The latest interview with JINJER for Music Underground
I can’t ever clearly explain the adrenaline rush that hits my veins when I hear a great new band. It’s like opening a gift that you weren’t expecting — a new discovery that has you wondering how you had never come across them before.
I sat in front of my laptop covered with random metal and punk bands’ stickers at the coffee and brew shop. I had a written list of everything I hoped to accomplish. Once I finish a list, I always find myself trolling YouTube looking at videos of live music performances. Even with so many different outlets out there for bands to get recognized, YouTube videos are still a main forum for success.
As I was scrolling through, I came across the name JINJER. “Sit Stay Roll Over” was the first video I chose to watch. It was charged adrenaline with clear and concise musicianship… A fingered bass in this genre is close to unheard-of. The way it sounds in this mix is eccentric and, well, perfect. The guitar work is just as technical as the bass lines, with fast-paced beats and tempos that switch on a dime that keep most drummers in check. They dominate that, as well.
Then, the vocals kicked in. Tatiana will blow you away with a scowl of a voice pulled from the depths of her vocal chords. In the same song, she can belt out clear and impressive ranges without utilizing the death metal growls that some have no choice but to use. She is completely commanding and confident.
This Ukrainian band has gained a large following on the other side of the ocean, but the videos have helped get them some global attention — so much attention that they have recently signed with Napalm Records. JINJER already has a full-length album and an EP, and signing with Napalm Records will put another album out in circulation.
The more I dig, the more I learn how great this group is. I am also learning that I am not the only one who is noticing.
So, what’s next? Request an interview, of course.
How long has the band been together and how did you all get together?
Well, the fact is that the band’s current lineup has nobody left from the very first moment when JINJER was founded. It was in 2009 and there was no Tatiana on vocals. She came only in 2010. Then Roman joined the band. Then Eugene on the bass in 2011. At first, JINJER were a very local band from Gorlovka, a remote provincial and industrial town with dozens of mines and plants. And we just knew each other long before JINJER… We were from the same neighborhood and all fans of metal. Actually, a few years before JINJER, Roman and Tati played together in another band in high school. Eugene was from a different town 40km away, but played in a different band on the same stage with JINJER in local venues. So, when they kicked off their bassist, he was the one to take that place. The last to come was our drummer Dmitriy Kim; he joined the band after we moved to live in Lvow, though he also comes from the same region as we all do. Our previous drummer, Mantulin, got in a terrible accident and broke his spine. Dmitriy came up to replace him. That was in the autumn of 2014.
Who contributes in the songwriting process?
Most of the material comes from the guitarist, Roman. Eugene contributes with music and lyrics, too. Dimitriy is fully responsible for his drum lines, and Tatiana writes most of the lyrics and composes her vocal lines.
Do you try to keep similar subject matter in the lyrics?
Yeah, our lyrics and topics more or less have the same direction. We mostly touch sharp social issues like poverty, social injustice, exploitation, environmental issues — as we come from highly polluted industrial region –, also people’s ignorance, barbarism, vices of consuming society — things which are closely connected to us as war in the east of Ukraine –, etc.
Congratulations on signing with Napalm Records. How did that come about?
We released the “Sit Stay Roll Over” single and video last October. It got more than 100,000 views on YouTube in the first week and we got a message from Napalm Records… And from some more, including Artery Records, for example. But Napalm was the first to get us.
However, it seems we have been going towards this since 2011, when we started making JINJER as something bigger than a hobby. We released two albums in 2013 and 2014, and we had two massive tours around Europe… About 300 live shows since 2011. So, it has been a long way.
Are you nervous about entering the studio with a major label?
On one hand, not at all — we are now absolutely confident that our new songs are the best things we have ever composed. It’s a new creative level for us.
On the other, the major label, more and more fans, their expectations… It gives some pressure definitely.
Have you already had songs written for the upcoming album, or did you have to start recently?
Most of the songs are written — about 80%. We are still working on the rest. We have to be on time for 15th of February when we are entering the studio.
There was no producer announcement for the album that I saw. Do you have one yet?
Depends on what you put in the meaning of a producer… Sound-producer? Max Morton from Morton Studio in Kiev, where we will record the album, is a sound producer for the upcoming release. Actually, he was for our previous album, too. But we ourselves control the process and work on the sound a lot, too.
I assume you would like to tour after the album is released. Are you planning on one, and will the United States be included?
Definitely, we are working on this at the moment. I hope that we will finally have a chance to get to the States. However, I must admit that it will be really, really difficult for us as a band from Ukraine. You know, all those visas, papers, etc. Hopefully Napalm will help us out. Also JINJER will go on a month-long tour in May around central and Eastern Europe.
Are you surprised at the current success of the band?
Relatively. If somebody had showed us five years ago what we have now, that would have been surprising. At the moment, we just don’t consider it to be a real success because we are looking forward to new challenges, new horizons and goals… Reaching them would mean success for us, I suppose. Though, it seems after we do so, there will be new ambitions and targets.
Who are your influences? Do you have any that would surprise people?
There are a lot of them. Dimitriy is deeply influenced by death and black metal bands like Mayhem, Abigor, Death, etc. Roman took a lot from Lamb of God, Slayer and Pantera. In fact, all JINJER admire Gojira and Lamb of God. Eugene loves Opeth, technical and progressive death metal… Faceless, for example, or Atheist and Cynic.
Tatiana has the widest variety of favorites and inspirations. Apart from metal, she loves folk music of Africa and America, jazz singers, blues singers… Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse… Rock n’ roll. She’s a big fan of Imelda May.
If JINJER continues on this path, they might find themselves as influences themselves.
I cannot urge you enough to start checking out this band. They will surely not be a secret much longer. When the album drops from Napalm, they could easily blow up.