Indie Bands Can Make Money Only If They Get Seriously Popular Abroad or Break Into the Local Mainstream, Says Andy Gushin of Korypheus

Indie Bands Can Make Money Only If They Get Seriously Popular Abroad or Break Into the Local Mainstream, Says Andy Gushin of Korypheus

Today, our guest is Andy Gushin, one of the two vocalists of the Ukrainian progressive metal band, Korypheus. Maybe some of our readers might remember that I recently reviewed their debut studio album Over the Rainbow and the album got earned its place in Metalhead Community'sStrongly Recommended Metal section. I personally admire this band and believe they already proved themselves to the world with their recent work Over the Rainbow and Icarus.

Lastly, I don't wish to go into politics at all, cause when I thought about interviewing Ukrainian artists for some time in my head, finally made the conclusion that they can benefit from all the support we can give. Being together might give them morale, every positive distraction worth trying.

Korypheus - Iсarus [Official Video]

Q1 - How would you describe a regular day for Andy Gushin? What is the percentage of making music in your daily life (before the situation)?

A1 - Well, I always try to find time for singing exercises or lessons. I still take lessons from a Ukrainian National Opera tenorIgor Mokrenko. Although the opera singing technic is far from the one we use in metal, still it serves as the foundation that a singer has to build during all his/her career. I also look into the music theory. That is apart from writing new songs with the guys or working in the studio.

Q2 - What can you tell us about the story behind Korypheus? How did it start?

A2 - The band started in 2016 at Kyiv music studio "Starway" where I was taking vocal lessons. I met other musicians who practiced there and we used to jam together for hours. I must admit those were the happiest hours that I enjoyed the most. We probably played lousily but we were so free and sincere. Right from the start, we tried to write our own material.

In 2 years I met the guys from the band Morton with whom we recorded the debut EP "Blessed" and started performing at local venues quite extensively. Our original style was hard rock/power metal. We shared the stage with such acts as Velikhan and I was very impressed by their live performances. At that point, I decided to turn to heavier stuff.

Another cardinal point was our performance at the Wacken Metal Battle Ukraine. We changed our programme for the concert having introduced more progressive songs like "Wonder". We won the second prize in the competition. I remember one of the members of the jury called us the Ukrainian Rammstein because of our live performance and gimmicks on stage. This event gave us a strong impetus for further development.

About that same time, we released our single Goliath and immediately after we were contacted by the French metal label M&O with the proposition to record the LP. The album Over the Rainbow was released in November 2020 and received well by European critics.

Q3 - What can you tell us about the musical input on Icarus? What's the story behind it? What were the main influences?

A3 - Icarus was being written with some difficulties. It took us 6 months to finish and record it. Max (our guitarist at that time) suggested some death metal riffs which were kinda new to Korypheus. We discussed various variants at length before coming to the present form. Still, I was not sure about the music in the verse part. Then suddenly a tune from Tool came to my mind. The guitarist was firstly perplexed by the idea to comfort some Tool vibe but he managed to accommodate the idea. I made 3 attempts at recording my vocal part and still was not happy with how the clean part matched the brutal second part screamed by Dan. I have to say that after the release of Icarus I returned to the studio and made another attempt. The new version of my singing will be included in the future EP.

Q4 - Where did you record Icarus? Who produced it? How was the recording process?

A4 - We wanted Icarus to be produced by the famous English producer Mike Exeter. He agreed. But in the end we dropped the idea as Mike made something very different in terms of the sound and balance from what we got on Over the Rainbow and we finally came back to Knob (Sergii Lubinsky), our original sound producer.

Q5 - What did the band focus on doing better in the making of Icarus this time? What are the differences compared to Over the Rainbow, in terms of sound design and production?

A5 - There are no big differences in terms of production between Over the Rainbow and Icarus apart from the fact that Icarus contains more harsh differences between the first more djentish part and the second brutal part. This posed a serious question about the way of wedding these two vocals.

Andy Gushin

Q6 – How would you rate the "Icarus sound" between 1 to 10? And why?

A6 - I would not try to rate it. But generally, I am happy with the work done by Knob. It is a solid world-class production. That view was confirmed by my friends from the US and Europe. We are still in search of a better interplay between cleans and screams. But I decided that I do not want any screaming technics. We just need to find the right balance between the two and make mine more powerful if still clean. That would be our hallmark.

Q7 - What you can tell us about Korypheus' musical direction when you compare Icarus with your debut release Blessed EP?

A7 - Oh gosh. These are two different animals quite frankly. Max recently proposed to remake one of the songs from the Blessed album. He highly appreciates the melodies on that first record. But in terms of the style and sound, I am afraid we are too far from that period.

Q8 - What can you tell us about the Ukrainian metal scene? Which bands/artists do you listen to? Which acts are worth mentioning for their art/music?

A8 - There are many really fantastic bands on the Ukrainian metal scene. If one takes a look at the list of nominees for the yearly Best Ukrainian Metal Act Award he will find incredible talents there.

Personally, I follow such acts as Velikhan, Space of Variations, Jinjer, Hell:on, Ignea, Nug.

Q9 – How do you feel about the feedback from the Ukrainian metal scene? Do you think Korypheus is admired and respected internationally rather than on the local scene?

A9 - I feel that Korypheus got more attention from abroad than locally. But we are fine with that. May be at some point the math curves of our music experiments and the wider Ukrainian audience's preferences will cross.

Q10 - Do you think indie music artists and bands usually don't get their investments back? Is it impossible?

A10 - Unfortunately the answer is yes, most of them don't get their investments back. It becomes possible to earn money for the band if it gets seriously popular either abroad or if it breaks into the local mainstream scene like The Hardkiss did.

Korypheus - Icarus - Music Video Fragment

Q11 - What do you think about the Modern Progressive Metal scene? Which acts are leading the genre? Who would be your number one lately?

A11 - The scene is doing just fine. The dinosaurs like Meshuggah are still rocking. Newer acts like Architects and Tesseract are still blowing minds. Animals As Leaders are flying the flag high. The experiments are still going on. I am following the UK act Hacktivist. Their fine blend of metal/rap/core is exquisite. By the way, we are planning to feature their singer Jot Maxi on one of our new singles soon.

Q12 - Bands who have been into difficult times ended up recording classics. How do you think this difficult situation will inspire Korypheus in the future in terms of music?

A12 - We are definitely inspired. Our guitarist Max has already came up with many mind-blowing ideas. Now we need to digest and comb them to record the good new EP which is coming next year.

Q13 - We are all hoping that the difficult situation will end soon. Then what would be Korypheus' future plans?

A13 - In May next year will be touring Europe supporting the Israelian proggers Orphaned Land on their 30th Anniversary Tour. As mentioned we shall release our new EP at the beginning of 2023 just before the tour.

Q14 - 5 characteristics that make Korypheus special?

A14 - feels like an exam. Lol. We all come from different musical backgrounds and have different tastes and preferences in music. It is not easy to put our ideas together but this also helps us produce something new and special. We find inspiration in ancient history and mythology. Our next single is about the Mesopotamian epic hero Gilgamesh. We are constantly evolving so please catch up with us at concerts next May because next time we may be different. Lol.

Q15 - What makes a band/artist "great", and what was the first artist/band that taught you something? What did you learn?

A15 - Gene Simmons believes that greatness can be measured by money and financial success. Maybe he is right. Alternative criteria is who answers the question among current metal bands still will be listened to in 30 - 50 year time (if any).

Metallica would be the obvious answer but for me, such bands as Deep Purple. They play a strange marvelous mixture of 50-60s jazzy standards melted into new proto-metal form. I would say they have no peers, absolutely unique, and have no successors.

Q16 - 3 albums which influenced you the most lately?

A16 -

Gojira - Magma

Tool - Fear Inoculum

Meshuggah - Immutable

Q17 - Lastly, what would you like to say to our readers?

A17 - Stay true to your beliefs, stay safe and keep going no matter what.

Indie bands can make money only if it gets seriously popular abroad or breaks into the local mainstream, says Andy Gushin, vocalist of the Ukrainian progressive metal band Korypheus

Korypheus - Icarus Single Album Artwork

Listen to Korypheus on Spotify



Indie bands can make money only if it gets seriously popular abroad or breaks into the local mainstream, says Andy Gushin, vocalist of the Ukrainian progressive metal band Korypheus

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