I met the guys from Psychonaut 4 right after their soundcheck. Always happy to talk a bit with people, they’re not the depressive guys that we could imagine.
Version Française ? (soon)
- I let you introduce the band
Graf Von Baphomet : We are Psychonaut 4, we’re kind of Suicidal Black Metal band from Tbilissi region. Maybe it’s something new or something weird.
S.D. Ramirez : This is Graf Von Baphomet, or no Baphomet (rires), here is Nepho our drummer, Alex the bass player, Glixxx and Drifter. And what’s your name?
I’m Matt, nice to meet you!
S.D. Ramirez : Nice to meet you!
- How does the musical creation process works in Psychonaut 4?
Graf : Everything is born very… How to say, individually. Every song is born in one’s head or soul, and the person brings it on the recording session.
S.D. : There’s no such thing like a demo song. We never send it to each other. We have a song, we record it. And plus, arrangments or tricks directly happen in the recording session. We’re doing recording and drinking.
Graf : Everything happen spontanely, it’s pure, it comes from the moment, from feelings. Emotions, I don’t know…
Maybe you use softwares?
Graf : Yeah, we record on Sonar.
S.D. : Alex is on the studio, so we’ll let him speak about it.
Alex Menabde : Sonar, it’s a very common software.
S.D. : We don’t record in like fancy studio or something like that. We don’t use the fancy equipment. It’s a home studio that we use to create our sound. After we worked on the sound, we release the album the second day.
Graf : We don’t have a lot of softwares or electronic.
- Graf, the next question is especially for you : where do you find inspiration for lyrics?
Graf : In myself. I am a universe of myself. I’m an ocean that I want to explore. I’m still exploring myself. I’m still drowning in myself. I’m getting from my feelings all the words, the way to speak my words…
S.D. : Satan… (laughs)
Graf : In my only deep, the depht of myself. So that’s why it’s not really difficult for me to write lyrics or get an exploration, because the most lyrics that I wrote in Psychonaut 4 are myself.
S. D. : Let me tell a story about the intro… The Neurasthenia intro is a voice going on like « bla bla bla… », he wrote it on spoken words. We were just recording and let someone speak. So he did it on spoken words in… Seven minutes. We recorded the voice and dropped the tempo down.
- Is there a huge Metal scene in Georgia ?
S. D. : Nope! (laughs)
Was it easy to create the band in this country ?
Graf : The creating process of the Georgian scene is still in process because there is no trunk Metal in Georgia, it’s not a culture. We’re still in progress of creating, our own style, our own way to express ourself.
S.D. : Our music isn’t popular in Georgia. We still have to keep our day job.
Graf : That’s not an argument for the scene. In Georgia it’s very difficult to be a Metal musician.
So you’re maybe « precursors » ?
Graf : There is no interest in it. If you are playing Metal in Georgia, you have no interest. You can play it for yourelf.
S.D. : That’s why we started, for ourself.
Graf : If you’re more into Georgian Metal, you will find really good text, it’s not really pure, not really underground and…
S.D. : We’re just lucky to be out of the georgian scene. Nothing is special for us. You cannot make living of music in Georgian. It’s our holidays. Holidays of our jobs, we’re doing it just for fun. We have to go back on our jobs.
Graf : It’s almost what we do it for our own. It’s a better situation if you’re better do it in Ukraine, Lituania, Estonia, Czcech Republic so… deep assholes…
- What do you feel when you go on stage ? Is it a character that we see or the “real” you ?
S.D. : Every show represents the moment how we felt so… You cannot compare yesterday’s show for example to today’s show so today’s show we feel different when we go onstage. The representation we show of ourself is… whatever we feel at the moment. We’re not acting or we’re not wearing any corpse paint at all. Whatever we wearing at the moment, we put it on stage. Stage is something that we feel at the moment and we’re not trying to hide it behind the corpse paint or… whatever…
Graf : Personally for me, being on stage, I don’t call myself as a musician or vocalist, I just enjoying myself as a poet for the public, or audience, call it as you want, but… I call it as a little bit pure from a problem, from our pain, so they can see me and they can listen to my lyrics so…
S.D. : You need noise to see me…!
Graf : Yes, some technical suff isn’t this important… Important for me but not so much… about vocal technics… We’re really clear and clean so I don’t need to hide so it’s just… sharing my pain with them and they share their pain to me. They’re just giving me a blossom. Me and them we just had a good feeling from the show. We get a cure from our pain. How to say… That’s the point of being on stage.
- We can feel a lot of pain when we hear Psychonaut 4’s songs, is this easy to talk about pain and sadness in front of people ?
Graf : You know… There is a very very good band called Agatha Christie. There is a lyrics in Agatha Christie… (he starts to sing a song)
S.D. : My favorite band from Russia… It doesn’t matter which kind of personality you are… If you feel something, you have… To release, to get back to your personality, your regular life you need the weapon called music. Every single human. Don’t tell me that someone doesn’t feel pain or anger, or frustration… Most of people don’t feel lucky to have that to express themselves, they just have madness… This is kind of a weapon, we live kind of weapon for emotions, or feelings as weapon is ugly and shitty. This is something that we do for our own. If someone else listens to our music and understand it as deep as we created it, this is our message. If someone get angry with our music and stabs someone else with a bottle, it’s ugly. It’s the wrong way to understand our music in general.
Graf : About pain…
Glixxx : It’s just about human and how he knows it… How we feel pain…
Graf : Everyone is born in pain and cries… Everyone can suffer and if some persons who wants to ring out from inner self and strengh and sort of warrior… I made pain my weapon, my instrument… Destruction is my instrument. On that moment, I feel that destructing myself is…
S.D. : Destructing yourself is just responsibilities… You are destructing yourself, you are expressing yourself on stage you are in recording studio, whatever it is, it could be released, playing in the act, some band who are wearing corpse paint on stage…
As a stage gear ?
S.D. : Yeah, probably… For them it’s kind of a round, it’s just… we’re absolutely ok with that, we understand that but to us it’s…
S.D. : Yeah, unatural, it’s… I wear Converses, it’s not Metal !
I got two pairs of Converses, it’s cool !
S.D. : Whatever we wearing when we’re going on stage is whatever we present ourself at the moment that we are on the present of ourself.
Graf : The pain as a weakness that we’re singing about isn’t a… momentally feeling. We’re not weak. Everyone on this planet could feel sometimes weak. This is… Someone can hiding it, someone can show he’s really strong, but come on, fuck off ! I’m getting stronger with pain, I am exploring myself.
Maybe you know the sentence « what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger » ?
S.D. : Yeah, of course.
Graf : I found a way to fight with myself and to fight… I feel really strong if I find the power to create.
- It’s the last show of the tour, how was the tour ? Did you know every bands you played with before ?
Graf : Nocturnal Depression… They were the first band that I heard from Depressive Black Metal and I spoke about them on some previous interviews so… I’m very proud to tour with them and I’m very pround that now we are friends with them and despite the effect differences of Black Metal scene, the guys from Nocturnal Depression are really great musicians and fucking great persons. I’ve got a really good feedback with Nocturnal Depression. Five stars musicians.
S.D. : They’re nice !
Graf : I’m curious. I visited some russian torrent websites that you can download for free. I went to the site, and I was searching for French Black Metal, some years ago and I decided to have a leak for their album. I liked the cover, I downloaded it, I listened to it and I said… Fuck ! This is so fucking cool ! It’s fucking great !
S.D. : Remember, you said « coooooool » ! (laughs)
Graf : I reached them on Facebook, their official page and I wrote them « guys, you are really cool, I’m Graf« . They wrote me back, and they said « Excuse me but are you Graf from Psychonaut 4 ? », I answered « Yeah, that’s me ! », and that was how our friendship just began !
S.D. : For me, i didn’t know any of the bands !
Glixxx : Me too ! (laughs)
That’s a great way to discover new bands !
S.D. : I only know Psychonaut 4 because I play in Psychonaut 4 with my friends ! It’s a joke, I’ve heard of Nocturnal Depression but I never listened to them before the tour. The first expression that I got from Nocturnal Depression was on stage, they’re fucking amazing ! It’s priceless ! Moreover, the guys from Nocturnal Depression are so fucking cool. I feel like I’ve know them for twenty years.
Glixxx : For me, I know this band, but I never listened to them. I came here, we started the tour and it was a great surprise, some new emotions on live ! And all guys from this band, are… I don’t know it’s… it’s from my heart !
S.D. : Benjamin, if you hear this, you’re fucking amazing !
Graf : Cédric, you’re the most true person in Black Metal !
Glixxx : They are fucking monuments !
Graf : We met the vocalist of Ostium in Paris last year. We love to play with them because we listen to his band. Yesterday, that was really cool because he remind me of myself, about seven or eight years ago. It was a trip in myself back through years. So yeah, they’re really cool !
- Last year, you had another tour with Hypothermia, what was your best memories of the tour?
Graf : All the tour with Hypothermia and with all the guys was cool.
S.D. : In Russia !
Graf : All tour was memories. I cannot say that one was better than the other, or which tour it was. We had a guest three days ago, the guys from Hypothermia.
S.D. : Awesome guys !
Graf : We’re still in contact with them and it was a notable tour.
S.D. : What I told you before, it’s our holidays, we try to have good times ! All the memories that we have from last year, from Russia or from now, it’s like our… sixteen concert of this tour, the last one, and memories would be fucking amazing. This is a memory ! (he shows a scar behind his head with stitches)
Graf : We had a fight in Poland.
S.D. : But it’s fucking amazing.
Glixxx : Fucking bitches, we will find you and we will beat you to fuck you !
S.D. : Fuck you guys…
It’s just like on the movie ! « I don’t know who you are, but I will find you and I will kill you ! » (Taken, ndlr)
S.D. : Yeah ! I don’t know who you are, but I will find you and I will kill you ! » (laughs)
Graf : « Silence ! I kill you ! » (laughs) (Achmed the Dead Terrorist, ndlr)
- Who were the bands that helped to create Psychonaut 4’s sound ?
Graf : A lot of ! First of them is of course Lifelover, Shining, many swedish bands. We met Niklas in Slovenia, in backstage… There’s many bands that helped for music or lyrics, not directly but when I go onstage, they’re giving me inspiration ! Not only Metal and only Black Metal. It could be Lacrimosa, it could be Agatha Christie, it could be some rap stuff… I don’t know ! I’m very open minded about music, so a lot of bands helped me to create my own stuff. The main bands are for me… The only one is Lifelover.
S.D. : I never listened to Lifelover, I never listened to Shining.
Graf : But you know them because I’m speaking a lot about them !
Glixxx : I listened to Lifelover last time, maybe two years ago. And Shining… never. Maybe some songs but I listen all music.
Graf : Oh, Antimatter too ! It’s one of my favorite groups !
S.D. : I agree ! It’s a really good band !
Graf : It’s not a super mega star band, but it’s really cool !
It’s fucking cool but it’s still an « obscure » part of Metal.
Graf : Why is it still obscure ?
Because of people, I think.
Glixxx : My favorite band of depression is society.
S.D. : Is it a band ?
Glixxx : No, it’s the whole society !
S.D. : Oh okay, that was a joke !
Glixxx : It gives me enough inspiration.
- Do you prefer an epic lead guitar or a lumbering rhythm part?
S.D. : I prefer lead guitar ! I love solos. I’ve convincing this band to do solos for five years and on this album, the last one, there is some solos, and I think they sound epic. I think bass is very good but I don’t know. I’m the solo guy.
Graf : I prefer that each musician in Psychonaut 4 express themself as they can. If they want to play solos, if it fits in the song’s energy, okay ! If we want to play… accordion, if it sounds good on the song, okay, why not ! I wish all of them can express themselves as they can. No limits, no frontier, only pure music for us. And then, if people like it, it’s okay ! But the first step is that we have to like it, so it’s good. I think I’m a good listener. I’m listening to mainstream band, and also underground scene, not only Black Metal bands. I’m also listening some techno styles, just like Minimal Techno.
S.D. : You didn’t think we would be so talkative. (laughs)
I love when bands talks a lot about themselves !
Graf : In our songs there is unexpected moments, maybe hip hop sounds, or trip hop, some classical stuff. We are very open minded and we don’t want to set ourself in frames.
(Cedric, AKA Lord Lokhraed from Nocturnal Depression comes)
Graf : Hail to the king !
- What is the first Metal song you ever listened to?
Graf : My first Metal song… I think it was My Friend Of Misery from Metallica. I listened to it on radio with my father. In the time I thought it was a song about the river Missouri ! (laughs)
S.D. : My first one was The Unforgiven I, I remember it like it was yesterday. It was on MTV, and I was trying to plug in my game console to play Mario. I was seven, and there was Metallica on TV.
Once upon a time there was Metallica on TV. But this time is dead nowadays unfortunately.
S.D. : (laughs) Yeah ! It’s my favorite band, so I’m gonna shut up right now.
Alex : My first band was in 1997, I was five years old. Europe ! (they all start to sing The Final Countdown‘s rhythm) The Final Countdown !
S.D. : It’s not Metal, it’s more like Rock !
Alex : Yeah, Hard Rock. But I was five, I couldn’t realise what was it. And then, when I was fourteen, it was Metallica’s Until It Sleeps. When I saw the video on MTV, from that moment I turned into Metal.
Glixxx : I was drunk, I was young, I was about… Eleven… I forget it… We were drunk with my friends, there was nobody else, no parents…
S.D. : He grow up in Russia, that’s normal !
Glixxx : Yeah, we were alone at home, drunk and we didn’t have any CDs, it was 19… 1995 or 1997. Just drunk, laying in bed, and radio starts to play Metallica, The Unforgiven. I was like « oh what the fuck ! What is it ? »
I’m not really into Metallica but I admit that The Unforgiven is fucking awesome !
Glixxx : Yeah ! At the time, how many years ago… Maybe twenty years ago it was amazing ! « Oh, do you hear it ? What the fuck is this band ? I don’t know I’m drunk ! » We had no idea who they were, but later I founded them on a record store and I started to listen to Metal. It was the beginning.
Graf : Almost all of us started with Metallica.
S.D. : Because Metallica is fucking huge ! You know why ? Because their music is fucking amazing !
Graf : Because Yeah ! (laughs)
- Why did you choose to play Metal music as a professional?
Graf : We really wish to play as professionals, but circumstances are against us.
For us you are professionals !
Graf : We’re really far from to be professionals. Too far. There will be a period where we will be more professional. We will have more time to spend for our music, for ourselves. Because music is a timeless. I really wish to be more professional. I really wish to be a musician.
- What was the most insane dedication you ever received by a fan?
S.D. : Tattoos man ! Yeah, a lot of tattoos. I won’t make a band tattoo on myself, even for Metallica, but whoever does it… That’s the most dedicated thing you can do for a band because it’s gonna stay for the rest of your life. And the scars, and stuff…
Graf : For me it’s everything. Messages on Facebook, on VK (Russian social network, ndlr), everything ! When they are speaking to me, when they meet me after shows. Tattoos, fan arts, covers… I feel so glad when I see that I have fans, when I see that I inspirate someone for anything. It gives me strengh. Thanks to them all ! Thanks to all my fans.
- Just imagine you are a tour manager and you can choose 3 bands to tour with for a huge european tour, who would it be?
Graf : Antimatter, Lifelover and Shining !
S.D. : Metallica, Iron Maiden, Megadeth ! I’m an old school guy, and I know it. (laughs)
Glixxx : For me ? That’s a really really really hard question…
I know, that’s why I’m asking it !
Graf : Oh, and Tupac for support !
That’s really different but why not !
Glixxx : For me it would be… Wait wait wait… I want Sleep Dealer. Maybe also April Rain, another band from Russia. And Pergalė from Lithuania ! Or maybe Extravaganza.
Graf : Yeah, I know Pergalė !
S.D. : He said three bands, you said four !
Glixxx : I will just add Zhrine from Iceland. And Shining from Norway, Shining from Sweden, both Shining !
And as openers, The Shining, the movie ? (laughs)