Interview With: Jinjer
Jinjer’s first UK tour began with two dates in Ireland, then a run of nine shows across Britain. Joined by Tatiana (Vocals) and Eugene (Bass), we caught up with them in London’s Camden Underworld to talk tour, background and of course, vodka.
How has the tour been so far? You’ve had two dates over in Ireland on this run so far, was it more shows in Europe beforehand or have you just jumped straight into it?
T: Nope, straight from Ukraine! It’s been overwhelmingly good so far, each night is getting better and better.
Is this your first time to the British Isles? How have you found it so far?
Both: Yep, very first time.
E: The Irish dates were incredibly good, the venues weren’t small but they were smaller than [Underworld] – say 200 or so capacity but we sold it out. *smiles*
Your most recent album “King Of Everything” came out at the end of summer 2016 and we’re coming to the end of 2017 now - overall has 2017 been a good year for you guys?
E: Yeah absolutely; since we released the album everything has changed for us and it’s been insane in all respects, we’ve been touring our asses off and it hurts now haha.
Is there one city that you haven’t played yet that you’ve always wanted to play?
T: My biggest dream personally is México.
E: Well, London was one of those places that I always wanted to play but amongst those that we haven’t reached yet-
E: Japan! Japan for sure and the United States where we have so many fans but simply haven’t played it yet.
Moving back onto King Of Everything, it was personally the first release I’d heard from Jinjer, would you say there was one ideology behind the album, is it continued on from the one found in Cloud Factory (2014) of the state of the world today, capitalism, the human impact on the planet; is it similar or a slight move away do you think?
T: I guess there is a single ideology-
E: -but it’s not entirely common with Cloud Factory…
So a sort of move in a different direction?
T: A little bit, it was dedicated to the dependency that human beings have in their hands and… like you know, different situations that you can’t actually change, destiny and all that – some things you can change, they’re just sitting in your head and it’s possible to do something about it- yeah that album was intended to be able to change a mindset, like- the “King OF Everything” is the king in our heads, it controls us so we have to change it to something different because if there is no king, there’s no order, things go off the rails a bit.
What’s your favourite track off the album?
T: Undoubtedly “I Speak Astronomy”…. And “Pisces” haha
E: Yeah I agree, but I can’t choose just one between those two, those two are really cool. But then there is “Sit Stay Roll Over” which really represents another side of our music, the heavy and brutal side.
And your favourite to play live?
E: Again, “I Speak Astronomy”.
T: Yeah. “Pisces” – ‘cause “I Speak Astronomy” is kind of complicated for me like-
E: Yeah it’s complicated for everyone!
T: Yeah it was easier in the studio.
Is “Pisces” the track you get the best reaction to live?
T: No I don’t think so.
E: Different songs get different reactions you know, with “Pisces” the crowd will sing along to every word and in “Sit Stay Roll Over” they’ll mosh and take it to a whole different level so I don’t think they’re really comparable.
What is it that really made you want to become a musician? What made you want to start a band?
T: I think my parents and my brother really – my father was a bass player, he and my brother taught me how to play guitar, and when I was nine I was a punk girl you know, put on my brother’s leather jacket and listened to that kind of music, ever since that kind of music was brought into our home. I constantly drew doodles of myself in a band but actually it was myself with a guitar somehow, not singing or anything like that – it was actually a girl band too!
E: I started playing bass really late, I was 18 when I got my first bass guitar, and before that from about age 12 I was listening to rock and metal music and I became a fan – but then I made friends who were musicians and we said “Why not” - bass seemed the easiest - I was wrong, technically it’s a difficult instrument so yeah I was a fan first then started doing it myself.
Speaking of technicalities, slap and the style it brings to your music – quite often Jinjer’s music has been described as having sort of jazz or funk influences, the track at the end of “King Of Everything”, “Beggars Dance” is almost entirely acoustic; where do those influences come from do you think?
E: It’s just a case of it’s what we listen to!
T: Yeah I stopped listening to metal like…… three years ago. I just decided I wanted to keep my head spare; it’s difficult to play it on stage then to go away and listen to it in your spare time, I get tired of it really quickly. I switched to funk and jazz, I’m a huge fan of Amy Winehouse and Ella Fitzgerald – right now I’m listening to a lot of Lauryn Hill from Refugees and a lot of hip hop.
Are you the kind of band that write on tour or are you more of an in-studio-writing band?
E: Not really for us – at least when we were writing “King Of Everything” we wrote it all in our rehearsal room, we do all the writing beforehand and we then gave it to Tatiana, we didn’t know what she was going to sing until we were in the studio. Opeth for example will come to a studio with just one or two tracks prepared and write the rest there but we don’t do that, no.
Since tonight is a fairly small venue (capacity is only around 500), is there anything you’d do differently in comparison to a large open air type thing?
T: No not from my side no ahha
E: I’m not too sure, they’re obviously different scenarios and it’s more a question of production rather than anything from us – obviously we can’t jump around as much on a smaller stage otherwise you end up in the drumkit or on top of the crowd!
What’s one item that is always, always on your rider?
Both: *looks at one another with a smile* Vodka! Always.
Not a bad choice!
Interview by Rhys Haberfield