Ukrainian technical death metal act Blame, managed by guitarist Valeri Golub, launched their newest EP “Almanac” in January, which received favorable reviews throughout the blogosphere. Golub spoke for Rocking Charts about his beginnings, starting Blame, the new EP, and more. Read below.
Let’s start from your early music beginnings. How did your musical career begin? When did you start playing? Which groups have been your favorites? Please tell us something more about your early life.
One day, when my brother and I were about 6 and 7 years old (it was the late 80s), we played in our bedroom with rare tape recorder and found a speed shift button. From the beginning, we slowed down the recording (there was rare Nikolay Noskov song called «UFO”) in two, and then in four times. The vocals became incredibly low, the music became heavier and more sticky. We were struck by such an unusual sound, the first time in our life we heard such a low and heavy sound. We were shocked what kind of sounds and what unusual sounds music can acquire, this expanded the scopes of our perception of sound.
Later, when I was 13 years old, I ran around the school stadium and a guy who was older me for 10 years approached to me. I was dressed in a hoodie «Metallica» that my father gave to us with my brother, and I thought that he wanted to take it. But he said that he collects hoodies and offered an exchange for audio tapes. I was scared, but agreed, and after half an hour I ran to home with a packet of cassettes. When I came home and began to study for what I changed my hoodie – I was just struck by lightning. There were records of Iron Maiden, Exploited, Blind Guardian, Halloween, Decide, Cannibal Corpse, Manowar, Deep Purple, Gorky Park, more than thirty groups in a different styles. My friends and I were absolutely shocked by so many different music that fell on us at that moment. Music filled our gray life and added incredible colors to it.
A year later I took father’s acoustic guitar and started to play every day for 5-6 hours. I starved school for a weeks and when I occasionally went there, I put aside 50 cents every day to buy a book with notes of the Metallica’s «Master of Puppets» album . When I turned 15 I almost completely played the whole album. These tipping situations tied my life with music and determined for me very much.
How did you go about forming Blame? Who was the most influential when the band started its musical journey?
In childhood I always played in someone’s band and when in 2004 I moved to Kiev, I decided to found my own band and wanted that this will be a most extreme band in the post-Soviet space. In 2007 was found hardcore project Word Of Blame. Since 2011 it was already Blame and we start to play technical death metal. I’m the creator of the band and I write all music parts for all instruments and songs. Then each member introduce something own to the songs.
In the beginning, did you have some “fixed” tempo in composing songs or everything was a product of jamming, improvising?
Since I wanted the band to be one of the fastest I started at speeds of 200 bpm and gradually realized that the most suitable pulsation for my music is around 240 bpm.
How would you describe Blame’s music on your own?
Epic, march-like, shredding riffs with melodic sweep solos, aggressive vocals and fast drums.
Your new EP, Almanac, is a follow-up to 2014 EP Dark Eyes. Have you felt any pressure while working on Almanac because of that?
No, there was no connection with Dark Eyes but there was a definite desire to release the material as quickly as possible because some of the songs were written in 2007-2008.
What has changed for Blame when it comes to writing new music — Almanac in particular?
Nothing changes, I always write something. Almanac as well as Dark Eyes are old ideas in a new form.
You pay attention to atmospheric and ambient elements in your music. How important it is for the structure of your songs?
Very important. Always saw my creation as a theater where every sound has its own place in the general song’s dramaturgy.
How do you see the Ukrainian metal scene? Recommend us some good bands.
Ukrainian scene can be described as: interesting, charismatic groups, and the absence of independent scene, as well as the low level of the listener who in a most cases does not care about what kind of genre to follow and who have no critical thinking. The same can be said about the level of Ukrainian metal journalism, which in most cases is aimed to entertain. No one criticizes the quality of the playing skills, (on differences of live performance from the audio recordings) on a organization details. Attention to our bands is low, as a rule they last react on new releases and pay attention on a group only after it became known abroad. We have very powerfulI recording studios, so sometimes you can’t understand who is really have good playing skills, and who is just have very good production/recording producer. I would mention such groups: Zlam, Megamass, Pokruch, Morton, Joncofy, Psionic Arc.
Do you guys consider yourselves a part of any specific cultural movement, however peripheral?
We feel like creators – outsiders. Сreative self-realization is more important for us than building a musical career in its traditional sense. Most musicians are engaged in music for their own ego and material benefit or because they don’t know what to do, so as a rule bands like this becomes mainstream and not develop the culture.
Touring musician life implies narrow development and excludes the possibilities of development in such areas as literature, sculpture, painting, sport etc. For us, the band is a tool of self-improvement and the essence of the creative process is more important than the band’s popularity.
Are you also involved in any other projects or bands beside Blame?
No. Our project implies high concentration, dedication and a lot of time for preparation which excludes the possibility of involvement in third-party projects.
What comes next for Blame?
Will see… 😉