Away from the blazing sun at Amplified festival Devolution Editor Nickie Hobbs had a chat post performance with Tatiana Shmailyuk from Jinjer to discuss the issues faced when travelling to Europe to play, writing music and the difficulties of speaking a foreign language.
So, I’m sorry, apologies we’re a little bit unscripted because I wasn’t sure whether you were going to make it… how have the last 24 hours been?
“24 hours, man, I wonder how I didn’t get like, grey hair!”
“Yeah, yeah in my head… because it was like so fucking stressful for all the band.”
So what actually happened?
“For the whole band, it happens like from time to time, you know systematically, because obviously system doesn’t work perfectly as you know, yes, and there is lots of paperworks for them like for, I don’t know, embassy and visa centres and stuff like that, and obviously some of them, like most of the people who work there like actually don’t care, like about you…”
You’re just a number right?
“Yeah, Yeah, about your plans, about your work, so yeah, it’s a fact that you cannot control.”
So you were literally hanging around the airport for the last couple of days?
“We were like at the airport, actually tonight or like I don’t know yesterday, we came there to catch our passports with British Visas. So we have a girl who bought us those passports straight from Kiev, and then she went back to Kiev again. Yeah that was all done in such a rush.”
So does this happen often? I follow your Instagram quite a lot and I know a lot of people will be saying, oh no not again, not again, not again, is this something that happens quite regularly?
“Yes, yes, yeah I don’t know like maybe once a year, its not like that, you know we tour a lot and yes like every time it goes, those US visas, actually screwed up like three shows in the US, was this was devastating, this was like man, I don’t know… do I really want to continue to do this shit.”
So you came here today, you kicked serious ass, I was right at the front… amazing! I’ve been waiting a couple of years to see you guys live and I was certainly not disappointed.
“Like, for how long you do hold this festival?”
This one, this is only the second time, last year was the first time that Amplified happened.
“Was it like… this hot?”
No, oh God no! Last year there was torrential rain and everything got washed out and one of the stages had to be closed down because the rain was just too much, so it was actually the complete opposite of what it is now.
Mark: If you walk round you will see the t-shirts with “Fuck You Rain” on the back, that was why.
“Oh, Man I don’t know which like situation is worse?”
So your vocals…How do you switch between styles so well? My friend and I were talking earlier, we were using the Butcher Babies as an example, but, they have the melodies and then the growls and they alternate between two vocalists, however you have it all in one go. How do you look after your voice? And when did you first go, ‘you know what I can do this’? When did that happen?
“I’m still working on it, you know. I still try to like cultivate more techniques or whatever. But, I cannot tell you like this exact day when I realise, like Oh my God this is it. It took me for like less than 15 years.”
“Yeah, of constant racing you know, after this technique. I don’t know, I just, I don’t take care of my voice at all. Yes, as you can see I smoke, a lot, I’m a heavy smoker. And yeah maybe that helps, actually.”
Maybe (laughs)… the undiscovered secret (laughs).
So you guys, you re-released an album beginning of this year… when are we looking to expect new material from you guys? Are you working on anything at the moment?
“Yes, yes… it’s going to be released like very, very soon. We plan to do this… this Autumn actually.”
“Yes because, actually we need it, because I cannot play the same old songs (laughs), over and over again.”
So is there anything you can tell us about it? Any song titles? Anything extra?
“No, no I cannot tell you anything.”
“Everything I ask you for is like a little bit of patience.”
It’s definitely coming.
“Yeah everything is under control, under construction and new songs are being written and composed. I’ve heard only two of them. I have no idea how many of them would be on this EP.”
So its an EP?
“Yeah, it’s actually an EP.”
How’s the writing process? Do you all get together and thrash out ideas and it all kinda goes down or is there someone that brings that in and then you guys work on the music? How does it work, your process?
“(Laughs) I really don’t know?”
There’s no structure. (Laughs)
“Yes, because, I’m waiting to like the last day, you know because, my part in this process, is to like write lyrics, like after all those songs are done. So, but as I know, they just go to the rehearsal studio and start collecting all their self-thoughts and sharing ideas and stuff like that you know… without me. I just need a rough idea.”
Away from that?
Have you ever looked at covering a song? Or wanted to cover a song?
“Cover song? Well… at the beginning, we did… one cover song that was like Lamb of God – ‘Laid to Rest’, we played a lot this song, yeah but then we like, just, left this idea, because you know, that’s not our cup of tea anymore. Once we wanted to do, Pantera’s ‘This Love’. “
“One of my favourite songs ever.”
I can see that!
“So, but then…”
Are you guys friends of Vinnie Pauls?, did you know him? Had you meet before?
“No, no we’ve never met, and yes I really feel sorry for what happened. You know like, I think he’s in a better place.”
He’s with his brother now.
So… Festival Performances? How do you feel about them? Because you basically came out and you owned that stage, and that takes a lot to just command. Do you find that comes easy for you?
“Well… if we’re talking about festivals, its quite hard for me… because usually there are a lot of people who have never heard of you and when you are here at the festival to gain some new fans you need to do anything possible just to shake them and make them love you. Yes!…”
You did, you had one of the biggest pits of the weekend… I was loving it.
“Oh my god, I feel pity for the guys in the pit because, it is like a hell on earth, mother-fucking burning.”
I’ve watched a lot of interviews with you and I know that English is not exactly your primary language, have you found that your comprehension and use of the English vocabulary has picked up as you’ve gone along? Do you still find it difficult…
“It is really difficult…”
I probably talk really fast as well…
“Yes, yes… and again its quite stressful for me and it demands a lot of energy from me even to hear English, or I’m not even speaking about speaking English. So yeah… it’s like… I’m like losing energy constantly like …”
Tell us about your home town, what’s the music scene like?
“In my home town?” My home town, Gorlovka, in the Donetsk Region, which is situated in the Eastern part of Ukraine. Its industrial… huge town, but quite a poor place, music wise an all. We have a lot of bands from there but not very much of a Metal Music, you know. A lot of Russian Rock, like there’s a… I don’t know how to say it… There’s like one thing; like Russian Rock, yes, yes, like it’s a completely different style you know, and a lot of it! And a lot of Punk Rock… also Russian, yeah, yeah. But if you are speaking about metal, we had some but…”
Is your heart in metal, is that more where you lie musically?
“Yeah, yeah… and Jazz of course…”
“Yeah, I stopped listening to metal as I said, in many interviews like… I stopped listening to metal years ago. Right now I’m just into Gojira and The Faces for example, yeah?”
So I have one question, that we’ve been asking our interviewees for 15 years and I always finish with it… If you could play God for a day, who would you send to Hell and who would you make an Angel, and why?
“Oh My God!”
(Laughs) Just to finish on that one
“I have a huge list… of people who are already burning in hell, in my mind, not that I’m a very negative person but like I have a lot of anger, yeah, like a huge collection through all those years. But I probably wouldn’t because I don’t want to spoil my Karma as i still believe in it. But Angels… I don’t know, I still believe a person is half black and half white, I mean like half good and half evil…”
“You cannot send one of your halfs into hell for example, probably you’re going to burn there with your light one, so no… please no, I don’t want to be God. They are cool, but I’m not ready (laughs).”
Thank you so much for your time.
Interview: Nickie Hobbs
Photograph: Mark Bestford