Artyom: Well, we have been very active live since the release of our debut album “A Step Into The Waters Of Forgetfulness”. The band took part in several festivals including the biggest metal festival in Belarus – Metal Crowd, sharing the stage with the bands like: Hate, Susperia, Arkona, Mors Principium Est, Thy Disease, etc. Woe Unto Me also shared the stage with legendary Shape Of Despair and Saturnus, performed together with Ereb Altor, Blindead, Autumnal and many other bands in Baltic States, Poland, Russia and Belarus. And of course we were composing new material for the second album.
2.Recently you have released a new album, how would you describe the musical sound that is presented on the recording and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
Artyom: The new album is full of experiments. It’s much more mature and meaningful than our previous release. It’s also much more heavy and diverse. We have used many interesting and unusual instruments like saxophone, duduk, bassoon or even rainstick and tambourine, many different samples and noises. We have invited several special guests like Daniel Neagoe from Clouds, Eye Of Solitude and Shape Of Despair, Thomas A.G. Jensen from Saturnus, Jón Aldará from Hamferð, Barren Earth and Patryk Zwolinski from Proghma-C, ex-Blindead. This album is really very intense and powerful.
3.Also this recording is a double album, can you tell us a little bit more about the musical style in the second disc which is in a different direction?
Artyom: Yes, the second part of the album is concentrated on the acoustic sound. It’s more soothing and melancholic. It’s full of sadness and despair but also full of beauty and solace. There is a wide range of clean vocals in it and I think that in general the second disc appeals to a much wider audience.
4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the newer music?
Artyom: Just like it was with our debut album its successor is also a reflection of ourselves, our feelings and emotions but “Among The Lightened Skies The Voidness Flashed” is much more personal and even intimate than “A Step Into The Waters Of Forgetfulness”. It deals with the events of our personal lives, sometimes very tragic events, that’s why this album is almost a catharsis for us. It may seem less conceptual for the listener than our previous work but emotionally it’s one indivisible canvas which is full of grief, regret and despondency.
5.The band has been around since 2008 but waited until 2014 to release any music, can you tell us a little bit more about the first 6 years?
Artyom: Yes, the band was created in the end of 2007 / beginning of 2008, but during next 3-4 years we were working under material for the debut album and were searching for musicians to complete the line-up, cause in the very beginning there were only two of us, Dzmitry and me. So only in 2012 we started the recording process and it took us more than a year to record, mix and master everything. Then we were looking for a label and finally in February 2014 we have released our debut album via Solitude Productions.
6.What is the meaning and inspiration behind the name 'Woe Unto Me'?
Artyom: Creating a band our aim was to reflect in our music all our negative experiences like feelings of loss, depressions, solitude, all our sorrows and afflictions. You know we wanted to create something beautiful from all of these negative emotions and feelings cause we believe that the darkest thoughts can become the most inspiring if you use them the right way. And searching for a good name for our band we came up with an idea to name it “Woe Is Me” cause it was perfectly reflecting our ideas. But some time later we have found out that there is a band in the United States with the same name playing some emo-core music or something like that so we decided to change the name, but as we were so addicted already to our idea we decided to change just one word using preposition “unto” instead of “is”. That’s how the name Woe Unto Me appeared.
7.What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Artyom: We really love to play live so every show for us is a great event and experience. It’s too hard for me to choose the best gig. They are all different and all are special to me. Describing our stage performance I can say that it’s a bit like a theatrical play, we are completely immersed in our performance and try to make the listener plunge into our atmosphere together with us, using all the means for it, like music, our appearance and moves, video background. Our sound is really heavy, full of all-pervading gloom and sorrow, covering the listener with a blanket of catatonic despair.
8.Do you have any touring or show plans for the new album?
Artyom: Yes, sure. We are getting ready for several tours promoting our new release. The first one which is called “The Fall Of Affliction Tour 2017”will start in less than two weeks with our appearance at Doom Over Kiev Festival, where we will for the first time present our new material and share the stage with such bands as: Swallow The Sun, Saturnus, Clouds, Eye Of Solitude and many others. Then we will continue the tour with our friends Psilocybe Larvae from Russia, Frailty from Latvia and Nebulae Come Sweet from Belarus, visiting 2 cities in Poland, 2 in Lithuania, 2 in Latvia, 1 in Estonia, 3 in Finland, 3 in Russia and 3 in Belarus. And the second tour is going to take place in January and will be concentrated mostly on the Balkans. We have already announced the show in Sofia, Bulgaria on January 21st together with Ophis, Eye Of Solitude, Evadne, Self-Hatred and some more bands. And the rest of the shows will be announced soon, around 15 shows in general on that tour.
9.On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of funeral doom metal?
Artyom: Well the album has been released few days ago so we’ve received only couple of reviews and comments yet. Most of them are really positive. People were a little bit surprised by the duration of the album, cause it’s almost 2 hours in general, but most of them didn’t even notice the time passing by while listening to it. So we hope that more opinions will come soon, we are ready of course for the critics also, we are just curious about how people will accept our new creation, what feelings will it arouse in them, will they feel our vibes and our emotions while listening to it. So let’s just wait.
10.Are any of the band members currently involved with any other bands or musical projects these days?
Artyom: I play in several bands and most of them are quite active. A technical progressive death metal band DEATHBRINGER recently has recorded a second full-length album after several years of silence. This band is originally from Belarus, but now mostly consists of musicians from Poland. The band had a long break in the concert and studio activity. But now we are back to the front and it’s awesome. This new stuff is very technical and brutal. Now we are finishing the process of mixing and mastering.
DISLOYAL is an old band from Poland, which performs also technical death metal. We’ve released 4th album called “Godless” in 2015 via Ghastly Music / Amputated Vein Records (Japan) and were looking for additional musicians for quite a while to start performing live again. Looking forward to some more active concert plans of this band in the next year.
The next band in which I perform is THY DISEASE – pretty well-known industrial groove metal from Poland. After the release of their sixth album in 2014 they really tour a lot in Europe. But unfortunately I can’t be present on all the gigs, so very often they perform in a shortened line-up. The new album is also recorded and is in the process of mixing.
And one more project is called AMENTIA, also from Belarus. It’s a progressive, sometimes even avant-garde brutal death metal. It’s a studio project, at least at the present moment. We have recently released new album called “Scourge” via Satanath Records (Russia) / Amputated Vein Records (Japan).
Concerning other members of Woe Unto Me our vocalist Oleg and drummer Pavel have some more musical projects. One of them is called Dominator – it’s a brutal death metal where they play together, Oleg plays the guitar and Pavel is playing drums. The band is just preparing its first demo. And Oleg has also some other projects which are more like in the state of so called germination.
11.Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
Artyom: Really hard to say, heheh. I really don’t want to predict anything, our ways are inscrutable. We love to experiment a lot so who knows what will be next.
12.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your newer music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Artyom: Each of us listens to different genres of music and every kind of music can be inspiring and can influence our creativity, and it’s not always doom metal. If we speak about influences of doom metal and its sub-genres then I can name Shape Of Despair, Clouds, Hamferð, Saturnus, My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and many others, but there are bands of different genres who have also a very strong influence like Opeth, Ulver, Katatonia, Wardruna, Mastodon, Leprous, Pain Of Salvation, Meshuggah and many more. We are really open-minded and try to draw our inspiration from various sources. Anyway of course we are trying to build our own sound and I think you will definitely notice it listening to our new album.
13.What are some of your non musical interests?
Artyom: Music is both my work and the biggest of my hobbies. I play in 5 bands, compose music for most of them, write lyrics, and I also sometimes work as a session musician. I work in a concert agency, organizing some tours and travelling with the bands as a tour manager, so my whole life is connected with music. Of course I have my personal life, I love to travel, I love to watch movies and read books when I have time for this.
14.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
Artyom: Listen to our new double album “Among The Lightened Skies The Voidness Flashed” on our Bandcamp page ( https://woeuntome.bandcamp.com ), or YouTube ( https://www.youtube.com/woeuntomeband ) and if you like what you hear show us some support by buying a record via Bandcamp or our label Solitude Productions ( https://solitudestore.com/en/product/woe-unto-me-2017-among-the-lightened-skies-the-voidness-flashed/ ). And we really look forward to seeing you on tour! Thank you very much for your interest and support! Stay doomed!