1. You have just released your new album, "Return to Abandoned". Tell us more about it, please. Is there a concept behind this album? Are you satisfied with the production and the release?
On "Return To Abandoned" album weТre back a little bit to a sound of our early recordings having mixed it with the atmosphere and melancholy of "Mysticism" album. We think our new record will be interested both to lovers of our early albums as well as to lovers of the last one.
All leads and acoustic guitar parts besides his rhythm guitar section was recorded by our guitarist Warth who entered KHORS in Summer of 2009. He also brought big contribution to the songs arrangements together with Saturious, session keyboardist on our albums.
Both musical and lyrical concept in his foundation was created under influence of our ancestors faith as well as under of Scandinavian mythology in some part. We are satisfied in full with the sound quality, visual constituent and the edition of CD. I think it is the most successful release of ours throughout for a moment.
2. This one is now your fourth album. Can you give a brief overview over your past releases, and let us know what are the differences between them and how do you judge them from hindsight? Do you think your new album is your best effort thus far?
The first album "The Flame of EternityТs Decline" turned our the most malicious and firstborn. Power and melodies are harmonically combined there in. On the second album "Cold" we decreased tempo a little bit, more melodic songs there in and importance of keyboards and lead guitar increased a lot. On "Mysticism", the third album we created original atmosphere having included big amount of ambient sections, acoustic guitars and some keyboards and vocal effects.
As I told before I consider the new album as the most successful release of ours throughout. It turned out well balanced both in musical and spiritual ways.
3. KHORS is obviously a part of a sort of a network of Ukrainian bands, which share the same members more often than not. Members of KHORS also play in ASTROFAES, in NOKTURNAL MORTUM, in HATE FORESTЕ to name a few. Can you tell us more about the relations between KHORS and other Ukrainian bands and musicians? Do you consider it as sort of a "community of artists", maybe?
As KHORS gathered in 2004 none among us had no relation yet to those bands you mentioned. But still you're right about so called "community of artists" cause we are really old friends with the guys from those bands especially with the guys of DRUDKH/HATE FOREST, NOKTURNAL MORTUM and REUSMARKT. We meet them frequently in musical and common life.
4. Alas, KHORS is still not too well-known outside of Ukraine, and of the Black-/Pagan Metal-underground in particular. You have not played any concerts away from your homeland, have you? Has nobody ever invited you to play at a concert or festival in central Europe, or why else was it not possible for you to go on some sort of tour until now?
Yes, worldwide repute hasn't absorbed us yet and thats a fact)) We play a number of shows but the main part of them are in Ukraine. We also played shows in Russian cities and you know sometimes it's a bit far from us (approx. 1000 km from our city). We also played in such countries of ex-USSR as Moldova and Belarus but we haven't participated on any European tours, you're right. There are a lot of reasons of that. We had some invitations to play in Europe as far back as our second album is out but all the negotiations failed on different phases. It's been one thing after another — and our fault and negligence of a promoter and some force majeure like swine influenza epidemic that's fell upon Poland last Winter. So we have no luck to conquer Europe so far)))
But it's just a lyric. The real problem we're not in any roster. All the inquiries we sent to gigs/fest promoters, tour managers and people are into making of gigs in Europe were ignored. We know we can pay some money to play a tour or support a band but we think we better record one more album instead of doing that)))
But if there're still some potential promoters they can check our videos on YouTube.
5. The lack of recognition for KHORS, among the Metal-scene in Europe and elsewhere, could also be result of a "boycott" on part of in " particular " German metal music media and industry against bands supposed to be politically extremist. Needless to say, there are no politics in the music and lyrics of KHORS. What do you think about such "boycott" and about those who call for it?
We thought about that too. It seems to me there's some kind of phobia or caution in German mass media about dialogues with Pagan bands of Ukrainian black metal especially with our Kharkov based stage))) In this context I was a bit surprised with having received this interview from your magazine. But sure it was pleasant surprise for me))) KHORS really bear no any relation to political extremism so you misters journalist should don't be afraid of us)))
In musical world of today there's strange tendency with enlist Pagan formations to a number of so called political extremists. Some European Pagan black metal bands also had the problems alike and I think you should know about it. We had offensive experience like the situation when we were forced to refuse our performance on big festival because of famous band (German btw.) become hysterical having recognized about our invitation. The band is communist, btw. But perhaps communist extremism is not so terrible)))
6. Anyway, KHORS draws on many influences musicwise, I guess. Can you explain to us what does influence you when you write your music? Are there any other bands around who do you consider to be an influence of sorts?
Thanks for your appreciation!
We listen to different kind of music. It may influences us or not and it's difficult to comprehend when you're inside the backroom. We have two men who write the main riffs and melodies and then all the band as well as guest musicians and sometimes even FOH engineers make further arrangements. Each man can add an idea that will make a song much better. Meanwhile each of us listen to many kinds of music which can be stylistically divided on folk rock, doom, death metal, black metal, prog metal and a little of other styles. From the bands I listen to IТd like to note PORCUPUNE TREE, KATATONIA, ANATHEMA, CELTIC FROST, KING CRIMSON, PINK FLOYD, BURZUM, PRIMORDIAL, EMPEROR, GREEN CARNATION and a lot of others.
7. Your lyrics deal with Paganism, but also with Nature, with Visions and Dreams. Am I right? What are the things that influence you by writing lyrics? And what comes first in KHORS, the lyrics or the music?
Yes, the main influence is ancient faith of our ancestors Heathenism. We're also interested into Slavic and Scandinavian mythologies, various ancient symbols, fleeces. And sure the beauty of our nature inspires us on writing lyrics.
We don't separate the music from lyrics. Both sides of creativity are important. Great musical stuff with weak lyrics or other way round will look defective.
8. Ukraine is a country with a long and colorful history. There were good as well as bad times for Ukraine, but the country and its culture have never given in to enemies. What does it mean to you to live in Ukraine? Would you consider yourself Ukrainian patriots? As you surely know, Patriotism and Nationalism is something you can not find in central Europe so easily anymore. How do you think about the development in Europe, where the nations are slowly but surely replaced by some entity called the "European Union"?
First we're proud to be Ukrainians! We are proud of our Land, proud of our Nation ancestors of which tender with care and with fortiude to their destiny and destiny of their Motherland.
Sure you are right, there were different times both good and bad for Ukraine but it hasn't disappeared off from the face of the earth or even from European map and it's important. We are patriots of our land and we feel proud of its history and independence.
You have other situation in Europe and I don't think it has good influence on national consciousness. Except of crossing the borders when you can suddenly be in another country with no any problems on customs I think there are not so many benefits. One currency also has both positive and negative sides which are the weakest participants of union better feel when economy crisis. For example Greece.
As for nationalism and patriotism so we discuss this theme above yet. It's painful for the policy of European Union as it seems to me. But nevertheless each nation should have their historical heroes and pride of the NativeLand and one should not connect these feelings with political extremism.
9. Paganism: That is surely a very interesting topic. Especially when you consider that Ukraine was and is again a country with a strong Christian-Orthodox church. In the time between the Bolshevik Revolution and the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Communism attempted to replace Christianity with Atheism. I think it is not so easy to find back to the Pagan roots under circumstances like that, am I right? How have you come to Paganism, and what does Paganism mean to you in your daily life? Do you observe any Pagan rites and holy days?
I have an interest to Heathenism in youth and it increased together with shifting my musical tastes to the side of folk music, viking and black metal. Influence of church on the population in our country is strong enough but it doesn't bear an interdiction on itself on ancient beliefs and existence of Pagan communities.
Heathenism is important for us as spiritual and sacral component of our way in a greater degree. We don't adhere strictly any ceremonies and celebratings but we respect such ancient traditions as Spring and Autumn equinox, Kupala, Perun day, Wnter solstice and Summer solstice.
10. You are now working with a record label from the USA, Paragon Records. Tell me more about it, please. Are you satisfied with their work on your behalf? Was there no label from Europe interested in KHORS?
We cooperate with Paragon Records since 2008 when we've signed a contract to release our third album "Mysticism". For that moment their offer was the best one among all we've received. There were other offers from Europe and America but they conceded on some parameters to those of Paragon Records. I can definitely note that we're satisfied in full with our cooperation with label and we have no any claims. PR company and distribution are well adjusted for such not big label. In Europe our CDs now available through some distro companies that are working with Paragon Records. Besides "Mysticism" and "Return To Abandoned" albums was released especially for CIS territories by major Russian label Irond Records which is known with old and close cooperation with such labels like Nuclear Blast, Napalm, Moonfog, Relapse and many others.
11. You are going to play at the next and final Kolovorot-Festival. How many times have you played at this festival at all? What can you tell about this event? Is it something special to KHORS, and other Ukrainian bands, to be invited to this festival?
Yes, we planned and we played)) We headlined the first day of festival. Kolovorot passed amazing, there were a lot of people, great sound, perfect light and good support from fans. For us especially itТs something like meeting of old friends first and then a festival. Very good-natured domestic atmosphere, small amount of drunk people and big amount of adequate adult public. With Khaoth (KHORS drummer) we played on Kolovorot since 1998 when we played together in ASTROFAES first then I played with ASTROFAES and he played with HATEFOREST and then together again in KHORS. In all I played on Kolovorot approx. 10 times and Khaoth 7 times. There were excellent days for us and we have some to remember. Unfortunately it was the final chapter of Kolovorot festival last year. All ever ends.
12. Alright, what are your next plans in the near future? Will there be vinyl of your new album, too?
Starting from Spring we're going to work upon new songs. Across with that we plan some shows, tours and etc., just as always after new release is out.
Yes, vynil version of "Return To Abandoned" is in our plans and right now we're working upon this issue but nothing definite so far.
13. Your final words to our readers
Be sincere and honest! Love your Motherland and your family!