Odradek Room Interview with Doom-Metal.com [November 20, 2017]

Posted by Nick Skog on Tuesday, December 12, 2017 Under: Interviews
Odradek Room Interview
Published: Novemebr 20, 2017
Interview by: Comrade Aleks Evdokimov
Answering: Artyom Krikhtenko (vocals, guitar, keyboards)

Ukrainian band Odradek Room's sophomore release moved even further into prog realms than the debut. Comrade Aleks wanted to catch up with the band and find out more.

" For four years Odradek Room - from Mariupol, Ukraine - kept themselves sealed in the inner halls of their minds creating compositions around the fragile states of the human psyche. And if their first full-length record 'Bardo. Relative Reality' was a rather balanced collection of emotional imprints built on both atmospheric, sometimes avant-garde, Metal and heavier Doom Death components, the new effort 'A Man Of Silt' will take you to extreme embodiments of both aspects. The album isn't just different music-wise, it also contains lyrics originally written in English this time, so that may help to better understand the dark depths of their plots. Artyom Krikhtenko (vocals, guitars, keyboards) opens the Room for you." 

Odradek Room: Artyom Krikhtenko (Vocals, Guitars, Keyboards), Andrew Shimanskiy (Drums), Ilya Zernitsky (Guitars), Sergey Kuznetsov (Bass).

Hi Artyom! How are you? What's going on in Odradek Room?

Hello! We're taking a break after Doom Over Kiev. Soon we will start preparing new material. For Odradek Room and a project under 'code name' Odradek Ladder as well. We haven't abandoned an idea of making a non-metal record. We are going to work on our usual material and newer, softer stuff at the same time. 

What's your experience of playing at Doom Over Kiev? And did you ever try to get your music abroad?

Incredible festival. It was our second performance there. This time the line-up was particularly good. Saturnus, Eye of Solitude, Clouds, Swallow the Sun and all the other bands were amazing. There were people from other countries in the audience. In general, it was very good. Unfortunately our performance turned out to be worse than usual. We thought we have to cancel the show 20 minutes before going on stage, because I got ill, lost my voice and had fever. Also a few days earlier our drummer had blood pressure problems and he was taken to the hospital. While playing he had a minor stroke and he hardly made it through the gig on medication. So did I. 

So there's a four year long break between your first album 'Bardo. Relative Reality' and the new record 'A Man Of Silt'. What slowed you down? How long did you actually spend composing and recording new songs?

Perhaps it will always take us a long time to release new records. We didn't want our new album to be similar to the previous one. We've spent a lot of time figuring out our new sound and some tricks for a new album. Correcting and finishing our material. We do not intend to make music fast, we intend to make great music. The album was recorded this year in February. 

'Bardo. Relative Reality' was a pretty complex mix of melodic Doom Death and some Progressive Metal or maybe Avant-garde elements: how natural it was to transfer most of them into 'A Man Of Silt'?

We didn't want to make the second 'Bardo'. I was looking for elements that would allow our music to be generally unique, without stylistic clichés. 'Bardo' was based on classical elements of different styles. We maneuvered between them and it was clear, that there is post-rock, doom metal or whatever. In 'A Man of Silt' we tried to create synergy of tropes distinctive for different music styles in order to make it sound unique and complex, deliberate. It's often the case when you listen to doom metal bands, let's say, you cannot really feel any difference between them. They are faceless. However, when you listen to Devin Townsend you feel this originality despite huge variety of his albums. Whether it's rock'n'roll, doom or death metal you always feel this is Devin. You will not point at Terria as a regular doom metal band with a touch of prog. It's even hard to define them stylistically.

I hope we have not just a mix of progressive, avant-garde and traditional doom metal. I hope we managed to get unique dramatic music with personality. 

My first impression was that the heavy parts of Odradek Room's music have become more bloody and extreme, the progressive parts of it are now more complex and elegant, and the atmosphere is richer as well. Would you agree with that? Do you feel that you reach extreme borders with 'A Man Of Silt'?

We will always try to balance aggressive and atmospheric bits in a certain way, but generally our music will be atmospheric. Aggressive parts better contrast and enrich atmospheric pieces. Heavy parts got heavier, because we aimed for more emotional saturation in general. I realize that big stylistic range may shrink our audience, though. 

You use also harsh vocals - in the vein of early Katatonia, if we take a comparison to some doom bands, or even Black Metal-style… Do you really see the necessity to use those instead of the growls which are more common for the genre?

I believe such vocals are more emotionally charged. Although I understand, that in many ways such decisions distant us from what people expect to hear when they put on a record, which includes 'doom metal' among the others. We do not try to make doom metal though. We try to make Odradek Room. 

How do you balance all these parts of Odradek Room's music together? Did you have an idea how to mix it all in 'A Man Of Silt' from the start, or did you allow yourselves freedom of improvisation in the studio? I'm wondering how your recording sessions are strictly structured?

It is a long and painstaking work. I bring in ideas for our track, arrangements. We play them. When we play the tunes on rehearsals, they themselves seem to ask for certain development. Some things happen spontaneously and they become a part of our sound. For instance, I realized that the sound of Fender Rhodes really suits the track 'Silt Flower' and it will bring some trip-hop vibe. I listened to the whole thing and it was clear, that this is exactly what should be the main keyboard sound. Take, for example, the brass. I wanted to have some kind of cinematic feeling, a feeling of a story, and so I decided to use many brass parts in order to make our music sound like a soundtrack. At first, there is an idea, and then it comes to life and makes us find the right decision. Yes, it takes us a long time to write music, because all the elements have to live alongside one another and find their ideal setting. Synergy must happen. We write most of our material in our 'studio', because tracks usually feel differently recorded rather than live. That is why I think it's impossible to write an Odradek Room album in a rented studio for a week. We tend to correct our arrangements or even harmony during recording sessions in order to tell the whole story better and reflect emotions and the inner world of our protagonist. 

Your first work is remarkable, with a well thought-out concept put into it: what kind of lyrics did you write for the new songs?

In a way, the concept of our new album is similar to the one of 'Bardo'. However, 'Bardo' described only the projections of the consciousness in its borderline state, death or a dream. It was directed towards understanding the outer world and that the world is the reflection of consciousness. Structurally the first album was based on 'Tibetan Book of the Dead'.

'A Man of Silt' tells a story of personality, its study and search for its own self during its life. You may find something similar story-wise in fragments of 'Steppenwolf' and 'The Glass Bead Game' by Hermann Hesse. But the whole story is presented not as a series of events, but through what happens in the mind of the protagonist as a reaction.

The way of realizing your own self and either accepting its emptiness and illusion, following love, wisdom and calm, or trying to hold onto your ego and understand that 'self' is separated from the outer world, their objective existence and following pain and suffering, caused by ignorance and egocentrism. So the protagonist faces different aspects of his personality, it is divided into different components, different 'self', which pop in and out of existence. The man dives in his frightening and painful illusions, projections of consciousness, then sees bright light and pure nature of reality. 

By the way, 'Bardo' originally had lyrics written in Russian, but with 'A Man Of Silt' you switched totally to English lyrics. What made you take this step?

The truth is that we recorded the album in two languages. All the vocals were recorded in both Russian and English, but only the English version was released officially. Later we will publish the Russian version separately.

I thought that if books and movies are translated, then why not record an album in two languages – 'international English' and 'native Russian'. 

That's interesting… Will you publish it as a digital release, or will it be a limited edition?

We have not discussed it yet. Perhaps there will be no official release and we'll just put it online. 

Odradek Room is usually considered as a part of the Death Doom scene: what do you think about it? Are you part of it?

This question is very hard to answer. I always wanted to play emotionally rich and intellectual music in the first place and not being tied to a particular style. With elements of doom metal and, let's say, 'doomy vibe'. All my favorite bands are hard to describe stylistically, because often they combine completely different styles of music. Probably we are a part of doom metal scene, but I realize, that orthodox doom metal fans won't find what they are looking for in our music. Nowadays progressive scene is often associated with djent or something like that and not with a variety of means of artistic expression. Maybe we would better fit into progressive context. It's complicated. 'Scene' is a pretty relative notion. I think classification is an activity better suited for listeners rather than musicians. 

How do you see the state of the worldwide Death Doom scene, and its situation within Ukraine?

To tell the truth I almost have not listened to doom metal for the last few years, at least the new stuff. Although metal in general takes a third of what I listen to at best. That is why it's very hard for me to analyze it objectively. However, on Doom Over Kiev fest I noticed that Ukrainian and Belarussian bands started to make surprisingly interesting and crafty music. It seems to me, that the genre started to enrich itself a lot by looking in different directions. 

Thanks for your time Artyom, I would like to finish the interview with one last question about Odradek Room's message. How would you sum it up?

Stay conscious and all the best :) 

In : Interviews 

Tags: odradek room  a man of silt  interview aleks evdokimov  doom metal  doom metal interview  death doom  katatonia  devin townsend