Stoking the polka: talking Peace, Love & Russkaja with founder Georgij Makazaria

Russkaja2_RingMasterReview

Austrian turbo polk metallers Russkaja is band we for one cannot fail to get perpetually excited and energised by, their fiercely eclectic and rousing sound a manic and exhilarating stomp that just hits the spot. With the release of their latest album Peace, Love & Russian Roll on Napalm records, 2015 has been a busy year for the septet, one just as full of live shows around Europe and further afield. Right now Russkaja are touring but band founder and vocalist Georgij Makazaria managed to find some time to kindly share with us as we look into the making of the new album and origins of the band.

Hello Georgij and many thanks for sharing time to talk with us.

The world has just been treated to another Russkaja stomp courtesy of new album Peace, Love & Russian Roll, the devil in a polka crafted musical skirt of temptation. For us it is your most rounded and ‘polished’ offering yet without losing the raw diversity which fuels your unique sound. How does it most differ for you from Energia!, its predecessor?

The new album has more different directions. We felt free to try everything we wanted to try and we had fun doing that.

Whereas there was a great ‘randomness’ to the sound and lyrical narrative of songs in previous your albums, Peace, Love & Russian Roll seems to have a more constant theme within the ever eclectic festival of flavours and styles?

Yes, all songs sound different; all sounds are inspired by the different moods of the songs; that was the idea of the new album.

It also feels slightly more reserved in its boldness of diversity yet fuller in the creative hues it does weave into the bodies of songs. Did you go into its writing with any specific intent and ideas or did it just organically grow?

Engel and I, we took one year to compose songs, so we met in our rehearsal room and put together the elements that influenced us during this year! I had lots of ideas that I was carrying in my phone for a long time, and Engel had some projects that he has collected in the past, so we put both sources together and the new music came out.

597_Russkaja_RingMaster ReviewMany of the songs are sung in English upon Peace, Love & Russian Roll; why that move this time around? There is an element of trying to lure stronger UK/US attention?

It was a step closer to everybody’s understanding. English is of course the most spoken language on this planet and it works great in this combination.

Do you think you will repeat this across future releases as it surely will open up a new wealth of appetites for Russkaja from those ‘prejudice’ to anything not lyrically accessible before they hear a sound?

I don´t know what I will repeat in the future, but I know one thing: On the new album I have some favourite directions and I will try to follow them again on my next travel.

Tell us about El Pueblo Unido upon the album, the first track you have sung in Spanish.

Si, yo estudiado la idioma español en la Union Sovietica. I learned Spanish in USSR, it was a special school with very intensive language teaching. I still can speak a little bit Spanish, sometimes I have practiced with my colleagues like: Tito & Tarantula, Ska-P, Panteon Rococo. I had this idea for a kind of mariachi sound in my head, and so I started to put together some Spanish words and it worked out. I am very happy about this song.

The expansive and unpredictable sound that Russkaja is renowned and acclaimed for, seems inevitable with the background and tastes of all its members. Can you tell us how you all came together and the origins of the band?

Russkaja was founded 2005 by me, Georgij Makazaria. I came from Soviet Union in the late 80-ies to Austria. Here I’ve met Dimitrij Miller from Ukraine in the year 2003. The Brass Section is two brothers from Upper Austria, Hans-Georg and Rainer Gutternigg, the Violin Girl is from Griesskirchen, a place on the landside. Drummer Mario is from Styria like Arnold, Engel the guitarist is from Lower Austria, half of us live in Vienna, the other half in Linz.

Was there anything which majorly inspired the creation of Russkaja?

It was a book written by Wladimir Kaminer, Russendisko from the year 2000. It´s a true story about a place in Berlin where the writer started to put (as a DJ) Russian music together with his friend Yuriy Gurzhy from “Rotfront“, and the small place “Cafe BURGER“ became a secret hype in town. They added a CD to the book with some of this music and I was very surprised that the people in Berlin went crazy for music I grew up with, I was inspired, I got a great idea! Later I’ve met the writer, worked with both guys together, played in this Cafe and I have always big fun performing in Berlin!

With such inspirations behind all your individual tastes and ideation, I am imagining songs come together like a puzzle at times, different parts tried in different ways until fitting. How does the Russkaja3_RingMasterReviewsongwriting generally come together in the band and is there a strong democratic process involved or its more that particular people take the lead?

It´s a free democratic process, every one of us is welcome to bring ideas, beats, rhymes, riffs, brasslines or violin melodies, and I listen to all of them. Usually, when I compose, it begins with a summing idea on the phone. Engel and I, we are collecting ideas all the time, they can come in every moment that you don´t expect, so you better be ready and have something to record in the hand, because the ideas may visit you just for a short time and then they disappear. In February of last year we started our song-development sessions. I like this part a lot; it is a creative time when things get a form and a face. Next step is the choice. Very difficult moment, what is good, what is better. After we’ve selected the Ideas we start to arrange everything around: brass, violin choir. After that, the studio work begins.

Did you approach the recording of the new album any differently to its predecessors?

Yes, this time we were working in a very well organized and perfect equipped studio called “Masters of Sounds“ in Michelhausen in Lower Austria. We started with the rhythm section by recording drums together with bass and guitars (pilot modus). A lot of basslines on the tracks were done by first take, than we recorded guitars and bass adds. At this time, our brass section started to record trumpets and potete (special instrument – mixture of trumpet and trombone) in Linz, in a studio of their friend Armin Lehner, who did a great work guiding this recording session. After a song got rhythm and brass, we recorded violins on it. In a very cool hall room, 8 m high – great acoustic, super sound. At the end I did my part singing the songs in a very relaxed and nice atmosphere! No hurry, great mics, a well sounding room with a lot of daylight and candle light in the evening.

Do you find reactions and the passion for your individual sound differs majorly between audiences from different countries within Europe?

Only the best reactions! Most of the people like it; it is a fresh, positive music, that works everywhere we go. Every show is a booster for the band! We give everything at every concert and pick up the people of every age, nationality and taste!

pic Jörg Fischer_

pic Jörg Fischer_

The band is renowned for its festival of energy and adventure on stage, what have you got lined up for the rest of 2015?

Now we are on our Germany/Austria/Netherlands tour, then we go to Italy, and in December to Spain!

Once again big thanks for sparing time for us; is there anything you would like to add?

You are very welcome! Peace to your home, health to your body, love to your heart!

Read our review of Peace, Love & Russian Roll @ https://ringmasterreviewintroduces.wordpress.com/2015/07/27/russkaja-peace-love-russian-roll/

http://www.russkaja.com/    https://www.facebook.com/russkajaofficial

 

Pete Ringmaster

The RingMaster Review 11/11/2015

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Sapiency – Tomorrow

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Having already been released on CD this past march, Tomorrow the latest album from German metallers Sapiency gets a deserved digital release and distribution through Eclipse Records this month, and thankful we should all be as it is a rather flavoursome and contagious little gem which may have escaped attention otherwise. Not exactly stretching boundaries but having that little indefinable something which sets it apart from the crowd, the eleven track storm of accomplished and passion soaked invention leaves hunger for more and fat satisfaction mutually potent responses to its voracious enterprise and energy.

Hailing from Frankfurt and formed in 2008, Sapiency was soon drawing attention locally and further afield. Their acclaimed debut album Fate’s End in 2010 was just the start of a growing stature and reputation, their own tours as well as support slots to the likes of Sonic Syndicate, W.A.S.P., Dead By April, Tito & Tarantula, Deathstars, Vader, Engel, Onkel Tom (Angelripper), Power Quest, Pathfinder, and many more earning the band greater recognition as has successful performances at festivals such as 70.000 Tons Of Metal 2012 and Metalfest Open Air 2012. It is hard not to develop an eager appetite for the sextet’s sound as shown by second album Tomorrow, and with a wider network for it to spring from you suspect that Sapiency is on a rapid ascendency.

The band is tagged as melodic death metal yet that is only a fraction of the picture, or sound with the band employing a wealth of sapiency_tomorrow_cover_72dpi_rgb_900pixinspirations across the metal spectrum so that within the new album they can bring essences of In Flames or Lamb Of God to bear and at other times Bloodsimple or Livarkahil. It makes for a strikingly resourceful and thrilling encounter which from the opener Prayer For The Pain captures the imagination. From its first breath the track careers through the ear with riffs and grooves carving out their insistent presence whilst the bone splintering rhythms of drummer Kai Voss-Fels cage the tempest raging within their framework. It is a mouth-watering confrontation which never relinquishes its grip on the awoken passions right through to its final strike. The outstanding dual vocal attack of the cleaner grouchy delivery of Lars Bittner and the bestial scowls of Krsto Balic is a forceful magnetism across the whole album and strapped to the carnivorous craft of guitarists René Ritzmann and Holger Wenck, as well as the predacious bass prowl of Sebastian Fix, makes for an exhausting, riveting introduction.

Hungry Again keeps the rapacious intent and rabidity at full throttle whilst interspersing it with a seductive coaxing from the keys and a classic metal orientated temptation from the melodic casting of the guitars. The merger of bordering vindictive riffs and virulent groove metal lures to the expansive melodic adventure is impressively crafted and wholly infectious, leaving ears and emotions basking in demanding and rewarding metal at its best. Arguably there is little strikingly new on show but equally Sapiency present it in a unique and compelling way that it is as fresh and invigorating as you could wish and sets the band apart from most.

Through the likes of Free Within with its electronic tantalising seemingly fuelling an even greater aggressive fervour from band and sound as Avenged Sevenfold like sonic sculpting spears the air, and the enslaving mix of melodic enticing and strenuously robust intensity of the title track, Tomorrow continues to seize the imagination and feisty passions whilst tracks such as the crushing Weight Of The World and the slower smouldering Fight On explore deeper appealing avenues and creative corners within the songwriting and its invention.

To be honest there is not a weak moment upon the album, each track a formidable and impacting persuasion and though occasionally a surface similarity rears its attractive head it is a fleeting wrap soon punctuated and lost with keener focus. Further peaks on Tomorrow are provided by firstly the industrialised irresistible might of Turn The Tide, guitars and vocals once again weaving a rapaciously stalking narrative which is pure addiction, and by the towering presence of Torn Apart. The track is another ferocious antagonist but one just as content to let a melodic acidity and harmonic temper vein its furore.

Completed by the absorbing Dying Illusions, a final raging skilled and esurient assault, Tomorrow is a richly satisfying and exciting confrontation which does not carve out new ventures to contemplate but employs existing invention in its own unique and wholly exhilarating way. Sapiency is a band we are destined to hear much more of ahead and undoubtedly enjoy at even greater heights as the promise also burning brightly across the album suggests.

www.facebook.com/sapiency

8/10

RingMaster 26/11/2013

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