A lot of you have been curious on our Russian / Belarus trip recently, so I'll go into detail on that, in this blog entry. First off; I'm just going to say that the new album and it's release, is all going as planned and we hope we can nail a release date soon (which I probably have said for a couple of months now!?) The master of the album have just recently been delivered to Napalm Records and two weekends ago we recorded a video for the upcoming single with the guys at 11Frames Productions. This weekend we'll have a photo shoot for the album, with the very talented Linus Pettersson, and after that session, most of the puzzle pieces will be in place, for this MONSTER of an release! hehe.
Promotional video before the shows in Russia / Belarus
Now let's head straight into our east European trip!
Saint Petersburg - Russia, Part I:
Since we have a very thought through logistic placement on all the members in our band we had to fly into Russia from two different locations. Ella and I was going from the Stockholm airport, "Arlanda", while the rest of the guys, which resides on the west coast in our oblong country, was flying from Copenhagen in Denmark. Both of us were to fly into an airport in Moscow. The reason we had to fly into Moscow and not Saint Petersburg directly, was because our touring schedule clashed with another touring schedule; namely the president of united states of team America himself; Barrack Obama. There's a slight possibility he's stalking our band, but most likely he was just interested in the G20 meeting in Saint Petersburg. Whatever intensions he had; it messed with our plans and made it extremely difficult for our band and our little tour enterprise. Nor did he only made us reschedule the flying in, to Russia, he did also make a inconvenient touchdown in Stockholm, Sweden, on his way to this important G20 meeting. And just to be sure he closed the biggest highway in Sweden, and our road to the airport outside of Stockholm. SAFTEY FIRST!... Our flight was leaving 11:50 lunchtime, but since they wouldn't release what hours the roads would be closed (another safety precaution,) Ella and I had to head out Insanely early in the morning. Thank you POTUS! I'm all for you coming and high fiving the prime minister and let the Swedish King and Queen bring you up to speed on the latest Scandinavian gossip, but please check our bands touring schedule first, will you!?
We printed a new shirt for these specific shows; "Blodbad"!
At Arlanda, Aeroflot's office kind of looked closed.
A mob making sure the president is leaving Sweden,
so order in Stockholm city can be restored...
Didn't see AF1, but I tried to hitchhike with this one.
I was greeted with sniper marks all over my body!
Onwards to Motherland!
Anyways, well in Moscow, we rendezvoused with our Russian promoter and tour-guide, Sergey and his boss. Two very well behaved and likable persons! I got a feeling almost instantly that we were in good hands. The rest of the guys landed slightly later than Ella and I. And once we could fulfill the quota with simple head count on all the members, off we went to St.Petersburg. Sergey made sure to hire Jon Schaffer as our personal driver, since he know I'm a big Iced Earth fan. Very appreciated! Tourist as we was in this country, he also gave Jon a new name, and trained him in acting like he didn't speak English at all, and we had to communicate with the Jon.. sorry; "Yury", via Sergey. Nice scheme there, didn't have to do all that for us man!
Sergey, the boss and Ella drinking black vodka and vodka latte
220 WHAT? B? Bolt?! 220 BOLT!? Mindfuck.
In Russia; unguided guides you!
70 Swedish miles ahead of us to St. Petersburg, obviously we had to make a short dinner stop (and a couple of thousand pee breaks since there was a lot of beer onboard.) Sergey so much wanted to show us the Russina homely fare in full force. So he brought us to a restaurant, which was a bit westernized in is architecture and food taste as well, but we of course went all out on this place! Very nice Russian food indeed.
Two thirsty rockstars drinking vodka on cans
We arrived in St. Petersburg early in the morning and went straight into a hotel to get some sleep before get-in and sound check at the venue. It was not until we came to the hotel, I noticed one difference from Sweden in Russia.. oh well? However, when it comes to the showers in Russia, you have to wait 20 minutes for the water to become warm. And in some cases the "hot" and "cold" knob is inverted, so you don't really know. In some rare cases you can put the knob at "hot", and then wait 20 minutes just to release that "cold" is actually "hot", which means you have to wait another 20 minutes for the hot water to reach the shower hose and you can successfully take a shower. A bit frustrating, but I'm sure there's some meaning to all of this, it's just that I had a really hard time to see it, just during this moment.
Our fortress, hotel, building.
Breakfast, very retro!
We were happy we didn't stay at this hotel.
The Narva Gate
This was not the venue.
Well at the venue, the Club Arctica place was pretty cool actually! Save from the fact that no one spoke English, except Sergey then of course. This worked out well during sound check when Sergey was around, but once he had to attend to other duties. We did sign language to the sound guy from stage for 30 minutes before we gave up and he started to smoke water pipe instead of doing his job. All we wanted was to lower Roland's guitar in the monitors, surely not too much to ask hehe. Anyways, Sergey came back eventually and everything was back in order, just a lengthy sound check.
After a brief walk in the area outside the venue and dinner. The show was on! And the show was really good actually! We had a awesome time. Very intimate and personal, just the way we like it. We were really happy to see our Russian fans and mingle with them after the show, hope you had a great time as well!
Outside the venue
Lada power! In Russia they have an exclamation mark on your car
if you are a n00b. I'll vote for that in Sweden as well!
Concrete buildings. A lot of them.
Too slow for love and traffic lights!
Dinner! A rare pic of the driver; Jon "Yuri" Schaffer to the right.
Poo in a bowl. WTF Russia!?
Apparently this is were they got the ingrediens.
Support band! Arch Enemy, Russian edition.
Right before the show!
St.Petersburg rocked \m/
When everything was packed up, we had 70 miles back to Moscow, a impressive 9 hour drive. We suggested it would be good to get it over and done with! So we hit the road with our trusty driver "Yuri" once again.
Moscow - Russia, Part II:
We arrived in Moscow a bit earlier than expected and check in on a hotel straight away to get some quality sleep before get-in and sound check on the venue. Once we were done with that, we headed straight down in the Moscow metro and to a food place, to have a kind of sausage party. To eat one's bodyweight in Russian sausage was a weird but still euphoric feeling. Right after this we walked to the venue since it wasn't far from the foddering.
iPhone 5S behind you Roland, BEHIND YOU!
Ella ruins a otherwise perfect sausage party :(
ANNETBI EAECB! That means; HELLOVA SHOW in Russia.
Club Volta was a new venue, and a pretty big and clean place. We liked it a lot! When we arrived here, we bumped into our buddies in Deathaction. The captain of the band; Sergey and the drummer Aleksandr! I haven't seen these guys since they was support for us with Sonic Syndicate during some shows in Russia back in 2010. So it was good to see them again and to hear that they are doing well.
Sergey, drummerboi, I and Deathaction's local guard to the left
I'm an APTNCT!!! This is my APTNICT pass.
Sound check went more smooth here and we also had a video interview with some members in the band.
Blue Man Group again?
Support band, Eve In Fall
The show in Moscow was great as well! The audience was crazy as always in Russia and after the show we had a signing with the fans which was really pleasant. Good to see you all! It's really nice to see how dedicated fans we have there in Russia and we hope we can come back soon! Probably with the coming album.
Hitting the stage
The party continued after the show and we had a nice get together with the venue crew, some fans, as well as the promoter/organizer backstage after the show, were we drank Russian vodka and got as much pizza as we could muster!
Pizza and vodka.
Some hours later our ride back to the hotel arrived and we still had some patient fans waiting outside the venue that got their signatures and some photographs. We were heading out early in the morning for the flight to Minsk, so we made the most of the hours left that night.
There was some traffic jam on the ride to the airport the day after and we were a bit afraid that we would miss the flight. Also we had some problems with the check-in. Since on the flight to Russia we had pairs of guitars strapped to each other just to make one package of them instead of several. This was not approved on the flight to Belarus obviously, so we had some logistic issues before we got to check in. But eventually we ended up on the plain to Belarus.
Some important dude's house
The Derelict, Acheron LV-426 just outside Moscow
And they call me a nerd!? Fucking hill climb bullshit racing game <3
A self-assured airplane.
Minsk - Belarus, Part III:
Well in Belarus, they didn't even check our passports upon our arrival. This was weird since we were to do visas here at the airport as well and to see how super strict it was to get into Russia with the visas it appeared odd. When the promoter heard about this he was very concerned and after that a long wait on the airport was initiated hehe. He said we'd get a lot of problems getting out of the country if we didn't have the paperwork in order when we were to fly out. Which sounded reasonable. Why they didn't check our passports was probably since flying from Russia to Belarus is almost "domestic", or as it is for us Swedes to fly from Sweden to Denmark or something. I don't know, but obviously it wasn't needed.
"R <3 BENAPYCB!" It means; "I love my lawn" in Belarusian.
After a couple of hours we sorted our group visas and we could finally leave the airport on our car trip to Minsk! Well in central Minsk, we got fed once again and then we went to the venue. Club Re:public, this venue was huge. 1500 capacity! We were like:
- "Guys, you're are aware of the fact this is the first time we're in Minsk?"
But apparently all other venues for metal had closed and this was the only place to utilize. Fine for us! The gear and PA was brutal, and the crew was also very professional.
This guy was on tour as well, and deaf :(
Beer & boys!
After sound check we killed a lot of time in the dressing room since this was a bit off from the city central so wasn't much to see in the area. Roland, Ella and I went to the hotel to get some sleep before the show.
Support band; Nemdis. They were very STRONG! You can tell they
Me smiling for the first time in the history.
We had a great time during this show! The Minsk fans, maybe wasn't as many as the fans in Moscow, but they were still really loud and absolutely mad. I even think we had two wall of deaths hehe. That's one too many for an old fart like myself! haha, great job everyone, we had a great time.
Right before stage!
Once again after the show we made sure to meet the fans, take photos and get them some autographs. When everything was wrapped up and the venue was closing, we went to the hotel to get some sleep for some sightseeing in Minsk the day after since we had a late flight.
Ronnie Schmit, Belarus version and Yuri, the promoter.
We took the metro into city centre to get some breakfast and then we had a long walk in this beautiful city. Victory square was one of my favorite locations. Really majestic!
In Belarus Minsk, they take the owen on the bike!
Roger infront of some important building
The National Academic Bolshoi Opera and Ballet Theatre of the Republic of Belarus.
And that flying in front of the building is Rich's jacket.
After a while the time was nigh to leave for Sweden via Latvia and to get home after this successful first ever shows in Russia and Belarus.
The ride home.
Just keep in mind that some of this is written with a slice of irony. We love Russia and Belarus, and really appreciate all the work that was done for us during our brief visit. We hope from all of our hearts that we can come back soon and make this a nice tradition!
Song of the day: F.K.Ü - Black hole hell