It has happened again. You get to know a band that has been around for many years. That’s what happened to the Russian Power Metal band Rubicon, which was founded in 2008 but only released its debut album “Welcome To Wasteland” ten years later. In July this year, the successor “Demonstar” was released. And it thrilled me. Singer Ivan Bulankov is often compared with Bruce Dickinson. My listening impression confirmed this. Now I have the opportunity to ask the singer some questions.
MHF: Hello Ivan. I’m Rainer and I write for the Metalheads Forever Magazine. Thank you for letting me do this interview with you. How are you?
Ivan: Greetings! Things are great! We are very encouraged by the excellent response to “Demonstar” everywhere! I am very glad to have the opportunity to give this interview!
MHF: I’m sure many fans feel the same way I do. Until now, Rubicon were unknown to me. Please introduce the band briefly.
Ivan: Of course! So, Rubicon nowadays is:
Ivan Bulankov… that is I 😊 – Vocals, band mastermind
Dmitry Belf – Bass, Arrangements, Producing
Bob Saliba – Guitars
Humanoid Lobotodronth – Drums
MHF: Rubicon only released their debut album ten years after they were founded. Why did it take you so long?
Ivan: As it often happens with local bands (and I started in my native Krasnoyarsk, Siberia, where there is absolutely no music industry), since the foundation we have gone through many line-up changes, experimented with the style and sound: for example, in 2010 the Internet EP “T-800” was released, sustained in the key of Industrial Metal. As a result, the work on debut “Welcome To Wasteland” began around 2015 and the path to release was long and difficult, however, I still like the result: despite the lack of conditions, we managed to make a fairly high-quality and original album, in my opinion. Compared to the debut album, the work on “Demonstar” was easy and inspired, since a team of real professionals was already working on it!
MHF: If you look at the line-up, you can almost speak of an international all-star band. How did this collaboration come about?
Ivan: Oh, I’ll tell you with pleasure! As I have already said, in the first years of Rubicon’s existence, our line-up often changed. This was primarily due to the insufficient level of local Krasnoyarsk musicians, for the same reason, the debut album is not so good technically. However, I have always set a goal to make the highest quality music, striving for the level of the great Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Savatage, Manowar, King Diamond, Halford, Bruce Dickinson’s solo works, etc. The situation changed dramatically after we started working with a wonderful bass guitarist and producer Dmitry Belf. It was with his help that the current line-up of very high-class musicians was formed. It is also thanks to Belf that the French guitarist Bob Saliba joined us, whose melodic solos have become an undoubted “feature” on the new album! They met during a European tour with the legendary band Therion, Bob liked our new material and he was happy to join the band! 😊
MHF: How did the collaboration work during the recording of the current album? That must have been very difficult because of Corona?
Ivan: This may sound strange, but Corona almost did not affect the work on the new album in any way: we, as you know, live in different regions and the entire creative process is organized using the Internet, so there were no difficulties… Another question is that it is much more difficult with concerts, because the whole world is still on pause. However, let’s hope that this problem will be solved in the foreseeable future! For me, as a huge fan of European culture, touring Europe would be a dream come true! So, let’s be optimistic 😊 😊
MHF: How does songwriting work in a band that is partly international?
Ivan: The process is organized as follows: first, I come up with a vocal line for a pre-written text (mine or a joint one with co-authors), record it in a home studio together with keyboards and approximate drums. Thus, we get the first demo. Then I send it to Belf, he makes a professional arrangement and it’s all sent to Bob, who is working on the guitar parts. Then all this is rewritten completely, mixing and mastering is performed – and that’s it! 😊
MHF: Ivan, as I wrote in the introduction, you are often compared to the Iron Maiden lead singer. What does this mean to you?
Ivan: This is just a phenomenal compliment for me! When I heard about these comparisons, I was just happy! I just started learning to sing, at the age of 12, thanks to Iron Maiden! I have been listening to them since childhood, I was struck by this powerful and mighty voice, I tried to copy it as much as possible, every intonation… Naturally, it turned out in the end in my own way, since we have different timbres, but Bruce Dickinson was and remains my idol and such a comparison is a huge honour for me!
MHF: You have released “Demonstar” this year. I was a little confused by the different dates I found on the internet. January 30th, March 23rd or July 16th. Which date is correct?
Ivan: Everything is simple here: Russian releases and European: in Russia we came out on the local leading label Fono, and in Europe and around the world – on Rock City Records, with which we are very happy with our cooperation!
MHF: Are you happy with the result?
Ivan: Yes, indeed! Demonstar was originally conceived as an album capable of showing our best at the moment, and in my opinion we quite succeeded! 😊
MHF: What was the reaction of the fans and the media?
Ivan: The reaction was simply amazing! It exceeded all my expectations! Especially inspired by the reviews in Europe: an average of 8/10! I didn’t expect this, but it’s very inspiring!
MHF: What will happen next with Rubicon? Is a successor already planned? Or possibly live performances when the pandemic is over?
Ivan: Of course! Moreover, the next album will be a conceptual one, the material for it has already been written, and painstaking work is being done on the arrangement! We have set ourselves another bar: to do something grandiose and large-scale! I hope our fans will not be disappointed! Regarding concerts: this summer in Moscow we had a small club concert – a presentation of Demonstar, but, as we know, touring is still prohibited. However, we are optimistic about the future!
MHF: Thank you again for the interview. Would you like to say something to the fans at the end?
Ivan: Thank you for such a warm welcome to the new album! This is incredible! I hope to see you at concerts in the future! Stay Metal!