interview with Iubaris

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What´s the name of your band? Hipnagog: iubaris.

How was the band formed?

Antares:

I always hate this question. Do you want a long, boring version, or a nice short one?

Me and my other friend formed a progressive death metal band called Serpent Eye, in which I was the main brain behind the concept.

At least in the beginning. People came in and out of the band, until there was an internal

power struggle between all of us, and we decided to split. The guys formed their own band,

and I decided to form my own band with Erthun, who was my very good friend at that time.

That's how Iubaris started. Myspace accounts for both Serpent Eye and Nechirion (ex-serpent eye) should still be online.

I would recomend everyone to check them both out, becuase it got's some bad ass music.

Iubaris was pretty stripped down and primitive at it's beginning, but since we started writing the material for "Code",

I decided to slowly include the sound concepts from Serpent Eye, but with our own twist on them.

We met our first bass player, Aquila, in sometime around February-March of 2008. Then Hipnagog joined us in April the same year.

That's how our crusade began.

Where are all band members from?/Who does what in the band?

Antares: We are all from different places around the tricity area. I do the vocals and lead guitars.

I also develop the band's sound and compositional concepts for each album. I write all the lyrics and do all the graphic design.

Mjolnir plays as second guitar and is our band's sound engineer. We play at his rehearsal room and studio. Vulpus handles the

bass and backing vocals. Hipnagog plays drums and helps me with some of the band's artistic concepts.

What was the ambitions of the band when you started?

Antares: When we formed Iubaris with Erthun there was a very strong trend in the local metal music scene, to play technical death metal and

brutal death metal. So we decided to go upstream, and strip everything down, make it super brutal, but simple and primitive.

We were strongly inspired by Celtic Frost's Monotheist, Bathory, Gorgoroth, and some black metal stuff.

I even found a special unique tuning called DADGAD, which is a celtic sounding variation of modal and open D tunings.

We tuned it lower all the way to C, so it became CGCFGC. I don't think abybody uses that. We wanted to sound different than anybody else.

We still do, but now it just comes naturally, we have our own distinct flow. Back then it was more of a statement. A punch in the face.

Our first EP summarises that pretty well.

Could you explain your music to someone that haven't heard you?

Mjolnir: I bet we have a distinctive sound because of the guitar tuning and the specific set of effects we use.

Together with the compositions, which are experimental as well as "vintage" in some ways, this creates our uniqueness.

Hipnagog: Experimental/Avantgarde metal. There are a lot of clean and heavy passages, and a lot atmospheric ones aswell. It's best to sit down and focus to really feel what's going on.

Where was your first gig?

Hipnagog: 2008-09-02 "Metalowe Ucho 2" festival in Gdynia. My first gig ever. I played with Antares , Aquilla(bass) and Erthun (guitar).

Antares: We got a bad review from that gig, but there are videos online that show to prove it was quite the opposite than what the text describes.

I think we got bad press, becuase the reviewer knew the guys from my previous band, so he did a hatchet job. Knowing them, they could have

even pretty much asked him directly for it. Pitiful situation either way.

Where was the latest gig? Hipnagog: 2014 08 31 Opera Leœna Sopot. The rain and wind in the open air created a great atmosphere during that gig.

What genre do you feel you are?

Antares:

This is a problematic question. I think I'll stick with what Hipnagog said earlier, so Avantgarde/Experimental black metal.

We are also big fans of Opeth, Tool and Porcupine Tree, so I guess there is a lot of progressive elements in our music as well.

Do you write your own material or mainly covers? Hipnagog: 100% our material. We don't fancy covers.

Do you have any clips on YouTube?

Hipnagog: There are a lot of live show recordings.

Antares:

We also have a video out, for the song "The Winnowing". It's pretty straight forward.

Just us playing on a rehearsal with some additional effects, to reflect that special atmosphere the band's music creates.

How old are you?/What got you started in music?

Vulpus:

I was born in 1986 on 2nd of November. At the age of sixteen I decided that I wanted to play in a band. It was a moment when I was listening to Black Sabbath with my friend and we suddenly agreed that he would learn to play the guitar and I would go for drums to start rockin' on our own. We started getting lessons - both on classical guitars, because I couldn't have afforded drums. Shortly after I switched to bass. My first show was some school meeting in our townhall, but shortly after we played another one. I'd really like to tell you about. In summer 2004 we (Rottenface - my high school band) supported a popular polish band Varius Manx, because we had a girl-friend who was a singer, and had an opportunity to do us a favor by playing a gig with us there. I was seventeen, my bass was an old, rusty junk, we all made huge technical mistakes and still got an applause. We were also quite happy, until we saw the recording...

I joined Iubaris in Autumn 2008 after having a 3-year-old break from regular teamplay.

Mjolnir:

I'm 23 and started playing like 10 years from now.

Earlier I had been pretty much into electronic music, but one day I was browsing some music videos on Winamp

and I came across on the Finnish band HIM. I started listening to it over and over again,

then other bands appeared and after a few months I decided to take up guitar playing.

Antares:

The idea of making music came to me when I was around 14 years old. At 16 I formed my own music

project called Black Tantra, and recorded loads of songs. I think I have materials for 4 full albums

and some EPs just from that time.

I formed my first band at the age of 18-19.

How old were you guys when you first stood on stage? Mjolnir: I was probably 18, it was a gig of a gothic band Desert of Shadows, which later developed into Cyanide Kiss in which I currently play.

Best/worst gig you've played?

Mjolnir:

For me the best one was last year in Forest Opera in Sopot. It's a place where a famous festival takes place and it's very prestigious.

On the other hand, I believe the worst one was in a town called Wejherowo, two years ago.

We played along with some anarcho-vegan guys, the pub was dirty and we had only one extension cord to share.

However it was more funny than really bad.

Antares:

That gig in Wejherowo was in a club called Fantomas. I heard a guy got stabbed there on some other gig with a knife. We played on somebody else's

gear and it was so bad it was hilarious. The bass amp had so much click, I literally thought people were clapping their hands to the beat.

Is it always the same songs live?

Antares:

We have a lot of songs by now, so we try to change the set around as much as we can, but only after a certain period of time.

If we go on a tour, like we did in summer 2014, we tend to keep the same songs each night, because it's easier for me to remember

their order.

Have you had any bigger tours from start to now?

Mjolnir:

Last year we played a short tour including a few cities in Poland.

It wasn't really a big one, but it was a great experience for us and proved that we can manage more serious touring.

It also allowed me to see Warsaw for the first time :D

How big crowds do you usually play for?

Mjolnir:

I doubt whether they can be called "crowds".

I have the impression, that not so many people are coming to the gigs these times, especially to underground gigs.

Maybe they prefer Facebook, I don't know. Nevertheless we always do our best, no matter if we play for 10 or 100 people.

Where do you usually play?

Mjolnir:

However we sometimes get opportunities to play in bigger venues, the majority of our gigs takes place in small,

local pubs, but we got used to this atmosphere and I personally don't feel any great urge to escape from that and strive for big stages at any cost.

What are your goals with your music?

Antares:

We want to produce quality music, that can be an alternative to the massive amount of commercial shit you hear everyday,

but also an alternative to the staggering amount of undeground bands, that regurgitate the same generic crap, and have no idea what they are doing.

In the older times, art was almost exclusively dedicated to depicting and enforcing religious myths.

Now it's dedicated to making money, and selling products. So in reality nothing has changed. It's the sad truth. This is what get's most exposure to people,

because both religion and consumerism are perfect tools for control.

The idea of individual transcendence, true self-development get's left behind. Well, maybe unless you're a buddhist, which is someting different. Otwerwise there

is no questioning of our purpose here as the human species, of our consciousness.

We are only told and taught how to consume, or fear. Fighting with this is what pushes me forwards as an artist.

I'm trying to create something that is almost holy to me, and something that other people can feel and relate to.

This is my job and purpose.

'Code' is very special for me, because it marks a turning point where I tried to create music that was so different, it almost can be classified as a seperate genre.

This was something I was trying to perfect since I started creating music.

Is it easier to get your inspiration from older bands or from bands more modern? Mjolnir: I guess we all have so many inspirations, that it cannot be easily classified. It's important to keep your mind open.

Besides your own music, what genres and bands do you listen to?

Hipnagog: Metal in general, rock, industrial, hip-hop, ambient, soundtracks, sometimes even pop music...too much to mention. Besides, music tastes tend to evolve.

Antares: My biggest non-metal influence is grunge. It's been like that since forever.

What's the first step when making a new song? Antares: A jam or an exchange of riffs and beats. Then I sit and make a blueprint for a song, and keep working on it over and over until each member of the band is satisfied, and the song fits into a bigger concept, like an album.

How do you feel about the downloading of music instead of buying albums?

Mjolnir:

Without downloading albums I wouldn't have probably got interested in obscure music and wouldn't have taken up guitar.

I believe the revolution in buying music which is going on now, you know, paying underground artists directly for downloading music from bandcamp etc. is a huge step forward.

Every week I come across many excellent bands, which albums aren't available at the CD stores. If it was not for the internet I wouldn't have known so much great music.

Antares:

This is not a black and white issue for me. I have similar observations for the upsides, but there are serious downsides to it as well.

The main problem I see with all the stuff that gets released, is even if I search hard, I rarely find anything that's really good, or original.

Everyone can form a band. Eveyrone can record a song. Everyone can release it. So the internet is flooded. I'm incredibly tired

with trying to search for new good bands, because of all the shit I have to sift through. Second downside, most of these bands, even if they are good, will go nowhere without serious

record label backing. You can't organise a succesfull world wide tour without money and a network of contacts to promote your music, and get it to the people.

You can't advertise your music. You will probably sit in your daytime job for the rest of your life, trying to make a living, saving and spending every free penny on your band,

and there is still some chance it won't get truly recognised. I'm definitely going to play music for the rest of my life no matter what happens, but

I'm aware of how current things influence our situation as musicians. Promotion on the internet is not enough.

Third great downside for me could be a bit more personal, because I come from the transition era of internet music, remembering when free downloades were just starting to be commmon.

At the age of 13 I sold my PC to buy my first electric guitar, and lived without it for 2,5 years. I remember it as the best time in my childhood. Back then buying music

was a ritual. I saved all my pocket money every month to buy a new CD or MC, and rarely bought anything I happened to dislike, even if it was an unknown band. I discovered bands

like Moonspell by accient, which is one of my most important and appreciated bands I listen to up to this day. Back then everything was important, the artwork, the lyrics,

even the fucking smell of fresh printed paint on the cover. Now everything is dumbed down. You can hear any band's new album streaming from the internet on your way to school or work, or taking

a shit in the toilet. It's this culture of instant gratification that bothers the hell out of me. It decreases the value of experiencing music, greatly.

So I still try to buy CDs, as much as I can.

Withount mentioning any names, don't believe most guys in modern bands that are highly succesful, who create this mystical aura of loners and misanthropes around themselves.

Walking in the woods and avoiding people doesn't bring you success in exposing your music. Every sucessful musician has to have very good social and salesman skills.

As for how things were before the internet? I can't say from a musicians point of view, becuase I live now, not then. But stories told by guys like Tom G Warrior are extremely unsettling.

The main reason why we released Code as a physical release, was because it is integral in it's form. Every image and all the lyrics in the CD cover are important.

Hell, I'll say getting the physical CD is crucial in experiencing this album in it's entirety.

What would be your dreams for the band? Mjolnir: Maybe that's not utterly original, but I would like to play killer gigs and record albums considered masterpieces.

What would be your greatest fears for the future? Mjolnir: Stagnation.

When you are on stage, what do you fear most then?

Mjolnir: That a part of our gear fucks up. If everything is working fine you can focus on playing and that's the core.

Antares: I remember a great quote, which was apparently from Trent Reznor: "When an instrument fails on stage it mocks you and must be destroyed."

Sometimes I think the only reason we don't smash our instruments to pieces, is because we are completely broke. That shit is expensive.

Have you been part of any other projects/bands?

Mjolnir: I've taken up many projects in the past, but now, besides Iubaris, I play in a gothic metal band Cyanide Kiss.

Hipnagog: Yes. Between 2013 and 2014 I was the drummer for the band Forecast. Occiasionally I was also playing drums in a banquet band. It's cool to be versatile.

What do you work with outside of the band and the music? Antares: I like obscure graphic design, paintings, photography.

What would you do if there was no music? Mjolnir: I would spend all the money I've spent on gear on travelling.

How often do you rehearse? Where do you rehearse? Mjolnir:We used to play in some rehearsal rooms we rented for hours, but in 2013 I've built our own place in a basement, which we share with some other bands. It's a big advantage for we have our gear there, no time limitations and we also record there.

Name 2 of your own songs you like at the moment? Mjolnir: My all-time favourites are so far Terra Incognita and What's Lost to Be Found.

What drives a band that isn't all that famous and renowned to try to make a living on their music and to keep playing?

Mjolnir: I believe it's the great urge to fulfill yourself and to create what you think is great.

However we don't earn anything, it's the beauty of freedom. Or the freedom of beauty, if you prefer it that way.

Do you have any webpages? Antares: Yes, www.iubaris.pl

Any pearls of wisdom for all other bands out there? Antares: Yeah. Don't do it.

How do you view the music industry of today? Antares: You have to ask that to some other band, we're not in any industry at all.

What advice would you like to give other bands? Mjolnir: Do what you like the way you like it. But do it good.

What are the biggest obstacles for a band? Mjolnir: We live quite far away from each other, so it's sometimes problematic to meet to rehearse.

What is best/worst with playing the clubs? Antares: I disliked the cigarette smoke, but now it's all good, because smokers have separate rooms, or have to smoke outside the venue. I like the close contact with people. Sometimes the acoustics can be very bad.

What is your favorite crappy instrument? Mjolnir: Our bassdrum.

What was one of the most quarrelsome times for you in the band?

Antares: i can't remember a really quarrelsome time, but I still remember when Erthun had to leave the band.

It wasn't up to him. He had to tend to his sick mother. We were all devastated by his departure,

even though we could sense for some time what was coming. When Mjolnir joined the band, he had an idea of making a charity show for her to help Erthun,

and we all thought it was a good idea. This was the hardest time for us. Other than that, I think life was pretty good for us in this band.

And we try to be good and respectful to each other, even though we are 4 different people.

Whats your Pre-show ritual? Mjolnir: I usually just play the material a few hours before, pack all the things I'm going to need and I' good to go. The trick is to be organised.

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