Fans of classic doom metal collectives such as Candlemass and My Dying Bride are sure to be inspired by the somber reveries of the mighty Apostate. Based out of the Ukraine, Apostate recently unleashed a magnificent collection of tunes entitled Trapped In A Sleep (Black Art Records) – epic in scope filled with a sonic amosphere of devastation and despair. We recently caught up with two of the members to find out more about their wondrous masterworks of doom…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Apostate, and how long the band has been together.
(Alexander) Hi, I’m Alexander, the bass-guitarist since the band’s foundation (in 1993). One of the founders of the band. Besides playing on bass, also write music, and do promotion.
Apostate in its original form existed from 1993 to 1998. During this time we recorded one demo, released a MC album and one single, also we played a pretty decent number of gigs. The biography is not very rich, as the country was experiencing quite hard times, and opportunities for doing music were very limited.
Then there was about 10 years of silence, after the band’s break-up, and in 2009 I decided to gather the band again, but with a new line-up, as former members have lost interest in this project. In the new line-up we have been together for 2 years now, and this year we were joined by our new guitarist, Andrij.
(Bohdan) Hi, I’m Bohdan, I do vocals and write lyrics, and help Alex in promotion. I’m in the band since 2009.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there?
(Alexander) The band was founded in Lviv, a western city of Ukraine, which directly borders with the EU. The local music scene is pretty saturated, but mainly in our region there are many black metal or pagan metal acts. Most of them are only known at the local level, the only band that’s received a bigger reputation in the global underground, is Kroda. As for the whole country, the most famous metal bands are Balfor (barbaric black metal), Moria (thrash metal), Mournful Gust (doom metal), and of course Nocturnal Mortum (and others which I might forget at the moment).
(Bohdan) I’d add here Drudkh and Khors, they seem to be pretty known in world metal underground.
(Alexander) I guess the main problem in Ukraine is poorly developed business structure which is supposed to help bands in their promotion. We have a pretty small number of labels (Black Art, Nocturnal Records, Griffin Music amongst them), few booking agencies (Global Promotion, which bring to Ukraine, and not only, famous acts in heavy metal, and several smaller agencies, but they all focus on bands with a worldwide reputation, and as for agencies working with local acts, I know only Metalicon, with whom we cooperate).
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Trapped In A Sleep?
(Bohdan) No specific story or concept, the album has been titled so after one of its songs, which is the most lengthy and epic one. Good song to be the album theme. And the title itself sounds pretty doomy 🙂
Where do you get the ideas for some of your lyrics? Please cite two songs in particular and what the lyrics are inspired by.
(Bohdan) The sources of ideas or inspiration are always different and unexpected. For example, “Earth Escape Plan” was inspired by some amusing scientific movie, which told about the death of the Earth because of the Sun getting older and exploding, which is going to happen inevitably, in a few billions years or so. The lyrical content of the song, first of all, is something like a darkly sarcastic reflection on the idea of the necessity of seeking salvage for mankind, which was presented in that movie. The song questions the need itself for humans to prolong their “glorious quest” of devouring everything they see and abusing everything they touch.
There are songs on this album that, unlike the mentioned above, are, on the contrary, introspective lyrically. Such is the title track “Trapped in a Sleep“, which focuses on existential, spiritual experience of a personality. The lyrics of the song, as well as its title itself, are a metaphoric description of something like a psychological deadlock, which at a certain moment is becoming acknowledged and realized by a subject.
Sorry, I won’t cite, because the ideas come to me as abstractions, as the whole, and only then they come into some lyrical form, so it just makes no sense to choose any specific fragments.
How did your tour with Therion go and what were some of the highlights? Did you get to hang out with them at all? How did you wind up on the Therion tour?
(Alexander) The tour went fine, we did not feel any pressure from such a famous band, on the contrary it was quite a warm attitude from their side, as well as the audience perceived us very well. For us it was certainly a lot to learn from such a high-level act, this experience is invaluable, because one cannot not get this by simply watching a live DVD.
Yeah, we chatted with Therion, the most communicable were one of their vocalists and drummer, with whom we hanged out on after-parties, and they always wished us a good luck before our sets.
This tour was organized by Global Promotion Agency, with the support of our booking agency Metalicon.
What could one expect from a live Apostate show?
(Alexander) When we’re on stage, we always try to do our best, so that no one remains indifferent. So far our shows have been looking as those of most doom metal bands. Now, with adding second guitarist and maybe another vocalist, this would allow us to try making some kind of theatrical show.
According to a website, your former singer Yuri is now in a pop band called Neon? Is that accurate, and if so, what do you think of his new project?
(Alexander) Yes, after leaving Apostate he created that project, but, to be honest, we could not care less for it, nothing interesting, just another standard commercial project, there are a lot of them in our country, they appear and quickly disappear from sight, which has already happened to his project, by the way.
Has your band ever played in the States or would you plan to do so in the future?
(Alexander) We’ve never played in the States so far, unfortunately, but we would really like to ride a tour across the US, because it seems to me that there is an audience in the States that always appreciates and perceives warmly this kind of music, since there’s been a lot of world famous American bands that play doom, sludge, stoner, etc (just to mention legendary Saint Vitus, from death/doom I’d pick Novembers Doom, etc). Really hope there are promoters in the States that will be interested to bring us to you.
One of the most famous/infamous bands from the Ukraine is Nocturnal Mortum. What do you think of the band and have you ever done a show with them?
(Alexander) Yes, I know some of them personally, we even had with them a few shows in Ukraine in the 90’s, great guys and musicians. Nowadays we don’t meet each other, because they live far across the whole country, and at gigs recently we do not cross. By the way, their keyboardist Alexej once helped me in my project Goliard.
What is your favorite beer from the Ukraine and is there any American beer that you are particularly fond of?
(Alexander) We have a lot of kinds of beers, my faves are probably “Zhygulivske”, “Proskurivske”. Although personally I prefer German and Czech beer. From the American beers, I tried some, but it was a long time ago (our shops don’t sell your beer), so the names I can not recall, but remember that the beer was good.
Are you involved with any other bands outside of Apostate?
(Alexander) Yes, I have a studio project Goliard (death/black), guitarist Volodymyr and drummer Ihor are playing in Disarm (thrash).
What is it you’d like to listener to remember the most after hearing Trapped In A Sleep for the first time?
(Alexander) I’d like our listener to feel that melancholy that pervades the entire album, so that this feeling for a long time had not been forgotten, and he was filled with the atmosphere of our feelings and experiences that we have tried to convey in our music. After all, we feel our music like life with its alternating the black and the white stripes, slow depressive parts are combined with, on the contrary, hard and angry riffs.
Do you have any messages for metal fans here in the States?
(Alexander) For metal fans in the States, we would like to say, stay devoted to true metal, reject all of these new-fangled trends and commercialization, support the underground, because out of there comes the best, keep your heart open for a real music.
If you like our music, buy our new album, check our news on our pages:
Hope to see you soon at the gigs in the States 🙂 Stay doom!
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)