First I just want to thank you for participating in this edition of Infidel Interviews. With this interview let's just start with a bit about yourself. Where are you from, how old are you, and how long have you been making music for?
Natasha: Hello! You’re very welcome. We are from Belarus. Well, we are adult enough to know exactly what kind of attitude we put into our music, what kind of music we like, what we wanna say to our audience and who we are. AMBASSADOR21 will celebrate its 15th anniversary in the end of this year.
What does Ambassador21 mean to you guys in 2016? And how does that compare to what the project meant to you guys when it was formed?
Alexey: Now AMBASSADOR21 for us is just what we are. It’s very big and important part of our lives. It’s not a “project”, we don’t use this word anymore. We don’t play roles in AMBASSADOR21, there are no masks, costumes or decorations. This is we are.
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When you first started making music, was there a particular sound or artistic/musical influence that you would say was your biggest inspiration to start pursuing the creative path yourself? Are there any bands that you would say are your "core" or "prime" inspirations when making music? Are there any new bands, or styles of music, that you are currently exploring that may possibly be evolving your sound?
Natasha: Nobody starts from vacuum. We had a huge music background when we’ve started AMBASSADOR21. It’s difficult to point just particular band who inspired us to create AMBASSADOR21 more than others. Many of them inspired us - and still does – to live and enjoy the life. We were connected with music always, were more punk / hardcore influenced – STOOGES, RAMONES, DEAD KENNEDYS, BLACK FLAG and much more. Most of electronic or industrial bands we’ve discovered after AMBASSADOR21 was born. We love and respect many of them, and we still learn from them – SKINNY PUPPY, FRONT LINE ASSEMBLY, SWANS, MINISTRY, NIN, FRONT 242, KILLING JOKE, CONVERTER, ISZOLOSCOPE, NULLVEKTOR and many, many more.
Alexey: As for the new artists, of course there are many of those who bring fresh tunes and ideas. It’s great when new sound comes with real attitude and passion. You always hear it and appreciate. You can’t just say to people “love this guys, they are real, they has attitude”. If it’s not – it’s not, everyone hear it. We are not kind of synth nerds, so for loving music it’s not enough for us just to hear well-done synth build-ups or well produced wobble bass line. It’s fine to hear it, but it’s not enough to consider music as good.
The music you make fuses metal, drum and bass, industrial, rave, and intelligent dance music in a wild frenzy that many have compared to industry legends Alec Empire. Do you guys ever have difficulty writing music that keeps the same sort of intensity and ferocity you are used to producing, while still keeping things diverse?
Alexey: Ha ha ha, it’s difficult to write music in general! It’s not very complicated to use some software and place sound samples in some logical order, produce kick and snare and put it in some places. I mean it’s difficult to write music people would love and feel something special while listening. You always have much more in your head, which you not always able to make other people hearing ;) As about our sound, our style - we just do it on the way we like. If we stick to any genre limitations, we hear that is boring to listen. It can be very intense and energetic, that’s OK, but after few minutes it turn to routine. If it sounds boring for us, it will sound more boring for the others.
Your musics agression, and your strong stance regarding independence and activism, leads me to believe you guys have some pretty strong philosophical and political views. If you had to sum up your general belief structure into a few concise statements, how would you summarize your stance in both politics and spirituality?
Alexey: With all AMBASSADOR21 aggression we speak about only positive things, just in such… hmmm… uncomfortable way. We don’t want to fight, we wish it’s World where we just don’t need to fight! I see there are always many speculations about our views. Like “I like their music, but not agree with their ideas”. What the fuck it supposed to mean? Like “I like their music, but I also like the idea human life costs nothing, i like social injustice, i respect people who fuel wars in other countries, i want woman stay at the kitchen, I like the idea our god is the only true one”?
Natasha: We don’t bring any ideology and don’t support any, boys and girls. We are against any ideology. All we speak about is a freedom, value of human life and right of everyone to enjoy life in full force. Unfortunately, freedom never was easy and to fight for it was never comfortable. Freedom is not a paradise, it’s fight and big personal responsibility. Choosing independence, we don’t choose comfort, because to be “dependent” is much easier actually. To sum the things up what we are stand for, we can say it by words of our new song “Revelation”:
Freedom, equality, brotherhood
Wrong to right
Bad to good
Spirit, bravery, honor
Stand – show you’re gonna
Honesty, unity, friendship & love
Glory, courage, molotov & Fuck off
You have a new album coming out October 25th. Tell us a bit about this new release and what it represents to you. What major themes and concepts do you look to present?
Alexey: Our new album “Human Rage” is probably the most mature and solid work of AMBASSADOR21. This album was just like part of our bodies during last year. Well, we’ve put in this work everything what disturbed us and made us thinking and re-thinking our values. Terrorism, religion, attitude – that what this album about. We lived entire year making this album. We want you to spend 50 minutes to listen it.
A lot of your lyrics are in English, even though Russian is your native language. Do you find there are any major artistic or stylistic differences when writing in different languages, other then the obvious change of letter arrangements/script used? More specifically do you find different languages contribute better to expressing certain concepts or ideas?
Alexey: Our life was such that we played more not in Russian-speaking countries, and probably Russian-speaking audience knows AMBASSADOR21 less. I don’t know, if it’s good or not, just a fact ☺ There never were a misunderstanding between us and western audience because of language. But one day we just realized we want and need to be better understandable. That’s why now we use mostly English in our lyrics.
Natasha: We use more European English than english English ;) We need to be clear and laconic to speak English everyone will understand - in France, Germany, Belarus, Belgium, Ukraine, UK or Russia. I write in such English I feel and understand by myself. It’s hard sometimes though ;) In my everyday life I use English that much, so my thoughts and ideas just born very often in English.
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Are there any particular instruments, programs, or effects that you would say are vital to you making music? If so, is there a reason in particular that draws you to said creative outlet?
Alexey: Yes, of course, as every artist, we have DAW we like more than others and find it best to create music on the way we do it. Favorite virtual instruments, plugins and so on. We all make different music, love different sounds, prefer different instruments. Electronic music tools are always in development, this is such a great thing. We are not hardware people, we don’t use hard instruments in studio, and our live rig at the moment include very powerful and fast MacBook Pro and few different midi controllers. We are supported by such great manufacturers of audio equipment, as Arturia, CME Pro, Audio Pro Solutions and Keith McMillen Instruments.
You guys have worked with a lot of different record labels over the years. Out of all of the labels, which would you say would have been the easiest for you to work with?
Natasha: With our own label Invasion ;) Always lots of fun to work with this guys! They are strict, responsible and nice people. And they work for your band 24/7 ;)
You have toured all across Europe, and played with many bands. If you had to pick one place to stay and play for the rest of your life, where would it be, and why?
Natasha: We’d like to stay in many places at one moment! ;) Reaaaally hard to say! Sure, we have some cities we just love more than others, but if we will say it, our friends and fans from other places could be upset ;) So, let’s say – we just want to continue to play in as many places as possible, meet as many nice people as possible and be in our favorite cities as often as possible ☺
If you could work in collaboration with any other artists in the world, who would it be and why?
Natasha: Bill Leeb. I love FLA music and attitude. I guess we could understand each other.
Alexey: Tom Morello. I don’t know who play guitar better ;)
Would you say that your choice to pursue music has changed your life since you started? Would you say that creativity has evolved you spiritually, emotionally, or logically? What are some of the biggest challenges you have had to overcome in your musical career?
Natasha: Yes and yes. When you make a choice to be musician or to be someone else, it changes everything. You don’t do it just when you have free time, you just live like this. You have lots of fun, but you also must sacrifice something. But our choice to be musicians made us free.
Thank you so much for participating in this episode of Infidel Interview. Any parting words for your fans, or my audience?
Natasha: Write history by yourself ☺
Alexey: And fuck all systems.