As a guide to the vast array of bands in this universe I present to you an interview with Vladimir Pavelka. Anders Ekdahl ©2021
What fascinates me is how you can still come up with new combinations of chords to make new songs and sounds that have not been heard before. What is it that fascinates you into coming up with new songs and albums?
-Hello, thank you for your appreciation. I am very detail-oriented, so where most people see something as a whole, I see many details. As I am interested in many aspects of life such as culture, history, religion, music, sounds, or traditions, there are lots of things that I’m inspired with. I perceive them both with my eyes and with my soul.
How is this new recording different from the previous?
-If you are referring to my solo project Vladimír Pavelka, it is very different from my other work. It doesn’t contain any rituals, religion, or foreign cultures. This music is describing pure childhood happiness, emotions, and memories. My childhood was truly carefree, which is why I decided to describe it on this album.
Is it important to have a message in your music? How do you implement message when it is instrumental?
-I wouldn’t compose any music without a message or a legacy. Writing riffs is not important for me, the most vivid interpretation of my own feelings and perceptions is. I am not a musician who can play anything from music scores. I do not have music education and I’m not familiar with writing or reading chords and notes. In all my bands and projects, I am writing music based on my emotions. At first, I experience a real story or an event that inspires me. Then I create something like a film with a story in my mind and the music automatically emerges along with it. I am then transferring it into musical instruments. The melody itself isn’t the primary thing, it is my experience and the attempt to preserve it, which is what I’m doing through music. Why is this album instrumental? It’s because you can express much more with music than with words.
What bands/sounds do you indentify with?
-I like multiple genres and various interprets. It just depends on if I connect with the music or with the personality of the interpret. I like listening to bands from the ’80s such as Meat Loaf, Survivor, to dark bands like Akhlys or Mare, to a sitarist Anoushka Shankar, or the eccentric but brilliant David Bowie. I also like the great Ennio Morricone’s or John Carpenter’s music.
How did you go about choosing art work for this new album? What was important to have in it?
-That’s simple. The album is primarily dedicated to the memory of my grandfather, so the album cover shows him during the ’60s when he was hiking in Vrátna dolina in Slovakia. The whole theme of the album’s artwork is revolving around my family and the life in the countryside in Kostolné. My first idea was that I will release just a few copies of the album which I will give to the members of my family, and that it will include a photo book with a lot of family photos and personal memories. It later occurred to me that life in Slovakia thirty years ago might be interesting to other people as well, so I decided to release the album officially. However, I am planning to create the family edition of the album as well.
Something that scares me a bit is this I hear from more and more bands that they aren’t that bothered with art work anymore because people today download rather than buy physical. To me the whole point is to have art work that matches the music. I don’t know how many times I’ve been disappointed by weak art work to an otherwise cool album. What’s your opinion on this subject?
-The best answer to this question is if you have a look at artwork for Cult of Fire’s albums Life, Sex & Death and Moksha/Nirvana, or at the Japanese edition of the Death Karma LP The History of Death & Burial Rituals II. You can clearly tell that I am an author who really does care about the visual side of his releases, as it is a part of the story the same way as music. Another example is that we are changing the logo, visual, and stage concept with every single major Cult of Fire’s release, so that it always perfectly reflects the story and the atmosphere of the specific album. I am not following any current trends and I really do not care what’s popular these days. What I would love to do is to create a music storage medium that could be perceived with all five senses, so that listeners could enjoy the album on a complex level.
How do you come up with song titles? What do they have to have to fit the songs?
-It’s the same as when you’re writing a book. At first, there is a story and the best-fitting title that perfectly describes the story then comes up in my mind automatically.
I use Spotify and Deezer but only as compliment to buying CDS (it’s easier to just have your phone or pad when you’re out) but I fear that soon music as we know it will be dead and buried. What are your worries as a band?
-When it comes to my own music, I’m not afraid of this at all. For me, music is a way how to express myself, it’s not business and that will never change. I’m not worried about other authors either. Even though it’s completely clear that the possibilities of how to listen to music have changed so much in the last twenty years, LPs and other types of music storage mediums will remain an important part of many people’s lives. I can mention many ’70s and ’80s bands as an example. For their fans, they are and they will always be eternal and their LPs are still valuable even today.
Are you going to perform this solo stuff live and if so, what can we as an audience expect?
-I am currently not planning to perform “Spomienky” live at all, however, we’ll see what the future brings. For now, I will play the songs from the album by myself in the places where they occurred.
What lies in the future?
-I am now in the process of writing new music for Death Karma, The House, and other projects. I am then planning to continue working on Spomienky, but this time, they will be from eastern Slovakia from the city Svidník, where I lived and where I spent my nice teenage years.