Interview with Deva Obida

-Hi! Tell me about your band and what kind of previous experience do you have as musicians?

Hi! Deva Obida was formed in 1998 in the North of Russia in a town called Murmansk, where we dwell to this day. As for me, that was the first serious case of playing in music group. Many participants walked through DO from its inception. All the other musicians of our actual line-up had gained some experience in numerous local bands before joining Deva. Basically those were Metal bands. Our drummer Ilya had a short time of playing in punk collectives and took part in Metalcore band together with our bassist Evgeniy. I participated in bands with our singer Pavel and guitarist Aleksandr. Anyway, we somehow crossed paths in other projects and new each other well. The present line-up may be called stable enough – we’ve been playing together for five years. Along our history we released demo, two longplays and four singles. Besides that we’ve got music videos that gained good attention and feedbacks. We took part in large festivals and played as support for the bands such as Amorphis and Eluveitie. Generally it might be said that we are established longliving band in a slow evolutionary rate but rather stubborn.

-Why did you pick your band name? How did you form? Why did you decide to play the genre or genres you do?

Band’s birth story is quite ordinary. Teen Metal fans, knowing little about playing musical instruments, attended local gigs, religiously listened to and swapped tapes and CDs and all this led them to a conclusion that they are to form their own band. We started with Doom Metal, but in it’s Death interpretation as we just didn’t know about any other Doom Metal back then. That must be understood that we live in Russia, moreover, not in a major and well visited city, so the progress of Metal scene took place with a definite delay there. Although, having lived in a Northern town not far from Scandinavia, we got into a rising wave of Black and Pagan Metal Scene and were influenced by it. That was a time of vigorously developing underground itself. At that time we discovered Pagan ideology, identified ourselves with that lore and formed the basis of our career. The band playing Doom with Pagan lyrics got a proper name and reflected both those components. Дева Обида (Maiden Offense in English) is an ancient Russian image, a symbol of impending disaster, doom in the form of swan-maid. As you see, the coincidence is perfect. Band name still sounds very unusual and original for Russian ear. Furthermore our style walked through plenty of transmutations, through Power Metal, Modern and Metalcore up to our present actual sounding. Our actual sound is a sum of many years of quest and experiments. Perhaps (and I hope so), that’s not a final point in our quest, but we’ve found our genre niche so far and feel comfortably in it currently.

-What can you tell us about your latest record?

Our latest record precisely shows our actual sound, as one can probably guess. We tested it at first on our single “Varaka” in 2014. We received a bunch of positive feedbacks, underpinned success by a notable video for that track and clearly realized the right direction we ought to move on our evolution. The album went further than the single and is a follow-up of our eclectics sound’s progress, although the basis could be heard on “Varaka”. The album is very eclectic, multilayered musically and regarding lyrics. Totally different texts without a shared concept but having a common implication which gave name to an album. Every song contains a sense of a certain rudiment, disappearing but very precious phenomenon. The range of lyrics’ subjects is very wide: from events of WWII in our region to lovecraftian fantasies, from personal deep reflections to an ironic battle tribal romp. It’s not easy to define album’s genre exactly. Basically, it’s Metal with ethnic elements, numerous melodies, dark hard riffs, with a doze of experiments outside heavy music, with a plenty of clean vocals and choirs. I took us eighteen months of efforts, buckets of sweat, tears, and miles of nerves to produce it. That release didn’t come easily. It was out on the 1st of March, 2019 and is available to purchase in every digital store.

-What the kind of album feedbacks are you waiting for?

Sure thing, we are waiting for the best feedbacks, especially after such amount of work. Well, either containing competent consistent criticism or adequate opinion, that’s always curious and useful. Meaningful extra set of eyes and ears is extremely appreciated, especially after own ears are little lazy after constant working on stuff and that’s impossible to assess own result adequately. We are waiting for different offers and calls for cooperation. Actually, we are looking for them ourselves. We are interested in labels and booking agencies, in opportunities to collaborate with different artists and professionals in various sectors.

-Are you gonna to make some world tour in the future? Do you think this is available for everybody option to tour around the globe? What do you think band have to do to get such opportunity?

Thanks for a complimentary question, but nope, we are not going to make a world tour in the nearest future. We should realize that world tours are provided by musicians, famous all over the world, globally. That’s the top league of fame, and such actions are available for the artists making music played on every air around the globe, having the most powerful management, promotion and endorsement deals, the huge international fan base. It’s not so much of them who may power through that project without going bankrupt, especially inside Metal scene, so all the talk about world tours we retain in our teen dreams so far.

-Do you believe in heavy music scene without money?

Yes, quite. First, it’s because we ourselves witnessed and participated in underground Metal scene where no money roll was present and everything was based on sheer enthusiasm. And second, nowadays, living in age of open Internet, great multiplicity of sound recording software, huge market for services of tracking/mixing/mastering, making cover arts etc., and all of the above is available 24/7 in assistance of web, playing and distributing of own music costs almost nothing, and of course, that’s a lot easier to make it than years ago. Large festivals will always gain profit and there will always be bands playing on them at their own cost, will be organizing their own small tours, shoot videos and release albums. Metal scene is not about the money in general. People don’t join it in purpose of profit and everyone is usually ready to expend own money like on any hobby. Perhaps, situation in EU is more friendly in that way and there is a bunch of labels and booking agencies, maybe there’s a welfare somewhere, but there’s a few people in our country able to sit pretty and make money on their heavy music.

-What do you think about online music sharing? Do you ever give your music away for free? Why?

Up to the latest album all our releases have been given away for free. We uploaded them on web without any cost ourselves. As for many others, that was the only way for us to share our music. We didn’t have contracts, we had no promotion. Free sharing is a nice opportunity for bands to assert themselves in such cases. Can’t say if this is good or wrong. That’s the reality and we should learn to live under that conditions. Everything changes, the previous epoch of great sales has gone. This one will pass too and maybe something will return. We’ll see. I’m not used to reason and grouch about the shiny past. The past was just different. Major artists, certainly, have lost a lot in this regard, my sympathies for Lars.

-Who are your musical influences? Have you ever think your band could be so famous as your favorites?

That won’t be true if we said we didn’t dream about that. The liar is a metalhead that said he didn’t. That’s one of the first thoughts when forming band – tours, shows, festivals, girls, money etc. It’s a real dream, as good as any other teen’s one. Metallica was the first band for me and still it has a special place in my personal top. That’s a pillar of my Metal life. Furthermore there were Sepultura, Pantera, Megadeth, In Flames. Speaking about the band we agreed on sympathy to Amorphis, Tiamat, Children Of Bodom, Gates Of Ishtar, Dimmu Borgir and so on. However, the main influence we felt and got from Amorphis, indeed, we were greatly inspired by all of their creativity, all their stages, all the way of their progress and transformation. Through all the years we’ve been compared with them. People find something of those ingenious Finns in our music rightfully or under the spell of stereotypes. Can’t say that’s a relief, but it’s a good example to compare. Hope someday we’ll get rid of that tag.

-Do you have a formal music education? Do you think it’s a Kind of important thing?

Only our guitarist Aleksandr has a music education. All the rest didn’t learn music formally anywhere, but we have a theoretical basis and some grasp. Musical theory assists well while searching of accessories, abilities to play and arrange them, to express what’s meant, so that’s a real help and quite useful feature in musical career, but far from required function. One may deal with it without a degree, armed with will, especially considering the tectonic layer of educational content that’s available via YouTube. Being in self-education one can beat a traditional student. Summarizing, a formal music education is a desirable thing but not a mandatory one.

-How do you balance your music with other obligations – mate, children, job?

Nobody of us is officially married, no one has kids, so that’s a bit easier in that way. The ones having girlfriends negotiate, find a compromise. All the band has to compromise, but we can’t help it, there’s no other way and it’s needed. All of us also have regular jobs and we gotta schedule rehearsals in the evenings or off the clock. It’s pretty much a huge work to coordinate all the band mates’ timing according to families, jobs etc. and sometimes it takes much time and energy.

-How do you handle mistakes during a performance? Or you can assure there are no any mistakes during your gigs? Do you get nervous before a performance or a competition?

Mistakes take place and the less you perform, the stronger is anxiety, the more flaws. Then you just try not to notice them and do all your best to make audience believe that all these things are part of the plan. As a matter fact, audience really can’t see the most part of our bugs. Regularly performing on tour every gig is felt like a job with all the certainty and tranquillity. Such a cool state, and even if you make mistakes you readily manage with them. However, there’s always a definite excitement, and that’s OK. That keeps on toes. Passion will go if it disappears.

-What’s next? Thank you!

Visit our pages, stream and download our new album “Rudiment”, you’ll enjoy it. Watch our videos and join our community. We’ll be happy to play shows at your place if possible, so pester your local booking agents. And thank you for and interview, have a nice day and good luck!