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Friday, March 9, 2018

Betula Interview

1. For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the musical project?

Betula appeared in the end of 2012 as my solo studio project. That time I was in prepare of new music material for Erih, the band I played. Erih played DSBM, we recorded first album at the beginning of 2012. Unfortunately, in the process of preparing for the recording of the second album
the band leader gradually lost interest in music, so I decided to make my depressive material by myself. As a result, second album of Erih was recorded in 2014, with with certain difficulties. And what was to become the third album, was recorded in parallel as Betula. Hostilities in our country and directly in the city force to not do music actively for a some time. That's why the second album was done in 2017. Now, at the moment of this interview, we ended to mixing the third album.

2. So far you have released 2 albums with this project, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on both of the recordings and also how do they differ from each other?

In this kind of music I really prefer raw rehearsal sound, sure if it's sounds suitable and don't need to listen hard what's the riffs or lyrics. And when there used noise and various experimental and non-standard techniques in it - this gives the material even more interest: what it is? for what it was?
did the author want to say something about it? I don't like illegible vocals, don't like "clear" Black Metal, don't like drum machines. Besides, if it's the band's concept - to make music with drum machine, with maximally modern sound - and if it's original and good to listen - this is good. But not when all the performers are equally alike with same and indistinguishable musics. I was took part in few projects with drum machine (Erih, for example), but try do not work with for myself.

Sure, if it be possible, our future material will be with some best quality. There is also the question of financing the recording. You can put your hands down and wait for the manna, but it's not about us.
That's why we must to take what we have and do as close to what we want.

Musically, as I already said the first album was supposed to be DSBM, that's why it's so monotonous. I had an idea to show that a monotonous raw metal can be perceived as a whole musical canvas,
for example like soundtracks - when one theme plays for a long time and it's good to listen. The same in electro, techno styles, in the ambient and noise music. I think I did it because I received a few reviews in this way. I also was aiming to make something FOR NOT TO LIKE to any morons who download any new music in mp3's and write the comments in social network: "this is a shit, this is not a shit, who copying who, who stealing the riffs..", etc. This I got even better, because: at first, a lot of mud was poured - that we are raw, rough, monotonous and not like _____ (pull here the right performer); at second, this was strengthened by the fact that basic riff of the first song is too close
to the riff of one Arabic black metal band, and the adherents of yammering immediately accused me in stealing. So, rest them in peace.

The second album's idea was in deepening of the experiment with noises. I tried to make such material, that should be more raw, but with straight sound and with hear able melodies. One song - "In the stream of cognition's..." - was done in the way of the first album. And sure, I was emphasize for poetry. All songs performed in Russian, half of our country speaks in Russian. You can read them in booklet in English, and first album too. I think, it's not time to talking about the third album, we'll make it after release.

3. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with this project?

The first album was like "trial", I put there the lyrics that were the last suitable that time - regular Pagan themes of battle and blasphemy. And one lyrical song "Icymphony" - cover version of Munruthel. There was an idea to make cover of this instrumental song with self lyrics. Later, this lyric became as a part of my small poem, it is in Russian and there was no sense to translate in in English yet. A narrow circle of friends only were read it. Further, I try to move away from the usual beaten topics of "for" and "against", and try to write more poetry than song lyrics. Poetry can be singed without any problems in any way, so that it does not harm the case. The main theme that I deliver on in the past few years is the theme of mental slavery and philistine dullness. Very unpleasant things with which any normal person, much less a National Socialist, faces every day.
For example, in Ukraine we have rather slavish conditions of existence, we work from dawn till dusk, there is not really time for private life, and even for to practice music. At the weekend you try to recover. No pain, no gain, of course. Well, here are certain thoughts, which are expressed in the verses of any content, any plot. And to the best of the personal intellectual qualities of the listener -
someone will find there the usual evil blasphemous or Pagan words, and someone will see a hidden message.

4. I know that the bands name means 'birch' in Latin, how does this name fit in with the musical styles that you play?

This is a question that I can not answer unequivocally. Not because I do not want to - but because I do not know why. But I'll try to clarify a bit. The name appeared on its own, in the process of art meditations, one might say, in a semi-transitive state. Originally there was a simple poetry with the title Betula, written in 2010, it is about personal loss. Then this one became the beginning of my poem, which is mentioned above (I finished it in 2013, I guess). With the writing of this one, my personal poetic mastery has reached a new level. It can be said that creative growth began in this direction. Then it was used as a song for the third album of the band Temnich, which was also prepared from 2012 and was recorded in 2014. Yes, and if after such lengthy answer anyone had some doubts, I will say that I do not use any narcotic substances at all. And, unlike most adherents of healthy lifestyles, I have never used it before. Keep the blood clean!

5. With this project you record everything by yourself but also have experience working with other musicians, how would you compare to two?

In fact, contrary to the information that Internet portals indicate, Betula is not one-man. I record only guitars and vocals by myself, I can not play drums. On the first album, the drums were recorded by one buddy-session man, widely known in local music circles. He also makes the mixing to the albums. Without his hard work, my albums were not be finished. On the second album - another drummer Lector, with whom we now cooperate, he is a regular member of the band. He is known for his participation in the Myrkvids Draumar and Screaming Forest. The two of us recorded the third album. Also, Norma Reaktsii session-ally helps me with noise and ambient effects This project is well known in Right-Hand Noise Music. Some of the noises I make myself.

6. On the albums you have done 'Munruthel' and 'Meduza' covers, what was the decision behind doing your own version of their songs?

It happens: listen to an album the first time, and understand that it passes through your soul, and "I surely would have cover this song!" And it turned out with Munruthel, a talented musician, legendary by the standards of Ukraine. A man without high-hat and star-eyes. Even after my personal acquaintance, I realized that I have the skills and the opportunity to make a cover version, with to write my own text in addition. Originally, this is instrumental ambient-composition. Yes, I really like to make cover versions, and for completely different music. In cover versions I like completely non-standard approach with changing the style and arrangement, or if it is played definitely better than the original. In the world of music, there are many examples when re-making was done better than originals and became hits. With Meduza - the same story, but this is a little-known project of Lugansk musician, also quite talented. Not much people heard the original song, it is in electro style.

7. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of black metal?

It should be recognized that Betula music is not for a wide audience, so there were good and negative reviews. Good - from those who listen to similar music. For example, my albums have been issued by professional labels on the CD's - Vacula Productions and Barbatos Productions - and it means something in our time! Even though the sound quality is rather low. After all, it's about content, we're not mainstream. And it was that absolutely unfamiliar people write me "hello, listened to your album, perfectly..." Negative... well, everyone can not be pleased. The listeners of Black Metal, as you know, are quite a diverse community. Critical reviews force to develop musically, if the criticism is constructive, of course. Criticism is needed as such right for this. So this is an integral part of creativity. Well, all sorts of antifa, christians, moralists, social networking residents, adherents of sound purity and "black metal aesthetics" can go and suck off, their opinion is not interesting to us.
But mainly I don't watch who and what wrote in the Internet, I just bump from time to time.

8. What is going on with some of the other bands or musical projects these days that you are a part of?

The main band Temnich is currently "on hold". Because of the war, we all went to different cities,
and do something in this case is not possible. It is a live group, quite old, and all its members are indispensable to a certain extent. Therefore, the departure of a permanent drummer just a couple of years before the war knocked us down quite, as it was with the previous drummer too. But the concerts continued until 2014. We released 3 albums, now we expecting re-releases. There are also some archival rehearsal, live and demo records which can only be interesting to fans of such exotics.

Erih - as part of this project, I started playing guitar, not just singing. Can say, from scratch, with primitive riffs, with ridiculous errors at concerts which was exacerbated by the use of a drum machine. I can say that playing with drum phonogram is much more difficult than with a live drummer. The group broke up, as I have already pointed out, because of the band leader's lost interest in performances and recordings. As a result, the second album was written on the latest strengths.

There are more several projects that I represent now but the amount of published material does not allow me to see the sense for talking about these. When there will be progress - there will be a new interview.

9. Where do you see yourself heading into as a musician in the future?

Of course, any musician wants some recognition. Although I record a lot of music, I do not like the recording process, I prefer live performances. It's a pity that non-thematic concerts in recent years
have turned into a small drunken mobs for the most part. I remember, in 2000-2002, for example, people in our city first tried to get to the concert, and only then - to get drunk and fall. Then heavy concerts were rare, later they became more, became more expensive and less qualitative in all organizational concepts. Now, when there is no possibility to perform, I be settle for only with recording and published albums. In our country very few of the rock musicians, even the mainstream, can afford to deal only with music. Well, with rare exceptions. So "the future in music in Ukraine" sounds like an utopia. In the case of the underground - everything is more complicated. In the case of Right Music, it's still more difficult, 'cause it's designed for a certain circle of listeners. And in today's stuck tolerant society, our ideas are not entirely welcomed, it's modestly speaking.

It's good that many old Right musicians began to pay attention to getting out of the underground,
to pay attention to the direction of rock, more traditional for a wide range of listeners, to the roots of rock music. In Ukraine, many groups that were under an unofficial ban even before the war, now openly speak and even make high-quality festivals. At these festivals come artists from Russia, where censorship is now a big problem. Also from European countries. I can not personally judge how there is censorship, but as far as I've heard it's also quite tough.So now in Ukraine it's no so bad with this.
I don't think that nowadays' politicians will soon be able to put a damper, they are busy stealing the money in military operations and pseudo-patriotic events. And the nationalist sentiments are very strong among us now. But sure it's a matter of time; any case zog will again take over the old tricks.
It has not gone anywhere.

I play and listen to not only NS-music, I'm a big music fan. I am sure that you can and should separate music and ideology. I almost do not know people who actually live by what they sing
about and give pretentious speeches. For example: what's the point of talking about the purity of blood if you're an alcoholic?! Of extolling the "family values" if you are not married,
or divorced and change your sexual partners? Of calling for "morality", if you are furious and spit on the street?! What is the point of singing about the Gods, if you congratulate your neighbors with easter?! Why are you throwing salutes and screaming about the struggle, and at the same time never have beaten an insolent bastard in the street, did not throw a single junkie from the subway car?!
I am strongly convinced that you should not try to jump above your head. The most important thing is to stay true to what you are doing in life. And conform to those principles that you publicly declare.
Be what you are, cast off illusion, accept your essence - and the path to Development will open. Down with the empty chatter!

10. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?

It all started with the fact that at the age of 12 I found an Accept cassette in the closet... Well, it starts. At that time and that age it was a great event to get some new music, so I listened to all the live music from jazz and mainstream rock to grindcore. As a musician, I tried to sing in heavy metal bands.
The bands disintegrated, well, I believe I was pretty badly in it. I started to sing with a scream by accident, just tried it, it turned out that I can. In 2006, we tried to create a Right Thrash Metal band with our friends, rehearsed for several months, but disbanded because of the disorganization and alcoholism of the musicians. In 2007, I joined the Temnich band. When I started composing and playing Black Metal myself, from the orthodox scene only Burzum influenced me. And sure, mostly local WP and Pagan Metal music that I listen to nowadays - from Sokyra Peruna and Kolovrat to Dub Buk and Moloth. But I never focused on someone's game, sound or arrangements. I do what comes from my soul. I don't know, maybe my music looks like someone's else. After all, is difficult for a self-taught musician starting in 2012 as an author to be 100% original. Even though you are also an avid music lover. The last few years I listen mostly to music of the 60s, 70s and 80s. To enumerate all the performers does not make sense: Status Quo, The Beatles, Motley Crue, Bee Gees, Kiss, ABBA... Wherever you look, you'll always guess. I do not like fashionable alternative heavy styles. Of course,I do not listen to what is called rap/hip-hop. And, if the American black rap even sounds 'cause it is original in its essence, then with our local version of this phenomenon I personally have a radical disgust (for it is not good to laugh at patients with Tourette's syndrome). Also I do not listen to the so-called "club music". Here I do not pretend to be objective, but in my opinion all of the clubs and discotheques - is a bunch of junkies twitching at completely tasteless computer rhythms. Not interested. And of course, it is worth saying a few words about domestic "pop music". Fucking domesticated pops. This "pop music: is far not the same that in means in Europe and America, it is so disgusting that I do not know as it to describe so that the English-speaking reader understood  at all...
A strictly intellectual, probably, will be close to the word "vulgarity". Even in our region there is a quite popular subgenre of "pops" called "russian chanson". It's not the same as the variety of the French pop song, it's just sick.

11. How would you describe your views on National Socialism?

NS is not only a political ideology. This is the life philosophy, the system of vital values, which has a direction strictly to development. And for a creative person - to art development. In our songs we declare the struggle against any kind of degradation, especially with our personal weaknesses, detection of them, acceptance as a fact and as a result of self-improvement for the purpose of its elimination. I believe that we must start with our own. I pointed out some aspects of my beliefs about this above.

Of course, any ideology is based on the formula "for all good against all bad." But WE put in the concept of goodness not only honesty, mental development, physical perfection, preservation of health and nature, but also freedom from any kind of modern slavery: material, spiritual, from imposed conscience and morality, from fashion, from someone else's opinion, from false patriotism.
And, of course, there remains the issue of blood-mixing that is basic for NS, which is considered in a multitude of philosophical and scientific works. I'm not an ideologist in this, therefore I see absolutely no reason to go into. Other people do it better. For example, I highly recommend WotanJugend articles, I do not know if there's in English.

12. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?

To everyone for whom this interview turned out to be interesting: Do not trust, do not fear, do not ask! Stay true! Think with your head! Strike first!


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