– My name is Vladimir Klimov, but I use pseudonym Vladimir Klimov-Lehtinen. I’m a member of few bands and I play a stringed instrument in general. Right now we are talking about Second To Sun and at the moment I’m only member and (in some sense) ideologist. Guitar, bass, keybords and samples – it is all me. My friends Toiwo (as usual) and Artyom are contributing the drum parts.
– How was Second To Sun formed? Is this your first band? Or, perhaps, you are playing in other bands before?
– Was formed? I need to explain in detail. It was the result of instant teleportation of old music ideas and excessive mutations of new ones.
– It seems it will be interesting to hear this story.
– So – everything started after my other band Epoch Crysis’s album was released (I do have a post black metal one-man project Voivotus, and also I’m playing in band named Vintergata, which has a contract with quite known label “FONO”). Even the beginning of recording of the album “My Chaos Continues” was not good. Our keyboardist left the band and before release of album – Toiwo didn’t want us using his drum parts, because… how it to say succinctly? In short, he didn’t like them. When the album was released I uploaded it on the web. Now, I think that was not good idea. After reading tons of listeners’ reviews on the website, I got depressed. As a result, the band broke up in a one day. No of us had any enthusiasm to continue, nobody wanted to play. I didn’t want too. In addition, Toiwo became a father, the keyboardist disappeared. Maxim, a second guitarist, created a new melody for the band, and that was great, but after that he formed his own band Two Djentlemen, and left Epoch Crysis.
But I still wanted to create new music. Therefore, Second To Sun was born.
– Does Epoch Crysis still exist or turned to Second To Sun completely?
– It’s still alive and looks like a zombie. But I hope Andrey Gostyuhin is still continuing to keep the band alive. Also, we wrote 5 songs together not long ago, dammit!
– So, you formed Second To Sun. By the way, when did it happen? How was the progress? What things do you base your music on and why?
– The band was formed in 2012. I’ve invited Epoch Crysis’s ex-drummer Artyom to contribute. He was making a crazy drum beats, and the other parts were played by me. A little while later, I met Anton Danilevsky.
Progress? I think we didn’t have any progress at that time. New members joined and left the band constantly. And only Anton Danilevsky was contributing a lot of good things to the band.
As the basis for our music; I chose my two huge preferences – black metal and popular djent (it pertains to a guitar playing style).
– You mentioned your preferences, can you tell a little more about them? Do you have any influences among other bands and artists?
– Yes, I have influences; Immortal, Abigail Williams, Catamenia – they all have influenced me. Close behind them Gojira, Meshuggah, and after them Finntroll, Trollfest, and other hummpa black metal bands. Moreover, if you add to this list 8-bit music and pop-music like Adele, you can imagine all the muddle in my head.
– OK, let’s go back to Second to Sun. What do you think about the band’s progress?
– As a music band we’re in an eternal progression. When I formed band, I was thinking about creating actual interesting and modern music. I don’t have aims to make music for a label’s standards, or to create it to be popular among girls. That decision was simple.
When a new person wants to join the band I ask: “What will you do in the band?” If I hear answers like: “I do not know” or “Anything you say,” most probably I’ll say “good-bye.” But, if somebody has ideas which I can’t improve upon, that is not good too. I need somebody who can think the way I do.
Like Anton; He is contributing fast guitar play throughs and helping with visualization. Also, he’s recording bass guitar. Ted, is another person who’s helping me make my own unique sound. Very often I say, “Ted – it is too good for me, I want a raw dirty sound, I want a commercial sound, high up sound frequency!” Or, “I don’t care if here the drums are too loud, and the guitars don’t have reverberating effect. I want this sound.” And after that, Ted tells me how to make my ideas interesting for people, helping me sort my thoughts.
– Your first album was released. What responses did you get? What do people think about your experimental sound?
– I have got a lot different opinions, especially in Russia, here some people were a little bit aggressive at times. People in Europe and in the USA had positive reports, we found new fans there. I think our music is more adapted for foreign countries This is the reason why I’ve decided to suspend band activity in Russia.
– You are from quite a small town. Is it difficult making music in a provincial town? Do you have any problems with it?
– Yes, I’m from a small town named Uryupinsk, it’s near Volgograd. Some time ago I really thought it was difficult. But now, I can do everything by myself mostly. I have only one problem now – money. In the modern world when we have ebay and a lot of online stores, I don’t see any big problems with promotion and distribution of my music.
– Do you think the internet removes all limits and helps to provide music everywhere?
– Yes. But on the other part, this has negative moments too.
– Which negative moments?
– People (especially in Russia) don’t really value a musician’s work. They are so used to downloading albums in a good quality for free. And this is negative thing, because musicians deserve to be valued too. Nowadays, it’s really simple to find and download music, just a few clicks in browser! In the past, every record was valuable, people searching for new music and exchanging their tapes to find it.
– Let’s talk about free sharing. What do you think about it? You are also sharing music for free, but commercial success is wanted too, isn’t it?
– Actually, this is not good. Listeners need to pay for music, if they like it. Just as they are buying devices and other commodities. It is quite reasonable.
I am sharing music for free but I do not upload high quality files, this is just for listeners to get to know my music. Therefore, people who really like my music will buy it. And this is right.
Actually, I’m totally happy if my music sales can let me pay for the cover art (laughs). If I can do that, I can release a new album! All other things I can pay for myself in general.
– In other words, you do not have aims to become a commercial artist. But if you’ll get a chance, what then?
– For me, commercial success is when I have some listeners who are ready to buy my music. That’s all. If I have around me some people who want to pay for my music and who understand that they are just helping to continue the band’s activity. That is success. As concerning labels, commercial success of band for them is a just a music product. I do not want to be a music product. I do not think I’ll get that chance.
I don’t create my tunes for any commercial aims. For this, I’m playing in band named Vintergata. They are trying to be really popular, to be a trend. I do not try to make cover art that calls to you to buy them, it’s just my expressions of my thoughts. Perhaps, somebody will say that I took ideas of 90’s early black metal scene, because I’m trying to be not like everyone else. And that’s true.
– Second to Sun has been influenced by popular genres of modern music.
– Yes. But we never work with huge respectable guys from big sound recording studios (laughs). We are doing what we want. We can change our sound making multiple tracks, we are doing our own mixing. And I don’t care if the sound is dirty, because I like that sound.
– You have said a few times “dirty sound” – Why are you trying to make this “dirty sound?”
– I do not think the sound is really dirty. I just want it to be my own sound. It’s not necessarily dirty, it’s me ignoring a genres principles. Two different guitars in two channels; crazy work with a maximizer; two guitar compressors in line-out; and recording of reverberation signal on the microphone of my cheap computer headphones (laughs)! But, in any case people say our sound is trending,. I’ve heard that many times. But actually, I don’t trying to be popular I want to play modern music in my own way.
– Do you want to find your own original sound? But, I think people compare Second to Sun to other bands don’t they?
– I’m trying to be myself, I think.
Yes, they compare and sometimes I’m shocked with those associations – Ask Alexandria, for example (laughs). I very like how people tagged my music on Last.fm – progressive metal, blackened, blackcore and etc.
Very often people say Second to Sun has a similar sound with Shokran. But we are really different. I think, guys from Shokran think the same (laughs). Also, I like to be compared with Anaal Natrakh and Make Them Suffer – first one, they’re a true influence; as concerns the second, it’s true we have a similar sound I think.
– Can you tell a little about your other projects? And about Voivotus which released a new album some time ago?
– Epoch Crysis plays modern metal. Time to time, I write songs for the band, but actually I do not know what is happening with them right now. It’s better to ask Andrey Gostyuhin, I’ve heard he engaged some musicians from known Russian bands to play with him.
My other band is Vintergata. Along with me, the band consists the drummer of Akado, and a few members of other Ukranian bands. The vocalist Sasha Demidov is from Nortia. Everyone of them is pleasant person, we all have a lot of common friends, and we are working together with pleasure even if we are really far from each other.
Sasha invated me to play with the band and I was glad. I like to play such music which has roots in different genres beginning with Aria to Butterfly Temple, Astarte or Meshuggah.
Voivotus is a post-black metal band where I’m singing in my other native language Karelian. It’s unusual, very often my music without vocal. Voivotus means “yell” in English, and I’m really screaming there, also I’m making simple drum parts with electronic soft. Album contains a very different material, for example, the song “Kalmui” (it means “graveyard”) is real records of sounds of night Karelian graveyard. This project is really dark and very emotional.
– Is Voivotus a very private project? Why did you decide to sing in Karelian? It’s really rare.
– I always had a friendship with Finno-Ugrian people (laughs). When I heard Finnish spoken for the first time it felt so similar, I even could understand some words intuitively. A little bit later I knew that I had ancestors from Karelia and Komi Republic. I feel ethnic and mental ties with their national spirit and it’s wonderful. I’ve started to learn their languages; and feel finally I’ve found myself. In Uryupinsk, people are totally different and I here feel like an alien.
– What are your plans in the near future? Particularly regarding to Second To Sun.
– I’ll be making more music. I have many ideas and they are very different from song to song. I’m planning to release a new album or EP, or perhaps a few EPs. And I think he new material will become more “black.”
– Even if you are concentrating on other countries, could you elaborate on the current Russian modern music scene? How do you think Russian bands have positioned themselves to take a firmer position on the world music scene?
– It’s time to do, not to think. We need to build our own competitive music industry. I think Russian bands are already on the world scene for a very long time. Arkona, Illidiance, for example, but local circumstances are not very good. It seems that here we don’t have an extensive fan base of heavy music fans. Many people think Russia has it’s own unique metal scene, but that is incorrect. In spite of it I very much like Korol’ I Shut, a famous Russian rock bnad, even if it looks strange after all.
– Do you think Russian listeners are still totally conservative?
– Russian listeners think musicians must do everything that they want. High quality recordings, magnificent cover arts, etc. But people need to accept artist’s ideas as they are. Just like people are doing in other parts of the world. They need to give respect to people who are creating music. Many Russian artists and bands get a lot of negative responses without any reasons. And all those critics think they are helping bands to improve their skills. Actually, it’s better to buy new equipment for musicians, or to help with studio rental; and not to say every time how their recordings are bad. Very often, it happens because it’s impossible to make really high quality sound without professional equipment. But good music can exist without high quality recordings too.
– Second To Sun does not do live performances now; maybe in the future will you do some gigs and tours in Russia and other countries?
– No, I do not have such plans. Because I’m alone! (laughs) I can’t play all parts alone.
– But, perhaps, one day you’ll find missing members.
– I do not think so. I can’t give any hope to you.
– How about other bands?
– Oh, with my other bands – it’s really possible!
– So, Will Second To Sun be only an internet-project then?
– Internet-band. I’ve even had ideas to make music videos, where every member will be playing from a different place in the same time.
– Thank you very much for this long interview. Perhaps, you would like to say something to the world?
– I need to thank you, too! I would like to end this interview with words of Calculon from “Futurama.”
“From the commencement of this mysterious and dramatic scene you certainly want to know why I lured you all here.
Looks like someone in this room. … KILLER! This is me.
But the big question is, which one of you a victim! And I’ll carry this secret to the grave!!”
We’d like to thank Vladimir Klimov for this interview.
Russian version is here.