Metal On Loud is honored to interview Grenouer the iconic metal band from St. Petersburg, Russia; an experienced band who has been making music for more than 20 years! Initially starting their careers as an Extreme Metal band, they gradually developed into a more refined and mature style of playing. It was a privilege for us to get in touch with the lead vocalist for the band, Andrey Ind, who gave us the time to answer most of our questions.
To Andrey and everyone at Grenouer, greetings from Metal On Loud! We’re grateful for the opportunity to ask you a couple of questions. Since I'm sure that many of our readers are still unfamiliar with your work, would you care to tell us a little about yourselves?
Andrey Ind: My pleasure to meet you and all you Metal On Loud readers! The world of music today has a tremendous amount offer, and unless you are in a heavy rotation, the chances to get to the masses are rather flat. Fortunately this is not an issue that worries me, as the ability to remain a musician and to proceed on this journey is the best reward I've had so far! Grenouer was formed in the early 90's, and whilst we never came across substantial commercial success, we managed to travel a long road full of discoveries. 8 full-length albums were released worldwide, and—whenever possible—Grenouer got on the road to play in Russia and in Europe. Please check out our latest album and watch the music videos, because if you are into contemporary and melodic forms of Metal, Grenouer has a lot to offer.
I loved your last album, “Unwanted Today”, but how has the overall reception been towards it? And how satisfied are you yourselves with the end result?
Thank you very much! This is the most recent work from Grenouer and surely our most mature effort. Our producer, Giuseppe "Dualized" Bassi (Dysfunction Production) did a fantastic job and I can't help quoting his own words: "Even if we won't get any serious money with it, we should be very proud of it. So, when you feel discouraged, remember what you're capable of!". Our team was definitely satisfied with the result, and seeing amazing reviews in press like 'Fireworks', 'Soundscape' and 'Metal Temple' was breathtaking, but I was just blown away by the 10 out of 10 points at 'Powerplay Magazine'.
The album “Unwanted Today” came across to me as a wake-up call for someone who is down or broken; someone who is pissed at this world. Did you have a specific incident or idea in mind when writing it?
Well, it's an appeal to the sense of isolation in this huge world. That's not necessary being broken or down, just how your words freeze or your heart sinks. There was no specific incident; when you make music that has a distinctive touch of melancholy, and which is compared to Tool and Katatonia, it is irrelevant to declare flaming optimism. My texts were indirectly inspired by books by Julian Barnes, yet I would prefer to avoid any subjective assessment here.
You have been making music since the early 90's. How does it feel to you to make something that you love? And do you think the scene has changed much in those years?
The changes are way too dramatic. The 90's were much easier, you just recorded albums and played live. If the music was good enough, you had fans. Studios were expensive. Shooting a worthy music video was hugely expensive and becoming signed implied that you were on the crest of a wave. Today no one cares how good you play, or how well music is recorded and produced and whether or not it is released properly. You've got to go social, and if you are vigorous about getting likes you're on the right track. Does it refer to music? Have a look at the thousands of identical bands. Anyway, if you still feel passion and foster your appetite for qualitative stuff, you will come to realize that you just cannot stop making music. Being honest with yourself is the best way to maintain motivation. We are not writing our own "Story of Anvil", since it is not the matter of hope but the matter of appreciation of life.
Grenouer started as an Extreme Metal band, but gradually evolved into more of an Alternative Metal band. How was the fans reaction towards this? Was it an intentional shift?
That was natural progression. Some bands are good at remaining the same, like AC/DC or Motorhead, but some benefit a lot from changes. As a music fan I always enjoyed unexpected turns—and especially untypical albums, like "Carnival of Souls" by Kiss, "Host" by Paradise Lost or "Shadowlife" by Dokken. I know that die hard fans nail their colors to the mast, yet being an independent artist has some advantages too. I remember the words of Tony Iommi who was happy about removing "Paranoid" from the tracklist when Heaven & Hell was formed.
Have you ever thought of going back to the roots of Extreme Metal?
I have nothing against Extreme Metal, yet I would be dishonest with myself if I proceed delivering brutal stuff just because old fans want Grenouer to do so. Ten years ago I started to take vocal lessons in order to switch to clean singing only, and now more than ever I feel that you cannot step in the same river twice. However, Grenouer is deeply rooted in Metal and stands too far from becoming an Alternative Rock or a Pop band.
Looking less to the past and more to the future, what plans do you have for 2016? Can we expect to see you on tour soon?
The tour period for "Unwanted Today" is over, which means that it is high time for producing new songs. I hope very much that the new release will see light this year already.
Are there any countries you’ve yet to visit that would like to in the future?
We have never crossed the ocean, so going to USA would be marvelous. The same is true about Japan and other exotic countries. Grenouer is always eager to play anywhere, old or new; every gig important in your career because twenty people under the stage are not less important than twenty thousand, and being a musician means dying every night on stage.
If you chose to cover another artist, who would it be and why?
Whenever Grenouer picks a song to cover it normally has a good argument. The 7th Grenouer album "Blood on the Face" ends with Stone Temple Pilots cover, and it is so sad that now this cover involuntary pays a tribute to Scott Weiland when initially we had very different reasons. In the future I would be happy to choose anything atypical, like Earth, Wind & Fire or INXS. Still, that has be a justified group decision driven by logic if there's a place for such a cover in the album or on our setlist.
We’ve seen Iron Maiden’s “Trooper” and Chthonic’s “Independence” branded beer; Slayer wine and Manowar brand condoms. If Grenouer were to endorse a product, which would you choose?
Sometimes marketing experts punch above their weight. How serious is it to buy a Manowar condom? In my opinion it doesn't do the band any good. Imagine going to a supermarket, buying Slayer wine and bringing it to a family party. Making fans buy whatever you unleash is a far-reaching question. To me a decent fan package is always better that any byproduct.
Do you have any final words for our readers?
Thanks a lot for your time and your interest! Keep hearts open to new music. I hope very much to meet you some day—all of you—because music has no national, time, age or any other restrictions.