From the Czech Republic hail Panychida… a young band that has been around for quite some time and is having the time of their lives. Sinneral and Honza chatted with us about their most recent album "Haereticalia - The Night Battles" released by Cursed Records and the adventures they’ve been going through on their tours.

Panychida means “memorial service” in your language… why have you opted for this name?
Sinneral: Actually, the word “Panychida” is a dead word, not used in our language anymore. It is used rarely, most people do not know its meaning. But yes, it used to be more common in the past and it means a kind of a funeral ceremony (before Christianity came). The name was chosen because of its mystery, lyricism, uniqueness. Although the band evolves, the music is changing during the years, the name still fits.

The band is described as playing paganized metal/ black metal rock n’ roll. This is quite unusual… what does it mean after all?
Sinneral: For me, it is always a mix of other styles and influences. And people still keep asking us “which kind of metal do you play?” Really hard to define. Listen to songs like Minnestund, The Great Dance of Dionysus, Procession of the Dead and many others. You will hear many influences, from the old-school grooves and riffs, up to some more modern features.  

Your new album "Haereticalia - The Night Battles" was released by Cursed Records. How have the responses been so far?
Sinneral: The feedback, from the critics and from the fans, is most often very positive. We were really not sure, how the public would digest this album, coz it is very different to the previous ones. But we are very nice surprised about the responses so far.

“This album is the old magic, that used to be present among the rural folks in the lands of lore.” Why are you trying to bring that magic back?
Honza: The romance of the old times. Dreaming about the old times is quite a romantic matter. The lyrics and the music on this album should take you back in time. 

It seems most of your lyrics deal with fantasy, middle ages and philosophy. Why have you decided to write about these themes?
Honza: It comes naturally, cannot say why have we decided. You just get inspired from everything around and the outcome is actually kind of magic. It is the same with the music. You just create. Anyway to answer your question a bit more straightforwardly, we don´t think the music could fit together with topics like politics ;-) 

This is the 1st concept album of the band and it tells the story of Benandantes. What’s so special about Benandantes? What is Benandantes?
Honza: They were sort of witches, but there are so many differences on this phenomenon compared to how witches are usually depicted and imagined. It is one of the fascinating phenomenon of middle ages or early new age. The concept of the album does not deal only with Benandantes though… but with the legends spread all around Europe which deals with similar phenomena, regarding the local environment. There are connections to the widespread Wild Hunt, to the so-called Werewolf of Estonia, also to the ancients rites of goddesses like Holda or Perchta. So the concept of the album is not solely about Benandantes. To learn more about this, I would really recommend to read the Ginzburg´s study no matter how much this work was criticized. The point is in the stories itself.

All lyrics are written by Honza V. and the music is created by Panychida. How does this process work? Do the band members immediately accept the lyrics Honza writes? Do you discuss riffs and so forth?
Sinneral: We usually do not argue much. I think all members are tuned to the same frequency of thinking and musical taste. Most often the songs are created by one of us (mostly by me or Honza V.). One of us brings the complete song and usually it stays like this also for the album. Sure, sometimes we discuss particular details and finetune them. And the same is with Honza’s lyrics. He brings the lyrics to all songs and usually they fit perfectly. Sometimes we change a word to a synonymum to fit better in a rhyme and song rhythm. That’s it.

The album was recorded, mixed and mastered at KSV studios by Sheafraidh. So, the band basically did all the work for this album… was this because of costs or do you prefer to have total control over the final product of your music?
Sinneral: The costs were not the reason to go to Sheafraidh’s studio. It would not be fair to exploit his time, equipment and skills for free. We paid, as it would be with any other studio. At the same time we supported him with that. The main reason was, his work appears to be very good and his results are getting better and better. And sure, we appreciate, we have much better control of the recording, mixing and mastering process and much better flexibility.

The following message can be found in your page “If you think about stealing the album from the internet and you don’t wanna pay for the music, let us know... We will send you the full album with pictures, booklet and all the stuff for FREE!!” Is this for real? Did you get many requests? 
Sinneral: Yes, that’s for real ?. The main reason we do music for is the passion. If someone is not willing to support the band with money (for any reason), but still likes the music, we share it with him/her. Still better to get it in high audio quality, correct track tags, lyrics, photos, artwork, then to download it in poor quality, wrongly tagged from a Russian torrent. So far we have got just one request like this.

Has the limited edition sold out yet? How do people react to limited editions?
Sinneral: It is almost sold out. As far as I know, there are just few pieces of the limited edition remaining. And yes, people like the extra stuff. You can recognize a true fan, coming to a merch desk, browsing the goods, finding the limited edition…it is happiness in the eyes ?.

Describe Panychida in just one word.
Sinneral: METAL!

Music wise the band has also been very creative as “Haereticalia – The Night Battles” is your 4th full-length… what do you do in order to be inspired all the time?
Sinneral: We have kinds of creative waves. Sometimes the composing goes easy, sometimes not. Depends on mood, energy, how life‘s going… I usually compose drunk, haha ?. I don’t know why, alcohol unleashes my creativity. Most of my songs for Panychida were composed like that.

What’s Panychida’s best track? Why?
Sinneral: Hard question. For me it is probably song Minnestund. I like to play it live, we open our shows with this one actually, it is diverse, fast and slow, moody…

Is there any track, from this album or previous works, that makes you think “Oh damn, why did we record this?!”
Sinneral: I don’t think so. Sure, sometimes you listen to that and say to yourself: „Ok, this we could do different…“, but it is normal. No shock like „WTF…?“ ?

The band’s been quite active live… how do you feel when you have the opportunity to play live? Is this the best thing about being in a band?
Sinneral: For us live playing is very important. It is also a way of life. There is nothing better than getting your ass out of work on Friday afternoon, being picked up by group of your best friends, getting in the van, opening a beer and having fun for the rest of weekend on the road, playing your music to different people at different places. 

Does the band get together to jam and rehearse often? How do you prepare yourselves for the live shows?
Sinneral: We do not rehearse often or regularly. Usually just to remind us and practice the playlist before a concert. If there are several concerts close to each other, we don’t even rehearse. The problem is, some band members live quite far from the rest of the band and it is very time and money consuming to get to one place at one time. 

Earlier in 2016 the band played in Mexico on a tour with Armada and Inferno.  How was it playing there? Was this the first time you played in the American continent?
Sinneral: Yes, this was our first time playing in the American continent. Let’s say, first time out of the Europe. The playing there was awesome! The fans were very nice and warm welcoming, dedicated, creating wild moshpits… and after the show coming to us for a chat, to buy some merchandise, to drink beer or Tequila 

Mexicans are probably the wildest metal fans of the world… how did they react to your sound?
Sinneral: They liked us…at least according to their behavior in the moshpit and screams. I think many of them were surprised with the folk stuff embedded in our music. Some bagpipes or flutes really made them jump and headbang!

The band’s been around for 11 years now… what’s the best thing that happened to Panychida during this period of time? And the worst?
Sinneral: There many many great things, which happened. From my POV, to name one, alright – the tour round Mexico. And the worst one happened a few weeks ago, I’d say. We were on the way to Vevey, Switzerland. 100km in front of the destination our van broke just at a highway junction. Quite dangerous situation followed by freezing for couple of hours out of the van, waiting for the assistance service, being nervous to make it to the club in time to not disappoint the fans, waiting 2 days in Switzerland to get the van repaired, missing days at jobs, schools, etc. But finally, we made it. We came in the club at the last minute and we played our show, and finally we all are safe back home now.

Panychida seem to be quite big in Czech Republic. How cool is it being a musician?
Sinneral: Can’t judge, if we’re big or not. I think we just fit in the scene and that is it ?. And yeah, for me, being a musician is cool. But same as for a football player to be a football player. We just do what we want, what we love and that’s it ?.

What’s Panychida’s life motto?
Sinneral: We don’t have any, but one of our musical colleages once said: „The more you drink, the better we sound!“, and we like this quote a lot! Hahaha.

All band members are quite young… for how long do you expect to play music for? 
Sinneral: Probably…until we’re all dead? There is another motto actually: „If you think you’re too old to rock’n’roll, you probably are.” (Lemmy). And as I know anyone of us pretty well, we’re not going to give it up!

If Encyclopaedia Metallum can be trusted, none of the actual members of the band was involved in the demos released in 2004 and 2006. Is that information correct? If so, where are the founding members?
Sinneral: The information at Metal-Archives is incorrect. 3 of us participated on these 2 demo records. Myself, Honza and Talic. We are there since the beginning. The former singer left the band just after the 1st full-length album and Vlcák joined the bands on vocal post before recording of the 2nd album. Finally, Sheafraidh joined the band few years ago, first as a session drummer, turned out to be a full member soon after.

Please share a message with Pest’s readers.
Sinneral: Greetings from Pilsen, Czech Republic! Thanks for reading this, we hope, it wasn’t too boring. Come to see and like our FB page, to get periodical updates on what’s going on in our band. And last but not least: stay true, support the underground and your local scene! Without fans’ support, there is no scene. Thanks for that & Cheers!

Interview by Sonia Fonseca

December 2016