1.For those that have never heard of you before, can you tell us a little bit about the band?
Biography of Неясыть began in 2013 in the little grim russian town Syzran (on one of the dead turkic languages it’s name means “swamp”). The beginners were two guys – bass-guitar player Nikita Alestet (don’t ask me what means his nick – it’s some mysterious creation of his brain cockroaches) and Dima Ashen, who was supposed to play guitar. I was supposed to play drums. But on first rehearsal we found out, that Ashen’s words “I play guitar bad” were the shameless boasting. He could not play guitar at all. Than I had to take up the guitar, and we had to use programmed drums. We changed two concert line-ups, made two recordings. We managed to attract some attention in Russia, although we were criticized for “bad” sound. After splitting-up of the second line-up, I stopped trying's of gathering another musicians and decided to work as a one-man band.
2.Recently you have released a new album, musically how does it differ from your previous demo and ep?
The first demo «Навьи чары» (Necro Magic) was the experimental mix of black / proto-black, thrash, melodic power and ambient, with atmospheric keys and clean female vocals and with very grim and ruthless lyrics about bloody rituals, pestilence, death, black magic. When we recorded EP «Солнце Мёртвых» (Sun Of The Dead) – it was the second line-up. We felt great influence of epic pagan metal, traditional heavy / power and old school doom – Alkonost, Candlemass, Manowar, Scald, Gods Tower. Music on this EP is more slow, melodic, lyrics are more epic. There were also atmospheric keys and clean female vocals.
Actual album, «Круг безвременья» is primitive and aggressive raw black metal. I did everything to make sound as ugly, as I could. There are no female vocals, no atmospheric keys. Lyrics were written in the borderline state of consciousness (but no drugs were used). Words describe visions, which came from the chthonic spaces: forests, swamps, graves, ruins, from the worlds of spirits. By the way: album soon will be released on the Moscow label SlowSnow Records https://www.facebook.com/slowsnowrecords/ on cassettes.
3.You refer to your music as being 'chthonic pagan metal', can you tell us a little bit more about this term?
For me metal music is not only style of arrangement. Heavy sound, especially in black metal, IMHO, is a kind of dark chthonic shamanism, act of magic. The term “Chthonic Metal” is approximately equal to “Black Metal”, but it means more deep understanding of the nature of this music.
4.Your lyrics are heavily rooted in Slavonic Paganism and Folklore, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in the pagan culture of your homeland and also do you have any interest in the paganism of other cultures or countries?
My interest to paganism began in early childhood. Mother read to me myths of ancient Egypt and Greece, russian and ukrainian fairy-tales. She read very well and for me the gods and other magic beings became alive creatures. Later trying's of mother and grandma to instill Christianity in me failed with a loud crash. I was getting angry when someone began to assure me that there is one and only god. I thought: Fuck you all! I loved this fairy magic/mythic reality too much to refuse from it.
More later I found out that there is slavonic paganism too and I decided that if I am Russian, I must pray to slavonic gods. I called myself pagan in 16 years old, but indeed I was pagan from my birth.
I belive in all gods, which the humanity ever prayed, but I pray only some slavonic gods. Mainly – Veles, master of forests, lord of the dead, patron of artists, scientists, keeper of wisdom; and Mokosh – mother of everything alive, spinner, who spin the threads of human fates, mistress of water and ground-fertility, patroness of witches and magicians. Her another incarnation (or daughter – it’s not known exactly) is Mara or Morena – goddess of night, winter, death and horror. Veles and Mokosh are not very kind, they are harsh and fair. And sometimes cruel. They demand a lot from the one, who venerate them.
Except them, I venerate spirits of forests, water, fields, swamps, home-spirits (like English brownies), dead ancestors, imps.
About paganism of other countries – I often read about it. Voodoo, shamanism of different Siberian turkic and finno-ugric folks, Scandinavian, Greek-roman, celtic paganism, paganism of north-american Indians, Hinduism (someone will say that it’s not paganism, but I don’t give a fuck) – everything is very interesting.
5.I know that the bands name means 'strix' in English, how does this name fit in with the musical style that you play?
There are many sinister beliefs, associated with owls. In Slavonic mythology. And not only in Slavonic. Almost everywhere owl associates with magic, darkness, death. It’s the bird, connected with the Other Side, with the world of spirits. After Christianization people began to associate owls with devil, unholy forces. And strix (tawny owl) has the especially sinister voice. One moment I thought that Неясыть is very good name for metal band. Tawny Owl became my totem, that’s why I call myself Sergius Strix.
6.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?
It’s my photo in the mask, folk clothes and with an owl’s paw on my neck. The tradition of such masks is too long story to tell it here. I must say that here this mask is the symbol, that means, that I separate myself from the society of people and reveal myself as the part of the chthonic spiritual magic / mythic world. And also it means, that this music is not from the world of living.
7.Has the band done any live shows or open to the idea?
As I said earlier, we began as a concert group and we played about 10 live shows through 2016-2018 years. But now it’s a studio project and I don’t see the reasons for returning to the stage. The music I play now is not for stage, not for crowd. Maybe something will change in the future, but now I don’t think so.
8.The band has been around since 2013 but waited until 2017 to release any music, can you tell us a little bit more about the earlier years?
From 2013 to 2017 we composed songs and tried to play with the first line-up (which we gathered only in 2015). It was very hard time. We began to record demo in the beginning of 2016, but could finish it only in 2017, because our girl-singer lost her voice. In 2017 we found another vocalist – she helped to finish the first demo, and till the end of 2018 was our constant frontwoman. There are not many people in our town, who are interested in metal music, so searching of the musicians every time became very big problem.
9.On a worldwide level, how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black and pagan metal?
I can’t complain. There was only one negative comment in VK.com. I can’t say that “the world pissed into the sky with the boiling water from the great delight”, but still, I see mostly good reaction. It’s good, I think =)))
10.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
I see the main aim in developing the shamanic effect of music. So I shall work with rhythm, I will make experiment with the folk scales, with noise and ambient elements and everything, which will help me to make the magical music. But the one thing will stay the same. Неясыть will have raw dirty sound. I won’t follow the trend of clean polished commercial recording, I hate it with all my soul.
11.What are you listening to nowadays?
Mainly – underground metal and different ambient, root ethnic music of different folks, dungeon synth, early industrial, krautrock, academic music. My favorites last month: Wilczyca, Striborg, Arckanum, Bastard, Black Wood, Старуха Мха, Kirpiklass, Creation VI, Steve Roach, Mrako-Su, early Ain Soph, early Allerseelen, Hybryds, Ah Cama-Sotz, Sleep Chamber, Phurpa, Mrtvesvit.
The eternal favorites: Burzum, Darkthrone, Ildjarn, Torgeist, Навь, Lustmord, Dead Can Dance, Robert Rich, Velehentor, Vidna Obmana, Atomine Electrine, Moon Far Away, Piorun, Perunwit, early Mortiis, Brainticket, Amon Duul II. And also recordings of folklore expeditions – raw unarranged songs and instrumentals, performed by the people, living in the villages. From academic music – Stravinskiy, Schostakovich, Grieg, Holst, Dvorak, Borodin, Prokofiev, Lyadov, Musorgskiy, some works of Mozart, Arvo Part, Schtockhausen, Shoenberg, Schnietke,
12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Underground bands of the past opened for me the gates to the magical / mythic world. And now I identify myself as a one of the keepers. Of the gates, which I open for other people. For those, who choke in the atmosphere of total rationalism. For those, who doesn’t feel the sense in the world without magic. For those, who believe that ancient gods and spirits are still alive. And I shall make music while I can hold instruments in my hands. And I shall do my best not to lose magic.