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TARTAREAN DESIRE WEBZINE

This interview with bassist Igor Hubík of Root was done by e-mail by Carlos Martin Cuevas in January 2006.

Czech legends Root are one of the earliest black metal bands. Prior to the Norwegian Black Metal wave, they released their first demo in 1988 following the raw sound of bands like Hellhammer or Bathory. Their music has evolved since then but it has always maintained at a great level. Bassist Igor Hubik dedicated some minutes of his time to answer this interview.

Hello Igor, nice to have this interview with you. How are you and the rest of the band?
Infernal Hailz! We are OK and very active last months. There´s been released the first official live record of ROOT ever – 2LP ROOT “Capturing Sweden – Live in Falkenberg” – only on vinyl in limited edition through Monsternation Records. Soon to be available new 2DVD ROOT called “Deep In Root” on Shindy Productions as well.

Since your first demos were released about 1988 until nowadays, the band has evolved from a kind of "primitive black metal" to something that we could consider "darkened heavy metal". What can you tell us about this evolution? What do your everyday fans think about it?
ROOT still develops by its own way. It´s bad when a band plays still the same kind of a music. The new album is going to be different again. I guess our fans are clever persons who think about the music and lyrics too. We are proud of them!

Your last studio album "Madness of the Graves" was released in 2003. Now that almost 3 years have passed since then, what is your opinion on that work? Did you obtain good reviews from the specialized media? How was your fans’ response?
“Madness Of The Graves” has got amazing responses. That´s really great Metal album with tons of cool melodies and perfect voices. It was released in December 2003. This year will be released mini CD with some interesting covers (!) and then the album so fans needn´t wait so much. Anyway, we released for example DVD HELLTOUR in 2004. (split DVD with another Czech Black Metal legend Tőrr that contains shows from both bands, common jam session and latest clips). There was released also the second album of EQUIRHODONT (Big Boss, Ashk and me) “Black Crystal” in 2004. We don´t sleep man!

As I have read in your official website, you are starting the recording of a new album on spring 2006. As you know, dates are always subject to change but, when do you calculate that the next album will be finished and available? How will it be intended to sound? Moreover, a mini-Cd is expected to come before the album. What will be found on it?
Concerning mini CD, it´s really prepared now – almost. One brand new song, two covers (very old and legendary non Metal hymns!) and one surprise + one video. That´s a plan. As soon as we´ll finish mini CD so there will start works on the upcoming album.

The band was also preparing the release of a DVD. Could you give us some information about it? What kind of material will it contain? Is there any definitive release date?
That´s little bit more difficult project. It´s double DVD, we´ve had some technical problems (really small details) but now it seems it should be released within the end of January finally! It contains perhaps 7 hours of concerts, interviews, clips, rare and fun shoots, great gallery...

What is the easiest way to buy Root material? Are all your albums available through at your website’s shop? And at your music label’s? Are you satisfied the distribution of your albums outside Czech Republic?
No, outside of Czech and Slovakia it´s a long time problem already. We need some label in Europe and USA wchich could get all our albums there. Nowdays it´s better with the internet, we send a lots of CDs, shirts and other stuffs via mail worldwide and fans from everywhere really appreciate that. So may be it´s the easiest way. But some labels in many countries have our albums, just try to look for them.

Now I would like to ask you about Big Boss, your singer. I do not know so much about him, but he has a very charismatic appearance and a very personal voice. What can you tell us about him, both as a musician and as a person?
Hehe, let´s go! Yes, he is definitely charismatic on the stage, pictures, clips... One of the greatest not only Metal voices worldwide. Also many musicians respect him for his artistry and invite him as a special guest (Tőrr, Moonspell...). One of the best musicians and one of the most interesting and original personalities!

What about your touring activity? Do you use to play long tours or just eventual gigs? For example, how many concerts have you played this year in Czech Republic? And in the rest of the world?
We have played out about thirdy shows last year, most in Czech Republic where´s ROOT one of the leading Metal bands, of course. But also great shows in Sweden (Halmstad and Stockholm) along with Pagan Rites and beer maniax Nifelheim. We have many fans in this country. Very good night we had in Vienna where we appeared with Death Metal veterans Pungent Stench at famous hall Planet Music – sold out, over 700 people! And the last show of 2005 was in Bladel (The Netherlands). Cool night and mainly alco way back:)

On your earlier albums you sang in Czech language, and then you changed to English. What was the reason of this decision? Do you think it has been beneficial for the band?
Big Boss told many times about that. The first album is something like the selection of the songs from Czech sung demos and then he decided to sing in English ´cause it sounds simply better and for a singer it´s the best language, mainly in Rock ´n´ Roll. But we don´t defend the Czech language because it´s great – many words which don´t exist in English... And the most succesful are the oldest hits, for example Pisen pro Satana – in foreign countries too!

According to the sound of your demos you can be considered one of the black metal bands prior to the Norwegian Wave. What do you remember from those days? What were your ideas about music, the world, etc? Were you in contact with other pre-Black Metal bands from the other important scenes of the world (Greece, Norway, Brazil, or whatever)?
I was only the visitor of shows and ROOT´s fan in these times:) I know that Big Boss was in touch with many Metal acts from the whole world but then he stopped this activity. Yes, a few letters from Norway too.

What do your lyrics talk about? Who writes them?
What?! Cann´t you read? Big Boss writes all the lyrics for ROOT, of course.

Do you consider Root a satanic band? What does Satanism mean for you? Which are your general views on religion?
General views on religions are negative or more with no interest. We are atheists, Big Boss is Satanist, the founder of The First Church of Satan in Czechoslovakia! The Satanism is still evident in ROOT´s lyrics but more hidden then on the first two albums.

I have been thinking about this question for a long time: Was the main riff in “Píseň pro Satana” inspired by Bathory’s Necromansy? This same riff (well, a very similar one) appeared some years later in Burzum’s debut album (in the song “War”), so we could consider it a “cult riff”, hehe.
Oh yeah, some people really asked for it! No copyright here:) I guess it´s a “logic” riff of the beginners. But: there´s no better lyrics about Satan in Metal music than Pisen pro Satana – it´s highly appreciated lyrics or more poet from Czech people and not only from Metal heads. Really well written!!!

Personally, the first time I knew of the band was through Nargaroth’s “Black Metal Ist Krieg”, where Kanwulf covers “Píseň pro Satana”. Do you like this cover? Do you think it has been beneficial for the band? I think that it is a very important way of introducing new people to the band, the Nargaroth album is a very well-known work, don’t you think so?
Of course, I know that more bands did some covers. Nargaroth´s version is funny:)

If you reflect about your life as a musician, which are the best moments that come to your mind? And what about the worst ones? In that sense, do you feel nostalgia about the past?
I can be nostalgic already;) I´ll never forget the shows, mainly those bigger ones, cool foreign shows like Stockholm, Andernach, Berlin, Vienna, Belgrade... We played out so many shows already... Fans will see some of them on the double DVD. Recording the albums and many parties with related artists are cool too.

As far as I know, the bands members have other bands or parallel projects, such as Solfernus, Equirhodont or Big Boss’ solo career. Could you offer us some information about them? What kind of music they play, upcoming releases, etc etc
So the most famous and interesting is Equirhodont anyway. Two albums has been released and it´s really pretty different kind of music against ROOT although there appears three ROOT members. It contains many keyboards, guitar solos, different vocals... I play also the guitar with Solfernus. We have released the debut album now. It´s pretty extreme Black Metal, but with melodies. We have recorded two covers, Slayer´s “The Antichrist” and “Dogra´s Empire” from ROOT:) Also all ROOT members were invited as “special” guests:)

What is your opinion on what the Internet has become for the music business? What is your position as a musician? Do you download music from p2p programs?
Great thing! We are in touch with so many maniax worldwide, sell our music through it... But, of course, I prefer original CDs with booklets and many people think conversely. MP3 is not my cup of tea...

Which Czech bands would you recommend to our readers? I know some classic bands such as Master’s Hammer or Maniac Butcher. I have also good references of Arakain, though I have never listened to them. You can tell us both classic and new bands.
Arakain still plays, we meet them on stage sometimes. We played at their guitarist Jiri Urban´s club in Prague last year. They are more like Heavy Metal band today but real proffesionals. Master´s Hammer doesn´t exist and no come back is planned what I know. I can recommend ROOT, EQUIRHODONT and SOLFERNUS.

What kind of music do the members of the band listen to? Do you all have similar musical tastes? What were the last 3 albums you bought?
Each of us is into the different kind od music but we all like Metal the most probably, at least in the ROOT´s way. I personally bought new Rammstein, Motorhead´s “Inferno” (great work!) and new Bolt Thrower. All the digi packs:)

Well Igor, that’s all. It has been a pleasure to be in contact with you. Thank you very much for taking your time answering the questions. Would you like to add anything to the interview?
Thanx a lot too. Good luck with your ´zine. Hope to meet you all guys on our concerts. Keep the Metal flame burning on!

That's all, I wish the best for Igor and the rest of the band. Good luck!


Links of interest:

Root
Shindy Productions
Equirhodont
Solfernus