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Today we'll go to Asia and visit the country, which was the part of the USSR - Turkmenia. What? Did the wind of metal music get there too? Well, I cannot call it "wind", but light breeze was there. The RELIKT band, which presents nowadays 50% of the Turkmenian capital city metal-scene, plays thrash metal with elements of oriental music. Serdar Salihov answered the questions by Konstantin Zmievsky.

Zmej: Reading the band's biography I started recollecting the USSR period (rehearsals at chess club, working in Teachers' Training Institute hall, etc). Well my first question is going be pretty much natural, so how is metal activity going on in your country? Are there any chances to play metal in Turkmenia and to have an adequate audience or any metal activity is destined to be trampled down by authority.

Serdar: Yeah, metal activity is in awful status. There are just two bands in Ashkhabad - RELIKT and ELEMBUS (gothic black). Both bands receive no support from any label and remain devoted enthusiasts. Our country is nearly devoid of metal fans and thus no one is interested to promote metal. Authority doesn't trample music officially, at least we never met any confrontation. But it is just impossible to organize a gig because we shall never be able to pay off the rent and license. Sometimes there are some gigs organized but the level of organization is awful. I wish there were no gigs at all in such case.


Zmej: OK, that's clear. You didn't surprise us. Still I think that low quality gigs are better than absence of gigs. Why don't you contact Russian labels then?

Serdar: We are intending to do it after we have our newest material recorded. I hope sound quality will be much better. Or course we have to rely on ourselves, none of Russian labels is going to cover our studio and road expenses (It is a rare happening indeed, - Ed.). We don't think we shall be able to cover all expenses ourselves.

Zmej: You also chanced to play at DISCOs! Damn interesting! Any comments.

Serdar: These days are gone. In 1999 we played in small student disco halls. Now some of us just play pop music in pubs. I am all against such practice yet I cannot forbid earning money this way.

Zmej: How was RELIKT thrash music perceived in disco halls? Were you asked to play varieties?

Serdar: No! We were facing our own audience of course! And some punks as well.

Zmej: What problems did you come across when recording "Religion" album?

Serdar: Basic problems were absence of time for creativity and absence of labels ready to invest money into recording. There are also no decent studios in our city. So we were recording everything ourselves applying equipment we had at hand. That's why sound quality is far from excellent.

Zmej: Your web site tells us about edition of "Religion". Where was it released, which format and number of copies?

Serdar: Right, I was to fast to talk of edition. We made 50 CDR copies. Most of them are not distributed. I wish we made a smaller amount but we were dependant upon printing trades.

Zmej: Your band's info is discovered within Ukrainian metal portals. Why is Ukraine so attractive for you?

Serdar: A friend of ours was in Ukraine and distributed CDs to be reviewed. Unfortunately we didn't provide The MetaList with our CD. Due to several reasons we cannot distribute our CDs using postage services, that's why we have to ask people traveling abroad. I hope we shall be able to send some CDs from Moscow.

Serdar SalihovZmej: So all your performed gigs took place in Ashkhabad, lets call them your local gigs. Tell us about playing in Ashkhabad.

Serdar: Normally we play once or twice a year. The latest gig took place in December 28, being accompanied by movie (or movie being accompanied by music). The sound was awful and there were very few fans. The quality of gigs is getting from bad to worse as you see.

Zmej: Are there any bands that inspire you to believe into never dying heavy metal, any bands you dream to play together?


Zmej: Which local bands would you distinguish?

Serdar: As I've mentioned here we've got only two bands. ELEMBUS is an approximately young band with a debut demo "Story of Fantasy" recorded. In our conditions any recording is highly appreciated, we are glad the guys managed to accomplish this recording. Unfortunately they experience line up problems now, hopefully everything is going to be fine.

Zmej: Is that all? Do you know only your compatriot bands?

Serdar: OK, I see I've got your question somehow wrong. I thought you were asking about Turkmen bands. Well, sometimes I download demos but they don't give me a complex opinion of CIS stage. In Ashkhabad shops we can hardly bye metal CIS bands (excepting ARIA). You are right, we are unaware of what is going on in neighbor countries.

Zmej: Have you thought of writing lyrics using your mother tongue?

Serdar: That's what I am doing. With the exception of latest English songs which are being processed now we use our native language - Russian! We don't speak Turkmenian and don't see any essence in using Turkmenian language, local population feel no interest towards metal music.

Zmej: Your bio points out problems with rehearsal base. Do you obtain a base now? How do you implement your creativity? Who is responsible for composing RELIKT music and lyrics in general?

Serdar: We rehearse in a wood-shed, it is a small room yet it belongs to us! Normally I compose the lyrics and then guitar players get down to making riffs, then we engage the drummer, in several months the song is complete.

Zmej: Which instruments do you play, what are your preferences?

Serdar: We dream of excellent instruments - Jackson, Ibanez, Marshal combos and analogue pedals. In fact we use old shit, Ruslan Ostapenko is fighting for solos with Yolana Diamant, I've got Hammer with rusty Floyd Rose. Sasha Kochetov plays old missing mark bass. Tumur is content with Amatti drums and Remo heads. I am sure he is not that content, at least he is willing to bye duplex pedals.

RELIKT on stage

Zmej: A traditional question. Your prospects.

Serdar: Creativity. And more creativity. It is creativity when it is burning inside. No other prospects.

Zmej: Any final halos?

Serdar: Yes, final halos!


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