Sleetgrout has been making music under this moniker since '07, and has made quite a name for themselves. Previously reviewed on the site to a great score and even greater praise, and with their next release just a few days away (pre-order at insane-records.bandcamp.com/album/try-to-die), it was about time to chat with the frontman behind this magnificent trio:

Hello, and thank you for your time for this chat! First off, for those who don't know what Sleetgrout is, would you like to give a brief introduction of the project?

Igor - "Hello! My name is Igor Zhukov. I'm the vocalist, composer and founder of Sleetgrout. Also in our group is Artyom Afanasyev. He is also a composer and arranger. And in our group, on keyboards, is Margarita Kravtsova. We love performing at concerts, touring and having a good time!"

Second. I understand the Sleetgrout was born in 2005. Previously, though, you made a completely different style of music. It was when Margarita joined you that Sleetgrout's sound was officially born. How was this accomplished?

Igor - "Yes, absolutely! Previously, we created slow and sad music. However, the songs we created in 2007 were in the style of dark electro. Several years we have been experimenting with styles and instruments. Now our group has a recognizable sound. And we have to work on it constantly!"

And what type of music did you make in the past? Were you part of other bands or did you have any past project that are now deceased?

Igor - "Yes, we've played in many bands. In Russia in the late 90s I was making punk. Artem also played in a metal band. When we started working together we had experience in creating music. But to write dark music, we had a lot to learn."

Now, as far as your lyrical content goes, I understand that you try and stray away from political and social issues. What exactly do you inject into your lyrics, then? Personal struggles and thoughts?

Igor - "Yes, our music has no place for politics and social issues. We only express our own thoughts. Because before you engage in politics, a person must understand themselves well. Without it you cannot do good for people. Each of us has a political opinion. But our group is free from politics."

You are currently based in Russia. And, I understand that there is a pirating problem currently in that scene where very few fans are willing to put money out to help support the artists. However, has the situation improved much? And is there anything that you're doing to help stop the piracy?

Igor - "Yes, it's true! In Russia, there's a catastrophic situation with piracy. For example, no one in Russia has made a digital pre-order for the new album! In our country, there is no independent group that earns selling their music. All actors have to work on daily work. And it is bad for creativity. We have our own recording studio. That's our job. But few musicians can afford the services of the studio. There are so many projects in Russia, but they are of poor quality. We try to explain to people that if they will not support the artists that no one can create. But now it's useless."

Aside from the piracy problem, would you say that the darker scene in Russia is relatively positive and optimistic?

Igor - "Russia is a very big country. Many cities in which to organize concerts. But dark culture is underdeveloped in our country. Concerts hold few people. We are the only dark electro group in Russia that can afford to tour across the country. Beginning groups can act only in his hometown. However, each concert on the tour is like a holiday. All people are very happy in this party!"

Now, to talk a bit about the past, your first EP was "Rotten Reverie" that released in 2008. How was the response for that EP and how did you get signed to Shadowplay Records?

Igor - "We sent our demo to Shadowplay. And they immediately responded to us. They loved our music - in Russia, no one had such a sound. For the world, this music was secondary. But in Russia, there was no one who would make the same sound. And we have long cooperated with joy with this label. Reviews on 'Rotten Reverie' were great! Our group started to get fame and we have often given concerts."

And, your next two released were also put out by Shadowplay Records; both "Principle Of Dark Electro" and "We Had A Carnival". However, Vendetta Music released it for North American audiences. Are you still going to be working with Vendetta to release future releases, even your latest "Try To Die", for North American audiences?

Igor - "Unfortunately, our cooperation with Vendetta has been interrupted. While we do not plan to continue working together, North American audiences can order our CD on the site of label or buy the digital version on our bandcamp. No problem!"

Recently, you've been signed onto the Insane Records label, a relatively new label focused on Russian based industrial acts. How did you get signed to the label?

Igor - "I received a letter from Eugene, director of the label. We were offered excellent conditions and we agreed. We like that this label takes a serious approach to design releases. And 'Try To Die' is just gorgeous! We are always open to cooperation."

Now, let's talk about your upcoming release, "Try To Die". What makes it stand out from your previous three releases?

Igor - "'Try To Die' is more professional. We started to work seriously with our vocals. Not only scream, but sing. We grow as artists and our music is changing. Becomes deeper, more adult. But at the same time more cheerful and positive."

The title of the album means what exactly? I know that you have some deep lyrics, so I am curious as to what the title means to you.

Igor - "Starting in 'We Had A Carnival', there was a theme of death and we continue to talk about it in 'Try To Die'. With great irony, sarcasm, and dark humor. But it's definitely fun! We are interested in death, as well as everything else that exists in our lives. We try to understand our feelings about the most important life events. And it's not sad - it is a reality! 'Try To Die' - This is auditory training. And we make sure to remove the clip for this song. And you'll learn all that we put into these words."

What's impressive is that you have Suicide Commando featured on the track "Jest#9". How did this partnership emerge? And what did Suicide Commando add to the mix on the track?

Igor - "We opened the St. Petersburg show for Suicide Commando, and met with Johan. After some time he asked us to do a remix for his single 'Attention Whore'. Then, working on the album, we decided to record a song unusual for us - slow, dark and heavy. We sent Johan text and music, and in between the concerts, he recorded his vocals. All music for this song was made by us."

Now, there are two different versions of the album. Each one with different remixes; do you like this approach? Or do you think fans should be able to grab all of the remixes no matter which version they choose, be it physical or digital?

Igor - "We made sure both versions were interesting to the audience. After all, to listen to all the tracks you can do so for free on Bandcamp. Maybe someone will be interested in one of the versions over the other. And some both. Each decides by himself."

Are there any themes present on the album? Or are the tracks all written in different styles from one another?

Igor - "We tried to make a variety of songs. But they still have similarities between them. This time we used a guitar, horns. Palette of sounds has become richer. And we know you will love it! Everyone will find a favorite song."

As far as the remixes go, you have some remixes from some pretty well known acts such as Alien Vampires and even C-Lekktor. Do you actively trade remixes with them? Or get them in another fashion?

Igor - "We will gladly exchange remixes. Our team has done a lot of remixes, and got a lot of remixes. We like to do remixes of songs by other groups. And enjoy listening to remixes of our songs. We are very pleased that musicians from around the world participated in the creation of the album."

And when does "Try To Die" come out and where can one order it from?

Igor - "June 21 the album 'Try To Die' will be released. You can order it on
http://sleetgrout.bandcamp.com/, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, eMusic, Google Play, Rhapsody and http://insane-records.bandcamp.com/"

And this is where I leave off. Feel free to say what you wish in the space below. And thank you once more for this interview!

Igor - "I hope that someday we'll see all of our audiences. We want to wish you all a good mood, vitality and health. We certainly sing together - 'Try To Die'! Thank you!"
Sleetgrout interview
June 19, 2014
Brutal Resonance

Sleetgrout

Jun 2014
Sleetgrout has been making music under this moniker since '07, and has made quite a name for themselves. Previously reviewed on the site to a great score and even greater praise, and with their next release just a few days away (pre-order at insane-records.bandcamp.com/album/try-to-die), it was about time to chat with the frontman behind this magnificent trio:

Hello, and thank you for your time for this chat! First off, for those who don't know what Sleetgrout is, would you like to give a brief introduction of the project?

Igor - "Hello! My name is Igor Zhukov. I'm the vocalist, composer and founder of Sleetgrout. Also in our group is Artyom Afanasyev. He is also a composer and arranger. And in our group, on keyboards, is Margarita Kravtsova. We love performing at concerts, touring and having a good time!"

Second. I understand the Sleetgrout was born in 2005. Previously, though, you made a completely different style of music. It was when Margarita joined you that Sleetgrout's sound was officially born. How was this accomplished?

Igor - "Yes, absolutely! Previously, we created slow and sad music. However, the songs we created in 2007 were in the style of dark electro. Several years we have been experimenting with styles and instruments. Now our group has a recognizable sound. And we have to work on it constantly!"

And what type of music did you make in the past? Were you part of other bands or did you have any past project that are now deceased?

Igor - "Yes, we've played in many bands. In Russia in the late 90s I was making punk. Artem also played in a metal band. When we started working together we had experience in creating music. But to write dark music, we had a lot to learn."

Now, as far as your lyrical content goes, I understand that you try and stray away from political and social issues. What exactly do you inject into your lyrics, then? Personal struggles and thoughts?

Igor - "Yes, our music has no place for politics and social issues. We only express our own thoughts. Because before you engage in politics, a person must understand themselves well. Without it you cannot do good for people. Each of us has a political opinion. But our group is free from politics."

You are currently based in Russia. And, I understand that there is a pirating problem currently in that scene where very few fans are willing to put money out to help support the artists. However, has the situation improved much? And is there anything that you're doing to help stop the piracy?

Igor - "Yes, it's true! In Russia, there's a catastrophic situation with piracy. For example, no one in Russia has made a digital pre-order for the new album! In our country, there is no independent group that earns selling their music. All actors have to work on daily work. And it is bad for creativity. We have our own recording studio. That's our job. But few musicians can afford the services of the studio. There are so many projects in Russia, but they are of poor quality. We try to explain to people that if they will not support the artists that no one can create. But now it's useless."

Aside from the piracy problem, would you say that the darker scene in Russia is relatively positive and optimistic?

Igor - "Russia is a very big country. Many cities in which to organize concerts. But dark culture is underdeveloped in our country. Concerts hold few people. We are the only dark electro group in Russia that can afford to tour across the country. Beginning groups can act only in his hometown. However, each concert on the tour is like a holiday. All people are very happy in this party!"

Now, to talk a bit about the past, your first EP was "Rotten Reverie" that released in 2008. How was the response for that EP and how did you get signed to Shadowplay Records?

Igor - "We sent our demo to Shadowplay. And they immediately responded to us. They loved our music - in Russia, no one had such a sound. For the world, this music was secondary. But in Russia, there was no one who would make the same sound. And we have long cooperated with joy with this label. Reviews on 'Rotten Reverie' were great! Our group started to get fame and we have often given concerts."

And, your next two released were also put out by Shadowplay Records; both "Principle Of Dark Electro" and "We Had A Carnival". However, Vendetta Music released it for North American audiences. Are you still going to be working with Vendetta to release future releases, even your latest "Try To Die", for North American audiences?

Igor - "Unfortunately, our cooperation with Vendetta has been interrupted. While we do not plan to continue working together, North American audiences can order our CD on the site of label or buy the digital version on our bandcamp. No problem!"

Recently, you've been signed onto the Insane Records label, a relatively new label focused on Russian based industrial acts. How did you get signed to the label?

Igor - "I received a letter from Eugene, director of the label. We were offered excellent conditions and we agreed. We like that this label takes a serious approach to design releases. And 'Try To Die' is just gorgeous! We are always open to cooperation."

Now, let's talk about your upcoming release, "Try To Die". What makes it stand out from your previous three releases?

Igor - "'Try To Die' is more professional. We started to work seriously with our vocals. Not only scream, but sing. We grow as artists and our music is changing. Becomes deeper, more adult. But at the same time more cheerful and positive."

The title of the album means what exactly? I know that you have some deep lyrics, so I am curious as to what the title means to you.

Igor - "Starting in 'We Had A Carnival', there was a theme of death and we continue to talk about it in 'Try To Die'. With great irony, sarcasm, and dark humor. But it's definitely fun! We are interested in death, as well as everything else that exists in our lives. We try to understand our feelings about the most important life events. And it's not sad - it is a reality! 'Try To Die' - This is auditory training. And we make sure to remove the clip for this song. And you'll learn all that we put into these words."

What's impressive is that you have Suicide Commando featured on the track "Jest#9". How did this partnership emerge? And what did Suicide Commando add to the mix on the track?

Igor - "We opened the St. Petersburg show for Suicide Commando, and met with Johan. After some time he asked us to do a remix for his single 'Attention Whore'. Then, working on the album, we decided to record a song unusual for us - slow, dark and heavy. We sent Johan text and music, and in between the concerts, he recorded his vocals. All music for this song was made by us."

Now, there are two different versions of the album. Each one with different remixes; do you like this approach? Or do you think fans should be able to grab all of the remixes no matter which version they choose, be it physical or digital?

Igor - "We made sure both versions were interesting to the audience. After all, to listen to all the tracks you can do so for free on Bandcamp. Maybe someone will be interested in one of the versions over the other. And some both. Each decides by himself."

Are there any themes present on the album? Or are the tracks all written in different styles from one another?

Igor - "We tried to make a variety of songs. But they still have similarities between them. This time we used a guitar, horns. Palette of sounds has become richer. And we know you will love it! Everyone will find a favorite song."

As far as the remixes go, you have some remixes from some pretty well known acts such as Alien Vampires and even C-Lekktor. Do you actively trade remixes with them? Or get them in another fashion?

Igor - "We will gladly exchange remixes. Our team has done a lot of remixes, and got a lot of remixes. We like to do remixes of songs by other groups. And enjoy listening to remixes of our songs. We are very pleased that musicians from around the world participated in the creation of the album."

And when does "Try To Die" come out and where can one order it from?

Igor - "June 21 the album 'Try To Die' will be released. You can order it on
http://sleetgrout.bandcamp.com/, iTunes, Spotify, Amazon, eMusic, Google Play, Rhapsody and http://insane-records.bandcamp.com/"

And this is where I leave off. Feel free to say what you wish in the space below. And thank you once more for this interview!

Igor - "I hope that someday we'll see all of our audiences. We want to wish you all a good mood, vitality and health. We certainly sing together - 'Try To Die'! Thank you!"
Jun 19 2014

Steven Gullotta

info@brutalresonance.com
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.

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