Interview with Kashgar, Black Metal from Kyrgyzstan

Interview with Kashgar, Black Metal from Kyrgyzstan, Interview with Kashgar Black Metal from Kyrgyzstan

Interview with Kashgar, Black Metal from Kyrgyzstan

Kashgar is Black Metal Band from Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Blauth, Ars and Warg gave us some information abouth Kashgar and Metal scene in Kyrgyzstan. Check it out. B: Blauth, A: Ars and W: Warg

Tell us about Kashgar?
Blauth:  Kashgar was founded in the winter of 2014. The three core members, Warg (bass), Ars (guitars), and myself Blauth (vocals/drums) began writing immediately. Ars and Warg have known each other for a long time; I was introduced to Ars via another guy named Spider, who was originally going to be the drummer, but then decided not to when he heard how heavy we wanted to play. We wanted to have an unique approach to the music, not quite fitting into the speed, black, death, or progressive category.  We now have two new members, in Alex (drums) and Max (guitar).
Ars: I think it was November 2014, our first practice. Several riffs that we used later in Erlik and Albarsty were written that day. For quite a while we couldn't find a decent line-up, so Blauth had to remember his drumming skills. We even thought he would have to do both vocals and drums at the same time, but he's finally free from that obligation and is now terrifying the audience, running around the stage with a horse-skull and a whip in one hand, and a mike in another. Pretty scary. People call him "demoniacal Shaman". That's pretty much what the band's act is about - dark, brutal, electro-shamanistic performance of audio-vandalism!
Warg: For me Kashgar is a chance to return to my metal roots, back to 90's, when there was a rather big metal-scene in Bishkek.

What are lyrical themes of Kashgar?
B: The lyrics focus primarily around dark Kyrgyz folk tales. Dark spirits of the mountains, ancient Gods of the traditional religion of the Kyrgyz, which is known as Tengri. The religion is still practiced in some corners of this land, and more so in Kazakhstan, Mongolia and Altai. There are quite a few allusions to the Manaschi art as well. We turn most things on their heads, however.
What are your influences?
B: My influences are mostly 70s/80s/early 90s black, death, speed and heavy metal, as well as a healthy smattering of punk and other musics. I grew up in the 80s when metal was really at its apogee. I was fortunate enough to have seen many of the classic bands when they were still at their prime: Sepultura, Deicide, Nuclear Assault, Napalm Death, Exploited, etc. In the mid-80s I got into heavy metal through Iron Maiden, Guns n' Roses, Slayer and Metallica; and then quickly discovered Misfits, Venom, Celtic Frost, Bathory, and so on. As the "scene" expanded, I continued to delve into heavier music, and eventually in maybe 94 discovered Emperor, Beherit, Enslaved, Burzum, Impaled Nazarene, Dissection, and so on. I lost interest in the scene in around '96 when things started becoming stale, but I have since found a few good bands in recent years: Beherit, Antaeus, Desecresy, Thou Art Lord, Celtic Frost, Sammath, Destroyer 666 are bands who come to mind as having put out material of good quality in the last decade or so.
A: 60's - 70's classics: Beatles, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Jethro Tull. Early 90's metal, including Sepultura, Samael, Obituary, My Dying Bride, Anathema, Paradise Lost. Tool - of course. Recently I was impressed by Mayhem, Demilich and Sun O))) live acts. I also enjoy some experimental jazz and art/prog pearls such as Gordian Knot, David Torn, Trey Gunn, Riverside.
W: Napalm Death, Samael, Sargeist, Disbelief, Pig Destroyer, Satanic Warmaster, Death, Longing for Dawn. Oh, and Portishead.
Can you tell us about Metal Scene in Your Kyrgyzstan?
B: Pretty empty. I would say that we're the only active metal band around. Our new second guitarist, Max, did have a thrash metal band called Panzer Bulldozer some years ago, and we actually performed together the other night. I don't know whether they are fully re-formed or not. Overall, there are many more metal acts over the border in Kazakhstan. Here in Bishkek there are a few grim souls who listen to metal. They're mostly quite young. As I think that I said somewhere else, I think that there may be around 40 people who listen to actual metal, as opposed to Nu Metal or Core Metal or whatever they're calling it today.
 A: It used to be much bigger in late 90's - lots of really good bands, like Necronomicon, Neocrima, Odyn's Nocturnal North, Extremistic Negative Clan, Infernus, Ellodia (Warg and Alex played in some of those) and regular metal acts in 2 of the only underground rock-clubs in Central Asia of that time. Now there is only one rock-club in Bishkek and they prefer lighter bands there, though metal shows also happen from time to time - mostly the same 2-3 young "something-core" bands, Kashgar and sometimes a guest band from Kazakhstan - we played a gig with great thrashers Zarraza from Almaty this spring. There are a couple of metal bands like Panzer Bulldozer, which kinda still exist but almost don't play live.
Do you know Darkestrah? What do you think about Darkestrah?
B: Darkestrah were here before, but they've moved on to Germany, so we are holding the flame.I actually began writing the folktale lyrics before I even knew of  Darkestrah, so I was a bit disappointed to discover that they exist. In any event, our music styles are very different. I believe that Warg played with an early lineup of Darkestrah, so I'll let him tell the tale.
W: We shared the stage in 90's with Asbath and Kriegtalith. I started with the band named Extremistic Negative Clan, and later played with Asbath in Necronomicon and Odyn's Nocturnal North. He's a great musician, we used to spend a lot of creative time together. They formed Durkestrah in 99, recorded a demo and were lucky enough to get signed after moving to Germany with Kriegtalith. I listen to their each and every release, they've been very productive so far. Good records, professional approach.
A: Alex and Warg were friends with Asbath and Kriegtalith. I didn't know them well back then, though I was at several shows of their former bands. Durkestrah's music is very solid and epic. They keep up with good-old traditions of black metal, while implementing lots of Kyrgyz folk instruments and motifs into their songs. It sounds interesting and ear-catching, though we decided to use a different approach from the very beginning.

How were the songs written?
B: What generally happens is that Ars will start throwing around riffs with whichever temporary guy we may have had (there were three other guitarists at least who played with us throughout the year). I then try and drive the tracks as I see best. I wrote the percussion for the album, although we did have a temporary guy actually record four of the tracks on the album. Generally there are a lot of arguments and strife as we try and craft a track. It's not the easiest process in the world. I think that we probably throw away dozens of riffs in the creation of each track.
 A: Some of the best ideas were also brought in by Warg and our former guitarist Mike. Usually it takes a long time to reach a consensus about the track. Sometimes we'd change some parts even after they were already recorded. That's because we all come from different musical backgrounds, but that is also what makes it interesting about our music, I suppose. Most of the songs were written in our studio, with Blauth behind the drums and me with Warg trying to invent something that would satisfy everyone. It took us several months to finish our shortest track - Scent of Your Blood! But once the music is done, Blauth starts writing the lyrics and and vocal parts, we polish it together and work out second guitar's parts. And then we try to record a demo to hear the whole picture.
How did the recording process go?
B: The recording process was a real pain in the ass. It was Ars' first shot at recording in this manner, and so it ended up taking a lot longer than we expected. We actually began in the summer of 2015, when our guitarist Mike was still with us. I think that Ars laid down many of the tracks that Mike was on in a couple of long sessions. Then the band was essentially dead through the autumn, and we revitalized it just before losing that temporary drummer. Ars and I became serious about it in December, and it was done in early January of this year. Then there was a long period of mixing, when Ars tried to achieve his perfectionist's goals... And finally we gave it over to Achilleas of Varathron and Crown Audio Conspiracies for stem mastering. He did a really great job; we're very happy with it.
A: The whole album was recorded in our own Base studio. The thing was to go through the whole process by ourselves, and I'm rather proud of the result. There are no pro-level studios for extreme recordings in Kyrgyzstan, so we didn't have much of a choice, and decided not to depend from anyone in this. Most of the guitars were recorded with 2 dynamic microphones into Marshal 1960 Lead 4x12 cab with Peavey 6505+ head. Sometimes I used Marshal 1960 Vintage and a condenser mike to better differentiate the sound. We used our Yamaha Tour Custom drum-set and recorded it into 8-tracks interface, and I used Ampeg head for bass signal. Lots of the equipment was kindly provided by our friend Reza Danaei and we're really grateful for that. These days we already have almost everything we need for live gigs and future recordings, so we can start working on the new album soon.

What are you future plans?
B: We have begun writing again, and are playing quite a bit right now. The eponymous album will be out on LP in the next month or two through Manifest of Hate Creations from Germany.
A: Plans for closest future: find a label to release the CD-version, create a new kick-ass album, play a couple of festivals abroad.

Are there any countries you’re interested in touring or performing in? Why?
B: We played Moscow, which was pretty amazing for me. My missus is from Serbia, so it would be great to play in the Balkans.
A: Czech Republic (I love the country and the people), Norway, Sweden and Germany - true metal places. Greece (to meet Varathron and Achilleas in person) and Israel (want to show the country to the rest of the band).
W: Norway, US.
What bands would you like to play alongside?
B: In a dream world, it would be great to play with Varathron and Necromantia, because the Greek classics are amazing. I finally got to see Mysticum and Varathron last year along with Xibalba, Destroyer 666 and Blasphemy. That was an insane lineup. I saw that the Misfits reformed for a couple of shows in the States. It'd be great to play with Danzig.
A: Mayhem! Samael, Varathron, Napalm Death. Maybe Salem if they still play - they were amazing live in Tel-Aviv in 2002.
W: Grave, Deicide, Samael, Satyricon.

Any last words?
B: Go check out our album. Thank you for the interview.
A: Thanks for the spotlight. Hail, Indonesia!


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