Pavel Popov

Pavel Popov

Pavel Popov was a former member of the Finnish band SANTA CRUZ. But, as we are about to discover, he is a lot more than just a former member of that band. Metal temple writer Caio Botrel recently had he chance to catch up with him, and see what he has been up to since his departure from SANTA CRUZ.
By Caio Botrel
November 10, 2019
Pavel Popov interview
Hi there Pav, how are you? Thank you for giving us this interview. Could you introduce yourself for those who doesn't know you yet?

Pav: My full name is Pavel Popov, but in everyday life I go with Pav. I'm from Russia. Some of you might know me as an ex-member of Finnish band Santa Cruz. But besides that I write songs, produce them, sing and play on them. My main focus is guitar playing!

When did you start playing the guitar and singing? How did it happen?

Pav: I started playing guitar when I was just turning 12 years old. I'm 20 now. I got obsessed with Michael Jackson and tried to learn dancing, but somehow it just wasn't for me (I know how moonwalk though! lol). At the same time my mother gave me Jackson's biography book as a gift and on the very first pages of it I read, that every one in Jackson family could play musical instruments. Immediately I thought I should learn how to play something, if dancing doesn't really work. The only option then was my father's very old, cheap acoustic guitar. He showed me my first basic chords and how to stroke on them. As I was progressing, after a few months I moved on to electric guitar and went to a local guitar teacher to learn how to play this thing. Singing just kind of came out of nowhere. I'm a big Zakk Wylde fan, so when I discovered his early solo projects such as Pride&Glory and his first solo record "Book of shadows" about four-five years ago, I got very inspired by that.

Do you play any other instrument besides the guitar and singing?

Pav: Probably like every other guitar player, I can play bass. I play very basic drums. Also I play piano just a much as I need for my records, but recently I started practicing it more often. The whole vibe around piano and synths is very anesthetic and romantic. I love it!

Which were your main influences when you started and which ones do you have now?

Pav: When I started playing electric guitar, I'd say my main influence was Steve Vai and bands such as Rammstein and Metallica as more of a heavier influences. These days it's kind of hard to tell about influences… it's more of who do I get my inspiration from. Steve Vai is probably still number one, guitar wise. Some younger guys like Periphery, I Prevail, Lost Society. Few mature metal bands that are on top of their game these days - Slipknot, Gojira, Bullet For my Valentine.

Can you tell us a little bit about your setup these days? Live and studio.

Pav: My studio is more like home project studio, can I even call it a studio? Lol. I'm recording everything on my lap top in DAW (digital audio workstation). Mostly I'm using my ESP's through Line 6 helix LT, both live and "studio".  Using Blue bluebird microphone to record vocals. Also recently I have purchased the legendary 1992 Peavey 5150 block letter, so I'm gonna start using that beast for guitar tones too.

You have recently released your newest single "Stone Cold City" on October 4th on the internet. What are your next plans? Can we expect a solo album and touring as a solo artist or a new band?

Pav: The plan is just to stay as active as I can musically and on YouTube. I'm gonna release more solo music untill the end of this year, stay tuned for that! Forming a band or any kind of solo touring is very far in the back of my head by now. I can only tell "someday" it will eventually happen.

The music business has changed a lot over the years and now we have all of those streaming platforms where we can share and sell our music. What do you think of that? It's better than the old way when the bands depended on labels?

Pav: I haven't experienced the vinyl/cd/labels era myself but I can tell that I'm liking the one we live right now. It has become so easy to share music with your audience. I think eventually every artist in the world will become self-managed. It takes hard work and hustle but it's fun! Although I see a downside of it, which is never ending content. The humanity is not capable of listening to all the music it creates not even in 1000 years. And the more content is out there, the easier it is to get lost within it. I don't know where this will lead us to, but I say let's roll with it and see!

We've met here in Belo Horizonte, Brazil about three months ago and I had the pleasure of working with you for a few hours and picking you up at the airport. Do you have any good memories from your Brazilian tour that you can share with us?

Pav: it was during very intense and emotional time for me, according to what was happening within the band and in life in general. Playing on stage for Brazilian audience was the biggest highlight of everything. It was so appreciative and I want to give my appreciation back to everyone who came to see the shows. Thank you! Another highlight was hanging around road crew, Glen and Mykkä, during load ins/outs and soundckecks. They're top notch, very experienced technicians and they've shared a lot of useful information with me.

Last but not least, can you tell us a funny tour story?

Pav: You know that the funniest once are always impossible to share, because they're so nasty! But one thing that I found kind of funny was on mini-tour with Santa Cruz in Germany. We had four crew members and four band members and we accidentally found out that the crew guys secretly agreed that each one of them takes of one of us to look after and make sure we stay alive. I immediately felt like a problem kid, imagining one of the guys sitting in the bush with binocular while I go out to get myself some pizza…

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