Synaxaria - Melodic Powerful Metal
Dzmitry Kramoushchanka (vocals, guitars, bass, keyboards & arrangements) ‘’I founded this project with Natallia in 2010. It was the result of our life as heavy music lovers. For many years before we played music together, but it has been since 2010 that it has taken on a more stable form. And even after that, we went through a series of changes in our style. And maybe something else will change in the future, who knows. As for the name, it was planned. I am interested in collecting various old books and facsimile editions. At that moment, when there was a question about the name of the band, I was reading one of these books. These were "Eternal Posthumous Mysteries" - about the fate of human souls after death, according to Orthodox theology. And there I saw the word "synaxaria". This is a good-sounding word reminiscent of ancient traditions. It’s interesting, mystical, universal for any language, it’s remembered, convenient for a logo. So that's good.
The Connection with culture and nature?
‘’First of all, our album (and the previous one too) is connected with culture. The old culture and heritage of our land. But the worldview of people of that time was intertwined with nature much more strongly. And they were much closer to that. Those times a man swam along the river (or the sea), and he saw all this water, waves, birds, shores and experienced it. The buildings didn’t disfigure the landscapes at that time. Even factories were built in a certain architectural style, not just like a gray box. There was aesthetics and harmony in everything. Therefore, when we talk about the old culture, we are talking about the times when nature was an important part of the life and inspiration of people.
The lyrical inspiration
‘’First of all, these are personal impressions of traveling to historical places. And also, from researching it. This is important, we are not just a fantasy band, we sing about real places. Even if we have some kind of legend, this is real folklore from there. Our history has accumulated a huge treasure in itself. Our landscapes are still very beautiful despite the destruction. So, we travel to historical places, I read literature and documents about it. Somewhere during this, a new song may appear. And new lyrics too.
‘’It may be a story, or it may be some personal experience. Often, one song mixes up these two things. It's like a modern poet stands in an ancient place, recalls its history and sees its current state at the same time.
‘’Music like lyrics as well comes from the contemplation of those beautiful things that our art is dedicated to. And it is born from an inner experience, influenced by the epic atmospheric compositions that I have heard. These are good tracks of modern music, classical composers, church chorales, folk melodies, a mix of all this. It's called an artistic experience, I think.
I'm not entirely sure if I understood the term ‘cinematic quality’ correctly. But of course, me and Natallia often dream together how we could translate our compositions into videos. Oh, there is exciting filming happening in our minds! But all our ideas are crashed with an empty budget that doesn't allow us to shoot clips for almost 5 years. So just modest visualizations and lyric videos for now…
What is the swan in the Wind? And The Witch River?
‘’’First of all, I will note that anyone who downloads our album from Bandcamp gets a special pdf-booklet with the concept and lyrics of the album. Afterwards, we gradually post it on our social media. We always tell a story about what our songs are dedicated to. So, until I say a lot. I will only say that Natallia and I met this swan on a windy day in a pond. We explored an old manor with a rich history that was completely destroyed by the Bolshevik communists. The old pond was a little thing that survived from the estate. And we saw this lonely, beautiful swan there. It inspired me to put these things together and write a poetic story about it that you can listen to in this song now. Actually, this is a song about the occupation and tragic destroy of our land.
‘’Likewise: it’s in the booklet, and we ‘ll tell you more about it in due time. But now I want to tell you that there is a small river in Belarus called ‘Vedzma’. It literally means “whitch” in English. Exactly on the banks of this river the story that our lyrics tells was happened. By the way, we even released a lyric video on our YouTube channel. There's a pretty deep story there that combines real history and legend. About the battles of the 17th century and how this river helped our soldiers to win them.
Musically you are labeled gothic metal?
‘’We don’t label, but we are labeled. I don’t know why. I absolutely don't think of our current music as gothic metal. We've played this before, but our last release in this style came in 2018. Our music is already something wider now. Gothic metal is a part or our music, but that’s not all. I also have a special facepalm for those who still labeled us as ‘industrial metal’, because we played in this style in 2010-2014.
What made you become a metal musician?
‘’You know, when I was young, I looked at all these big bands – Metallica, Rammstein etc. But they didn't inspire me! They seemed so far away, something from another world, where we will never get (and it's true). I got a real impetus when I found out about our local Belarusian underground bands. When I listened to their recordings and went to concerts in underground clubs. Then we had an amazing metal movement in Belarus. Hundreds of people came to concerts in small clubs, people hung out in the streets. This gave me the understanding that we can act on our own. We can make our Belarusian metal in one world family. As for the song, given what I said above, I'll say about our Belarusian band Vicious Crusade and their song ‘Masquerade of Piety’. This song made me a heavy music lover. You can find it on YouTube or elsewhere and you won't regret it. It's better than ‘Master of Puppets’ as for me! Synaxaria has a several covers of Vicious Crusade but it is other songs better fit for our style.
‘’Music always comes first. And we don’t play ‘midi-plugin-metal’, therefore the process of making music is not easy at all. It's rich, full-fledged live music, so it's worth the effort. A certain professional level is required for this. A variety of drums, bass, live piano, analogue arrangements are all played and recorded live. All this requires my performing skills, composer thinking. Unfortunately, few people today can understand the difference between mechanical plastic and real live instrument sound. Few people listen deeply to the music to hear all the layers there. But I still keep tinkering with all these live drums and analog synthesizers and keep writing complex arrangements.
You've come a long way from your beginnings.?
‘’It was a great way! It was something interesting at every stage. Maybe I even regret that I can't play all this music in parallel. I still like a lot of that kind of music. On the other hand, our music is developing quite systematically. So, our next albums will be based on the current ones. But lately I feel like I want to write more chipper, heavier and possibly folk songs. This is required by the things that I would like to write about. But in any case, it will be atmospheric and artistic.
Plans for the future.
‘’I don't have a lot of motivation to release something. For more than 10 years of the project, we actually have minimal feedback (thanks to your mag, by the way!). I could say that there will be interesting releases in the future, but our matters are too far from what modern society is interested in. I have something creative ideas for Synaxaria and I think it’s great. So if I have the mood and the funding to realize them that will be good. I consider it will be quality, interesting and unique conceptual stuff.
Top 6 albums of all time?
‘’Uhhh… I could name the top 6 if it was just one genre like hard rock or black metal) But I absolutely can’t put all the music of mankind into the top 6! OMG, I can't even put metal in six positions! But there is still rock, pop, electronic, classic and much more. So, I'm sorry, but I wish everyone to listen to a lot of various interesting music.