If you listen to industry experts and insiders, Ukraine's Jinjer were fixing to become the breakout metal band of 2020.
Following hot on the heels of their latest genre-busting album Macro, the collective of Tatiana Shmayluk, Roman Ibramkhalilov, Eugene Abdukhanov, and Vlad Ulasevich had kicked off a world tour in Australia, paying off a decade of grinding and brass-ring grabbing to become a new hot property in a world that churns out would-be heirs to the heavy metal throne on a semi-regular basis.
But then COVID-19, shutting down the touring artist as we know it, at least for now.
Now Jinjer is back with Alive in Melbourne, a living document of one of the final heavy metal gigs pre-pandemic, and one that encapsulates the rise of a band that have exploded from humble beginnings to true must-see attractions.
Tatiana and Eugene caught up with Metal Injection for look back at the past year and the Alive in Melbourne experience, their mindset on mixing genres and sounds, and serving up details on new material created during the pandemic for a brand new Jinjer record.
On Cancelled World Tour
Eugene: At first a few months ago when the whole thing started and I tend to say that the world didn't end but the world stopped for some time, it was of course, very, very different to understand that. Our latest very successful album, Macro, just is going nowhere. We didn't have a chance to support it properly with tours and everything, all our plans just falling apart. It was bitter to understand that. But me personally, I think the whole band will kind of swallow this and step over this. It is time for us to move forward.
On Live Album Alive in Melbourne
Tatiana: It's like keeping a picture in your album as a good memory. It's a reminder that at least it happened and we were so lucky to actually make it happen in Melbourne, because as you know, going to Australia was a big thing for us as it was our first time we were there. It's a huge, huge thing and we're more than happy to have it right now in our hands and being able to show the rest of the world how it went there.
Eugene: I just think that we were very lucky to have this show to be carved in stone, figuratively. It is now released on vinyl and on CD, so it will never be forgotten. It will always stay there as a good reminder and as memorabilia because nobody really knows what the world is going to be after the pandemic. I hope the world will be able to get back on its rails. But in all this uncertainty, which is everywhere now, it doesn't let us build plants. And we are lucky to have one of the last shows like you said, one of the last normal shows as they used to be, now on the record being officially released because it will always remind people how real concerts should go.
On Diversity & Genre-Bending
Tatiana: I think it happened way before King of Everything. We mixed genres on Cloud Factory. So that was our aim from the very first day we started working as a band. We don't want to be this band that is going to compose their music and follow one direction. That's what we avoided even.
Eugene: The diversity which we have now in our music, it has been there since the very beginning, but it maybe at first wasn't that obvious. But with time it was just growing within us more and more and more. And with time I think we just have more and more courage to break through all these genre boundaries and limits. It is hard to pick one point of time, one moment when we told ourselves, OK, now we're not limited to one genre. It just grew within us throughout the whole history of the band.
Tatiana: Now we just release it more and we are not afraid of being ourselves anymore.
On Grinding to Achieve Success
Tatiana: The success would be a surprise if we didn't do anything and woke up being famous. That's a surprise. But when you work hard and you reap what you sow, it comes naturally. So we are proud of ourselves, first of all, and we stay humble and really grateful that every member of this band came together and stayed together still.
Eugene: Everything we are having now is really organic. I can compare the way of Jinjer, our path, with Facebook or other social media and the reach of those social media. You can have an organic reach. This is what we have and what we gained over the years, just grinding through. Or somebody else may have this reach just because they paid and paid not only money, but some bands just have connections. Some bands, maybe they played in the other bands before and they have some following already and it makes it easier for them to get to a certain level. In the case of us we are guys from a very, very provincial town in the far East province of Ukraine from poor families. When we started we didn't have anything. And the only thing we had was that we grew up with the music and I would say this recklessness and maybe determination. We wanted that and we did everything to get that.
On Early Stages of a New Album
Eugene: Of course, we've been writing all this time. The progress for the next record is huge. We are in the middle of creating the new record. We have a number of new songs written, music wise. Still those pieces don't have vocals, but music wise they are done. We keep on writing, and we're just now looking at the next year to release our next album.
In the case of Jinjer I believe that every next album will be an experimentation. We are that sort of a band that will never stay at one point. We will always keep moving. And as far as I see it now with the new record … definitely more into the realms of progressive metal. This next record is going to be, in my opinion, a bit more melancholic and even darker than Macro in some way. But it is not complete yet. We're still working and who knows what creativity will lead us to.