SANGVIS – Mystical language of Art Noir

Sangvis is a modern/melodic death metal band formed in a small town near Tula, Russia in 2009. Current members are: Roman Zotov (guitars), Vyacheslav Sigaylov (guitars), Stepan Zuyev (vocals), Konstantin Kalyanov (bass). Right now the band is in the process of releasing their first full-length album. They’ve already released four singles: Cure for the Soul, Femme Fatale, Last Day Home, and Just a Job.

The main composer and the  lead guitarist of Sangvis – Roman Zotov, revealed a part of the mystery that lies behind the music of the band.

You seemed pretty busy in previous months, with the studio work and post production, even though the spring lockdown situation was difficult for many musicians. How did you manage to get the whole work done, and to release a new single every month? Was it hard for the band?

Actually, the pre-production began way ahead of the pandemic, so we were ready to proceed in any scenario, however dramatic it sounds. In the last couple of years, we haven’t done any real live shows, because of the departure of our drummer (and it’s very hard to find a new one where we’re based), so we decided to go fully digital. That’s what allowed us to start releasing freely now, when times are tough for many.  However, it wouldn’t be completely honest to say that we’re not affected by the pandemic at all, as it’s harder for bands to survive when many metal fans can no longer support them financially, including us.

„Cure for the Soul“ is a part of a concept. Every month you release a new song, where each one tells a story. Also, every song has a backstory video comic. Can you tell something more about this whole idea?

When I was coming up with the concept, I realized that albums are a proven format, but why would I have to do it like everyone else? So I set two goals for myself:

-create a full-fledged story with overarching lore and plot;

-every song must work as a standalone track outside of the main story.

Having come across one chapter, the listener can easily start the series from the beginning, or continue even if they missed one installment – it won’t damage the perception of the general story. However, when the series is done, we’ll release a mixtape with all chapters in chronological order – a real album – with a couple of interesting bonuses thrown in.

You are pretty much inspired by Art Noir. It makes Sangvis unique, in artistic way. Do you agree? In what way, you find yourself seduced to this artistic expression?

Yes, absolutely, I’m not aware of any metal bands who exploit noir themes (maybe there are such bands, but I haven’t heard of them yet – I apologize in advance to my fellow musicians just in case). Sometime in 2015, I got into classic movies, I especially liked film noir because of the aesthetics. Based on my idea, we found 30s/40s-style suits for live shows. It took off from there, the deeper I plunged into works of noir (movies, video games, or something else), the more I started to project myself and my life in this setting. Several years went by, and here we are, I can finally express myself as a composer and an author in the language of noir.

Did your previous EP “ Post Noir“ lead you where Sangvis stands now – artistically? Are there any similarities between the past and present in your music expression?

Obviously, Post-Noir was a solid starting point for our current concept. The only thing different is that the EP included several old songs that had been recorded before, and we had to, so as to say, “let them go”.

In this almost faceless world, where people often lose theirselves while chasing the money, is it hard for an Artist? From your perspective, as a creative being, do you sometimes need to make some compromises, or do you believe that you have to fight for your artistic freedom?

Making art is great, but an artist also has to eat. I perfectly understand how it works: you pay the bills, take care of your family, and finally, make music (which is far from a cheap hobby, as you may know). I would be a liar if I said I never make compromises. As most musicians, I have permanent jobs (and not very pleasant ones at that), I always have to seek balance between my relationships and music. Sad but true. An artist shouldn’t starve, otherwise they’ll only think of food.

Now, back to the band..

Can you introduce us to each member of Sangvis?

Stepan Zuyev – currently our vocals.

Konstantin Kalyanov – bass guitarist, and a lover of West Coast IPAs.

Vyacheslav Sigaylov — guitar.

And myself, Roman Zotov – management, lyrics, arrangements, guitars, back vocals.

We also shouldn’t forget about two other members of our team who often remain in the shadow:

Michael Voronin – visual and graphic design, social media work.

Aleksandr Borzenkov – English translations of the lyrics, writing for the comics, voice acting as the narrator in video versions of the comics.

Do you share the same vibe when it comes to the music you play, and how important is the good energy between each member of the band?

I believe that, first and foremost, musicians should remain professional, and only then it’s possible to talk about vibe, energy, and other aspects of professionalism.

What music inspires you the most, and is there any new band you appreciate? How do you feel about the global music scene nowadays?

The thing I love the most about music is – yes, I’m one of those people – music. I don’t care when it was written, in what genre, I only care if it’s a good song that can really touch me. As for the modern music, as I said before, I equally like classic and new stuff. I won’t name any particular artists, as I don’t want to, God forbid, slight or forget someone.

What can you tell about your plans connected to the new album?

First, we want to release all planned chapters, and then we’ll see. Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 and the incomplete line-up, we can’t play any shows, but don’t worry, we’ll do everything we can to promote our work. Thank you for your interview, it would be great if there were more interviewers with interesting and original questions.

Photo credit: Roman Zotov