Interview mit Krzysztof Drabikowski von Batushka

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After our BATUSHKA interview with Bartłomiej Krysiuk, we received feedback that he should not have been given any opportunity to present his view of the situation. We see this differently: it is not the task of a magazine to give preference to one side by excluding interview partners, but to publish information on the basis of which readers can form their own opinion. We have therefore made an effort to also talk with the other side as quickly as possible. Krzysztof Drabikowski agreed and gave us his view of the matter in clear words – after his lawyer had checked and approved the answers.

Hi and thanks a lot for taking time for this interview! How are you doing? I heard you caught Covid-19 – I hope you are fully recovered? Do you still suffer from after-effects?
Hi, I’m fine, thanks. Yes, I did, I felt tired faster after that but I thought that I was recovered, maybe not fully, but almost. Then, after the Latvia show at Zobens un Lemess festival, I found myself in the intensive cardiac care unit with myocarditis and necrosis of the heart. Of course, I was discharged from the hospital on my request, after two or three days, I was too tired of seeing deaths every day. Also I don’t like when someone forces me do such ridiculous things as taking care of my physiological needs lying down on a bed. I [get] allergic reactions to [people] forcing me [to do things].

What can you tell about the disease as an affected person, what do you think about the fact that people still deny its existence or its dangerousness?
I couldn’t deny the existence after all my hospital adventures, it is dangerous as I see, but [when] you are healthy and not overworked, then [everything] should be fine. A lot of people had [Covid-19] without any symptoms. I had changes in my lungs, [then] that heart stuff. No one is able to tell me if it was because of corona or not, it’s too early to say anything. So, just be more careful, and rethink your whole life, now is a good time to stop for a while. Maybe try not to rely just on others and do something by yourself, because those who have never done anything by themselves before, [who are] used to paying for everything, suffer the most. It was funny when I came out of the hospital and saw that it was impossible to buy yeast in the shops. People forgot that it is possible to make bread without yeast, that flour and water alone will also give bread, even better one. It is not popular knowledge as I can see, it seemed redundant nowadays for most.

Krzysztof Drabikowskis BATUSHKA, 2020 live in Wien. © Stephan Rajchl /

Let’s talk about BATUSHKA. The split of the band was a big topic in the scene in 2019. There were injunctions and lawsuits around the band name. What is the current state of affairs?
I wouldn’t call it a split. If someone takes something from you without your permission, it is not called splitting your material goods. Two years will [have passed ] soon and [so far there have only been] the first hearings. Firstly, there were meetings in the Bialystok court, where he [Bartłomiej Krysiuk] made a testimony that was unfavorable for him. Unfortunately, it was unregistered and preliminary, but the judge heard it. So he had to apply for a transfer to another court to start with a blank slate. And now the trial has been transferred to a more specialized court in Warsaw, so maybe it will work faster than the Bialystok court, because they have more experience in that type of cases.

It’s common knowledge that BATUSHKA was your band, you wrote the debut album. How did you get the idea of an orthodox-inspired black metal band and when did you realize that you hit a gap in the market?
I’d been planning to do some black metal project for a long time. One day, jumping from movie to movie on Youtube, I came across a comment with an interesting phrase: „God’s hymns are more metal than any satanic black metal music out there.” It gave me the idea to use that type of singing with metal music. So I did it. When the music was uploaded to the internet and promoters started proposing concerts, I noticed something was going amazingly well.

BATUSHKA in ihrer ursprünglichen Besetzung 2017 auf der Dark Easter Metal Meeting. © Afra Gethöffer-Grütz /

Are your texts actually Christian or anti-Christian? I mean, the scenario is quite absurd that black metal fans celebrate an orthodox mass, isn’t it?
All I wanted to say is there, in the lyrics. It’s up to the listener to get it or not.

You brought Bartłomiej Krysiuk into the band as a singer, but in public perception he became more and more the band‘s boss. Was this intentional up to a certain point because he was good at managing?
No, in 2018 no one knew him, because I was the only one who answered all the interviews with BATUSHKA, because it has been my solo project from the begining. After he created his counterfeit version, he began to promote himself as a great leader. Before, he was just a session musician and a poor manager. After all, I found out how he dissolved my money, not paying people who worked – technicians, session musicians, merch producers etc. So no, he wasn’t good at managing.

What, in your opinion, led to the split of the band? You said in your statement that Krysiuk was all about money with the whole project, he put pressure on you to finish the next album faster.
He realized that [seizing] the name is a great opportunity to pay his debts, which he had long time before BATUSHKA because as a manager he had access to all contracts etc. He always had the urge to be worshiped, he tried many times with his cosmic-invested band, and it remained a laughingstock in the metal scene. Not that the musicians were doing a bad job, but that what he was doing there.


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You can read on some fan pages that Bartłomiej Krysiuk has been claiming all revenue from merch sales without sharing anything with the others. Would you confirm that?
Yes, I don’t have any money from „Litourgiya“, so please don’t buy it if you want to support me. Unfortunately, he is still repressing it, but he sells it only on other pages, selling wholesale to distribution to stay „clean“. He also signed his company over to his son to keep his hands clean, so now it’s funny that he already collects debts for his son.

After the split, he announced a new album very quickly, but you put your album out just before their first single. How important was it to be the first?
I started to record „Панихида“ around 2016, all riffs were ready in 2018, I was just waiting with recording [the vocals] because I didn’t want to record [with] Krysiuk again. He sucked totally live, all his clean parts were off beat, out of tune etc. He resigned from singing in BATUSHKA in November 2018 and promised to pay all „Litourgiya“ money in December. So I started to record [the vocals]. When I saw he was trying to cheat me, I knew I should hurry up to show the truth.

Did you make a compromise from an artistic point of view, did you release „Panihida“ faster than you actually wanted to – or maybe even hastily?
No, I tried to do all this stuff the way I wanted, it’s good to have a deadline sometime, because I’m never satisfied enough, without that I wouldn’t release anything. I still keep a lot of my albums with other projects on my hard drives.

How long had you been working on the material before that – and are you nevertheless satisfied with the result?
When I write music, it’s usually one song per night, mixing, mastering etc. takes more time. It needs more time to do breaks. Fresh hearing helps a lot. You can get used to everything, and after a longer break you can hear errors and things that disturb.

Krzysztof Drabikowskis BATUSHKA, 2020 live in Wien. © Stephan Rajchl /

So far you have only released your album in small editions yourself, while Krysiuk released „Hospodi“ via Metal Blade Records. Was this label deal signed before or after the split?
My album was released as LP and CD, four versions on the whole, I had almost ten T-shirt designs etc., usually sold out. When I put something on eBay, then after ten minutes all is sold out!
About Metal Blade – Yes, Krysiuk signed this before the split probably. I know that Brian Slagel wanted to meet me in Vegas when I played there, but unfortunately I didn’t meet him. And after the show I didn’t see Krysiuk either, so probably then he went with Brian, cheating him that he isn’t just a session musician. We were anonymous so it was easy for him.

„Hospodi“ was torn apart by fans and press. Krysiuk considers „internet trolls“ to be responsible for this and the mud-slinging over BATUSHKA in general. He also said in our interview that he feels wrongly slandered by said trolls. What do you think about this?
[laughs] really? I don’t get bored enough in life to do that, I have a lot of active projects and it takes a lot of my free time. It is so funny because that’s what Bart and his closest ones do. They had a few fake accounts where he tried to spread fake information. He even joined the БАТЮШКА legion group on Facebook, but administrators of that group discovered spies and removed them quickly. Even his manager apologized to me for [his] cooperation with Krysiuk [after he had] discovered the truth and saw what was going on there.

In general, Bartłomiej Krysiuk evolved his band very quickly, played concerts and booked festivals, even replacing the legendary Dimmu Borgir at the Bloodstock Open Air. You, on the other hand, kept quiet at first. Was this the right strategy or would you behave differently from today’s perspective?
He did that behind my back, signing new contracts for shows before the shit came to light. I planned a short break from playing shows to finish stuff with the second album. I like to DIY all so it takes time to sew new costumes, new designs etc. On the other hand, I didn’t want to hurry, it’s not a race, so it’s better to do the way I want.

Can you tell us something about that time – what did it do to you? Had you even considered giving up BATUSHKA?
It was a hard time but no way.

„Hospodi“ was written by Artur Rumiński, who has been a part of BATUSHKA since 2017 as far as Bartłomiej Krysiuk told us. In general, he claims that a large part of the former BATUSHKA stand behind him today – what’s your opinion on that? With Jatzo and Чёрный Монах you have at least two members of the common band in your ranks …
Rumiński was one of the many session guitarists I worked with during live shows for „Litourgiya“. He was a session musician just for two tours and a few single shows in 2018. Bart really wanted me to employ him, and he tried very hard to convince me to do it. Right now I understand why. He [Rumiński] resigned in autumn 2018 to focus on his other project, as he said, so now we can see that he [spoke] about Faketushka then. In my lineup just one member wasn’t playing on tour for the „Litourgiya“ album, but he was supposed to be on „Litourgiya“ before Krysiuk even knew that I recorded that album. I’m talking about Лех.

About your album he said that it has „two good songs, the rest is average with very poor production“. Do you have an opinion about „Hospodi“ and „Raskol“?
I don’t care about his opinion and the music that he claims is his, because he can’t compose, he just pays, or rather promises to pay for that. I heard one song from „Hospodi“ and I felt ashamed and embarrassed that someone might think it was mine. It was so shitty that I didn’t risk [playing] the whole album. I don’t want to waste my time on that.

After the split you continued with the band name in Russian (БАТЮШКА) – will that be a solution? Two bands, one BATUSHKA and one БАТЮШКА, or will there be only one band after the court decision?
I use both, but sometimes I have to use the cyrillic form because of his trademark. In 2028 everything should be okay, but before I hope he will overdose on bigos cabbage stew to make things easier. He is on a good way because after [his stomach reduction surgery], he is fat again. He probably eats food to reduce the stress [arising from] cheating people, as a form of illusion of reward.

Why 2028? Will the patent on the name expire then?
No, court told me that it can take eight years to solve that case.

Krzysztof Drabikowskis BATUSHKA live auf dem Wolfszeit Festival 2020, © Krzysztof Drabikowski

A few days ago you played with your band at Wolfszeit, one of the few metal festivals of this season. What kind of experiences did you have there and do they strengthen your back for the process and the disputes to be fought out?
The weather surprised me, autumn does not seem to be a good time for outdoor concerts. Playing and organizing concerts at this time is very unpredictable, you can never be 100% sure that  everything will go smoothly, that non-refundable advances are avoided etc. But it’s good that it [took place], there were a lot of people who waited for БАТЮШКА and I’m glad that we made it finally, and we will try to make more this year.

Thanks for the interview! Finally a short brainstorming:
Corona crisis: Humanity deserves that as an eye-opener.
Lukashenko:I probably don’t know the whole truth, but from what I see, he has to go away. Probably various branches of the industry will suffer as a result, as it happened in Poland in the 90s, but harming innocent people and censorship are inacceptable to me. It would be best if the Belarusians could choose for themselves what is good for them. Because they live there, not I. But I wish they could live as they want and I wish they wouldn’t have to be ashamed of their language.
Chance for a reunion of both BATUSHKA: Weird question in that situation.
Black metal: Genre of music, ideology, as well as an interesting object to observe. Many different
people usurp the right to play and listen to this genre and do not accept that someone else does it in a different way. Unfortunately with a lot of hypocrisy in their views.
Your favorite album at the moment: I don’t have any, every album has better and worse moments for me, which I get more or less. I don’t listen to much music, I prefer to compose.
BATUSHKA in ten years: I’m not sure what will be tomorrow, so I can’t tell what will be in 2030. The way I see 2020, I will probably be dead.

Thanks again for your time. The last words of this interview are yours!
Thank you, too.


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3 Kommentare zu “Batushka

  1. “ aber ich hoffe, dass er schon vorher eine Überdosis Bigos-Krauteintopf zu sich nimmt, um die Dinge einfacher zu machen. Er ist auf einem guten Weg dahin, denn nach seiner Magenverkleinerung ist er jetzt wieder fett.“

    Ich musste laut auflachen.

    Natürlich steckt man nicht in der Sache drin, aber ich bekam einen kleinen Einblick von dem hier geschilderten, als ich eine Bestellung bei Witching Hour tätigte. Nach Zahlung wartete ich Wochen auf überhaupt ein Feedback. Es gab null Kommunikation. Erst als ich mit rechtlichen Konsequenzen (aus Verzweiflung halt) drohte, wurde der Senf endlich mal verschickt. Kann also einen Einkauf dort nicht empfehlen.

  2. Naja, herum zu haten dass Bart sowieso mega kacke ist, nur Scheiße gebaut hat und überhaupt gar nix kann lässt den guten Mann jetzt auch nicht seriöser wirken als die andere Seite. Auch wenn ich, wie wahrscheinlich fast jeder, dazu geneigt bin, seiner Version eher zu glauben. Kann ja verstehen wenn der angepisst ist, aber wenn die Fakten eh für sich sprechen kann man auch einfach mal professionell bleiben.

    (Leichter gesagt als getan wahrscheinlich, mich hat ja auch keiner aus meiner eigenen Band gekickt)

    1. Ja, ich denke, das ist leichter gesagt als getan. Und es ist ja doch in weiten Teilen durchaus auch vertretbare Kritik. Ausfallend wird er ja erst gegen Ende, vermutlich gings ihm auch insgesamt etwas an die Substanz, das Ganze nochmal so ausführlich durchkauen zu müssen. Aber er hat zumindest eine Version, die plausibel klingt.

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