This is the first time that an album from your band reached our magazine. So can you tell us in a few words who you are and where the band stands for?
The band was formed in 2011 in Moscow by the long-time friends, connected by the participation in Russian DIY hardcore scene and common interest in graffiti, hip-hop and street culture in general. Our main goal was to master our own ultimate style of street music, blending together metal, hardcore-punk and hip-hop. We have our own cool mascot – named The Bear-Tsar. The band released one longplay, one EP, a bunch of music videos and played a lot around Europe and Russia, including tours with Terror, Deez Nuts, Nasty, Sick Of It All and other amazing bands.
To be honest, when I start listening to the album, is just blew me away. The energy that I heard was just amazing. What is the main source for all this power?
First of all, we are trying to make music for ourselves – the soundtrack for our own lives. We just take everything we love about music and blend it together, using our own unique recipe. This is the music for painting graffiti on walls and trains, skateboarding, traveling the world, sleeping on someone's floor and just trying to live the life to the fullest. Writing our music we have tons if influences – from other bands, movies, video-games, books etc. Speaking of our main musical influence I would name: Iron Maiden, Leeway, Cro-Mags, Warzone, Wu-Tang Clan, Mobb Deep, Cypress Hill, Non Phixion, Suicidal Tendencies, Spazz – just to name a few.
The lyrics of the band are very critical on the worst part of society. Is it a never ending story because last years I fear, for the world is getting mad. How do you feel about that?
It seems like humanity is never tired of looking for new ways of self-destruction. New conflicts, wars, religious cults, insane politicians and prophets of hate are popping up like mushrooms all over the planet again and again. Right now we can see how the world governments are trying to start the new cold war, how the ideas of discrimination and bigotry are coming back in style again and, of course, it really scares us. But we believe that people can take a stand against this propaganda of war, violence and prejudice and the music is one of the perfect ways to get the kids united. We are really proud of the fact that at our shows one can see all the different kids: from punks and skins to metal kids, hardcore kids, hip-hop kids, graffiti writers and so on. Also we are trying to use our music to make the world a little bit better : from time to time we take part in benefit actions, raising some money for the shelters for homeless kids, children's hospitals etc. Recently we launched a massive crowdfunding campaign to raise some funds for the kids with cerebral palsy in Russia. We are happy to break some stereotypes and show how the aggressive and heavy music, which makes people hurt each other in the moshpit or paint graffiti on trains, can do some really good things.
Freedom of speech and the current policy in Russia are not known to be going well together. Do bands like Siberian Meat Grinder have had already some problems with it?
As a band and as individuals we stand strictly against any form of discrimination and violence. At the same time we 're not a radically political band so we don't have any serious problems. Once, though, our gig in Moscow was interrupted by the riot cops who stormed the club and rushed to the stage, where we were thrashing. But that's the reality of living in Russia, I guess.
Although you are from Moscow, you chose for the name Siberian Meat Grinder. Who has chosen the band title and is there a story or a meaning behind it?
The name has a spiritual meaning, not the geographical. Siberia is an ancient land which hides many secrets in the depths of its infinite woods. The lore of our band is born on the frontier between this dark forest mysticism and urban ghetto culture – it's expressed both lyrically and musically: where else can you hear rapping over black metal riffs, for example? And our mascot – the Bear-Tsar - is the ruler of this world.
The style of music is crossover thrash metal. But there are also a lot of influences of hardcore and hip hop. Does the band members have such a different background in music styles?
Before Siberian Meat Grinder we played in many bands of different genres, touring Russia, Europe and even US with some of them. Music of many types has always been one of the most powerful inspirations in our lives, so now we're just trying to pay the dues.
In your video clips, the main vocalist ‘Vladimir the Grand Tormentor’ is performing masked. Is it a special statement or more a visual entertaining thing?
We have always liked the bands who perform in masks, uniforms etc, because it allows the musician to become the one with his/her music and the world which it represents. So we decided to have the same approach in our own band – it allows us to grab the audience and take it with us to the dark dimension of Siberian Hell.
How is the metal scene in Moscow doing? Are there some special genres that are played over there?
We don't have much connection to the Moscow metal scene, mostly playing gigs with hardcore and punk bands. Some part of the Russian metal scene was right-wing back in the day, so we didn't want to have anything in common with that part. Now I think there are more good metal bands appearing and the whole scene is slowly getting better.
The crossover thrash scene and hardcore/metalcore scene is known to be one of the most loyal scenes. How much time you spend for interaction with fans?
We really love to hang out with people who are coming to our gigs! At some of the shows we used to meet people who became our good friends. Too bad that we don't always have much time for it: after the gig we usually have to load in and go to the sleeping place, trying to catch some sleep, especially if we had to start really early the next day.
The band has played this summer 22 shows in 23 days and traveled about 10.000 kilometers. How exhausted and satisfied where you when it ended?
In fact the summer tour was pretty relaxed - this spring, for example, we played around 30 gigs in 31 days. Playing tours is the greatest experience of being in a band – you have a chance to play in a new city every night, meet new people and old friends, spread your music and message across the globe. Sometimes it's pretty hard: you are far from your home and family for a long time , you spend a lot of time sitting in the van (sometimes 10-12 hours a day), you see the same small group of people again and again. But that's the tour life! So at the end of each tour you always feel both exhausted and satisfied. The summer one wasn't an exception: packed shows, insane support from the audience, a number of amazing festivals, including “Endless Summer”, “Resist To Exist, Tells Bells and others. It was such an unforgettable experience and another victory of the Bear-Tsar army!
You start next year with the ‘Metal Bear Stomp’ release tour. Is there a chance that we see you in the Netherlands or in Belgium?
We really hope so! SMG have already played both in Netherlands and Belgium and we always received such a great support! Terrorize your local promoters and make them contact MAD Tourbooking and do gigs for us!
So I thank you for your time. Are there any last words you want to share with our readers?
First of all, thank you so much for your interest in our band! Hope to see all of you really soon on our ‘Metal Bear Stomp’ release tour and raise some Siberian Hell together!