Interview: Ljubov Dzhuzhynska
Photo: Ljubov Dzuzhynska, Elena Savlokhova
If you had to choose between music and sex what would you say no to?
Dima: Sex. Seems logical, considering who is the guitarist and who is the vocalist.
How do you think, what impression do you create when people see you perform for the very first time?
Zhenya: Most of our gigs were weird because we performed in a weird manner. We don’t look ‘dark’, compared to most people who play this type of music, hence we create a more fun vibe.
Dima: Opinions were divided. Some say our gigs are cool, some say that they don’t quite get them.
Describe the world you are trying to create during your performance.
Zhenya: A third-rated world.
Dima: Rock’n’roll. A dope performance. For people to have fun.
Zhenya: We want to transfer the very essence of rock ‘n’ roll and create a distraction from everyone’s ordinary life.
What was the best gig you’ve ever performed?
Zhenya: Normally the best gigs are not in Kiev. We’ve noticed that the best ones always happen in small cities.
Dima: We had a pretty nice gig in Kiev on ‘Володя’ .
Zhenya: It was nice because the event was cool in general.
Dima: We had a great gig in Zhytomyr, even the mayor stopped by. It was crazy fun. We performed at the museum of astronautics and a Bible stood there on a stone pedestal in the middle of the hall. So one drunk dude was dancing and ended up falling and smashing his head against it.
Zhenya: Another thing that was funny was a billboard they had, which said ‘the festival is right over here’.
Dima: They also had a small swimming pool and random people regularly just fell into it. A swimming pool around the Bible.
Tell us about some of your gig-related misadventures.
Dima: We have a story about the city of Kamianets-Podilskyi, in which we never got a chance to perform at.
Zhenya: Since we play with a drum machine, we required an amplifier. Each time they set up the same amplifier, which shuts down every single minute.
Dima: Only one person owned an amplifier in the entire city. We returned a year later and faced the same problem with the same amplifier. We performed with hardcore bands and they just yell, so they couldn’t care less about an amplifier and whether it functions. They just yell and everyone else yells with them.
We also have a story about our European tour. We drove in the legendary ‘Gazele of Death’, which is an old GAZelle-manufactured van, and we ended up arriving late to almost every single concert. When we drove up to Moscow, we ran out of gas and we slowly slid down a hill towards Moscow. The audience in the club, where we played, didn’t give a damn that we were late though, because people just go there to generally hang out.
Zhenya: Normally, the biggest fuck-up for a musician is to be late to your own concert. It’s very stupid. We arrived in Riga and our driver, who has problems with his eyesight, was parking with the rear end and ended up just squishing someone’s bicycle into a wall. The promoter hurried us by saying: “Now we have to work very fast, otherwise we will lose the last remaining public”. ‘The remaining public’ counted 5 people in the bar.
Dima: Might I add that there were 7 people on our bus. The same night the window of the van was smashed out and we were robbed on 1000$. The thing is, the robbers couldn’t open the GAZelle, because it’s quite problematic to do so, you almost need to use a screwdriver or wires. One other funny incident that happened on our way home was when we drove with another band ‘Pree Tone’ and their drummer couldn’t take it. When we reached Ukraine, Chernivtsi, he just bought a train ticket and left for Kiev, and no one has heard of him or seen him since. Please note that it was a brutal winter of -30 ° C, and the window remained as it was after the robbery – shattered.
Zhenya: Sometimes it so happens at gigs that we start playing a song and each of us plays a different one. It’s just that our drums sound similar in some parts.
Dima: At first, we were not quite adequate during our performances, but now we are completely different. Our last tour to Poland and Russia went quite homelike, as one might say.
You know there’s this thing called a set-list, right?
Dima: I know a story about this! Oasis were once on methamphetamine and somehow the technician glued two entirely different set-lists.
Zhenya: That’s probably the worst case scenarios – musicians playing different songs at the same time and being late to your own gig. If the two are combined together then you get the worst band ever.
Dima: There was another great gig in Poland. We came to a club with trance music in the old tram depot. We were given a sound guy, who partied the previous night, got stoned and wanted to set us up for the gig. We begin the concert, and he randomly starts to twist the faders on the remote, so the sound in our monitors kept appearing and disappearing. Drums appear, then disappear. However, he thought that it was for the better. We asked him to leave and played on our own till the end. ourselves out. He got fired afterwards.
Did you ever have a gig that went smoothly?
Zhenya: Yes, we’ve had a few.
Dima: By accident, probably. We just had a period like that, but the audience never notices it.
How to survive in the nightlife?
Zhenya: You really just need beer. There is never enough beer. You need a cart of Corona per person.
Dima: A little bit of beer and a good meal.
What is the best gig you’ve ever attended as a spectator?
Zhenya: I liked the Obits gig – a grunge band from New York, it’s rather iconic. They started playing in the 90s and they’re all in their 40s and before that they used to have another band Pitchfork. They came to Kiev once and that’s when I thought of my new image for the very first time, which I call ‘classic’. It’s like an old rock’n’roll guy in an old jacket, the ones janitors have, wearing glasses, like the ones Oleg has [band manager – ed. note], and a massive vintage guitar. They played real garage rock and it was very cool. They spent their own money and came from the US. I enjoyed Swans a lot, because they were really loud. Also I’ve always liked Sonic Death, I saw them perform in Moscow and we played with them in Kiev.
Dima: I liked that dude Ambrose Akinmusire the most. He’s a jazz trumpeter and he performed in Closer.
Do you have certain things on your playlist that you are ashamed of?
Zhenya: Not ashamed anymore! Dima opened up about it actually. He listens to Луна and I’ve started listening to her too. I even have an item of exclusive merchandise – a cap with the text ЛУНА on it. I’ve also started listening to Lana Del Rey.
Dima: The one thing I’m really ashamed of doing in front of people is listening to Justin Timberlake.
Zhenya: It’s that feeling when someone messes up and you feel ashamed for them.
What’s it like to be young in Kiev?
Zhenya: You never get tired.
Dima: Think again, you can do better than that. Actually, there is a lot of entertainment in this city. Especially if you are into raves, techno, electro parties.
Zhenya: You get to be a model at Ukrainian Fashion Week for free. You know, just to take pics. A lot of our acquaintances do that.
Dima: Or you can become a tattoo artist. Or a DJ.
Zhenya: You can combine the two and become a DJ tattoo artist!
Dima: If you are young in Kiev, then you always have a couple of role models you can follow and choose who you want to become. Also, as a rule, you can start your own clothing line.
What are the downfalls?
Zhenya: Your Instagram always looks as if you are poor when you take pictures outdoors.
Dima: No one even believes that you could actually be rich. The average salary is 500$ at best. But if you live in the present day and just have fun or hang out, then things are pretty cool. е
Zhenya: It’s fun to get sick and visit our hospitals. Dima sometimes practices this for 4 months straight, but I personally try to avoid it.
Dima: Yes, I love that very much. The clinic is like an old manor. I like it. It’s just that I’m going deaf. We’ve been recording a new album for the past two months.
Tell us a funny or awkward story from your lives.
Zhenya: Once I did an internship in an advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi, and I lasted two weeks. I had this smart look on my face and pretended that I knew what I was doing. I even participated in a company meeting a few times, wore a smart jacket and glasses. I sat with my MacBook and pretended to work in Photoshop on a new project. But nothing turned out of it. I didn’t have the project ready by the end of the second week so I was told that what I handed in was meaningless. I didn’t come in the next day, because I felt ashamed.
Dima: There is not much fun happening in my life.
What superpower would you like to have in real life?
Zhenya: We watched The Hulk recently. It’s cool that the worse people treat him, the stronger he becomes. But Hulk can’t get too excited, because when gets excited, he turns into Hulk. That’s a disadvantage.
Dima: Ever since childhood I remember the question about the ultimate wish. If I could have one wish, I would ask for an unlimited number of wishes.
What do you learn from one another?
Zhenya: Dima is very responsible, whereas I have an absolutely abstract consciousness. Dima is too clear about things , and it’s all a blur for me.
Who is more patient with the other?
Zhenya: Dima complains that I’m an unbearable human being.
What book, film, or cartoon reality would you like to live in and why?
Zhenya: Midnight Cowboy  – 100%. I would try something from the realms of science fiction.
Dima: War and Peace. It was a good time. Okay, I just like the hussar uniforms. I want to be a hussar.
Let’s consider that Bichkraft is one living organism: which body part would each of you represent?
Zhenya: I’m the head and everything that is inside the head.
Dima: He is the voice and I am the guitar.
Zhenya: Is a guitar a part of a living organism?!
Dima: Well, or we’re like a Siamese twin. I control the right foot, and he controls the left. There was a case in medicine, where the Siamese twins could not do this task synchronously and therefore they could not walk. The same shit. That’s why we gave both our legs to outsourcing. We do not know anatomy.
Zhenya: I actually know anatomy, I know how to draw.
Dima: You could compare us to a Lamborghini. I’m a 6-liter V8 engine, and Zhenya is an ultra-lightweight carbon case with LED headlights that provides aerodynamics, a clamping force, and true beauty, and I just carry this machine through the vastness of the galaxy at the speed of 320km/h.
Zhenya: On Ukrainian roads.
What is your spirit animal?
Zhenya: A moose. They look kind of cool. I wouldn’t mind being reincarnated into a moose.
Dima: Probably, a cat. I have a Siamese cat named Britney. In honour of Britney Spears.
How would you describe the past few years of the band with a few words?
Zhenya: If taking the last two years into account then I would say that the first year was very weird. The second was entirely different. Everything changed quite drastically.
Dima: We had other members too.
Zhenya: So I’d say the first part is somewhere deep under the water, way closer to the bottom, whereas the second part is closer to the surface and we can see some rays of sunlight.
Dima: That’s why you’re a moose. Moose, by the way, are very good swimmers. Outside the Arctic Circle they can overcome more than 2km by just swimming.
What absurd and useless piece of information can you share with us?
Dima: Yesterday we read that 10 years ago there was a nuclear war, the Hermitage was built by aliens, and the history of China and the history of Rome are the same.
Zhenya: There’s this thing – an alternative theory of everything and anything. People just come up with an alternative theories of the world. They are not based on anything really, but people discuss such topics and are absolutely serious about. It’s very funny. If you’re not exactly a person who is familiar with things then you can easily believe in some of those alternative theories. And there are some absolutely bizarre and delusional ones.
Dima: We are interested in the relativism in history.
Zhenya: It seems to me that such information complicates our existence.
What is the ultimate life truth you’ve discovered after living all these years?
Dima: None whatsoever.
Zhenya: That you need to know how to play music. You can’t fool or deceive anyone. All of the old bands and all of the modern bands that we try to orient ourselves by, know their shit. There are a lot of bands that don’t even try, as it seems. Especially some of the studio work you hear from various musicians, gives you some rather interesting food for thought.
Is there a person who inspires you?
Dima: I really like Miles Davis. He kept having kids but he never gave away music.
Zhenya: I like PJ Harvey. She had a very rad and ambitious career start. I’ve also heard a lot of weird things about her.
If you could travel in time, where would you go and why?
Dima: I think it’s a lame idea, I wouldn’t go anywhere. It’s like in Woody Allen’s film “Midnight in Paris” – everyone constantly wants to go back to the past, because they think it was better back then, for some reason.
What are your plans for this year in terms of music?
Dima: Our new album is coming out on the 16th of March.
Zhenya: We want to quickly come up with new songs in the near future. We want to prepare and master some new material so that we could record it in a studio in New York. Our label says that we should go there during the fall and our time there will be limited. Currently we record our stuff in the Istok studio, and we’d like to thank those guys for giving us the opportunity.
Dima: They have a new project for young musicians – Studio B. Our friend Nikita Mekalin is helping us out with the recording process. New year – new album. Plus vinyls, which take up to 4 months to get done in the States. And we are bound to vinyl. But in summer, most likely, you can expect a digital release of a couple of our new songs, they will be in English.
What question would you like to be asked at an interview and what would your answer be?
Zhenya: We like it when we are asked about something technical. Interviews of musicians are also read by other musicians, so it would be interesting to know about some of the technical aspects of their music. I read a lot of interviews of my favorite musicians, and I find a lot of interesting things there. Particularly, it’s cool to know about the everyday life of creative people: how much they sleep, what they eat. Usually the coolest interviews are formed on the basis of previous interviews. It creates a linear and fuller story.
What question do you dislike answering the most?
Dima: What our band name means. Absolutely hate it. I also don’t like telling people to fix the spelling in it. Usually people think it is a play on the word “bitch” and add an extra “T”. Some even used to make that mistake on gig posters.
Today, when you apply to primary school, you have to answer some weird questions like ‘what one thing does a hedgehog and milk have in common?’
Dima: The acidity level is a little over a six, I think.
Zhenya: I think hedgehogs are acidic.
Dima: They can also both be carriers of rabies. By the way, when enrolling into the army these days, they ask you some really funny questions. What is the Moon? How many planets are there in our solar system? Who is the president of Russia? Who is the president of America? Just in order to prevent extreme fools from joining the army. You might be surprised, but in small towns not everyone is capable of answering such questions.
Why are sewer hatches circle-shaped?
Dima: A circle is the perfect shape.
Zhenya: So that you could shove sewer pipes through them.
Dima: They don’t shove pipes down the hatches, at first they build the collector and then they attach the pipes straight after.