Exploring Traditional Ukrainian and Russian Songs - Insights from Artyom Prishchepov of Evoking Winds

Exploring Traditional Ukrainian and Russian Songs - Insights from Artyom Prishchepov of Evoking Winds
Exploring Traditional Ukrainian and Russian Songs - Insights from Artyom Prishchepov of Evoking Winds

Evoking Winds is one of the promising indie folk/atmospheric black metal bands from Belarus, who are planning on their new releases in 2021, and featured here on Metalhead Community with their debut album, Towards Homestead review. We have made an exclusive interview with the band regarding Evoking Winds, their debut album Towards Homestead, the band's future plans as well as the black metal scene in Belarus, and the situation of up and coming bands.

In case you'd like to know more about Evoking Winds,

“Atmospheric metal meets folklore fantasy in music by Evoking Winds. It’s a mixture of stormy blast beats with an epic ambiance and a healthy dose of Eastern Europe’s dark tales.”

Q1 - When and how Evoking Winds was born? And what does this project mean to you?

A1 – You and I at least once felt an interesting thing: a happiness and grief for what you love and won’t likely face again. It’s like turning the last page of Lord of The Rings reading it for the first time. It’s like watching the sunset together with Yennefer in Corvo Bianco understanding that your quest is over. It’s like remembering folklore stories from your granddad who told you about the ancient times. Didn’t you dream of the other stories that could live in these worlds?

In some sense, Evoking Winds project talks about what could be there. It becomes home for all these feelings.

And music is a means of telling emotions. In many senses this project started when my friend Ivan and I figured out we share a lot (how can the bands even start in different way?). It was around 2008, we met at university and started making some vibes. Nothing serious at all, but it was fundamental for us: we continue writing the stuff after 13 years.

Q2 - How is the feedback since your debut album release; TOWARDS HOMESTEAD?

A2 – You know, we were touched by the fact the themes we implement are so common among the people. Thus, it’s easy for the listener to feel exactly what we were trying to say in our music. Shared feedback shows us that we all speak one language, and this inspires us.

Q3 – How did you guys decide to record these songs professionally, can you tell us the story?

A3 – Here’s the story: you’re talking to the musician who loves music to the moon and back but doesn’t like to play at all. That’s my weakness, my fingers always play worse than my brains do, lol. If I spend tons of time training my fingers, I lose the time I can do what I really love to do. So, it ended up like this: music starts in my mind and ends up as the notes in the sheet or some midi. It just a matter of taking a walk in the park and you get a soundscape in your head, with harmonies and melodies, all the things you really need to create is some fresh air.

For a long time, it was nothing close to professional music and songwriting. I’ve studied folk wind instruments (various kinds of flutes) and Ivan plays bass: we wrote and arranged a lot, digging into the virtual instruments until we got the full team able to sound properly.

Q4 - What can you tell us about the thematic/lyrical approach in "Towards Homestead"? What were the main influences?

A4 – In the debut album we explored traditional Belarusian, Ukrainian, and Russian songs. There’s a culture in our countries where people in villages sing a lot of the songs, and the singing tradition is inherited from old woman to her granddaughter. It’s very interesting and tells a lot about how our people felt in this old world. What was the world these songs came from?

We’ve put texts and song backgrounds on our YouTube channel release, so the listeners can understand the context of the lyrics.

Q5 - Where did you record the album? Who produced it? And how are you feeling about the outcome so far?

A5 – Right now I own private studio, where all the production happens: mixing and mastering myself, sometimes inviting other sound engineers for the feedback. The reason I do so is because you need to have very good communication skills to achieve everything you want in terms of the sound working with the external production team. And I don’t have such a skill, lol. Instead, am maniacally possessed with the hardware. RME, Universal Audio, Audeze – how much pleasure you can feel in these words, don’t you?

Long story short, for the last 15 years I learned to do the production by small steps taken every single day. Of course, there’s a lot of amateur stuff in the way we sound, but what is important – the music sounds exactly as it sounded in the mind during composing and arrangement phases. The way it never sounded back in the days when there was no today’s brilliant team. So, we’re totally satisfied with the outcomes.

Q6 – Towards Homestead was released back in 2008. What were the reasons Evoking Winds hasn’t released any music since that time?

A6 – I’m not really social, so that’s why I didn’t know other professional musicians who can assist me with proper recording until recent times. The initial versions of the albums released back in the days would remind you dungeon synth with some crazy sounding guitar virtual instruments – it wasn’t the quality I’d like to go with towards wide public.

Now it’s different. Some years ago, I’ve met Yaroslav Korotkin, who introduced me to his friends Sergey Shulzhenko, Dima Sarychau and Alexander Cherepanov – and I’m proud the guys decided to join the sail. This is the best team one could dream of – talented, hardworking, empathic, and reasonable.

Q7 - What can you tell us about the short and long-term objectives of Evoking Winds? What is the next checkpoint?

A7 - Speaking frankly there are 4 more full-length conceptual works out of our past we’re going to release this autumn. The next album re-issue is scheduled for September 15 and digs into darker colors of the folklore comparing to the debut.

After we publish the past stuff, there are 3 more albums scheduled for the coming 2 years – there’s a lot of work, and we work hard to make this real. All the material is written and will enter the recording phase when we clean up our backlog a bit.

Q8 - How is the current situation there in Belarus in terms of live music? Do you feel like everything is getting back to normal?

A8 – Covid-19 restrictions still affect the way music stage appears to be in Belarus, but it’s slowly recovering.

Speaking frankly, we don’t have the plans to perform live. Our musicians live across the globe, have families and children to raise. Your kids never get younger, so it’s a decision we made. However, you also can’t get too old for rock-n-roll, so maybe we’ll go wild when our beards become white. For now, it’s more like Summoning-style approach to music.

Q9 - What can you tell us about the black metal scene in Belarus? About the general mindset and approaches? Any successful acts you'd like to shout out here?

A9 - Belarusian black metal scene has always tended to be into true black metal. I can highly speak of Khandra, Kruk and Krumkač: each of them is powerful, blasts with rough energy, has deep lyrics and conceptual sound. Until recent time it all was underground, but now the online presence made the bands famous far away from Belarus. If you’re not familiar with Belarusian black metal, start here.

Q10 – Which genres are leading the metal scene in Belarus at the moment, and how do you guys feel about this?

A10 – I think Belarus is strong with metal related to folk. I can name our titans Gods Tower and Znich, but also younger generation as Drygva or Dymna Lotva. Each band is so different from the other, it’s like a completely different universe each time. I’m not the one who may review, but I can strongly recommend.

Q11 - About the current situation in the music industry, do you believe up-and-coming bands have a better shot than before? or they have lost the essence to make the necessary impact on listeners because there are so many people out there constantly making releases?

A11 – If you choose to listen something now, this means you won’t listen to something else. There’s just too much music to listen it all. Thus, competition for minds grows. The competition drives quality at any industry you can imagine and that is the absolute good. You need to keep the high bar, your album can no longer include mediocre tracks, especially if you design the music to be listened as a whole album at once. That is why we appreciate the current times, since you need to work hard to be heard.

Q12 - Top 5 artists/bands influenced Evoking Winds?

A12 –

  1. Moonsorrow
  2. Enslaved
  3. Summoning
  4. Jeremy Soule (Skyrim, Morrowind OST’s)
  5. Paul Romero (Heroes of Might and Magic III OST)

Q13 - Top 5 albums influenced Towards Homestead?

A13 -

  1. Hvarna – “Wheel of Returning” / Belarusian folk ambient
  2. Guda – “Archaic Ritual Songs” / Belarusian traditional folk
  3. Znich – “Kryzhy-Abyaregi” / Belarusian folk metal
  4. Anorexia Nervosa – “Redemption Process / French symphonic black metal
  5. Burzum – “Hvis Lyset Tar Oss / Norwegian black metal

Q14 - Lastly, what would you like to say to our readers?

A14 – Thank you. It was a damn ton of text, and I’m glad we’ve come through it together. It would be a pleasure to continue the journey on our Youtube channel – don’t hesitate to comment, we would be glad to talk.



For those who crave more raw talent and fierce tracks, our 'Monsters of Metal Underground' playlist awaits your discovery.