The path to success run through the war – exclusive interview with Eugene Abdukhanov from Jinjer

Honestly, we were thinking a lot about the lead of this article, but we couldn’t find any four-row-catchy thing what would summarize our exclusive interview with Eugene Abdukhanov. The bassist of Jinjer shared the story behind this unique band – honestly, we recommend to read the full article – promise us, it’s worth it!

-You told before the interview that you’re the sportiest member of Jinjer. How did you mean that?

-To be honest, I used to be very sporty when I was a teenager. Before I started play the bass I was a sportsman, kind of a professional one, but I was only15 years old. It was the most important thing in my life before music. I did martial arts, jiu jitsu and judo.

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-And what happened then, why did you give it up?

-Well, I went to University but at the same time I started playing bass – I was a big fan of music, all of my life. But when I turned 18 I just met new friends, musicians, and we spent a lot of time together and I just thought that it would be a good idea to play. And I thought like ’hey, bass, just four strings, it will be easy’. So I took up bass. But I didn’t finish sport by that time. Just it was a tough time because at the University I had a lot of homework and exams, and I had a few serious injuries on my knee and shoulder. I just slow down, and didn’t take part at competitions anymore. But when I was around 20, I had a fight in the street and literally broke my fist – then it was the end for sport and new beginning for music.  I didn’t go to a gym for a very long time and I start it again in 2013. I just went back to my old friends, to the same team, started trainings again but then the place, where I lived in Doneck, the war started there.

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Well, the problem is if I don’t do any execrcises I just put on weight really fast. And the only thing I can prevent this overweight is just doing exercises. So that’s why it’s really important. And when we’re on tour I just do push-ups – you know, it feels fine when you have this feeling, this strength, that your muscles are in a good condition. Otherwise, you know, you just feel like a piece of…dough, yeah. (laughs)

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I can’t say that I have actually a healthy lifestyle. I let myself drink alcohol, but not much now – I used to drink much more a few years before. Now, it’s really just a little. I don’t drink beer really much, it’s better to have a shot of vodka.

Well, I like stewed vegetables a lot. I’m not vegetarian unfortunately, I eat meat but I really prefer the meat to be cooked in a healthy way. So, not roasted, not fried in too much oil, because my liver doesn’t feel really well after this. I eat a lot of fruit, this sort of thing.

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Well, it’s a matter of personal choice. (Refers to veganism – Afro) I have to say that I don’t really think that I will ever be a vegetarian or vegan, because I just…well I love meat. I love the taste of it and I don’t think that I will be able to give up eat meat.

On the other hand, the idea of veganism, like protect the animals and being against this mass production and animal exploitation – I completely support this.

That’s why when being back at home I try not to buy meat, milk and those stuffs from supermarkets. There are a lot of street markets where people just have their own cattle. I just try to buy all those things from average people.

-Back to music now: Jinjer has rerelesed the first album, Cloud Factory.

-We actually have two full albums, the first was relesad in 2014 and the second was out in 2016. And we also had a debut EP, which was relesead in 2013. In February we have rereleased our 2014 album, and soon we will also start working on our new material, which should be out next year.

You will tour with Cradle of Filth in March – how much are you excited about that?

-Oh, a lot! (smiles)

-Do you listen to Cradle of Filth actually?

-Well, I can’t say that I like Cradle of Filth, but there was time, 15 years ago when everybody liked Cradle of Filth. That time, well, it was really something extraordinary. I had a friend by that time who was a big fan – he even had a nickname, „COF”. I listened to a lot Cradle of Filth with him. Well, I do respect the band because it’s a big band with a long history and they have their own influence, same as Arch Enemy, because the music of Arch Enemy isn’t really my thing especially now also, but I listened to them when I was a kid. I listened to their first album with Johan Liiva on vocals, and I loved it.

So that’s why it’s very important for us, being them on the same stage – it’s very important to see how professional they are. And there’s a lot of things we can learn from them.

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Same thing will be with Cradle of Filth, I’m absoluetly sure that even tough we are on different sides of metal music, I will anyway listen to them on stage and I’ll learn a lot from them. It’s matter of being professional musician – we always find something in a good band. And they are a good band.

-This tour how much will be inspiring for you? 

-Inspiration doesn’t come this way. It’s not even connected whom you play, it comes from the athmosphere. It doesn’t come only from good things, it also comes from bad things. I don’t even know what give you more, bad or good things. That’s why I can’t say now how much influence it will have but it will definitely will have some inspiration.

But finally we can meet out American fans, who have been waiting for us for a very long time now.

Definitely the new album will have something inspired by our tour with Cradle of Filth and Arch Enemy too.

-When you work on new songs what are the most inspiring things for you?

-Well, it’s a very hard question. There are two full songs (Prologue and Baggers Dance) what I myself wrote for the last album, and the intro and outro of the album. Different things inpsire me.

Baggers Dance was written very long time ago, and I was in love I think. (smiles).

Prologue’s tune was written also a very long time ago. And a song like Pisces… Pisces, yeah, I wrote most of the song and I also wrote the ending part of lyrics.

It’s a song about Tatiana and about me also, because she and I are pisces by zodiac. I don’t believe in zodiac, but this song is about us and people like we are.

And also I wrote Under the Dome, the heviest song on King of Everything album, and the lyrics also written by me. This is definitely an anti-religious song. When we created the album we were living in Lviv which is a very religious region.

I am an absolute atheist I don’t really believe that there is something after our death, it’s my personal opinion.

But I don’t believe in any Gods either, any misterious things, nothing like that. And in that region religion has a really big power, even too much power. I saw that crowds of children were taken to the church every day and they had classes about God. And at school, children also have special lesson called „The ethics of Christianity” – and all children must pray at the beginning of the lesson, even if they are not Christians.

And it’s a very frightening thing in the 21st Century, because people are not giving them any choice, they are just go on one way.

And you know, it frightened, even disgused me, when we were living there. And it was very inspiring for that song – because I put all my thoughts and all my anger in there.

-When you guys work on new songs, do you work on them together or rather alone?

-We do it pieces by pieces. It’s a very interesting thing. Most of the songs were written by Roman, our guitarist, I just added some parts, but four songs written by me. We just work on arrangements and structure together. Some songs were just written completely by Roman, but all the arrangements, like the bass lines or drum lines, we develope together on rehersals. And after when we finish music, Tatiana usually writes rylics and vocal lines when she has time and inspiration.

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-Now let’s go back in time a little bit: how do you see, what are the main differences being rockstar now and in the ’90s?

-Very big! Lifestlye, music, everything is different… And everything, in my opinion, got worse generally. Everything got commercialized. Too much pressure on bands. There are two types of musicians now: some just overpractice everything and they just sit and play all the time, and some just use playback and they don’t even play on stage. And I have to say that every second band do this way nowadays. And it’s very sad. The other thing – what I personally don’t understand – when musicians and bands start making same albums all the time.

They are afraid to do something new. And it didn’t happen this way in the ’90s for example. If you look at Pantera, each album was different, and that was one of the best bands in the ’90s.  If you look at Alice in Chains, all abums were different, there were some innovations on each album.

And people tried to experiment, music is about that. And a lifestlye changed a lot. The ’90s was the last decade when we had real rock heroes. Most of them were real drug or alcohol addicts, but they looked like body builders, they had beautiful bodies. However not many survived. 

 

But it was true. They were like „live your life”, they sang and played about, it was real rock and roll.

Paul from Pantera recently said that he doesn’t recognize rock music anymore, back in the days of ’90s, after a gig they went to have a party, and nowadays they go to dressing room or hotel and play computer games. Well, I understand why, because there is too much pressure. You have to be on the top all the time. In the band sometimes we miss these legendary rock and roll lifestyle, it was just sincere. So things changed a lot since then.

-When did you decided that you wanna be a rockstar and how much did your family and friends supported you?

-Actually, I never wanted to be a rockstar. And I’m still not a rockstar. I just do my job on bass guitar and I think I do it well. I just love to play music. It is between me, my bass guitar and people whom I send my bass notes. And I enjoy it, a lot. I just enjoy playing in live and create music. That’s not about being famous, not at all.

My family didn’t understand me for a very long time, because I used to be a sportsman and I was quite successfull.

I won some championships in Ukraine. My father didn’t understand me for a very long time, he kept on saying „why don’t you stop this bullshit? You’re just wasting your time! Why don’t you go back to sport?” He only understood it when he saw that I’m on the right way, it was about 2-3 years ago.

When the war started, we moved out from Donbass to Lviv, and we didn’t have anything else to do, only to play music, and we actually started making our living playing music, and it was like a breaking point – my parents just understood that well, it worked for me, and for everybody else.

Well, now it’s okay. I’m sitting here, in Sweden and giving an interview to you and of course my parents are proud of me.

When we lived in Donbass in Donetsk region, we all had jobs – I was an English teacher.

So we had other sources of income. And then the war started and we had to move out and I was about to be a father, because my girlfriend was pregnant actually, so I didn’t want to stay with them in the territory of the war. We just understood that we would not be able to play any shows, any concerts, because it was blocked, people couldn’t go out. It was just dangerous. People killed each other in that region so we moved out, and at first it was very hard.

We didn’t have money, it was very-very difficult. And at some point we were about to brake down.

But again: music just helped us! We played more and more shows and earned some money – but somehow we managed to go through it. And I think how much we love music and playing it, all thing connected to it. It helped us. It just somehow kept us doing this.

Interview: Afrodite Szeleczky
Photos: Péter Tepliczky / MyTouche Blog, Courtesy of Eugene Abdukhanov

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