Summon: How did the band get started?
Valak: After playing in numerous bands over the years i.e. Coven (NZ), Abominator (AUS), I started AK-11 as a solo project in April 2011, while residing in Bavaria (Germany). Living back in Europe at the time, I was experiencing the freezing, dark winters again, which brought me closer to my roots. And while drinking Vodka & torturing my guitar one chilly evening, I began dwelling upon the majestically grim & vast Siberian wastelands & the predatory Tundra wolves that haunt those parts, savagely ripping the flesh from their prey. That night I had a kind of revelation & a vision to start another Black Metal project. So in the weeks, months that followed, I began writing/ recording & by November 2011, I released the first AK-11 demo- ‘Legendary, Demonic & Invincible. The response was very positive from fans & webzines, with suggestions of forming a live band. Upon returning to Melbourne (Australia) in June 2012, I started looking for like minded ‘Heathens’ & the group version of AK-11 started to take shape. Finally eventuating into solid 4 piece line up it is today.
Summon: What kind of music do you play?
Valak: Triumphant, Pagan Black Metal.
Summon: How has the fan response been?
Valak: The response has been very positive locally & internationally. We had good reviews from zines, with notable mentions regarding the debut album ‘Once Upon A Time In Europa’. Live, AK-11 just keeps getting stronger, especially as a 4 man personnel. ENEMIES BEWARE.
Summon: Where did the band name come from?
Valak: It is the ‘Unholy-Sonic’ version of the world famous Russian, Avtomat-Kalashnikov assault rifle (AK-47). Since the project began in 2011- hence AK-11.
Summon: Introduce the band members and what they do in the band.
Summon: Who writes the music? Lyrics?
Valak: I have been chief song/lyrics writer from day 1 but planning do some collaboration in the near future.
Summon: And where do the lyric ideas come from?
Valak: Inspiration comes from the carnage & destruction of great European battles past & present. I am very much interested in its brutal history & man’s violent/dark nature that is spawned, given the right circumstances. Ideas are also driven by hatred of all ‘false’ organized religion & its deluded, slave mentality like dogma. These ‘alien’ beliefs have had a negative effect on our world for far too long & need to be eradicated from our homelands- without mercy. Other sources of inspiration come from Existentialism, ancient Pagan mythology & the way of the ‘Left Hand Path’.
Summon: What is your view in Satanism and Occultism?
Valak: There are many different versions of Satan-Theistic, LaVeyan etc, depending on ones beliefs. To me, he is a metaphorical figure that captures the essence & spirit of rebellion against unwelcome authority- may it be religious, political or society driven. In religious terms, he is the seeker of truth & wisdom- WHICH is a wonderful thing. Without asking questions about everything, we would not have science, medicine or any kind of modern development & we would still live in the dark ages. But the very fact that ‘false’ religions teaches us not to question its ‘holy’ doctrine, proves how backward & outdated its texts really are. Religion claims Satan is champion of sin- again, why SHOULD we suppress our natural urges & desires. We don’t need any ‘holy books’ to tell us which of these desires we are allowed to act upon or which actions are noble or indecent. However, abstinence is taught as a virtue, but then promises of eternal & at times highly immoral intense pleasures in the afterlife is rife though out all the different versions ‘sacred’ texts. It is these religious ideals that are the true enemies of morality & human development. I also believe in personal freedom of speech & thought, & that those who rise up against anything that the ‘vast’ majority is blindly following without question, embodies the spirit of ‘Satan’. I view Occultism as humanities first versions of ancient rituals, customs, traditions & philosophies. They are the true attempts by man to understand who we are & a way to connect to our spirituality. As the ‘false’ religious ideals arose from the illiterate, desert sheep herders during the Bronze Age & gained more power through false promises, force & genocide, the ‘Occultists’ became the very definition of the word- clandestine. Still seeking the ‘hidden & forbidden’ knowledge, they operated as the underground, secret societies, away from the eyes of the growing religious zealot majority. So I view Occultism as a very important part of our history.
Summon: How many albums/CD’s have you released?
Valak: There are two. ‘Legendary, Demonic & Invincible’- demo (2011) & ‘Once Upon A Time In Europa’- (2014) full length album.
Summon: Tell me about some the songs on the latest CD?
Valak: The principle song themes are about a diabolical war journey, where the enemies of the ‘Left Hand Path’ are defied, hunted down & massacred by any means necessary. The ‘false’ dogma is decimated & we march to victory, obliterating any remaining & retreating enemy into ash, which is scattered over the Infernal Abyss. There are also themes of personal sacrifice & triumphs against all odds for the ‘greater cause’. The ‘Once Upon A Time In Europa’ album has a song trilogy- Track 1): Europa (Krov’), Track 7): Europa (Once Upon A Time) & Track 10) : Europa (A Future). This trilogy describes Europe before the onset of the external, trumped-up religious doctrines that have polluted the minds of original Europeans & basically wiped out their original cultures, customs, traditions & way of life. The spirit of those times awakens, unites & strengthens the modern ‘Heathens’ & a new War is waged against these foreign ideals. Summoning our rightful vengeful Gods & ancestors, we strike back at the enemy & begin to reclaim what is rightfully ours- our freedom, our lands, sacred rites & our way of life.
Track 2): ‘Vechnyi Ogon’ (Russian for eternal flame) is about the last remaining soldier in his battalion & he is surrounded by the enemy. Having plenty of ammunition & the will to kill as many of the foe as possible, he summons the spirit of the ‘Flame of the Eternal Soldier’ & goes into what may be his last fight. But he has no fear of death for the ‘Flame’ burns brightly in his heart.
Track8): Shest’ Shest’ Shest’ I Katyusha (Russian for 666 & Katuyusha) is inspired by the Russian mobile M-13 rocket launcher. This weapons system was named after a popular Russian folk song ‘Katuysha’, where a girl was missing her beloved soldier, who has gone to fight on the front lines. In the AK-11 version, the Heathen armies are in battle against ‘the holy ones’ & the sound of the Katuysha rockets being fired is almost like a song in the night. Katuysha ‘sings’ to the Heathens while burning down the heavens…
Summon: Do you have any side projects?
Valak: Yes, but currently all my musical focus goes towards AK-11.
Summon: Who are some of your musical influences?
Valak: I grew up with classical music but I’m greatly inspired by the early 90’s Scandinavian Black Metal scene. The first wave of Black Metal & a few gems from the late 80’s Tampa, Florida Death Metal scene has a bit of influence too. I’m also a fan of the Industrial/ Neo-Folk & Gothic music.
Summon: Which current bands?
Valak: Hard to say, as the bands I do admire & respect have been around for a while.
Summon: What is the band like when you play live?
Valak: Live, AK-11 is a Black Metal assault on the senses. A sonic, 4 man operated, demonic ‘War Machine’, which once in battle, does not stop. We are not into that self pity or ‘dying, all cold & lonely in the woods’ kind of buzz on stage. It’s a sacrilegious & militant ritual, where we kill the enemy & take no prisoners. Our songs are fast, raw & in your face but due to the nature of the music, also uplifting & triumphant sounding. This groups mission is to captivate & inspire the audience with our style of Black Metal music. My aim as a front man is to awake, unite all ‘like minded Heathens’ & to prepare them for war.
Summon: Have you guys ever played in another country?
Valak: Yes, we went over to Germany for some ‘Live Attacks’ last year.
Summon: How big of crowd shows up at shows usually?
Valak: HA, well that depends on how well the event is promoted. But we have been performing sporadically for a few years now, so we do have a solid & growing fan base of maniacs.
Summon: How is the crowd response when you play?
Valak: Those familiar with AK-11 usually give their all. But since performing as a 4 piece, the response been even more positive, with ‘thunderous roars’ after each song. Even those completely unfamiliar with the band, first they just gaze upon the stage but then become more vocal as the show progresses & we win them over by the last two songs.
Summon: What do you think of the US Black Metal/Death Metal scene?
Valak: Unfortunately, I’m not that familiar with it.
Summon: What do you think of the Overseas scenes?
Valak: Living in Deutschland for 4 years, I’m more familiar with the German/European metal scene. It’s very strong, with an unprecedented amount of festivals & events.
Summon: What are some of new favorite black metal/death metal bands?
Valak: Most of the early 90’s Scandinavian bands, that started the second wave of Black Metal can be found in my music collection.
Summon: When do you guys plan on writing any new material?
Valak: This is the ever on going process with no end in sight.
Summon: What does the future hold for the band??
Valak: Total Victory & Domination. We call upon all the maniacs out there- ‘COME JOIN THE WAR, MARCH TO VICTORY WITH AK-11, UNITE IN BLACK METAL’.
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