Lady Obscure: Hi Egor, can you tell us a bit about yourself?
Egor Lappo: I was born on 13th January 1995 in Kaluga, Russia. Started to learn guitar at the age of 13. Metallica, Deep Purple and Rush made me want to create music or at least play their songs.
At the age of 17 I was disappointed with the local scene because people loved famous bands and their hits only. So I decided to move to Saint-Petersburg because it’s like a capital of Russian metal scene and I already had some friends there. We tried to create a band Asymmetrical, things went really good with only one single released but somehow my bandmates didn’t take it seriously and we gave up.
At the age of 19 I bought a 8-string guitar and decided to record an EP under name Sphere of Ability. Released in August 2014. That was very not-serious record making fun of djent music and supposed to be ironical. Somehow people still did purchase that album telling me that I showed them a new genre in music.
And then I decided to make things like I wanted them to be. Music, mixing, lyrics, everything.
I recorded and mixed this album by myself from November 2016 to May 2018 with a little help from guest singers and guest drummer. It has the idea to expand traditional progressive metal sound and songwriting by my own vision also using forgotten 70’s prog cliches in songwriting, Devin Townsend epicness and Neal Morse complex music elements.
LO: You have a new album out. Any info on that?
EL: “Way Without Light” was written and mixed by myself. It’s actually my first album if you don’t consider “Sphere of Ability” EP which was an intentional parody of djent released in 2014.
I’ve met Ivan Shishkin (drummer of “6 Wings” and “The Aporia”) at the Ihsahn concert in 2016 and I knew The Aporia at the time. It was obvious that he is the right choice for the drums because we have very similar taste in music and vision of how things theoretically work in it. There are 6 singers on this album and most of them I know personally. It was very fun to have Roman Chernitsyn (of russian pop-band Plazma) singing on my track because Plazma influenced me a lot in 2005 when I was 10 years old and they still do. And not only I have a drummer of “6 Wings” on this album, there are 2 singers from this band also. There are also vocalists of Kartikeya (Arsafes), Sacrament and The Aporia. They did a great job and I highly recommend you to check out all these 39 bands I’ve just listed answering your question.
LO: Haha, thanks I’ll do my best J So are you happy with your product? I mean, what aspect of it do you think you nailed, and what parts do you think you could improve
EL: I’ve read some interviews of my favorite bands and they’re often admit that there are some moments they would like to change after release. The same thing happened to me but it’s only about mixing stuff. I would probably make some changes now that only I would notice, OCD at its finest. There is probably will be a bit different mixing on my next record. But I am happy with how “Way Without Light” turned out.
LO: Cool. How has the overall reception been?
EL: Amazing. Not only that people like some particular songs but I am also really surprised that a lot of people really get the whole picture. The idea was to make a concept album but without a clear story in it. More like “Back in the World of Adventures” by The Flower Kings kind of record. So I’ve tried to capture that feeling. These concept albums have intense moments and some really quiet ones, tracks just flow into each other. You start to listen to it and there is anticipation about what comes next, you’re listening to the final track and it really feels like you’ve just seen an epic movie. You won’t get this experience by having one track from it on your playlist when the next one playing is some Imagine Dragons tune. Blasphemy! 🙂 Just kidding. So I really appreciate it when someone tells me how much they enjoy this whole 43-minutes thing. I don’t have anything against albums that are just collection of great songs or against people telling me how they love some particular track, it’s just that “Way Without Light” wasn’t made this way.
LO: Mmm yeah I hear you. So.. why did you choose prog-metal? What does it mean to you?
EL: I love progressive rock/metal because it has no boundaries. You can have country songs on your album like Neal Morse does, you can sing about cheeseburgers like Devin Townsend. That what makes prog “prog”! It has complexity, epicness, unpredictability and a weird sense of humor. This kind of music was a big part of my growing up phase as well, I was listening to Deep Purple a lot but then I saw “Rush in Rio” DVD which is amazing. There were washing machines on stage instead of amplifiers and I found it more fun than smashing guitars and stuff like that. Though Ritchie Blackmore is the best at stage destruction.
What’s next? Are you planning to perform live at some
EL: Right now I am writing an EP that will have 4 songs on it probably. You can expect some slow dark stuff. Playing live is a very hard thing to organize, especially when you’re creating everything and actually a control freak, so I don’t really think about it now, but it’s gonna happen one day.
LO: Tell me about the lyrics. How do the ideas come about, and how do they
influence the writing process?
EL: The idea of an album title is that you don’t know what happens next, so we’re just on our way without light, lots of things happen that you can’t predict. You may be happy today and think that your life is great and always will be, the next day everything goes wrong and nothing is the same anymore and never will be.. and vice versa. “Imperfection” is kinda about it, our life is a joyride and there is nothing you can be 100% sure about but just about the fact that it’s full of surprises you couldn’t see coming, good or bad ones, doesn’t matter.
LO: Who is composing the songs? Writing the lyrics?
EL: The process was really simple. I wrote all the music, recorded all synths, guitars into demo and sent it to my drummer. He told me what I should remove or to repeat some part twice maybe, drums are very important part of music so when he sent me his parts – sometimes I felt like I listened to a completely different song, but in a good way. His contribution made these songs sound like a finished thought. I also wrote almost all of the lyrics, my hometown friend from the band Unfry helped me with “Depersoned” which is about feeling detached from society, also there is a little reference to the Jethro Tull “Aqualung” haha.
LO: Nice! What bands do you draw your inspiration from?
EL: Neal Morse and everything he’s done with Mike Portnoy, Devin Townsend, Genesis. But aside from it I am really into country, I love The Ranchhands, Wheeler Walker Jr, Dwight Yoakam, prog is a complex music and sometimes you need an easy 4/4 beat with simple yet great meaningful lyrics in your life, this is why I wrote “Apple Lake” for this album. Also there are 3 short calm tracks, “Long Ago”, “Distant Voice”, “Inversion”, Boards of Canada has these very short tracks that let you breathe, ease your mind and get ready for what comes next. I have a lot of favorite bands and I love different kinds of music but for the sake of keeping the vibe on this record I decided to restrain myself a bit to not turn it into a complete chaos.
What’s more important to you? Catering to the audience or music
for its own sake?
EL: The most important thing is to write music that resonates with me. I will not be able to do this while thinking about other people’s opinions. The only thing that’s in my mind while writing is “do not turn this track into s**t”, so this is the only rule I am following. Maybe I will write some simple stuff that you may consider as “selling off” but that’s just because I love simple stuff and silly songs that make you happy! On the past week I’ve listened ABBA “Knowing me, knowing you” thousand times I think.
LO: Say something to your fans.
EL: If you read this interview and you enjoy my music – you are awesome and I will give you a hug if I meet you one day.
LO: Thanks for taking the time Egor.
EL: Thank you.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3v6zIotFUqg – Full Album Stream
https://open.spotify.com/album/1M3JAVvPwOstOFWZ5iuEv6 – Spotify
https://egorlappo.bandcamp.com/ – Bandcamp