Feature

Jinjer talk touring, the power of social media and music piracy ahead of their SA tour

Time to pull out the battle boots and shine ‘em up for the arrival of Ukrainian metal band Jinjer this May.

Ahead of their tour to South Africa, the band’s bassist Eugene Abdiukhanov had a few things to share about touring, the power of social media and music piracy.

Tells Eugene, “We are so looking forward to coming to South Africa! I can’t even wait! Since we met the [progressive metal band] Ohgod guys from Cape Town – we never even knew about the metal scene there. After the tour with Ohgod in May 2018, we’ve been dreaming about playing there and now it’s happening.”

Like most bands that tour to South Africa, Jinjer will be making sure to fully experience what the country has to offer. “It’s more than just the music for us when we come to South Africa. We can’t wait to meet new fans, make new friends and see new things,” says Eugene.

The quintet will be playing their hearts out on Friday, 3 May at Mercury Live in Cape Town and on Saturday, 4 May at Platteland in Centurion. “We will try to make our set list as diverse as possible; definitely Micro will make an appearance as well as other tracks from our discography,” teases Eugene.

Even though Jinjer is deep in touring mode, the creativity doesn’t stop. As Eugene explains,

“We are in the stage of composing – working on new songs and new material. There isn’t any special process. It just unfolds naturally. We gather ideas and present it together. Some songs are born from [guitarist] Roman [Ibramkhalilov] while [drummer] Vlad [Ulasevich] and I write our musical arrangements over this. Lastly, [vocalist] Tatiana [Shmailyuk] writes her lyrics over this. It’s a complete collaboration and it works. Each of us has our own source of inspiration and we each pull from our own backgrounds and roots. We don’t all have the same tastes in music – I mean – Vlad and I love death metal while Tatiana and Roman are immersed into nu metal. It ranges so greatly though, from Pink to Cannibal Corpse. And this is a great thing because the music is never stagnated.”

Speaking of stagnation, the metal scene is South Africa is at an all-time high. However, in the Ukraine, Eugene says it’s a different story. He explains, “I can’t say that there is a steep development in metal in the Ukrainian. Things are getting better but I can’t say in which direction that it is getting better. There are new fantastic bands which is great but the audience just isn’t growing. I keep saying this, that we in the Ukraine, have a very small audience and an even smaller amount come to shows. I’ve been around the world and I’ve seen that in other countries like Germany, that this isn’t the case. The scene continues to grow and the bands get bigger and better. I hope this plays out in the Ukraine too.”

Thanks to the digital age, metal can thrive on the internet and Eugene agrees that it’s an essential tool not just for Jinjer but all bands out there. “We live in the era of social media now and artists who deny or attempt to diminish the role of social media in their musical career are living in denial. We spend a huge amount of time on our phones scrolling through timelines and it’s a great way to reach out to people from around the world. There are pros and cons though; because good and bad bands have access to social media so there’s a lot of sh*t out there too,” he adds.

With the digital age came piracy but Eugene has a different take on it, “There’s a lot to be said about piracy – it still exits. To some extent, and this is my opinion, we should close one eye about it. Yes, artists don’t get enough for their work but in some ways, it also gives your work exposure to people who don’t have access to getting your art. I come from a poor Soviet Ukraine time and we pirated music because we didn’t have money to buy CDs. If we didn’t listen to the music that we got from the underground then we wouldn’t have known about metal and I wouldn’t have heard the bands that inspired me as a musician.”

And that would be a pity if Jinjer were not Jinjer. So, let’s support this diverse band when they hit African soil.