jueves, 25 de enero de 2024


1. The project starts up around 2017, why did you decide to create the band? Why did you choose the name Malist and what does it refer to?

I started a band back when I was about to graduate from my university, and at some point my view of the band direction went somewhere else. I was getting into classic black metal at that point, and wanted to create something in that vein, but with all of my favorite music traits slightly exaggerated to emphasize my own approach to the genre.

The name Malist came to me when I was browsing through a dictionary, and found the term "malism", its meaning appeared close to my own views on the world. There is already a band that goes by the name Malism, so I chose Malist instead, as in, a follower of such beliefs.

2. In the period from 2019 to 2021, you released three albums, which contained a conceptual story. What inspired the creation of these three albums? What do you remember about this time of frenetic activity?

I was trying to conceptualize the band lore from the very beginning. It makes it easier to write the lyrics, and I was always a fan of dark fantasy settings. At first I wasn't planning on doing a trilogy - it all just came naturally. Composing music is a pastime I really enjoy.

In my opinion it's a common misunderstanding that a band needs at least a few years to come up with good music - it's the most convenient time frame for a touring band, yes, because they simply don't have that much time to sit down and write music. But for a bedroom project, a year is more than enough not only to come up with, but also to release an album properly. There are bands that put out 3 to 5 albums a year, with some of the music not half bad. 

3. Having just released your fifth album “Of Scorched Earth”, how do you think the sound of this new album has evolved with respect to the previous ones? How has the composition and recording process of this new album been? What marks What instruments have you used in the process?

I would like to think that every new album is a step forward in terms of the overall sound (not talking production here) compared to the previous one. Every album release is a learning process, with much to take away for me as a musician and composer, and it's natural that new information is implemented in my future work.

When it comes to composing & recording, it's the same every time for me - first I do a draft in Guitar Pro 7 software, spend a lot of time refining it, etc. I'm trying to do as detailed a draft as possible - makes it easier for me to hear a finished song in my head. When I have enough songs for an album, it's time to record the guitars and vocals. These days you don't need an expensive studio to record a good sounding metal album, so I usually do most of the recordings at home. When I have the demos with midi drums, I send those to a session drummer, get his drums recordings, and then send all the source files to a sound guy. Sometimes I also invite other talented people to contribute here and there. 

4. Its beginnings included more thrash influences, however with the passage of time Malist's sound has become populated with a greater weight of melodic or progressive elements. What bands and styles are currently an influence when it comes to composing music? How would you describe the sound of the album for those who haven't heard it yet?

I listen to a lot of different music, and sometimes it's hard to determine what influences me the most at a certain point in time. I do love death-doom metal and melodic death, apart from black and its subgenres, so yeah, many bands playing in these genres influence me a lot. I generally value simplicity in music - when a band can translate their ideas to simple yet catchy riffs and arrangements, it's usually right up my alley. The paradox is that many, many bands overcomplicate things sometimes (and yes, I'm also guilty of that thing).

I would describe the sound of the new album as riff-driven atmospheric black metal with symphonic and post-metal influences. 

5. Even though Malist is a one man band, it has had the collaboration of Vladimir Udarnov for the recording of the drums and Neinzge for the programming. At what point did you make the decision to seek these collaborations? What do you think? Have these musicians contributed to the final result of the album? What parts of the composition and recording do you feel most uncomfortable with?

I've been hiring drummers to record my drum parts for every album after the first one. It was logical to move from electronic drums to the more natural-sounding alternative. The drummers usually change my parts ever so slightly during the recording, sometimes they propose some cool things of their own (I'm very open to that), but the core groove and accents always stay the same as I wrote them. I'm glad I found Vlad Fomenko (a.k.a. Blastbeatology), he is a beast at the kit, one of Russia's fastest and most technical drummers at the moment, but he is also flexible and can do a whole bunch of different genres.

It's also worth mentioning that this time I worked with a great keyboard player Valentina Astashova, who goes by the nickname Neinzge. It's the first time that I went for a collaboration like that. I just knew that my expertise in sound synthesizing wasn't enough to create great synth arrangements for the scope of that album, so Vladimir Lehtinen shared Neinzge's contact with me, and we collaborated on the keys. She really did a great job breathing life into my dry midi tracks.

I also invited my long-time friend Flammarius to declare some poetry on the album, because I feel like he does this type of vocal delivery way better than I do.

When it comes to recording, I find it most uncomfortable to actually record the guitars. Yes, you heard it right - guitars are the main flavour in Malist's dish, and yet I fucking hate recording them, just because of how perfect I want the sound of the recordings to be, compared of how poor of a guitar player I am. I used to love playing something for fun, but these days I usually only sit down to play the guitar to interpret my own written parts, or rehearse before the recording, and that's it. 

6. The new album also contains a story that revolves around the death of the human race. At what point did you decide to address this theme? Will there be continuity of this theme in future releases? Does the music adapt to the lyrics or vice versa? 

Admittedly, lyrics have never been a central element of Malist, I usually adapt the texts after the music has been written. I find inspiration in dark fantasy tropes and old poetry, with many of the concepts quite relatable in today's world. A similar lyrical theme was already implemented on the "Karst Relict" album, and I think it is flexible enough to explore in one form or another in future music. 

7. For the mixing and mastering of the new album you have had Vladimir Lehtinen from Blastbear Sound. At what point did you decide to work with him and what do you think he has contributed to the final result of the album?

After the 3rd album was finished, I wanted to explore my options with the sound engineers, because you know, everyone has their own approach and standards, and the final sound can be so much different depending on who mixed and masterd the recordings. So I wanted to explore how Malist could sound like.

It's my second time working with Vladimir Lehtinen, and I'm just in awe of how flexible he is when it comes to creating a black metal mix. It's very easy, as a composer, to present your ideas to a guy like Vladimir. Even though I'm not a sound engineer by any means, I felt like we were speaking the same language, and he understood and executed all the production quirks I asked for perfectly. 

8. You have always followed a fairly dark line and at the same time with different interpretations when illustrating your albums, who was in charge of the design of the cover of the new album? What does it represent and how does it relate to its content?

When it comes to illustrating my albums, I keep going back and forth between the talents of Artem Demura and Taya Rostovtseva (a.k.a Inersys32). This time I invited Taya because I love what she did with the artwork for Karst Relict, and since the lyrical theme on the new album is fairly similar, I felt like she could contribute a somewhat similar illustration, but in a different setting, and with a different story. For work like this, I usually create a document with a few reference pictures, the lyrics to the album, and  then I just turn the artist loose, leaving much of the creative effort to them. I think it's very important to trust the illustrator you are working with, and not boss them around - this way they can really share the essence of their craft, and all of the nuances that make their artwork stand out. In my opinion, it turned out gorgeous, even better than I expected.

I don't like to decipher lyrics and how they relate to the album cover art, but I will say one thing - the vast desert setting was inspired mainly by a poem Ozymandias by Percy Bysshe Shelley. 

9. For the release of the new album he has changed record label, this time being Italian, Avantgarde Music, those in charge of this function, what led you to change record labels? Is publishing on cassette with Slowsnow Records a way of not losing contact with your country?

The main thing that led me to change the label was the fact that I could no longer sell as many album physical copies as I used to. My previous label, Northern Silence, shared a number of physical copies with me per release, as royalties. It's a common practice, bands usually sell those themselves, and make some of the album production money back - and that's what I used to do. But recently, as you know, Russia has been cut from global airspace, with many sanctions that followed, resulting in higher shipping price for me, and quite unstable delivery, with a few European countries ceasing all postal exchange with Russia altogether, some others randomly refusing to clear parcels from Russia through their customs, etc. That and the fact that many people abroad have become reluctant to order anything from Russia with the war going on, have dropped my sales around 50-70%. So yeah, naturally, I wanted a different monetisation option, and in this case, it involved moving to a different label.

The cassette releases are more of a fan thing - there are some people within the local community who still collect those, and it's good to deliver the album in as many formats as possible. Slowsnow is a great label at that, its tapes have always been great in terms of design and quality.

Fortunately, I haven't lost contact with my country, like you mentioned. In fact, I can proudly say that the number of physical copies ordered from inside Russia has grown drastically, almost covering for the overall international sales drop, despite my music not being very Russia-oriented or hyped here. I was very surprised with that, and am very grateful to local fans, as well as those from other corners of the world, who decided to support me, despite the international-social stigma.

10. Having recently collaborated with some musicians, have you considered the possibility of offering a concert? Which bands would you like to do a mini tour with?

As much as I like handling the band on my own, I don't think I can handle organizing concerts and finding reliable members and gear to tour with. To play live is great in theory, but the more I think about the steps I need to take for it to happen, the more I realize how distant a possibility it is. Perhaps, if someone managed it all for me, I could be inclined. But for now, the band remains a studio project. 

11. The extreme metal scene in your country always seems to have a hermetic character. For you, seen from the inside, what is your opinion of the black emtal scene in a country like Russia? What bands would you recommend that are not well known outside? From Russia?

It's a very competent scene, with many bands performing on a world-class level, despite being less known. I can't say that I'm very knowledgeable at that, but I can recommend a few bands that I enjoyed listening to myself, for sure. Check out Swampborn, with their great blackened post metal masterpiece "Beyond Ratio". Then there is this band called БѢСЪ (reads "bes") which is so blasphemous and true that local religious activists actually went out of their way to cancel the band's live performances last year. And finally, a recent discovery of mine, the band called Ortha with their debut single song called "Храм" - great atmospheric black metal with roots in melodic death, stylistically much like my own creation, but the guy can actually sing very well in clean voice, unlike yours truly. 

12. How were your beginnings in music: first concerts you attended, first albums you bought? What happened in your life that pushed you to want to be a musician?

I grew up in an isolated town in the south, where there was not much activity in terms of concerts. I think my first concert was when dad took me to see the band called Aria (actually Russian heavy metal legends), I was 12 or so, and back then my taste in music was only beginning to form. Thanks to dad, I started very early with bands like Rammstein, Judas Priest, Aria, etc. In my teenage years I enjoyed the peak bands of nu-metal and alternative period - Linkin Park, System of a Down, Korn, you know the drill. SOAD were probably the most influential band in terms of the guitar playing - I think their songs were among the first ones that I learned when I picked up the guitar at 16 - so catchy, simple and yet unique. Later I got into heavier stuff, listened to all of the Swedish melodic death metal pantheon, and gradually stepped into black metal territory. I think the first 2 black metal albums that really grabbed my attention were Woods of Desolation's "Torn Beyond Reason" and Austere's "To Lay Like Old Ashes''. When I first listened to those, I could not believe that such an extreme genre could convey such genuine emotion. After listening to those over and over again, I spent around 5 years eagerly listening to all classic and notable black metal bands, all sub-genres and variations of it, and I also tried to learn some of that on the guitar. I was surprised that it was much easier to learn for me than, let's say, some fast melodic death riffs that I could never play. So I saw this opportunity to come up with some black metal of my own. I wrote about 10 songs as test subjects, without ever releasing those - only showing to some of my friends. With each song I grew more confident in my skill as a composer. I continued writing songs, until I had enough for the debut album... You know the rest.

13. What album represents for you the essence of black metal? What latest albums have you bought?

There are just too many. If you open Malist on Spotify, you can scroll down to see the playlist I did called "Malist - Inspiration". The bands and songs that I added there (except the Malist tracks for promo, obviously) represent the essence of black metal for me. There are also bands from other genres included, which shaped my musical taste greatly. As for the latest inspirations, I can mention Sakis Tolis and all his current projects, Aodon - Portraits, Spectral Wound - A Diabolic Thirst, basically all of the latest Panzerfaust albums, Seth - La Morsure Du Christ, Immortal - Northern Chaos Gods. 

14. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer these questions for Black Metal Spirit, if you want to add something for Malist fans this is the place. I hope the questions are to your liking.

Thanks for having me. Very grateful to all the fans for the support and encouragement they gave me. Keep listening to sincere music.


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