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14.12.2004 Animal Jazz

Domestication
(Animal Jazz' interview for PLAY Magazine, December 2004)

Petersburg band Animal Jazz was searching for its original identity for four years. And it seems they have found it. Vlad Bukhanzev asked musicians how they managed to do it and what through they had to come.

The band exists for four years. During this period they've released three LPs and uncountable amount of singles. Playing power guitar music, such a mix of nu-metal, symphonic roots and vocal manner a-la Mike Patton Animal Jazzmen have conquered a plenty of different stages and arenas. But every time they were refused to play their songs on the radio. The reason was that's not a radio format and sounds too hard. However, the band was able for inner changes and searching: at once they changed keyboard player and drummer. They've recorded the album absolutely not peculiar for them and have started moving from clubs' favorite's status to the radio's. And that was a big and important step ahead. PLAY's correspondent met with the guys at one of many Moscow cafes: Mihalych, Voenruk, Gene, Jan and Stas were drinking beer and answering PLAY's questions.

Play: You have changed musicians just when the band was recording a new album. Why?
Mihalych: Yes, really, our keyboard player Boris Golodets has left the band. He chose the life path differing from musical. Being in searching we've found Stas Gavrilov laying on the sofa and drinking beer at the "Purga" club. And we thought then, that such a lazy person will fit the band in that stormy time and will come down the situation. In result all keyboards parts for a new album were played by Stas, which had reconsidered just in a couple of days all our works and has cardinally changed the sound of the keyboards. Now the keyboards are not the leading theme as it was before, they're making an atmosphere. The keyboards have taken the place which it should usually take in rock bands. It fills around the music space.

Play: There were some rumors that Boris didn't want to leave, but he was asked to.
Mihalych: That was a tricky situation. On the one hand he walked his own way. And this way wasn't crossing with the way of the band.
Gene: If you'll ask him, he'll tell you, that he's left by his own will.
Mihalych: By the way, I think so too. He made up his mind and made a concrete choice. And our choice was a searching of a new keyboard player. These two electing processes were taking place at the same time. Boris was slowly leaving; Stas was slowly entering the band. As for our drummer Serge Egorov, so he has left because of musical disagreements. We began to play more subtly, not only in one style, we try to mix styles. And Serge wanted to play only hard, power music, and also that was a question of professional skills. Now I never feel a rhythmic discomfort singing at the concerts as it happened when Egorov played. It's a very important thing.
Gene: Serge always didn't like a huge amount of things. He didn't accept our new songs, thoughts and so on. The conflict was growing bigger and bigger, so we've parted on one beautiful day. But we're staying friends now.

Play: Mihalych, once you've said that Animal Jazz can do anything they want to. I guess, it can be understandable, when such words are spoken by Radiohead. They are worldwide famed with their genius albums. But when the Animal Jazz says so : . It looks strange at least.
Mihalych: That's all simple. We want to play the music that matches with our mood and feelings at the definite moment. The bigger opportunities we have - the better. We were making our new album only in the way we want it to be. We didn't guess how many people will buy it and how many songs will become hits.
Stas: By the way we have no guarantee about our next album. May be there will be techno-jazz, I don't know where we'll go in future. It doesn't really matters for me, what to play. The really matter is that we're playing together.

Play: Let's stick to your new album "Kak Ludi". It does differ from all you've done before:
Voenruk: Yeah, and now we're regularly being criticized on this occasion. The most popular opinion is that we've become a pop band.
Mihalych: I've already lost two friends because of such things. Maybe it looks like a mania but I can't stand groundless empty criticism about Animal Jazz. If someone, especially someone close, tells so, I just quit with this relationship. That means they just don't understand the main things in me.

Play: Okay. You're not a pop band, so what are you?
Voenruk: We are moving forward. Gene will tell better about it.
Gene: New album is new in all meanings of the word "new". Our previous studio albums were some kind of copies of our live performances. We simply recorded five instruments, some backing vocals, double guitars and that's it. And now due to changes happened and a new sound producer Max Kravtsov we have really made something definitely unusual for us. Max had cooperated with our permanent sound engineer Yury Smirnov and at last the recording of music turned from entertainment into work.

Play: What goals did you plan to reach making such different album?
Mihalych: We didn't think about popularity, we were searching for a new sound. Because we're really tied from all that: "you're a concert band, on the albums maximum three songs can be being heard".
We wanted to make an album accomplished, so it could become a really new stage for the band. Now we're trying to be a studio band onstage and a live band in the studio. If someone of the PLAY's readers will understand what I meant, we will prize him very good!

Vlad Bukhanzev


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