Looking at the cover of "Solitary Sandpiper Journey”, the third studio album by Karfagen, it comes to my mind a colourful storybook for children and the music almost confirms this impression, with its freshness and its innocence. It is something a little bit far from the first two albums by Kalugin which on the contrary appeared rather more sophisticated and electronic. In brief Karfagen found a new romantic soul, certainly much closer to British New Prog bands. We contacted Kalugin himself to explain his projects to us and to tell us about his musical aspirations and it was a pleasure to discover a simple person who is so confident in Progressive Rock.
Hello Antony, first of all thank you for your time. Would you like to introduce yourself briefly to our readers?
Hello, I’m the man from Ukraine who sometimes I hope writes good music, I graduated at Architectural University - so I’m an architect-designer by profession but I started to write music at an early age, it was part of my way of explaining myself to the world.
Karfagen is the Ukrainian for Carthage. It is a name which evokes in my mind pictures of ancient and destroyed civilizations. Why did you choose this name?
It was my father’s idea - he loves history. I was 13 - 14 years old when I first wrote music under the name "Karfagen"
It is clear that Karfagen is a creature of your own but at the same time many musicians are involved. How do you select your contributors and how do all these artists contribute to the creation of Karfagen’s music?
I’m lucky enough to have a lot of friends who are musicians they bring so much expression into my music. When I ask somebody to contribute in the music I give him or her there space for creativity, even if I have proper demos with some riffs and beats or melodies - I like them to recreate some fragments - it means that they are involved in the music 100 %.
I read in your biography that the very first album of progressive rock that you bought was "Retropolis” by The Flower Kings. Would you tell us your impressions while listening for the first time to this music and how did it influence your artistic production?
Yeh, it was one of the first "prog" albums I heard - it was unbelievable the feelings it gave me - fresh but authentic at the same time. Interesting structure of songs, great vocals and production. It was an album where musicians played for the audience but just for the musicians (trying to show and to play as complex as they could.)
What do you like in progressive rock over other genres, and why did you choose such an unpopular genre to express yourself?
I like good paintings which you can explore for many hours and each time you’re looking at it you’ll find more and more within it. The same with the music - I like to listen and of course try to create "fairytales" to which the listener will return to in maybe a year’s time and still it will have some hidden corners.
Compared to the first two Karfagen studio albums, the sound of this third release is brighter, more joyful and less electronic. Would you explain the reason of this change?
Thanks for kind words, yes you really may find it a bit brighter and less electronic because I’ve learned some good lessons concerning mixing, mastering, recording and songwriting since the earlier albums. Also I’ve released both Sunchild and Hoggwash albums. And of course I started using as much as possible live orchestral instruments such as oboe, bassoon, sax, trumpets, violins, cello etc. which help make the sound more vivid.
In this new album there are also more vocals. Why?
This time I decided to use some vocals as I really thought it would suit and compliment the music. I am proud to have Marina onboard as a lead singer she brought authentic flavour to "Magic Moment" as well as the magnificent "Mystery".
In the CD booklet explains this CD ‘is centred on the inexhaustible spirit of revelation’. Would you explain what does it mean and what is the album talking about?
The album is about the beauty of adventures and revelations –the music is also a trip to the hidden corners of your mind where spirits still live from tales that our mother told us when we were young. Plus It’s about the beauty of wild life around us. I composed "Carpathians" right after the returning from a trip to this gorgeous mountain range on the West of Ukraine.
Karfagen is not your only project: do you want to tell us how were Sunchild and Hoggwash born? Why did you feel the need to create these other projects and which characteristics distinguish them from Karfagen? Will they have new albums coming out?
The new Sunchild "the Wrap" (album no 3) will be released on 1st Nov. 2010. Compared to Karfagen, Sunchild has more powerful (or say proggy) sound and is based around vocals. Hoggwash is a collaboration of two friends Will Mackie and myself, its more retro in sound but once again with its fair share of vocals. Each project I undertake shows my love to different tendencies in art and prog rock.
One thing I really liked in the previous albums of Karfagen were some references to Ukrainian folk. Your new CD on the contrary sounds more ‘British’? What do you think about it?
I feel it has some great "British" moods within it, but in truth I do not try to create "Ukrainian" or "British’”. Music it’s just what it is.
Do you know other Prog bands in your country?
Yes I know a few, but they do not release any records abroad. Max Velichko the guitarist who took part in the recording of the new Sunchild cd for example he’s from a good instrumental band "Inside the Sound" who I hope will release their debut album soon. Also there is project called "Traveller" which is really nice. I think one day we’ll have proper arsenal of art prog bands in Ukraine like for example our neighbours Poland. Only reason I can see why not at present is that the Soviet machine killed everything here creativity, whilst in Poland they had some "fresh west air". I still remember back in time how happy I was to see Queens video clip on TV in mid 90s!!! It was like a small glimpse of light out of the end of a tunnel.