści” was released, which made a noise in the then not so dull Belarusian media space. Tell us about the "step-by-step" concept of this release and its recording. Why the lyrics aren't published? It would be especially interesting to read the text for "Pad ściaham Chrystovym" ("Under the Christ's Flag").
P.Z.: The material that we worked out and finished in the period from 2004 to 2007, before Stogn joined the army, consisted of seven tracks, plus a pile of drafts. When playing with five, we decided to bring up that slow song, our very first one, and as a result of the line-up split, it got to our demo. When we started discussing what the next release would be, Stogn insisted on analyzing the new material and recording the full-length, but the remaining six tracks were dear to me, and I convinced him that we have to record them first. He disliked the idea, and we agreed on a compromise to record these old songs but to release them as an EP. At the same time, emphasizing that these tracks are what we did a long time ago, I proposed to designate them as kroki (steps) that we followed when we called ourselves Lutaść, therefore the release name "By the Last Steps of Fury" was chosen.
I already mentioned that Stogn originally wrote the texts for that material himself, and they, to put it mildly, were naive crap. I took up those texts and, using the new concept, rewrote them cleanly, leaving only some not very successful, but familiar lines. It was decided not to publish the texts in accordance with the compromise that we reached in order to preserve the spirit of those youthful times, known only to us. There are no secrets here, I can let you read the text of "Pad ściaham Chrystovym" [I've already asked]. Hell, I can even give you an original version. But don't shit your knees when reading it, I warned you, ha-ha-ha!
All material was recorded and mixed by Vo1d at the studio he worked at that time. Plague666 was present at one of the sessions and gave him a couple of practical advice. That's all I can remember about that record. Seriously, I have no idea where this EP made a noise, I personally have not heard any particular noise. There were good reviews from the right people, there was powerful publishing support, that's true. Oh, yes, I remember a little noise - after the release of EP, various dumb people from different local bands, which Stogn and I have been talking about since 2004, reading their interviews in the Musical newspaper, started to try to make friends with us. Of course, they and their “friendship” were ignored.
With “Apošnimi krokami lutaści”, your cooperation with Thou Shalt Kill! Record began. How did you get on the label of Grigory? Are you satisfied with your partnership today?
P.Z.: After Kronum’s murder, we needed a label to release an EP. Under the patronage of Plague666, we were pleasantly invited to TSK!. In my opinion, TSK! is one of the most serious underground labels to date, and he does his job impeccably. A drop of tar in a barrel of honey can only be our constant small bickering with the publisher about the design of releases at the stage of approval of the layout. I'm talking exclusively about the visual placement of texts and art on the pages, but for the sixth release on TSK! it has become a good tradition, hahaha! Anyway, when the me and the guys found out that we are artistically cursed, we just relaxed. Everything settles down in the end, everything is fine. I have no complaints about the publishing part, our releases have always been perfectly packaged by Grigory, and in general I try not to get into his business that I don't understand at all.
Niezgal's next release is a split with Do Skonu, "The Winds of Decay and Death" (2014). The music on it is slightly different from the rest of the material, and the sound, as it seems to me, came out too flat. How did the idea for this joint release come about? Also tell me why the lyrics for it are written in Russian.
P.Z.: The idea of the split with Do Skonu arose very spontaneously after a joint concert in Moscow in 2013. I called Stogn and asked what he thinks about the idea of recording a split with them. He burst out laughing in response because he also wanted to offer me this, so we immediately began to work on this thing. The idea of split itself was and is cool, but it turned out that everything we prepared at the moment was scheduled for full-length album, so we didn't wanted to place these songs on split. I mean, there was no extra material prepared beforehand. The second factor was the fact that the label set us a fairly tight deadline for the split. In such a lack of time and material, nothing thought out could have been achieved, but otherwise the split would have to be put aside for a very long time. As a result, Stogn said that he would quickly do all the material himself, including the lyrics. In that year, my life circumstances were tough, so I simply did not have time and energy to deal with this issue closely. Stogn really quickly wrote music for three songs, but, in my opinion, the preparation of this material was too fast, Almost immediately we went to record it. Dmitry Mikulich (Aillion) was recording us at his studio, the recording was quick and unmemorable.
As for lyrics, Stogn again overestimated his abilities. Not wanting to get stuck in my text line, he decided to take as the basis of his texts the story of the murder of Kronum and his wife Victoria, and, not being able to clearly formulate thoughts in Belarusian, he decided to write them in Russian. Stogn could not give these lyrics a proper treatment, considering the schedule, so he finished them in emergency mode. He sent me the texts on the first two songs right before recording the vocals. I open the files and read: "...flew down by purulent stench on the dirty blade of chopping block...". I tell him, what did you mean by that? Well, pus drains from the blade, he responds. But the chopping block, I ask, what do you think this is? "The executioner’s axe, of course" - that's what he said... I managed to correct this and some other sentimental places, and the next day we had to record vocals. I called him in the morning: where are the lyrics for the third song? And he says: "I’m going to the studio right now, I'll write the text while in the bus" (at this moment, dead reader, I shrugged). By the way, if you ask me what the worst Niezgal song is, then I will answer - this one, the third, slowest song from the split.
As they say, when it rains, it pours - the sound of the split also let us down. The source material wasn't good enough for either 121, the label or Plague666 who was a curator of final mix. As a result, they yelled at us, but managed to build something more or less listenable. It is nice, of course, that this split was subsequently rather highly appreciated by Colonel Para Bellum in his review, but I think that our part of the material from there is very weak: the music, the lyrics, and the sound.
Do you know the author of the design of this split? I ask more out of personal curiosity: I only know that this is a Ukrainian artist, seemingly named Yuri.
P.Z.: No, I don’t know any Yuri. I think the split designer was Morkh (Sickrites, Abyssfire etc.). Of course, I am familiar with him in the course of general work on the design of three releases of Niezgal.
UPD: a note from Varagian of Do Skonu: "The cover artist is really Yuri from Kharkiv, and the inner part of the release was designed by Roman (Assavlt records, Sect, Мор). I was responsible for the design [...]".
Statut” (2015) is a full-length album, which, contrary to speculation, had nothing to do with either Grand Duchy of Lithuania or beer. Tell us about the concept of this "code of laws" and its record.
P.Z.: We have been preparing material for the album for quite some time, because of all the above circumstances. That is, there were enough archives, but we had no time to work on them. The preparation for the concert, the recording of old material, the concert, the split, the rest, the problems, and so on, interfered. In the end, we did seven Stogn's song and two of mine. The process of creating songs was completely heterogeneous and scattered in time. The spread across the years of songwriting was large: for example, I wrote one of my album themes back in 2007, and one of Stogn’s songs was completed a month before the recording in early 2015. I had to sit over some songs, but others arose very quickly and spontaneously. I remember a funny fact: around 2012, we wrote the songs that come first and second on the album. We conspired and wrote to Plague666 that we are a female Black Metal duet from Rogachev city, we have a demo and we are looking for a publisher; help us. For the truth, in an hour Stogn made two tracks on his computer under a drum machine with vocal line, and we attached them to the e-mail. We introduced ourselves in the letter as the Narathan group (read the pronunciation, emphasis on the last syllable). We'we been quickly seen through, but it was hilarious, hahaha! So, when we collected material for the album from the archives, I told to Stogn: show me how those two songs are played. He began to deny, like, why do you ask, they are just jokes and so on, but I told him: what the fuck, they are cool. So the album included the songs “Miesija” and “Sud aniołaǔ” and we barely changed anything in them.
I wrote all the texts on the album according to a single concept. I set myself the task of stitching together a rather heterogeneous material of the album, composed of tracks of different years, and linking them with one plot, from the first to the last song. I think it worked out.
As for the name of the album, I initially proposed the idea that from the names of the three thematic releases (excluding the split), one would get the sentence: "Kali pahasnie sonca, apošnimi krokami lutaści ŭzydzie Niezgal" (When the sun goes out, with the last steps of fury Niezgal will rise"). But in the end, we stopped on the name "Statut". Of course, neither Grand Duchy of Lithuania or beer has nothing to do with that. In general chat, we discussed a not very original, but interesting idea: to make an album booklet in the form of a book, on each page of which there will be one text, and the texts themselves will be divided into chapters. Exactly at that time, the name “Statut” was proposed (a statute, that is, a “charter” or “code of laws”) which seemed good to us. Nothing came out of this design idea, but such a division of songs into articles and sections of the charter has been preserved.
The album was recorded and put together by the same Vo1d, and we recorded it secretly from everyone in order to try our hand and find out what we can achieve without advices from the outside.
I’ll ask you right away: Alexander “A.E.O.N.” of Massenhinrichtung performed drum parts on three releases of Niezgal (Stogn, in turn, participated in the album "Zakon Zbroi" of the latter). However, in an interview for Black Curse you did not say a word about the role of A.E.O.N. in Niezgal. Why?
P.Z.: I will immediately answer the last question - because in that interview there were no questions about his role. But since you ask, let me recall the situation with our drummers in general. In total, in Lutaść / Niezgal, six people played and recorded drums with us. With the first, we tried to play even before Stogn’s departure to the army, with the second - after Stogn was commissioned with a knee injury eight months later. With each case, it was limited to a couple of rehearsals, and nothing turned out. I sometimes see both of them here and there with some of their projects. The third drummer was Victor from Deofel, we rehearsed with him for a year and a half, played two concerts and recorded material that was on the demo. The fourth was Nihilation, which at that moment moved from Grodno to Minsk. We agreed to play, we met for exactly one rehearsal, and exactly after it, Plague666 intercepted him and moved to Pestilentia, which at that moment radically changed the line-up. Physically, Nihilation could not keep up, both there and there, he had to learn a lot of material for their concert with Inquisition, so our cooperation died. At a certain point in 2012, Stogn and I have fallen down to boring home rehearsals at my place; there was simply no one to join.
Earlier that year, Niemaracz Clan planned a concert in Kiev in May, headlined by the French Malhkebre. We wanted to take part, but as you know, it’s better to step into shit than to play under a drum machine. We started searching for options and somewhere at the end of winter of that year, Stogn called me and said that Alexander could help as a session member. Refusing the only option was stupid, and we decided to give it a go. The invitee became the fifth drummer who played with us.
If you ask me to name his specific role, here it is: Alexander recorded the drums on our three releases, participated in arranging the drum parts of songs on them, played four concerts, and he, when found out about our idea on the design of the album as a book, suggested the name “Statut". At the same time, at the first two concerts with him and on the EP and split recordings, he was listed as a session member. As Stogn, who maintained much closer contact with him, explained to me, they initially agreed on the following: Alexander helps us with drums at concerts and recordings, and Stogn helps him with his project. I did not delve into this matter, the main thing is that our thing could move on. Thus, in the life of the band from 2012 to 2014, Alexander participated only pointwise: we need a concert / recording - the three of us gathered together, rehearsed a bit, recorded / played and moved in different directions again.
But in 2014, when the split with Do Skonu was already recorded and mixed, and there was a discussion of information on the composition of the participants of the recording, that must be listed in booklet, Stogn asked me in a personal message if I am OK to accept Alexander as the full-time member. I told that his role doesn't make a difference for me, so I do not mind. Stogn asked me to repeat this in a general chat, and I once again confirmed my consent there. Therefore, in the booklets of the split and the subsequent album, Alexander was indicated as a full-time member.
Can you summarize the message of Niezgal in a few words? I noticed that in the design and texts two themes are often repeated - killing the sun and “snake” theme.
P.Z.: The concept of Niezgal texts is simple: the darkness in the guise of a serpent Niezgal (the name also means very bad weather, when it's so dark that you can't see the sun) attacks the demiurge in the guise of the sun. As for the Niezgal message, I will repeat exactly what I said for Black Curse Zine: Niezgal sends curses to the world.
In the same interview for Black Curse, you said that all the material written by you and Stogn for Niezgal has already been published, and that without his participation, you won’t do anything else under this name. However, after some time, the post-mortem album “Stogn ź niebyćcia” was finally released. When and why did you decide that you should write the final chapter based on Stogn’s guitar drafts?
P.Z.: Let's remember what exactly I said in that interview. And I said that there was not a single thing left that we would discuss as Niezgal song, and which at the same time we at least started to play through, work on. I also said that under this name nothing will be done without Stogn’s involvement. The key here is “without Stogn’s involvement,” and this is indestructible. But what do you yourself think, six tracks completely written by him are not enough for "involvement'?
Since there were agreements with the publishers that this album be released on December 30, 2018, i.e. on the threeth anniversary of Stogn’s death, and had no announcements, in that interview I could not reveal anything about this. Work on the album was carried out right at the time of compiling the answers for that interview; I did not want to jinx it, but now I can talk about it freely. Here is how it was. At the beginning of 2015, when recording of "Statut" almost started, Stogn sent me a six tracks demo he recorded at home without a vocal line and said: "Here is the material for the next Niezgal album.” Great, I thought, let's hear what's there. Turned on and listened twice. What the fuck. Seriosly, what the fuck? I just couldn't think anything else, I was fucking numb. Firstly, it was very little like Niezgal. The material was very different from what we did before, some snots, drools, not a drop of aggression, riffs became somehow "atmospheric" and similar to, excuse me, DSBM. I called him back and restrainedly said that I had listened to this material and that we need to postpone it finally record the album, and then look at it again, do some tweaks. Suddenly he harshly objected that it doesn't needs any tweaks, and that he “doesn't want to change any single note there”. I decided that it was not worth starting to fight out of the blue right before recording the album and simply quitened the topic, deciding that we would return to this conversation sometime later, and after that I forgot about it. As you know, we were not destined to speak about it again.
When I found out that Stogn hanged himself on the night of December 30, 2015, I, being in a state of shock, suddenly remembered the demo he sent to me. The thought was throbbing in my head that I have the opportunity to fulfill the last will of a dead man who, during his lifetime, wanted this material to be released as Niezgal album, so I decided to do it. Since he recorded it on his computer, it was obvious that all the sources of this material could be saved there. Attending the funeral, I asked Stogn’s mother and sister for permission to borrow his hard drive for a while to find these files, and they let me do it. To my joy, I managed to find the source files of all six tracks, although they were nameless and scattered through the folders. At the wake, forty days after Stogn’s death, I returned his hard drive back to his relatives.
After some time, the shock state released me a little, and I decided to tackle this stuff. First of all, I understood that it was impossible for me to do everything alone, and I turned to my and Stogn's close friends with an offer to participate in the recording, and they asked me to give them that demo record for a listening. And if you think that after listening they said: "Yes, yes, yes, let's do this", you are terribly wrong. Instantly, they explained to me that this was just an enormous piece of shit and advised me to not even touch this ever again. We, they say, could participate only if it was something cool, and this material is a hopeless mess. And then I got angry. I got angry at myself, at Stogn, at this whole situation and the whole world, and took up work on the tracks myself. The surprises started immediately. The projects included simply terrifying quality of the tracks, the disgusting sound of guitars, the total sloppiness of the recording, fail after fail, horribly sounding drum machine with ridiculous drum parts, a chattering midi bass consisting of two or three notes. Several songs were made in standard tune, several in the lowered, vocal lines were completely absent and so on. From the tracks, it was clear that Stogn was recording all the guitar parts from one take without stopping and, apparently, was drunk, although there were four guitar tracks. The material itself was an even more deplorable sight, everything needed to be changed dramatically. Unnecessarily lengthy tedious tracks, where the same riff was repeated eight or even sixteen times, some tracks with blast beats have been unimaginably slow - I don’t even know how to write about it without curses. But I could not give up without a fight.
First of all, I decided to cut this material so that these tracks looked like songs. I reduced the initial 45 minutes of the material by simple cutting out in each track the excess number of identical riffs repeating in a row, and at the beginning of the first track I placed the intro that I found at Stogn's PC in one of the folders. Some of the riffs that I decided to make a verse or chorus, on the contrary, I copied and pasted in the right places; in the end we got the same six tracks, but for 33 minutes. Further, as I could, I completely redid the drums and changed the guitar sound, from scratch I wrote the bass parts, came up with vocal lines and recorded their basic patters above all this, so that it finally looked like Niezgal. I believe that everything was done by me in strict accordance with the request of the deceased. I swear I haven’t changed a note in his guitars, ha ha ha! After that, I decided to re-show the remade files to my guys, and was very glad when the result finally seemed sane to them, that is, by all accounts, it was already something that you could try to work on, and that theoretically can be done well. Today, the phrase “original demo” in relation to a posthumous album is a terrible curse among us. If I turn it on now, I think that blood can spray from my ears.
Lyrics for the album were written before its recording?
P.Z.: I began to write texts for this material only when I received a green light from the guys about their participation in the creation of the album. The main question was the main topic of these lyrics, since the plot of the Niezgal trilogy was essentially completed on the album “Statut”. The deceased Stogn, during his lifetime, talked to me about some bullshit, that he wants the texts on our releases to be about some entities, but I did not even delve into what he had in mind, because it had nothing to do with Niezgal concept. Therefore, on reflection, I decided that the final chapter should talk about what is happening with the world after the Niezgal snake consumed the sun and returned to the quagmire from which it was born. Having studied my archives, I took the best ideas from there and on their basis I wrote lyrics for a posthumous album with this exact storyline. Additionally, to smoothly flow the plot from the first full-length to the second, I redid the lyrics of "Statut" last song in poetic form and put it on the initial posthumous intro as a recitation. The finished plot ends completely in the fourth track. The text of the fifth track is addressed to Stogn in the form of our farewell words to him, and on the sixth track there is a rough record that Stogn recorded at home himself, this is his vocals. The text on it can hardly be heard, even with all the other tracks turned off, I can only distinguish some separate words and constructions in Russian, for example, “flew in”, “dead decided”, “came”, “the final is on”, “I’ll come to death again, spread my arms”, “sun”, “found” and so on. In general, it is clear that this is not a pre-written text, but simply some kind of agonizing stream of consciousness.
The album title “Stogn ź niebyćcia” was predetermined from the very beginning. It is named after the track “Stohn ź niebyćcia” from the album “Statut”, that is, it is such a pun, “Moan from nothingness” turned into “Stogn from nothingness” (the nickname "Stogn" means "moan).
“Stogn ź niebyćcia”, unlike previous albums, was recorded in “garage” conditions overnight. Were Stogn’s guitar parts modified in any way? Why was it decided to record it in such a sound? Who helped you play instrumental parts?
P.Z.: Before we went to record it, a colossal (!) work was done to ennoble the source material that I changed with a whole team of people, since I myself was simply unable to do anything else with this stuff. So there were three main pillars on which this album rests. Firstly, this is the Goat Worshiper, without whom there would simply be nothing. If not for him, the album would not have been released. He took the songs I had redone and with surgical professionalism sewed disparate pieces of projects, leveled all the guitar tracks, adjusted all the sound, removed the noise and did much, much more. In general, he alone did absolutely all the sound engineering work and actually saved the material and its sound from the total asshole; his contribution to the work on the album is invaluable. Secondly, it is M82A1 (vocalist of Verwüstung), who carefully worked out the written texts for errors and misspells. which pretty decently influenced the final result, and translated them into Latin alphabet. In fact, on previous releases we didn’t bother with the correctness of the Belarusian language, but in this case we couldn’t afford this, therefore M82A1, doing the same thing for Łatanu releases, really helped us as a linguist. And the third pillar of the album is the drummer and vocalist that I invited to record. These are respected people from Niemaracz Clan, and their names are too famous to be called, it is not so important, and what really matters is how much they have contributed to the recording, to the creation and execution of their parts. Personally, I believe that Niezgal has never had such cool drums and vocals. Also, taking into account the size of the contribution of all those mentioned in the release, I have every reason to consider this team as the last Niezgal line-up, which has six people, including the deceased Stogn. All these people reacted to the process of creating the album warmly, sincerely and with great enthusiasm, and I am immensely grateful to them.
Today, there’s information on the net that we have been sitting for three years in a row without a break and pored over the sources of this album, but this is just a beautiful legend. I did not immediately admit to the right people that I have this material. Since defrosting Łatanu, I was much more interested in recording my own releases and preparing for a number of concerts. I started working on this last Niezgal material only on the release of the first Łatanu album, when I already more or less caught my breath from all the affairs and events that happened, that is, a year and a half after Stogn’s suicide. I have been doing this for several months and handed over what was done to G.W. only about six months before recording.
The recording of drums, bass and vocals took place on the same day at the Niemaracz Clan base and lasted ten hours. No one rehearsed the album material for a second until that day, all parts of the rhythm section and vocals were played and sung in this single session. Guitars, of course, were already recorded. I have already explained how Stogn’s guitar parts were finalized, but I note that absolutely all the guitars on the album were played by him, no one recorded any guitars instead of his parts or as additional tracks. He recorded them, of course, not in line, but through some fucking pedal, and this created the main problem with working on guitars, but the great master Goat Worshiper made the impossible and squeezed a good sound out of them. As for the vocals for the last song, it was also recorded by Stogn through some bullshit gear and practically did not give in to any processing, but we decided to keep it as it is, thus leaving the last word for him, making this track his swan song.
As much as I do not like the source material of the album, I really like how much we made together it in the end. Everything was recorded and made exclusively by the people from the party, the garage recording gave the album the necessary basement spirit. Goat Worshiper and Plague666 were responsible for the final sound, the best sound that could be desired. The album was released jointly by TSK! and Handful of Hate labels accordingly to highest standards.
The album's design is using the art from Kronum, who also died in certain circumstances that you've mentioned before. Have you kept it since the days of the demo?
P.Z.: Exactly. For the demo, Kronum made not only cool art, but he also designed accompanying flyers with art of the same theme, a few of which I still have. When it was discussed how to dilute the texts on the panels of "Stogn...", I remembered these flyers, and by the forces of Grigory from TSK and his people that art migrated to the album booklet. As for the cover, it was drawn by Stogn. When we worked with him on the issue of designing “Statut,” we agreed that he would make all design by himself, but he only made one drawing. Then Stogn chose to put it on ice, so we asked Morkh to help us, and Stogn's drawing remained out of work. I immediately remembered this picture when I considered what the cover would be, and, fortunately, I found it on Stogn’s hard drive.
I am not the only listener who notices some mystical aura around «Stogn ź niebyćcia», no matter how trite it may sound in view of the circumstances surrounding its creation. Was the recording of the album accompanied by any unusual events?
P.Z.: There have been many such events. For example, one of the participants in the recording insisted that it take place on October 31, 2018, in Samhain, so that additional, so to speak, spiritual replenishment arose. I also remember how after the news about the release of the album on the utterhell.com forum the message from Stogn's account appeared: "Thanks, lads". Nobody knows who left it. Or, not so long ago, all of our gang suddenly received a message in one of the messengers that Stogn was registered in it. We got a little shock, but then we saw some woman on the user's profile picture and realized that she just got the dead man’s phone number, which was disconnected after his death. Since none of us deleted his number from the phones, such an unexpected thing happened for everyone. So what else? Yeah. When I took his hard drive from Stogn’s relatives, I made a copy of it myself before giving it back. And last summer, changing my hardware in my computer, by pure chance I formatted the whole system, wiped out all files. Only by miracle did I have a flash drive with some of the most basic backups of draft material, everything else had sunk into tartarara forever. Well, here's another extremely unusual coincidence: Stogn committed suicide at the age of 27, and 27 songs were released by Niezgal, so the lovers of conspiracy theories and signs in the sky can start an investigation.
Oh yes! I completely forgot. Perhaps the most unusual event was that right after the posthumous recording, we all went to play bowling, and I must say it was really unusual thing to us, hahaha!
The Niezgal texts also raise the topic of suicide more than once. You claim that Stogn’s suicide was primarily caused by drunkenness, but is it likely that he has been considering his departure for a long time?
P.Z.: I claimed that Stogn was put in a loop by vodka and I still claim that. He never considered his departure, we discussed plans, ideas, the upcoming concert in St. Petersburg, in the end there was this posthumous material that he wanted to record. We were going to take Nihilation into the band as live vocalist, because Stogn did not want to sing at concerts, but only to play the guitar, and we even managed to conduct one rehearsal together. Anyone who knew him would say that he never thought about suicide. That is why his suicide was like a bolt from the blue for his relatives, friends and a large number of people in general.
When Plague666 and I were at Stogn’s wake, forty days after he was gone, at the table we heard a discussion of excerpts from the texts of the "Statut" album. on the basis of which those present expressed their conclusions that “he knew everything beforehand about his departure”. It turns out that many believed that Stogn wrote those lyrics, and found them very prophetic. As you can imagine, Plague666 and I only had to look a little frantically at each other.
The only moment that was related to the topic of suicide, and which I can recall, was that. When Stogn sent me a six-song demo of the future posthumous album, and this happened about a year before his death, then not a single track on the demo had a working title. Except one - the last. It was named "Suicide". Of course, at the moment I didn't paid attention to that, but when writing lyrics for the last album, I thought that I don't need to to touch this symbolic name, so that song saved it.
After the release of the album, did you encounter a typical (unfortunately) blabbering about ou wanted to “make profit” on the name of the dead Stogn?
P.Z.: Oh yeah! Two weeks after Stogn’s death, one notorious organizer of local gigs suggested that I can “make a tribute show dedicated to the Niezgal project” and asked if I could be interested in any amount so that I would agree to this [I can imagine this beautiful gig with blackjack and dymna lotva]. She was probably looking for opportunities to make profit a hot topic at that moment, about which many spoke, but I, of course, refused. Just in case, I explain for the dumb: I do not sell the Niezgal band and Stogn’s memory in any way. Even from the last album's print run, I took only one copy to myself as one of the authors.
There is also some Chelyabinsk fucker on the Internet who annually publicly remembers Stogn with his long and sad lyrics, not forgetting to advertise the shitty song of his own shitty "band" that includes only himself. This cocksucker recorded at his home an "album" of one song with with a dozen of its different versions and for some reason dedicated one of these versions, the "true version" as he calls it, to the memory of the deceased, and also included Niezgal and Stogn personally to a thanks list of his shitty "album". Hello to you, fuck, if you read these lines! Know that if Stogn was alive, he would be the first to ridicule and shit all over you when he saw your ridiculous “words of thanks”!
Now it’s not entirely about the desire to promote, but also a significant fact. Stogn’s commemoration was attended by quite a lot of people familiar to him and me from the musical and near-music get-togethers. When funeral speeches were made at the table, it suddenly turned out that almost every second of them considered himself the best friend of the deceased. This circumstance was extremely funny, because among those present not far from me were those whom Stogn could not stand during his lifetime and constantly laughed at them in our conversations. Oh, sorry I forgot if they considered themselves simply his friends, or still the best ones.
It was equally fun to see how Stogn’s death news was posted online. Various “best friends” and “closest people” were in such a hurry to publicly bury him and edit the wiki pages about him and the group that they could not even figure out Stogn's death date, December 28th or 30th, because for everyone it was imperative to be the first to trumpet that "the Niezgal band died with its leader."
Do not be mistaken that millions have known and loved the Niezgal band. Yes, Stogn had a lot of buddy buddies, he was a rather sociable person who easily made a lot of acquaintances. Therefore, as I believe, this created false illusions among his "friends" that he was the mainman of the band, but the reality is completely different. We were never a “Stogn and the Niezgals” band, and I certainly was not someone’s appendage or second violin. It was a band of two equal like-minded people with a contribution from everyone. I will repeat my position from a previous interview: there were no leaders in Niezgal. Maybe for some people Stogn was in some ways a leader, but not for me. Well, if his friends want to invent heroes, create idols and live in peace with a rainbow-blowing pony, then for God's sake, but I don’t want to have anything to do with this hysteria about Stogn’s death. The success of the band, if the word “success” in general can be used in relation to Niezgal, is mainly the merit of Niemaracz Clan, the labels and the decent number of people who participated in the life of the group at all stages from 2009 until the very end. The most striking proof of my words is the posthumous album, perfectly made by all those who helped us earlier, but without Stogn’s personal presence.
You stated that you will not play concerts on behalf of Niezgal. Is there any chance of hearing any Niezgal songs performed by Łatanu?
P.Z.: The probability of hearing any Niezgal songs performed by Łatanu is excluded. Our friends, the Verwüstung band, several times played a cover of the song "Miesija" at our joint concerts, you were at least at one of them in Mogilev. Then, and one more time, I played with them on bass for the fun, but that's all.
As for the concerts on behalf of Niezgal, I had time to reflect on this whole situation and make the following informed decisions. Preserving the name Niezgal would automatically turn the band into eternal mourning for Stogn and endless comparisons of how it was with him and how it became after him, and this is absolutely useless to me. I refuse to pull alone what we did together, refuse to use the material he wrote, I do not want to replace Stogn with me, his personal energy with mine, and get into his skin. I did not and do not claim his place as the frontman of the band. The frontman, especially when he is the main author of the material and the vocalist, strongly influences the perception of the band by others, he is strongly associated with the band, and it is impossible to replace him completely. Bands, deprived of frontman, are often a depressing sight, good examples of replacing the frontman can be counted on the fingers.
Therefore, I consciously and completely refused to retain the name Niezgal and this band in general, permanently preserving it as our common thing with Stogn. On my own, I do not need to prove my worth through the exhumation of Niezgal and it's previous merits. Firstly, I have already proved everything to myself, and secondly, I have long had another group in which I can realize my ideas and be for myself without any attachment to Stogn. The only thing I wanted to finish under that name was to release that last posthumous material Stogn wanted to record, and I managed to fulfill the dead man’s last will. The final chapter is completed, nothing more under this name will be done by me. I officially declare: according to my personal decision, the Niezgal band has been completely dead since December 30, 2018 from the date of the release of the album “Stogn ź niebyćcia”, so talking about the concerts of the dead band is simply pointless.
At the end of the discussion on this topic, I consider it necessary to clarify something. The material of the five Niezgal releases was created in the following order: first EP tracks and a slow theme for a demo were composed, then the remaining demo tracks, then almost all the material for "Statut" album, then the tracks for the split, and the last posthumous album material. I don't have a clue how other people see it, but it was obvious to me personally that over time Stogn’s material was composed more and more quickly and was more and more ill-conceived and uninteresting to me. This is especially true in case with the material of the original posthumous demo, which was basically the weakest tracks of "Statut" mixed with split songs. This situation, to put it mildly, did not satisfy me, but we didn’t have direct conversations about this with Stogn — we had to close the old debts and everything that was in his archives. By the end of 2015, it was already felt that some radical changes were to take place in the life of the group, the realization came to me that I want and can do these or other things differently, I wanted to realize more of my already finished material, lying dormant on the shelf. Stogn, in turn, pulled a blanket over himself, tried to ignore discussions on the topic of my songs. The only thing we managed to superficially agree on was to offer Pestilentia to create a joint split, for which my compositions would have been used. If later he again ignored these agreements and seriously, without any compromises, insisted that we should record that demo sent by him “without changing a note”, I’m sure that our paths at the same moment would have diverged completely and irrevocably.
I take this opportunity to turn to the culprit of the discussion: Stogn! We all, guys and me, have done absolutely everything for you that was within our power. Now you can finally relax and lie quietly in your grave. And you probably noticed - with the permission of your mother, I put our cassette and three discs under your pillow in the coffin, and Plague666 and Goat Worshiper brought you a CD with the last album to your grave. It's my pleasure.
Summing up all of the above, I want to add that the discussion of topics about Niezgal, Stogn and his suicide is already sitting in my liver, I am completely immersed in the affairs of my other group and do not think about those topics at all. To close all questions on these issues, I now my second detailed interview, and although I will always have something else to say about that, I believe that I have already said more than enough.
Let's move on to Łatanu. The band was created back in 2013, when Niezgal was still active. As far as I know, you started composing your own songs, which became the basis for future releases of Łatanu. In my opinion, the material from the debut album is not so radically different from Niezgal music. Why did you decide to keep this music for later? Can Łatanu be called to some extent the successor of Niezgal?
P.Z.: I started composing my material around 2006, some time before Stogn joined the military service. Since we began to play closely with him again only at the end of 2009, all this time and further the material was gradually accumulated and put on shelf until better times. By the end of 2011, in the conditions of confusion caused by schism in the line-up, I wanted to tackle my accumulated archives, I contacted Plague666 and offered to sort this material together. Together we had several rehearsals, analyzing half of the tracks, which later became a part of the first Łatanu album. After this, things at Niezgal resumed, and Plague666 and I froze this initiative, but I continued to write songs. In the winter of 2013, I wrote to Nihilation that I had a number of tracks for the album ready, and invited him to be a vocalist on it, which he agreed to. Also, by that time I had recorded a six songs demo at home. Therefore, I have been counting the existence of the band since 2013, when both its line-up and material for the first album were actually brought together, although there were several more years of active rehearsals and affairs ahead of us. Only in February 2016, having come to my senses after Stogn’s suicide, I again contacted Plague666 and Nihilation about the band, and since then we have what we have.
I didn’t save this music for later on purpose, the bulk of the material that I had accumulated was not able to find implementation in Niezgal for reasons previously voiced - first of all, we agreed to record what Stogn brought first. In the case of Łatanu, I have no such obligations, so now we can safely sort my archives accumulated over all these years. Regarding the similarity of the material with Niezgal, I already mentioned that initially Stogn and I had almost the same musical predilections and a look at writing music based on melodic riffs. Both I and he wrote exactly the way we liked, from here you can see some kind of similarity between the music of two bands, although I think that it's mostly your imagination; just sometimes you want to hear what you want. Well, whatever, I don't care.
Łatanu may be called the successor of Niezgal, but may not be called. It all depends on the attitude of a particular person. I have already accepted that I cannot leave my past with Niezgal behind, which means that I can’t get away from any comparisons, parallels or searches for similarities, even the questions for this interview are teeming with them. The concept of texts, for example, is similar only because I write in the same vein as before, nothing more. Personally, I just continue to do what I want with those who are my friends, this is the main continuity for me.
Nihilation, how did you become part of Łatanu? At the same time, tell us about yourself and your activities with Rite of Darkness and Pestilentia.
Nihilation: Well, everything is already described by P.Z. in sufficient details. It seems that he wants to write a fucking book here. We have known each other since 2011, when I appeared on the Pit (Niemaracz Clan rehearsal base) and in a separate Pestilentia chat, well, i.e. at least 9 years old. Once upon a time, he sent me texts for the first release of Łatanu for translation into English. True, the band did not have a name then. We also did not have time and desire for a rehearsal, and the project was frozen. After Stogn went for a walk with a rope to the nearest forest park, P.Z. I decided to create our band, and since then we play together.
As for my activity as a whole, I basically have nothing to add to what I said in Black Curse. It has been 12 years since Rite of Darkness the demo was recorded, and I played Pestilentia 8 years ago, and during that time a lot of things happened. It was an awesome time, full of events, people, wild things and booze. Good moments, shitty moments, but certainly it was not boring. Well, if you squeeze all this out, then the bottom line is: RoD - one demo, Pestilentia - two gigs.
As I understand it, in Łatanu you are only responsible for vocals + bass at concerts. Do you have a desire to satisfy your creative hunger somewhere on the side - for example, in your own project?
Nihilation: It just so happened that during all this time I learned to play a little on all the instruments, so everything is possible. There are also some ideas, I just need to find time to work on them.
How did Plague666 join Łatanu?
P.Z.: He was the first with whom I agreed to start a then nameless band at the end of 2011. Plague666 didn’t "join", he is, ike Nihilation, one of the bands three founding members.
Before the release of the album, Łatanu had a concert at the Niemaracz Clan closed event. There you performed in strange masks (one of the photos still stands as the main one on the band’s page on Metal Archives), among candlesticks and the like. There were no masks at subsequent concerts, and with each new performance your image was simplified. Do you plan to completely abandon visual attributes at concerts?
P.Z.: That closed concert was our first performance. The candlesticks and other props on it served as the entourage of the stage for everyone. And the masks you mentioned were just searches for some zest in appearance for this concert, which turned out to be an unsuccessful experiment. Perfectly made by a tanner of high-quality oak leather, they were extremely tight and uncomfortable, created discomfort on the stage, and looked... weird. Exactly the same story was with bracers. Subsequently, we took these errors into account and no longer get involved in such a costumed adventure - the classic corpse paint turned out to be a proven and correct option. But we don’t mind about the photo, if someone suddenly becomes interested in editing our page, let him change the photo to the one on the personal page of Nihilation, it's quite cool, haha!
Debut album "Čorny manalit" (2017) - tell us about its concept and recording.
P.Z.: Look, there wasn’t a single release recorded in Niezgal that was complete, thoughtful and worked out in advance from the beginning to the very end. The demo was a piece of an unfinished album, EP was a collection of old songs that Stogn didn’t really want to take, split tracks were made in haste, the first album was stitched from various songs of different years, and the second came to us in the form of a handful of material that could no longer be rewritten. In contrast, the rough demo of Łatanu first album was ready back in 2013. Reactivating the band three years after that, we completely sorted out all the tracks from it, rearranged them and reassembled them. There was no hurry, there was plenty of time to clearly deal with them. In addition, the texts were given to the aforementioned M82A1, not only for translation into Latin alphabet, but also for the first time for language editing, and with its help all the trash was thrown out, the texts became verified and edited to perfection.
The recording took place on the base of Niemaracz Clan, which is now slowly becoming a serious recording studio. The exception was drums that were recorded elsewhere, but everything else was there. All material was recorded by Goat Worshiper, drum sound was finalized by Dmitry Kim (Do Skonu, Posthumous Blasphemer etc.), and mixed by Sadist (SS-18, Misanthropic Art etc.), and a curious case is associated with the latter. After the release of "Čorny manalit" album on the Metal Archives site you mentioned on the Sadist’s page in the Misc. staff section we saw the information that he took part in the releases of Niezgal, namely: 2011 - “Kali pahasnie sonca” (Demo) - Text translation (as “SC”) and 2013 - “Apošnimi krokami lutaści (EP)” - Recording, Mixing (as “Void”). Seeing this, at first I did not realize what was happening, but then everything fell into place. The fact is that the prolific Sadist’s have a ton of his own bands and projects in which he identifies himself with different pseudonyms. So, in SS-18, he refers to himself as “S.C.”, and in his Alienation Cold - as “Void”. Actually, people who took part on these Niezgal releaseas are: on the demo - Pavel “Smutak” Selyun (killer of Kronum) aka Smutak Ciemraszał, aka S.C, and on EP - Vo1d from Victim Path band. In general, it turned out to be a confusion - someone found out that Sadist mixed Łatanu album, checked his nicknames and a list of all the persons involved in the Niezgal releases, had no idea who these “Void” and “SC” were, made parallels between bands and confidently inscribed Sadist instead of those people. It is possible that this person was among Stogn’s best friends who "buried" him at December 28th instead of 30th.
Thus, when creating and recording this album, taking into account the trio in the line-up, an entire Łatanu team was formed in the amount of seven people. And although technically the other four are not members of the main line-up, I consider them an integral part of it. And of course, the album was released by Thou Shalt Kill! Records, with the usual high level of quality.
As for the texts of the album and the concept of the gang in general, I did not find a single reason to change horses at the crossing. It was decided to write the texts as before in Belarusian, and in them, as always, darkness, death and destruction of the sun predominate, but from the fangs of the dragon Latanu.
Tell us about the troubles with the "Čorny manalit" design.
P.Z.: Why troubles, everything is fine with the design. Yes, when we thought over how it should look, we were fabulously lucky to stumble on some artist, Mexican dragon-painter Augustine Romero, aka Alemsahim. For 10 000 Russian rubles, we agreed that he would draw us a cover and logo, and carefully explained to him what we needed. Then some kind of circus began. He drew a seven-headed dragon, albeit a good one, in cassette form on an elongated sheet, that is, you had to crop this picture for CD format or to draw something from the sides. Cropping looked disgusting, and the Mexican refused to finish the drawing for free i.e. in fact, to finish his own unfinished work.
Ah, our dear, dear Augustine reacted exactly the same to the creation of the logo. After reading the terms of reference and swearing that he would do everything in strict accordance with it, he rolled out to us an option that had no connection with our request at all. We rejected it and demanded to make another one, and when he did it, then on the second option, instead of the logo, there was a freaking cockroach. An excellent logo, we decided, but not for our album - maybe for some book of Chukovsky. So we demanded the third option. The Mexican was indignant that we were not satisfied with the fruits of the labors of his genius, but in the end he began to draw for the third time. Of course, he again made it strictly past our request, but at least without a cockroach. Weakened, we decided to accept his third option and told him that fuck it, just send us this third one. In response, he tried not to give us this logo until we pay him 50 rubles for some fucking special pencil he bought, and for the fact that he, you see, scanned this logo at his own cost. We refused to pay him and said that in this case he can shove this fucking logo up his ass. Plague666 insisted on making his behavior publicly known, but I persuaded him not to, because I considered it wrong to have such petty scandals before the first release. But now it’s already possible to say directly: Alemsahim is a faggot, and I do not recommend anyone to do business with him.
We got out of the cover situation in the most elegant way. Goat Worshiper looked at it, said "alright, where is my black ballpoint pen" and in one sitting he drew some additional details to it, so it could fit the CD format, and also edited this picture in Photoshop or something. I really hope that the look of the Mexican painting completed by our permanent sound cutter brought Augustin a lot of pleasure and pleasant moments. In addition, G.W. himself, probably with the same pen, drew for the booklet of the album some more excellent artworks, which we gladly placed there. Honor and praise to him for that. And since we angrily abandoned the Mexican logos, Nihilation himself made artless, but sensible logo, which we decided to temporarily use until we find something better.
"Eon Hora" is the latest Łatanu album. Tell us about the recording process. As I understand, it consists of long-composed material that was waiting for its time. What, in your opinion, is it different from the debut? Are you satisfied with its sound (I, as listener, am not) and the design?
P.Z.: The album is fresh only conditionally. A draft demo was ready in 2016, I showed some demo tracks and pieces of texts from this material to Stogn just before his suicide, when we discussed how to offer Pestilentia to do a joint split. It differs from the first album perhaps in the fact that we even more painstakingly approached the sorting of material arrangements and thoughtfulness in general, rehearsing it almost to nausea before recording. Otherwise, there are few differences. The album was made by exactly the same Łatanu team, which was also engaged in the first release, it was recorded exactly there, and after that it was released on the same label and with the same level of quality! Again, the cover art was handled by Goat Worshiper, but at the last moment, his ready-made sketch was redrawn from scratch by Horth (Sickrites, Horthodox etc.). Our friends from the band Kruk, Twilight One and Vaiug (also Aphoom Zhah, Sick) made us a new good logo - Twilight One drew it, and Vaiug completed all the computer work.
The theme of the lyrics also remained unchanged, the only thing is the track “Śmierć idzie nasustrač” where I wanted to turn to Stogn with a few words and express my thoughts on him on certain reasons known. At first the album had the working title “Suprać sonca”, but when we started to settle this issue, Nihilation saw a pun in the title “Eon Hora”, which translates as "Aeon of Horus" to English and simultaneously as "Era of Grief" to Belarusian, and we found this name more interesting.
As for the sound, you see, I wanted to record this album for a very long time, with this gang of people, with pre-thought out and played-trough material, and so on, including that kind of sound. Believe me, I really care little about how this album is perceived from the outside, because everything we do, we always do only for ourselves. Therefore, yes, we are pleased with the sound of the album, it sounds exactly as it should sound, and as we wanted it to.
In the design of the album I was confused by the arrangement of the texts: they are squeezed into one panel, as a result of which they are typed in a tiny font. Was this done intentionally, or it's a design error?
P.Z.: Frankly, this time we almost completely withdrew from the issue of design, because we got tired of it at the stage of thinking about the cover. When it was finally ready, we just hifted this question to the publisher and his people. Personally, I did not hold the discs in my hands until December last year and could not see how the design looks live, but in my opinion everything turned out well. Yes, the texts are too small for normal reading, but if the publisher found their placement to be correct, then I don’t mind. I was also slightly surprised that the painting “Ialdabaoth” by Jose Gabriel Alegría Sabogal was included in the booklet of the album, but perhaps this should be considered a pleasant surprise.
Latanu is a prototype of the biblical Leviathan, which, in turn, is considered by you as one of the incarnations of Satan. However, the name "Satan" or "Devil", if I am not mistaken, has never been used in the lyrics of Łatanu or Niezgal. Why?
P.Z.: Because the concept of both bands, packaged in the chosen wrapper, does not require direct explanations and chewing. But I think only the complete degenerate won't understand it if he reads the lyrics and tries to draw parallels.
If Niezgal's lyrics were more straightforward, then in Łatanu texts I see more hidden occult motives. What role does occultism play in your life? Can Łatanu be called a religious band?
P.Z.: Religious - yes, certainly. The question of our faith, including in ourselves, in our strengths and in the correctness of the path we have chosen, is in our first place. As for the more straightforwardness of the lyrics in Niezgal, I do not agree, because on the contrary I think that the lyrics in Łatanu are much more straightforward and specific. There are no practitioners of occultism among the band members.
Łatanu has a more raw and gravely sound than Niezgal - what is the reason?
P.Z.: Well, here you go again. Specifically, in the case of sound, drawing parallels with Niezgal is not necessary at all. The sound of Łatanu is commanded by Plague666, Goat Worshiper and Sadist, and Nihilation and I are just listening to their mix options. Nihilation evaluates if the sound is cool or shit, and I basically get to the smallest detail in recording the parts, if there are not enough hi-hats or an extra piece of bass came out. In short, everything is as usual.
Both Niezgal and Łatanu have always played all-metal material: no synths, no clean vocals and the like. Small samples do not count. There was no desire to try something new in this regard?
P.Z.: Never. Yes, the samples were used and are used by us only in small quantities, mainly for intro / outro, nothing more. As Plague666 rightly says, the easiest way to fuck out the material is to mix different styles, electronic sounds, synths into it, add violins, pipes and trombones with saxophones and shit, but try to make good songs with the classic bunch of guitar / bass / drums / vocals, huh? All our stuff is made precisely for this format and we are not going to change anything.
Also, both bands have almost no slow songs. Is this a conscious decision or are fast things just better?
P.Z.: This is just wrong. The final songs of almost all of our releases, four of five from Niezgal and both from Łatanu, are slow songs [it makes 6 of 39, which is "almost" in my opinion[. If the 2011 demo had not been recorded, and the slow song from it got to the EP, then all releases would have ended with slow songs general. From the start, I suggested this move back in 2010 and I continue to use it now.
What are Łatanu plans for the foreseeable future? As far as I know, Nihilation returned to permanent residence in Grodno last year - will this affect the work of the band?
P.Z.: No, the return of Nihilation to permanent residence in Grodno did not affect the band at all. The fact is that we do not rehearse just like that, but gather only before any concert, recording or sorting of the material. Over the past year, we had two of these rehearsals ( or one?). But for many years in a row we have been chatting daily and discussing our affairs and ideas together. In short, Łatanu as a fraternity exists independently of any tinsel like moving and rehearsing and maintains its existence on its own the way it wants.
Plans for the foreseeable future, haha, do you want to make God laugh? You see, “plans” is a word that is simply foolish to use in our regard. Today you play Black Metal and make a bunch of plans, and tomorrow your guitarist hangs himself up in the forest - so much for your plans. From 2018 to 2019, we recorded and released two releases for 8 months, so the master plan is so far the only one: to make a break from all things. Personally, after recording the posthumous Niezgal album and "Eon Hora", I felt Fucking Released, I am squeezed like a lemon; in short I want to relax, regain strength and do some things at home. Plague666 recently bought electronic drums and Nihilation bought a new dedicated sound card and gave me his old one, so I can do some perversions with it.
As for the performances, in recent years there has been little thematic gigs, but their quality has improved significantly, just remember the same indoor gig of Niemaracz Clan in 2016 or two concerts with Kruk, Pestilentia, Verwüstung and Bonehammer in Mogilev in December 2017 and in Moscow in February 2018. We are still very selective about where and with whom to play.
For some reason, it seems to me that Łatanu has a trilogy of albums planned. If so, what will happen next? Does the group have a message summarizing all the albums?
P.Z.: Indeed, I have already prepared material and texts for the third Łatanu album in the form of a rough demo, gave it to the guys for listening and even started some sketches for the future. But here again something needs to be clarified. For the past few years, I have lived with an obsessive desire to release “Stogn ź niebyćcia” and “Eon Hora”, I was just bursting from within with a feeling of the need to record and publish them for the reasons that I detailed above. That is, all that was NECESSARY to record is already recorded. After that, I came to the realization that from 2004 to today I have reached all the key levels in the underground: I played and play with my friends, I participate in the life of the strongest Black Metal circle of the country, I shared the scene with the people I respect, performed at local concerts and in neighboring countries, recorded and released my records on excellent labels, saw reviews of releases with my participation on post-Soviet and foreign resources, including from people to whose opinion I listen, felt the public attention, saw the people in our merch, received offers to be interviewed, and the like, and most importantly - I was able to realize all the accumulated material in the two bands and the overwhelming majority of my ambitions as an author and performer. Tell me what more can I ask for?
Therefore, I absolutely calmly look at my future and the future of the band. Łatanu lives, while we are all here, while we are one and burn with our goal. We have enough strength, ambitions, material, desire and opportunities to realize it, it is important that this is all here and now. But for the rest, nothing depends on us, whether something will be done further or not is at all God's will, and we will obey it.
Are you asking if the band has a message? Yes, there is such a message! We say "fuck off" to the assholes who think that they play Black Metal but don't have anything to do with it in reality, adopting the genre with the goal of self-promotion of their crappy projects, trying to be scary and intriguing. We hate these unprincipled and third-rate clowns for whom Black Metal is nothing more that the opportunity to do some photos in carnival outfits, making dumb fuckfaces.
Thanks so much for the answers and support! If there is anything to add, feel free to.
P.Z.: Oh, I always feel myself free. Therefore, in conclusion of all that was said above, I cannot but take the opportunity to add what I think about local metal journalism and the Black Metal scene.
You quite rightly wrote that the Belarusian [metal] media space is now as dull as possible, metal journalism is practically absent as a class. The dozens of internet resources that look like they’re writing about metal, in fact, are just crap news portals copying their stuff about foreign bands from other sites, stealing articles with reviews of concerts from each other and acting like wet pussies when they see some cute long-haired guy on the stage. The egregious amateurs who “write” this, do not know shit about metal or any other topic that they touch. However, today in this swamp there are exactly two exceptions. The first is the Black Curse analog fanzine, which has already released two excellent issues - let me use this opportunity to say hi. And the second is Bagnik Zine, that is, you, Raman. I am grateful to both of you for your professional approach, a high level of understanding of the topic, biased and balanced reviews of releases, interesting question in the interviews and your dedication bordering on fanaticism. Do not die s long as possible, okay? [Many thanks; while eyes see and ears hear - we will work!]
Well, what about the Black Metal scene in the country; of course it exists - this is Niemaracz Clan, its friends and sympathizers. I don’t know any other “scene”; for me it simply does not exist. The strange tendency of the last time is that if some new name appears in the musical space, then the mentioned “thematic” resources, even before the beginners release at least one tiny release, reward them with titles, ranks and regalia in advance, shouting about the new Black Metal “hope”, “cult”, publicize them as much as possible, announce and inflate the significance of the newly formed, sprinkling their speeches with heaps of breathtaking epithets. Although experience shows that usually it's either their music sucks, or these people are shit, but almost always it's both. Newcomers, of course, joyfully accept these praises, and then they cover their knees in liquid shit with their performances under the drum machine and the “Internet releases” made at laptops. But they continue to eke out their existence on their pages on social media, with dozen of “fans” (read, friends) as a new "cult". And when these friends-fans interview them directly on the same social media pages, hey excitedly tell what ideological blacksters they are with texts about mother nature and their native country, and that Black Metal is about individualism, freedom and self-development. What a fucking disgrace. Well, you probably see it all yourself. I don’t know about you, but I personally can't stop laughing reading this bullshit. You can’t even imagine how much fun we have over these bunnies and this “scene” among our circle. Wait, wait ... Hahaha! While I was writing this, a new joke came up! Got to tell it to the guys right now...