Interview with Alexey Boganov (Welicoruss)
Hard and dry, far-reaching Siberia will also make a mark in the artist's work. Dalavy and širavy in the pagan metal of Siberia and the band Welicorus is palpable. I don't want to call Alex Bogdanov a Siberian, he is a person who makes very good and interesting quality metal music, where not only black metal elements are mixed, but a lot of folklore-metal paganism, and much, much more. This is also why Welicoruss is currently very recognizable and interesting. And what's more, he travels all over Europe. So here is Welicoruss.
Alan – Hi Alexey. Let's discuss a little of your work. Welicoruss was your first band?
Alexey – Hallo, yes, Welicoruss is my first band, but also I had side projects, first one was called Midgard and it was pretty straight death metal with pagan lyrics (kinda Amon Amarth) but existed less than 1 year. Another project is electronic music – mostly dark ambient mixed with tribal music and tech step and it was called Stigmata 66. I released the only album of Stigmata 66 “Transcendental Cyberorganika” in the year 2004 as a self-production.
Alan – In Russia, in Siberia, is it a problem to get people interested in playing in bands? And about playing in Siberia, is that a problem?
Alexey – In that time when I`ve searching for band members in the year 2005 it was a problem to find someone who would understand pagan epic black metal. We were the only band in Novosibirsk (and maybe even in the whole of Siberia) who played this type of metal. Of course, later appeared several similar bands but it was somewhere in 2009-2010.
Alan – That Russia is a huge country, how do local groups even play there? On the one hand, it may seem that he lets himself be played a lot, and he probably is. But the distance between cities, between clubs, is also huge.
Alexey – In 2005 nobody from metal bands played tour there. I mean underground metal. Of course, we had old dinosaurs like bands Aria or Master who is legendary and they going on tour across the whole of Russia. But smaller bands could not do that. We were the very first Siberian black metal band who drove from Novosibirsk to Moscow and back on one month's tour. It was in 2009 and that was an amazing experience. Mostly metal bands go to closer towns– about 300-400 km distance.
Alan – You recorded your first albums in Russia. In Siberia? Did you also have a publisher there?
Alexey – Yes, we recorded our debut album “Wintermoon Symphony” and released it by major metal label CD-maximum in 2008 based in Moscow. The second mini album “Apeiron” was released the next year 2009 by the same label.
Alan – Where was the first Welicoruss play outside of Russia? And how did you push on to Europe? Who helped you?
Alexey – Our first foreign tour was in 2008 when we were booked to play at a pretty big metal festival in Crimea, Ukraine on Metalhead`s Mission Open Air 2008. That was a truly amazing event because we played there for the first time with our favorite bands like Moonspell, Samael, Cynic, Gorgoroth, Hate, and many more. Trip from Siberia to Crimea via Moscow took about one week by train filled with a liter of alcohol and funny stories, I will never forget that!)
Alan - Let's skip ahead a bit now. Why did you decide to stay in the Czech Republic?
Alexey - In the year 2012, I realized that nobody was interested to push Welicoruss forward except me and there is no future in Siberia and in common in the whole of Russia to develop the metal band. So I decided to move with my wife to Prague. It was a really dangerous step in my life because I just jumped into the abyss.
Hopefully, I`ve met there nice people who helped me so much with that.
And of course, since those years I loved the Czech Republic as my second Motherland. Yes, It`s much smaller than Russia but I like the people there, the culture, and in common how society works. The total and great difference with Russia.
Alan – You didn't move to the Czech Republic with the entire Welicoruss band. You were looking for new musicians. Was it a problem?
Alexey – Because as I said last musicians had no interest to push the band forward and were lazy and I`ve asked them if they would like to go with me. But they had a big fear about accommodation, how to get work, and blabla.
Alan – Who came through the band? What musicians up to the present day.
Alexey – Today nobody left from the first Czech line-up of Welicorussexceptt me. Ok, Ilya Tabachnik playing now for almost 7 years but the first drummer was David Urban.
Today also Tomas Magnusek played bass guitar with us and we have got a new awesome guitar player Filip Rabenseifner.
Alan – If people map you a bit (are interested in you Welicoruss) they might notice quite a lot of intensity playing. How do you prosecute it?
Alexey – Welicoruss is a very big part of myself. It`s one of the most important things in my life, so that`s why I spend so much time doing something for the band. And also as Ilya told me – I`m a workaholic, I can work for the band till I just fall without energy)
Now Is much more difficult because I`ve got a daughter, so I should spend a lot of time with family and also work in my company.
Alan – Where have you played in Europe? And outside of Europe?
Alexey – During those 9 years we have played a lot in the Czech Republic, Germany (almost in all parts), Poland, Balkans (Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary), Switzerland, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxemburg, France and even played on Cyprus. We haven`t played yet outside Europe, or maybe you think that Russia and Ukraine are outside of the EU? Then we played there.
Alan – Interesting stops and observations from concerts or festivals?
Alexey – I think we have told that already 100x times in every interview but I will tell it again). The most impressive of course was Hellfest in France, the biggest metal festival in Europe with about 200 000 metalheads, just cannot describe how cool it that! We played in fucked up place in the ass of Poland called Zagan, it was a club under an electric station with a very depressive landscape and there were very few people but definitely, we have remembered that place))) Also, we have played at the biggest gothic festival in Leipzig – Wave Gotik Treffen, and more than 10 000 supported us there. Great events in Bucharest (Romania), Belgium. Serbian people are crazy! Love to play there! Also, concerts in Cyprus were very unusual and interesting for us.
Alan – New album, when is the new album?
Alexey – Just now we are in the creation process of it! We are planning to go to the studio in June 2023 and release it in fall 2023!
Alan – There is also a music video out for the new album and a lot of information. What is the spirit of the whole album? And what interesting, special things are you preparing for the album?
Alexey – Yes! We are planning to shoot 3 videos on new songs. As my band members told me –the new album has a totally different atmosphere and vibe than all previous albums but it's still Welicoruss.The atmosphere is more dark and occult and at the same time underworld. Album will be called “Deadman`s Manifest” and there will be a lot of lyrics about life after death and things like that. Also now I`m working on our new outfit and show which is a very important part of Welicoruss.
Alan – I assume this interview is not the last, there will be more to come. So thanks and goodbye.
Alexey – Thank you, see you later!