On Saturday, December 12, the festival The Best Ukrainian Metal Act 2015 burst at the "Bingo" club, Kyiv. During the evening, there was the selection of the three leaders in three categories: "Best Metal Album", "Best Metal Video" and the main prize "Best Metal Band". The nominees of the event have become the bands Mind Shredder, Space Of Variations, Megamass, Sectorial, Joncofy, Dysphoria and Septa. Seven groups, three awards and two winners. By the decision of the jury and the audience, Boyarka-based metal band Sectorial was awarded for "We Are The Titan's Rising Ashes" as "Best Metal Album" and for "Tree Eater" as "Best Metal Video". As for the main title of the evening, the owners of a "star statue" were Space Of Variations from Vinnitsa. Noizr Zine’s journalists talked with the bands-winners and interviewed the director Alex Katerynchuk and the producer Max Morton, who had worked on Sectorial’s video and record. The guests of the festival and The Best Ukrainian Metal Act 2014 winners Morphine Suffering also shared their impressions with us.
Space Of Variations: "We will try to satisfy the title of the best Ukrainian metal band!"
As Space Of Variations commented on, their victory at The Best Ukrainian Metal Act 2015 was a big surprise for the whole band. Vinnytsia-based metallers completing Ukrainian tour, where they shared the stage with Jinjer, returned to Kyiv for the main statue of the evening. The significance of the award, future plans, and big Ukrainian open-airs in our interview with musicians.
Congratulations on your victory! Share your experiences about the past The Best Ukrainian Metal Act.
SOV: Thanks for the congratulations! The Best Ukrainian Metal Act was for us a very exciting and important event. The organization was at a high level and we are very pleased. The bands who have been included in the line-up, indeed, are the greatest in Ukraine, so the competition was very serious. Overall, we have incredibly vivid and bright impressions which we will remember for a long time.
What does this award mean to you? Was the victory expected?
SOV: Honestly, we didn't expect to win, we were very surprised and even shocked to get the victory! We were the first from the nominees to perform, and to be the first, as you know, is always hard, the audience has not yet warmed up, everyone is just penetrating. But we pulled ourselves up and tried to perform decently and do our best.
This victory gives us more self-belief and self-reliance. We will try to satisfy the title of the best Ukrainian metal band!
Who of your stage colleagues seemed to be the strongest competitor in this category?
SOV: All announced in the line-up bands are very strong and it’s difficult to mark any participant. Our group got into the band Megamass, and, honestly, until last, we’ve thought they would win.
Addressing the audience on social networks, you mentioned "yesterday, we got one step closer to our goal and once again convinced that we are on the right path!". Today, Space Of Variations are the winners of The Best Ukrainian Metal Act and, apparently, this is not the limit. What is your main purpose?
SOV: As for now, we would like to go outside Ukraine very much, on tour in Europe. Also, we would like to start working with foreign labels and booking offices. In general, to widen the circle of our listeners.
Also, you reported about new material recording. When should we expect a new release?
SOV: Now we are tracking and strongly trying to please you with a quality material. Therefore it is difficult to say the exact date of the release. We take the recording seriously and try to do everything with maximum quality.
The band is known to perform at the Ukrainian open-airs Respublika 2016 and Faine Misto. What’s your view of native festivals? What does it mean to you to be among the participants of these events?
SOV: We’ve always wanted to play on big festivals in Ukraine and so we have a chance. We haven't performed at open airs, so for us it will be a new experience and a breakthrough.
Would Space Of Variations give concerts abroad next year? Tell us about your plans in this regard.
SOV: We really hope that yes! We make every effort to implement this task.
Sectorial: "We have never set the victory as a goal"
Two awards of the evening, "Best Video" and "Best Album", got Sectorial’s musicians from Boyarka. There is fifteen years experience behind the metallers, during this time, the team has had many successes in music and concert activity, performing on the stages of Ukraine and CIS countries. Earlier, the band has told Noizr Zine about how their second full-length album "We Are The Titan's Rising Ashes" was recorded, described the release as a mature and adult work. This time, the vocalist Ivan 'Burz' Kozakevych commented on Sectorial’s participation in the festival The Best Ukrainian Metal Act 2015, describing the first experience of working at the set.
Congratulations on your victory! Share your experiences about the past The Best Ukrainian Metal Act.
Burz: Thank you, everything was good: pleasant company of the groups, lots of visitors, a wonderful organization. For us it was a good experience.
What does this award mean to you? Was the victory expected?
Burz The awards mean that the result of our work attracted the attention of listeners, as well as journalists and critics. Regarding expectations, we’ve nursed a hope for victory in the nomination video of the year, but we have never set it as a goal. We liked the video, we achieved a result that we were longing for, that’s why it’s our personal victory.
Who of your stage colleagues seemed to be the strongest competitor in the category "Best metal album" and "Best metal video"?
Burz: There were no scrubs. And this is very pleasant, because it means an increase of the musicians’ level, the recording and shooting levels. The bar rises above all the time and everyone loft.
What difficulties have you faced on the set?
Burz: It was our first experience of the video filming and there came up a lot of questions. From the process organization up to the technical aspects of the story ideas implementation — we plunged into it together with the director Alex Katerynchuk and the entire team who helped us. It’s a great experience for the future.
What about the ideas for the future? Do you plan a new shooting?
Burz: We have some ideas to realize and talking about the new shooting — all in good time.
Alex Katerynchuk: "We wanted to do something different, not similar to native one"
After more than a successful debut video "Tree Eater", Alex Katerynchuk went to Warsaw Film School for film direction. We decided to congratulate Alex personally and asked him a few questions.
"Tree Eater" is the debut music video for the band Sectorial, and for you as a director. What does this award mean to you? Was the victory expected?
The victory was unexpected, although I certainly watched the state of affairs at the BUMA-2015 online because I could not physically be present at the concert (now I live in Warsaw, study to be a director).
The award is certainly very nice. And even nicer to read the comments on the video on YouTube, reviews like this "I don't believe that it’s made in Ukraine". And the reward is like the next stage of the recognition, professionals also appreciated the work and it's cool!
Tell us about the work on this video. Have you considered any other ideas for "Tree Eater" story?
Initially, the question was up as "how to make the most beautiful and high-quality product with a minimal budget?". We wanted to do something different, not similar to native one. I’ve known the guys from Sectorial for a long time and talks about the video making began four months before the actual filming. They proposed the concept: forest fire, demon, dancing to their music. I thought about it and developed it into some fiction, into hunting, luring the beast. I wanted to add a bit of intrigue, story, and that, I think, worked out.
We also decided to depart from black/death metal style clothes canons and plunged into the atmosphere of the 20s-30s of the last century: suspenders, linen shirts, corduroys... My goal was to feel and to show how would the demon hunters team of that time have looked like.
Bonfires is also an issue in its own right, cause I wasn't sure would all the ditches light up around the guys with one torch in the middle? They lit... we shot in one take... When I first watched it, I shed a tear... ;)
Which Ukrainian and foreign music videos of this year would you have included in the top of the best?
It’s difficult to say. I watch a lot, but nothing really memorable. I remember 2-3 years ago, Woodkid went like a bomb, that's what, indeed, a unique... about a year ago, I saw Gesaffelstein "Pursuit", which also has been remembered for a long time... But honestly, I'm a man of movies. And even in the simple video clip, I think, you should try to make a story: even trivial, simple, but story, using symbolism or show it directly. That is what usually catches the eye and is remembered. Today, the picture surprises nobody, so it’s a need to dig deeper.
About our performers, I can say that Jinjer have very high-quality work, and indeed it’s a pleasure to look at their vocalist... ;)
Are you planning any new shooting in the nearest future?
So far I have no particular plans, but I’m negotiating with several bands. My move to Warsaw slightly makes this task complicated, but I hope, we will agree and shoot something cool!
Max Morton: "Shortly after the award, Igor, the drummer, has written to me and said: "Dude, one star is yours"
Max Morton is musician and sound producer, among whose works are quite a lot of famous names. Morton told us about Sectorial’s album "We Are The Titan's Rising Ashes": what the victory means for him as its producer and also gave a few comments on the band’s work.
"We Are The Titan's Rising Ashes" is the best album according to The Best Ukrainian Metal Act. In part, this is your victory as a producer of Sectorial’s work. How important is this result of voting to you?
Max Morton: Certainly, It’s important. I’m very proud of the band. Shortly after the award, Igor, the drummer, has written to me and said: "Dude, one star is yours" :)
Although, I’m not surprised that the guys won. They play sincerely and originally, they have wonderful Ukrainian lyrics, they’ve released a great album and unreal cool video clip.
What can you say about "W.A.T.R.A." and work on the LP in general?
Max Morton: From the beginning, the recording has gone well. It happens that once everything turns out as it should, the main thing is not to misstep. By the time the record was finished, it had collected a powerful charge of static energy. And now this energy is converted into kinetic energy. After a short pause, it has particularly caught my eye with the video "Tree Eater" release. By that time I became disaccustomed from the album, so again I felt everything in what we were bounded up during the recording.
It doesn’t happen very often, in fact. When the concept of the album, music, lyrics, folk (in this case) instruments, everything is well connected together.
Tell us about your musical favorites of this year. What albums of Ukrainian and foreign musicians would you have included in the list of the best?
Max Morton: It’s a difficult question, cause I rarely have time to listen to music in my free time. From foreign music, I got into Zierler "ESC", Earthside "A Dream in Static", Saxon "Battering Ram" and The Dead Weather "Dodge and Burn".
Our bands have been remembered more by their singles than albums this year.
Morphine Suffering: "Wish all the gangs pep and stick at nothing!"
A year ago, Morphine Suffering have won the main prize of The Best Ukrainian Metal Act 2014. Just completed their big Ukrainian tour in which the band presented the latest album "Пам'ятай Хто Є Ти" ("Remember Who You Are" — Noizr Zine), the musicians performed at The Best Ukrainian Metal Act 2015 as the special guests. Morphine Suffering’s guitarist Vladislav Rylsksiy told us about how the festival was held, shared his thoughts about the participants and the group’s future plans.
Greetings! Share your experiences about The Best Ukrainian Metal Act 2015.
Vlad: Hi! I’ve attended all BUMA events and I can say that each of them was special, from the beginning to the end, it's not a bunch of street musicians and the premium for the best (in fact one of the best, because it is impossible to objectively say who is better) group of Ukraine in 2015.
I don’t know organizers’ criteria for bands selection, but this is clearly the achievement of a group’s whole activity, plus its activity the last year. In 2014, many bands released full-length albums, EPs, singles, a lot of videos and promos, which allowed them to become more visible and get into this competition. I want to note that if we take a look at each band separately for its outcome and result to which this group was led, the festival would last more than one day because we have so many talented groups in Ukraine, metal grows and develops and It can’t but make you happy.
This year, the competition was serious, but the best one won! Also, It’s pleasant that for the first time on the stage there were two drum sets, cause it’s very important for musicians. So respect for orgs. And regarding the audience, it was cool. BUMA hasn’t drawn five hundred people, then the prize expands and gains momentum.
Talking about The Best Ukrainian Metal Act 2015, Jinjer’s bassist Eugene Abdyukhanov stressed that the last year’s line-up was "clearly weaker". How do you assess the current level of the nominees?
Vlad: Every opinion is solely subjective. The participants of The Best Ukrainian Metal Act 2015 did their best and were competing for every vote. There were also young bands, but it doesn’t mean that they are weaker. Everything was decided by the audience, if people like a group it’ll get the victory. After monitoring all Ukrainian metal market, the organizers picked seven best, in their opinion, from the list of the certain bands number and gave them to the public rating. I can personally say, I didn't find in the line-up the bands whom I considered to be worth the award, it means that everything is still ahead for them, and we’ll see these groups at the other Acts.
Do you agree with the choice of this year's winners?
Vlad: Again, the answer is subjective, cause it’s all about the audience. Lately, Space Of Variations have gained momentum very quickly and won the first place. They worked hard and therefore defeated. MegamasS were a clear favorite and worth awarding. Dysphoria is the best death/mathcore in Ukraine and I’m sure that in the CIS. Sectorial have made a very powerful burst of releases this year, many experiments and generally they’re well-done guys and they grew up very much. Joncofy is probably one of the most technical bands with the cool melodic material, also they’re cool in their own way and deserve to win. Septa has recently come in my view but has already won people’s hearts. They play something experimental, also performed well and gave a taste of their quality. All of them are good, and the audience has chosen the winner. So let’s continue getting into all the gangs, working hard and striving for new victories. WISH ALL THE GANGS PEP AND STICK AT NOTHING!
What the bands have you been gunning for?
Vlad: For whom I was gunning, I told them it in person, they know :)
What Ukrainian bands, in your opinion, have been undeservedly left out in determining this year’s nominees?
Vlad: At least Detach, other bands are difficult to call to mind.
What does this award mean to you? What changes have occurred to Morphine Suffering after obtaining the statuette?
Vlad: For us it was certainly nice, it was a kind of self-affirmation, but at the same time a responsibility, because you should comply with the status! It gave us confidence. And, of course, it doesn't matter what ranks and prizes you have, if you do nothing, you will reach nothing in the long run. Music and material have an expiry date, so hard work should be every day, and we continue to do!
What plans do the band have for the nearest future?
Vlad: We’re preparing several video works for release and starting to work on new material. I can’t say when it’ll come out, but the preparation for the next song recording starts off. We want to experiment a little, stay tuned in our communities to be the first one to see it. We also plan to expand our performances horizons, so we’re working now on this issue!
By Yuri Somov and Anastezia
Photo by Natalie Demeter, Roman Khrabrovskyi, Olga Nepravda