Smolensk, Russia, one of the oldest and most historic of Russian cities, became a cursed name for most of the Polish people. The reason for that was the infamous 2010 jet crash that killed Poland’s president, first lady and dozens of dignitaries during a politically sensitive visit to Russia. That’s basically our first association with the name “Smolensk” and this was my first association after CONTRACTORS reached out and dropped me a line about them and their new debut EP called “History Of One Life…” (streaming below).
The groove metal act representative Mike Diakonov (guitars) sat down with me to answer a few questions. Their answers might give you a better look on what they do and some insight into who they are.
Wow, I didn’t expect a band from… Smolensk! All Polish people see when they hear “Smolensk” is bad memories after the tragic plane crash and our president’s death. It’s a huge subject here in Poland that’s why I’d like to ask you, guys. Are you aware of huge political controversies concerning the chain of events after the crash? How does it look like over there? Are you even aware of the whole drama?
As far as we know no political contradictions arose. On the contrary, bus tours to a place that people could honor memory of victims, various memorial services were organized. For Russians and us as a whole it also was the tragedy, after all many people were lost. We sincerely sympathize with all whom that tragedy mentioned.
Yup, sorry for starting off with such a blast. Let’s focus on music, shall we?
Is there a metal scene there?
Yes. We have one club in the city. And on area pass many local summer open-airs. Also, we have such amazing bands as EVIL SPIRIT, DEAD SLUT, DANCE OF ETERNITY. Hello, guys! [laughs]
Is there a leading genre in your neighborhood? Any punk bands perhaps? [smiles]
Hmmmm…. Probably, the leading genre is “russian rock”. Quite strange, but nevertheless one of the most popular genres in our country. There is, also, a lot of oldschool metal: there both death-, and thrash-, and heavy-metal. In Smolensk very often take place different ska and punk gigs, but we are a little familiar with that party. But we love creativity of such local punk bands as HI! BENDER! and MAD RECIPE.
Cool. What are the worst aspects of living there in terms of being in a band?
Well. It’s financial problems, certainly. After all it is necessary to work, study and play in a band [laughs] But we consult and move further.
Ok, let’s focus on CONTRACTORS, shall we? [smiles] Please shoot us a quick introduction of the band.
CONTRACTORS formed to shake this world and to give pleasure to the listeners. Till December, 2012 we had other name, but before new year we were renamed into CONTRACTORS to that we are very glad. We try to play metal, speak it turns out [laughs].
Are you still a “no drummer” band? Any plans to change that?
Oh, yes! We already found the suitable candidate and already we work with him.
How come you decided to play the groovy style of metal? Tell me about your inspirations.
We’re inspired such bands as PANTERA, GOJIRA, HATEBREED, THE ACACIA STRAIN, THREAT SIGNAL, VOLUMES and many more bands. Sincerely I consider that to style don’t come, and it comes to us. And, by the way, wouldn’t tell that we play directly “true groove”. Simply present time obliges you to hang up a tag your music not to miss the potential listener.
You’ve just released your first EP titled “History of one life…”. Tell me more about it.
All songs on EP about the whore girl and her destiny.
“When we draw the first breath, we don’t choose our parents, a place and time of our birth. We have no control over our education, over people that surround us and their attitudes towards us; we don’t have control over circumstances and situations which happen in our lives. We can’t love without feelings. A destiny is a cycle. We do things that someone has made that are why our outcome is determined in advance. This is the story of one life and maybe the history of everyone of us.” (this is an EP’s concept)
Dima (our vocalist) wanted to show history of one person, but to some extent, probably, history of each of us. Exactly from here and name of an album “History of one life …”.
If to speak about technical part: that with record we were helped very strongly by Kirill from “S.L.S.Records”. He is the tremendous friend and the excellent sound engineer. For all band members it there was the first studio experience therefore his competent approach very much rescued us.
Do you have any extra songs left after the recording?
Yes. At us is to couple of songs which haven’t entered into EP and, certainly, we prepare a lot of all new.
What about your next steps? Any ideas for the full length?
We plan to write down a 2-song single. On it we want to try a few other approach to record. But we will try to keep balance between a melodic parts and heaviest grooves. After it we will already think of a full-length album. Let’s not hurry as an album we want the nuclear.
How many gigs have you played thus far? What shows do you have planned?
With new line-up we yet didn’t play live, but we carry on negotiations with organizers. We hope to visit and play on any Polish festival [smiles]. Certainly, it would be desirable to drive in full-fledged euro tour.
With old line-up we played nearly 10 gigs and festivals. Including, with cool Italian trashers LOCULO and a very known Russian alternative metal team #####.
Ok. How often do you travel to other Russian cities to see some more gigs?
Unfortunately, as I also wrote above, we work, we study, at some a family. Time in this situation hasn’t enough. But every year we go as the audience on very cool local open-air “Safoniy”.
Alright. What else, guys? Anything else coming up for CONTRACTORS?
Listen to our EP. It isn’t ideal, but means to each of us much.
Thanks for your time! Cheers from Warsaw!
And you many thanks. To a meeting at concerts.