Interview: Khaoth of Khors

Українська версія рецензії: Daily Metal

Following the big news from Khors earlier this month we decided, together with our Ukrainian partners from Daily Metal, to ask them a few questions about their impending opus.

You just announced details about your upcoming full-length album, Where the Word Acquires Eternity. You dedicated it to the Slovo House and “Executed Renaissance” as a whole.  What made you want to talk about this part of the modern history of Kharkiv? What does it mean to you ?

Firstly, we ourselves found out this story not a long time ago, and we were very surprised that the phenomenon of the Slovo House and such a huge piece of culture in Kharkiv is still remains some “self-study” subject. For example, I lived in a neighboring area for a long time walked by this building for thousand times, without any clue what is this and how important is it. Some plaques on it were also installed quite recently. But this building still exists, people live in these apartments and some of them probably don’t know who was the previous owner. This story is touching literally and figuratively and that’s what’s make it even more exciting and meaningful. And of course it will have a special value for Kharkiv residents.

As you bring this topic to an international audience, is it a matter of representation? Kharkiv seems to be a grey zone when it comes to the wide historical and political scene. You don’t enjoy a similar reputation as Lviv for example.

Khors during the Ragnard Winter Nights tour in 2017.
Picture by Chris Besse.

There was no such goal to popularize Kharkiv through the history of “Slovo” House. Although, if someone pays attention to this history, to the life and work of poets in particular, we will consider that we have made some minimal contribution, of course. I don’t think that Kharkiv is significantly different from Lviv on the political scene: both cities have their own characteristics for Ukrainians, their own politicians – some of them are very popular far beyond their hometown. Unfortunately, to some extent because of them, Kharkiv is not perceived as a Ukrainian city in the full sense of the word today. Historically, it’s a very different city from Lviv, but both of them play a big role for modern Ukraine. For example, probably not everyone knows that the slogan “Glory to Ukraine” was born in Kharkiv. And, again, despite the fact that Kharkiv was the capital of Soviet Ukraine, it was the main bridgehead for Ukrainian culture at that time, as we see. Of course, this could not pass without consequences: you can see for yourself the importance of Kharkiv in the cultural and musical life of modern Ukraine (and it is not only about extreme metal, but also about many other musicians, cultural and artistic figures), styles and trends.

Musically speaking, what can we expect from Where the Word Acquires Eternity? Will it be in the vein as the new compositions on Beyond the Bestial?

This question cannot be answered unequivocally, as the compositions in Beyond the Bestial are quite different. I could say that Where the Word… is a fusion between Return To Abandoned and Night Falls Onto the Front of Ours in terms of compositions’ structure and atmosphere, but it will be vague. The new album sounds like Khors. Good or bad – it’s for you to decide. If you didn’t like what Khors did before this album, we’ll save you time. If you are with us, you are sure to find what you love, but in an even more refined, mature, and, if you allow me, more professional form. Like a well aged cognac.

When you released Night Falls onto the Front of Ours, you stated it was crafted in difficult times for the country and that you had special feelings towards it. Does Where the Word Acquires Eternity comes in a special context as well ? Do most of your albums have some kind of history of their own?

Each album has its own story of creation, of course. Night Falls… was created for a long time as a reaction to the events that took place at that time in our country, and then the label was unable to release the album in the previously agreed time, so we had to wait for its release for eight months.

Helg at the Ragnard Rock Festival in 2016. Picture by Melissa Beugnies.

There were no such shadow hanged over the creation of Where the Word…. There were some difficulties, lots of debate, a lot of hard work on all the arrangements – something we did not do before or did, but not so thoughtfully. Probably Where the Word… will be the most mature album for us, as musicians and arrangers. Of course, as of today.

With hindsight, how would you describe the evolution of the themes of your lyrics? Has it especially changed over the past few years?

Khorus and Helg usually shared the authorship of the lyrics and Jurgis joined them on Beyond the Bestial. Each of them has their own approach to lyric writing. I don’t want to judge how this approach changes and evolves, especially when the concept often changes from album to album. The lyrical component is something we are constantly working on and improving and thematic difference of the albums helps us in this.

Where the Word Acquires Eternity will be the first album without Helg, who had been there from the beginning as well as a productive member when it comes to composing. How did his departure affect your functioning as a band?

We started active work on the album after Helg’s departure, so there was no collapse associated with it.

As a consequence, Andres replaced him. Has he been in others bands or is he a newcomer?

Andres is a good old friend of Jurgis, they worked together on recording and mixing of Jurgis’ project Sanatana. We didn’t have any plans to replace Helg with other guitarist, just to work on a new album as a three-men-band, but Jurgis insisted that Andres should come to rehearsals as the second guitarist, just to play the main guitar parts. After the first two and probably the most effective rehearsals in the band’s last five years, we agreed immediately that we should offer Andres to become a full member, and we are glad that he accepted our offer.

He arrived during the period following your EP release which was named Beyond the Bestial. Define “bestial”.

Do you want to say that Helg was the personification of the “bestial”? No, the meaning is a little different.

Talking about shows. As the current situation offers no grounds for realistic concerts to happen, I think we can afford some fantasy. If you were to play on a three bands bill, which band would you love to be supporting and which band you choose to open for you?

Khors at the Ragnard Rock Festival 2016.
Picture by Melissa Beugnies.

We never liked all these “support topics” because we always knew what does it means in our situation. We never aspired to this and always preferred just to go to the concerts of our favorite bands as a listener. Of course, we played as an opening act more than once. Last time it was in 2013. Khors and a couple of other bands played with one big band (we won’t mention the names) in the club on the way home from the European festival. We were allocated the smallest possible cabin, which housed some guitar cabinets and warm beer. Even two people could barely fit there. With this, headliner’s dressing room a wedding table. It’s not about that we were not satisfied or something else – these are the realities, it happens almost everywhere. On the other hand, we like to play at well-organized festivals, of course, in a good line-up, with professional conditions, when everyone is doing his job, everything is fine, everyone is relaxed and happy.

A similar question is about support – I don’t even like how it sounds. Of course, we would like to be at a concert with our friendly bands, with our soulmates, these are the best conditions for us. It would be nice to play again with Skyforger – “followers of the traditions” of the 90’s underground – a time when there was maximum friendship and support among bands and musicians. This is when the band orders Jack Daniel’s for the rider not to drink it at the hotel after the concert, but to pour it into the horn and to pass it around. We really miss this atmosphere, now it’s all out of respect. Pretentiousness and showing off are respected now. It would be nice to share the stage, of course, with our old mates and friends Kzohh, Gods Tower, Raventale, Barkasth – our collaborative Romanian tour was one of the best in our history. It’s always nice to meet the Czechs Panychida again, the guys from Hell:on, the real hard workers of Ukrainian heavy metal.

Do you have any message for our readers at the Moshville Times and Daily Metal?

Be happy!

Khors: official | facebookyoutube | bandcamp

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June 23, 2020 1:32 PM

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