-Tell us about the band?
We’ve started in early 90s as a rockabilly/psychobilly trio in the country where nobody heard of such music. We’ve been singing in English, so nobody could understand what it was all about. We looked like aliens and sounded like aliens, but we’ve been tough and in the years got to be recognized as a well-known rock band in Ukraine. However, our first 3 CDs were released by a German label and we were playing festivals and clubs all over Europe building ourselves a name in the psychobilly scene. Then we began to sing in Ukrainian, had a lot of changes in music and doubled the line up with the brass section. We got more influenced by ska, Latin alternative, modern Balkan and Gypsy music, and we were also seeking inspiration in Ukrainian folk songs. What we created from this had become very popular in Ukraine, so in the recent years we’ve been busy touring all over the country, discovering the motherland for ourselves. Now as we are one of the most successful rock bands at home, there is not much more to do here for us, so we are looking for a bigger audience and new impressions. We are planning the release of our best songs in Europe, which we will follow-up with the concerts. As some of the songs contain important messages, we’ve translated them into English so everybody could understand them. We are coming to save the world… and party!
-What was your first concert experience? Do you remember how you felt once the concert was over?
My first concert experience ever was with a school band, where I played guitar for a half a year. I don’t remember much of the first concert, only the impression that I have an adrenaline shock. However the music that band played was very boring for me, so I soon left to start the band of my own, Mad Heads. I do remember the first concert, though it still was a big thrill. It was a small underground party with different performers, and when we hit the stage we put all our energy and expression into the audience, so that afterwards I heard the people saying: “these guys were so drunk and crazy, but they played so well”, but we were absolutely sober, just high on adrenaline. And we do put a lot of energy to every performance since that first time. Just another detail, our double bass player only started to master the special slapping technique and he had those thick metal strings, so he damaged his fingers but didn’t stop and kept spreading his blood into the audience from the middle of our performance.
-Did you grow up wanting to play music, or when did the whole making albums thing come about and how?
I was getting the classical music education since I was 6, playing violin and piano, but it mostly wasn’t much fun and just not cool. So I never thought of a career of the musician. This music education was arranged by my parents who weren’t musicians themselves, my father’s opinion was that a cultural person must understand music and play some instrument for the fun of it. So after finishing the music school I’ve put the violin to the wall and said “NEVER AGAIN!” to myself. But I was already a big fan of rock music by that time, and in a few months I’ve started to play guitar. I was trying to put a band together with my school mates even before that, I’ve even came up with a few songs, but none of them could play any instrument, so that didn’t work. As soon as I started to play guitar, I was making my own songs. In a couple of months I was invited to the school band, soon after I’ve started my group. Yet I never thought it could be a job. There was no such job as rock musician in Soviet Union back then. It was a passion, a desire. And it still is, though at some point they began to give me money for singing my songs and playing guitar. I think this is great.
-Do you have a favorite song you have ever written? Why?
I do like some of my songs more than the others, but it is still quite a lot of them. I think the most special is “Nadiya yea” (“The hope is here”), because it has marked the major changes in our band’s biography. Also, because it was the first real national hit, and when we played the biggest Ukrainian open air festival Tavria Games in 2005 and all the huge audience was singing chorus back to me, it was such a great feeling, one of the biggest highlights I’ve ever head. This song is always on the set list since then, and it is always a great sing along, so by this time I have sung it over 500 times together with millions of people all over Ukraine and last year in Toronto, Canada where they have a huge Ukrainian festival. So this song must be the most special for me. And it is really important, because it is about rising up from whatever bad situation you may have, it is about hope. And I have a lot of response from people saying “this song helped me out when I was in trouble” or even “this song saved my life”, some of them telling me their stories and how it actually worked. So when I ever have doubts on who I am, what I do, and why I do this, I think of this song and I know that it’s worth to keep going this way.
-What is your greatness weakness as a band?
I am good at song writing, and we are very good live band. We spread energy and emotion, so the people feel the drive even when they don’t understand what the songs are about. Since the time I decided myself responsible for the nature of energy that we spread, most of the songs contain positive ideas, positive emotions. This is my instrument of changing the world.
The weakness I would say is that we are still operating on a small part of the world called Ukraine. We have to spread our action, and we are working on it.
-What’s the scariest thing that has ever happened to you in your life?
I prefer to stay on the bright side and concentrate my attention on the things are fascinating me rather than scaring. The creepiness things I recall from childhood. Like, my younger brother Max in the age of 2 has fallen down into the river from the bank and disappeared in the depth of water. I was in the water, about 20 meters from him, and I was swimming like hell towards the place he drowned while a friend of mine, who was standing close to my little brother, jumped into the water and disappeared as well. Those seconds, before 2 heads appeared on the surface, must be the scariest in my life. And that might change the face of our band dramatically, because Max is playing bass in Mad Heads for 15 years now.
–What’s the first thing you do when the band arrives in a new town while on tour?
I guess we check if the girls are pretty. This comes automatically, before we get rooms in the hotel or do the sound check.
-What’s the worst place you have ever played a show at, and why?
The place could be anywhere, it is not the most important for the show. Two things most important are sound (equipment) and crowd. If the room is packed and the sound is good, our show is always a success.
-What music do you listen to when you are having a bad day?
I don’t have bad days. If the run of things doesn’t follow my plan this doesn’t mean the day is bad. I’m always trying to enjoy some unexpected experience that I might have even if it seems to be unpleasant at the first glance. Every problem is a chance for a new opportunity. Life is a miracle and every day is a present, each could be the last one. This is what I’m trying to deliver in some of my own songs, so when I think that the day is bad, I can sing one of those. Or just have a ride at a high-speed with open windows and some high energy music played very loud. The last few times I can recall it was THE HIVES and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE. This also works better than coffee if I need to wake up very early in the morning.
-If you had your life to live over again, what one thing would you change?
I wouldn’t change anything, because every mistake that I made in the past gave me the priceless experience that I’m using now. Or, maybe I should make even more mistakes in the past?
-What`s your favourite part of music history?(acts/genres etc.)
In the first place, I’m thinking of 50s as the start of rock-n-roll. Then late 70s early 80s, punk rock and everything that followed. But to tell the truth, I have my favorites in every decade.
-In a perfect world how many albums would you have to sell to be happy?
I am happy, and this helps me to sell albums. And I think the world IS perfect, it’s just that we not always understand how it works.
-What do you guys have planned for the future?
In the nearest future we are going to share our energy with people around the globe. We are going to get your spirit higher.
-And finally,what else should we know about your band?
Come and see us live, this is the only way to know us.
Thank you guys for your time.
MK/Kingdom 4 Music