The duo of Jaŭhien (Guitars, Bass) and Nokt Vocals, Flute, Lyrics) combine to create the force of nature that is Dymna Lotva. They epitomize the restless spirit and utter freedom that is black metal yet infuse their music with a sorrow and passion that is tied to their heartland. It is heavy, filled with anger and melancholy yet also tinged with beauty and hope. They have overcome such adversity and oppression to continue the evolution of their sound and release the second part of their trilogy ‘’ The Land Under the Black Wings: Blood’’.
Jauhien: I think we have a pretty standard evolutionary path for any group that does anything to evolve. We started without much of a successful experience. We released an album. We learned something from it. We started playing concerts - we learned more and met useful people. And so on. Everything we do gives some experience and knowledge. As for the album - it's the peak of our evolution for 2020-21 when it was finally recorded. We learned a lot from it too. And we will use all the gained knowledge and experience on future releases.
Is it conceptual in nature? A reflection of past Belarusian conflicts yet it is hauntingly relevant at the moment?
Nokt: yes. This is a fully conceptual album about war - from start to finish. This is also the reason why it’s so long and why the atmosphere is slightly changing through it - from terror at the beginning through rage, hatred, hopelessness and grief, in the end we come to a small sprout of hope among the scorched earth.
I’ve re-listened it in occupied Irpin at the beginning of the full-scale war in Ukraine and I think we've hit the nail on the head. Although it would be better if we weren't.
It has taken a long time to release?
Jauhien: If we take the net working time of the album, it doesn't come out much more than standard. But there was always something in the way of completing the work. Covid, Belarusian authorities, the war in Ukraine.
Nokt: In addition we were waiting for some of our session musicians and also it takes a lot of time to find a children's choir.
It is a complete album yet it feels that there is more to come? is it a trilogy?
Jauhien: The album is the second part of a trilogy. There will be a sequel. But not anytime soon. We plan to move away from the trilogy on the next album.
There is an inherent darkness and underlying tension within your music?
Nokt: It comes from us. From our lives. Of the events around us - past and present.
Nothing special. Not from demons summoned at the crossroads - (maybe in the future… This can be interesting)
It is also hauntingly beautiful as well? How do you manage the juxtaposition of styles?
Jauhien: The styles magically combine themselves. But seriously, we just don't set ourselves any limits or guidelines. We make music the way we like.
Nokt: And we just combine styles of music we like in the way we like.
The pride in your homeland and its description as the lungs of Europe?
Jauhien: Lungs usually help to breathe, if I'm not mistaken. But Belarusians in Belarus cannot breathe freely, unfortunately. The Lukashenko regime is very duplicitous in broadcasting the idea of "Lungs of Europe" from one side, and choking Belarusians from the other side.
Yet you are no longer there? You have been forced to leave?
Jauhien: Our music has been censored. Our concerts were canceled. It was not safe to stay in Belarus.
Nokt: In addition to the obvious repressions against the participants in the 2020 protests (and we openly supported the protests and did not try to hide our participation in them), there is actually a 'hunt for musicians' in Belarus. Many musicians were or are now behind bars. All members of the folk group Irdorath received terms of 1.5 to 2 years in prison simply for playing at the protest march. The 'TOR band' rock band is recognized as an extremist formation, the musicians are in prison, the police are arresting even those who simply starred in their music videos. Pop singer Meryem Gerasimenko was sentenced to 3 years in prison simply for performing a Ukrainian song in a bar (the bar is, of course, permanently closed after that). These are just some of the most well-known cases. I don't like to be silent about important things. Hiding is unbearable. They came for my boyfriend and we ran away. 2 weeks later they came for me.
Are you personally sick of all the turmoil that surrounds you and what does the notion of peace mean to you?
Jauhien: Political persecution and wars can hardly be called turmoil. But yes, it all has to stop. I want everyone to live in peace and joy. And make love, not war. Utopian, but it's true.
Nokt: After the victory of Ukraine, of course.
Your music feels as though it belongs in black metal and other extreme genres, yet it isn’t. Do you have a lot of influences that go into your music and the creative process?
Jauhien: I don't think we have any direct musical influences. I'd like to repeat that we don't set ourselves any limits and guidelines. Plus we listen to different music with Nokt, which brings some variety.
Nokt: and this is why we really belong to black metal - free music without borders, the most beautiful music in this world. Really, could you name any other style of music which can be so various? If not to listen to only 'super true kvlt elite' guys, of course.
What drew you to the heavier side of music? How vital is it to your daily life?
Jauhien: It's hard to remember exactly what it was like anymore. But it certainly wasn't an act of protest or anything like that. One of my friends once showed me Oomph!, Linkin Park, Rammstein and it just started. I listen to heavy music on a daily basis. Only the approach has changed a little bit. When I listen, I usually pay attention to the sound, interesting techniques or moves. It seems to be a professional deformation.
Nokt: It's super vital. In the truest sense of this world. I don't think I would be alive now if I didn't listen to metal. I would have kill myself when I was a teenager. Metal saved me then, gave me strength and rage, gave me true friends and the whole sense of my life.
Sounds pathetic, I understand. But it's true.
The inherent passion you have for music? is it irreplaceable?
Jauhien: Well, if you're a musician, you must have a passion for music. Otherwise, what's it all for?
Nokt: As for me, I have an irreplaceable passion for art. And music is the most emotional form of art for which I also have ability. But being a part of metal band is not limited to music only. You can be an actor, screenwriter and director for your music videos, a model and stylist for your promo shootings, costume designer, props creator and makeup artist for your concert image… Et cetera et cetera. And I have not yet talked about the visual design of your release. Of course, you can outsource it all. ALL. I knew bands that even just bought the lyrics for their songs. But… I prefer to sew our stage costumes myself, for example.
What is next for you creatively?
Jauhien: We'll keep working on the next album. Especially since the work on it has already started and a lot has been done. But we won't be in a hurry. All in due time.
Nokt: We always have a lot of things in line, but implementation takes time and money.
Top 6 albums of all time?
Jauhien: It's going to be difficult. I never thought about it. Let's make six albums that influenced me. So. 1. Mastodon - Leviathan
2. Rammstein - Mutter
3. Arcturus - Aspera Hiems Symfonia
4. Slumber - Fallout
5. Amenra - Mass IIII
6. In Mourning - The Weight Of Oceans
The difference in our musical tastes will now be clearly seen.
Sorry, it seems to be too hard for me to name '6 albums for all time'. Usually I like either the whole band/musician, or a certain period of it's work (which includes several albums) or just specific songs. So I'll try to collect 6 albums for the universal playlist for any mood and situation.
1. My Dying Bride - Turn Loose The Swans
2. Morgul - The Horror Grandeur
3. HIM - Razorblade Romance
4. Dark Funeral - The Secrets Of The Black Arts
5. Diablo Swing Orchestra - Sing Along Songs For The Damned & Delirious
6. AC/DC - Highway To Hell
After that we just need to add here 5-6 ANY Dead Can Dance songs, a couple of the best Maria Callas arias and several Exploited top hits. And that's it, you can go with this playlist to a desert island (well, not completely uninhabited - I added HIM for a reason 😃)