Three days of noise: a gig report

We’re back home after three days of noise* and what should be Feedbacker‘s first (mini) tour. We did Sofia, Plovdiv and Thessaloniki gigs along with great bands, had a great time, met cool people, drove like a thousand kilometers and now we’re back in Sofia and hungry for more. Here’s a short (well, I lied!)… a fucking long-ass gig report.

Gigs started off from Sofia along with Australian astral-space-core heroes Alithia (now that’s a fucking weird genre tag). But let me rewind back a bit…

Our initial plans included taking our new friends from Autumn Acid here in Bulgaria and share a total of four gigs with them, with dates both in Bulgaria and Greece. Long story short, almost a month before the start of said tour we fucked-up and had little to no luck with finding a vehicle big enough to fit both bands, so Autumn Acid had to cancel the Bulgarian gigs and we had to leave Athens for another time…

Bummer! But hey, we’re both bands that do everything DIY and we actually learned a lot from that experience, so no big deal. Trying to book a gig in Plovdiv for the first time, I contacted Nikola of TDK (and Post-Culture Stage) and we were lucky enough to catch him in the right moment while he was also booking Alithia for exactly the same dates we needed. So we ended up with gigs really fast. Thanks a ton, mate!

Now, Alithia turned out to be top blokes, but I could never imagine playing with them otherwise… let’s just say it was a unique and very diverse combination. We started off from Sofia at Live & Loud Club, which is a quite big venue, at least in my book.

Фондация Обещаното Нищо (Nikola’s other band, young lads from Plovdiv) were on the bill as well. This night we had to provide the whole stage backline, drums and amps and all that jazz. We don’t have much to write home about in the amplification department yet, but luckily I got some ace friends, who let me borrow some cool amps. This is the time to say thanks to Paco from Comasummer and Mihail Ballou from King of Sorrow for providing us with decent guitar and bass rigs.

Day I: Sofia

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27 october happened to be a very busy day in Sofia, gigwise. The Ex and Bernays Propaganda were in town, and some other cool events were happening in different locations at the same time, so we were a bit fucked and not many people showed up. However, the guys from ФОН played a good show, and Alithia… well Alithia are real pros and played a show that easily could’ve been a fucking arena thing. Now these guys have some stage presence! Feedbacker played a short set that went really well, imo.

We were happy when we came off the stage, but not that happy when we had to haul all the gear in the back of my trusty old Renault wagon. Thanks to Niki (Comasummer) we succeeded to fit a whole drums set + 2 amp heads + huge ass 4×12 guitar cab + a bass cab + 2 guitars + all the drum paraphernalia + 3 persons and unload all this crap into 3 different locations. I got home as early as 4AM and I was barely able to hold my eyes open. Yay! Rockstar life!

Day II: Plovdiv

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28 october – we took a 2 hour drive to Plovdiv with Desi and landed in the center of the city right into Rorschach’s (aka Post-Culture Stage).


We met the Alithia guys and our new friends from Plovdiv and had a cup of nice hot coffee while waiting for the soundcheck. We had a nice little chat with John Rousvanis – thanks for that, mate! Mindflux from Plovdiv were the opening act that night and they were really fun to watch.


They are really young fellas and it was their first hometown gig, and the audience cheered them up a lot and I got myself thinking about my first gigs when I was their age, some 15+ years ago… duh, I guess that doesn’t make me old at all… more like ancient!

We kicked off with a little fault-start. Some dumb fuck (me) pressed the mute button of one of my amps, so I started the first song with half a rig.

Soundguy wasn’t very happy with the fuzz mayhem coming out of my pedals, but I was, so fuck it, right? Here’s some more lo-fi footage from that night.

The venue had really small stage and it was all vibrating from the low frequencies, so one of my amps was constantly trying to jump off the cab. I had to literally kick it back in place inbetween songs, and on one occasion – during a song. This kind of shit is pretty stressful, I’ll tell you that, so we skipped our last song and got off stage faster than usual.

All in all it was a fun gig to play and there were some familiar faces in the crowd, so we were happy. We had to stay in one of the ФОН guys’ place that night, but right after the gig we decided to drive back to Sofia and take a proper shower before heading to Greece the next day. So we did exactly that. We fucked a little with the GPS taking us to weird dark places in Plovdiv, but eventually we got back on the speedway and made it home. We got in bed earlier than the previous day. Sweet!

Day III: Thessaloniki

29 october – I was really excited to play this city as we never did that before and there were some really good bands on the bill that night. We had some company – my main mate Koko and his friend Veni with us and he did most of the driving, which was way cool for me as I was a little tired and absent.


We had an easy ride and got to the venue like an hour earlier. As always, we missed out the left turn that had to take us straight to Biotexnia so we did a fucking full circle around and man – finding a parking place in Thessaloniki is almost as fucked as it is in Sofia! We started unloading our stuff only to see Stratos from Autumn Acid (and Hak Nam Collective, who were organizing the gig) coming down the street with his drums stuff on his back.

Now comes the good part! Biotexnia is a great self-managed place in Thessaloniki, ran by three different collectives who make gigs and whatnot there. Being a political (read anarchist) place, I felt very much at home. We got a yummy warm meal immediately and got treated really nice by all the guys and gals we met.

Biotexnia



The Rita Mosss and Friend of Gods guys were there as well and they were also doing a three day tour around Greece, so we were pretty much on the same page. I have to say all these folks were great company, we felt like we’re friends for ages with all the dumb jokes and nice chats we had throughout the night. It seems that gigs in such places start really late, like 12PM the earliest, so we had plenty of time to do a proper soundcheck, hang out, have coffee, pizza, vegan gyros, smoke 10,000 cigarettes and all that. Here I do exactly that (the smoking part) on the amazing terrace they have in Biotexnia.


After playing gigs for so many years this was the first time someone (aka the most calm and easy-going soundguy, ever!!!) came to me and said “You just set everything the way you want to, like you’re rehearsing, and we’ll make the front of house sound from that!“. I was in heaven! You can tell it was a good soundcheck just by looking at this picture:

Soundcheck
Also, I felt in love with that fucking Ampeg VH-140C amp, it sounded so clean and transparent and had the best reverb channel that I immediately decided to use live. A fucking thing of beauty!

Actually, because of that amp we started our set with a intro we never played live before. Everything was so at home with us in Biotexnia that I knew we’ll play a good set hours before we came onstage. And we did. Room was full, spirits were high. We had a great time!

Rita Mosss came out first around 12:30 and man did they do a great set! They started and finished as they were playing one big track consisting of many songs… amazing! Their drummer Dimitrios hit so hard that he broke the floor tom at some point, but didn’t stop (two guys fixed it in the meantime). Fucking flawless! Fantastic bass/drums duo noise-punk madness, I loved every fucking minute of their set. I really wish we had more bands like this back home. Now that would make our local gigs a lot less awkward…

Halfway through their set I just brought my phone out and shot a little video, fully aware that it will both sound and look like turd… but I had to. Here it is:

Feedbacker came on second and we did our set in front of a very cool crowd, I really hope that everyone was having a good time. I know we did!

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Friend of Gods were third on the bill. They play a very energetic blend of math rock and punk. You should check them out! They are also really, really cool blokes and it’s super fun to be around them. We’re definitely going to join forces again in Athens and I really hope I can bring them to Sofia sometime soon.


Autumn Acid got onstage and then things got really heavy. They sound huge! And a lot better than the last time I saw them in Serbia, where the sound was a bit fucked up. They play really exciting post-metal sludge thing with growling vocals and weird time signatures. I hope we’ll have more to write home about very soon with them, but I won’t talk much until I know shit’s being done for sure. But, man, what a band they are!

After the show we put my wagon to another test – this time it was 6 adults + a dog (Kim) + our gear – and we made it like this to his place. Stratos was an amazing host and I cannot thank him enough for that. We had perfect place to sleep and rest, and his pets are so darn cute it’s almost embarrassing. We got to bed somewhere after 5AM and had a good rest.

In the morning we had a cool chat and a cup of coffee and after that we spent some time wandering around a desolate Thessaloniki, having more coffee and buying useless shit here and there before heading home.

Now that’s a really huge gig report, but I had so much to tell, and believe me when I tell you this is the short version. Thanks to all wonderful bands we shared a stage with in Bulgaria and Greece and hope to see you guys somewhere down the road very soon!

* P.S. I stole this headline (“Three days of noise”) from Rita Mosss & Friend of Gods. Sorry guys, it was too good not to!

Shentov | Feedbacker

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Feedbacker: October shows

We’re hitting the road next week to play three shows – two in Bulgaria and a first-timer in Greece. We play two dates with Australian band Alithia (Sofia 27.10 & Plovdiv 28.10.), joined by ∅⊙∦ in Sofia, and Mindflux in Plovdiv. After that we’re heading South to Thessaloniki, where we play Biotexnia w/ some fantastic Greek bands – Autumn Acid, Rita Moss and Friend of Gods. Our initial plans included another date in Athens w/Autumn Acid & Dead Elephant, but – long story short – we hope that Feedbacker finally reaches this amazing city in 2017.


Now, we’re always excited about meeting new people and new places, so it’s gonna be a fucking adventure, that’s for sure. Same goes for the bands we’re sharing a stage with. We ended up on the same bill with Alithia completely by chance, thanks to Nikola (of ∅⊙∦ and TDK) who helped a great deal booking these two Bulgarian dates (Thanks, mate!).

The guys from Down under are playing Bulgaria for the second time I think, and have toured with local heroes smallman, so I guess I don’t have to explain. They do a more delicate version of music than we do (think post-rock), but I sure love diverse shows, so I can only hope that everyone else does as well.

Mindflux, I don’t know much about, except they are young and from Plovdiv. They seem to be playing their first hometown show on the 28th, which is kinda neat. Check them out!

We’ve already met Autumn Acid at Mount of Artan, and they sure kick some major ass, so I can hardly wait to see them live again. Rita Mosss, well… they are quite energetic two-piece that is hard to describe. You have to see that, I guess <3.

Friend of Gods come from Athens, and let’s just put it that way – we’re super glad to play with them too. Both bands (Rita Mosss & Friend of Gods) are heading for their own “three days of noise” throughout Greece, so we’re pretty much on the same page, heh. Guys also put out a poster that is too cute not to share. Here it is:

After these shows we’ll be busy moving out of our old rehearsal space (aka the Abyss) and heading to our new home at Wind City Studio. Now that makes me a little sad, but also excited about new opportunities, and hopefully – more recording. And we’re already planning on recording new stuff, as we got a split offer from as far as the Philippines, but I’ll save that for future post, OK?

Stay tuned, etc.

Shentov | Feedbacker

Post-show euphoria

EP release: ✓
First hometown show: ✓
Happy: ✓

Another small challenge that kept our hearts pumping and our heads spinning, at least for the last few weeks. So, our EP is out and I couldn’t be more pleased about how it turned out. I am getting a bit obsessive with the idea of having a plan and sticking to it, marking goals and putting small check marks next to achievements. It is something I never really did before, despite being in bands since I was 13. Now that I am an old fuck I know better and tend to drain all the pleasure potential out of breaking down dreams into realistic goals and then fulfilling them with passion. It certainly has something to do with growing up, that’s for sure.

So, our release date was actually my birthday, which was a happy coincidence or probably fate of sorts. Some months ago my main mate Angel at Amek Collective offered us to play a show with his band Leaver on Sept. 21th and also start a small tour from there. Well, the tour part fucked up for a number of reasons, but this Sofia gig happened, and it was good. A Rubicon of sorts.

Sofia is a small place and we pretty much know each other, so there is no real boundary between artist and audience. I prefer to see a glass half full in this case, and think of it as possibility to play for a circle of friends and affiliates rather than fans. Coming from a hardcore punk background makes me appreciate this way more. Gleeful as it may sound, this is also a huge challenge, so you probably get my excitement as well as my anxiety. Many people who showed up on the gig are aware of what I have done in the past with KPD-0 and other bands I played with, so I felt that the Feedbacker thing has to be different. Bigger. Better. Thorough. Raw & pure. Honest. Without compromise. 

Mount of Artan was pretty much testing the waters for me and Desi and it got us confident that we are on the right track. Recording made me realize what we actually sound like in a way that is not possible otherwise. Dealing with the whole release thing mostly by myself (with the precious and unquestionable help of my life partner Kristina) got me more involved with every single detail of our expression.

I put a lot of thought into what I want the release to look like, and I pictured a final product (as much as I hate to use exactly this word describing what we do) that fully embraces my thoughts and searches as of now. Probably that’s why I decided to deal with things I usually don’t have the balls to deal with – like cover designs and stuff. Once I started to actually get things done I understood why I actually do this. Once I looked at the finished and printed covers and inserts I actually saw what I have done. A sharp, contrast, monochrome image, filled with (dark) symbolism.


There is a story behind every single symbol that is on the front or inside our first EP. This recording has been really important for me, mostly because Feedbacker is what keeps me sane going through the pile of personal shit that 2016 got me. And Desi has been a fantastic band mate, going stronger with every step we make. I have to say that I am really not used to that level of acceptance and support of my creative ideas.

All in all, now we have a thing. An object. A release. Couple of tapes and CDs that we can show the world.

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And this is what we did last Thursday. This gig holds a special place in my heart. Perfect organisation (kudos to Amek and Angel for that!), lovely bands and acts to share a stage with. Lot of friends and familiar faces in the crowd. Nice venue, probably my fave club in Sofia. I will spare my usual blabber on this one. Instead here’s some photos (courtesy of George and Velislav):

It took us almost a week to get our heads straight and realize the power of this special moment. Words are shallow and fragile and can not convey the gratitude we feel. Once again Amek showed us how it’s done! Their friendship, trust and support are truly a gift. We would like to thank Trysth, Leaver & Ivan Shopov for being brutal artists on stage and wonderful people in general. And personal thanks to every single person who came to the gig and to those who heard our EP and messaged us with kind words and support.

Here’s a video of our full set: 

Our next gigs are soon to be announced and yet this is another challenge, preceded by some months of hard work and preparations. We can hardly wait to break out about this. Stay tuned!

Shentov | Feedbacker

No more nomeansno.

My heart grew heavy when I got the news that NoMeansNo will be no more, but I still remember the one chance I had to see them live here in Sofia. It must have been 2007 or 2008. I found out there is a show hours before it, wasting the end of a dumb workday scrolling through the web when I saw the poster and thought “This can’t be real!”. But it was. And it was amazing.

All roads lead to Ausfahrt.

NoMeansNo have been a major influence and this news got me all emotional today. Still I am thankful for being able to catch them live and for all the great albums they’ve made. Here’s a picture of a much younger me having the time of my life at a NMN show here in Sofia.

nomeansnoMore pictures – |–||h|e|r|e||— 

All the love, guys!

Shentov | Feedbacker

Първа песен от новото EP на FEEDBACKER

The Other Side

Софийското Noise Rock дуо FEEDBACKER представи първата песен от дебютното си EP, което ще излезе на 21 септември 2016 г. чрезбългарския независим лейбъл Kontingent Records във формат аудио касета и CD.

FEEDBACKER е нова банда, сформирана в края на 2015 г. от Иван Шентов (ex-КПД-0) и Деси Петкова (ex-COMASUMMER). Дебютът им на живо беше това лято на фестивала Mount of Artan в Сърбия, а първият им концерт на местна почва ще бъде тази сряда в Mixtape 5 заедно с Post Metal машините TRYSTH, меланхоличните LEAVER и всестранно развития талант Иван Шопов (познат още като COOH и BALKANSKY).

Feedbacker

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Listen to the first track off Feedbacker EP!

The first track off our upcoming s/t EP is alive, premiering on Lunatic.bg:

Read more in Bulgarianhttp://lunatic.bg/feedbacker-ep/

“Music for the last days. Thundering post-apocalyptic noise that echoes leaving pulsing scars across the subconscious. Sofia noise-rock duo Feedbacker is probably the best kept secret of Bulgarian underground. So far.

Feedbacker is brand new band, formed in late 2015 by Ivan Shentov (ex-KPD-0) and Desi Petkova (ex-Comasummer). Their live debut was at this summer’s Mount of Artan festival in Serbia, and their first local gig will be this Wednesday – Sept. 21 in Mixtape 5 with Trysth, Leaver and Ivan Shopov (aka Cooh and Balkansky).

September 21 is the official release date of the EP through Kontingent Records (tape & CD editions). The album was recorded and produced by Michael Slavov (King of Sorrow, Expectations).”

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Some thoughts on DIY and recording our upcoming EP

We’re busy doing stuff lately and very happy about it. One week left until our first gig here in Sofia. Our EP is done, mixed and mastered and a bunch of tapes are being dubbed as we speak; we also have a couple more things to get all starry-eyed about in the following days.

We’re letting the first track break free soon, followed by an exclusive album stream and will reveal more on the go. Meanwhile a lot of rehearsing is taking place, we currently eat, drink and breathe Feedbacker. Silver hours of glorious noise. We’re cooking a nice tight set for our first hometown gig, as well as some new songs that didn’t make it to the EP.

A year of first things

Until now 2016 has provided feral ground for new beginnings and debuts: out first festival gig, our first EP and first live in Sofia being among the most important for Feedbacker. Same applies for my other projects, and also a lot of personal stuff, but that is another thing. All of this brings a lot of food for thought about our band situation and what we do, how we do it and how we want to do to it in the future.

The benefits of self-produced music and working with friends

DIY ethics has an awful lot to do with Feedbacker since day one and this is not entirely an accident. Recording our first material reflects that approach almost perfectly. We made all recordings with our mate Mihail, who plays guitar in King of Sorrow and lately he is really into recording and producing stuff and audio engineering. He’s gaining some experience and widening his expertise with recording both new songs by Trysth and Leaver‘s first album; we’re sharing the stage with both bands on Sept. 21

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Here’s a link to the Facebook event for the show.

We recorded in our rehearsal space, nothing fancy, just four walls and our amps and drums. Sessions went smooth and fast, coining most of the stuff right away with virtually no overdubs. All vocals are done straight away, one take and that’s all. We kept the takes with the best energy, even when they weren’t perfect. It’s and easy and obvious choice as we rely on raw energy a lot in our music. The whole process felt natural and calm, nothing like the nervous wrecks I’ve experienced with other bands recording in a studio paying by the hour. Working as a team without such limitations has inspired us all a lot.

Actually we weren’t chasing the best quality of the most flawless take, we just wanted to make a good recording of a set of songs, catch a certain vibe, capture the energy. Our mission was to test the grounds as it was our first more focused recording experience with Feedbacker. We were free to set the sound we wanted without fearing “professional” criticism from the this-isn’t-how-it’s-done type. This turns out to be of crucial importance for the creative process I think recording pretty much is.

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Using a lot of fuzz and incorporating various glitches and what may seem a malfunction of my effects rig is really a big part of the Feedbacker sound and it’s what makes this band sound like itself.

Personally, I was feeling weird about entering a studio with this rig and approach – bass lead, bi-amping, unorthodox fuzz-stacking and so on – as this is new to me as well. Working with a friend has given me freedom to experiment and gain more profound understanding of what I do with sound and feel comfortable in the process.

And things often get ugly with the sound when we play our shit – most of it on purpose, of course.

On behalf of the mixing and mastering process we have given Misho a lot of trust and, aside from a few basic things we wanted, it’s all his creative work. Giving other people power over your work may be frightening, but also can be very refreshing and in the end we are pleasantly surprised by how the EP turned out.

The do-it-yourself approach continues with the artwork and preparing the whole release, we made the artwork 100% by ourselves, facing all the limitations and tiny little problems with graphic design, printing options and what not. Hopefully a glimpse of the front cover will be available on our Facebook by the end of the week.

DIY is love

As much as I’d like someone else to take care of all this, we are doing this release through my label Kontingent Records, which in the end of the days is always a valid option to bring some of my music out of the world. This is why I started in the first place, so you get the picture.

It’s a lot of work and hassle, that’s right. A financial burden? Very likely. But I feel empowered and very much in control over my creative output, and that is always a good thing in a world where we’re taught from an early age to ask for permission and conform to rigid rules and being told we’re not good enough.

Looking at your own music (or, insert whatever you do) taking shape from a single idea arising through layers of chaotic noise and random drumming to a song, then into recording and into a physical carrier is hands down the best feeling ever. Holding your own tape. I mean, it’s magical! Look at this beauties! They sound killer, too!

So, we will have a pretty limited stock of this EP, and each and every copy of it will be made and prepared by ourselves, which is kinda warm, and personal and sweet. Or I have been over-romanticizing things. Could be. Fuck if I know!

So it’s only a week until we come out and cease being the best kept secret in the local scene, eh! Lots more regarding our EP will be revealed in the following days.

Stay tuned!

Shentov | Feedbacker

Feedbacker, Trysth, Leaver & Ivan Shopov live @ Mixtape 5

We are beyond excited about our first hometown show. 

September 21st, Mixtape 5: we are sinking deeper into dark sound and raw energy with some of the finest local acts – emo-dronebois Leaver, epic post-metal riff monsters Trysth and the spectacular and multi-talented Ivan Shopov (who also made this rad artwork). This show is finely curated by Amek Collective, they book rad shows and release weird new music, check them out!

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We celebrate 10 years of Trysth, who have been one of the finest and most intricate bands in the doom, sludge and alternative metal scene.

Leaver have their new album Head Home and haven’t played a local show since April, and we’re really happy to share the stage with them.

Ivan Shopov is our very special guest. He’s in for an atmospheric modular synths live set. Sounds cool to me.

We have even more to share. Our first EP is already mixed and mastered by Mihail Slavov (Expectations, King of Sorrow) and on 21th we’re presenting it in its’ entirety + some new tunes.

Facebook event 

We will reveal more in the next days, so stay tuned.

Shentov | Feedbacker

Feedbacker

It was all whirlwind, heat and flash

We dug deeper in the last few months, diving head-first into recording some tracks for what will be our first release. Of course we did everything DIYIt was all whirlwind, heat and flash. Within a week we tracked down bass, drums and vocals.

It’s pretty raw. It’s pretty exciting. Most of the stuff is done in one take, no overdubs. Stripped-down, basic and furious. This time we went on to try and catch the most righteous Feedbacker live sound.

Basically, it took us 3 days to track down 5 songs, relatively painless.

Bass tracking

Using a bass guitar (a regular 4 string, as well as Bass VI) to hold both low-end and provide harmonic overtones at the same time is indeed a tricky business, but also rewarding in terms of experimentation. Playing through a wall of Orange amps is cool and pretty much the epitome of being in a sludge band: warm all-tube sound, tons of headroom, rich fat bottom end and all that. I found out valves tend to feed back in a pretty unique way through my current effects rig. Very distinctive and much “rounder” than what I usually get out of the solid state amps we use in our rehearsal place.

Fuzz-stacking was a tough job this time, since my “signature” Depressor pedal (which is basically a very edgy and chaotic Fuzz factory clone) was acting weird and created a wild, constant buzz. Of course, where other would cringe, I got all excited about all the harsh gritty noise coming out of the speakers and you’ll probably hear what I am talking about in the intro of one of the numbers.

I also have to say that Desi is one of the hardest hitting drummers I’ve ever played with. Oh, boy!

Drum tracking

Five tracks are nearly done as we speak. Our mate and recording engineer Mihail Slavov (Expectations, King of Sorrow) did an amazing job at capturing the rough spirit of our first songs. Next thing we’re up to is mixing and editing, starting this week. Stick around and you’ll probably hear the fuzzed-out roar somewhere this autumn.

Mihail Ballou

▲ Mount of Artan Festival 2016 ▲ Artangazing XIV ▲

We did our first show and we’re pretty pumped up from the experience! Mount of Artan 2016 was amazing. Let me tell you about that. It is this DIY festival in Serbia that started our as Puljp and after that changed it’s name to Stonerizer and is now called Mount of Artan. It’s been going strong for 14 years (yeah, you read that right, 14 fucking years of organizing a DIY music festival, how cool is that!) and still it looks like it’s pretty honest to it’s punk roots.

Some months ago (in March) I pretty much shot in the dark dropping a message to their Facebook page and the guys decided to give us the chance and book us for the festival. We’ve just written two or three songs at the time, but were already looking around to try and plan our first show. For me it was some kind of a big thing that needs to be special. A festival spot in a near country seemed cool enough, so this is what we did – we made our debut outside of Sofia, which is pretty exciting. Starting this band I had that little thought in my mind – this time I want to make it better and tour/play abroad more. This is something that we weren’t very good at with my previous bands. So it was quite exciting to start exactly this way. We still have to pass the Rubicon of our first home show, but this is to be taken care of as well… soon.

We had a pretty laid-back and easy communication with Goran, who is one of the people organizing this. I have already heard some cool stories from our pals from Trysth, who played the festival, and I knew local doom heroes Obsidian Sea also made it to the bill some years ago, so I was happy to continue the legacy of cool Bulgarian bands playing at Rtanj.

Our trusty old Renault wagon made it just in time out of the repair shop, where it stayed for at least two months prior to the festival. I can only say we got lucky with that. It was one thing that really made me nervous – this, and passing the borders. Turned out both of my biggest fears were actually not a problem.

Friday: July 1st, 2016

Woke up early and felt like shit. I didn’t slept much the night before and I felt like it. We planned to take off early and pass the border before noon, however we had to update our plan and have a proper dose of caffeine first. A tight unit – me, my precious partner Kristina and Koko (also known as the guy who build my brown amp) – packed our stuff and went on to take Desi and her drums.


I was a nervous wreck from the lack of sleep and my paranoid thoughts about being stopped at the border and sent back because of… reasons. Shit turned out easier than I thought, partially because we didn’t exactly looked like a touring band, but more like some friends that go to Serbia to grab some Jelen and pleskavica for the weekend. I guess I was having this worries because of the horror stories I heard from bands leaving the EU, getting cops/customs on their toes for their gear. We didn’t carry much, so we had it easy… which might be different if we were in a van with full backline.

We got on some lousy bumpy road and then got on the Beograd – Niš highway. I caught some sleep on the back seat wile Koko got on the wheel for the rest of the trip. We almost got lost entering the village of Rtanj, only to meet a couple of Serbian guys in a beat up red Kadett… which happened to be Goran and the guys from the fest.


We arrived at the place, which basically is an old rest home – Pionirski dom – that looks like it used to be a great place for vacation, but now is left out and decayed. There were already some guys setting up a stage under the building’s penthouse, and other guys and gals setting up a bar. We grabbed a bite and looked around and then headed for soundcheck.

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Our soundguy was a nice crust-punk type who I think did a proper job setting up our sound. It’s always relieving to meet a soundguy who doesn’t feel too intimidated by the glorious ammount of fuzz over a bass. Desi, on the other hand, had to bang the snare for a good 20 minutes before we had it set. I felt great during the soundcheck, which usually isn’t the case. I guess that I worried all I could worry about before leaving Bulgaria…

We were first on the bill for the night, which was cool, because… you know, we’re this new band that noone knows about and we don’t have a hour-and-a-half set. Goran gave us a sign, we set up our stuff fast and we just went on. There’s not much I can say about what happened in the following hour, but luckily there is some gritty action-cam footage (only first three songs, though) for you to drool over. A small crowd gathered and applauded and it was really cool.

See more videos here


See more photos from our set here

A band from Romania called vvvlv came on stage after the Feedbacker set was over. They are one of my discoveries on this fest – self-labeled DIY anarchist sludge – but I found some really exciting blackened crust moments that got me all hyped. Their split with Void Forger is cvlt, btw. I hope we catch this guys again soon and I’d really love to make a show with them. They have drums and guitar and no bass, but raised hell like there’s no tomorrow. One more good example that you can have a good sound beyond the rock band standards. Anyway, you could see and decide for yourself.

Next there was Torn From Earth, they are a really heavy sludge-something band from Budapest, and boy do these guys rock! They sure sound huge and I immediately thought we should have them in Sofia at some point somewhere in the future. Good riffs. Good screaming. Good times.

The first night was closed by my mate Răzvan aka TAUUSK. He bathed us in some damn fine guitar drones and weird ambient sounds, accompanied by a drummer, which was interesting. I managed to take some fancy cellphone footage before my battery died.

After that we went to sleep. Having a wagon is kinda like having a small bedroom on wheels… just sayin’.

Saturday: July 2nd, 2016

I woke at the back of the car, under the frying rays of the Rtanj sun, my back all stiff and that. Got up and made some coffee with cold water and we pretty much spent the whole day on the grass, OM gloriously blasting on repeat through the PA, hanging around and stuff. Some folks went on a hike to the peak, but we weren’t that folks. Instead we did this:


In the early afternoon we set up a long line of merch tables and brought out some goodies. We had the Feedbacker t-shirts and I brought some of my Kontingent Records releases and a bunch of other stuff.



We didn’t sell shit, but I managed to get a TAUUSK tape (which I traded with Răzvan for my latest krāllār tape), the Fields of Locust/Mass Culture 12″split and the Autumn Acid CD, as well as some more vinyls and tapes from Goran (who had great stuff that should’ve made me flat broke if it wasn’t for my world-renowned self-control). I still kinda pity I didn’t get this Sete Star Sept LP, though… Kristina got an awesome Autumn Acid t-shirt with something that looks like a cat skull on it.

There was a huge pot (or cooker, boiler, caldron, whatever… it was a really huge one) with hot bean soup, that I have heard legends about, cooking for hours and I have to say this was one of the best things ever.

First acts for the day gathered on stage while we were eating and hanging around. There was two daylight sets by Teeth of Divine and Topographer starting around 5 PM, and then there was a small screen-printing workshop where you could get your own shirt with a Mount of Artan 2016 design. I brought a brand new shirt for this and it turned out fantastic.

The second night we witnessed sets from four more bands – mostly Greek acts and one Slovenian band (that I managed to miss, for the second time actually…). Autumn Acid went onstage and they are one really nice band, kinda post-metal meets sludge, with some weird signatures thrown in for a taste. So, they were really good, but the sound was a bit muddy and harsh at the same time. There was definitely some problems with the PA or something, I could really see our crust punk soundguy having a hard time this night.

Dead Elephant were good, but at this point the sound really sucked, so I didn’t enjoy much of their set. I was waiting for Fields of Locust, which I listened and liked a lot beforehand, but it was getting late and I was getting really tired and did I say that there were some weird problems with the PA? Anyway, I managed to see their set, but I was already feeling a bit dizzy, so I just sat still trying to listen to the music.

This is probably one of the biggest drawbacks of being deliberately sober – your body is just being too honest with you, and when you’re tired – you’re tired and you can’t do anything about it (i.e. cheat with some liquor and squeeze some extra energy out of thin air). However, this has it’s undisputable benefits, like remembering all the bands you’ve seen and stuff! Yay!

I went to sleep right before Snøgg went onstage, so I missed them for the second time (they had a gig in Sofia before Mount of Artan and I stupidly missed it thinking I will catch them on the fest). Bummer, I have to say, but at least I got a patch from them, which is cool and has a snowflake/inverted cross design or something. I like patches.

We packed our stuff on Sunday and got on the road, as we all needed a shower and a proper bed. Easy ride back home, and the old Renault didn’t fuck us up. Well, it’s battery was dead in the morning, but a cool Serbian dude helped us jump-start, so we were all good.

In the end…

We made it! We did our first show and it was a great experience! Now we are hungry for more and we are making our set better and writing new songs and stuff. Mount of Artan was one of the best experiences I’ve had playing in bands for the last 15 years, honestly. I am impressed by what these guys are doing, a small, independent, self-organized DIY underground music festival. A free festival with great bands and tight organisation. A meaningful experience for all involved, and a fun one! Also, I am way impressed by the quality of most of the bands I saw. No “bigger” names this year, but I came back home with more than one new discoveries, and I sure hope that we play with some of the bands together again!

Thanks to all who helped make this happen and especially to Goran Loncarevic and the whole Stonerizer crew! We would love to come back to Mount of Artan next year!

Shentov | Feedbacker