VOICE OF MIDNIGHT is not an Arkona clone but still a folk metal band if you get my drift. Interview with Ivan Kyznetsov – vocals & boozing and Ivan Novikov – guitar & trolling. Anders Ekdahl ©2012

At first I thought your band name was kinda lame and non descriptive but the more I thought about it the better it got. What is it that you want to say with Voice Of Midnight?
I.Kyznetsov: Well, 1st of all, the name of the band makes people think of what stands behind it. And of course, the night is always associated with something unknown and wild, it’s like another dimension.
I.Novikov: The name reminds me of all our night adventures, whether it’s just boozing and having fun, or mysteries like meeting a possible walking dead, ghosts on the swamps, once I heard a mermaid. So if you were in the county, alone, at midnight, I bet you’d listen to Voice of Midnight. Well, most likely it’ll tell you “Get the hell out of here!!”, but who cares: Looks cool, sounds awesome, I’m fine with it. No need to translate into English, less work for me.

I guess there’s no beating round the bush. Playing the kind of folkish black metal that you play there’s one band that will get mentioned more than others: Arkona. How can you benefit the best from the success of Arkona in order to promote Voice Of Midnight?
I.Kyznetsov: And again I’d like to state, that we are not like Arkona. Yeah, it’s a great band, etc, but not all of us are huge fans of it, though we respect them very much. We shared the stage with Arkona multiple times, but the first time had become crucial. Back then we had no experience of performing with such monster-bands as Arkona, so for us there was no turning point, we must rock! I think, now people can become interested in “another folk-metal band from mighty Russia”, it can pay into our hands. Arkona has developed greatly since then and become indeed very popular. I was like stunned, when Finnish guys from MyGrain (we played pool with them) kept asking questions about Arkona as they came to Michael Jackson’s homeland and were late with the concert in a week.
I.Novikov: I never listened to Arkona. They are very well known, so in order to succeed, we must try another way, what we are actually doing. Also there couple of other ways gain benefits from Arkona’s success, like beating the shit out of everyone who would say that VoM is like Arkona, launch a very agressive PR company, become one of the most aggressive bands, who hates everyone else (like Mayhem, for instance) and then die because of cocaine overdose. But it’s very childish, so we just keep doing what we’re doing, making our own way to the Top. And keep drinking, smoking and raising Hell.

In singing in your native tongue does that limit the market for your music or is there a chance that that exotic touch can add to the interest for the band?
I.Kyznetsov: Well, Russians listen to English-singing bands very willingly, even more than Russian bands (well, mostly ‘cos we stole everything from the West, and everyone knows that). So why not let our English-o-whatever-speaking friends listen to Russian lyrics? Even more, Arkona has already laid the foundation of it, I thing, the interest will be only growing. And also it’s very confusing when people write lyrics not in the same language as they are speaking and thinking.
I.Novikov: English is one of international languages of our planet. So, in Russia there is one simple choise – either one sing in Russian, or in Russian. That’s what I’m gonna talk about. If one, let’s say, is Russian and sings in perfect French, that is insanely awesome, that’s fine, but that is a rare thing. All Russian bands that sing in English, can go fuck themselves, ‘cos they are miserable traitors, who sold out their native language in order to get into mainstream, become popular, boo-hoo. Also, listening to pronunciation of Russian bands singing in English makes me laugh to tears. For better understanding you can listen to Manowar’s “Father” or Scorpions’ “Wind of Change”, that were performed in Russian. Of course I think that that “exotic” touch can add to the interest for the band. That’s awesome, that’s how it should be, never hear of American bands, that threw up English, and began writing and singing in Swahili.

I imagine that there is a rich folklore present in the former Soviet satellites that never died and has come back to life after the fall of communism. How much of the folklore seeps into your music and lyrics?
I.Kyznetsov: I can say that there’s very little native folklore that seeps into our music and lyrics, well, there is no native folklore at all (For that you can listen to Arkona. I.Novikov). But there is a bigger problem. Metal itself didn’t appear in USSR and post-soviet Russia for a long time, and people think stereotypes till nowadays. That is a very huge problem. Here, on the streets, people refuse to understand it, you should have listen to more Russian bands.
I.Novikov: Well, nothing to add, the shit is pretty fucked up. And I didn’t answer on your question, yeah, I know that.

What can we learn from these old tales? How can the tales be applied on our modern way of life?
I.Kyznetsov: Thousands of years ago people knew much more, than we know now with all new-fashioned technology. They were much wiser and stronger than we are. The Old Tales is a stereotyped image of ancient wisdom. During the last 200 years people began behave themselves as the owners of our beautiful blue planet. But at the same time we know, the flea can’t own the dog. We have a lot of modern gadgets and there is like no inevitable wars, but still people keep shooting each other. We continue to lose ourselves. And most of us don’t even understand the importance of this problem. And in order to see how the tales can be applied on our modern way of life, you should look at any very successful man.
I.Novikov: The greatest and best example of these “old tales” are my grandparents. They represent that exact ancient wisdom, strength, they have great personality, and I’m proud to be raised by them. I was raised as a brave, honest, simple-hearted and naive, but clever and sensible “hero of folk Russian legends, defender of the Truth”, don’t know if you understand “bogatyr”. No wonder me and Kyznetsov share equal names. And I hate modern way of life, ‘cos people undergo degradation. One can re-read “Fight Club” to remember the description of our generation, or look at the results of presidential elections in Russia 2012. The world is doomed, unless it begins to listen to the voice of ancient past. And Voice of Midnight.

Why is “Bifrost” only 30 minutes long? Wouldn’t the songs and the lyrics benefit from a longer playing time giving them a chance to shape a life of their own?
I.Kyznetsov: Well, probably that’s because of our character no one thought about the timing, but we can assure that next album will be way heavier, better and longer. Sometimes the size does matter.
I.Novikov: First try, first album, first release. May be you are right, we should have let the songs develop and live their own life, but who can guarantee that they won’t turn against us, pick a huge hammer and smash their own creators’ heads??? Let’s leave the contest of “Who can play longer to sledge and post-metal, listen to Rorcal’s track “Heliogabalus” – 1h 10min 32sec.

What is nationalism to you? It seems that whenever you talk about the pride of your homeland people start to shout about fascism and right wing extremism.
I.Kyznetsov: Nationalism is a healthy world outlook. People try to save their traditions, not to mix the blood, without it you’re nothing. Nowadays it is very convenient and profitable to call everyone “fascists”. One should turn deaf ear, ‘cos if someone doesn’t know the difference between being fascist and knowing who is your father, than he probably a fool, I feel sorry for him.
I.Novikov: I agree that nationalism is a healthy world outlook. The problem is that most of nationalists that I’ve seen a stupid bald fucks, shouting something about white pride, doing physical training and posting AK-47 pics is social networks. But that is it. Their level of live will never raise from dirty gyms, camo clothes, low-paid work, and most of them will end up in jail. Open Russian wikipedia, the “Nationalism” article, first 2 lines that everyone can see are “Do not mix up with nazism. Do not mix up with fascism” And that’s the point.

Folk metal seem to be very much about feeling pride for ancient ways of life. What is it about modern life that is so wrong that you have to look to old stories to find solace?
I.Kyznetsov: We have already mentioned this topic, yes, and I think we need examples. Here is one. Back then women were not allowed to drink alcohoe. Yeah-yeah, you can start yelling about sexism, feminism (and other funny words. I.Novikov) But the funny thing is that alcohol cause germ cell mutation, and the child could suffer deviations. Why women? Women have one supply germ cell since the birth and till the death, it never refills and changes. Unlike women, men’s germ cells can be restored is a short period of time. It was known long before Mendel’s laws. And there’s another example. Nowadays we have a lot of technology of building wooden structures. They are covered with everything one could possibly imagine, but they still rot. And in the 8th century people knew that if they stump a tree in winter solstice, then the house made of such logs will stand at least 3 centuries. Another example. Re-enactor staged an experiment. They built up a drakkar, using ancient technology as close as possible, and then put it against a modern yacht with equal sail area. The results didn’t differ, and drakkar’s max speed was far better. If nowadays people cared about technology that much, I guess the future that saw Marty McFly, would have happened long before. And I’m not mentioning the spirit and morality.
I.Novikov: Instead of being part of nature, we place ourselves above nature, and that causes us all the troubles. That is not that hippie bullshit. Need more – google it.

How do you promote Voice Of Midnight the best possible way? What channels are there for you to spread the word of the band?
I.Kyznetsov: We’ve got tons if ideas, but no money to realize them. We need cash. I think we’d made up a great show, of course, the greatest of all times, but as we’re poor kids, we have to earn respect with our music.
I.Novikov: Well, I guess all the best ways for promotion are described in “Promotion for Dummies”. We have made an awesome teaser of over upcoming album Bifrost, shared stages with monster-bands, we’re sneaky and crafty, I guess we’ll find ways to become Gods of Metal.

What kind of live scene are you part of? Any particular bands that you wouldn’t share a stage with or do you cater to all kinds of metalheads?
I.Kyznetsov: We are very friendly, but still bands of different music styles should go one after another. And I hope, Justin Bieber is not a modern metalhead, I guess he is like my friend Ivan, am I right, dude?
I.Novikov: Well thank you very much, I appreciate it, very, very funny. Almost as funny, as Ozzy’s “Who the fuck is Justin Bieber?” As for me, I’m a huge fan of Pantera, and so I can’t stand hipsters and indie rockers, ‘cos they are another trend like Cobain, rap metal, nu metal, deathcore, etc. Getcha pull up that shit!

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