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LENE KOSTI – Fresh Act Februar 2011

Of course there is a metal scene in every country and every place has local heroes. Formed in 1978 in their home country Slowenia (back then still part of Yugoslavia´s strict regime), they became metal gods in 1985 after they had recruited MILAN KRUSIC as their new singer and frontman. No easy life for metal bands in the old days, and they disappeard again. Times have changed, they reformed in 2008 and made their way across the border where I saw a brillant LENE KOSTI (Lazy Bones) gig in Scheifling, Austria in 2009. Their first studio album Do Or Die is receiving very positive reactions since the release in March 2010 – a good reason for an interview with front man MILAN KRUSIC about past, present and future of the band….

Metal bands had no easy life in your country in the old days, but you could manage to make a demo tape. Was the recording very difficult?
Yes. The recording took place in stages. It was extremely expensive and we also had to wait several months to get a date at the studio. When the recordings were finished, the songs met with disapproval by the authorities because they were recorded in English. The authorities took us to be a band which corrupts the socialistic youth.

Lene Kosti - Heavy Artillery ( Penetrator )

Not having played as band for about 20 years and 30 years after having formed Lene Kosti – how did the idea of reforming come up to your minds?
The band was celebrating its 30th anniversary with a one-off gig and I had been invited on stage to sing Russian Girl with them – the chemistry worked. We had a meeting and the atmosphere was fantastic. The idea to revive the band was self-evident.

Since Lene Kosti reformed in 2008, things were working well for the band. The first studio album DO OR DIE was released. The songs are new material or is it mixed with stuff from the old days?
The majority of the songs is old, but with new arrangements and a more modern sound. There are also 5 brand new songs on it, which the audience received very well.

As far as I know you sell Do Or Die  through your homepage and at your gigs – does this work well?
Taking into account that it’s the era of internet download, I can say that we sell the CD satisfactorily – it is also boosted by excellent reviews around Europe. Of course, the majority of CD’s we sell at the gigs – after people see us perform, they are eager to buy – in Villach (AUT), for example, our T-shirts and CD’s were sold out.

How did it come that you got Manni Schmidt and Mat Sinner as guest musicians on your first ever studio album?
A strong friendship binds us together. The idea was born as we performed with Grave Digger in Ljubljana and Manni Schmidt played with us on Russian Girl. I asked him to contribute to our album and he agreed. Mat Sinner also agreed to play on the song Sunrise, and he even interrupted his recording of the Michael Kiske album to do this. Both were also very enthusiastic about the finished CD.

Your live shows are very rocking metal so how did it come that there is one ballad on the album?
On every truly metal album, there should be a ballad – so we decided to record Blind in Love. We wanted to show that tough guys also have their soft side. We were helped by the great girl singer from the band Brezno.

What happened since the release from Do Or Die in March 2010 ?
We regularly play in Slovenia, and have been invited to play open air festivals in surrounding countries – also in Austria. We have very good reviews around Europe, in the German Rock Hard
magazine our album was chosen as demo of the month. Demo, because we published the CD ourselves, and are still looking for a record company.

The first time I saw LENE KOSTI in 2009 you all performed a great gig and since that your show has changed quite a lot. The music is great as ever but you are using skulls and blood on stage and you appear as Dr. Evil – why that?
I try to improve my performance by a certain showmanship for which I think I have a talent. I already wanted to do that in the eighties, but in those times I could have ended up in jail for doing it. My performance is based upon a few evil characters which fit the songs. My performance is intended to be fun with a bit of a shocking element as the people better remember you that way. Since I started doing so, the reactions were very positive, these days people are asking me before the show which characters I will impersonate. I don’t want to disappoint my audience and always give my maximum and give them what they came to see and hear – Metal and a bit of a horror show.

Not all band members are founding members, you joined in 1985 and that was the kick to the front for L. K. in the old days in a country called Yugoslawia. The country has changed and the line up too. Can you tell me something about these changes through the past years and your band mates?
Original band members from 1978 are the brothers Kavaš – lead and rhythm guitar. I joined in 1985. Let me say that we three are the nucleus of the band. The rhythm section went through several line-up changes. It was always difficult to find people who were body and soul dedicated to the project as well as being good musicians. Now we have finally solved this problem – our drummer Rok Večerin – Wuko is one of the best drummers in Slovenia, he has played with many metal bands and has quite a few recordings to his name. The new bass player – Aaron Cernatič – is a guy with extreme feeling for the rhythm and a very well known name on the Slovenian metal scene. His name is also on a couple of recorded albums. The new members fit perfectly into our vision of the band, they add the little something that we lacked thus far and we look forward to gigs with them.

How would you describe the chemistry of Lene Kosti? Who is/are the songwriter(s)?
The chemistry is in the fact that we are bound together by strong friendships – almost like a family. We do not try to force things, our best ideas come unannounced, we don’t need many words, when we compose, we feel each other and know beforehand how it is going to go. The musical part is mainly the domain of the Kavaš brothers, while I contribute the lyrics. The arrangements are done collectively – as a band.

What are your future plans? Maybe a DVD or so?
In September 2011 we will be back to the studio to record a new CD. The DVD is slowly taking shape – we are collecting footage and other material, as well as some rare recordings. We hope to be able to play in front of as many people as possible, on as many concerts in Slovenia as well as abroad. In case you invite us, we will be pleased to come and play.

Would love to see you live again! All the best and thanks for the interview!
Thank you for your questions, metal greetings!

Author: Isabella Seefriedt

GastmitarbeiterInnen / guest contributions

Regular guest contributors e.g. Melanie Kircher, Tatjana Tattis Murschel, Grit Kabiersch, Marina Minkler, Jasmine Frey, Maria Levin, Elvira Visser, Nina Ratavaara, John Wisniewski