In 2013, five guys , led by a young woman, find themselves in one of the usual cold day in Moscow . But they don't have cold. No. They are hot and they are ready to aflame everything and everyone . The band immediately grows and crosses the borders of a world that seems so distant in time and space, reminding us that we have to pay attention to Russian Metal scene. They have shared the stage with important bands such as Megadeth, Annihilator, Kreator, Overkill, Vader, Children of Bodom e Sepultura. And we have not been able to withstand all this uncontrollable power and we have conversed with them. Come with us to learn more about POKERFACE!

R&MIMB: Hi guys and welcome to Rock & Metal In My Blood! This is a classic question always interesting: could you explain to us the meaning of your moniker?
POKERFACE: : DOCTOR (Drum): Yep, it's classic question. In 2013 we played in different genres - Hard Rock, Metal, Proto-Metal. We were looking for our style. So, we played Motörhead very often, you know, "Iron Fist", "Orgasmatron" and "Ace of Spades". And we thought "Ace of Spades", it can be good prototype for name of band. Maybe "POKERFACE"? Sounds good, ironic, risky and outstanding from classic names of Thrash/Death Metal bands. POKERFACE it's so unusual, right?
In 2014 Delirium (a small girl with extreme vocal) joined us, we changed sound to Thrash-Death and we know for sure POKERFACE is good name for us, so extraordinary and funny.

R&MIMB: Now we are going to talk about your last album "Divide and Rule", released in September 2015. How was it born? Why have you opted for so powerful and direct sounds?
POKERFACE: : NICK (Guitar): Almost every song was written on rehearsals. After our former guitarist Dietrich wrote 3 songs for this album and left the band in November 2014, I began to write music and DedMoroz (bass) began to write lyrics for new stuff.

R&MIMB: The album goes back to the top a glorious past. Is your sound studied to remember to everybody that the old school is still alive and appreciated by young people?
POKERFACE: : NICK (Guitar): We just like to play in old school style, because these speed, high volume, agression etc. are coming from our souls.

R&MIMB: "Divide and Rule" has a really provoking artwork. Could you describe us better what it represents?
POKERFACE: : DOCTOR (Drum): It's a little copy from real colored painting (the artist: Svetlana Golikova). Well, I try to tell couple short stories about it. First: for many times various leaders one-by-one wanted to get full power. They were assured in own ideas, ideals of happiness. But everything what they got: blood, terror, pain, horror. Painting says: Don't be crazy, don't play with Satan, you are already lost. Second: If you want to change something - you have to have good friends, you have to strike together, don't play alone, but if you want to control something - you have to divide your object of control and rule!

R&MIMB: Now we talk about the topics of your songs. We can notice that the main themes deal with Evil and human madness. What is the "Evil" in your opinion? Where can we find it?
POKERFACE: : DEDMOROZ (Bass): Actually, we put different meanings of "Evil" in each song. For example, there are dictators and oppressors in songs "All is lie" and " Divide and Rule", and in "Existence", evil becomes your ally against all. In the song "Into the Inferno" it appears as some kind of fair-minded observer. If to say about the idea of Evil, it could take very different forms; sometimes it is your enemy, sometimes it's on your side. All depends on the point of view. And, as you noticed well, we got a song about human madness called "Human Control".

R&MIMB: In "The Chessboard Killer" you developed a thorny topic, talking about serial killers. Why have you decided to report in music that story and what has stroke you about it?
POKERFACE: : DOCTOR (Drum): Yep. It was real terrible story about Moscow Maniac. The author of the songs was the ex-leader of POKERFACE. He was under the impression from Police report. He thought it's good idea to write song about it. We do not glorify any maniacs, killers, murders. Definitely do not. But this bad guy is a part our environment, and it's a very dangerous and creepy.

R&MIMB: What is your usual process for writing new songs?
POKERFACE: : NICK (Guitar): When I've written the songs for this album I've just drunk plenty of coffee or energetic drinks, watching my guitar and thinking about the song. And the song was born after 5-10 minutes.
: DEDMOROZ (Bass): When the musical form of the song is looking finished I sing it to myself every day and some single words,phrases, parts are born in my head. Then comes the main song title and after that I write lyrics for the whole song.

R&MIMB: In your band there is a woman, Delirium. Was the choice of a female voice premeditated or you decided afterwards?
POKERFACE: : DOCTOR (Drum): Good question. It was no-decision story. We played with different male frontmen with a punk style or hair-metal. And we played without dedicated vocal - Dietrich tried to sing playing the guitar. Unfortunately we couldn't find someone talented and serious for us. And we were forced to check a female vocal. Delirium was the best. Really the best. And she highly organized person with untypical (for girl) discipline.

R&MIMB: This question is dedicated to Delirium: How have you approached to this type of singing? Who are your inspirers?
POKERFACE: : DELIRIUM TREMENS (vocals): It's pretty corny. I've seen a clip of Arch Enemy and wanted to learn to sing as well. And since that time on the Internet virtually nothing existed on the subject, just tried to repeat what I heard. When I felt the confidence came to try out for POKERFACE (before that there were several other teams, but now none of them already exist) and it works very well!

R&MIMB: There are many bands which are unwilling to accept female vocals. What would you like to say to those musicians in order to change their mind?
POKERFACE: : DOCTOR (Drum): I can say epoch changed and female vocal extremely growing. Unbelievable. Nowadays we have a huge social community focused on female metal band, only female metal tour, amazing female-only metal festivals. It's real, it has good business implementation and it's the best example of emancipation.

R&MIMB: When was your passion for Extreme Metal born? Which bands do you consider as fundamental to your evolution as musicians?
POKERFACE: : NICK (Guitar): My father tells me that I began to listen Metallica and Judas Priest before I was born. Well, I listen to Metal all my life, and I decided to be musician and play guitar when I heard first Megadeth album called "Killing is my business".
: DOCTOR (Drum): The first "Metal" cassette for me was Scorpions "Face The Heat". I thought "Oh, my God! It's so cool and heavy! It is not Boney M! " Later I bought cassette "Metallica/Manowar" and thought "Is there something heavier?" And bought Sodom/Overkill. And my life changed. My favourite bands are: Kreator, Sepultura, Sodom, Slayer. Bands of my youth.
: DEDMOROZ (Bass): I started to listen to heavy metal music thanks to "In This Moment". I loved their "Blondie - Call Me" cover. From that moment, I started to learn to play the guitar, listening more and more different metal bands, particularly Avenged Sevenfold and Children of Bodom. Then I discovered bands with female vocals: Nigthwish, Evanescense and of course, Arch Enemy.
: DELIRIUM TREMENS (Vocals): I began to listen Extreme Metal at 14 years old. At first I only listened to Melodic Death Metal (Arch Enemy, Children of Bodom) and then Thrash Metal (Sepultura, Kreator, Sodom), and also Black Metal, Metalcore, Deathcore and etc.
: MANIAC (Guitar): Up to a certain point, I was listening to Metal without special enthusiasm. When I was 13, I saw a Children Of Bodom DVD, which amazed me and motivated to play the guitar. Since then, I listened to many bands, but I cannot highlight my favorite band: all of them are my favorites!!

R&MIMB: You are young but you shared the stage with many Thrash and Death Metal legends. Between these bands, which were you completely at ease with? Who else would you like to play with?
POKERFACE: : DOCTOR (Drum): We really love Kreator band. Especially musicians: very peaceful and friendly guys. We dream about common tour with them. Also we had a good time with Sepultura STAFF crew, very friendly and helpful folks. (Rogerio, bless you God, man!)
: DEDMOROZ (Bass): And I would like to play with Arch Enemy on one stage.

R&MIMB: What have you learned from these experiences on stage? Is there a concert that you would play again?
POKERFACE: : DOCTOR (Drum): We shared stage with super professional bands and there were something to learn of course. How was the soundcheck organized? What drum set Sepultura's drummer has? Who does control guitar tuning process? Etc. In concerts - we were trying to keep in mind musicians' tricks and choreography. The best concert was in Minsk with Sodom. Unbelievable metalhead's reaction: stage-diving, mosh and mass madness.

R&MIMB: Let's talk about Russian scene. How was Metal music lived in the '80s? What is the difference between then and now? Is it hard to stand out in the musical landscape beyond your national boundaries?
POKERFACE: : DOCTOR (Drum): There were Metal bands in 80's. Soviet musicians believed in Metal future. Democracy was growing up, foreign music fast legalized (Thrash/Death metal, you know). But suddenly politics called extreme music as "nazi/fascist" music. "Music of improper culture". And Metal process was momentarily rolled back. It looked like an ideological prison. A huge amount of Metal bands was split. What could they do without future? It's very hard to play in underground - no money, no releases, no concerts.
Now the situation in not so bad, but it is changing again. Church, national-patriots, economic crisis, political isolation? These thing are not good for culture progress, as music, as painting, as literature. And we don't have any choice . We are trying to cross boundaries. Russian Metal must have a chance!

R&MIMB: Could you point out at least one emerging Russian band you consider as worthy?
POKERFACE: : DEDMOROZ (Bass): There are quite a lot of good emerging bands in Russia and I can't name you one. However, If I tried to list some of them it would take a lot of time. I name you few, in my subjective taste: Simful, Arcanorum Astrum, Feelament.

R&MIMB: Have you scheduled a tour especially outside Russia? Would you like to play in a specific country?
POKERFACE: : DEDMOROZ (Bass): We had Balcan tour with the band "Thy Disease" in October 2015. It was a great experience (indeed, and now we know how to make it). Of course, we want to repeat this and play shows in countries we haven't played yet: Germany, France, Austria and others.

R&MIMB: About the future, when could we listen to the successor of "Divide and Rule"? Will it be similar or completely different from his "brother"?
POKERFACE: : NICK (Guitar): On the new album will be one slow dark composition in the spirit of "South Of Heaven" and "Seasons In The Abyss" of Slayer, and a possible cover of something famous and totally not Metal. The rest of the songs should be slightly longer, more thoughtful composition, even more fast and crazy. We get their signature sound squeeze out the maximum.
: DEDMOROZ (Bass): After New Year holidays we are going to have a vacation and we will concentrate on making new songs and records. We already have few completed songs and some drafts for the rest. I think you could expect new release at the end of summer 2016.

R&MIMB: So, ourinterviewisfinished. It has been a pleasure talking with you and we wish you a glorious future with your "Divide and Rule"! Just one last thing: could you say us in few words what you would like to transmit to people with your music? Could you greet all the italian fans of R&MIMB?
POKERFACE: : DOCTOR (Drum): Thank you for opportunity to say something about us, about our music. It's a nice example of metal worldwide community. Thank you folks! I have to say: Believe in yourself, never give up. If road hard, move with short steps but move. Step-by-step and you will reach your target. Don't Stop, DivideAndRule! Metal Forever!

Interview realized by Marek and Zuleika Cirio