Hi Ditmar, I would like to make people know your music better, so I will ask you first about your earlier works. Can we begin the march? How are you?
Hi! I am fine. A little bit tired, it’s monday evening. Up to my daily work and a little tired but okay. Something like this.
Since when are you into the world war themes? How would you call or describe it through your eyes?
Actually I had a passion for the Great War throughout all my life. Even in my previous band which was a hardcore punk band I was still trying to make some songs about the Great War. It was really weird, because we played a punk gig and we were singing about hell and about Great War and everyone in the crowd went: what the hell? Is it punk rock or not? So I try to talk about this thematic in every of my bands and I started 10 years ago as one small industrial noise metal project. We recorded 2 albums totally about the Great War but it was noise music so it’s really hard to listen to it. After that I understood that I wanted to make a band to sing completely about the Great War like our main theme. So I started writing lyrics, I always dig deep and I read a lot of books and a lot of memoirs, I travel to old battlefields and I visit a lot of museums, talking with the historians there and with archeologist. And I am trying to be a war archeologist too in the next 15 years. It’s a huge part of my life and a huge part of my personal emotions.
The new style of 1914 is Death/Black metal. If I were to search for something similar I would say Bolt Thrower. What would you say, how do you feel about the music of 1914?
As for me it’s not really correct about Bolt Thrower, because Bolt Thrower is totally black and death metal. It’s fucking brilliant and awesome, it’s a legend, but if we are talking about Bolt Thrower we are talking about brilliant school of brittish death metal with really huge punk rock vibes. If you need to compare us with someone I would say someone who has already 3 albums out from the Great War and it’s totally awesome and it’s a classic and I am a huge fan of them God Dethroned. So we can compare our music. And if I talk about styles that you can compare us to, for me it’s much more about sludge music, but not about black metal. I’m not so much of a metal guy. I came from the punk movement and from the punk scene so some sludge and some hardcore vibes is more of my place. And sure I like black metal and I am a fan of Darkthrone; Mayhem; Abigor and a lot of other bands, but if we talk about 1914 I would say sludge metal first.
In 2015 and 2018 you released 2 albums. They got really positive feedback. Was it a surprise, or did you expect it to be this good?
If we talk about surprising we can talk about our previous albums, because when we released it we got a really huge amount of positive feedback and a lot of reviews from really higher metal injection, blabers malls by decibell magazine and a lot of metal hammer. And they actually ranked us like 10/10 or 9/10 and placed us the metal release of the year or something like that. It was a really huge surprise for us. And if we talk about surprises about the ,,The Blind Leading the Blind” album it actually brought the label for us. Napalm Records. So this new album is surprising too. I am trying to read all the reviews and I am really happy about this. Now I just hope that we deserve it. On the previous albums it was totally unexpected, but now we work really hard and we try to bring it on a new level and I hope we deserve this hype and these positive feedbacks and wich we actually get now.
And then as you said as well Napalm Records came in the picture. I couldn’t imagine a better place for you. Who wanted the contract more, them or you?
I don’t know. When we released the previous albums we received a few invitations from a major label, 5 from different european and american labels. But our friends from Ukraine are with Napalm Records and we talked to them about it, and they said that their respond time is really quick and they explain everything. So that’s why we decided on them, because it’s about professionalism and they gave us a really intresting contract.
Your album ,,Where Fear and Weapons Meet” came out with them as well. What’s noticable that it is more motivational and it’s about life, not death. The cover is according to that idea as well. How hard do you think it is for a soldier to fight against superiority and just hope for the best?
We are only humans after all. And the hope dies last. So every soldier in every trentious war has his face, luck. He needs to beleive in the better things, that he is still alive and when he will come home and meet his family. It’s all about hope. I think it’s common for every soldier in every trance.
I think the third album is really high quality and it has memorable songs, ominous mood, aggression, atmosphere and everything is on the top. How do you see it, what can you say about the fresh songs?
If you go round and round and round with one thing for even more for half of a year you will get tired of it. We made the songs, we recorded it we mixed it we produced it, but I am a little bit tired of the songs and I need months of breaks to forget about them. And after that I can think about that album again and the songs and how I feel about them. Right now I am burnt out of it and I don’t have any feelings about the songs anymore just that we finished them. The fact that we get reviews and feedback is great, I am happy for it but I need to have some rest. Maybe I explained it a bit complecated but I hope you can understand it.
In the song „…And a Cross Now Marks His Place” Nick Holmes contributed, who’s known by many from Paradise Lost. How did he react when you asked him? Why did you think it was a good idea?
I think you can imagine it. I am crying like a bitch. Because we are a small band from Ukraine and no one knows anything about the ukrainian metal scene in gerenal. Sure there are a few famous bands from Ukraine like Jinjer; Nokturnal Mortum, but generally if you talk about Germany or Norway or Finland, from these countries there comes an inormous amount of good bands. We can’t even compare it to Ukraine. So if you are a small metal band in Ukraine, and you try to reach out to a legend, who I support a lot, I used to collect all their vynils and tapes and cd-s, and when you are writing the letter and including everything to the concept and sending lyrics, you don’t beleive even to get an answer. But then he said he liked it and he wanted to know more I went: wait, hold on a second. After that I rapidly recorded a shitty demo just in one day and I sent it to him and he replied after 3 days that he is in. And it was then when I was crying like a bitch. I couldn’t beleive it. It’s madness. We did it and I am totally happy with this, but I still don’t beleive it.
Could you talk us through about the recording process? Who helped?
I hate to talk about musical stuff. We have our guitar players and they know perfectly what went down… I am not a musician, I am just a vocalist. I know nothing about musical process so they recorded their parts, the drummer did some blast beats and the bass player played something stupid. I am just joking of course. All of this album was recorded here in our hometown, but it was mixed and produced in Sweden. Actually we produced our previous album with the same guy. If you are intrested in how we make and record the songs, I just don’t really give a fuck about it. I just have some lyrics in my head, melodies in my head and I arrive to practise and tell the guys what I have, and they respond with: okay, a new portion of creepy shit. Let’s do it. Something like this.
What was your plan in the beggining and how much does the outcome differs from that plan?
We wanted to release Sabaton. I am joking. Our plan is to spread our ideas all over the world and the label totally helps. About this I want to talk to every metalhead about Great War about the soldier’s fate about the stories and I wanna spread this between european or from all-around-the-world metalheads. If we are talking about the bands’ plans we are hoping to go on tour, because it’s fucking covid and Ukraine became a red zone again and our borders are closed again so it’s like we are in prison. I hope next year we will be allowed to play a lot of gigs. Actually we will play in an inormous amounts like 68 gigs, and lots of european festivals next summer.
There’s gonna be a huge attack from you next Spring. You are going on a huge tour. It’s fantastic to say. What can you tell us, what will we see or hear?
You will definitely hear 1914, but we will tour with brilliant bands like Konvent, Livløs, they came out with a masterpiece of an album. If you haven’t you must check them out. You will hear our new album and songs from our previous ones from ,,The Blind Leading the Blind” and maybe a few from our first album. We will mix them somehow, because a usual concert time is 45 minutes to 1 hour, and you can’t play a whole album under that time. You will see my microphone stand as a rifle and our new uniforms and some shitty helmets covered with mud and of course shitty me covered with mud. So yeah, let’s meet on some gigs.
Unfortunately your own country is not in a good state. Is there any opportunities for a starting band to book concerts?
It’s complicated in Ukraine to plan and to book gigs at places because just for example we booked 10 gigs in the UK. And I don’t know if we the band can just receive a Great Britain visa, because for us the Ukrainians not just in the covid situation it seems easier to start with Elon Musk and fly in space than to get a visa to the UK. It’s a bit of a problem when you are not from the European Union to play and book shows, but I hope we can do this.
What do you think, how can we avoid the conflicts that would lead to another world war? Are people’s way of thinking is the problem in the first place?
Do you remember George Carlin? He has a fantastic quote: ,,People are just fucking stupid, so accept it.” So if we talk about the new world war, we will get it in 10 or maybe 15 years, because peopel are just stupid. So we are from Ukraine and we are 7 years already in war with the Russian Empire, because these soviet shitheads are still there, and it looks like a slowly mooving 3rd World War. Because a lot of conflicts are around and behind of it, Russia trying to make conflicts with some middle Easterns, some conficts in Afghanistan and some conflicts in Africa. So if there is gonna be a 3rd World War the Russians gonna start it.
Would you like to talk a bit about yourself? What kind of a man are you, how do you live your days?
I am just a typical ukrainian guy. I am working all day, I am a marketing manager. Everyday I work my daily job and walking with my daughter any trying to see some movies or animation with her and I got rehearsels. You know I am just a boring typical ukrainian guy.
Ditmar, if there’s anything you’d wish to say, please do it now. It’s been great to talk to you and I wish you the best.
Thank you. I mostly told you everything, so I wish you the best too.
The interview was taken with Ditmar Kumarberg on 25.10.2021.