First of all, can you introduce the band members. Who are they, instruments, musical backgrounds etc.
On guitar – Serhiy Panchenko: Able to masterfully pronounce a terrifying phrase: “I got an idea”. Organizational processes are on his conscience too.
On keys – Anna Apolyarova-Galchenko: The voice of conscience and common sense. The main melody maker.
On drums – Roman Bilobrov: It is his playing that outshouts that same voice of conscience and reason.
On bass guitar – Denis Rudenko: In addition to playing the bass, roars into the microphone.
On second guitar – Vitaliy Vyshtykailo: Picks at solos better than any woman can pick at her husband.
Vocals – Alyona Eremina: Can do an octave higher, and an octave lower. And almost doesn’t panic
Are you professional musicians or do you have other jobs also?
Yes, each of us has a major job that is very far from music. Among us there are IT specialists, plumbers, embroiderers, who have their own small business. It would be more accurate to say that we are people of different professions that also do music. However, we can’t call TEREN a hobby. Rather, it is our alter ego, a place where we can breathe and plunge into a completely different world. Of course, this place takes up more and more space and time, and it’s for the better.
If a professional musician is a person who makes money with music, then we are total noobs. If we are talking about education, then yes, our Anna has a higher musical education, she also still plays the bandura. Lyoka finished music school for piano.
All the others studied independently: some in the yards, some were taught by older brothers, and then they improved their skill. Thanks god, there’s Internet and good people who teach cool lessons and show some tweaks.
The name of the band is TEREN. Can you tell us what this name means? Who came up with this name?
TEREN means a blackthorn. An ordinary inconspicuous bush that blooms in spring with an incredibly beautiful thick white flower (perhaps this is a comparison with the melodic moments in our music), and closer to winter produces black tart berries that not everyone will appreciate. But those who do – will feel the tart taste at the mere mention of the word.
In addition, despite its feigned tenderness, the bush has sharp thorns with which it defends itself.
This is what our name is about.
Although in Ukrainian and some other languages TEREN also means land, territory. It’s so significant because we sing in Ukrainian, it’s our connection to our homeland.
We were looking for a word that would not only be easy to read in Latin, but would also mean something about us and what we do.
You call your music Folk Metal. What is special about this kind of music.
First of all, these are vocal parts. All our songs contain elements of classical ancient Ukrainian singing. This is the so-called chest singing, phonetic features of the texts. In addition, we use vocabulary typical of Ukrainian folklore. Diminutive words, even the word enemy in Ukrainian songs can be kind, when he is begged for something (for example, to return a loved one or a child) or feel pity for him, because he usually dies, leaving at home everything that was dear.
We use plots and images typical of Ukrainian folk. Mythical creatures, deities, natural phenomena associated with certain rituals, symbols, etc. Sometimes we add the sounds of authentic instruments.
However, this music does not exist outside the world context. Many plots are intertwined, many of the topics we touch on are universal. But the performance and language can sound exotic to the foreign ear.
I have been listening to your songs which are on YouTube. The kind of music you make is a bit different then the “usual” folk. Is there a special reason or is this how folk music sounds in your home country? And of course it’s not common metal but Folk Metal but there are differences.
As we have already said, we are digging deep into Ukrainian culture, because no one can understand it better. It would be foolish for the Slavs to play Celtic or Indian traditional music, convincing everyone that it is true. I think that would be somewhat hypocritical. And it would mislead those who are unfamiliar with the original sources.
Moreover, folk is dynamic, it is being created even now, changing, replenishing. Preserving and multiplying what we have, preserving the cultural code – this is probably the meaning of the band’s existence. Well, yes, it pumps up. Anyway, the tandem of tradition and metal is an explosion.
Classic folk metal is not exactly the term. Rather it’s popular or known to a wide range of listeners.
The songs are all in your own language (on the video’s with English subtitles). Is there a possibility you will make videos of your songs in English.
We have already thought about it. But not yet. First, when all the bands start singing in English, an abstract space of English-speaking bands is built. It is difficult to find a distictive feature. When there is a cool song, also in the language of the performer – you involuntarily start to listen. And even if you don’t understand anything, you still pay attention, because it’s unusual.
In addition, when translating, we risk losing the flavor. What has been written for years in the manner of performance, the vocabulary, phonetics, sentence construction, sometimes simply cannot be translated in terms of the text only. You would need to write a whole article to decipher.
We understand that we theoretically lose some listeners, but we otherwise risk losing ourselves. In addition, there are many examples of bands that have succeeded with their own language.
Who in the band is responsible for the music and the lyrics?
Lyoka writes the majority of text, brings to the studio, and there begins the struggle for words, meanings, plots. But before that, the holywar is waged for the notes. Usually the song is based on a keyboard melody, a riff, or vocals. And then – what it takes. To say that someone in particular is the author of the songs wouldn’t be true. Someone more in Mara, less in Pozanich and vice versa. But everyone gets the best of their instrument.
Is there a special message in your songs?
Yes. Every song is an experience. Not always directly. But this is what we face. Mara is a story of revenge for a girl who was forcibly married to an abuser. Pozanich – about demons that eat a person from the inside, she realizes it, but loses herself. Zhadoba is about human greed in general. For us Ukrainians, this is a very painful story. Especially in recent years.
We do not teach anyone. We just give a mirror, and there you see for yourself or turn away.
Are you inspired by other bands?
If we talk about what we do, then we’re trying not to look for a sound like another band. But, of course, there are many bands that earn our admiration. And most interestingly, they are all native. Sometimes diametrically opposed. Such a mixture of FFDP, Amaranthe, Rammstein, Dream Theater, Children of Bodom, Faun, many songs and artists that can be even far from metal.
Can you tell us something about the metal scene in your country? Are there much metal bands and of course are there more Folk Metal bands?
There is a metal scene in Ukraine. At least. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of bands, but many are lazy to get up off their buttocks a little and present themselves to the listener. A lot of really cool stuff dies due to poor or no promotion. Also, we it’s just now that we have a nascent culture of management in this genre. We have few radio stations that are ready to play metal at least as heavy as Teren. Really a lot of people jump to pop, and metal is considered the music of hairy knuckleheads. But more and more people who positively do not accept anything are ready to say, not my cup of tea but it looks cool. This is a remarkable breakthrough. Although it does little to help pull the metal out of the deep underground. In order for the media to write about you, you have to be noticed by some fat foreign publication or festival. And to get on TV with really cool videos, but heavy genres, is extremely rare. I don’t know, maybe it’s some complexes?
Now, and especially after the start of the pandemic, people have fled to the streams. And there the algorithms began to open new horizons for the listener. And only then, the crowd thirsty for spectacles, goes to the concerts of bands, which they appreciated online.
Being a metalhead in Ukraine is not sad, nevertheless. Every year we have about three dozen festivals, including international ones. Even in a small town of 400-500 thousand people, there is a place to go once a week, and in larger cities – several clubs simultaneously report on concerts from Friday to Sunday. There are many to choose from.
The folk metal scene also has its listener. And the listener has something to choose from. For example, in April we will play a concert, where in addition to us there will be 4 more folk metal bands: Chur, Haspyd, Kraamola and Granat. It is easy to name 10 Ukrainian folk bands without thinking. Some have been playing for more than a year, and some have just started. And every year the list is replenished.
Is there a large audience for metal music in your country?
Most people, of course, listen to anything, but not metal. But the metal community is also large. We don’t have many sites on the Internet where you can discuss new things, so sometimes it seems that you know everyone. Although in fact the crowded areas at the festivals show that you do not know that much.
What is your (or are your) biggest wish when we talk about music?
Okay.… Let us shorten the list a bit, it won’t take long, a week at maximum. ☺ And if seriously, it would be nice to have more time and opportunities to develop in music. And a few blind media outlets that won’t close the door right in front of your nose because you don’t have the regalia. It’s not about us personally, but in general.
And yes, we want our own studio and some Wacken or Rio without panic that something can stop us: work, money, covid or war.
I think you all love metal. But do you have guilty pleasures also? And will you share them with us.
We do. We secretly listen to pop, in which there is nothing special at glance. I don’t think it makes sense to say the names, because they are local memes that few people understand.
What are your future plans?
Two concerts and festivals have already been confirmed. We are negotiating with several more sites. From a global point of view, it’s time to record an album. Maybe we’ll shoot another video before the release, but that’s not 100% confirmed.
If we talk about global plans, we are starting to look beyond the borders of Ukraine, but it is definitely too early to say. There are preliminary agreements with European teams.
Is the a possibility we can see you on stage one day in our country?
Of course. Everywhere except Mordor and Russia. We are open to proposals, ready to cooperate. The main thing is for them to wait for us. We are actually working on it.
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