Russian metal act Second to Sun emerged in Russia in 2012, and was founded by guitarist and composer Vladimir Lehtinen. The band’s full-length debut ‘The First Chapter‘ was released as an instrumental edition in 2015, but it was re-released in August 2017 with new album artwork and track listing, featuring vocalist Gleb Sysoev, who gave new life to the music.
In a new interview for Prog Sphere, Lehtinen talks about this particular record, future plans, and more.
Define the mission of Second to Sun.
We do our best at playing music. I figure that’s enough.
Tell me about the creative process that informed your old-new album The First Chapter and the themes it captures.
The album, as usually, consists of seven different stories rooted in history, mythology, and social injustice. Each song is unique and interesting in its own way. Despite Gleb having recorded fantastic vocals, people still enjoy the instrumental version, which is incredibly awesome.
What is the message you are trying to give with The First Chapter?
I don’t think we have “a message” as such. Each song tells its own story, but despite that the band can’t be classified as an audiobook or a collection of fairy tales. I’d say we take quite a lot from classical black metal, so our music has some of the same messages – just without the Satanism invented by journalists.
How did you document the music while it was being formulated?
I try to always record demos of new ideas and never abandon the search for new unique and interesting stories to base the songs on.
Is the dynamic flow of the pieces carefully architected?
Yes, definitely. Same applies to the new music video and all of the band’s earlier material – there are no unnecessary details and everything has meaning. For example, names of some of the song intros contain the dates when the described events happened. We also use coded messages in our artwork and sound design. It’s easier to convey mystical elements with music in Russia, as people here like dissecting lyrics and searching for the meaning. It’s very different in Europe and USA. Still, I understand that the catchiness of the songs and production quality were received positively over there as well.
Describe the approach to recording the album.
Extremely scrupulous, especially when it came to vocals – Gleb had never done recitative screams before, but he did great. I’ve watched over the recording process myself and there is nothing wasteful in it – everything is right where it should be.
How long The First Chapter was in the making?
A few months. The instrumental version that was released two years ago took a couple of years to make though.
Which bands or artists influenced your work on the release?
I think that it was Pantera, Bathory, Emperor, Immortal. The influence of classic black metal is especially evident. At least that’s what our fans say. I don’t know, they’re probably right.
What is your view on technology in music?
It’s art, it can’t be mechanic. Songs are like paintings – you should see the artist’s brushstrokes.
Do you see your music as serving a purpose beyond music?
If our music helps someone or touches their heart in a positive way – that is amazing. But my primary goal is making music.
What are your plans for the future?
I think we will re-record and re-release our second instrumental album Blackbound with Gleb’s vocals. The album title will change, the song order will be different and all in all it will be an independent release. But we are working on new material! Everyone who wants to feast their eyes on Gleb’s talent and charisma can do so by checking out the music video for “Me or Him”.