The prolific Mongolian folk metal band Tengger Cavalry are releasing their latest opus, Cian Bi. Frontman Nature Ganganbaigal gives us the lowdown on the album, touring, his recent trip to NAMM, adjusting to living in the U.S. and other subjects.
Chad Bowar: Was there anything unique about the songwriting process for Cian Bi compared to previous Tengger Cavalry albums?
Nature Ganganbaigal: I think there is more focus on the diverse sound and anti-stereotype Tengger Cavalry usual sound in it. We added more elements into it and tried to avoid repeating the pattern of Blood Sacrifice Shaman or Ancient Call.
What will be your strongest memory of the recording of the album?
I think the lyric parts. Mostly the lyrics were done without even writing, more like talking into the mic of what’s on my mind and my recent reflection about politics and modern society.
How has your sound evolved on this record?
The guitar riffs are more Slipknot or Korn sounding. It’s less folk metal sounding while still maintaining a good amount of folk stuff in it.
What inspired your lyrics this time around?
Like I mentioned, mostly there are not very related to tradition or history, but modern society and racial conflict and cultural bias around our globe.
How did you come to sign with Napalm Records?
We played at Wacken Open Air and then we started talking to them after that. We are glad we got a deal.
How does that affect your goals and expectations for this album?
I think we want to reach out to more people in the world and expand our style and artistic domain.
What are your upcoming tour plans?
So far we have two major European festivals confirmed, and are waiting for a full European tour.
What has been your most memorable Tengger Cavalry live show?
I liked playing at Wacken. There were 6000 people in front of us and they all seemed to have lots of fun watching and listening. That festival is truly massive.
What’s the most unusual venue you’ve played?
I guess Carnegie Hall. It is usually meant for acoustic or classical music, but we played a folk rock set anyway. (laughs)
Where haven’t you played live that you’d still like to get to?
A lot of places: Berlin, Ireland, Houston, San Antonio, Japan. So many places we haven’t reached yet.
With your blend of Mongolian folk and metal music, are Tengger Cavalry able to play to a wider variety of audiences than a typical metal band?
Definitely. I am pretty confident that we can handle acoustic and folk rock sets, not just metal. Would love to play at a world music festival someday.
What’s your favorite way to occupy down time on tour?
How was your experience at this year’s NAMM? Meet anybody cool?
It was fun. Met some of my sponsorship companies like ESP. And bumped into Trivium’s guitarist while my phone just died. Also ran into Five Finger Death Punch’s guitarist. I dig his red hair color on two sides.
Tell us about your involvement with the documentary All The Wild Horses. Were the songs written specifically for the film?
Not really. It is more like the director picked our song and thought it worked perfectly for the peak galloping moment for the film. It is about Mongolian horse racing, so they definitely needed some exciting music for the riders in the film.
What has been the most difficult adjustment to living in the US?
I guess just the feeling of being alone and not having any support but yourself. People here are generously nice so far. It is more like adjusting to the environment.
You’ve had some challenging personal circumstances lately. What has that taught you?
Definitely. I think that artists need to watch their back more and be very careful when signing to a deal. Sometimes the business can screw someone over easily. For now I am just more laid back and trying to focus on my own stuff more.
What is currently in your heavy musical rotation?
Anything else you’d like to mention or promote?
Our new album Cian Bi will be out in Feb 23 so be sure to rock it out!
(interview published February 22, 2018)