LUNOKHOD is a Slovak band that I’ve just discovered. As I am a massive thrash fan I take any opportunity to check out new bands. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
Was it hard to come up with a name? What does the name mean to you?
-We choose the name Lunokhod for 3 reasons : 1) its eastern sounding, so highlightning where we come from (Slovakia), but its also international, 2) its a symbol of exploration of new unknown places, which means progress, 3) it was a small toy for children, so it doesn´t have a funny “brutal” meaning (as a lot of heavy bands have), it makes a nice contrast … and lastly, it reminds us of Voivod (which we are big fans).
Who would say are the founding stones of the kind of sound you have? Who are your house Gods and how have they coloured your music?
-We are honoring the past while looking to the future – our inspiration comes from ´80s classic thrash bands (Slayer, Kreator, old Sepultura), early hardcore bands (Black Flag, Dead Kennedys, Fugazi), NYxHC (SOIA, Agnostic Front, Madball), with a little bit of punk (Rancid) but also from classic rock bands like Cream, Hendrix. We try to mix the aggression and straight forwardness with a little bit of technical aspects and proggressivity. Hardcore music doesn´t mean you cannot or you don´t have to play your instrument. There is a lot of space to be explored. Also, early death metal (Death, Morbid Angel, Entombed) and a small dose of black (Watain, Immortal), sometimes.
When you play slow do you have to think differently arranging the music than if you play faster and vice versa?
-Well, yes, because if you play slow, there is a lot more space open for you, different possibilities arise. In total speed it has to be more disciplined, otherwise its chaos. But whether you play slow or fast – it has to have a solid groove. Especially when playing as a trio – everyone has to be 100 percent in, otherwise you hear all the mistakes very easily.
How does your music work in a live environment?
-Lunokhod´s music is working very well live. From young guys jumping all over the stage, shouting, acting total crazy, moshpits and so on, to older guys more listening to music and happily smiling when they catch up our references to the music they grew up on. Whether we play we HxC bands or with metal bands, the response is always good – its aggressive enough but it is also musical and technical. Sometimes people wonder, how a 3 piece band can be much more heavy and in your face then those metal bands with 3 guitars, 200 drums and 1000 strings 😉 but its a matter of knowing your instruments, finding a groove and there you go.
How important is having a label to back you up today when you can just release your music on any sort of platform online? Are there any negative consequences to music being too readily available to fans?
-For Lunokhod its really important to have a label, because we are from a very small country, lost in the middle of Europe. At home, we have no labels to speak of, no magazines, no TV space for heavy music, no promotion, nothing. There is only some fanatics like us that don´t want to surrender. Its totally DIY, very underground, very lo-fi. So all we can do is playing as much gigs as possible, collecting fans one by one, patiently. And now with Sliptrick Records, we can see our music going places we never dreamed of – just received a wonderfull 9.5 review from Spain, how cool is that ! We could not managed it by ourselves – there is 10 milliard of “bands” and stupid music coming out every day – we are like a drop of water in the ocean, trying to shout as loud as we can. So a label definitely helps. And yeah, you see people just downloading everything for free … but you cannot be pissed off at them, usually they dont have any idea what they do to bands, how damaging it can be … You have to be pissed off at the system that is enabling it.
I get the feeling that fans that are true to a band, is a lost thing with the easy access to music these days. Do you feel that this is a bad thing or are there any positive aspects of it at all?
-Fans can be true, but you have to dance around them so much more than before. Constant connections, gigs, promo, etc – which is sometimes really hard. People are spoiled. But if an album is really good, people will come back to it, that is the power of music – hopefully the band will still exists 🙂 We are old school, we are loyal to our favorite bands and we hope that our fans will stay with us no matter what. Loyalty is a virtue. On the other hand, it makes you work harder, its pushing you forward.
What to you is a great front cover? What should a cover have to make it great?
-It should be eye-catching. Different than the rest of 90percent of covers in your shop. It has to connect, explain and “show” the music that is on the album. The great covers make you look at them, makes you dream, think and anylise the ideas behind the cover, to analyse the art and the world.
Do you feel that you are part of a national scene? What is the climate for metal in your country?
-Yes, we can say we are a part of Slovak underground scene. Its more about friends and bands playing together – helping each other. In the city we come from, Kosice, we have a very good climate for heavy music – its due to two great clubs, Collosseum and Cassbar, again, do-it-yourself system of music fanatics. So we have some international names playing here (Vader, Madball, Agnostic, etc.). Otherwise, you get the impression that everybody is listening to some bad hip hop and really bad dance music 🙂 But its because there is no mainstream info about good music. People like heavy music – they just dont know where is it, how to find it.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when your out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-Well, we survived so much bullshit, that we know, that even if all the music industry will be dead and gone – we will be still here making music somehow. But we have hope – people need music, it is a fact, the world cannot live without music – so we believe it will get better somehow. Just as it quickly changed with internet, there will be something new and better, not done only by IT people for IT people. Destroy your screen and come to a gig, then you will really live.
What does the future hold?
-Hopefully our CD “Watch Out …” will catch some attention, some good reviews, some curiosity. We hope people will find about Lunokhod, thanks to our label Sliptrick Records, because we have a lot to offer and we are different. Our fans are our family. We want to make a video, so we are thinking about it. We will make as much gigs as possible, we would like to go and play gigs in the whole Europe, if possible, just call us, contact us. And we have also plans for a new album, we already started with some ideas, demoing, its really exciting. Hopefully this album will get to as much people as possible – and then we will build on this foundation. So come and taste Lunokhod. Best regards, Peter