SILENT STREAM OF GODLESS ELEGY INTERVIEW
CAN BAŞKENT - UTKU USTA
Can & Utku: Hello Radek! How is everything going in Moravia, do you have any interesting details from nowadays? Well, to say something from here, it is snowing sadness here as well as the supremecy of darkness rules over the black and damned souls..(wouww, what a strange gothic words I composed, I don't know what I mean)
Well, it seems sunny spring comes here, and to tell the truth, I like it. Cold weather is nothing for me, it’s better to spend it in the bed (not alone if possible :) ).
We will let you explain your brief band history, your first dates, line-up, phobias, etc.. to our ignorant readers who are unlucky enough to buy this SONIC SPLENDOUR shit.
Well, I used to play only with my brother Michal (drums) some years ago and then we decided to form a band. So we found out other members and in summer’95 formed Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy. Simple, isn’t it ? So five years passed and except 2 demos at our beginning we’ve released 3 albums – “Iron” in ’96, “Behind The Shadows” in ’98 and the new one “Themes” in May 2000. There’re 4 founder members in the band now – me (guitar), Michael (drums), Susan (violin/voc.) and Peter (guitar/voc.) and 2 newcomers – Kiril (bass) who joined us in 1999 and Pauline (violine) who came just recently.
There is a line-up change, isn't it? Is it why, every growing band has increased problems with old members? Who is the "nympha at the age of 16" joined to the band?
No, this change passed just because of our former cellist ripped us off and ended his activity without saying a word. Fuck it up… So we’ve found Pauline, young girl who plays violin and chose our weird band to play in. I’m very satisfied with her, she seems to be into our music though it’s just making a noise :)
Can: What're the themes of your last release?
As always – thinking about us, our lifes, acts… Themes of life, death, love, pain and desire are what join the whole album together.
Can: The concept of THEMES is much beyond any other act in the path of the underground you followed. What made you to create such an album, by means of musical and visual aspects (cover, web page etc). What sort of inspiration makes you create such a wonderful designs?
Our lifes – what else ?! Just living (or lovin‘ ?) on the Earth… If you walk with open eyes and heart, you have to find thousands of impulses that make you think about, and if you do it, there’s just a step to try to describe your feelings through art. So we try to transform our feelings and states of mind not only to music, but to all with are in contact. That’s way the „Themes“ cover or our website is as it is…
Can: How did you spend the period between BEHIND THE SHADOWS and THEMES?
Wov, right usually I think. Playing live, composing new material, drinking, smoking pot, studying, working - simply living our lifes…It’s two years, but it seems for me as a very short time of my life.
Can: How are the reactions to THEMES? Please mention the bad ones as well as the good ones..
I like to say the overwhelming majority of responses was pretty good. Of course some „acting like stars“ mags like german RockHard fucked us, but they will always do until our album will be released through something like NuclearBlast or CenturyMedia, so it doesn’t fidget to me…On the contrary, other german major mags like Legacy or Zillo admired the „Themes“ album…
Can: Hmm, is the song II TSOHG continuation of the song GHOST in your BEHIND THE SHADOWS album.. What is the story behind the curtains about these songs?..
Ye, you got it (and to tell the truth not many people got it). There’s certain continuance, not in musical way, but in train of thought. Each of us keeps a ghost in…
Can: First, Dead Can Dance and The Byrds, now as we learned from your web site, Led Zeppelin's KASHMIR for a tribute album which will be launched in the States.. Why did you choose KASHMIR? Who is going to be your next cover inspiration (anything from Portishead would be cool though :)) ?
Well, Portishead would be cool ! I love them ! As for Kashmir - simply we liked it, we thought it’s pretty fine song for us to be covered. Beautiful melodic parts, great atmosphere, this song itself asked us to re-make it J But to tell the truth, none of us listened to Led Zeppelin before… These cover-versions make funny time for us, it’s very jolly to “dig up” somebody’s song… Arranging and recording of “Kashmir” took only few hours, you know, it’s quite spontaneous approach, a question of improvisation…
Can: Talking about your lyrics, nearly all of them is about the sadness and pain of love etc., in short, do you consider these emotion as negative? Do you want to make your listeners as sad as you. Or they are just the words of the songs and don't mean anything??. On the other hand , the tunes you play have always some kind of ebullience inside; so could we see this balance as a characteristic of SSOGE?
Ye, maybe it’s right. There’s so much emotions we want to express… But we don’t want to make our listeners sad, not at all ! I would like if they enjoy the album, if they dream and feel the tastes we put in… As for lyrics, I’m not the one who wrote them. But there is something I can say about… The last two years of Peter (the composer of lyrics) life were full of disappointment, pain and troubles so this all has to show in his lyrics. Maybe they appear too abstract for the listeners, but I know they are very deep and intimate confessions…
The improvement between B.T.S and THEMES can be easily understood by any careful listener. So, according to S.S.O.G.E what is the explanation of this improvement?
What was just outlined at the previous album “Behind the Shadows” is widely built-up at our newest work “Themes”. Slavonic elements, groovy rhythms, melodies, dynamic… So comparing these albums, “Themes” is more mature, integrated, sophisticated… Simply said we’re two years older and it has to show on our new album as-well, hasn’t it ? As we progress as people, our music grows with us together…
Who should never forget to look for a hidden treasure? (Don't say "one")
Maybe you, maybe all of us J First of all it means an advice to scan the CD carefully. If you will do it right, maybe find some treasure…
In your previous work, Zuzanna had a solo vocal song, why not in THEMES.
Because there were not a song for her, simple, isn’t it… You know, we think about an album as about a complex, and in Themes we didn’t find a place for her solo song. Who knows, maybe she will sing a half of our next album ;) To tell the truth I love her voice and think she deserves solo album, not a solo song…
I know, it is a silly question, but I really wonder what are the future plans and hopes of SSOGE?
We would really like to play all over the world to let metal fans know we are here and ready to show how music can be beautiful and enjoyable…
What is your top10 these days? I think it won't contain metal bands only..
Top Ten ? Ok, let’s try it – Opeth- all, Amorphis - all, Orphanage – all, Anathema - all, Dead Can Dance – all, Portishead – all, Massive Attack – Mezzanine, Pain Of Salvation – last 2 albums, Dan Swanö - Moontower, Devin Townsend – all; and lot of folklore, especially of my native land…
Let's talk about the underground and its structure if you would like to.. What is your perception of underground and the current global underground culture?
To tell the truth I don’t like talking about underground. It seems to profaned to me, here in Czechia at least… People who proved nothing have their mouth full of underground and I hate it. For me it’s the way of life, disagreement with usual way of live, consumer-society, with establishment…It’s something very close to the term „independent“ for me.
Is the SSOGE an underground band? If you're an underground band, what is the difference between your releases and Britney's ones? I mean, both SSOGE and Britney have albums which have copyright and got "ALL RIGHT RESERVED. UNAUTHORIZED DUPLICATION IS A VIOLATION OF APPLICABLE LAWS" written in CD booklet. So, it seems to me that, SSOGE is a profesional band in music area but making metal music. Is underground a category or principles of attitude towards life, or whatever; please do explain your thoughts to us; don't worry we won't rape them J (Note to the reader: See the song "in bone frames"). I insist on this question because, in my (Can) opinion underground music is not for profit; however SSOGE seems to me that it sells music for profit...
What’s the difference ? It’s very simple – we haven’t seen even a crown from our music, have to earn our living and do music in our freetime. Is it enough ? Anyway, I don’t know if we’re UG band and to tell the truth it doesn’t interest me at all. We do what we like and we will forever… You speak about doin‘ music for profit. But you know for sure that recording studio, promotion or productions of CDs is not for free so we have to make money for it. It’s the simple law of market. I don’t say we do music for profit, but we’re satisfied if the album would gain money so that we could record another one…Do you see anything bad on it?
Century Media and Nuclear Blast have recently joined forces in order to be more effective in the US metal market. As a colleague of them (RedBlack), what is your opinion about this alliance, is there a danger of monopoly?
First of all, as I know, it was presented as a joining forces, but in fact, US NuclearBlast stood before a breakdown, so this was the only way how to save it…Back to the question – I’m not afraid of it. Maybe I would be if EMI and Sony or Polygram would join, but CM and NB are just small „minority-genres“ labels in global measure…
Czech scene is well-known here in Turkey. But, is the Turkish scene known there? For instance, have you ever received demos from Turkish bands, any faves?
I know only Pentagram and their album „Anatolia“ (it means Turkey, doesn’t it ?) as a Turkish friend of mine (Hi Eren!)sent it to me recently. And to tell the truth I like it. Anyway, we haven’t received any record from Turkish band till this time.
What about the Slavonic touches in your gloomy music?.. What is the reason made you use these riffs?.. Is it because you like them or you want to spread them using in your music? What do you think about oriental (like in some works of Amorphis and Orphaned Land) or/and Turkish melodies?
It’s simple – I love it ! I love when I listen to a band just for a while and recognize from where they come, what their roots are…So if you mentioned these bands, you mentioned some of my fave ones :)
Where were your during the S26 (September 26, 2000) demonstration in Praha (Prag) which may be defined as the "Carnival Against the Capitalism and the Globalism"? Do you support these kind of protests, why/why not? You know there is a belief that metalheads and metal music don't have any politic views, but we think it is not acceptable. Well, what are your opinions about politics and metal. Please, while answering the question, consider the punks who are far much into the politics than metalheads.
I have to oppose you – what about Skyclad lyrics for example ? Sure they’re about policy, injustice, about illness of this world, aren’t they ?And many many others… But back to your question – I was at home during those f…affairs. I hate violence, so there was no sympathy for the demonstrants. As I’m engineer of economics, I know much about IMF and their activities. All of them are not all right, but I’m sure there’re better solutions than to break cars, shop-windows or throw pavers to cops who have nothing in common with IMF…
What do you think about the Internet? Is it a system which enables the governments/authorities/money to control the world much more easier than ever before? Or is it the new generation of the freedom, a freedom of chating with stupid girls&guys around the globe?
I feel completely free on i-net (except the money for the connection of course ;). I don’t know the situation in your country, but I’m sure most of politicians here don’t even know what internet is… And it’s up to you if you will chat with stupid girls or do something worthwhile, isn’t it ?
I should recall the fact that, some songs of Redblack Prod., including the ones of S.S.O.G.E, can be easily reached and downloaded from the greatest mp3 bank of the earth; "mp3.com".. So Radek, please share your opinion with us related to that sort of promotion..
It’s the the cheapest and least „time-demanding“ way of promotion… People all around the world could listen to our music and do it for free. It’s the one of reasons why I told you I like i-net and feel free on it…
As an actual subject, what can you say about Czech journalists&TV workers who are resisting against their superiors in order to keep their broadcast objective? We must admit that our entire knowledge depends on our "not-so-objective" TV stations..
Ye, it could be said this problem split our society into a part which supports strikers and a part which doesn’t… I can’t say I belong to any. You know, it’s a very complex problem that can’t be cleared up with some few sentences… Anyway, I do want to have a possibility of an objective broadcast, so it’s fine there’re people here who care of it.
. What do you predict about the political future of Europe, do you think it's really possible to witness an "United States of Europe"?
I’m afraid it’s a very lenghty and complicated process. It has its positive and negative aspects as-well. I would really like to travel over Europe without being disturbed by customs of each country, but I don’t want to lose my national identity. I’m proud of I come from Moravia, I like our folklore, our habits and don’t want to be controlled by supra-national companies…
We are planning a short summer trip to Czech Republic. Can you put us up? :)) When we will be able to get to Czech Republic, we will get you cook delicious Czech foods for us.. Hmm, give us some examples of your fave Czech meals so that we will prepare our luggage as soon as possible!.. The contrary of this situation is valid, one day when SSOGE comes to Turkey, SONIC SPLENDOUR couisine will cook its best for you all; but of course we don't give you any guaranty that you will like our meals. ..
Well, to tell the truth I’m really big gourmand J There’s one national food that’s not anywhere else – pork+dumplings+cabbage. I love it. Together with Czech beer it makes a great experience. Cooked by my mum it’s almost poetry J I appreciate Italian or Chinese cooking too, and I’m sure I would like the Turkish one as-well…
What do you know about Turkish girls? And what should we know about Czech girls, is there a strategy that you can recommend us? Heh heh heh..
I know nothing about Turkish girls, but I hope there will be an oportunity to meet them. (Un-?)fortunately I’m married, so it goes out of me J And what about Czech girls ? Just the best. It’s known there’re very beautiful and charming girls here, I have to say one of them is my wife.. As for strategy, hard to say. I’m a musician, so my pose to girls is much easier J
Why don't you tell us some enjoyable memories from a gig which is funny
Ye, just before a time we got a very funny story when we were goin‘ to play in Slovakia. On the road, we took a rest for a while, and then got in our cars and continued. Some miles with that we found we’re without Kiril, our bassplayer, who got perhaps lost in darkness (it was Saturday evening, very cold and snowing).. So we had to go back and found him walking on the road, chattering (weared just in t-shirt) and swearing. It was about an half an hour of hard laughing for me…
I (utku) remember, one of my Czech freinds telling me that spending time in nature is very common in Czech Republic. Is it valid for you too, I mean has SSOGE ever gone outdoor&played unplugged under pines?J
We haven’t played unplugged yet, but it’s true it’s quite common to spend time in nature here. So we don’t play unnplugged indeed, but meet our friends and spend time together making parties and so on…One of our friendly bands, SAD HARMONY, have their rehearsal room just in the mill, so it’s a fine place for parties as-well.
Well, this is the last step of our conversation; anything to add or substract?
Hey, I hope you’ll enter the world of our “themes” soon and enjoy it! See ya! Greetings from Silent Stream Of Godless Elegy! “Dive to the Stream, Listen to the Elegy!”
Thanx for sharing your time with these lonely guys!
Thank you too! Bye…