Music has no limits: an interview with Alex Vynogradoff (Kauan) about his new project, a noend of mine

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I have never heard of Kauan until I found out that the persons around DBE Echos announced the concert of the Ukrainian band in Bucharest. After the first audition of their debut album, „Sorni Nai”, I was caught unaware by the fact that in this country, where no other band has successfully risen in the international metal charts, such a magnificent project does exist. In short time, I found out that the leader of Kauan, Anton Belov, is the member of Alex Vynogradoff`s project called „a noend of mine”.

a noend of mine is not an announced band, yet, but in the moment i have contacted Alex, he was completely surprised to find out that there are some people interested in his ideas. a noend of mine is exclusivist project, influenced by the musical creation of Opeth, and “The Serenit’s Eve”, their debut album, is more of a tribute to this Swedish band.

In the interview with Alex, I discovered the trip of his band, I found out details about their debut material (which will be officially launched in the beginning of this year), and also some special thoughts about the compositions of some international artists of our times. The final result can be found below.




To warm up, could you tell to us the story of your new project? When did you come up with the idea, and how did you put it into practice?
Although a noend of mine officially started in 2014, the story begins back in 2007, when I had my first band playing alternative rock. At the time, I wrote several softer, more personal songs inspired by Opeth, that I didn’t plan to include in our live set. But eventually the band decided to change the genre and play these acoustic tracks instead of the old songs. That’s how the „proto-anom” started… and ended, for only a few months later the band split up. Yet, with a little help from my friends, I managed to record a demo in 2008.

I have then abandoned the project for a few years, and it was only in late 2013 that I gave the demo to Anton Belov, my band mate from Kauan. Anton liked the stuff, which reminded him of Tenhi, and so we decided to start all from scratch. Of course, the material has been seriously reworked, but to me it was still a kind of archeological research of my younger self, my feelings back then, so The Serenity’s Eve is pretty nostalgic and maybe a little bit naive.

I really consider a noend of mine as a magnificent band like Opeth, Katatonia or any of Steven Wilson’s projects for example. For me, you’re in the same musical position, ignoring the fact that the band is new, because I think that the songs you do are at the same time complex and somehow depressive. Can you tell us about the methods that the band used when you wrote the new music?
Thank you for these generous words! It’s hard to speak of a method, really, especially given the fact that this music is not so new, after all. Back in 2006-2007, I used to sit long hours with my acoustic guitar, listening to the wind in the branches outside my window, daydreaming and playing. This is how most of the material was written, in a single track. When I was revising it in 2014-2015, I had to cut it into 8 separate tracks, but you can still hear that the songs are not really independent – they are parts of the whole, and the album is meant to be listened to at once.

Anoendofmine

„a noend of me” is a very theatrical expression that dominates your band name. Therefore, what did you intend to express through this?
Actually, I didn’t mean anything big or pompous with this name, and the lowercase points at that. Like the music itself, it just came to me sometime in 2007, and I found it fitting the atmosphere and the mood. a noend of mine implies that the music is introspective and has no end. The songs don’t really start and finish, they emerge and fade out, there are no full stops. And of course, this music is very personal, the whole journey is inside my mind.

What should people expect before listening to a noend of mine and what feelings should they prepare before doing this?
The Serenity’s Eve is about contemplation, atmosphere and melancholy. So expect no entertainment, but rather try to relax and let the music flow in silence. A walk in a park can be a great addition to the listening experience.
Your music sounds complex, and every riff flows quite well after another, so I guess it took quite some time to build everything. How did the recording sessions go?
We had recorded a promo of the whole album in 2014, which allowed me to hear and assess the music ‘from outside’. I made some corrections and additions, and then in 2015, we have recorded, mixed and mastered everything in only a couple of weeks.

Which label did you choose for releasing your album and why this label? Are you satisfied by how your label represents you and takes care about you?
We have contacted several labels and chose Pest Productions, because they have a good name in the underground scene, moreover they offer high quality printing and are very attentive to visual content. Deng Zhang of Pest Productions is a great designer, and I am very happy with the layout made for The Serenity’s Eve. So far I am fully satisfied with mister Deng and his label.

Anoendcover

I have talked in the first part of the interview about bands like Opeth and Steven Wilson. Your music sounds very influenced by these two, so, I am really curious, which are your favorite materials from them and why, and also, what is your opinion about the recent radical orientations that they used in the latest albums?
I should say that, even though Opeth was the main inspiration behind The Serenity’s Eve, it wasn’t the only one. Other important influences include Katatonia, Steven Wilson, Bark Psychosis, Pink Floyd, Cressida, No-Man, The Third and The Mortal…
My favorite album by Opeth is definitely Deliverance, but it would be hard to explain why. The albums that influenced The Serenity’s Eve most are Morningrise, Blackwater Park and Damnation. The latest Opeth’s album I enjoyed from start to finish was Ghost Reveries. I really hated Watershed (although I am extremely grateful to Åkerfeldt for discovering Scott Walker) and I don’t find Heritage and Pale Communion very inspired. I don’t mind prog rock at all, but Opeth is no King Crimson, if you know what I mean.
On the other hand, I am very enthusiastic about recent Steven Wilson’s albums. To be honest, I like them even more than my favorite Porcupine Tree albums (In Absentia and The Incident). Grace for Drowning is my number one. The Raven that Refused to Sing is a good example of making the vintage prog sound cool and up-to-date, and Hand. Cannot. Erase is a rock opera that I am certain will end up being a classic.
Do you think it will be hard for you to promote this special project?
It’s always hard to attract new audiences to this kind of music which doesn’t strike you from the first note. The Serenity’s Eve takes time to be understood and appreciated, and today’s listener is quite distracted and won’t wait more than a few minutes to get what they want from music. But I hope to reach my kind of patient audience that still likes concept albums, atmosphere and narratives in music.

Finally, is a noend of mine only a studio project or is it also a „live” band? Can we expect some live performances in the future? I wonder how these songs would sound at a live concert.
a noend of mine will be a live band, and we already have some offers from organizers. I am not sure whether our songs will sound exactly the same way as on the album, and my philosophy is that it’s more interesting to deliver different kinds of experience on stage and on records. So I hope a no end of mine will no longer be merely a ‘project’, but will evolve into a fully fledged band that will also record new albums in the future.


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