Back in 2007, Folk Metal was just about to break in North America, but was still a somewhat obscure subgenre. This was entirely not the case in Europe and Russia, and so, along with the language barrier, Ruslanas and I perhaps created a little cultural dissonance. Ruslanas, founder and leader of Folkearth, and I didn't seem to understand each other on a number of points, and at first I wasn't sure if I could make the interview coherent for the readers. It all came together nonetheless, and this has proven a very interesting interview!
- Vile Ent, 2016
VILE ENT : Folkearth has used a large number of musicians on their recordings, many of whom live all throughout Europe and Eastern European countries. Not only do you incorporate a great variety of instruments and musical backgrounds into your music, you often record while the various musicians reside in different countries. What makes this possible and how does it influence the creation of Folkearth’s music?
RUSLANAS : Most of our members like Folk, Viking Metal. Yes we had members from more than 10 European and American countries. We choose many instruments like violin, cello, bagpipes, flutes and many others. Like you know we never meet all in one place when recording music. At first recording guitars, later pass tracks to Folk instrument players, drummers, singers, and others.
VILE ENT : Your music is founded on the exploration of mythologies from different cultures and the traditions that have shaped their respective folklore. I have noticed particularly Celtic, Slavic, and Norse mythologies in your work, what other ethnic groups might have Folkearth drawn upon for lyrical and conceptual material. How do the different traditions form to create a unique mythological system in Folkearth’s work?
RUSLANAS : On the first 2 albums the lyrics were mostly about Vikings. On the next albums we will choose more different subjects. Will accept lyrics like the mythology of different countries, like history, battles, and the like.
VILE ENT : What are your artistic goals in working with mythologies from different cultures?
RUSLANAS : I think many people like mythology and history. That's why we chose those lyrics.
VILE ENT : Is it difficult to create as Folkearth, considering much of the Metal world is often influenced heavily by modern reactions and mentalities; uneducated interpretations of mythological themes; or has either never heard Folk music or never wants to hear it! (note : in North America, for many years, people fusing Folk music with Metal was absolutely unheard of, and if it was there was little interest in the idea. Today, Folk/Pagan Metal has a large and loyal following in North America, but this was not always the case).
RUSLANAS : We play it, because we like to play it. And everywhere there are many fans of this kind of music!
VILE ENT : What have the budgets been like to record your albums? Considering the large number of musicians, communications between different countries, wide variety of instruments, the complexity of mixing them into a final product….
RUSLANAS : Possibly you can't believe, but most of the tracks and instruments were recorded in home studios. Not easy to complete a whole album…And only now do we have a small budget for mastering.
VILE ENT : What are Folkearth’s goals as an entity in the music industry? How do you plan to reach potential fans who have never heard your music?
RUSLANAS : I think we have really many fans. But we play music not because we want to have more and more fans. I think those who liked our first albums will like the next one too. And they recommend us to friends, which builds the fanbase…Also the internet helps for promotion too. Like webzines, magazines…
VILE ENT : Do you have any videos, or do you plan to shoot a video?
RUSLANAS: No we haven’t. And haven’t a plan to make one.
VILE ENT : How extensively has Folkearth performed?
RUSLANAS : We never play gigs. Many people asked those questions. But how you think we could play gigs, when we have musicians from more than 10 countries and who never meet together in one place?
VILE ENT : What part do you take as founder of Folkearth in bringing the musicians and their work together, and developing the concept of Folkearth? How much of the material do you write, and who are the other songwriters in Folkearth?
RUSLANAS : We have many songwriters. On each album we have many new members. In December we will release our 4th album. And we work now on acoustic and 1 other album too! Many plans for the future…
VILE ENT : Is it difficult to create a final composed product and choose tracks for your CDs, given the different composers that have worked with Folkearth?
RUSLANAS : We use most of the submitted tracks...
VILE ENT : What are your objectives in regard to the new CD, how does it fit in with the objectives you had for past releases?
RUSLANAS : If you listened to the 3 previous albums - then the 4th album will be a little different again. But if you liked the older albums - you will like this one too. In my opinion, the forthcoming album is one of the best of our albums yet.
- Vile Ent, 2007