Byl Zamechen are an underground trio from Ukraine. They are clearly influenced by Gong, Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention, Amon Düül II, Hawkwind and many other freak-out projects from the past. It was a great pleasure discovering their album стало ещё только хуже (It Just Get Worse) (Robustfellow, 2016). It’s difficult to describe their sound. Strange psychedelia with dark undertone is the blueprint of Byl Zamechen. Here’s an interview with Khleb of Byl Zamechen.
Who’s in Byl Zamechen and what do you all play? Have you all made any changes to the lineup since you started or is this the original trio?
There is a core of three comrades in Byl Zemechen. Lil V for bass, Amorth for drums and me (Khleb) for all the rest. Also there are a few friends helping us from time to time on records and/or stage performances. There were some other drummers at the early years but not anymore. It’s not so easy to answer what exactly we play even after all the years we play together. Most current would probably be “samples of pop and rock music from different times, places and states played in almost random order”. Not certain but close to the main idea.
What do you consider to be your first real exposure to music?
Queen “Innuendo” when I was six or seven years old.
When and how did you all originally meet?
At local hang-outs. Like it often happens.
How would you describe the local scene where you are at? Are you very involved in the local scene?
For now I see it as usual stillborn scene of usual third world country. I’m sure you know some loud (and not so loud) names from Ukraine. But in my opinion they don’t seem really historically important. If artist is not making something new or original it’s the same as if he/she didn’t exist at all for me. Maybe I got stuck in the past but it’s incredibly hard to find any groundbreaking releases for the last twenty years. Especially at my home place. Band by itself stands apart but all of us are usually playing in some other projects. Amorth makes sludge in Soom and Lil V makes black metal in Zavod’. For me BZ is the only project for this moment.
When did you decide that you wanted to start writing and performing your own music?
At the age of 20 I think. For picking up chicks. Then I understood that I chose wrong format but it was too late.
What does the name “Byl Zamechen...” refer to in the context of the band name? Who came up with and how did you go about choosing it?
“Byl Zamechen...” literally means “was seen…” or “was observed…”. In both cases if you observe something uncommon or weird and if something uncommon or weird observes you. It’s like remind of paranoia and non-reality feelings. There were some variants and this has been chosen almost accidentally.
What’s the songwriting process like?
Like torment. Lyrics in the beginning, then image of atmosphere and concept, then some melodies/riffs etc., then arranging, then record, then go to step one.
What would you say influenced you the most? Have influences changed during the years?
If talking about BZ… The biggest influences I felt was from discovering marijuana, 60-s psychedelia and “stoner rock”. Of course for almost ten years we all grown older and our interests changed as well. For now I can say that BZ… is reverence to H. P. Lovecraft, W. S. Burroughs, P. K. Dick, 60-70s psych-prog music, different kinds of avant-garde and experimental art. In general we aren’t trying to make new music but compile our favorite parts and samples in the way no one done it before.
Can you share details how your debut album was recorded and released (Bad Road Records, 2013)?
It was recorded at my friend’s (Bomg band) studio in 2012. Then it was long term of mixing-mastering and sending of master copy to every label I knew. At the end guys from Russian label Bad Road CES decided to release it. Tape in cardboard box.
What kind of process do you have at mastering material for the release?
Mixing of debut album was made by Bomg guitarist Nikolay. He made almost all the work and I just controlled his actions. Truly it wasn’t very easy for both of us because at that time we lived in different cities. Nothing can replace live communication. Mastering was made by musician and sound engineer Munruthel well known at Ukrainian black metal scene.
How would you compare it to your latest release стало ещё только хуже (It Just Get Worse) (Robustfellow, 2016)?
IJGW is more daring, freeform and experimental. We done almost everything we wanted. Debut was made in hurry, while working on IJGW we put more attention to make it as we wanted.
It was limited to 51 tapes packed in triangle wooden box.
Yes. Why triangle? Let listener’s imagination be the answer. Why wooden? I’m not releasing any physical releases for now. But I know that there are fetishist collectors that have passion for good looking stuff. So let it be a present for them. In any case I think that it’s nicer to hold an art object than standard vinyl plate or standard CD. Of course it’s not Merzbow’s Merzcar but let it be the first step to it.
Who are some of your personal favorite bands that you’ve had a chance to play with over the past few years?
Maybe not favorite (I unfortunately will never play with Frank Zappa and Daevid Allen under this sky) but not bad were Dekonstruktor and Drugoe Delo.
What are some future plans?
Any plans in observed future. If there would be some you’ll know it first.
Let’s end this interview with some of your favourite albums. Have you found something new lately you would like to recommend to our readers?
Darkthrone 92-96; Burning Witch – everything; Egor i Opizdenevshie – everything; Comets On Fire – everything; Bardo Pond and their side projects (Alasehir, Baikal, Hash Jar Tempo etc.); Monster Magnet 89-93; Chrome 78,79; Mothers of Invention – 66-68; Gong 73-74; Soft Machine 70; Amon Düül II 70; Can 71, 72; Hawkwind 70-76; Brinticket 71; White Noise 69 V/A Hava Narghile; V/A Turkish Freakout (1,2); Magma - almost everything; Eskaton 81, 83; Arachnoid s/t; Shub Niggurath 84, 86; Etron Fou Le Loublan 76; Mainliner 96; Acid Eater – everything; Oruç Güvenç & Tümata 95; Hossein Alizadeh 04 and so on, and so on… Seems I carried away. As I said above – any cool releases after 90s (forgive me Comets, Bardo and Hossein).
Thank you. Last word is yours.
Thanks for interview. Keep your minds open.
- Klemen Breznikar
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