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Who Dies In Siberian Slush have been around since 2003, but here Comrade Aleks catches up with founder E.S. to talk about their more recent history and latest line-ups.

Interview with Who Dies In Siberian Slush.
"Who Dies In Siberian Slush is one of the most remarkable Doom bands in the modern Russian scene. Founded in 2003, it has slowly developed from album to album, and it's fair to say that the band's full sound was originally found on the split 'The Symmetry Of Grief', released in 2014. There, they added two new instruments to their bleak ascetic Funeral/Death/Doom palette – flute and trombone. They only used Russian lyrics once prior to that release, so this could also be mentioned as a new feature since then. Over the last couple of years, the band re-recorded their debut 'Bitterness Of The Years That Are Lost' in 2017, released a new full-length, 'Intimate Death Experience', in 2018, and participated in the Dutch Doom Days festival that same year – a big deal for a Russian band.

Nowadays Who Dies In Siberian Slush has the strongest line-up in its history: founder E.S. (vocals, guitars) plays in several other extreme metal bands as well; Flint (guitars) and Lyubov Kolesnikova (keyboards, trombone) were in Saint Everlasting Rest (one of the first Russian Death/Doom outfits); Alexey Kraev (bass) played with Death/Doom pioneers Deceptive; while Igor Tuov (drums) and Alexey Kostovitsky (guitars) came from the newer Ephemereal Ocean; only flautist Anna Zagvozdkina is new to metal."

'Intimate Death Experience' WDISS: Igor T. (drums), Flint (guitars), E.S. (vocals), A. Kraev (bass), L.K. (keyboards, trombone), Alexey K. (guitars, synth), A.Z. (flute).

Hi E.S.! It's not breaking news, but Who Dies In Siberian Slush released their latest album 'Intimate Death Experience' through Frozen Light Records in November 2018. Accept my belated congratulations! Well, what's the band's current status?

Hi Aleksey! I'm quite intrigued by your intention to do this interview. If I'm not mistaken, the last time when you asked me questions was about five years ago! Thanks for your congratulations! The band is now in active working condition. WDISS now has two line-ups: the first is for studio work and the second – for concerts.

Not all of us can spend enough time traveling on one side. And someone is more interested in concert work than studio work, on the other hand. Thus, the scope of the line-up becomes open, the core of the band remains the same. It gives everyone more freedom and new opportunities.

The album consists of an intro, a kind of interlude - 'Solace' (a poem by Nikolay Humilev) - and four proper Death/Doom hymns, two of which - 'And It Will Pass' and 'The Tomb Of Kustodiev' - were already published on 'The Symmetry Of Grief'. Didn't you feel any necessity to add one or two more new tracks to this material?

For me Intimate Death Experience is a concept album even though there's no story which binds all songs in one, but you know – it's good to have more new tunes after a pretty long break between albums.

In our interpretation of the name of the album we are not talking about experiencing our own death, but talking about what will have to live with. "Intimate" is that deeply yours, dear, close to the bone. The death of loved ones is the black holes in our life, the dips that do not reflect light. From the spring 2015 until the end of work on this album, most of us were destined to experience this kind of experience. This is the thread that unites all the tracks on this album.

We believe that the album turned out to be concise and well balanced, exactly in the form in which it is offered to the listener.

Previous line-up: L.K., Alexey Kraev, E.S., Flint, Gungrind (guitars - R.I.P. 2017), A.Z. and A.S. (drums).

How long did you actually spend writing new songs? They sound absolutely mature and carefully thought out, they have that artistic yet deadly cold touch, I would say that the album perfectly crystallizes Who Dies In Siberian Slush's personality today.

I do not have any specific time limit for writing songs. Everything we do is absolutely sincere and can take as much time as necessary. Usually a full-fledged preparation of a new track can take from a couple of weeks to six months. At the same time, we remain 100% honest with the listener. WDISS is an anti-commercial and anti-popular band, so we are free from release plans, commitments to labels, and we may work on our music for as long as we need. Yes, it is possible that recognizable individual traits appeared in our music. It is difficult to impartially talk about your own work, but I believe that the manifestation of this kind of individuality is natural in our case. And I'm very glad that the audience noticed this.

Most of your songs (apart from 'And It Will Pass') have Russian lyrics, but there's no translation in the album booklet. Did it not feel right to share your thoughts on these topics with foreign listeners?

This is a very fair point! Until the end of 2019, the Intimate Death Experience album is scheduled to be re-released on the vinyl, there we will publish translations of Russian-language texts, so that all comers can plunge into the depth of the meaning of our songs.

Who Dies In Siberian Slush - 'On Different Sides' (2018):

One of the most remarkable songs on the album is 'The Tomb Of Kustodiev'. How would you represent this song for listeners who aren't familiar with his art?

For people unfamiliar with the creativity and life history of the Russian artist Boris Kustodiev, this song is a good reason to learn about a vivid example of the strength of the human spirit. Suffering from a painful affliction, Kustodiev spent the last fifteen years of his life confined to a wheelchair. But during this period, he created the most cheerful and vivid paintings. This is a completely unfashionable topic for funeral doom, but a great alternative to texts in which a weak-willed subject cries about how bad it is to live in this world.

There's a new guitarist in the band – Alexey Kostovitsky: how did you recruit him? Did he take part in composing the Intimate Death Experience material?

Alexey joined us in the spring of 2016, shortly before our tour to the Baltic States, at the same time being the founder of the Ephemeral Ocean group. He harmoniously joined the team, and with his participation, both the performances and the studio work are wonderful. Yes, Alexey recorded guitar parts as a performer for Intimate Death Experience, and he was engaged in arranging and mixing the material.

E.S., Alexey K. and L.K. with Andrey Pottosin (of Station Dysthymia).

Alexey was also your sound engineer, as he works at Skylark Studios, Moscow. How much time did you spend at the studio working on the songs?

That's right, he also acted as our sound engineer. Work in the studio was held from April to August 2018. We are absolutely not in a hurry. The material was recorded in a comfortable atmosphere, on excellent equipment, calmly and systematically. We all enjoyed the recording process and the result.

Who Dies In Siberian Slush performed at the famous Dutch Doom Days festival in November 2018: how were you involved in this feast of doom? How would you summarise your impressions from this trip?

In early 2018, we received an invitation from the organizers of the Dutch Doom Days festival. Of course, we gladly accepted this invitation. We performed at the end of the program on the first day of the festival. And we had moments of inner excitement, according to what we saw, how other bands performed coolly before us!

But the audience took us very warmly, and everything was organized simply at the highest level!

Did you play just one show in the Netherlands or did you manage to organize some gigs somewhere else abroad?

If possible, we decided to combine the concert in the Netherlands with a small tourists trip and performances in other countries. Previously we received confirmations from Latvia and the Czech Republic. Subsequently, the concert in Latvia had to be abandoned, the date was not very convenient, and there was a risk of being late for the performance in the Netherlands. After the second day of the festival, we moved to the Czech Republic, where we performed in the city of Brno with the support of two excellent local bands. The audience at the concert was not so much as in the Netherlands, but we were expected and met very well. In general, the impressions of the trip were great.

E.S., live in 2014 (Photo: HeavyMusic.ru).

What's about your label Moscow Funeral League? It isn't very active, but you've managed to release the new album by Czech avant-garde Funeral Doom band Quercus, and both the edition and its content are great. Was it commercial suicide to do this?

Yes, the Moscow Funeral League label began the year 2019 with the exclusive release of the album "Verferum" by the Czech group Quercus. You can get acquainted here.

This is the third album of this band, released on the MFL, and we are both happy to cooperate! Moscow Funeral League is a non-profit label and its activity does not depend on the popularity of artists or sales results. Together with the people involved in this label, I just do what we like. Yes, it is possible that the Moscow Funeral League doesn't have so many releases, but on the other hand, we don't undertake something that we cannot obviously cope with.

You've released a re-recording of the band's first album, 'Bitterness Of The Years That Are Lost' through MFL in April 2017. Why did you decide to re-record the entire album? Was it only because of the trombone and flute?

For us, the vinyl version of Bitterness Of The Years That Are Lost is a separate independent work. Compared with the 2010 edition, the arrangements and the line-up have changed, new instruments have appeared, and the performance level of the band has grown. In addition, the material was simply necessary to rewrite for technical reasons.

Who Dies In Siberian Slush - 'Remembrance' (Live, 2018):

The album was released on vinyl by MFL, but in collaboration with Solitude Productions and Frozen Light. Was it a principled decision to release the album on vinyl this time? How did you organize it?

Re-release of the Bitterness Of The Years That Are Lost album was originally started precisely for the sake of a vinyl edition. It was the idea of Alexander, the owner of the label Frozen Light. By the way, the main initiator of this edition should be considered the label Frozen Light. Solitude Prod., just willingly supported this initiative. Most of the organizational work was done by the Moscow Funeral League label.

As a result, taking this step, WDISS became the first Russian band to release a funeral death doom album on vinyl. Honestly, we didn't think much about it. But at least we were able to leave our modest mark on musical history.

Besides other projects you played in pretty extreme Death/Doom band Decay Of Reality. Why did you stop it? Didn't it justify your expectations?

We founded this band together with M.Hater in 2012, and I have every reason to decide what the status of the band is now. And I will tell you that the band is now in "hold-on" mode! The time will come, and DECAY OF REALITY in a new form will return to life!

You played with Roman Gungrind and Jürgen Fröhling in another project: Unmercenaries. Roman passed in May 2017 from a heart attack, but I see that the project isn't closed. Do you plan to continue with it?

Yes, Roman passed away, but Jürgen and I are still here! Nobody canceled our participation in this project! This is not a secret, and I will say that some of my Finnish friends are now preparing new material for UNMERCENARIES. We are not in a hurry and we don't think about the date of the release of the new album. Follow the news.

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Interviewed on 2019-06-20 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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