Thursday, July 25, 2013

... Sludge ronins for Rock'n'Roll dream : an Interview with MONTEZUMA'S REVENGE

Montezuma’s Revenge is one of the most active Russian sludge bands. Well, dudes were pretty idle searching “their specific sound” since 2005 and releasing only 3 singles for 7 years of jamming, yet right now they have a new full-length professional album with some unordinary influences, high-end video for one of their songs and I need to note that they also played gigs not only with local bands but also with such sludge monsters as Down and Mastodon. Each member of that angry trio has a beard, but I guess that Ilya Boots (guitars, vocals) has longest one, that’s why he’s answering my questions today !

Salute! Montezuma’s Revenge was born in 2005, but, man, you had only 3 singles till now, what did you do all this time?
Hey there! Yeah, it took us a while to figure a bunch of things out. Our rhythm section – Vladimir and Yuri both started out in a ska band, while I joined them after playing in a funk band. So we all know what we were running from and wanted a change, but we had no clue what the new band should sound whatsoever. Besides, our first rehearsal space was the concert hall of the Moscow Institute Of Chemical Physics and it was free for us, so hanging there we weren't really in a hurry.   

Okay, it’s a good start, but then I need to ask how did you figure out your way to a sound which you wanted to hear?
We started throwing all possible influences into our band's system and than filtered out the stuff, that didn't sit well with us. There was no preconceived idea of what our style should be like what so ever.

FonoLTD released Montezuma’s Revenge first full length “Key To The Abyss” about a month ago. And I see these 3 old songs from singles besides 5 new tracks. Did you record old stuff during new session or did you just take original versions of the songs?
These were from the same recording session as the rest of the album. We just put them out to promote the record upfront.

Does Montezuma’s Revenge have some songs besides these 8 tracks to perform a big set-list for gigs?
We've recorded 10 tracks for the album, 2 of them haven't been put out yet. And we have the second album already completely written, so there's a lot of stuff to play with on live shows. In our band there's always a big pile of new material to work with, I just wish a day would consist of more that 24 hours.

The album was mastered in New York. I know that Greg Chandler of Esoteric works with a damned lot of bands including Russians in his Priory Studio on Great Britain, but it was first time when I get a news about collaboration of Russian band and West West Side Music. How did you do it?
With West West Side Music it's been a classic word of mouth story. I liked the mastering on one of my favorite records: the album «Lava» by the Swiss band Sludge. So we asked their bass player Sergey Ulyanov (ex-Sobaki Tabaka) where they mastered the record and he gave me the contact of Alan Douches at West West Side Music, whose experience include the likes of Mastodon, Neurosis and Converge. And that sounded right up our alley.

I’m looking at art-work of “Sleeping Beauty” single and it looks amazing: great logo, great subject, great sense of taste. And art-work of “Key to the Abyss” looks quite chaotic, there’s lot of colors and details. Why did you choose it?
We're fortunate to have so many great visual artists among our personal friends. The design for «Sleeping Beauty» was created by Sergey Safonov ( - my friend since high school and an internationally reknown black belt in character design. The cover of our first single «Dead Frost» and it's video were made by another friend and true to the bone artist Vladimir Snegotskiy ( The whole artwork of our album was a piece of fantastic cooperation with another good friend – Andrey Davidovsky (, who had the balls to take a dive into the abyss of our record's concept and visualize the entire piece. They all have their signature styles and it was great fun to watch our creative substances react to each other.

What’s interesting Montezuma’s Revenge can offer to its listeners?
I'll leave it up to them. Our point is to make music which presents our own version of music we like with lyrics coming from the abyss of my distorted microcosm.

There’s a popular metal trend in Montezuma’s Revenge lyrics, I’m meaning apocalyptical subjects. Was it necessary to put this old (and personally for me pretty boring) conception in your songs?
Throughout the human history all motives tend to remain the same. Take Romeo and Julia, Cinderella or the Apocalypse. Nothing changes. There are apocalyptic motives in our album, but they shouldn't be taken literally, it's a mere metaphor for any change. And this album has a lot of changes in it. In the very core of it's concept it's closer to Vivaldi's «The Four Seasons» - only with a lot of sacrifices between the seasons.

“Key to the Abyss” songs sound harsh, chaotic, aggressive yet professional – am I right in such assessment? What’s your point of view?
You get what it reads – we're not there to please your stomach. All the rest is up to the listener. I find it harder to listen to calm music. 

There’s a song “Fast Food Bushido” with really original idea onto the album, may you clarify this song’s meaning? Aren’t you afraid to get into a category of “fast food music”?
The song's character serves to the great chimera of popular culture. That's exactly what we all do this way or another, obeying the warmth of black hole. Living the rock'n'roll dream. Even though it's been dead for many years we're like a samurai without a master – ronin, who fell down 7 times and got up 8 times and was too week to commit a harakiri and is therefore classified as a servant. That's what the song is about.

The band and label promote “Key to the Abyss” very intensively – on-line streaming, gig with Down and so on. Can you judge about an effectiveness of such active position?
It's hard to judge how all worked yet – we just released the album. Sharing a stage with Down was a real blast, and jamming with those guys definitely tops anything we could possibly have dreamed about making music. We started getting international feedback from day one. The moment we put out our first video for «Dead Frost» placed us on top of it's video grab and it went on from there.

Montezuma’s Revenge is a professional band, do you see some features which you still need to became more successful as artists?
Right now we're a 100% DIY band. Financed our album recording, put together a video and artworks with the help of our friends, we are self-managed and we have day-jobs. It would be great to become a professional band once, but we're not there so far, so spread the word and get our album if you care.  

Okay, thank you for interview – good luck! And I wish you to reach more listeners and play more gigs.
Stay tuned and follow your madness no matter what!

Photos by Andrew Davydovskiy and Natalia Stupnikova

Interview by Aleksey Evdokimov

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