After releasing three albums, the Moscow based citizens of the world that form the core of REKA first teamed up with IN THE HEARTS OF EMPERORS for a split release in 2012 and returned in 2014 with a cover of a BLACK EVEREST song on a split 7, both put out by Moment Of Collapse Records. The earth-shatting “Dvala” 12″ is a collaborative experiment with their friends from Gothenburg based AMALTHEA, marks REKA’s first solo release since 2011s “III” and it serves an incontestable proof that the band has become something bigger.
I am truly honored to serve you a nice feature on “Dvala”, REKA, and last year’s crisis between Russia and Ukraine. Read the full interview, including a guest appearance of AMALTHEA’s vocalist and guitarist Per Skytt, below!
After having collaborated with members of CELESTE and other artists, REKA in its current incarnation includes Per and Simon of AMALTHEA as well as Alec and Denis on guitars, Igor on bass and Andrey, who takes up drum duties. “Dvala” is available on white or black vinyl, housed in a sleeve of the same colour and comes with complementary silk-screen printing on the sleeve and the B-side of the record. Get your copy at this location.
People stop asking questions and just follow the opinion of the majority, especially when it concerns a political choice. We are led to regard the politicians who use us like puppets in order to become stronger and win, while we will always be on the losing side. Nothing will change, the rich will continue to get richer while the poor will continue to grow poor. People are willing to forget their beliefs, lessons of the past and choose the nationalist parties, not realizing that what consequences this may result in a future.
Hey guys! It’s been more than 2 years since we last talked! How are you? How is REKA?
Alec (REKA): Hi Karol nice to hear you, REKA is fine, things are going slow but we still creating a new songs and trying to play some shows or festivals, both in our place and Europe.
The “Dvala” 12’’ was your first solo record since 2011’s “III”. Was it exciting to back on the tracks of traditional recordings? Also, please drop us a couple of lines about your regrouping and joining forces of two amazing bands?
Alec (REKA): From the REKA side i would like to thank guys from AMALTHEA for this collaboration, because we like this kind of work, when you trust your friends in kind of art collaboration. We recorded those songs few years ago, and it was almost done except the lyrical/vocal part, in that moment we didn’t decided how to finish that, because currently Sebastien, our previous vocalist, is involved in Celeste as a guitar player, and he doesn’t have so much time for recording session, after we realized that we found an interesting solution and I would like to give a few words for my friend Per from Amalthea about that part.
Per Skytt (AMALTHEA): We in AMALTHEA have had contact with the guys in REKA before in various ways: Erik the drummer of AMALTHEA did some sound engineering jobs for them and we met up with some of them in AMALTHEA’s Russian tour last year and Fluff Fest this year. I (Per) talked to Erik when he was mixing some songs for REKA and he mentioned that the vocals weren’t recorded yet because of some changes in members in Reka…then I just said to Erik that he could propose to REKA that we could maybe do a collaboration, where AMALTHEA sings and record the vocals in our studio. Then REKA got in touch, also into the idea, and we discussed how we should do it. Since we were very much on the same page regarding on how to arrange the vocals us guys in Amalthea got pretty free hands and it was a really fun process and turned out great!
We all decided to write the lyrics in Swedish, which can be challenging for us swedes since we enjoy to speak English :-), but I believe it gave the vocals a more “musical” expression for listeners who don’t know Swedish.
Tell me more about the writing process of these two monumental tracks. What was the concept behind the lyrical sphere of these offerings?
Alec (REKA): About musical part, we made this record in our local studio, where we usually recording our band and other projects (Museum Of Sound studio), we made the record next after the Renaissance was recorded, but we realized that those songs are a bit different that our usual sound, a bit soft in some moments and more experimental, so we thought it might be an awesome idea to issue a separate 12’ LP without any other songs, and to make it in a different way, we thought to sang by ourselves, like we did on the Split 7’ record with Black Everest, when me and Denis sang all lyrics. But Denis propose to make a collaboration with AMALTHEA and when i heard the result i was stunned. It was perfect.
The lyrical part was given to AMALTHEA without any special message and we’re happy of the result.
So how was the touring aspect of running REKA this year? How would you sum up your Summer tour with CELESTE? Any special places, places, or events worth recalling here?
We were very glad to meet again the guys from Celeste, we’re good friends since their first Russian tour that we promoted (near five years ago) and few European tours we did together, so we spent a good time together like true comrades. This tour we played in Balkans where every place was special for us because it was our very fist time there. We would like to thank all guys for setting up shows for us, everything was unforgettable – nature, people, awesome support on shows.
“People are willing to forget their beliefs, lessons of the past and choose the nationalist parties, not realizing that what consequences this may result in a future.”- these are the final words you wrote in the “press release” for “Dvala”. It seems like right wing parties haven’t been more controversial in Europe since quite a long time. Why do you think that this is happening and what it serves?
What effect do right-wing populist politics have on your everyday life? Is it noticeable somehow nowadays? Is it already a real problem for your local society?
Per (AMALTHEA): The lyrics are about a feeling regarding the mentality in Sweden( and also Europe ) where we are moving towards a political landscape in society where the questioning of ideals and critique towards the right-wing propaganda is fading. The feeling of a strong workers union is not as present these days.
We should use or freedom we still have to unite as a people and defend the weak and poor and not push blame towars those already down. The feeling that so many go on without questioning the normalization of racist ideals, the slogans of “free choice” and trust in the individual used to sell out welfare and decreasing the elected governments influence. The capitalist parties made way for the right-wing by tearing societies down, making way for racist parties to influence people that our society is degrading because of immigrants and other cultures coming into our country.
The feeling that we are moving towards a dark place were our rights as humans and our solidarity washes away.
The lyrics are about falling in line and accepting the situation, not questioning where we will be in the long-run.
Alec: I find the same things going on here in Russia, except the only one thing – our king, and Mr. forever president Putin. People watching TV and believe every single word of his and his parties propaghanda, its unbelievable but something like 70% of population love him and any opposition is getting into prison.
Personally, what is your dreamed political vision for Europe? What are the main obstacles in achieving this vision?
Alec (REKA): Hard question for me, as not a European citizen, but i would say that I would love to see people live in peace, with no poor people at all, people respecting each other, no matter what kind of color you are, no matter what kind of sexual orientation you are, no matter what part of the world you are. I would better be a world’s citizen with no boarders then citizen of some specific country.
Now it seems like capitalistic regime and those heads of the world: billionaires, heads of oil/gas/banks companies changed our minds, we buy more than we need, we work more than we need, we give more than we get, those heads of corporations are going to be reacher, in the same time we become more poor. This is unfair. I hope someday this things will be changed.
How do you feel about your country’s hostile actions in Ukraine, denying its army is fighting inside the country, and a huge disinformation campaign about Ukraine in Russia?
Alec (REKA): Of course we are all disappointed about that, and we’re not supporting our government at all. It hurst to see that some people here believe in local news and our politics, especially Putin is respectful as never before. His rating grew up high, also because he annexed part of Ukraine (Crimea). But i believe that the thinking part of our nation, like people of our age don’t believe in propaganda and not supporting this way of politics. But to be realistic, its very hard to change something in political sphere. This government needs to be burned with their heads. Only after that will become the change.
How do you protect your mind from this well-developed propaganda?
Alec (REKA): Simply not watching tv and not reading shitty news blogs. Hopefully there is still some believe in civil society, for example here existing some independent media, like non governmental journals, and if we talk about some big media – there was some scandal about the Lenta.ru news – the big news house, all their team including chief editor resigned because of the pressure from government, now they created some new news blog called Meduza project, they want to tell independent news, let’s see.
Do you think the EU and the whole world are determined to build up more economic pressure on Russia? How much is it already affecting you directly?
Alec (REKA): This can be happened. I hope this will touch a huge corporations and usual people would not be hurt. At the moment dollar, euro and GBP grew up according to ruble, on 50% higher than it was before. Prices are going high. So its become much more expensive to travel anywhere, ordering something from Erope/US. As well something that you can see in Moscow, that there is not so much european products in shops, Soviet Union times are coming back. But as i heard this currency situation also could be done by the government, to earn more money. Its also could be possible i will not be surprised if that’s true.
How do you think the situation in Ukraine will develop further? What’s the end to this harsh story?
Alec (REKA): I hope Ukraine will choose their own way they deserve. I Hope there became less criminals in the government. This revolution situation is really inspiring for us.
Do you have any friends or relatives in Ukraine? How is your understanding of Ukraine’s situation? Have you been taking an insight into aspects of the crisis from your close ones?
Alec (REKA): I have both friends and relatives in Ukraine, primarily in Kiev and in Crimea as well, because i was living there before my family moved to Moscow. As i know my friends and relatives from Kiev took part in that actions in Kiev, and as i know some of my relatives don’t talk to each other anymore because of the Crimea situation, some of them thinking that Putin is an asshole (an they are right) but unfortunately another part of our family thinks that Putin is right. I want to see my relatives more empathic to each other, but i think they need some time to understand each other and the real situation. in Russia and ex USSR space there is a lot of old people, who lived in Soviet Union times, and who believed in that ideals, those people are glad that Crimea became again Russian part, but my opinion that this is delusion, we live in 2014, and this is nonsense to annex some part of another country.
Thanks so much for your time. Is there anything you’d like to add before we wrap it up?
Alec (REKA): Thank you for questions, hope everything will become more stabile and we will be close to peace between all parts of the world, we would love to see that.
Thanks! Take care!