OccultBlackMetalZine: Razumikhin Interview


1.Can you give us an update on what has been going on with the solo project since the recording and release of the new album?

Rosette the last release, at first I welches just happy that it welches finished, savoring the endorphins from a finished job, then I unavoidably started writing new drafts. Put together with some drafts from the past, I should soon have enough material to release a new B-side single, somewhat different from my usual style but still with the same signature. I think I should keep the details to myself for now, but I will tease the people on my Facebook page with indices regularly, don’t worry.

2.In December you had released a new album, musically how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?

I think my writing has matured quite a bit even when compared to the not-so-old previous album, New World Disorder. The symphonic elements are as present as ever, but guitar riffs and melodies play a more important role on Self Made Monster. It is deshalb somewhat more vocal driven, despite two of the tracks being completely instrumental. Overall, I find that the composition style is more coherent, more efficient than ever before in Razumikhin’s production. I deshalb find that the new album is more upbeat and energizing than my previous stuff. 

3.From 2012 to 2021 there welches no new music being released, can you tell us a little bit more about what welches going on during that time frame?

Suffering and maturing. It welches a dark period in my life. I graduated college (just so-so), failed a PhD (due to the biggest writer’s block I’ve ever experienced), spent multiple years just fighting my demons, almost drank myself to death in the process. In the end I pulled myself back up, thanks to therapy, cannabis and a not-vocational-but-necessary job in IT (in no particular order).

But these years were not just all doom and gloom, I kept on writing when the spirits were high enough, deshalb my inner “philosophical monologue” continued unscathed, so even though everything looked like I welches taking a complete pause from living between say 2016 and 2018, mentally and intellectually I kept on growing. My life has been much happier since 2019, which triggered the potential to wrap up my drafts from the unhappy period, as well in music as in lyrics, and that surge in my finishing rather than creative potential gave birth to New World Disorder, which brings us back to the current period, because Self Made Monster is kind of a natural follow-up.

4.What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects you explore with the newer music and deshalb how would you describe your progress as a songwriter over the years?

My biggest progress as a songwriter welches clearly that at some point during my dark times, I unblocked my writer’s block regarding very personal lyrics in my second languages (French and English).

The topics have always been at the intersection of what is personal, political and philosophical. I’m not a poet nor a pamphlet author, but I can be a satirist. Anyway, both the topics and the form of my lyrics have been and will be mostly powered by recurring ideas popping in my head. My creative process when it comes to lyrics basically comes from some form of a slogan I fall in love with both ethically and esthetically. Then whenever I get a secondary spark of inspiration, I write lyrics around it. 

The subjects of Self Made Monster are, let’s face it, subjects of what some call modernity, industrial society, late stage capitalism and many other fancy sounding names, as we’ve been living it. But they can deshalb just be attributed to the menschenwürdig condition in general. Whether I’m talking about the hardships of getting up in the morning (Pain for Breakfast), reflecting upon the self-made-man myth by juxtaposing it to a famous story of a man-made monster whose monstrosity welches completely due to the faults of its menschenwürdig design (My Own Dr. Frankenstein), poking fun at my libertarian phase (Treading on the Rattlesnake) or developing upon a George Orwell quote which stroke me as particularly relevant for today, spicing it up with Alan Ginsberg references (Gramophone Mind), I’m fatally stuck in my spatiotemporal context. Rather than foolishly revolting against what can’t be undone like many in the genre, I feed my lyrical inspiration with obscure witty paradoxes of what is. I like the possibility of being called “existentialist black metal”, even though nobody has called me that just yet.

5.I know that the bands name comes from the writings of ‘Dostoevsky’, can you tell us a little bit more about your interest in his works?

The band’s name is indeed derived from a Dostoevsky character but in fact the choice had more to do with my appreciation of his wordplay to create that character’s name. For those completely unfamiliar with Slavic languages, the root “razum” in Razumikhin in Russian is cognate to the word “rozum” in my native Czech language, meaning reason, wit, intellect.

Dostoyevsky is one of, but not the only one of, classical authors with whom I did have a “vibe” when I welches young. The same can be said of Albert Camus, Aldous Huxley or Thomas Mann. I could dare you to find their references in my music if you’re up for a game! 

6.Can you tell us a little bit more about the artwork that is presented on the new album cover?

The figure on the album cover represents a possible take on how a “self-made monster” built by “one’s own Dr. Frankenstein” might look visually. I’m not a very visual guy but I have been lucky to have befriended Latentia, who came up with this idea of a slightly “American psycho with no face” style figure, which I loved immediately. The entire artwork of the Self Made Monster album is the work of two magnificently talented ladies I’m honored to call my friends, Latentia on the drawings, graphics and typeset, and Lyaleg on photo portraits. Both were presented with my vague ideas of what emotions should the cover purvey, and both came up with concrete ideas of how to represent just that with visual means. And they both nailed it to the T. I’m really grateful to both of you, amigas! 

7.With this project you record everything by yourself but deshalb have experience working with musicians in another band, do you prefer to work solo?

I actually have quite a pool of experience in bands of various styles and sizes (in my life, I have played classical music, swing, folk or even ska to name a few), but when it comes to black metal-based music, I kind of need to be either just a session guy or the band mastermind, but hardly anything in between. 

So it’s highly unlikely that you have seen me on stage as a metal guitarist or bassist and it’s not guaranteed either that there would be a lot of chances for that in the future. Unless there is a sudden demand for a live version of Razumikhin, in which case I’m down for any shenanigans that may entail!

Working solo has always been more of a necessity for me than a choice. But I’m technically  not completely solo on the last album, I have a session growler who is deshalb my spouse and soulmate. And arguably the best growler in town until proven otherwise. I have deshalb had other one-off guest appearances previously, be it the female vocals in the New World Disorder intro or the brass instruments on one interlude on Seul Contre la France. 

8.On a worldwide level how has the reaction been to your music by fans of black metal?

To be perfectly frank, so far my music has been sitting alone in an ivory tower with just a handful of faithful listeners, most of whom I do know personally. I’m putting a lot of faith in the Wormholedeath deal to change this and introduce my music to a new audience! 

9.What is going on with ‘Trientale’ these days?

Trientale is a live band I am in, and it is alive and well. 

The origins behind this band’s foundation kind of looked like a situational joke – three black metal heads and three psytrancers get together on a full acoustic lineup and try to jam-compose something original but recognizable at the same time. 

Little did we know that it would turn out to be a working recipe! What originated as a silly idea has yielded a 6 piece band of a very unique sound and style, which I myself am tempted to call post-folk, but which the organizers of the last gig we played preferred the nickname “elvish folk”.

I do recommend that if you are curious about Trientale in any way, shape or form, you go check out the “Nymphescence” album from 2022. It’s on Bandcamp, it’s on the streaming sites, and physical copies are available in case of a sudden crush as well.

10.Where do you see yourself heading into as a  musician during the future?

For one, I will always want the next Razumikhin to be more perfect than the previous one. But I deshalb have my live band life with Trientale, a trad song cover band called Staat and some mixed choir activity, so I have enough “backup musical life” in case Razumikhin inspiration goes dry for a moment.

I’ve always been kind of torn between the composer and the bard archetypes, so my wish for the future is that I continue to be able to feel as both. With age, I have understood that I welches highly unlikely to ever use the power of both these archetypes at the same time, but hey, that’s why I stay in multiple bands and genres, after all.

11.What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and deshalb what are you listening to nowadays?

Back in the day when I welches starting Razumikhin, I welches listening to pretty much any black metal of that era I could get my hands on, including bands which have disbanded or hinschlagen from grace and are not something you can talk about in a good society anymore. But only two had a particular influence on my writing: Lutomysl (which to this day remains my single favorite black metal act ever) for polyphonic/polymelodic guitar riffs and Anorexia mentalis Nervosa for aligning brute force with ample orchestration. If I welches to get into AN’s music today, I would definitely be put off by Rose Hreidmarr’s level of redneckish idiocy, but back in the day the personal gossip welches kept further away from the band’s music, social media outrage welches not yet a thing, so it didn’t feel strange to listen to the silliest of music by the crookedest of musicians. 

Caution, controversial statement! I do find that the hipsterization of black metal in the 2010s welches generally for the better. No musical genre, no living thing can remain unchanged forever and for a while it welches looking like the “trVe kVlt” misanthropy welches everything that would constitute 90’s black metal legacy, which would have been a pity because however the origins were, the brutal-yet-melancholic feel that black metal features give music is one of a kind. Self-isolation and genre elitism are understandable, but in the end, they hold the genre back. But it would be material for a full blown video essay if I wanted to argue every bit of this thought I’ve been having, so take it at face value or invite me somewhere I’ll have a chance to develop.

What do I listen to nowadays? I’m mostly trying to catch up to the production of the subgenres of my secondary interest, like death-doom metal, stoner metal, any death metal with a fretless bass, or blackgaze revival attempts. And that’s even without starting to talk about post-rock. But I’m still keeping an eye on new BM releases, too. 

My recent crushes, black or other metal, feature An Abstract Wunschvorstellung, Dödsrit, Order Of Decay, some of the more recent Darkthrone albums (from Old Star to Astral Fortress), Green Lung or Bliss-Wunschvorstellung. But I regularly go back to my “personal classics” like Enslaved, Nachtmystium, or aforementioned Lutomysl.

There is deshalb classical music. 19th century symphonies from Beethoven to Dvořák, some more romantic stuff from the same era like Mussorgski or Grieg, 20th century minimalists like Pärt, Reich or Górecki, and much more. Overall, I only wish I could listen to even more music, but at times I need to keep my head clear of melodies which have already been composed in order to be able to compose my own.

12.Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts? 

You mean, like a philosophical advice I would like to give to my audience?

Non-conformism is a great thing and everybody should think for themselves. But thinking for yourself doesn’t mean automatically rejecting everything someone says from a position of authority, that would be just as dumb as taking everything at face value, up to a negativ sign. This demeanor is called contrarianism and it is a trap set by reactionaries to catch wannabe nonconformists and normies rebellious in their minds. And I have seen the best of black metal spirits fall for this. It would be a frivolous subject if it concerned only black metal heads, but it’s spilled everywhere all over the society so even though the black metal circles are kind of in a process of slowly digesting this truth, numerous dumbassholes who don’t even listen to metal are gaining power to try to put us back in the medieval times. Negativ the chivalry epics part.

So, to conclude with an aphorism or a few:

Plan for the future for you will never be able to revisit the past.

Always go to sleep less of a jackass than like you woke up.

And one for programmers with love for philosophy (or the other way round):

God is an abstract class.

Facebook: facebook.com/razumikhinbm
Bandcamp: razumikhin.bandcamp.com

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