Grave: Hey Igor!
Grave: First Of all amazing gig at SC 2016 – What do you think about your first gig in 2016 and even more important - what are your plans this year?
Igor: The gig at Satan's Convention was amazing. We were simply thrilled that our Fans shown up to support us. Our plans this year include recording and releasing our next album and doing a select number of live rituals.
Grave: Can you already give us a glimpse of what kind of album we can expect?
Igor: Unfortunately no. We are still working on it and refining all the ideas and concepts. From the moment we have any news, we will post them via our propaganda channels.
Grave: The committee can easily be called multinational, your members come from Belgium, Scandinavia, Russia and some of you even have roots in Germany – But there is especially a strong connection to Russia – Your songs depict the history of Russia and if you listen closely, you can hear a lot of classical themes from this country throughout your works. Is this only a concept soon to be changed or what are your „roots“?
Igor: Our members have roots in different countries and because of Belgium's logistic location is not uncommon. The Russian influences are very prevalent due to the theme of “Power Through Unity” and we feel that it adds more to the album and the story behind it.
Also change is inevitable for all things in life. As for The Committee, we still follow our course in music; playing what we feel sounds good to us and what 4 of us feel is right. This is also the reason why the new album takes so long to finish. We constantly rewriting and editing the existing material and infusing it with new ideas and concepts. I can't say that we will keep the same course, but we are not planning to step over any musical frontiers either. The story of the album is just as important as the music. The classical influence is something that strikes a personal chord within us all and we feel it fits with our collaboration perfectly.
Grave: Your onstage appearance is also quite interesting, of course a lot of bands cover their faces, either with scarfes, masks or corpse paint, but you also dress up in „sovjet military style“, which I've never seen before. What is the idea behind your „stalin theme“ which also was themed on „Holodomor“?
Igor: We like to keep our stage performance focussed on the music and on the message of our songs. Our faces are not important. The music is! The matter of Stalin is our personal interest. I need to mention that we do not support (nor condemn) this person.
Grave: Your album „Power Through Unity“ received a lot of positive feedback in the underground scene and was your second considerable work after Holodomor. Please tell us the back story of the album.
Igor: Power Through Unity tells a story that takes us back in the beginning of the last century. When Germany and Soviet Union (that actually collaborated together in order to achieve an impressive industrial development ) were quickly becoming a threat to the current hegemony of power in the old world. The easiest way to eliminate this “threat” was to set up 2 nations against each other. Russian owes a great deal to Germany, as most honorable Queen of Russia (Catherine The Great ) was of German origin. In fact both nations had achieved more by mutual cooperation, than from war. That's why the title track of the album contains the German and Russian anthems. We are very pleased to see that our message has resonated with our Fans across the world and that people understand it.
Grave: In germany this topic as well as the second world war are often used to express the ultimate evil or misanthropy. I don’t need to say that a lot of people don’t get the difference between telling stories and propaganda. What are your stances on politics in music / especially in Black Metal?
Igor: The Committee is not a political band. We have stated this many times and we do not plan to expand in the realm of politics. That being said, personally I feel that choosing any political side in the metal scene would limit the expression of the potential new ideas we might want to work on in the future. As much as I tremendously respect the German speaking nations, I feel really bad for Germany itself. If I lived in Germany, I would probably feel a bit uneasy knowing that your country generously houses Nuclear Weapons of another nation that still occupies German soil and spreading its influence throughout Europe. Being born and raised in the Soviet Union, we were taught to respect all the countries in the Soviet Block and see the people who lived there as equals and not as vassals. I cannot say the same for what is being done to Germany today. I hope one day the situation will improve.
I understand the position about the topics on Hitler and Albert Speer completely. This will always be a sensitive topic in Germany and I feel that we need to look at things objectively and focus more on the future. As I told many of my German friends, if you take any other European country with the same economic situation of post WW1 Germany, the outcome of history would have probably been totally the same as those turbulent times of WW2. That means Germany and German people are not at all what the mass media wants us to believe, but there are many objective facts and circumstances that need to be examined. Overall the topic is very interesting if you look at things without any political prisms or pre conceived notions. That is probably very difficult to do these days. When you mention politics, I just want to say that we like to look at things and events from a pragmatic, cold blooded side. Everything comes down to who benefits and who loses. That is how the world works. Everything that is disguised by fancy labels and important sounding names, just takes your attention away from the facts. We feel that plunging into political themes in Black Metal would limit our creativity.
Grave: I personally listen to the lyrics closely to get what the band wanted to tell with it – Understanding this is sometimes only possible if you talk to each other instead of “raging” first. Has there been some criticism against “The Committee” by the media in the past and if so, how did you handle it?
Igor: I see your point. In our version of what is written and played in Power Through Unity album is indeed fictional, but it's the story that is important. We haven't had any criticism about our (often time controversial) approach towards the art of Black Metal. We try to keep a sober and objective view on topics we choose to write about in our music. Off course there will always be critics eventually. That is an inevitable fact. When the critics come, we will listen and reply accordingly.
Grave: What was the most impressive gig you had so far and what made it special from your perspective?
Igor: The best venue we played, was Eindhoven Metal Meeting. The most professional sound and lighting was in Czech Republic on Phantom of Pilsen show ( big support to the guys there! They are doing an amazing job organizing good bands and bringing local scene together ). The best organized gig we played was in Vienna and the best atmosphere and craziest most mental Fans are in Germany. We are grateful for their hospitality and support. It's a pleasure to explore Germany and to discover the culture, history and people.
Grave: Last question is our traditional „what-if“ question. If you had the chance to meet your younger self 10 years ago – Would you give young Igor any advice?
1. Learn new languages.
2. Read more books.
3. Practice guitar for longer periods of time.
4. Travel more
5. Spend more time with family and friends.
6. Visit at least 4 metal festivals every year. For the rest I would not say anything else.
Grave: Thank you for your time!
Igor: The Guys and me want to thank you for this interview and your review of our Ritual at Satan's convention.
Das Interview führten Grave von Undergrounded und Igor für “The Committee”
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