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From Russia with despair. Russia and former Soviet countries are great purveyors of Doom - of the darkest kind. Together with Solitude Productions, Endless Winter is another label that dedicates to Doom Metal, and with bands as talented as Sadael, Aura Hiemis or Mirror Morionis, its roster is more than interesting. We had a chat with Gennady, the label's founder.

Interview with Endless Winter (Label).
(1) Hello Gennady, and thanks for agreeing to be interviewed for Doom-Metal.com. Could we start by asking you to introduce yourself to our readers: who are you and where are you from?

Well, no problem - I'm an ordinary person, working as a system administrator, my hometown is Rostov-on-Don on the South of Russia.

(2) What's it like there - nice place to live? Good for businesses? Good for music?

No. Life here is very difficult for various reasons. As for heavy music - here it almost doesn't exist. It isn't interesting to ordinary people. And I am not a businessman - I don't gain income from my occupations. Rather it can be considered a hobby.

(3) What's your history with music - what did you grow up listening to? What else - apart from Doom - do you still listen to now?

Well, it is a very long story. In the childhood I listened to hard rock - Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, 10 Years After, T.Rex, Grand Funk. And Black Sabbath, so it is possible to consider that I started listening to doom already then. In the 70's there was already another kind of rock - Wakeman, Manfred Mann, Styx, Queen, such pleasant nonsense.
Metal appeared after, and it became already a little more interesting. In those years I liked Candlemass and Celtic Frost. Since the beginning of the 00's I completely passed to doom.

(4) So, how did you discover Doom, and what makes it special for you?

I was absolutely fascinated by Shape of Despair when they appeared, and this played a crucial role. Since then my main priorities are a slow rhythm, a beautiful melody, beautiful voices. In 15 years nothing really changed, I still love the same bands - Ankhagram, Lethargy of Death. I consider doom as the major direction. It is so various!

(5) You've mostly released Death and Funeral Doom albums? Are those your favourite genres, personally? What do you think about Traditional forms of Doom?

Yes, these are my favourite genres. I do not really like clean vocals, they irritate me. Even more I can't stand screaming in heavy metal. Generally, so-called traditional doom isn't pleasant to me because of vocals.

(6) So, in 2009, you decided to set up Endless Winter. What inspired you to start an "Only Doom Metal Label"?

I was familiar with many musicians in Myspace, but couldn't buy their albums. And it seemed to me that I am not the only one so loony, that there will be other people wishing to buy them. I wanted to introduce to the local market bands that weren't present here. And I was inspired by success of Solitude Prod. that was established earlier. So I decided on it.

(7) How much of the set up did you do yourself - did you have any help? Is it just you managing the label?

I’m the managing director, and I do everything on my own. But I have advisers, these are musicians and my good friends.

(8) There are two different business strands involved: the label and the distro. Looking at the label first, how do you find bands you'd like to work with and albums you'd like to release?

There were cases when I found a demo and then looked for band and signed the contract. For example, that's how I signed with Lethargy of Death. But more often the bands themselves find me.

(9) And once you've decided on a release, what sort of a deal is it with the band? How many units do you usually produce - and how are the costs and profits divided?

Usually I make 500 copies. It isn't necessary to speak about profit - it isn't present. I do not release Scorpions or Metallica : )

(10) How about the distro? How has it been working with other labels? How much freedom have you had to pick and choose what you want to stock and sell?

I try to get my albums distributed as widely as possible. Therefore I agreed on all offers and, unfortunately, I gathered in distro a lot of production which isn't really interesting to my visitors. I hope this situation will gradually be changed.

(11) Do you have any favourite labels you work with? Any to be avoided? Have you ever been ripped off in deals?

All my partners are interesting and helpful. Most of all I would like to mention Weird Truth and Aesthetic Death - they are faithful guys! In Russia, of course, the main partner is Solitude Prod. Sometimes there are problems with mail which loses parcels, but generally everything is excellent!

(12) How do you set prices - they're always very reasonable, even the distro items - and keep them low? Are there any problems being based in Russia, with either postage or import duties?

I don't get excessive profits and I don't set such a task, therefore prices are moderate. Today when few people buy CDs, it is necessary to meet requirements of the buyer and to offer reasonable prices.

(13) You don't offer many downloads, just a few samples. What do you think of downloads in general? Would you always rather have a physical copy of an album?

Downloads are evil for sure, but they are sometimes necessary for acquaintance. And I always prefer (and I will offer) only physical CDs because my buyers are serious people with good equipment. Students who put earphones into their ears are not my audience, they listen to some other stuff, not doom.

(14) Last year, you added the Visceral Laments sub-label, for non-Doom releases? How's that going? Are you going to expand that catalogue?

Once I got a surprising, magical album. I don't come across such talented things often, maybe once in a decade. And I couldn't miss such an opportunity. And so the sublabel for gothic-symphonic was conceived. Certainly, it will make releases if there are good candidates. About Anagram to Anna album I want to quote the critic:
THIS band not only KNOWS the true dark, eerie and haunting essence of the gothic genre, they have far surpassed the limits and boundaries of the goth genre. If you want to hear TRUE gothic overtones in music more akin to horror movies and graveyards rather than pretty flowers and makeup, then THIS is the band that will set you along the right path. Light bell notes, flutes and cellos start the album off, and I must say I haven't heard symphonics this rich and enveloping in quite some time. The star of this show is Anna, who looks a lot younger than she sounds, MUCH younger. Her voice far surpasses her years, and her mastery of a wide range of emotions, styles and atmosphere makes this album that much more amazing. One minute she can be near operatic and beautiful, the next minute she's near whispering or singing in very dark, occult like low tones. Her ability to weave in and out of emotions and "colors" makes these songs a lot stronger than they normally would be. The other "star" is the mixing of what I call "Victorian era" symphonics with doom metal guitars and heavy riffing; at times these songs resemble a doom metal waltz, if that makes any sense.
Steven Cannon, Vibration of Doom

It is absolutely right. And how I could miss that? I couldn't in any way.

(15) There's a lot more than just releases on the Endless Winter site - reviews, links, lyrics and so on. Do you get many responses or much feedback about the site?


(16) I particularly like the Polls page! So, what do you think about females in Doom, Pussy Riot and whether distros should sell T-shirts and other merchandise? And do you really drink eau-de-cologne?

Me? No. I drink brandy or vodka, but not really often. As for poll - I have to capture all audience and provide all options. If there is such an option, it has to be presented in poll : ). BTW, I wrote all software for my site - polls, shop, and all the rest.

(17) What's your opinion about Doom webzines and sites? Are you useful to you? Do you find the quality of articles and reviews to be accurate, in general?

Yes, everything is normal. I agree with everything. People can have different opinions. Generally, to me it doesn't really matter.

(18) Have you got any firm plans for EW in the future? Anything exciting coming up soon?

No, it is a sluggish process. Everything will go slowly until I die. Nothing surprising - it's only doom!

(19) As Doom is a style that's been going for about 40 years now, there are a lot of established formulas compared to bursts of innovation. Does it surprise you that people still have enthusiasm to work in such a genre? Where do you see it going in future?

I see the future in merging with other styles. With electronics, hip-hop, folk. It was always like that - borders of a genre are washed away because people don't think and feel the same. So we are waited by a big variety. Still bigger, than now.

(20) I'd just like to say it's always been a pleasure dealing with EW and yourself - one of the nice things, for me, about working in a small scene is that you meet people who value that scene enough to make huge efforts to keep it going. Do you feel that it is a proper community, and that your work in releasing and selling the music is appreciated?

Yes, sometimes I feel. If that happens, it is very pleasant to me.

(21) So, is there anything else that you'd like to add to close off this interview? Any advice or wisdom for our readers?

No wisdom, obvious things. All of us will die, but our acts remain. Therefore it is necessary to do things after which we will be remembered.

(22) Then it only remains for me to thank you again for your time and the opportunity to talk with you, and to offer all best wishes for the future. Cheers!

Thank you, kamrad!

Visit the Endless Winter (Label) bandpage.

Interviewed on 2014-02-07 by Mike Liassides.
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