In the modern world, so many things are happening around us, that it’s hard to remember what was 2 or 3 years ago… At least for me. Days, weeks and then – months, are becoming years in the unending flow of work. But now, I would like to stop the Time and go backwards in Imperial Age’s history to the very beginning. You will see through my eyes how Imperial Age grew up and became a “grown-up” band … Follow me!
Here we are, at the starting point: I’m a student of a medical faculty, fully into gothic subculture, knowing nothing about the music business, having no idea of what I want from my life (most people don’t have this till their death), drinking and hanging out with Aor and a couple of our mutual friends (mostly musicians from Revelance – his previous band). That was fun. But all the efforts to promote the band brought no results – except that Revelance was finally disbanded. After that, a new chapter began.
We took a huge timeout, almost 2 years. We needed time to create a new band, a new being, think about all the conditions for our future musicians, think of a name, write new songs and make the visual part. This time we wanted to make something properly, to end playing games and start a serious project. This new approach was irritating to many of our “friends” – they were ok with playing their incredible music dressed in old Metallica t-shirts in their own kitchen for an audience of local cockroaches, and although they said that they wanted something better, they never actually did anything to make it happen…
Aor wrote some new songs, revised some Revelance songs, and we set on recording. We chose one of the best and one of the most expensive Russian sound engineers – Arkady Navaho (we honestly sent few songs to one well-known Finnish guy, but the Russian guy did the sound at the same quality but for a lower price). We used all our connections in the Russian underground music world to find all the musicians and a choir. And on top of that we organised the filming of two music videos. Of course, we had no money for all that, because we were both students. The source of money was standard – we took something like 8 small bank loans (some of which are not fully repaid even now).
These music videos deserve some remarks. There was a part where the band is playing in a hall, and a part with a story. The first part was filmed at the same place for both videos (Anthem of Valour and Wings of Your Heart) – it was a huge hangar (an old soviet vegetable storehouse) 300 km outside Moscow (we needed a place where we could use pyrotechnics because we wanted something epic )… I have many funny memories from there, starting with me painting the dusted floor black (yes, I was painting the floor in a hangar) and ending with a storm and no electricity… These videos were far from professional but they did their job – they were provocative enough to bring some attention to the band.
Our first album “Turn The Sun Off!” was released in 2012. The same year, Imperial Age had it’s first performance in history, presenting this album. It was my first ever time on stage. I will remember it all my life.
Having no contacts abroad, we played a number of support shows in Russia (which were almost useless for our promotion judging from now… but gave us the experience of being a support act). We played with Epica, Paradise Lost, Tarja, The 69 Eyes, OOMPH!, Finntroll and Therion. With the latter we played in St. Petersburg in October 2014 and this show was pivotal for Imperial Age.
In a few weeks after this show Christofer Johnsson, the founder of symphonic metal genre and one of my idols, proposed Imperial Age to distribute CDs through his label Adulruna Records and go on a European tour with Therion. It was like suddenly finding yourself in the middle of a dream… And this is how our international path had begun.
Following Christofer’s advise, we decided to re-record some of our songs with female vocals. So we recorded the EP “Warrior Race” (some people regard it as our second album, but this is not right) with Alexandra Sidorova.
We joined Therion on their European tour in winter-spring 2016, and I can state that this tour was a huge success for us (although Alexandra left the band due to personal family reasons right after we came home). Through this tour we gained the music industry contacts which are so vital to any band’s existence, and of course, we gained our audience – YOU. Without the support from all of you, we would never be where we are now!
We started a crowdfunding campaign to record the new album and you guys gave us the money to make it possible.
Half a year later, we hired another singer – Anna Moiseeva – and went on another tour, this time with Orphaned Land. And this time we were renting a camper van instead of a nightliner tour bus due to money issues. By the end of that tour we had all the “must have” consequences of 7 people living together for 1 month in one camper. The most memorable part for me here is that the most comfortable place to sleep (at least for me – I like that kind of stuff) was on the floor in a camping sleeping bag. Though, once I was woken up at night by a few bottles of some strong booze (vodka?) falling on my head, because our driver was an asshole…
After that tour most of our musicians left the band except Anna, who has been with us to this day. Honestly speaking, we lost nothing from it. Moreover, we gained a much better lineup, with which we’re happy today. These guys passed a test in winter-spring 2018 in the form of 2,5 months long support tour with 59 shows! I think that means something.
But let’s not speed it up – we stopped in 2016… After the tour with Orphaned Land, finally, we were able to have some rest and gain some energy for the new music… In summer 2017 we were siting in the forest on the lake Seliger with our best friends (been going there every summer for 10 years!!!), and writing new songs for the new Imperial Age album!
Then we were signed up to our third support tour (this time with Therion again), and we realised that the time we had left was not enough to compose, record, and rehearse the new album, make new costumes and hire the new line-up (remember, that after 2016 tour there were just me, Aor and Anna left)… But there was no choice.. Life likes to put you in situations where you find strength and capacity to do what is needed to be done because otherwise you fail and loose the whole shit.
I do not know, how we managed to do what we have done. Seems like the Universe keeps an eye on us.
It was a non-stop rush with everything: countless nights without sleep, hundreds of pages of sheet music (for the academic choir), dozens of hours with choir conductor sorting out scores (he makes incredible moonshine with herbs!!!), hours and hours of drawing, discussions with our visual artist and painter, multiple trips to our leather master (he worked days and nights making things he’d never done before (like a leather bra)), hours at the studio (mostly at night, because it was the only time when both musicians and the sound engineer (btw, it was Sergei Lazar from Arkona) were free from other work) and some noticeable amount of millilitres (or litres) of cognac (brandy). It was absolutely destructive for our health but vital for the Mission.
Our second full-length album “The Legacy Of Atlantis” was released in February 2018. We did it. With your support. Because many of you supported us in our crowdfunding campaign in 2016. Without you there would be no Imperial Age in the present state. We remember it every second and we’re endlessly grateful for your support and your belief in us.
Our third European tour in 2018, which was 2,5 months long and contained 59 shows, had proven that we had chosen the right people in our line-up and that now Imperial Age has it’s own place on the metal scene. In short – that all our efforts were not in vain. This is the only thing that matters. Now we have our first ever European headline tour ahead – let’s rock!
Musicians have only one way to evaluate the impact of their musical activity on the world – it is our audience. YOU are the addressee of all our music messages, the reason, why we do not stop.
Thank you for making it matter, it means the world to us.
If you want to know, what resulted from all this activity, take a listen to our latest album, The Legacy of Atlantis.