JINJER Singer Felt 'Creatively Paralyzed' After Start Of Russia's War In Ukraine
October 17, 2022
Bassist Eugene Abdukhanov and frontwoman Tatiana Shmayluk of Ukrainian modern metallers JINJER were interviewed by Oran O'Beirne of Bloodstock TV at this year's Bloodstock Open Air festival in August. Asked if the war in Ukraine has served as powerful surge of cathartic inspiration for any of their new music, Tatiana said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET): "Not really. I don't know why. Honestly, I've written some war songs way before JINJER, first of all, and way before war even started in Ukraine. And I don't know how, but it's easy for me to write about war when it's not happening around me. But when it started, I was absolutely devastated and paralyzed creatively. I cannot write about that. I still cannot process that. I think it's such a great trauma that it takes years and years to process, not only for me but mostly for the citizens of Ukraine, for the victims. I really think that it's not my time to write another war song right now."
But Eugene clarified: "Actually, we've never had war songs. We've never written anything which is militaristic or anything like that… We have a number of songs in our discography which are peacemaking songs, songs which call for peace, and calling them war songs can be a bit misleading because it may just make people think differently of what they really are, to be honest.
"Tatiana says that, well, she hasn't written any lyrics but we have written a number of compositions musically in these circumstances since the war started. So definitely there is a creative reflection of the events already," he revealed.
JINJER recently announced that with the support of the Ukrainian Ministry Of Culture, they were granted a special exemption to exit Ukraine in order to help their countrymen the best way they can — through music — and since hit the road on their just-wrapped European tour.
JINJER's 2022 USA headline tour, produced by Live Nation, with direct support from hard rock icons and special guests P.O.D., will kick off on October 31 in San Diego, California and end on December 22 in Los Angeles, California. Additional support on select dates will come from rising American metal stars VENDED (October 31-November 23),English groove/metalcore force MALEVOLENCE (December 7-December 22) and fellow Ukrainian modern metalcore unit SPACE OF VARIATIONS (full tour).
JINJER played its first live show since Russia's invasion of Ukraine on June 10 at this year's edition of the Greenfield Festival, which was held in Interlaken, Switzerland. The concert took place just days after it was announced that JINJER had been given permission from authorities to leave their war-torn nation and tour Europe this summer as ambassadors of the country.
Asked in a June 2022 interview with Finland's Chaoszine what it was like for him and his bandmates to be back on stage after all the tumultuous events of the last few months, Abdukhanov said: "Well, it has its pros and cons. On the one hand, being on stage for this 45[-minute], 50[-minute] or one-hour [set] is the perfect therapy for me, and it's the only time I can forget about the war — just playing music and connecting with the crowd. Because all the other time, my mood really goes up and down constantly — it swings back and forth, back and forth. And I may feel absolutely okay at one point, but after a few minutes I'm totally depressed — depressed in the way that I can barely act. And being able to play is definitely a cure."
Eugene also addressed the fact that JINJER was forced to cancel a number of shows at the beginning of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, including its own headline concerts, side shows with IN THIS MOMENT and participation in the "Knotfest Roadshow" tour supporting SLIPKNOT.
"We were right about [to go on] the U.S. tour with SLIPKNOT… We were just before the SLIPKNOT tour in the U.S.," he said. "And, of course, first of all, we couldn't get out. It was the first weeks of war, which were the most horrific times of my entire life. And even if we were out of Ukraine by the time war started, we wouldn't be able to play, because those first weeks, [there were] so many deaths, so much grief, so much horror, we wouldn't be able to play, definitely."
Regarding how close to his home was the conflict was, Eugene said: "I met the war exactly when it started. On the 24th [of February] at five o'clock in the morning, I was just driving and things around me started exploding. I got straight under the shelling, under the attack, and I thought, 'This is the end.' I was trying to get out of there, driving 180 kilometers on a very narrow road. It was still dark. And I saw things that I, before that, only saw in movies — huge explosions with all these pieces flying around. And they were falling right in front of me, and I was driving around them, and all the smoke around. It was like a real horror, but you're a part of it. And I was on the way back to Kyiv, and I was just trying to get home as soon as possible. And I saw all these traffic jams — people were trying to get out of the city — and all the destruction because of the first attack. And then the first week was the most horrible time because nobody knew what was happening. I got home, and one of the first things which I did, I contacted everyone in the band. We made a post on social media. And everyone stayed home. Every half an hour, there was a siren. We went to the basement. I went to the basement alone, because I was staying alone — I took my family out. I was alone, just sitting, watching the news and going crazy. Then every half an hour, I'd go to the basement, then go up, basement, up, spend half of the night in the basement. And there [were] huge explosions all around. Things that [weren't] even close the first night — like, five kilometers, ten kilometers away from me. This is not close; in our reality, this is not close. But [because of] how massive those explosions were, the land was shaking. And the real horror started to happen. And this is basically when the siege of Kyiv started. And the next very day, I just felt like stating our position [publicly] and claiming our position. I made that video which is on YouTube. I wasn't able to realize things like that could happen."
Seven months ago, JINJER released new merchandise designs to help raise funds to support their country. By April, the effort had resulted in more than $150,000 being raised, with proceeds set to be distributed directly to charity organizations of JINJER's choosing.
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