Exhumation's Vasily and Ira Talks About their New Album and More

Melodic death metal band Exhumation from St. Petersburg, Russia have been doing their thing since 1997. Now years later come 2014 they are still playing shows, touring, and of course writing and recording along with releasing new material. They have recently been hard at work at their latest EP release "Bread Buttered on Both Sides". Guitarist Vasily Ovchinnicov and vocalist Irina Bardina talk of that EP and the plans they have surrounding it.

1. Can I get a backstory on the band/ band biography?

Vasily: Well, in a pair of words, Exhumation began in 1994, when our now former drummer Alex Kovalev and his two school friends decided to make a band. The band changed its lineup in 1997 and released the first demo “Wandering” in 1998. The record soon became popular among the RU metal underground and the band was actively gigging till 2001 when internal tensions lead the band to split. In 2008 Alex Kovalev and me decided that the time has come for Exumation to be “exhumed”.

 2. How did you guys come up with your band name?

Vasily: A funny story, in 1994 we were not pretending to be much too original, and the criteria for choosing a band's name was like: something horrible, something about death, something that scares, so at that time we were sure that “Exhumation” fits well. However we released our first record after the band with the same name form Thessaloniki we haven't even heard of.

3. Where is the band based out of and what is your music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?

Ira: Initially, the band is based out of St. Petersburg, Russia - the city of art, drugs and rock-n-roll and a home of thousands Russian bands. But most of us were not born here, lots of musicians come to this city every year to try luck - just like me – I was born in Siberia and moved to St.Pete to play metal and live a “rock-and-roll” life) There are tons of bands representing all possible genres and styles, singing, growling, squealing and playing all sorts of instruments, from electric guitar to sitar. If you want some good music stuff, you can check up Svartby, Stalwart, Free at least, Kenotaf, there are also lots of interesting bands in neighboring Moscow – like Seducer’s Embrace or Demons of the Guillotine, all these guys are also real good dudes.

4. What lyrical theme do you guys use in your music? What message do you want to send?

Ira: In our lyrics we appeal to the dark side of human nature, ‘cause we all got skeletons in a closet, you know, some of them are pretty big. We want people to think of things they've never thought of before; to ask questions they've never asked before.

5. What bands have influenced your band and its sound?

Vasily: Among others - Dissection, In Flames, Dark Tranquillity, At the Gates.

Ira: For me personally, well, I think Pantera, Children of Bodom, Slayer, may be Guns ‘n’ Roses and some other good old bands from the 80-th and 90-th; they definitely gave me some food for thoughts.

6. Is there any story or concept behind "Bread Buttered on Both Sides" title?

Ira: Well, yeah. Initially, we were looking for a title which would reflect the duality of our system, the backside of social order – and the backside of human personality, too. And then we suddenly came up with “bread buttered on both sides” – it was exactly what we needed, ‘cause it hints on the duality of welfare and, therefore, of the system we live in – the well-being of those, who are on the “upper side of the slice” is built on the blood of those, who are on the “lower side”; people on the “upper side” cannot see the backside of their welfare; people on the lower side cannot reach the top. That also gave us an idea for the cover-art.

7. Who produced "Bread Buttered on Both Sides" and what was it like working with them?

Ira: This EP is self-released, but the mixing and mastering were made on “Navahohut Studio” by Arkady Navaho, we've worked with them before and are very satisfied by the results of our collaboration.

Vasily: To my opinion, Arkady Navaho is the best metal producer in Russia, it is not the first time we’re working with him and besides of being highly professional, he is a very good person and a good friend.

8. Who did the cover art for "Bread Buttered on Both Sides" and how much input did you have on it?

Ira: As soon as we came up with the idea of the title, I also drew a sketch for the cover art – the hand of a “man in bandage” (who also appears on “Windwalker” and is a kind of Exhumation symbol) holding a slice of bread with the city on the upper side, rotten and bloody on the backside. But if something starts to rot on one side, it will soon be rotten all over, that’s just a matter of time, right? We only needed an artist who would be able to catch this idea and draw exactly what we wanted – and we've found one. The “breadcity” was drawn by Michail Larin (MosaEye), a brilliant artist who also drew the cover arts for many other Russian metal bands (see the links for some of his works: https://www.behance.net/mosaeye, http://mosaeye.deviantart.com/).

9. Why did you see an EP to be more fit than another full-length release?

Ira: Making a full-length is quite a long-term process, what we needed is a quick and bright release for the audience to get interested in our upcoming album. Due to the lineup changes inside the band the sound and manner have changed, we've become more aggressive, and we wanted to show what to expect from us this time – by the way, we've already got some absolutely new stuff for you guys to check up soon!

10. Do you have plans to release another full-length in terms of a follow-up or will it be another EP release?

Ira: Definitely a full-length, we’re planning to release a brand new one end 2014, currently we are into work at the new material.

11. What are your upcoming touring/show plans?

Ira: We’re planning to have some gigs here in Russia and also in Finland this fall, but not so many, our main purpose for now is to finish our work on the new stuff.

12. Where can we listen to your band and where can we buy your stuff?

Ira: Most of our albums, including the new EP are currently available in most online-stores, like TuneCore, Amazon or iTunes. For the official merch or CDs you can contact us directly by e-mail randy.1989@mail.ru or visit our official page http://vk.com/exhumationspb.

13. What is it you’d like a listener to remember the most when hearing your music for the first time?

Ira: First of all, we’d like them to remember us!) We wanna do something that was not done in the past, and we don’t want to be an-another-somebody. Some of the latest releases make you feel that you've already heard it all before, I hope we’re NOT that kind of dudes. We’re really into our music, so it’s always good to find people ready and willing to share our passion, we truly appreciate it.

14. What can the fans expect to see from you in the future?

Ira: I think, what our fans can expect is some good music! We also plan to shot an official video end 2014-beginning 2015, that’s gonna be awesome!

Vasily: More Exhumation, more gigs, the upcoming album and hell a lot of drive and passion!

15. Any final words of wisdom?

Ira: Wisdom? Well, what I know is, if you want to reach something –anything – better start right now, and never give yourself a fallback in case of failure - ‘cause if you do, you WILL fail. As Dime used to say - Getcha pull, dudes!

Vasily: Keep calm and listen to Bread Buttered on both Sides!

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