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Nebulah Frost questioning Lembetu

1.Is line-up of LOITS today the same as on “Legion Estland” or were there any personal exchanges?

After the tragic and untimely demise of our guitarist and soulmate A. Kalm in the spring of the year 2000 and the drummer Atso joining the band in the autumn of the same year there have been no line-up changes in the band.

We know one another for quite a long time now. We've played in different metal bands for over 10 years and have shared the stage now and then. In time we've become pretty close friends and that's probably the main reason for the Loits line-up remaining so stable.

2.Your last EP “Legion Estland” was released by Ledo Takas Records. Are you satisfied with their work for your band? And what about Polish label 7 gates of Hell who released in re-edition your first album “Ei Kahetse Midagi” Were those labels and their work good for LOITS?

Tadas, our comrade in arms who's become a good friend of ours, has done more for Loits than any person outside the band. We are more than satisfied with his work. Today's UG is full of bragmouths whose promises don't hold water and never come true, and Loits has had a lot of experience with such types. Fortunately Tadas is not one of them and our coooperation continues. The new Loits album "Vere kutse kohustab" ("The Call of the Blood Compels") is recorded for Ledo Takas and in the spring of 2005 we'll do another European tour thanks to him.

It seems that SGOH has done a lot of good work for us, too, but I can't tell you much about it, since I haven't really communicated with Zibi and co. lately (actually, they haven't replied to my e-mails), but they've been true to their word all right.

3.Which other material of LOITS was released? I have only first album “Ei Kahetse Midagi” and 7EP “Legion Estland”.

After the “Legion Estland” 7” we've also recorded materials for “Raiugem Ruunideks” and “Meeste Muusika” that were planned to be released before our second full-length album, but it seems this won't be happening, though. That's a piry, because this trilogy of EPs (LE, RR and MM) would have been a very beautiful introduction to our next full-length.

I sincerely hope these materials will some day be released as 7" EPs. They deserve it.

Beverina Productions has released a video CD-R called "Reval 15.02.2003". It's a concert filmed with hand-held camera that took place here in Estonia. The quality of both the sound as well as the picture are quite good, so it gives a pretty adequate idea of what Loits was back then. There will be more video material soon. Hold your eyes and ears open.

4.Are you preparing new stuff now? Will it be in the same vein like your previous releases? Tell me the title of your new album. Which label will release it? Every information is welcomed.

As mentioned above, our next full-length album "Vere kutse kohustab" is recorded and will be released as CD and LP under Ledo Takas Records this September. We held negotiations with Death To Minkind Records for a while, but then decided to go with Tadas, and it seems we don't have to regret that decision. There have been other offers, too.

The new material is quite different drom our first album "Ei kahetse midagi", but it's still recognizably Loits-like. Those who've heard the material of our three 7" EPs may have an inkling of what to expect. To those who've never heard any newer tunes after the "Ei kahetse midagi" material, I can say that I'm using more pure vocals on the new record and we've incorporated some pretty strong rock'n'roll influences. The songs don't sound so alike anymore and Loits fans will find many a surprise on the "Vere kutse kohustab" album.

5.Your music is realy greatly composed. Who is composing music. Is anyone in LOITS great composer or is making the songs whole band together?

Thanks for the praise. At the moment there's three members writing music for Loits – M. Engele, Gates and myself. By the time we start rehearsing them, all the songs usually mutate quite a bit. Lately we've been experimenting with our music a lot, and we try not to lay down any restrictions. We simply enjoy what we do.

6.Your music has very strong rock and folklore spirit. You are influenced by this music I see. It is making your music more heavy and fresh. On “Legion Estland” 7 EP there is cover version on a song “Demon´s Night” which is a song by THARAPHITA. I don´t know this band. It is a band from Estonia? Tell me more about THARAPHITA. There music must sound like realy good hard rock.

The fondness of certain bandmembers for MOTÖRHEAD and stoner rock as well as older black metal has left its mark on our music, but one can't underestimate also the influence of some newcomers, like KHOLD, for example. That's where the rock'n'roll influences in our newer songs come from.

I can't really say anything about folk influences; none of us is much of a fan of folk music and, to be honest, I can't find a trace of folk in our music.

THARAPHITA is the oldest pagan black metal band in Estonia and pretty well known name in the Baltics. "Demon's Night" is definitely not one of their more distinctive songs, and our version differs quite a lot from the original. THARAPHITA's "Demon's Night" is an homage to the pillars of 80s black metal like SODOM, CELTIC FROST etc. Nowadays THARAPHITA sounds like a mixture of ROTTING CHRIST, RUNNING WILD and BATHORY. People who like the bands mentioned should lend an ear to THARAPHITA as well. It's a good band.

Loits is bound to THARAPHITA by way of a long-time friendship. I myself was a member of the band from 1997 to 1999. I left when LOITS stood up on its own feet and started to demand most of my free resources.

7.Which other bands from Estonia are good? Which ones do you like? I know only MANATARK and LOITS of course. I saw MANATARK´s gig in Prague. They played with MAYHEM this April in Czech republic. Their gig was realy good. Tell me something more about metal scene in Estonia!!

MANATARK is like LOITS's twin brother. Both M. Engele and Gates have played in it, and we were together on our first tour called "Baltic Thunder". Besides MANATRK I would recommend to BM fans the band called MUST MISSA – energetic, in-your-face old school BM. And we already discussed THARAPHITA.

There's a lot of interesting and good metal made in Estonia these days. The local metal scene grows in strength every day, and I hope that our bands can make their voice heard outside Estonia pretty soon. Conditions for that are good right now, because the scene is now more active than ever before. Most of this has been achieved by HARD ROCK CLUB. Bars, gigs, festivals and a nationwide metal radio show are motivation enough, and possibly the success of LOITS, MANATARK, MUST MISSA, FORGOTTEN SUNRISE, METSATÖLL a.o. impels other bands to better themselves with even more vigour.

The biggest drawback is the absence of a local record company that could extend a helping hand to the bands. In that respect there are no changes to be expected in the near future, but, as they say, hope springs eternal.

Some Estonian bands one should check out: ECHOSILENCE (jazzy prog metal), FORGOTTEN SUNRISE (deathbeat), HERALD (heavy metal), HORRICANE (slow death metal), HUMAN GROUND (neo-thrash), KANTOR VOY (prog metal), MUST MISSA (thrashy black`n`roll), P.W.A. (RAC), SHELTON SAN (garage rock), THARAPHITA (pagan metal), WHISPERING FOREST (gothic doom), ZAHIR (garage rock) a.o.

8.Your music has strong ideological background. I see LOITS as very patriotic and nationalistic band. Tell me about your own view of history of second world war. I know that Germans were ones who saved you from red terror of communism for a few years?

You're not mistaken when you say LOITS is a patriotic band with a deeply national ideology. We chose this path right in the beginning and hope to stay on it as long as we last. That is what makes Loits LOITS. We are quite aware that we can be misunderstood or condemned because of our views, but that will not divert us from our chosen path.

Yes, it was during the German occupation that the reds were beaten out of the country or driven underground, but I wouldn't give all the credit for driving out the commies to the Germans. Far from it. In order to understand the situation in Estonia in these times and the themes Loits sings about we would have to start from eralier times and examine the tragic events that took place here.

When WWII broke out in 1939, the Soviet Union grouped at the Estonian border a 160 000-man army unit , the size of which outnumbered Estonia's armed forces tenfold. The Russians blocked Estonia from the sea and their airplanes started to fly scouting missions over our country. Estonia tried to avoid a conflict with the Soviet Union. Even a partial mobilization was deemed too perilous. Thus the Soviets forced a mutual support agreement on Estonia and our government decided to give in to their demands; the main arguments were the need to avoid war and the fate of Poland, the lack of foreign aid and Estonia's military weakness. Since Estonia was governed by an authoritarian clique at the time, the decisions were made by a very small group of people. The public's reactions were varied; confusion and dissappointment among the people were deepened by the goventment's previous promises to protect the homeland at all costs. Besides, Estonian people knew who they were dealing with. It had been a mere 20 years since the Freedom War, during which the red Russian forces (together with those of Germany) were driven out of the country by Estonians.

Estonia kept true to the pact made with the Soviet Union with a stressed correctness, the Soviet side breached it both secretly as well as openly and made additional demands. The enemy brought in much more forces than the quotas allowed and started to use Estonian bases for aerial attacks against Finland. Estonian people sympathized strongly with the Finns and hundreds of Estonians secretly fled Estonia and joined the Finnish army.

The Soviet government came up with more and more absurd accusations, bulling through an ultimatum after another. Under the Red Army's wing some "spontaneous" demonstrations were organized, which grew to armed rebellion. Soon a Soviet-friendly puppet government was appointed in order to undermine Estonia's nationhood. The next step was to legitimaze Estonia's annection in the eyes of the world with the "election" of so-called "people's parliaments". The government that claimed power due to that unexpectedly declared Estonian Republic as a Socialist Republic of Estonia, which was incorporated into the Soviet Union. The occupants' extensive terror began. Estonia's armed forces were included into the Red Army. Estonia's political, military and economical élite was systematically destroyed. Whole families of Estonians (10 000 people) were deported to Russia, where the majority of them died in grievous conditions. A sparse few managed to escape to the Western world. During the first Soviet occupation over 12 000 Estonians were massacred. People fled from the terror to the forests; a conspired resistance group was formed.

The sovietization of Estonia ceased when Germany attacked the Soviet Union. Wehrmacht advanced quickly on the Baltic front. Southern Estonia was conquered without bigger battles. The Red Army remained on the defense line in the Middle Estonia and the Soviet authotities had time to hold a general mobilization in Northern Estonia. Destroyer battalions were formed that implemented the so-called scorched earth tactics, killing approximately 2000 civilians. Russia managed to evacuate to Kronstadt about 60 000 people, 33 000 draftees of whom were taken to Northern Russian and Siberian work battalions. About half of them died on the way or due to slave work and hunger.

When the war reached Estonia, the bushwacker partisans overthrew the Soviet reign and reestablished the self governments from the period of independence in several regions even before the arrival of Germans. The Self-Defence (Omakaitse) assebled according to the model of the civilian Defence League (Kaitseliit) of the former Estonian Republic quickly grew to be a country-wide mass organization with 40 000 members who maintained order and caught Soviet diversionists.

In the beginning a lot of Estonians greeted the Germans as liberators. People hoped that with the demise of the Soviet reign Estonia's nationhood would be restored, but the Germans had other plans. Thus began the German occupation, which wasn't a fourth as debilitating and bloody as the Soviet one, but an occupation nevertheless, with everything accompanying one.

Due to the circumstances Estonians fought in the second world war either voluntarily or involuntarily in the German army, the Red Army or the Finnish forces. Up until the year 1943 10 000 to 12 000 volunteers continuously served in the German army, most of them in Police and Eastern Battalions in Russia. The main motivation was revenge. In the year 1942 the forming of a national Estonian Legion within the Weapons-SS began. Since the October of 1943 the Germans held mandatory mobilizations. 3000 youths of the age 16 to 17 were drafted into the auxiliary service of the German Air Force. A lot of them later continued as Legionnaires. Estonians saw the national corps as a prerequisite to the rebirth of the Republic.

Altogether 70 000 Estonians were in the German army at one time or another, 20 000 of them volunteers. Some of the draftees dodged the mandatory mobilizations held by the German authoroties. They took to the woods or escaped to Finland, where more than 3000 Estonians served in the Finnish army (thus paying back the debt owed to the Finns since the Estonian Freedom War, because about the same number of Finns took part in that one). In the August of 1944 1800 so-called Finnboys (soomepoisid) returned home to continue fighting the Reds in the German forces.

Within the Red Army a 25 000 to 30 000 man gunner corps was formed that lost 3/4 of its recruits (17 000 men) under Velikije Luki. In January 1944 the Red Army beat the German forces back from under Leningrad and the front advanced to Estonia's border. Germany's high command decided to defend the strategically important Estonia, using as many Estonian corps as possible. In the end of January another general mobilization was held, the success of which was guaranteed thanks to the national-minded circles. Because of the relentless resistance of German and Estonian corps all of the great advances of the Red Army on the first half of 1944 on the Narva line were driven back. The Red Army could not break through the Tannenberg defence line in the Sinimäed (the Blue Mountains), where extremely bloody battles took place during the summer. In order to crush the Estonian resistance, the Red Air Force initiated terror bombings of civilian targets. Historical Narva was bombed to the ground, also Tartu and Jõhvi suffered. In the 9th of March bombing of Tallinn 800 people were killed. Unable to break through in Northeastern Estonia, the Red Army started a successful onslaught in Southeastern Estonia and soon conquered Tartu. The German high command decided to abandon Estonia. The German retreat was covered by Estonians. Also an Estonian army unit within the Red Army took part in the capturing of Tallinn. Estonians fought Estonians also in the battles of Avinurme and Porkuni.

In the september of 1944 the Red Army reached Tallinn. Estonians tried without success to restore their nationhood in between the two occupations and to coordinate the defence of Tallinn. By the end of November all of Estonia was occupied again.

70 000 Estonians and 7000 Estonian Swedes fled to the Western world from the communist occupation in the summer of 1944. Counting the fallen, the executed, the deported and the refugees and due to the reduction of Estonia's administrative territories, Estonia lost in the war some 300 000 people, which was more than a quarter of the pre-war population. Such loss of lives is one of the greatest among European countries. On the front, an equal 10 000 Estonian men died fighting on either side.

As the war ended, the Red terror blossomed once again in Estonia, and this time twice as ferociously as during the first Soviet occupation. From 1944 to 1956 some 70 000 people were repressed, 19 000 of whom perished. Altogether 100 000 Estonians were killed in the war and as a result of the occupations up until the year 1956. Fight against the occupants continued abroad and in the forests of our native land. In the years 1944 to 1953 about 30 000 Estonian men and women fought in the woods as partisans. Several bushwacker brigades were active until 1956. The last active Estonian bushwacker August Sabe died during arrest in 1978. The last known bushwacker died a free man in the year 1980.

9.Tell me more about national feeling of Estonian nation. Is nationalism in Estonia strong and proud or not? I think that your country went on higher level of existence after the fall of communism, the same as mine country. But on the other hand I don´t like blind democracy so much?

What has become of the once proud and mighty Europe?! It is now like an old and feeble geront whose flesh is dead and whose lie-poisoned mind shows signs of senility. Some fresher blood was transfused into it with the induction of new members, but what good can it do when the body is weary and the mind dim? We have become a part of a sick and fatigued system governed by parasites. After the Second Warld War Europe and actually the whole world is menacingly off center and no signs of healing are evident.

I am worried about Estonia and Estonians. The government keeps passing decisions that are detrimental to the state and the nation. They tell us it's all in the interest of the continued existence of the Republic and and try to present these decisions as either necessary and inevitable or good and profitable. In reality they are profitable only to a very narrow circle that either governs our country or affects its government. The people swallow the lie, yet continue to be angry at the unsatisfactory turn of events. People bash the government, unaware of the true reasons of why things are as they are. They are unable to see the big picture, to associate certain events. The superficiality of the people allows the government to manipulate them. Every day the slogans of political parties become more populistic, and less and less promises become fulfilled, because after a new and glorious election campaign the people will elect them back to power anyway. That's modern democracy for you. Using propaganda and stick-and-carrot methods those close to power beat their ideas into the minds of the people, thus making the naive citizen believe that it is they who know exactly what's wrong or right and on that basis make decions beneficial to the country. In fact, they don't. These decisions have already been made without the nation's consent. Nonconformists are persecuted and ridiculed, threatened with jail or loss of social position. No-one talks about how everything the euro-sceptics warned the people about before joining to the EU has been implemented in recent months or is currently being implemented. Estonia has almost lost its right and ability to decide for itself. Our fast development will be stopped and EU will swallow our economy. We'll become cheap labour for the "great country", consuming their products. EU simply expanded its market and eliminated a part of the competition.

Another thing that makes me worry is the fact that Russia is trying with all its might and very conspicuously to increase its influence in the Baltics. When we let this happen, we can count on a new occupation. Russia has only changed its vocabulary; the message hasn't changed in decades (if not even centuries). Practically every day our Eastern neighbour attacks us through the media, amplifying every little national event that takes place here, trying to paint it a criminal hue. Russia is openly talking about restoring their historical area of influence. We know what that would mean for Estonia. Russia hasn't even given us back our President's honorary badge of office that's been in their possession since the occupation – a fact that clearly shows the country's attitude.

When we were joining the EU, we were told about our choices – either EU or Russia; that we had to choose the lesser evil of the two. EU is not a defence organization and offers no protection against Russia. On the contrary. EU has its own reasons for maintaining good relations with our Eastern neighbour. Don't most of EU's raw materials come from Russia? Thus we can only look to NATO, but I'm quite sceptical about their help as well. EU and NATO leaders don't think for Russia, do they? Chechenia is a perfect example of how the Big Bear deals with countries it considers its own, and how other countries let this happen unhindered.

Nationalism is on the downgrade here in Estonia. It's a pity that in ten years the people have forgotten how we all held hands and sang "Proud And Good To Be An Estonian" together. Maybe our freedom was paid for with too little a sacrifice. Today, in an era when everything is measured in money, there is no place for nationalism. Nationalism is an unpopular subject, something referred to as a relic, often with negative connotations, or even something criminal. Suddenly nationalism seems to be something we should be ashamed of. No national-minded organization can get into the government any longer. Even the government we have at the moment is already being accused of nazism. The reason for the latter is a disease raising its ugly head in Estonia and already affecting deeply most of Europe, called "political correctness". It doesn't take a genius to figure out in whose interests all this is happening.

There must be at least a drop of nationalist blood in the veins of every representative of a small nation, because if that is lost or drained, there will be no more nation, and then there will be no point in having a nation-state. Sometimes I catch myself thinking that that's exactly the goal for some. So I rejoice all the more when I discover another new national-minded movement or a group of people here in Estonia, and I'm happy to note that such a circle is growing day by day. Nationalism seems to draw more and more young people. So, I believe there's still hope, and if you look at our history, we've had to survive much worse times, which we've done, and remained a nation still.

10.You were on European tour with HORNA last year. I mean Goat Guts Over Europe Tour 2003. Was this tour succesfull? Tell me an interesting story that happened on that tour. And what about the guys from HORNA? Are they cool tourmates? Are you preparing anything else like this? It will be great to see LOITS again here in Czech Republic.

Each day on the road was an adventure in itself, and I strongly doubt if anyone felt even a minute of boredom. When nothing else maintained the suspense, it was definitely mishaps associated with pretty bad organizing in some places. Let's say there was trouble and there was fun and we could talk about that for hours, but the space of your zine is limited. So I'll only mention a few more interesting circumstances.

For example, we reached our venue in Schwarzfeld, the second one on the tour, a bit too late -- the sound engineer had already left and the PA for the stage was down. The concert would have been cancelled but for our own soundman Draconic (MANATARK), who took care of putting up and tuning of the equipment. As a manager of Hard Rock Club, Kaido is very adept in such matters, and at that time he helped us all out of a very difficult situation. Thanks to his help we got the equipment working fine.

Another thing worth mentioning happened to Horns, the drummer of BEHEXEN. His feet started to suffer from constant encapsulation in boots. They went puffy and an infection set in. He spent a night in hospital and was sent home on a plane from Amsterdam the next morning. Thus BEHEXEN missed their gig in Gent, and after that the young and talented drummer of SALACIOUS GODS replaced him for the rest of the tour. Others also had problems with feet.

About inter-band relations: we have only positive memories, and HORNA was no exception in that respect. All of us got along really well.

For LOITS, the tour was a great success. We are all very thankful to Tadas for that. We still receive positive feedback up to this day, and we're welcome back to Europe. To be honest, Tadas actually has plans of sending us on tour again next spring. This time we'll be going together with OBTEST, NOCTURNAL MORTUM and ASTROFAES. We hope to visit the Czech Republic during that tour as well, but it's too early to make any promises.

11.On 7EP “Legion Estland” there is a song called “Terasvanne”. It is industrial, dark wave, ambient song. Something like this. Do you like this kind of music? What is that old War Hymn that sounds at the background of “Terasvanne” It sounds like any war march??.

On the background of "Terasvanne" there actually is a military march from WWII. There is no deeper meaning to it than that.

We listen to lots of different styles of music, and dark wave, ambient and industrial music are also among our favourites. I doubt if any particular band inspired Gates directly to write that song. It's just that the material itself demanded a song like that. I believe we may flirt with such themes in the future as well, but something entirely else may pop up, too. For example, a remix of "Tuleristsed" by 4-got-10 is planned to be included on the "Raiugem ruunideks" EP; it sounds a little bit like a cross between EBM and Future Pop. The track is a very groovy one, and Ronny (Pandaimonium/Clan Of Xymox) liked it a lot as well. He's added the remix of "Tuleristsed" to his playlist and plays it at that kind of parties. There will be surprises on the new release as well, and this time from an entirely different vein.

12.Great. That´s all. Thank you for interesting interview. Your last words are only yours!!

I've spent too long already chatting here with you. It's good you don't have any more questions, because other Loits-related matters have to be dealt with, too! :)

Hold your national flag up high and don't forget your roots. I hope to see you all on the Czech ground again pretty soon.

Author: Nebulah Frost (Czech Republic)

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