A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to chat with vocalist Ruslan "miRUS" Iskandaroff and bassist Anatoly from brutal Russian death metallers Katalepsy. It proved to be quite an interesting talk as we discussed the music, the production and recording of their debut Musick Brings Injuries as well as briefly touching the subject of why Russian death metal appear quite anonymous on the international scene.

Ruslan Iskandaroff and Anatoly interviewed by PSL

Your debut CD is a brutal slap of sick death metal. How has the reactions been to the CD so far?
miRUS: We have gotten a lot of good reviews in different zines and very good reactions from those who've heard Musick Brings Injuries too! This is our first full-length album. Previously we have only done a split CD so we didn't have any idea how it would be received in the scene. Now we know that we are on the right track and we'll do our best to make even more brutal death metal!

Anatoly: It was really a surprise to us how well it has been received. Some time after the release I began to get emails from bands that I listening to, telling me how much our album kick ass. Just think about that, how cool it is! I'm very proud and thrilled about this [laughs].

I know you're inspired by brutal US death metal. Could you say something about bands that have had a major impact on your playing?
Anatoly: Our favourites include Devourment, Artery Eruption, Disgorge, Suffocation and so on. There are really too many to mention all of them here. We are fond of modern brutal death metal, deathcore and metalcore.

miRUS: As Anatoly just said there are a lot of bands that we were inspired by. Every one of us has different taste, but we all like this kind of brutality.

Your music is fairly diverse. It's not just a blastbeat contest from start to finish. What makes a good death metal song in your opinion?
Anatoly: I think what it mostly comes down to is good riffs. There is nothing better than good groovy or fast and catchy riffs! There's just something about strange and cryptic death metal melodies that appeal a lot to me.

You've recorded most of the CD in Navahohut Sound. What made you pick that studio?
miRUS: Navahohut is one of the best studios in Russia when it comes to recording brutal death metal. Even if we got a chance to record anything outside of Russia we would think about it. I mean the work from Navahohut has always been 100, so do we want to take the risk and record elsewhere? Also other studios here is not orientated towards this style of music and we have heard their results and that made us go with this studio and use Arcady Navaho as sound engineer.

Anatoly: And Arcady really loves his work and this kind of music. We are very grateful for the work he's doing for us and his patience. He is really professional to work with so we are very happy with this collaboration.

The production is fairly clean and powerful. Did you achieve the sound you were looking for?
miRUS: I think at this point we've found a good sound. Not the best perhaps, but better than we expected at the start of the recording. Still I think it's better than what most brutal bands come up with on their first albums. We have all the chances to make a better sound now. We know what we want and how to do it.

Anatoly: This is our first album so it was a learning process. The album sound changed from day to day while we worked on it. Our guitarist CannX lived in the studio and did a colossal work. Of course the next release will show further improvements! Again it will be recorded by Navaho and the sound will be so much better. We are learning from our mistakes, but for a debut we're satisfied with sound. I think we achieved a good result, don't you?

You've included a version of Mortician's "Rabid" on the CD. Is this same song you recorded for the Mortician tribute? What made you pick that particular song?
Anatoly: No, it's not same the version of the song that's on the tribute. The new version has a much better sound and the vocals are better too. Mortician has made a lot of good songs, but we decided to play one of the groovier. And "Rabid" also have this awesome and classic sample: "I drink your blood and I eat your skin". Brrrr, just got goosebumps from these words [laughs].

The artwork looks pretty sick. Who made it and was it made on a specific idea from the band?
Anatoly: The cover art, logo and layout were created by Phlegeton Art Studio. Phlegeton is a good artist and friend. He made a lot of artworks like Avulsed's Gorespatted Suicide and the latest Disgorge album. We just talked to him and said that we wanted to have a natural looking artwork. Not something like a comic, but more like a photo and he did that perfectly. The artwork was his idea, but the poster was ours. We send Phlegeton some photos and our ideas of how it should look and it got it right.

A little while back you've made some changes in the line-up. Have you found a solid line-up by now?
Anatoly: Well, now we have a new frontman and drummer. miRUS is our new vocalist. He is an old friend, manager and boss of Soulflesh Collector Records. He helped us out during the recording session so we all know that he sounds great. We're really happy to have him in the band and I think he feels the same about being a part of Katalepsy.

miRUS: Yes, I'm really happy to do the vocals. With our long friendship in mind I'll try to do it perfect. Me and our new drummer have also known each other for a long time. We played together in another band. It's great to have him in the band I know plays to the maximum.

Anatoly: His name is Andrey and he is really cool. It's great that he's now a part of the Katelepsy family.

Are any of you in other bands besides Katalepsy?
miRUS: For now none of us are playing in any band besides Katalepsy. Both me and Andrey have played in Crop Order, but that band is only a studio project now. So we are all giving maximum to Katalepsy and I think that is the right decision!

Anatoly: This music takes up a lot of our time and life. This is brutal death metal. We can't live of this so unfortunately we must work regular jobs to afford food and clothes and be able to pay for our rehearsals. So we really have no time for any other projects.

Have you commenced work on material for the next CD?
Anatoly: Yes, we're working hard now. In August we're entering Navahohut Studio to record five new songs for a split CD. You probably know the other bands on the split CD. I'm not going to tell who it is, but they are masters of brutality [laughs]. Our new songs are a little different, but you can be sure that this will be 100% new school brutal death metal. No gothic or Britney Spears influences here.

Could you say something about the direction of the new material?

miRUS: It'll be the next step in the growth of Katalepsy. All I can say is that we want to kick ass!

I know there are many good death and grindcore bands in Russia, but for some reason they rarely seem to get any attention outside of the Russian federation. Do you have any idea why that is?
miRUS: It's because here we have a lot of problems with in terms of communication and some politic problems as well. To visit any good European country we need visas and they are hard to get here. We also need International passports and it's not standard to have that in Russia. It's also expensive to fly and especially if it's outside of Russia. Another thing is that some band doesn't even have an internet connection and thus they can't really promote themselves much. The biggest problem is that we actually don't have a lot of time to do all this shit. We have to work hard just to stay alive. It's silly, but our social situation is not good for those who are making music or other kinds of cultural things.

How is the death metal scene in Moscow these days?
miRUS: It's becoming stronger and stronger. Nowadays it's not just one or two bands that are good enough to get a record deal. A lot of young bands are coming up and they know what they are doing so that is really positive. I'm also helping them out the best I can, by doing promotion via Soulflesh Collector Records.

Are there any plans for Katalepsy to play outside of Russia in 2007?
miRUS: No, but we're always looking for a chance to play outside Russia - preferable in Europe! We have everything to do a tour or to visit some kind of festival so feel free to contact us!

Anything you wish to add to conclude this interview?
Anatoly: Pick up our debut album Musick Brings Injuries. Come and visit our live shows. Support the underground! We need all of you! Stay sick and brutal!

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