"The Metal Resource (2014) - Interview With Fedor Buzilevich of Holy Blood"
Holy Blood is a folk metal band from Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, formed in 1999. The band is notable for being one of the few Christian bands in its genre, and the fact that they are the most successful group on its label Bombworks Records and the band has been noted world wide despite being an underground group. Holy Blood has released four albums, “The Wanderer”, “Waves are Dancing”, being their most successful album by far, “The Patriot”, and “Shining Sun”. This spring they will release a new album “Day of Vengeance”.
Below you can read an interview with frontman Fedor Buzilevich, he talks about the past and future of the band, his greatest fear, his relationship with God, the new Holy Blood album and much more.
TMR: Hello Fedor this is ‘The Metal Resource’ from Holland, how are things going there in the Ukraine?
Hey! At this moment Ukraine’s on the brink of civil war, Ukrainian president is fighting against Ukrainian citizens. Nobody knows how it will end.
TMR: Will you Introduce yourself and the band please ! [name and instrument]
Fedor (guitar, vocal). Other members are parallely playing in the other band and are very busy preparing for their tour, so they have no ability to answer. Really sorry about that!
TMR: Tell us the brief history of ‘Holy Blood’
Holy Blood was formed in 1999. At first, we played Metalcore, then our music become heavier – played Brutal Death and since 2001 decided to play Melodic Death. At the same time I started listening Folk Black, so it influenced on changes in music style. The first album was a shining example of searching our sound and style. After it, in our second album, we determinated Folk Black Death and exactly that album became the calling card of the group, enabled us to become known not only in Ukraine. The third album was continuation of the second. About this time I and former guitarist Mikhail Rodionov recorded old Holy Blood songs from the period when we played Brutal Death, and released it under a different name – Requital. Working on the fourth album, we decided to differ the sound and make it fully in Folk Metal style. During creating the fourth album band members had been changed. With the new members there was a very, very long delay in album creation. In the end of 2013 band members changed (again) and I’ve decided to create and record the fifth album on my own. This album will be in Viking Death style, but with deviations to Folk Doom Metal. I think the new album will become a new calling card of Holy Blood.
TMR: What is your musical background ?
In 1986 I became interested in heavy music. The band that made me to fall in love with Heavy Metal was Helloween. One year later, I was in aware of all metal news. Naturally, this metal addiction led me want to study how to play guitar. In a couple of years I joined a Punk Rock band as a guitarist. So, in a year I and my friends created own Death Metal band. With this band we created a program and had only one concert. Our creative activity had stopped: I was taken into the army. After I returned, I wanted to make another band, but despite all rehearsals and concerts, we didn’t release an album. But in 1999 I finally created Holy Blood band, in which I was releasing musical ideas which changed from album to album.
TMR: Why the name ‘Holy Blood’ ? Is there a story behind it ?
I was thinking about band’s name and during Eucharist in church Heard a phrase “Holy Blood”. I understood: that’s it! That’s a Perfect name! This title combines clearly expression of Christian idea and, at the same time, it sounded very “bloody”. Perfect for Christian Metal.
TMR: Maybe a stupid question, but is ‘Holy Blood’ a Christian metalband, or Christians in a metal band ?
We are Christians in Christian metal band.
TMR: As a Christian what is your relationship with God like at this point in your life, and what sort of message would you share with the readers at this time, that would inspire and encourage both believers and non believers to cling onto the things of God.
I serve in church, preach to people who listen heavy music. Faith in God is something that every person should reach by himself. Any teachings, any words that it’s right and could help anyone won’t make a person closer to The Lord. Only personal interest and thinking about God can lead to faith. I can only advise to the reader not to rush rejecting God. Not everything that we don’t understand immediately is a lie or a fairy tale. Let God give you a chance, let Him open your soul.
TMR: Who writes the music/lyrics in ‘Holy Blood’ ? … how do you get in the mood for writing music? And which bands/situations have influences you for writing music and lyrics ?
I write music and lyric. At first I write music, then I listen to the character of the musical material and decide about what can be sung. I compose music through thinking about musical material which listened just before writing my composition.
TMR: How do you describe the music of ‘Holy Blood’ the best ?
Melodic, rhythmic, heavy, with elements of Slavic folk music.
TMR: What are some key principles or phylosophies that you hold onto as foundational stones as who you are as a person? [for everyone personal]
First of all, moral principles. It’s loyalty to my family, respecting people, understanding people even when they are doing something wrong and, eventually, trying to behave with others the same as I want them to behave with me. All that Christianity is trying to develop in every person.
TMR: What can you tell us about your upcoming album [title, the recording proces sofar, the songs, who did the artwork, release date, label etc ?]
Album’s title will be “Day Of Vengeance”, it’s recording on DHS studio by Slavik from the band “Angel-7”. There will be 8 songs. Album’s cover is creating by our friend Vitaliy Tretyakov. Album will be released in Spring 2014 by BombWorks Records lable. And again, I’m proud to tell you that this album will be Holy Blood’s best album by now!
TMR: Is there a highlight you will always remember, since the beginning of ‘Holy Blood’ ?
Maybe I should write about some concert I’ll always remember, but I won’t do it this time. There was pretty mysterious (but not too exciting for readers) case from the early history of the band. When we were rehearsing the program for our first album, keyboardist didn’t come to the repetition. But during it I clearly heard keyboard parties. I thought I’ve overworked… But after I told other band members about my “glitch”, they said that they also heard it. What was that – still remains a mystery.
TMR: And the worst thing were ? [if there is one]
The worst moment was when I quarreled with musicians in 2008 and we stopped cooperating. I was really upset and worried about it. And only recently we finally reconciled.
TMR: What is the last album you bought?
Stryper (all early albums)
TMR: What makes you laugh? [for everyone personal]
Cheerful chatting with friends, comedies, funny life situations.
TMR: What is your biggest fear?
There are many of them and they cannot be measured. I’m afraid of losing my wife, afraid of losing my relationship with God, afraid to become disabled, and there are probably a lot of suchlike fears.
TMR: What is the Ukrainian metal scene like?
There are many talented musicians and talented bands, but in Europe the groups stay not in demand due to the sad fact that Ukraine stays far from Europe. Only because of Internet Ukrainian metal scene became a bit more opened for European listeners. But such bands like Flying, Te-Deum, Conquest, Sunrise, can easily compete with European bands, we are just not so lucky because of some kind of information wall between Ukraine and Europe.
TMR: What are some of the things you like to do away from the band?
I like to take part and organize church activities, going to the cinema, to sit on Facebook, to spend time with my wife, to to discover the world with her.
TMR: How do you promote your band and shows?
The main part of the performances runs in Ukraine so I advertise it in Russian-speaking social networks. But additionally I am posting information on my Facebook page and on website holyblood.com.ua. Recently my wife became somebody like a PR – manager of Holy Blood, so all internet promotion work lays on her.
TMR: How do you prepare for a show?
Trying to refresh in memory all the lyrics and guitar parts. Naturally we often rehearse with the band before the show
TMR: Are you visiting many gigs and what do you listen to these days?
I have a circle of friends I usually visit. Sometimes we listen to new releases of metal bands. Not so often I go to Rock Clubs on holidays on metal performances.
TMR: What is the dumbest question you have ever been asked?
I won’t answer, because it’s the question from this interview)
TMR: What are the biggest obstacles for bands?
Changes of group members. It really discards the development of the band..
TMR: What advice would you give to fellow bands?
Don’t give up and don’t leave a stage after failures. Don’t be afraid to experiment and try to write music not for money or fame, but for yourself. If you’ll record an album which YOU enjoy listening, there will be people who’d like to know more about your perception of music, about your art.
TMR: What are your plans for the near future? [European tour maybe ?]
At the moment I have to finish working on a new album. In autumn we plan to go to Slovakia, maybe there will be a tour to another countries. Now we are thinking about opportunity to play on Brainstorm Fest. So, maybe, in this year we’ll be able to visit our Dutch listeners! We really want it, hope it’ll happen!
TMR: Fedor thanks for your time and the interview. We wish ‘Holy Blood’ all the best for 2014 … Is there anything you wanna say at last ? [any final statement?]
I’d like to say thank you for taking this interview! Also I want to say thank you to all Holy Blood listeners. Hope you’ll enjoy our new album and it’ll be a pleasant surprise. You can always find all news on our site http://holyblood.com.ua/. See you at concerts! God bless!
“The Wanderer” 
“Waves are Dancing” 
”The Patriot” 
”Shining Sun” 
“Day of Vengeance”