Gojko Marić (guitar) – Sunday 18 June 2017
« I have a theory that our band should be like Jesus, we should be everywhere without being there » – Gojko Marić
Gojko, how the hell are you?
I’m very good!
How has Hellfest been treating you?
I’ve been having a lot of fun. It felt fucking awesome to play.
It was your biggest show ever right?
One of the biggest. We have had a few big ones like this, It was a pretty full house!
Your band is fairly young… why do you think so many people connect with what you do?
We are in contact with all of our fans and when we tour we pass by their houses and bring them presents. They love our presents. It means a lot to them. Everyone who listens to our music and loves it feels this. It’s part of why we’ve had such lightning success.
You have a strong marketing sense, where does that come from?
It comes from me and Alexey and the shitloads of promotion we have done. I have a theory that our band should be like Jesus, we should be everywhere without being there. So we printed 40,000 CD’s to giveaway at festivals we aren’t playing. So even though we are playing here we are getting our CD’s distributed at a few other festivals so it’s like we are at 4 or 5 festivals at once. We set it up so that people get our CD for free with their ticket. So with 40,000 CD’s we have hit a lot of the key festivals across Europe from 500 to 5,000 people. I think we’ve covered most of the small ones, obviously not the big ones like Wacken and SummerBreeze though.
How do you get in touch?
Most of the festivals reach out to us, like Hellfest did. People know that we have superfans and that our fans are active and they write about us everywhere. Even though we are new things are starting to change and the name is known in the underground. I mean – it’s a little more complicated than that. The band is 12 years old but up until recently we never played in Europe. We were one of the first bands in the history of black metal to ever tour the whole of Russia, at least in symphonic black metal. We just moved to Europe two years ago, it’s a totally different scene and no one knew about us. Our first show was 5 people. We were like a local starting band. Alexey has a lot of stories about taking the train across Russia though and it was really fucking tough and the circumstances were totally insane.
How did you get involved with Welicoruss?
I’d always wanted to make a band and I always had in my head that I should go to the Czech Republic and start a band, but I didn’t know why. I know that sounds crazy. So I went to the Czech Republic and Alexey came from Siberia and we restarted the band there.
How do you feel your vision and style of working meets with Alexey’s?
Really well! I’m the type of person who thinks that if something goes well it could go worse. We have the same ideas, conceptions and tastes in music. That’s going really well.
Now that you’ve started to play festivals and stuff, what is the next step for your band?
More festivals and concerts. We are not in a rush to get a label. If they don’t want to give us what we want… We declined all of the labels who approached us. If they want to collaborate then we will discuss, if they don’t want too it’s their loss. The plan is to release an album this year. We are working on a DVD and a lot of tours and gigs. We have a lot of festivals for next year. We have 10-15 lined up for 2018 already.
When you play a big festival stage as opposed to a smaller club, how do you change your stage performance?
That’s a tough one! We try to keep it as close as possible to the festival vibe. We don’t often play on smaller stages anymore and usually the stage is big enough for us to switch places and do everything that we want performance wise. Sometimes we have really small stages and haveto improvise and make it as cool as it should be.
You are half Canadian, half Serbian playing Siberian black metal, do you feel a disconnect from the culture?
Not at all. My grandmother is Russian from my father’s side. My mother’s family is entirely Canadian and have longstanding roots there. I felt like I always understood the culture. I used to live in Cyprus which was a really hot island but I hated it because I hate the sun. I love snow and freezing cold like Alexey. We understand each other in terms of heritage.
What do you love so much about music?
You get an idea and then you get to take this idea and make it physical. You write it down. You perform it. You make something which was an idea into an object and you give it to a person and he gets this object and turns it back into a feeling, just as it was for me. It’s something non material an idea, to something material that is to say a CD and then it became immaterial again when the person who got it heard it.
Interview: Matt Bacon.