GUAHO is a band that I have no memory of having contacted but as it turned out they are well worth checking out. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
You have one of these names that does not really tell what kind of metal you play. How hard was it to come up with the name?
-Yes, I think it’s not typical name for metal band. May be it sounds like a name for ethnic band. But it’s just a stereotype. But despite of it we play something like gothic metal. Of course, our songs contain some mysticism and ritual shapes, which were impressed by different cultures. Guaho means something like secret helper from the other side of the world (I’ve heard first time this word in the books of Carlos Castaneda). And music for us is a mystic helper too. So people who are interested in our music feel it. And it’s not a problem, I think.
Could you give us a short introduction to the band?
-Guaho was formed in 2006 in Saint Petersburg, but we’ve played our first show in 2007. I think our main feature is contained in unusual mystic lyrics and atmospheric keyboards. Most of gothic metal bands sing about sad love, death and something like that. But our main theme is mystic side of life, and it’s not just a philosophy, it’s our real experience. And I think Mau singing is really appropriate for it and makes Guaho’s sound really ritual.
What would you say have been the single greatest influence on your sound?
-At first I just want to say that we’ve not reached a necessary sound yet. All our albums were recorded and mixed in Russia, but we’ve not met a sound engineer, who has the same vision like we and can mix our material how it should be. But we always try to find our original sound. May be someday we will realize our vision. I can say that sound must be like a call of eternity…
What is the metal scene like in your area? Do you feel that you are a part of a scene?
-Just a few years ago our local metal scene was rather developed. There were some interesting clubs, where metal bands could play live shows and people have visited concerts and communicated with each other. It was rather good underground community with friendly atmosphere. But recently this clubs were closed and metal scene’ve started to disappear. A great number of bands don’t exist now. The first reason is lack of medium clubs. The second reason is because people growed up and became consumers. Young generation is interested only in communication by social networks. To post images with cats on your page is easier than to leave home, spend money for ticket and to communicate with live friends. I think the same situation is not only in Russia… But! There are a lot of metal festivals in Europe – small, middle, large – where different metal bands can meet on one stage and interested people from all over the world can visit such festivals. Unfortunately we don’t have such festivals in Russia…
About second part of your question. We have always been strangers on gothic-metal scene. On the one hand it’s good, because we can feel ourselves like independent characters, on the other – a lot of people can’t understand our music, because when they hear “gothic metal” they are waiting something like Lacrimosa or Paradise lost. But instead of it they here a specific female voice singing about strange things, and they say “what’s the fuck?!” Nevertheless we have fans too. Very interesting fans with independent vision.
Something I have often wondered about is if you feel that you are part of something bigger and greater when you play in a band, that you are part of a movement sort of?
-Of course! If you don’t feel that you make something important, something global, it would be better not to do it. It’s senselessly. Even if you don’t have a lot of fans, if you don’t play shows in big stadiums, you must feel that you are a part of something bigger. Only this music can be called alive. Even if you play alone at home you must fell like you play for all the world!
When you play the sort of metal you play I guess you cannot have birds and bees on the cover of your album? What is a great album cover to you?
-Why not if it’s an Eagle who is devouring a human consciousness, for example? I’m sure you’ve noticed a butterfly in our logo. So butterfly is very philosophic and mystic symbol. And there are a lot of birds reflects in different ancient cultures some symbols. By the way a bee was the allegory of the soul in Greek, Aryan and other traditions. So you can have birds, bees or fish on the covers, but it must mean something important and reflect what you want to say by you album. And of course a painter or designer must be good. I like cover with interesting collages or minimalistic artworks. I also like pictures of famous painters on covers. For example like on Burzum’s Filosofem. I adore Pink Floyd covers!
What is your opinion on digital verses physical? Is digital killing music?
-It’s the most popular question nowadays. Digital does not kill music, it kills music industry in the form we were involved for many years. Music itself couldn’t be killed by this fact. But it could be killed by indifference of musicians themselves and listeners too. If they really need music, it will never die and will be exist in different forms (maybe we can’t imagine now what the forms will be in future). As for me I like physical CD’s, because I think that the album is not only songs. Album is booklet with artworks too, something you can touch and leaf through. And sometimes I buy CD’s.
What kind live scene is there for bands like yours?
-It’s only for honest and reckless people. Because often you expend great efforts, and result is not always the same you wished. Basically it’s underground scene for non-conformists. I hope I understood you question correctly…
When you play live is it a happening or do you see it more as a party?
-A happening, of course. Party is for pop culture. Every show must be a happening.
What would you like to see the future bring?
-I don’t know… I prefer live in the present moment. I just hope that music will live always. Life without music is nothing.