Interview with Theodor Bastard (translated from Italian)

All questions by Roberto Alessandro Filippozzi for Darkroom Magazine

Photo by Anna Rozhetskay

It took five years for you to write & record the new album, but I think it’s plausible, considering the amount of details and the actual perfection of the new songs: what can you tell us about the making of this new masterpiece of yours?

◁  This is not a simple question. Time is a very relative thing. It’s very difficult to say where it goes when you make music. Probably, listeners can imagine that we are constantly sitting in our studio-laboratory and tormenting instruments. I want to assure you that the real picture is very far from this. Most of the resources are needed to tune the state of mind, to find inspiration, to travel, to create a concept, and of course, to search for sound. It is not so easy to describe in words how it happens. Sometimes it’s some kind of trip to nature, or watching a movie, or a discussion within the band – “brainstorming” when we discuss certain ideas. Sometimes, of course, this is playing music together and searching for some things. Sometimes, the acoustic sound of something in the nature outdoor. I remember the case with one of the tracks: I had heard the sound of a tree squeaking in the wind and this sound prompted me to create the whole composition “Pozhato”. If we knew what the album consists of, of what type of works, if we knew our creative secret ourselves, then theoretically it would be possible to create some kind of universal technology to make powerful and hit albums. But, as we can see, none of the composers and none of the bands in the world have ever had such technology. Because no one (neither the listeners nor the musicians themselves) knows where it comes from and how it happens. The craft is of course important. Of course, we learn and know how to do many things. It is important to know the instrument and material or sound production. But it is very difficult and impossible to own the energy that passes through you from somewhere. It is not yours. All you can do is to be open enough and wait for this flow. Do you understand?

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New merch on our Bandcamp store

Dear friends, we are happy to introduce a new merch on our Bandcamp store – Pendant (amulet) “The burning sickle above us not knowing sorrow”.

Amulet was designed by Alina Kuzmina (Teoterra) and us, it is inspired by Theodor Bastard’s song “Serp” with these words in the lyrics: “The burning sickle above us not knowing sorrow”.
Pendant (amulet) is handcrafted from padauk (one of the rare wood species), covered with acrylic varnish, with a necklace made from artificial suede, without clasp, so it can be adjusted to any length you wish. Padauk is a rare wood, the core of which has this bright reddish shade. Previously, padauk wood was used to make battle drums and xylophones.

Our merch page is here: https://theodorbastard.bandcamp.com/merch

THEODOR BASTARD – LES (contemporary dance version)

Many people asked us about the dance in our music video “Les”.
Our friends – the dance group Futhark Dans – have been preparing this dance within many weeks. So we thought it would be interesting to release an alternative dance version of this music video, with the dance only.
I hope you will enjoy.

Director: Fedor Svolotch
Editing: Sergey Petrov
Cameramen: Vyachaslav Salikov, Sergey Petrov
Drone Operators: Oleg Makoseev, Philip Grigoriev
Dance production: Elizaveta Antonova & Futhark Dans
Dance: Futhark Dans

Theodor Bastard band has become a part of the world of Season of Mist label

We are very happy to share a great news with you – Theodor Bastard band has become a part of the world of Season of Mist label. It is a very big event for us.

We were an indie band for over 20 years and all our lives we learned and did everything ourselves. From recording albums to selling them. From manufacturing merch to organizing tours. We have a lot of experience in this, but Season of Mist is the first label really attracted us with its concept and its approach. And we entrust them our music and our future. We know that together we can achieve more. Living in the deep of the wild Karelian forests on the edge of the Ecumene, we can now reach the audience all over the world and tell the myths and legends of our North through our music. We thank the whole team of Season of Mist so much.

Season of Mist is the oldest worldwide famous label, formely metal, but now dark folk and neofolk too, where our beloved friends and colleagues are signed: Heilung, Garmarna, Árstíðir, etc.

The label will re-issue the “Vetvi” album (2015) and the recently released “Volch’ya Yagoda” (2020) and will release the brand new album of Theodor Bastard.

“Volch’ya Yagoda” and “Vetvi” albums will be available for purchase on Bandcamp only until October 18, 2020

Dear friends, please don’t be alarmed if you don’t find our “Volch’ya Yagoda” and “Vetvi” albums on streaming services – this is associated with very good news, but we will tell about them a bit later. It’s a secret for now. The albums will be back soon. At the moment they are only available on our YouTube channel https://www.youtube.com/TheodorBastard. Another important news: “Volch’ya Yagoda” and “Vetvi” albums will be available for purchase on Bandcamp only until October 18, 2020. After that, they will disappear from sale from this service forever. If you want to purchase these albums in high quality on Bandcamp, you can do so in the next two days. Our bandcamp: https://theodorbastard.bandcamp.com Hurry up!

Yana Veva sing in the upcoming single by Kati Rán

Yana Veva – vocalist of Theodor Bastard – sing in the upcoming single by Kati Rán – Dutch paganfolk singer and multi-instrumentalist. This epic song is inspired with Icelandic sagas. Other recording artists are remarkable: Icelandic composer Borgar Magnason and Norwegian vocalist Kristian Eivind Espedal. Borgar Magnason is one of Iceland’s leading musical figures having worked with the likes of Sigur Rós, Björk, and Brian Eno among others. Kristian Eivind Espedal is the founder of Norwegian black metal band Gaahls Wyrd. And Theodor Bastard is well-known in Russia musical band has been working in the genre of nordic folk / electronic music for over 15 years. “Working with the Nordic vocalist Yana Veva was something I have wanted to explore further, ever since hearing her during a live concert in the Netherlands. It needed the right song, the right moment and the right circumstances and for this new body of work all those components fell into place. I am very grateful for her most personal contribution to my new work” – said Kati Rán.

Excellent review from an Italian journalist in Italian

Excellent review from an Italian journalist in Italian. Only one clarification: Volch’ya Yagoda (Wolf’s Berry) in Russian is the name of a poisonous and at the same time healing berry. This folk name is difficult to translate into another language. This is certainly not Wolfberry (Goji Berry). But in general, the journalist has felt the spirit of the album and its roots. Respect! For anyone who read in Italian: http://rock-impressions.com/theodorbastard3.htm

Italian journalist Giancarlo Bolther talked to Fedor Svoloch

There are not many interviews with Theodor Bastard in English and the more valuable they are. Here is an outstanding Italian journalist Giancarlo Bolther (rock-impressions.com) talked to Fedor Svoloch, the founder of Theodor Bastard. Fedor “In general, in the term World Music, in this concept itself there is something flawed. I began to understand this only recently. It’s like Thai beads that local residents sell to tourists in order to somehow survive, and the tourist brings them home and shows them as an exotic. That’s what the modern genre of World Music is. This is not so joyful. And at some point, we realized that with our Africa and other things, we are like these tourists with beads. But we were born in the north, all my and Yana’s childhood passed in the village on a farm. We are familiar with old folk songs, Slavic spells and lullabies. Since childhood, we heard the sound of a gusli, a harp, a beep. Why not record it, why not sing about what is closer to us?” See more: bit.ly/3fPapuf

the Bandcamp action is happening today

Dear friends, the Bandcamp action is happening today. You could greatly support us if you would buy our releases today. Because today all the money from sales is received by musicians without any fee. Now, in addition to releases that were not in your collection yet, and to new album, you can purchase the collection of remixes – album Remixed – in maximum sound quality. And one more good news: you can buy all our releases at once with a 15% discount here: https://theodorbastard.bandcamp.com

Finnish journalist Tuomas Harviainen has written a review about new album

An amazing Finnish journalist Tuomas Harviainen has written a review about new album by Theodor Bastard for the magazine Kultturivihkot. It was released in the rubric «Top soundtracks for our quarantine times»:

«”The Russian-Karelian arts collective, Theodor Bastard, formed around Fedor Svolotch, in turn keeps changing its style from one disc to the next. They make game music as well as ethno, and one never knows what is coming next.

Their newest album, Volch’ya Yagoda (2020), is however quite traditional modern folk music, where one can hear both nyckelharpa and jouhikko. The band, as always, shows here its’ members’ undeniable mastery over what they decide to do.

Yana Veva’s is just as big a pleasure to hear as always, in any genre. And the material dances brilliantly between the clichés of Slavonic folk, Eurovision song contest mentality, and machine influences, but never ever crosses over to being corny in any way.

The single from the album, Les, is soft and beautiful. It does not really stand apart in style from the other pieces, but the lack of a clear “hit” often does good for albums in this genre. Due to that, on the other hand, for example Urzala shines out with its strength. The band’s instruments are clearly recognizable from each other and the album’s production quality is nothing short of perfect. So if you are like me and feel bad about missing the Kaustinen folk festival this year due to the circumstances, this album should work as an excellent substitute.»