Interview with Scald, Russian doom metal band from Jaroslavl' for a tv program.


Out 31 2011, 5h39

Translator note: this is an interview done for a tv program in Russia, back when the band was still together and seemingly destined for greater things... - all of the members are present here. Unfortunately I have forgotten the name of the tv program now.

As the interview is in Russian, I thought I'd translate this because in recent years, as well as in my circle of friends, this band has gained considerable appreciation, posthumously, so some of the information here may be of interest to those that listen to them now. Also as an aside, although the band name is spelled Scald, what is referred to here (and is obvious from all the lyrical/visual content) is Skald, a viking warrior-poet that would compose sagas and songs. The guys obviously had limited knowledge of English, so for the purposes of preserving the true meaning of the title, I referred to them as Skald for most of the translation.

Anyway, hope whoever reads this enjoys this snippet of information about the band that held so much promise...


Host: good afternoon ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the music club "By the Bridge". We have an excellent evening ahead of us, as we are meeting with one of the most interesting groups of Yaroslavl, "Scald" [Skald]. The first question for musicians: you play under such an exotic name, very untypical for Russian rock music. For those of us who don't know, could you please go a little into how the name came about, and what does it mean?

Agyl: yeah, sure; as strange as it may seem, I came up with the name of the group. It was in the year of '91. The group was initially called "Ros", which is essentially the same as "Skald" but in the Slavic tribes. Whereas with the vikings, the same person [note; the word used here is гусляр, as in the gusla player. Gusla is a string instrument that was used by bards, so it's used in that context here], was called a skald.

Host: In four years, in the last four years, did you have any changes in the line-up? Any rearrangements? Anything new that came to the group, - or whether nothing like that happened in that time?

Agyl: well,.. in the year of 93 we reunited after "Ros", into our lineup came Ilya, Velingor and Ivan... Harald is what were called,.. or I should say, one of the Viking names of those ages. And then, basically about half a year after that, we took into our group - that was by then, so to speak, built, - Vladimir, and created a name for him, Karry - vking's son.

Host: You essentially have already done what I was going to ask you, as in, introduce the musicians that work in the group...

Agyl: ...Sure [laughs]

Host: ...and now another question, sort of a trick one - you sing in English; our audience is Russian-speaking, so in what respect was this a commercially-oriented move, and what do you actually sing about?

Agyl: Well firstly I'd like to say why we sing in English, - initially I was a big supporter of Russian-language singing, and English didn't really matter at the time - of course I liked it and listened to it, but I didn't want to sing like that; for the Russian public in some other language... But then after speaking with some people, they explained that if you are serious about working [playing music], you have to get used to it, the English-language singing.

Host: This is curious, some people happen to appear, that offer some sort of advice, and that advice, strangely enough, is listened to. Interesting. And one more question, about the image of the group. You directed your attention towards paganism. Paganism is little-popular in our country, because we have an Orthodox Christian country, - in the majority of cases. Why did you choose paganism? [CUT SCENE FROM WHAT SEEMS A DIFFERENT REPORT ABOUT THE GROUP].


"Towards the end of the 1980's, a group by the name of Ros appeared in Yaroslavl; they played and sometimes even copied Manowar [it was a bit unclear, but I'm pretty sure that's the band mentioned]. But Ros sang in Russian and about Russian topics, taking as a main subject the folklore themes and motifs of ancient Rus'. Just before splitting up, Ros almost completely morphed into a doom band. Also based in Yaroslavl, a band called [I couldn't catch the name other than having "Saint" at the end] was playing doom metal. But it didn't exist for very long. In 1993 from the shards of these bands came about something entirely new: Scald. Initially being a pure doom band, Scald inherited from Ros both the elements of Manowar and the Ancient Rus' themes in the songs. But orienting on the generally accepted and adopted standards, Scald had English lyrics. Towards the end of 1994 the lineup stabilizes and remains unchanched up to today; Agyl - vocals, Harald - rhythm and acoustic guitars, Karry - lead guitars and keyboards, Ottar - drums, Velingor - bass. Not only the names of the band members were taken from Scandinavian folklore and tales; the name "Scald" itself defined the direction of their creations, which the musicians entitled "Ancient Doom Metal". Development of the group went from direct use of Slavonic folklore to the Scandinavian motifs, which further on became the domineering theme. Texts are usually dedicated to nature and ancient rites and rituals, lore and legends. At the present time, however, there has been a gradual emerging of an overall concept, taking in the spirit of paganism in itself. QUOTE: "We're inspired by paganism. We feel the ancient weaved through ourselves, and feel that in heavy music, the best manifestation of that is doom.", say the musicians. {A CLIP OF AGYL SINGING: Russian vocal, but I'm pretty sure it's from Sepulchral Bonfire].


Host: okay, so here's the next question. I know, just happen to know, I happened to be there, that your group has many times been awarded at many of Yaroslavl festivals, including "Best City Vocal". And I entirely agree, as they are excellent. What I'd like to ask is your future plans, where do you intend to perform in the future?

Harald: Well in the most immediate future, to be more specific, on the 14th of June, we're going to Moscow for the "Deathrider" [?] festival. As part of this festival there will be a concert to celebrate the birthday of King Diamond. We were invited, so that's where we're going next. And the next performance, on the 22nd of June, will be at the Shinnik stadium. The bands performing there will be Aria, Nogu Svelo [translated loosely as "Leg Cramp" lol...], Uknown Land [I'm not sure if he means No Man's Land, it's another band with similar themes, they're just rubbish], and us.

Audience member: Unique vocals; the most popular, and the most-often-performing group now in the city. However several of your musicians are also performing in projects that have no relevance not only to doom, but to heavy music in general. Is this because there's not enough room in Scald, or not enough room in doom metal?

Harald: It's not that it's cramped in Scald or in doom metal in general, but at the same time there are always ideas that don't fit into Scald, so in parallel you have to let them out somewhere, - so the goods don't go to waste, so to speak :).

Velingor: Also I'd like to say that even though we play this sort of music in Scald, our interests aren't limited to heavy music, and we wantto try ourselves in a wider spectrum, in wider styles. Of course the main project for us will remain in Scald.

Audience member 2: I know, Ilya, that you spent half a year in Finland, just have a simple question for you: can you speak Finnish [Suomi, amirite?].

Harald: Only swearing. Because they are exclusively the emotions I bring back with me.


Translated by Alexei Gudimenko

link to the original

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