The mighty Jucifer recently unleashed their new album, “за волгой для нас земли нет,” and it’s another ear destroying masterpiece! This is the powerful duo’s eighth album, and as with their previous releases, it brings a whole new meaning to heavy! They just get better and better! Before they came through and destroyed New York City(view our photos here), I got to send Gazelle Amber Valentine some questions on the new record, the band’s legacy and more! Check out the interview below and show your support for one of the most impressive bands on the planet!
Metal Mark- Jucifer’s eighth album, “за волгой для нас земли нет”, was unleashed on July 17th, and after the success of “Throned In Blood”, it was easily one of the most anticipated records for fans everywhere. Were you as excited to get it out there as the fans were to hear it?
Gazelle Amber Valentine- We’re super stoked. We’ve been really excited about the record and it’s also taken a pretty long time to complete what with recording, mixing and mastering from the road. Feels like Christmas morning as kids right about now!
MM-The Russian title points to the whole concept of the record, which I understand came from your tours of the country in 2011 and 2012. What was it about those trips that left such an impression on you?
GAV-Well we’ve both been really into Russian history since we were kids. Probably because when we were little, Russia was still the USSR and the cold war was on, so it was totally a forbidden place. ‘Red Dawn’ and shit, haha!
So we always knew there was gonna be a Russian themed album. It was actually already written before we toured there the first time. And we recorded most of it just after we returned. But the fact that we’d been able to stand on the ground of the place we’d written about certainly made our feelings about the subject even more intense. I’m sure it helped with our level of emotion as we played. Whether that’s audible I don’t know!
But either way, it was amazing to be able to visit and play in places we’d read about for so long and knew we were making an album about. Really a dream come true.
MM-You began recording the record in Canada and then had to wait a year to finish it in Arkansas. Most bands would cringe at the idea of recording in that time period, but do you feel it turned out to be a positive with how it came out?
GAV-It was painful to wait, but we’re kind of used to recording in bursts. Somehow with L’Autrichienne we managed to book three weeks solid and finish all the tracking, multiple instruments and multiple vocal tracks and all, plus mixing before the deadline. But several of our other records had to be done in a couple of different sessions either due to our tour schedule or, with our first studio album, because we had no money haha.
I’m happy about ending up with that Arkansas session because it let us work with a new guy who’s awesome, and now we have one more place we can factor in when we’re ready to record the next one. Depending on when we want to track, it makes sense for us to have a few spots around the continent where we can schedule recording. That way we don’t have to have a massive interruption in our continuous tour.
MM-Musically, this album continues to push the extreme boundaries, just like your previous releases have in the past. We see bands create the same album time and time again, yet Jucifer has never done that. Is that something you always keep in mind when writing the records, or are you just writing what you feel at that moment?
GAV-Thanks! We’re just always pushing ourselves, I guess. When we make a record it’s always about telling a story that we feel deeply. So whatever sounds and songs we employ are more tools for that than any attempt to make a statement or even repeat a working formula. But hopefully as we keep playing and recording, our tools get better or at least we wield them to better effect.
We love music so much, and we love a lot of different genres. So it’s natural for us to work outside the box more than we would if we were less omnivorous in our taste. In essence yeah, we’re just writing what we feel and recording what makes us excited!
MM-You mentioned in a previous interview that the track “Fight Hard Live Free” is one of the favorite songs you’ve ever written? Why does this song mean so much to you?
GAV-I just fucking love the riffs and the lyrics! It makes me happy in a way I was made happy by some of the earliest metal I listened to, back when I was a kid. I’ve written a lot of other songs that might be more unusual or that have their own really cool aspects that I’m proud of, but FHLF just makes me want to flip out and headbang and pump my fist. It’s cool to give yourself that feeling that might usually be reserved for bands that were your first heroes.
MM-Your live shows are legendary for their onslaught of sound and fury,and throwing in the new songs in will only add to the insanity! How much of the new stuff can we expect to hear on future tours?
GAV-We’re already playing a few of the songs, and it’s been awesome. Crowds seem to get off on them even without knowing them, so hopefully it’ll just get more fun as people start knowing the album!
We’re thinking that next year we might do a set where we play it all the way through. We have some cool ideas about doing a real themed stage presentation to match the album. We just have to see if we’re still excited about doing that by the time 2014 rolls around haha!
MM-2013 is not only a celebration for the new record, but it’s also the 20th anniversary of the band itself. Bands are lucky to make it five years these days, what do you attribute to your long time success in the business?
GAV-A certain amount of luck, some very supportive fans and a shit ton of stubborn dedication. We never went into this band looking for buzzworthiness or money or glamour. So we’ve kept it legit all the way. I think a lot of bands quit when the good stuff doesn’t come fast enough, you know? We always felt like the good stuff was in the work itself and in our relationship. We’d never willingly quit!
MM-With your non-stop touring drive and obvious strong love still present for the music, can we expect twenty more years of touring? I hope so!
GAV-I hope so too! Getting older, and all our gear getting older at the same time, is a scary thing. At some point maybe it becomes impossible to do what we do, or at least do it the way we’ve been doing it. But we ain’t goin’ down without a fight!
MM-What surprises you more? Jucifer is still around after twenty years, you’re about to release your eight record, or you two are still getting along after all these years?
GAV-Haha in a weird way none of this surprises me! Like I said we went into this with our heads on straight as far as not having huge expectations. But also we went in knowing we had a strong love for each other and for our music and our dream of doing it for life. So I guess, longevity was always the plan.
What does surprise me, in the best way possible, is how much the audience for our weird ass heavy music keeps regenerating as new groups of kids come up. It’s fucking incredible to meet people who’ve listened to us since they were five, and are now out at shows, and are teaching their own kids to listen to Jucifer. That was something I never really pictured! And it’s way fuckin’ cool.
MM- Jucifer has obviously taken a unique approach to touring and your musical style, do you ever see anyone taking the same approach? Would you wish it on anyone else haha?
GAV-Our approach is fairly insane and economically stupid haha. So I’d wish it on my enemies more than my friends! But you know, as much as it’s super hard and financially is like feeding a bad drug addiction, it’s also the most rewarding life I can imagine. And maybe if it was easier, it wouldn’t feel so true?
MM-Agreed! I’ll leave this open to you! Any final words you’d like to say to
the fans out there?
GAV-To our fans, we can’t thank you enough for the support you give us that has kept us around for twenty years. You’re amazing! We hope you dig our new record as much as we do, and we look forward to seeing you on the road. Hails! m/