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Kypck: From Oxford to Russian Fight Clubs

There is definitely no other band like this – Finns who celebrate Russian language and culture in their music. Kypck founded something unique back in 2007. Now they are back with their second release “Nizhe” even better then before. After their short tour through Russia we met singer E.Seppänen at Ilves Bar before their Show at Helsinki’s Tavastia Club. He told us about the years he has been living in Russia and why the Russian way of life fascinates him so much.

How are you doing?
I am a little bit sick, I got the cold in Russia which is not very unexpected. But now I’m fine, I’ve been resting for two days at home and I’m waiting for the show tonight.

You just finished your small tour through Russia, how where the gigs there?
I have to say it was looong…at least the distances where long. Because it was almost like 600 km of travelling between each show.

Oh, did you have some days off in between then?
No,no it was four days in the row. Basically we slept the first three nights in the train. And only in the two last nights we had a hotel. So we where travelling in the morning but, you know, they have nice trains and everything, but when you are travelling all the time and you are a little bit sick, you are very very tired. Not to mention all the afterparties and everything. But it was a good show, or good shows, I mean, all of them basically. The audiences are really good in Russia, because they know all the lyrics, so it is a little bit special.

So the people were the same as last time you have been there
Yeah, well, I don’t know, cause we played in different places this time. I mean in a city as big as Moscow, if you change from one club to another, the people are sort of different. So I guess there were new people there, some old faces as well, but I was a little bit surprised that there was so many people who saw us for the first time.

The biggest Russian commercial TV Network filmed you when you were for the first time in the town Kypck, can you tell us little bit more about it?
Yeah, it was this Channel, they met us at the train station and followed us around a little bit and they did an Interview. I guess they also filmed the show a little bit, just for the Russian TV.

So they will show some kind of special about Kypck The Band.
Yeah, well, they wanted to follow the first Kypck Show in Kypck. That was obviously nice, they where quite young guys actually, younger than me at least.

And it will be shown on TV in Russia?
Yeah in Kypck. It is the local TV there. So far I don’t know if they ever show it nation wide but we will see.

Did you expect that the hype around your new record “Nizhe” would be even bigger than the one around your first record?
In general? Well, it is hard to say because obviously we sort of knew that we got some name after the first album, but I think that, you know, playing in a sort of not very popular style of metal with doomish elements and all that, very slow music. It is still quiet sort of a grass roots level, so the people who are really interested in us, know about us but still its … Let’s say we got a bit more hears this time and obviously we are more happy with this album than we were with the previous one. Because now we knew what we were doing (laughs)

In the Interview you did 2008 with my colleague Marina you said that you think about to change the concept of the Album with every new release. But “Nizhe” still has the same concept as the predecessor “Cherno”, or isn’t it like that? What are the main changes between the two records in your eyes?
Well, it depends what you mean with concept. I mean there is very much about Russia, but one big difference is that the new Album is about, or mostly about 18th -19th century Russian czarist times. I mean the single “Alleya Stalina” is probably the only exception, where we mention something from the modern times. All the other songs are really based on the czarist Russia and even “Alley Stalina” is actually based on a dream that I had, so it is not really a historical Song. So in that sense I mean that we moved a little bit deeper or lower (smiles) into the Russian History. We just put the focus further back into Russian History. But I won’t say that the next album gonna be this or this or that, because even on this album it is a sort of loose thematic thing. You know, I don’t want to restrict myself too much as a lyric writer, so I mean if I feel like, I need to write a song about a dream that I had like about the “Alley of Stalin”. I’m gonna do that anyway. I try to remember not too much about what we did in the past. Just do what comes naturally. But obviously the focus is more on the past.

Where does your love for Russia come from, do you have Russian roots or how come that you are so fascinated by it?
Through history first. I don’t know how it started. My father is a real history freak.

But you have no Russian roots, right?
No, not at all. It is just my father has a huge library. I don’t know, when I was a kid he always told these stories about history. I guess I got kind of fascinated through that, first in Finnish history, and it’s basically a part of Russia´s, too. Because we were under Russian root for so long. You know, you can’t have Finnish history without Russian. It doesn’t make any sense.

Some Finnish people are still against Russia, because of the old history about the war between Finland and Russia, how about you?
I know, but I guess I am a kind of an exception. I always found it really weird, I don’t know if it was my upbringing, but I have always seen it as a sort of great mystery. We have these three neighbors, Sweden, Norway and Russia. We have to learn Swedish in School and everybody goes to these boats around Sweden-Finland so, everybody knows basically what Sweden and Norway are about. But then Russia is this huge place right next door. I just found it really weird.

So it was interesting because it was something unknown?
Yeah, kind of a taboo really. I have always been a kind of person who likes taboos (laughs) Or I wanna sort of poke at things that nobody wants to touch. You know, to me it was really interesting. And nobody knew anything, and nobody knew about the language, the letters, so I wanted to find out about it. I am just fascinated about it.

What do you like the most about Russia nowadays?
Puhh…well, if you forget about literature and history which I am still a big fan of. Well, obviously you can’t really deny that Russia has huge verse of literature, but if we talk about it more completely, it’s just so different from us and it is so near. People are quite different, and it is just really refreshing to go there. I don’t know if it’s the fact that the economical conditions are still so poor, because the country is at war all the time, don’t forget that. They sort of are more open and more close to each other because things can go wrong anytime. I always had a sort of easy and direct relationship with Russian people that I’ve met there, every sort of whole heated people in good and in bad. They are very emotional and it is very refreshing.

That means also for you this typical Finnish image of withdrawn people etc is true?
Yes, as Finland is a very small country.

Not if compared to Switzerland.
Yeah, Finland has been in a way always isolated, maybe Switzerland too. It’s in the middle of Europe and Finland has always been up there somewhere. I hate to talk about stereotypes, but the typical Finnish world view is that we are here in the corner and you are over there “Stay away!” And I always found that a little bit depressing. I don’t see that kind of view myself. So Russia was one big opening for me. When I went there everything was different.

Your mother tongue isn’t Russian but you have lived a few years in Russia, isn’t it hard to write down your feelings in a language like Russian, which is not as easy as English for example?
Yeah, it wasn’t as easy at first, but you know I have lived there for a couple of years as well. I had time to learn it. I wrote a diary in Russian for two years, so I had to think about things in Russian as well. It started out as a sort of exercise to learn the language, but I continued it for a couple of years. It is harder of course, because I don’t have as much practice in Russian, ´cause there are no chances to talk it. But after one album, now two albums it is getting easier. And obviously I do a lot of research.

But do you write them directly in Russian or first in Finnish/English?
In Russian. Because I also wanna get the feeling of the language. Every time when you are writing something, especially lyrics, one lyric can lead to another.

As I mentioned before, you´ve lived a few years in Russia, is there an experience you had then, which you always like to remember, that you could share with us?
Ahh..a lot of things. There are really two periods that I had, one was before England and one was after England, cause I´ve lived in England for three years as well.

So you came around a lot!
Yeah, well Europe mostly and Russia. I’ve never been to anywhere else. But there are a lot of things, just St. Petersburg itself, I have lived there for the longest times and I was working in the Embassy in Moscow, which was supposed to be a really great place to work, but actually there were really nasty people, I am not talking about the Co-workers but about the bosses. After coming from Oxford, where I thought you can talk about anything you like and you can debate in challenge of authorities and stuff like that. Then you get these people who still live in Stalin times and they think just because they are your boss they can… I don’t know. I had huge problems there. But they were Finnish people. And after that I was sort of a freelancer in St. Petersburg, I didn’t do much, just a little translation. Basically just hang around and experimented a lot with alcohol and I was in a sort of fight club in St. Petersburg, in Parks fighting with Russians. It was like a hobby, kind of. It was a little bit weird, now when I think back to it. I am a father now, but five years ago, I don’t know, I guess I was looking for all kind of extremes. This was one of the periods that I was doing a lot of weird stuff. But it was like, you go there and have some beer, then fight, and then have more beers and that was it. I don’t know if I would like to do that again. I am over 30 now but.. (laughs) but that was one of the things that I remember. Russia is full of extremes.

Ok, and that is what you like.
Yeah, because you have this very high culture as well, like great Museums, great literature. Then you also have the underground of St. Petersburg which is something else. So I guess in Kypck we also sort of dig deeper into both of those, we play around.

What would you recommend to people, who have never been to Russia, what should they see and do to experience the REAL Russia, in your eyes?
Oh, the real Russia? I’d say start in St. Petersburg so you get a sort of easy start first. But if you want to know Russia, you have to go somewhere else. I’d say St. Petersburg and Moscow are the European Russia. Go to some small village around.

So you mean it would be good to see some of the poor places and not the “rich” cities?
Yeah, go to Jaroslawl or just smaller cities, but if you don’t know the language then you have a little bit of problems. Start from St. Petersburg and take a trip somewhere else.

Is it true that you always should be around local people
It depends how well you know the language. If you speak Russian, then it is fine, but if you don’t it’s better to have someone.

Kypck is also in demand in the rest of Europe, are there any plans that also Fans in Southern Europe get the chance to see you performing live?
It is funny because we just had a long talk about it on the train back from Moscow a couple of days ago. I don’t think we gonna be doing tours in Europe. I mean this is again, never say never, but at the moment I think we gonna do some special gigs. Because in the Band we have people like Sami Lopakka, who has toured a lot. And I’ve toured a lot with my other bands as well. With Kypck we wanted to keep all the shows as special events as much as possible. We have a lot of suggestions to play somewhere in Europe after the first album, about a year after the first album, but we then decided that we are not gonna do it now, because we are focusing on the new album and then do shows like now and play some new material. We are doing Brutal Assault in Czech Republic and hopefully a couple of shows somewhere here and there. But as a full scale tour? I don’t think so.

So, you would prefer just to play a few festivals only.
Yeah, I think that is the way for this band. But who knows. At the moment it seems like that.

What do you expect from tonight?
Hopefully we remember the songs. We played them on Sunday in Voronezh, Russia. I don’t know, we gonna play the greatest Russian Metal Show on Earth (laughs) Let’s see what happens. Hopefully there will be a lot of people.

Ok thank you and have a great show tonight!
Thanks!

www.kypck-doom.com
Author: Sandy Mahrer, photos: Band
Date: 2011-04-16

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