We’re so glad to know, that women in Russia do rock hard as well. When I heard VOLNAYA STAYA, I just couldn’t believe my ears. This all-female band plays a pure form of heavy metal and I definitely see them as a big promise for the future. Language didn’t seem to be a problem (everybody speaks the language of heavy metal, right?) and we’re very proud to introduce you to the best all-female heavy metal band, Russia has got to offer: VOLNAYA STAYA. Read on to know what these ladies have got to say about the hard rock and heavy metal scene in the heart of Moscow.

When did VOLNAYA STAYA start out as a band?
Marina Malakhova: “VOLNAYA STAYA was formed in 2006 by the famous Russian musician and producer Alex Strike (guitarist of the band MASTER). It’s allright to say, that the first show of VOLNAYA STAYA is being considered as the actual beginning of the band. To be more specific, that was a performance at the third Change Your Future festival, held on September 9th, 2006. Presently, VOLNAYA STAYA is the only all-girl hard’n’heavy band in Russia.”

Can you tell us who’s in the band and what instruments you play?
All: “The line-up of VOLNAYA STAYA is Ksenia on lead vocals; Julie Main on guitar & backing vocals; Natalie Terekhova on guitar; Marina Malakhova on bass & backing vocals and Svetlana Deinekina on drums.”

Did any of the members play in other bands before VOLNAYA STAYA?
Julie Main: “Yes, I already played for a while…”
Marina Malakhova: “Before VOLNAYA STAYA, I played in several groups, such as Íåàðèÿ (NEARIA), Õèò-ïàðàä (HIT-PARADE), ABSIDI, etc. After that, I combined my playing in VOLNAYA STAYA with Ñòîëèöà (STOKITSA) for a while, but then I decided to devote myself totally to the one and only band for now.”
Ksenia: “I’m on stage for over ten years already. There were many groups. The last one was CATHARSIS (I sang backing vocals for them).”
Natalie Terekhova: “I was an ideological creator of the all-girl metal band LAMIA (1989-1995, Kazakhstan, Almaty) and the rock-n-roll girl band MAGIC (1999 – until now, Moscow). I also contributed as a guest musician to the ZHENSKAYA BOLEZN’ (1995-1998), MOTOHOOLIGANS (1997-1999) and some other groups.”
Svetlana Deinekina: “I played in several rock bands and with some Russian singers.”

When did you join the band, and how did you get in touch with the others?
Julie Main: “I was there from the very beginning (i.e. summer of 2006) together with the second guitarist, Anna Majlova, who was being replaced by Natalie early 2007. The other girls joined us later on.”
Marina Malakhova: “One day I got a call from Julie Main (as I may remember, it was on my birthday in 2006). She said, they needed a bassplayer for an all-girl group and asked me, if I would like to try. I agreed, because I always like to try something new.”
Svetlana Deinekina: “I joined the band in the summer of 2006.”
Ksenia: “Alex Strike asked me to join in July 2006, and in August I met the other girls.”
Natalie Terekhova: “I joined VOLNAYA STAYA in January, 2007.”

Which bands and musicians are your biggest influences?
Julie Main: “PANTERA, METALLICA, JUDAS PRIEST, Zakk Wylde (BLS), Victor Smolski, and STING.”
Ksenia: “All of them. And they still continue to have an influence on me.”
Natalie Terekhova: “There are too many musicians, that have influenced me. Other sources of inspiration are the transcendentalists’ movement (people, who crave for perfection) and everyone, who can teach me something new.”

How are the reactions on your debut CD so far?
Ksenia: “We like it very much!”
Julie Main: “There are various opinions about the CD. Many people seem to like it, but some people are irritated by it as well. What is more important is, that our CD is being noticed all over the world and no one feels indifferent about it.”

If people like to order your CD, where can they buy it?
Natalie Terekhova: “You can send an e-mail to: rita@cd-maximum.ru. It's an address of the company CD-Maximum that distributes our debut CD.”

Who writes the lyrics for the band, and what are they about?
Marina Malakhova: “The lyrics are wrtten by Alex Strike in general, but some lyrics are written by him in collaboration with our very good friend June.”
Julie Main: “Alex Strike and June. The lyrics are about life, death, struggle against your own self and of course love.”

Do you play many live shows?
Natalie Terekhova: “As quite an exotic group, we get many different offers. VOLNAYA STAYA does go on tour and of course at home in Russia, we take part in various festivals and other activities.”

Do you also play covers during your shows, and if yes, which covers do you play?
Natalie Terekhova: “Yes, we do play several covers from famous foreign bands. For example, we play songs by DORO and JUDAS PRIEST.”

Do you use any show elements on stage?
Ksenia: “Emotion is the main element of our show. We play music from our hearts and for the hearts of our fans. In addition, we also have some beautiful concert costumes!”

Have you ever played outside of Russia?
Natalie Terekhova: “We participated in BASINFIRE FEST 2007 in Czechia and we were on the same bill with such monsters in metal as WASP and KREATOR.”

What’s your favorite song on the album?
Svetlana Deinekina: “The song “My day” is definitely my favorite song.”
Ksenia: “Moi Den” (“My Day”), “Dai Mne Ognya” (“Give Me Fire”) and “Ne Zovi I Ne Prosi” (“Don’t Call And Don’t Ask”).”
Natalie Terekhova: “I think, every song on the “Staya” album is interesting to me. I like fast solos and beautiful slow songs, like “Ne Zovi I Ne Prosi” (“Don’t Call And Don’t Ask”).”
Julie Main: “I agree with Natalie, that our whole album is interesting to play. I can emphasize with songs like “Russian Roulette”, “Ptytsei v Nebo” (“Like A Bird Into The Sky”) and “Moi Den” (“My Day”).”
Marina Malakhova: “In my opinion, the most successful track from the album is “Dai Mne Ognya” (“Give Me Fire”). I also like the song “Moi Den” (“My Day”) very much. But I get the most satisfaction, when playing “Ptytsei v Nebo” (“Like A Bird Into The Sky”) live on stage. It has got so much energy and drive.”

Natalie, you also started the website http://www.guitaristka.ru. Please tell us more about it. What can people find there?
Natalie Terekhova: “Mainly, I collect information about female musicians from all over the world. There are many Russian girl bands and many Japanese and European female musicians. The site is in the Russian language, for the Russian-speaking audience only. You can find a comprehensive data bank with the history and biographies of all the rock ladies. It also contains pictures, videos, music and a forum for contacts.”

Did you ever film one of your live gigs?
Natalie Terekhova: “Yes, of course. There are several concert videos on the internet (check ‘You Tube’ for example). Also, we shot a fun clip of “Staya” for the song with the same name, taken from our album.”

What’s the heavy metal scene like in Russia? Are there many clubs where you can play live?
Marina Malakhova: “There are enough clubs in Moscow, where young bands play live, as well as the more famous (and love by all) musicians.”
Julie Main: “There are many great bands in Russia nowadays. I do hope, that we'll be able to rise up to the European level. Most clubs now have resources to give live performances.”

Are there any more all-female (or female-fronted) heavy metal bands in Russia, that you know of?
Natalie Terekhova: “I always write about such groups on my website http://www.guitaristka.ru. Thanks to the internet, we know enough female musicians. There are many talented girls in Russia, who can play in all-girl bands, as well as together with the male musicians. As for metal bands, there are possibly not many of them, because there is a wide selection of different styles to fulfill one’s creativeness: punk, pop-punk, jazz, hip-hop, etc.”
Julie Main: “Talking about all-girl bands playing metal in particular, I really don’t know any others.”

Are there any plans for a new album already, and what will the new songs sound like?
Julie Main: “We have many different ideas and soon, we will start working on the new album. I can’t be more specific about the sound and concept just yet, because we are still in the process of a very vivid discussion about it.”
Marina Malakhova: “A new album will be released for sure, but it’s still hard to say what it will be like. Personally, I like the style of the first one very much, but any experiments will be more than welcome of course. We don’t intend to stand still; we’ll search and try.”

Do you have any other hobbies or interests besides playing music in a metal band?
Natalie Terekhova: “Basically, I am a webmaster. It’s very interesting to develop various websites. Besides that, I have many other skills and talents. For example, I like to solder and hammer nails. And I was a bodybuilder for a long time.”
Svetlana Deinekina: “I like to play music, not just metal, and I like to play the piano. And sometimes I'm very eager to create something (a picture, a design project or something else).”
Julie Main: “I study at the University. Furthermore, I like to read intelligent books, engage in sports and clubbing, but all in a small amount of time, because music takes so much time.”
Ksenia: “I’m very keen on cookery. I like bowling and roller-skating.”

Metal Maidens is based in Holland/The Netherlands. What do you know about our country?
Ksenia: “I’m very familiar with the Heineken beer!”
Julie Main: “I visited Holland seven years ago and I liked the atmosphere of Amsterdam very much. I remember that the mills and tulips are the symbols of Holland.”
Natalie Terekhova: “I have a virtual friend in Holland, Ger Romunde, who plays in his own band, BUNTLINE [http://www.romunde.nl/NewHarvest/]. We exchange music CDs. We first got in touch in 2003, when he wrote a letter to the group MAGIC. He saw three girls on the photo and a caption ‘brilliant four-piece vocal harmonizing’. Ger asked: “How do you do that with three ladies?” And we responded, “Oh Ger, there's nothing impossible in Russia!”.”

Our on line ‘zine is completely dedicated to the female musicians in the hard rock and heavy metal scene. Do female musicians still need this kind of attention that we give them?
Marina Malakhova: “It’s generally accepted, that a rock musician must be a male. Unfortunately, this situation still hasn’t changed. Sometimes people don’t even suspect that there are many female musicians in the world, who play not worse than many men. Here in Russia, we faced that challenge too. Some people had this negative attitude towards our band from the start, just because we are girls. But the further we get, the more positive is the response towards our music in the hearts of our audience and that is really great!”
Julie Main: “Without any doubt! Because there are still only a few women to be found in that musical style. We frequently have to prove we’re worthy and that we can compare well with men - even in hard-rock and metal - to those, who don’t take us seriously as musicians just on the basis of our femininity.”

In September, we are planning to travel to Russia for holidays. Can you recommend any good record stores in Moscow or Saint Petersburg, that we need to check out?
Julie Main: “In Moscow, there are some good music stores, like MuzTorg (AT&Trade), Music Worldm and ISPA, that sell music instruments and equipment.”
Natalie Terekhova: “If what you need are CDs, DVDs or vinyl records in particular, then there are some large stores like Purple Legion and Soyuz.”

What are the future plans for VOLNAYA STAYA?
Julie Main: “To work hard, to have many tours and to record a new album.”

Is there anyhting you’d like to add to this interview? Maybe we forgot something, that is very important for the story of VOLNAYA STAYA?
Natalie Terekhova: “VOLNAYA STAYA is a young group and all important events are yet to come!”

Do you have any personal messages for our readers?
Julie Main: “Don’t be afraid to be yourself, to have your own opinion that differs from the majority, constantly push forward, set yourself clear marks as an object and reach them, always work at self-improvement, after all, there is no limit to perfection! But don’t forget about the close people that surround you. Give love to everybody around you, and you’ll receive a lot of positive emotions and feel the feedback from them.”
Natalie Terekhova: “Listen to the music you like. Try to understand everyone dear to your heart. Love and appreciate eachother!”
Marina Malakhova: “Be sincere to those around you and most of all with yourself.”

The last words in this interview are for Natalie and VOLNAYA STAYA....
Julie Main: “We hope to go on tour to your country.”
Natalie Terekhova: “I refuse to do a last word here. There is always time for a good talk.”

copyright: METAL MAIDENS
interview by: Toine van Poorten, Summer 2007.

Visit their website at: www.volnayastaya.ru
or visit their My Space site at: www.myspace.com/volnayastaya