Saturday, 12 September 2009

metal and physics

When prepping for my interview with Russian doom metal band Forest Stream I discovered that vocalist Somn is a physicist. I couldn't resist asking him about potential links between his music and his physics.

keew: You were working on your physics PhD while trying to write and record Tears of Mortal Solitude... Do you keep your academic and musical lives completely separate or do they overlap in some ways? Is there a relationship between your love of a certain kind of music and your interest in physics?

Sonm: Yes, call me Dr. Sonm please, I deserve that! Actually I should have started with these officials from the very first question! ROFL. I think that music and science are of the same origin, so to speak. Both are knowledge and emotional experience. In both cases you discover and make research. I made the cover art for the front page of my thesis showing the interference between music and science, which has resulted in some deep-blue light intensity distribution as a symbol of new discoveries and failures as well. Both are dares and falls, excitements and disappointments. Both are some artificial entities, yet our knowledge of them is a purely philosophical question.

My life while doing my Ph.D. was… It wasn’t easy, honestly, yet my memories of that time fill me with pleasant warmth and sometime bring tears to my eyes. Once, when I got back to Russia for my summer vacation, I had a dream: I wake up in my bed in Russia and discover that I am late for work in Holland! Damn, I got nervous, but was encouraging myself at the same time: “Come on! The flight to Amsterdam takes only 3.5 hours plus the time difference. So if I take the back stairs, nobody’s gonna notice I am late!”. A month later, in reality, I discovered that I’ve lost this “abroad” feeling once and for all. So, I wasn’t really trying to write music. And actually I never do. It comes to my mind in a form of some celestial choirs, which makes me shiver and causes fear of not hearing that again. That time it was the same; I was just playing it, trying to repeat. Therefore, I think I was not able to separate my academic and musical lives due to the fact that… evil dreams and evil waking were blended into a long tunnel of misery, with hope growing ever fainter behind (c), although overall it was okay and even entertaining from time to time. So it goes.

Forest Stream's latest record, The Crown of Winter (Candlelight), came out this past August. You can find the rest of the interview at

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