Here comes another killer act hailing out of an almost undiscovered Eastern European country, the trio of Rosewater from Riga, Latvia. Their 2K6 release “Bloodcount” could earn some wider recognition and with their label with the German name Sturm they could introduce a nice array of talented acts providing noisy assault out of the wide Powernoise genre. The music efforts on this label www.sturm.lv are surely not designed for the fainted-hearted. So here comes an introducing interview with this fine up and coming act and the Sturm collective, which has had some hard times to bear nationally being an enclave under the dominating Russian/Soviet regime…
Chain D.L.K.: Hi guys, would you like to introduce us at first you and your music project Rosewater? Please include your bio to give some background info to our readers…
Rosewater: Rosewater is a three-man project, active since 1997, the outcome of what we do has over time become a somewhat dark, danceable concord of sad & mad melodies and sequenced noises. We started as a high-school guitar music band, but eventually turned to the utilization of computer, thus the music changed into Industrial rock. Following the temptation for more harsh electronics the guitars went into the background and with year 2000 Rosewater had become a fully electronic music experience. Discography: Kursk (2001); Motor Medicine (2004); Bloodcount (2006).
Chain D.L.K.: Three different musicians under Rosewater with for sure three different preferences. How do you manage to get all individual tastes under one hat?
Rosewater: We have similar musical background and preferences, and for some time we have gone the same path of musical development. Normally, it’s pretty easy – every individual production has to stand the critics of the other two.
Chain D.L.K.: You’re hailing from Latvia, a small Eastern European country which was a Russian enclave for a long time. Please give us some insight in the economical and political structure of your country. Does the long time under the Russian isolation have any influence on you, your music, and the music and cultural scene of Latvia generally?
Rosewater: Yes it has, and I am still suffering from the results of their occupation, but it keeps getting better. The influence of isolation is such that Industrial music as most western culture, was first available for public inLatvia after regaining independence, along with the rest of the ‘rotten capitalist spoils’. Perhaps such abolishment of cultural information prohibition from outside USSR lead to a new motivation for many potential artists to try out new things.
Chain D.L.K.: Please inform us of what’s currently happened in your local scene. I’m wondering a lot that there are so many acts providing harsh and martial Powernoise/Experimental music especially under your label Sturm.Tell us a bit about acts, people and clubs not to be missed…
Rosewater: The scene is breathing. There is at least one industrial music event in Riga per month, usually including a live act or more. Thus there are many noisy experimental projects over here (among such i’d like to mention Claustrum – one of the most distinctive Latvian industrial acts), but much of their music stays unpublished. At the moment Sturm is working on the production of the new Barodarho CD, which will be out in the beginning of next year. The project is definitely worth seeing live, their performances are alwaysaccompanied with astonishing conceptual pain shows. This 21st Mandat of Sturm is going to be a mixed CD, so listeners will be allowed to see a bit of this show on video. There is also more to come in the future.
Chain D.L.K.: You’ve tried in the past to cooperate with a Danish label called Mindwerk. As a result of this you could release a vinyl 7″ single and you had a compilation appearance on a “Voltage” compilation compiled by Johan Van Roy for the now defunct Dying Culture label. Tell us a bit about this episode and how it ends…
Rosewater: The co-operation with Mindwerk gave some good results, as you mention, also the re-released album ‘Kursk’, yet we had to discontinue collaborating with them due their own lack of interest and effort. One of the instances is that we have never actually seen the “Magnetic Confinement” 7″ vinyl, it is therefore not listed in our RWR discography. To cut the long story, we decided to better be on our own, than on an irresponsible label.
Chain D.L.K.: Besides your hammering audio stuff you’re also involved to create some video files, like it can be seen on your latest release “Bloodcount”. How important is the visual stuff related to the audio stuff for you?
Rosewater: Rosewater is first of all a music project; the visual part is important, but not essential. We hope to visualize some of our audio stuff in future. As for live gigs – usually we try to add some visual actions and disguises during live performances, if the situation allows it. One stunning incident was in 2001 when Mors, a friend of ours, volunteered to be burnt on stage enchained. It was not properly rehearsed, and I recall watching his head and shoulders disappear in flames. I continued to play guitar in held back panic and watched the flames grow, while someone was putting out the fire for some long seconds in vain. It ended well, though, and our show victim had but a few burns on hands.
Chain D.L.K.: Mostly bands playing Powernoise music offer instrumental stuff. This counts for you, too, but some pieces feature vocals but performed by different singers. Who’s responsible for lyrical part of Rosewater? How and when do you decide if a track receives vocals or not?
Rosewater: Vocals have always been employed in our music, and still are a significant, even though now much less often employed than earlier. I do not think there is a single recipe when to add voice: sometimes the track ‘asks for it’, but also if i planned presence of vocal parts in the track in a way determine the way it is constructed.It is one singer normally – Zemens, except rare cases as on track “Irreversible Alterations” where it is me. Usually we both work on lyrics, but occasionally the author is just one of us.
Chain D.L.K.: Please explain us the meaning of your printed lighthouse with some numbers “13 OBE W83”?
Rosewater: The number is an LSD version of rosewater. We used this acidic designation when doing live noise ambient experiments at a couple of local bunker fests. The lighthouse comes from a soviet sound generator device dated 1958. It is the state control logo-plate advising the machine type.
Chain D.L.K.: Speaking on the technical side of your music. In times of a growing evolution of computer-based software-synths, which kind do you prefer, the hard- or the software-based solution?
Rosewater: We have tried both approaches and have come to a conclusion that it is better to combine them. Of course software applications offer extreme flexibility of usage compared to hardware, and we often use them forsequencing and generating weird samples.
Chain D.L.K.: Please give a look to your live activities on stage. How does a Rosewater gig look alike, for all those who couldn’t see you acting on stage before? How much of your music is really played “live”?
Rosewater: Each of us plays an instrument live, vocals are live, the rest runs from a sequencer and it looks like this: http://www.industry.ee/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=251&page=2 http://www.industry.ee/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=239 http://www.industry.ee/gallery/thumbnails.php?album=229&page=2
Chain D.L.K.: What else do you expect from the future, musically and for your private life? Any new releases in the works which you can already confirm here?
Rosewater: Future is hard to tell. But it is sure you will hear from us some time again.
Chain D.L.K.: Your final words to our readers to conclude this interview?
Visit Rosewater on the web at:
[interviewed by Marc Tater] [proofreading by Tommy T. Rapisardi]