ARBOR INVERSA is a band that I stumbled upon by pure luck but turned out to be one hell of an experience. Anders Ekdahl ©2017
Do you feel that is has gone the way you intended when you formed back in the days?
Max War-M: There were no exact plans or a schedule. Just a wish to make the Death Metal record in a way I feel it deep inside. So I composed all the musical parts and got in touch with my old friend Paul.G.Wicker as the things headed to write lyrics and record vocals. We know each other for years, we’d been playing and making albums with some other projects in the past. I knew his talents, so there was no doubt at all that he might play his role in a best way. So it happened that way!
Paul.G.Wicker: We both needed to take some rest after participating in different formations, so we were separate for some time. However, when Max suggested me to take part in a new project and sent me demos, there was no doubt for me that I am just to get inside and stay. Therefore, the lyrics became a quick add-on to his musical ideas. Nevertheless, we’ve never discussed a global plan, just started enjoying a new collaboration. After all, Max is a really great composer and musician so that’s a certain pleasure for me.
How do you feel about your latest recording? Did it come out the way you expected it to?
Max War-M: I’m completely satisfied! I’ve never been so happy of a well done job in different projects that I took part in. And I guess that’s because of some isolation: I’ve been working with music on my own and I wasn’t planning any specific result and just gave myself a reason to adopt to the flow, with some genre features.
Paul.G.Wicker: Everything is said and done for these songs, so there’s no sense to regret or look back in the days. We’ll just let them live and love them. Those songs are worthy of being heard.
Do you feel that you by now have found a sound that is the band and that you can build on it?
Max War-M: As for a current record, yes, I’m sure we’ve found a fair balance between riffs, lyrics and a sounding on the. For today we’ve got no idea what the next record should be like. We’re not of some artists that intentionally clone albums. Certainly, there are some low style borders we prefer to use by design, but that’s all.
Paul.G.Wicker: I’m pretty sure that a shift of our sounding is rather possible in the future. But as for this single record, I’d like to repeat Max’s words about balance. I’ll just add one more thing: I’ve never been more happy of what I heard in my earphones during a session and after completion of mastering as well, the sound is exactly the one we needed.
Is having a message in the lyrics important to you? What kind of topics do you deal with?
Max War-M: We don’t play instrumental music, we make songs, so lyrics are rather important part!
Paul.G.Wicker: Will you just believe us if we say that there’s no message at all? Of course, not. Message just must be, that’s a nature of western intellection and we are not an exception. Otherwise more and more people get tired of loud and solemn choir howling “don’t be a slave”, “open your eyes”, “we’re all doomed”, “used”, “wake up” and so on, and prefer to stop their ears. There are too much slogans allaround. For this album I preferred to make a single story for a single song with no appeals, just based on facts mixed with innuendos and premonitions. As a result the whole album “ANTICIPATTERNS” is a conglomerate of different anticipations through the eyes of a common man. Topics? Here they are: consummation, vengeance, terroristic acts, cosmic uncertainty, dying away from beloved ones, military mobilization, estrangement, missing children etc. There’s one general antagonist in all the verses but let’s not name him or I’ve got a risk to be smitten like a madman 🙂 And, BTW, thanks to Kevin Spacey for “Prot” 🙂
How important is the cover art work for you? Can a really cool cover still sell an album in this day and age of digital download?
Max War-M: Art work is a significant part as well as lyrics! I’ve always been certain that a cover must show the essence of a record instead of being just an attractive picrure not related to the songs’ subject. And yes, I’m sure that a cool cover may help, let’s remember, it’s a first point of attraction for a would-be listener.
Paul.G.Wicker: Cover is kinda face for an album. Sure, it helps, especially if the face meets and corresponds to what’s inside even if there is no physical media. The other thing is that details are often being lost because of global information overload but still bright feathers attract attention and provide gain.
Why is it so hard for bands that come from places not the US or UK/Sweden/Scandinavia to break big? What is success to you and is it something you’d like to achieve?
Max War-M: I believe that a main problem for any band to promote and evolve is a lack of money. Unfortunately that’s not enough to play something really cool to gain success and attract some label’s attention nowadays. The progress of digital techs played a great role to help that. Less and less people are ready to spend money on music as they prefer just to download it for free. I think bands from the US, the UK, Sweden etc. got the same problems. What about success – perhaps we’re not concerned about it at all. It seems to me that focusing on music and integrity of art may give one some result anyway. Following trends is not for us, so this interview is already some kind of success!
Paul.G.Wicker: First we were looking for a label in Russia but got almost no feedback for different reasons and we went further. Everything is quite simple: nobody wants to lose resources after a couple of junk investments. Managers and promoters do their job well but… Artists balance between jobs, families and their passion but time flows and material aspects usually win. There’s a crowd of well-known and unique musicians who live in two worlds simultaneously, they have to play and work alternately. Some of them send all this to Hell and leave the stage forever. Listeners still want new names but usually want them for free. Tours and major festivals help a little but that’s not enough to make a right choice for musicians. Looks like Ouroboros. And we all know the root of all evil – money which our civilization is based on. The problem is not specific for Russia, it’s a global one. However, I believe that’s a transitional period as long as old business models die.
Today the competition is harder. You got plenty of digital platforms for new talent to display their music. How do you do to really stand out in a world where everything but the music is blind to the listener?
Max War-M: Arbor Inversa is not a band as it’s usually ment, it’s just a project for now. From the very beginning there were no planned shows, just making albums. I can’t see the future, maybe we’ll make a decision to form a full lineup and become a live-playing band. But currently we’re waiting for release of our debut album and pondering the ideas for the next one.
Paul.G.Wicker: For me, there’s no single sign of competition when you walk your own way. One pair of feet – one road. I can’t really say we’re so goddamn original in our expression but after all we’ve got our own features and issues as a musical project. We do not really care about how to stand out, just make our songs sincerely.
What is your local scene like? How important is a national scene for a band to be able to break out and make it international?
Max War-M: We’re northlings, living beyond a Polar Circle. Our local scene is generally famous for Black Metal. Such formations as OLD WAINDS, НАВЬ, STIELAS STORHETT are well-known abroad Russia for a long time, maybe more known and appreciated abroad than in a native land. Russia’s got a bunch of original and powerful bands, but the scene is scattered and everyone is on his own, as a result there is no definition like russian metal. I had a dream to make a style named Russian Death Metal instead of floridian death metal or swedish death metal, and I still believe that’s possible.
Paul.G.Wicker: That’s the word to be heard. I wanna add just only one aspect: there are a lot of venues in our region but too few ears and live listeners for them, passivity still wins but there are some positive springs.
Rock and metal have come a long way since the early 70s but still some people’s attitudes towards it seem to be left in the stone age. How accepted is metal in your area? Is it like in Finland where it seems to come with the mother’s milk?
Max War-M: I’m an oldschool guy, 95% of my playlist are metal bands from 80s and early 90s. I almost don’t dig modern bands, I don’t understand such formations as Slipknot, KoЯn, Limp Bizkit etc., I don’t recognize metal core, nu metal etc. I don’t mind, that’s just not my cup of tea. So as you say I’m living in a stone age too!
Paul.G.Wicker: Oh, Max’s just looked at that through the glass of his own practice. Being a metalhead nowadays is not the same to what was in 80s or 90s. Still majority can’t realize that rock and metal are special parts of popular music with some particular properties and can’t change it’s attitude, nevertheless the youngsters are different and don’t hesitate to mix bands opposite by genre in their playlists, so the epoch of a private club is over. But of course, situation in Finland, Norway and Sweden seems to be an excellent example.
What does the future hold for you?
Max War-M: For today, we’re waiting for release of our debut Anticipatterns! The upcoming plans include a 3-part mini, that’s diffenrent from the 1st one. That’ll be more technical. We’re also thinking over the conception of the second LP. It’s possible that we’ll decide to form a band and take part in some fests. Who knows the future.
Paul.G.Wicker: Peace, love and quantum leap in the end of God’s permission. That’s it. Thanx for actual questions!