Abaddon magazine

Music magazine

Saturday, September 23, 2023

Interview: Oskrnavitelj

As I said in my review for their first album “Pradavni”, in latest time in Serbia there is a lot of new metal albums and concerts around. As an important figure in the world of Serbian black metal, this time I am talking with Mrs. Ivana Savić from the band Oskrnavitelj. Let’s see what she has to say about herself, the new album, music and Oskrnavitelj in general. And you readers, enjoy!

Hi, Ivana. Recently, the first album of your band Oskrnavitelj, called “Pradavni” got out to the light of the day. As we know so far, it’s one true black / pagan metal release and at this moment one of the best full lengths this year in Serbia and the Balkans. So, I would like to ask you a few questions about that and I believe your fans would like to know this too.
For the beginning, I hope you get more good reviews next to ours we did in Abaddon Magazine. Well, speaking of which, what is your personal impression about the new album and are you content with how the audience responds to “Pradavni”?
Hi Anđela,thank you for the wonderful introduction! I’m thrilled that you and the Abaddon team enjoyed “Pradavni”. The album has received many positive reviews, especially from fans of ’90s black metal who appreciate its style and direction. We intentionally went for a production style that reflects the raw, unfiltered sound of that era, keeping vocal effects to aminimum. “Pradavni” (meaning ancient, wisdom, maturity)  has done exceptionally well for a debut album. I’m also grateful to BM Promotions for featuring us on their YouTube channel. The album, by the way, was recorded at the “Paradox” studioin Smederevo in collaboration with the renowned musician Srđan Branković.

Speaking of music now, what was the biggest inspiration formaking this album? Did those things you used as inspiration make you go anddefine a path for Oskrnavitelj?
Even before we formed the band, I had a clear vision of what I wanted – the musical direction, style, and overall approach. When it came to creating the music, I found like-minded individuals who shared that vision, and together, we brought our ideas to life. Black metal is a profound inspiration for me, and I draw on my inner thoughts and feelings to write the lyrics and convey the messages, incorporating various spiritual experiences into our themes, just like in “Oskrnavitelj”, “Pradavni”, “Prognanik” etc. There are influences throughout all my lyrics too, each in its unique context. Our rich history also plays a substantial role in inspiring our music – we can take pride in our ancestors and history, events, and the mysteries.

Is there anything you would like to change in “Pradavni” oryou are totally content with your album?
There’s always room for improvement with any album. In fact, that’s a goal we continually strive for – to always beat or challenge our best. However, it’s important to consider the energy as well. It’s a balance between striving for perfection and embracing the energy of the moment. We’re satisfied with how “Pradavni” turned out, as it is an authentic reflection of what we aimed for and envisioned at that point in time. It represents our ideas and intentions precisely as we felt they should be.

The album is written in Serbian language. In this time when everything is in English that is a pretty brave move. So, why Serbian and not English? Do you see something special and effective in our language?
Given our roots in this region and the thematic content of the lyrics, I intentionally chose to write in Serbian. The Serbian language is the most authentic and evocative way to convey the rich history and mythology of Serbia. I believe that translating Serbian history, mythology, customs and events into English would diminish their weight, mystery, and truth. Just as in any ancient culture, sentiment is most powerfully expressed in one’s native tongue. Serbian has a rich vocabulary, which adds to the depth of the lyrics. It’s also part of the Slavic language family, with its unique roots and characteristics, a sound that harmonizes well with the music we create in our genre. There will be some English-language content in the future, but Serbian will remain our primary means of expression.

As the ancient Slavic period is actually the main subject of “Pradavni”, can you explain a bit from your point of view how important is it not to forget our roots before Christianity and do you consider yourself then some kind of history story teller?
Yes, it is indeed crucial that we understand who weare and where we come from. We should recognize the land we walk upon, our ancestors, and the genetic legacy that, unfortunately, lies dormant in most but is nonetheless present. I consider myself a storyteller, but not limited to history alone. Whilemy lyrics are grounded in historical and mythological themes, they alsoincorporate elements of imagination, magic, and surrealism, for this is art.The themes are clear, often delving into subjects like death, ancestors, wolvesas our protectors, warriors, and the dark aspects of the damned, among others.

As we know, next to Oskrnavitelj your musical background, for a small country as Serbia is, it’s really rich. You were lead vocalist for bands like Kramp and Sakramentum. Did that experience help you improve your skills as vocalist and the main lady of the band?
Interactions with fellow musicians, the bands that you mentioned, and singing various styles have certainly enriched my experience and allowed me to better understand myself as an artist. However, even before that, I had a desire to be a creator, shaping the overall narrative and ideas. Finding your unique style is the most challenging part, and many fail to establish a style that suits them. It’s not enough to have vocal talent and ability; it’s about developing a style that resonates with you.

Now, in modern times, metal music isfull of special effects. There is too much experimenting, and it makes metal a bit too mainstream. Oskrnavitelj is pretty “old school” based. So, my question is, did you try to show to younger musicians that it is still cool to work with rough, pure and old school black metal?
I agree; there’s a trend towards excessive polish and effects in modern metal. Of course, some people appreciate that, and I respect their preferences. Personally, I believe that ’90s black metal should maintain its raw, cold, and spiritual essence, with minimal effects or artificiality. It should possess the strength of genuine mysticism, a cold, energetic, emotional, and sinister quality.

What would you like, as anexperienced musician, to advise younger Serbian musicians? Do you privately listen to some new Serbian bands? Any suggestions?
I’d advise young musicians not to be discouraged by obstacles and early band challenges. Pursue your genuine vision, respect one another, practice regularly, and maintain discipline. Finding like-minded individuals guided by respect, common sense, and a healthy absence of ego isessential for a successful band, so don’t waste too much time on trivial matters. There are many talented Serbian bands and musicians dedicated to their projects, providing a growing array of choices for audiences.

Now something a bit personal. How canyou explain the position of girls in the metal world? Are girls more powerful and do you get some extra respect from the audience when they see that the leader of the band is actually a woman who growls?
Many women have contributed significantly to outstanding bands and achieved success as performers. The presence of women in metal music is vital, and they should be supported and appreciated on par with male musicians. Respect should be based on talent, dedication, and contributions to music rather than one’s gender. Being a female frontwoman does offer some advantages due to its rarity, but it also presents unique challenges and occasionally unpleasant experiences. To succeed, a woman must harness both masculine and feminine energy, knowing when to employ each. She must be wise and cunning like a serpent, as well as courageous and strong like a wolf.

For the end two typical questions,but fans would like to know, I know that for sure. Do you have some future gigs and is there any world metal festival you can see yourself and the band performing in a few years?
Absolutely, we’re looking forward to live performances, and, of course, I envision us participating in festivals, but I’ll elaborate further on our plans when things crystallize more clearly, so I’ll leave that topic for some new encounter. In the near future, we have two shows scheduled, one on September 29th with the band Pustoš and the Greek blackmetal band Nihilism, at Fest in Belgrade, and another on September 30th in NoviSad, at Dvorište. We’re beyond excited to connect with our audience – so, comejoin us!

Can we expect some more of your workin near future? Will it be something different from “Pradavni” or have you definitely decided about the subject you are going to sing and play?
We’ll stay true to our style and direction, but our new songs will feature some minor changes and broader themes. Our next album will certainly be more innovative, and we’re currently working on these new elements. Stay tuned!

Also, thank you for the thoughtful questions, Andjela! It’s been a pleasure having this interview with Abaddon Magazine, and we can’t wait to meet you in person at one of our upcoming concerts!

Thank you for your time and answers. Me and the entire Abaddon Magazine crew wish you well and creative future! I hope you will surprise us soon with some concert! Long live metal and Oskrnavitelj!