In the year of 2017 the US black metal scene got another promising horde by the incarnation of Automb. The rising black star on the horizon of Pittsburgh is already in preparation for their second strike. So read on my chat with guitarist Serge Streltsov and be prepared for a massive blackened assault!!!
Hi Serge! You've already started recording material for your second full-length album. What can you tell us in advance about it? I mean, how many songs will it feature, what kind of musical direction will it have, where the recordings will take place, in what line-up, etc.
- This material is a lot stronger and more aggressive. Probably is more riff oriented than the last record. A lot of hooks. I figured out which songs/parts worked best after releasing "Esoterica". It's probably more on the aggressive and fast side of black metal like Marduk and Dark Funeral. There are also some mid paced tracks. There will be either 8 or 9 songs plus intros and all that. The recording line up is once again me, Danielle and Scott Fuller. Me and Danielle are tracking all our parts at my home studio. Scott is gonna record his parts at his studio and then he'll mix and master it there as well.
Your debut album "Esoterica" was very well received by both the fans and the media. It was issued in three different physical formats (CD, MC & LP) by four different labels (Satanath Records, Final Gate Records, Bruder des Lichts & Heritage Recordings). Did you get any statistics from these labels regarding the sales? Which label will be going to release your new stuff?
- I haven't asked in a month or 2, but we sold most of it already. Not sure which label will release the next one yet. But we have a few options.
On the 13th of June you've premiered the music video for the song called "Into Nothingness" via Revolver magazine. The visuals for it were executed on the highest level and it also shows major progression compared to your previous video clips. Who was responsible for the video shooting and where was it filmed?
- It was filmed and edited by Shane Mayer of Cerebral Audio Productions. It was filmed on the property of his studio in Pittsburgh.
You've recently announced your first US/Canada tour, which will take place between 17 & 24 of August, 2019. In what line-up will you go on that tour? Can you please reveal the setlist for that North American raid? Are you going to include some special cover song there?
- The line-up is me, Danielle and Matt Francis. We might also get a session rhythm guitarist for this run. We will be playing every song off of "Esoterica", except for "Frozen". We will not be playing covers. Maybe one day.
I see you have a great passion towards Dissection's musical heritage. When did you listen to Dissection for the first time, which album or song was it? Did that occasion cause any significant changes to your musical worldview? If so, what sort of changes? Please also list us your most beloved tracks, although I am sure it will be a tough task as I personally like everything released by Dissection.
- I think I heard "Reinkaos" a bit when it came out, but I wasn't really into the band until some years later when I picked "Storm of the Light's Bane". Once I heard that album it changed my whole view on black metal song writing and it influenced my guitar playing style very much. There are so many good songs and yes I pretty much love every single song. I guess I can name a few: "Thorns of Crimson Death", "The Somberlain", "Night's Blood", "Soulreaper", "Black Dragon", "Black Horizons", "Maha Kali", "God of Forbidden Light".
You've born in Luhansk (Ukraine). When did you move to the states, more precisely to Pittsburgh (Pennsylvania)? How do you like the life over there, both as a US citizen and as a musician? When did you visit Ukraine for the last time? By the way, is there any chance to play there with Automb, for example in the frame of a European tour?
- I moved here a little over a decade ago. Life here has mostly been positive and it's made my dreams come true as a musician. Last time I was in Kyiv was 2015. We are hoping to do a Euro-tour next year. Would love to get some Ukrainian dates. If I get a say in the tours routing, I'll definitely will try to push for it.
In what tune you play lately? What kind of gear (guitars, amps, cabinets, effect pedals, strings, etc.) you use for the live rituals, in the studio and at your rehearsal room?
- We play in B standard (B, E, A, D, F#, B). For the live set up I use an LTD MH-1000 Evertune and an LTD Eclipse Evertune guitars, Peavey 6505+ head with a Mesa 4x12 triple rec cab. I also use an Ibanez tube screamer pedal for the boost along with some noise gate, Electro-Harmonix MEL9 for the keyboard synth pad and a Boss DD7 delay. For studio it's pretty much the same, except Scott added a Boss HM2 pedal for the tone.
Automb's style was defined as esoteric black metal. I suppose this definition has a strict connection to your lyrics, right? Would you describe your lyrical content to the readers in an in-depth form? Can you please reveal us the topics that will be used for the lyrics on your upcoming album?
- Yes our lyrics talk about all things occult. On the last record we talked about many different spiritual paths: Norse, Slavic paganism, Vedism, Left Hand Path, etc. We pretty much connected the dots on all of 'em. The next album is going to be based on the Left Hand Path, Chaos worship. It's going to be similar to Dissection's "Reinkaos", but more on the nightside of paganism rather than biblical "Satanism". But a lot of concepts are very similar. It's our own version of Chaos propaganda.
You've been a member of Necrophagia for almost 2 years, so I can just suppose how crazy things were happened to you there. By the way, how did you hook up with Killjoy & Necrophagia? As an in memoriam to Killjoy, please tell us about your experience in Necrophagia.
- I met Killjoy when my old band opened up for Taake. He came over to my merch table and I instantly recognized him and we clicked right away. He was telling me that he was looking for a drummer for his new band Haxxan and he wanted me to do it. Later on down the line he needed a guitarist for Necrophagia and he asked me to join the band 2 weeks before a show. Then we started writing the new album and we did 2 amazing European tours, which were filled with great memories. It was a dream come true type scenario. I was a huge fan of the band for many years before I joined. We had a lot of songs and tours ahead of us, but unfortunately nothing lasts forever.
Thank you very much Serge for taking the time to answer my questions. Last esoteric incantations are yours.
- No problem! Thank you as well. Hail Veles! Hail Chaos!