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Topic ClosedAntony Kalugin (Karfagen, Sunchild & Hoggwash)

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toroddfuglesteg View Drop Down
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: Antony Kalugin (Karfagen, Sunchild & Hoggwash)
    Posted: December 28 2011 at 16:08

Antony Kalugin is a prolific musician and composer from Ukraina. His bands Karfagen, Sunchild and Hoggwash plus his solo albums has gained him many fans. 

I (Read: His wife Valentina) dragged him away from the studio, where he was putting the final touches on the new Karfagen album Lost Symphony to get his story for ProgArchives.


Just to start with, some personal stuff. Your biography has been covered at length in your biography and I refer everyone to this biography. But why did you take up music and/or progressive rock instead of any of the many other activities healthy Ukraine youths like yourself could take up instead ?
It was my dream to be a “storyteller” from my youth, to create something that would inspire other people, make their life more whole “saturated”. I’d spend days listening to music and trying to write my own few lines a chord structure here and there trying to get some ideas of my own, try to work out how I could become a writer myself… While most of the youngsters were playing in the yard. It was my choice. It was written in the Stars.

I have noticed that many metal and prog bands from Ukraine is very inspired by the local nature, history, art and folklore. How much has Ukraine, one of the biggest countries in the world, inspired you and in which way?
Of course I have some “local” influences, but at the end of the day we’re people of the world and like some Wiseman said: “ we enjoy the things that we can imitate”. I love and admire the old school classical composers – Edvard Grieg, Rimskiy Korsakov, Chaykovskiy – they’re not Ukrainian, but you’ll hopefully find some moods in my music that you can liken to the work of these great composers they inspired me and opened my mind musically. I love our Ukrainian nature our heritage and countryside, there pieces are not broken and stolen by humans, it’s gorgeous, and inspires you endlessly, creating so many magnificent warm images in your head.

You started up Karfagen as a band with your classmates around 1994 and stopped it before Will Mackie of Caerllysi Music (from Wales) got you back on the right track again and you recorded so far four albums and are in the middle of recording the fifth album when I rudely interrupted you.

I’ve already recorded the new Karfagen album “Lost Symphony”, while writing these lines the master cd is already at the pressing factory. It’s been a long learning road already and I still know the road has so far to travel. The beauty of music is you are always learning. Maybe its because I am still young that I feel this way but I awake each day to live for the music and have tried to adopt the mental attitude to make progress creatively each day make another small step forward along that road..
For the benefit of those of us already alive and those yet to be born, please give us your brief or long thoughts on....

Continium from 2006
A major step forward for me the first album recorded with the whole band. (‘The Water” 2002 was recorded by myself). It was a short but a novatorskiy album. With each track so personal and significant to me even at that early stage as a writer. Today “Marvellous Dance” is still one of my favorite instrumental tracks and a good example of my work. Now almost a decade later it has stood the test of time as a true art rock album. it is an album that is still very close to my heart

The Space Between Us from 2007
It’s a nice album, but I have contradicting feelings to it. It’s has not such a well crafted polished sound, spoiled by the electronic drums and bass, but on the other hand I am still very pleased with my writing it has some really nice melodies and a more jazz rock oriented structure. “Labyrinth” is a live instrumental hit on our shows.

The Key to Perception from 2009
It’s a compilation double album of the earlier K albums plus a lot of bonus tracks. Demos and unreleased material. It was the and of a chapter in my work, and since then having had time to reflex I wanted to include some of my inner thoughts relating to the tracks thru the booklet and also let the listener hear a wider range of what was happening musically in my head with them as I was still musically trying to find my way so to speak. It’s a very honest open book look at those years which as Will always tells me shows the roots of my love for melody and my use of structure.

Solitary Sandpiper Journey from 2010
This sees the introduction to any great degree of vocals within K It’s another major step forward, of which I wrestled with for some time. But in the end Serg Will and myself were so pleased with the takes we went for it. Hand on heart I really enjoyed making it and I am so proud of it as a complete work that has an embodied sound with well-structured material. Mystery and Carpathians in particular showed the expansive side of K and the new direction the project work was taking. It has a “fairytale” flavor that is complimented by a beautiful cover painted by Alla Navrotskaya.

You are answering these questions in-between putting the finishing touches to the fifth Karfagen album. Please tell us more about this album.
It’s more symphonic a bigger sounding album than even Sandpiper. At the moment it is like my newborn baby so close to my heart and really hope you’ll enjoy it too . It is centered around two longish tracks which glue the whole thing together musically It’s something that will recall sweet memories of the creative mid seventies with its moods and warmth. I very satisfied with the sound and proud to have some great Ukrainian musicians on board as well as Roberto Diaz from “Anima Mundi” (Cuba) – who played some electric guitars on a few compositions. The cover once again is done by Alla Navrotskaya its very attractive and unique.
Let's move onto your next project. In the middle of releasing Karfagen albums , you took a step sideways and set up Hoggwash. Why did you set up this project?
It was a Will`s idea! We became great friends during the making of Horizon .what started out as Wills instrumental melodies ended up as proper songs with lyrics along the process I became engrossed in it so much that it become a true collaboration.

You/Hoggwash released the The Last Horizon album in 2007. Please tell us more about this album.
In general, it’s one of my favorite albums to date. If have`t heard it you should do this! The cd last year had to be repressed due to popular demand and songs such as Rainbow Sky and Last Card are big favorites when we play live. There is so much innocence in the music . I was singing as lead vocalist for the first time on an album and found it was something I really enjoyed. This opened many doors for me making me a much more rounded musician and able to express myself more fully. all of a sudden there was another dimension I could explore.

There have been rumors about a second album. What is the future for Hoggwash?

Yes we have a lot of material for the new album enough for a double or third album as well. Each time I visit Will there are more new tracks, which we play and continually look to improve. I an so looking forward to when I have the spare time to go into the studio and nail the follow up there will be a lot expected as it has become something of a cult album as time has passed. It has the working title “Casino of Life”, hopefully it’ll be released late 2012 but I am not going to rush it just for the sake of releasing another cd next year. 

Your third project is Sunchild. This is as far as I understand it a proper band. Why did you set up Sunchild ?
After recording demos for “The Gnomon” it was obvious that it sounded so different to “Karfagen” it’s more proggy and … plus it’s also very much a vocal project. I thought of it maybe as a solo album, but then we decided to create Sunchild as a project musically so different to Karfagen with each album hopefully the difference between the two projects is widening.

You have released four albums with Sunchild. Please tell us more about.....

The Gnomon from 2008
It includes a track, which has already started to gain cult status “Sleepwalker” – monumental progressive epic – favorite piece of my music for a lot of prog fans. “The Gnomon” is a concept double album. Powerful and dynamic and saw me use a wide variety of instruments via the amazing pool of musicians we have here in my country. Also I looked to take the songs in a direction which was not as predictable as most rock and to use something different other than the standard guitar or keyboard solo that is the trade mark of the progressive genre. Hopefully I still managed to retain the genre whilst musically going outside of the box.

The Invisible Line from 2009
Is more “Pink Floydian” album with spacey atmosphere “Rain Drops” is a popular ballad that’s become a Sunchild fav when on stage, I can genuinely feel the warmth from the audience as they come with me thru the song. It really is a magical feeling and everything that you strive for when you set out to be a musician. To know they feel this means everything to me Postcards from the Past is a track that we have now developed in rehearsal and were so looking forward to playing the extended version at summers end. “Amalgama” is a strong prog instrumental piece almost like “Astoria” from “The Gnomon” another track that has become our heartbeat when playing the concerts.
The whole concept of the invisible line as we may our way thru life is something we all can relate to in one-way or another and take different things from the album.

The Wrap from 2010
Once again a concept album but hopefully it is not as predictable as most concepts tend to be. The storyline was kicking about in my head for quite some time it was very satisfying to pull it all together in a coherent manner it is mainly based on one big piece “the Wrap” (38 min+ – you can say it’s a prog symphony . It’s created so much diverse discussion, which is so healthy when pushing the envelope musically. It’s probably the most experimental Sunchild so far, but still has traditional shorter hit tracks, like “Day of Destiny” and “ An Angel”. I am really looking forward to seeing how this album sits with everyone in a few years time its quite deep and if the listener stocks with it there is plenty there to indulge in..

As Far As The Eye Can See from 2011
Here I have finally just gone for it with a proper song oriented album, I feel it’s a brave step forward and as always I am fully aware of the demands of the listener. So I try not to sacrifice melody for the safety of say repetition or ad lib. For those who love the more complicated stuff it has the expressive almost mini ‘Musical’ track “Stars of Cardiff Bay”. This title track is a beautiful example of song writing using its many different components. It’s Will Mackies favorite track sales of the album have continued the upward tend with us each time starting from a higher core of a fanbase.its an album that is packed with songs to play live and Olgas vocals really do bring on board another dimension..AS FAR AS will take us on to the next level as a band and hopefully open a few more doors to festivals next summer and beyond.

Is there anything planned for Sunchild in the immediate future ?
Of course! We’re working now on the 5th Sunchild album called “ISOLATION” and will be released in the spring of 2012. Nearly everything has now been recorded and here I go again folks as has become my habit its another concept story for me to tell. It seems my writing generally needs to have a reason more than just the song and I work better if there is a core to build everything around, luckily I seem to have an ability to build something and rather than build your average house I am always trying to build something grander. Maybe it’s my architectural background that enjoys things that are larger than life or maybe it’s just my personality or a combination of both. Anyway, the outcome is then to have something extra for the listener to take on board, it just heightens the whole experience for them. Once again musically it’s not in the same vein a mark 2 of any of the earlier works. Its another step forward in Sunchilds evolution. The moment I write one album similar to another is the time to stop. There is no point in doing this either for oneself or the listener. You need as an artist to have something new creatively to say even if it is not accepted by one and all. What it sounds like at the moment ,I will keep to myself just for a little longer. but I know it will surprise so you have been warned folks!

So you are involved in Karfagen, Hoggwash, Sunchild and your solo career as a new age artist. How do you compare the four projects with each other, music wise ?
I have not produced any new age music for a long time – at the beginning of my writing was a 3 – 4 year period of learning, earning some funds and searching for the right way to express myself during that time I recorded a lot of new age albums for the home and eastern european market. I plan when possible to release a few compilations of these; those who like Peter Gabriels Real World records or lately Mike Oldfield musical pictures will enjoy them.
Karfagen is yourself. Sunchild is a band where you have to deal with others. How would you compare those two experiences ?
Both Karfagen and Sunchild are my projects. The difference is in the music orientation. As outlined earlier the gap between the two styles to my mind is widening with each album. It’s really exciting now to have these two well-established projects as an outlet for my writing. Obviously as a person I have a certain trademark, which can be heard within everything I do but that’s where the similarity should end.

Can you live of music or do you need to have another more sane job besides of music to feed yourself and your young family?
When I started the journey of making “The Last Horizon” with Will a chemistry just sort of took over between the two of us. We have talked about those early days many times and how we wanted to build a wall of music that no one can breakdown, now many albums later I hope we have that wall. At that time was already setting up the music shop so with the help of Will Mackie and the whole “Caerllysi Music” team we have grow together and I have been able to concentrate on my music rather than prior to Hoggwash, writing new age music almost to order for other people. I now make writing, producing and performing music my life, so it’s my day job and I’m proud of it!

2012 is just around the corner. A Happy New Year to you and your family. What is your plans for 2012 and beyond ?

Thanks a lot! There`re a lot of plans for 2012: The release of at least 2 albums in the year to hopefully to visit and play at as many prog festivals as possible so anyone looking for a band at there festival in 2012 please just contact either myself or Will. we will have another rack at Summers End and hope this time to get over the visa problems that prevented the guys coming with me in 2011 also we will play Crescendo in France once again both organizers have been so kind to me and the crowds so friendly , I cant wait to get back to these places and hopefully some new ones as well.  

To wrap up this interview, is there anything you want to add to this interview ?
Thanks Torodd, I wish all the best and A Happy New Year to You and all Readers, thanks for there support! Without which there would be not point to all of this.
We`re keep rocking! As far as the mind can believe endlessly, As Far As The Eye Can See…!!!
Antony K.

Thank you to Antony for this interview & to Valentina for helping out
The PA profiles is Karfagen, Hoggwash and Sunchild
His homepage is here

Edited by toroddfuglesteg - December 29 2011 at 06:43
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