Sometimes a bands name can throw you off a bit.VOTUM did so for me. Expecting something dark and sinister and getting more old school wasn’t too bad in the end. Interview with zbigniew szatkowski. Anders Ekdahl ©2016
Could you please introduce us to the band?
-We are Votum. As a band, despite all the storms and battering gales we exist from 2003. We like to divide our carrier into 3 periods. The first one – the ancient history – starting from 2003 until 2007 was the birth of Votum. It was an era of a different genre when the guys indulged in old-school heavy metal. In 2007 with the release of “Time must have a stop” and changes in line-up (and adding keyboards to the setup) the band drifted into more progressive forms. In that second phase we released 3 albums – mentioned – “Time must have a stop”, “Metaficion” and “Harvest moon”. Throughout our existence we were always focused on playing live so with those 3 full-length CDs we played hundreds of shows slowly, but surly establishing our presence on the scene. In the wake of :ktonik: with our new vocalist Bartosz Sobieraj and our new guitarist Piotr Lniany we begin the 3rd part of our music road.
What has been the greatest catalyst in shaping your sound?
-I expect it’s impossible to pinpoint one exact moment, event that shaped our music. I think that as individuals we bring to the table a lot of experiences we had, a lot of different points of view, a sort of a melting pot of ideas. The sound we want to create derives from that diversity.
How hard is it to record and release new songs?
-It’s a creative process and as such it has its ups and downs. We always try to treat it seriously so it creates a lot of commotion, arguments and it’s quite difficult to include six different points of view and sum it up into one coherent vision. We come from a different worlds in terms of music inspirations, we listen to different kinds of music, we get excited by different artists’ performances.
Has digital made it easier to get your music released?
-It certainly allowed it to reach further. I wouldn’t say that it’s easier to release music in the digital era. Since it’s easy to find music everywhere starting from youtube, itunes or Spotify it makes it more difficult to be found in the ever-growing infinite waves of new music. The digital revolution created millions of new tunes, some high quality, but mostly something that you wouldn’t want to lay your eyes or ears ever again and it’s difficult to swim through the tides and find those gems.
If you release your music digitally is there a risk that you release songs too soon, before you are ready compared to releasing them on CD?
-We have not done that before and I wouldn’t know. Judging by various experiences of our colleagues who’ve done that it can go both ways: it can either strangle your sales as people already have the album or go viral and make people want to get the whole album as it released. It’s a little bit different when we talk about leaking music before it’s premiere. Sometimes it’s difficult to contaminate such things as for example some journalist may be given a chance to listen to some albums before their official premiere and it the tracks may go on-line without the band or the label knowing. We’ve seen that happen as well and it’s a disastrous issue and in the end hurts both the listeners and the artist.
What kind of responses have you had to your recorded music?
-All kinds. After more than 10 years on the market we experience all ranges of emotions towards our music and our personas. Have you seen the country-bar brawl scene from “the Blues Brothers”?
We live in a world where there are no real distances between people communicating anymore. What has been the most surprising contact so far?
-There were so many that’s difficult to pick just one. I think that the fact that we have fans 17 830 km from us (and believe me I checked), who keep in touch, send us postcards and beach photos with our album is one of the most bizarre and by far greatest things ever.
Do you feel like you are a part of a greater community playing in a band?
-Our music scene is rather small, after some time I think it’s safe to say that we know most of the people “in the genre” at our playground. It’s different when we talk about our fans – amazing people, fantastic souls who we appreciate greatly and love deeply! They are one of the main reasons we still do what we do. There’s no possible way to describe what we felt when some of our fans traveled hundreds of kilometers from Hamburg or Bucharest to see us in Rome when they had had seen us in Hamburg a couple of days before and they loved the show! I admire that!
What is the live scene like for you? Do you feel that playing live helps building a bigger following?
-We have a very particular love to playing live. It gives us purpose, makes us feel as what we do makes people happy – which is an interesting comment taking into consideration that the music itself is rather ‘sad’. Live shows build bigger following. We feel and see it after our more than ten years on the scene. Each show brings new faces, those new faces invite over their friends and the following grows. The key to building loyal and substantial audience is to be there with them.
What plans do you have for the future?
-Touring, touring, more touring, next albums, more touring. The usual. We have a lot of ideas and we want to share them with you guys!