METAL PULP AND PAPER: Hello Eugene and Tatiana. Thank you for taking the time to speak with us at Metal Pulp And Paper. We appriciate it.
I was working on another interview watching You Tube videos of that particular band when "Words Of Wisdom" by Jinjer was in the cue to play next. It definitely caught my attention and I had to check it out. I had never heard of your band before. Now I’m glad that I did, even if it was by chance. What is something everyone should know about the band Jinjer that you feel is important?
EUGENE KOSTYUK: Hi Geoff, pleasure to talk to you. Well, a chance may have a great power! Important about Jinjer... a bit confusing, to my mind the most important thing which people should know about us is our music.
MPAP: Does groove metal or even progressive metalcore best describe the bands style? I would have to say there is a little bit of everything plus more in your music, it would be tough to put a label on it.
EUGENE: Definitely, but people love tagging and putting labels, so it's just impossible to avoid it. I think that in our new album Jinjer has become more of progressive metal than anything else. Though we still have that groove foundation. Anyway we don't want, never tried and will never stay within any limits, boundaries or whatsoever...people will never be able to expect and meet their expectations, I mean where we go stylistically.
MPAP: Hailing from the Ukraine, Jinjer was formed in 2010. The band has gone through some lineup changes over the years. A major one was when Tatiana Shmailyuk joined in 2013 becoming the new vocalist replacing Max Fatullaevin. Even though this was supposed to be only temporary with Max eventually returning to the fold, do you all feel this was the best thing to happen to the band with her becoming a permanent member? What was it like having a female fronted band now? Were there any challenges to overcome?
EUGENE: Challenges is what our life is, man. Definitely when Tati joined the band, it became that Jinjer which everybody knows. I personally count the band's history since that moment. A female fronted band, damn, I hate this tag. I don't see any point in marking out a band by a vocalist's gender. And yeah, challenges. Well, the civil war broke out in our hometown. We moved out as refugees. Then our drummer, Mantulin, fell out of the third floor, was between life and death, survived but now he is paralyzed, his spine was broken. We didn't have any jobs, we didn't have any money. The only thing which helped us to survive was the band, concerts and tours.
MPAP: Ukraine is a large country in Eastern Europe known for its Orthodox churches, Black Sea coastline and forested mountains. A lot of black metal music comes from there also. What made you decide to have melodic vocals in English with some very powerful death growls mixed in?
EUGENE: Uhhh, I just cannot imagine we play something different. Tatiana is an awesome vocalist with a tremendous talent, I can't picture her only growling and screaming. It would be like torturing her gift. And we are metalheads, we always wanted to make angry music, so growls are essential too.
MPAP: Obviously the fans approved bringing Tatiana on board, because in 2013 you received Best Ukrainian Metal Band in 2013. How did you all react to finding out about this?
EUGENE: It's a cool story. We were obviously outsiders at the contest. None of us ever believed we would win. I was chilling at the bar while the host started announcing the winners. I was talking to myself: Oh, yeah, these guys deserve to be the third, and those are definitely second-comers, and the winner must be.... And that very moment they say Jinjer. I was stunned. Friends around me shouted: GO GO on stage...I was the only one in the room. The others were boozing in the backstage. So... it was a surprise.
MPAP:King Of Everything came out on July 27th 2016, on Napalm Records. Joining the ranks with Napalm Records was a huge moment for the band. Was this the defying moment you all knew Jinjer had finally made it and nothing was going to stop you now?
TATIANA SHMAILYUK: Definitely it is a defying moment, but I cannot say we have always been 100% confident we would reach it. I remember the times we couldn't even imagine we would tour abroad. Little by little we got the understanding that what we do is appreciated by far more people than we actually see. We have fans all around the world. We successfully tour all around Europe. But even this way we were a bit confused and shocked when Napalm offered us a contract. Such things still happen... a label comes and signs you.
MPAP: What was something you wanted to do on KingOf Everything that you weren’t able to do before on the Cloud Factory release?
TATIANA: Breaking limits and widen our stylistics. This is the first album we made in 4, because the second guitarist who used to be greatly involved into songwriting left in the summer of 2015. And this worked for the better.
MPAP: Is there a personal meaning or message behind the title, King Of Everything?
EUGENE: Of course, and it's personal for each of you and us. Everyone has their own King of Everything... maybe even more than one king. And this is what we put in it.
MPAP: Asked about your musical influences, bands such as Lamb of God, Pantera, Gojira, Killswitch Engage, Death, Chimaira, All Shall Perish, and Protest The Hero were mentioned. With Ukraine being just under 6,000 miles away and across the North Atlantic Ocean from the United States, how were each of you able to find out about these bands?
EUGENE: Well, to be honest we knew many of them much later than other, quite a lot of bands split up before we started listening to them. I believe I first listened to Death around 2000 and Chuck passed next year. Cynic, Atheist and many others were split-up bands... and I was listening to them without any hope I would see them live. As for more modern bands, internet did its job.
MPAP: Did you get to listen to them growing up? Is American metal music popular in the Ukraine?
TATIANA: Absolutely, this is the key to your previous question. For some reason American metal scene is even a bit more popular than European in Ukraine. And we grew up listening mostly to American bands.
MPAP: Tatiana you also mentioned that you really appreciate Sandra Nasic from the group Guano Apes, and Otep Shamaya from the group Otep, for being your biggest inspirations as a female metal vocalist. Do you hope someday to be able to collaborate with either of them on some new music?
TATIANA: Hard to imagine how it will be... it really depends on the music and not on our intention. If there is a song which feels like inviting somebody to cooperate, and this is Sandra, of course it would be great. But we will never do 'feats' just because we wanna sing with an inspiration from our youth.
MPAP: In the video for "I Speak Astronomy", Tatiana it appears that you no longer have dreads anymore in your hair? Your very long dreads were something that stood out. Are they cut off and gone for real? Was it time for a change?
TATIANA:Yes, they were cut off and now I've got them back. And very very soon they might probably be gone for good. I change my mind very often. Women tend to change their appearance and if you value a musician by the look so your opinion doesn't mean a thing. I always say in interviews: "Stop looking at music, listen to it!"
MPAP: A lyric taken from the song "I Speak Astronomy" reads,"Wave your hand from parallel universe, hidden in a folded palm, after twenty-eight light years my research, must be ended somehow." What does this mean?
TATIANA: You chose the most transparent episode of the song. It is quite clear. There's a theory in quantum physics: space is folded in many layers and that's how parallel universe is created. Somewhere else out there are the exact persons like us. So I am searching for my soulmate in another dimension, waiting for him to give me a sign (by waving his hand). I wrote the lyrics for the "Astronomy" when I was 28. And that's how long I've been feeling lonesome. 28 light-years... So my research just has to be finished very soon.
MPAP: Do you all find space, astronomy, and astrology fascinating?
EUGENE: Absolutely, we all enjoy reading and watching documentaries about space and astronomy, cosmology etc. Not exactly astrology, though I personally think that there might a bit of truth – how zodiac signs predetermine our character.
MPAP: With the new release out, does that mean you will be making your way to the United States soon?
EUGENE: Well, it's not so easy unfortunately. There is a big problem with getting visas, plus flights are very expensive. But we are doing our best to bring our first US tour closer. Hopefully we will come to the States in 2017
MPAP: Have you played in the US before? If not, what are looking forward to when you are able to?
EUGENE: No never before. We are looking forward to playing for our fans finally. We have got thousands of them there, and every day I keep receiving messages asking when finally Jinger will come! This is what we wait most of all. Of course there are a bunch of really cool places in America which we would love to see, like the Grand Canyon for example.
MPAP: On behalf of myself and Metal Pulp And Paper, I'd like to thank you both, Eugene and Tatiana, for doing this interview. We look forward to hopefully seeing you play live in the US soon. You’ll definitely have to make it to the Portland, Oregon area.
EUGENE: Thank you too! We hope to come to the US as soon as possible.