Interview: Elena Savlokhova, Ljubov Dzuzhynska
Photo: Sasha Ptaag

Jadu is a ‘military dream pop’ artist based in Berlin. 

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What’s it like to be you?
Complicated because I think I have different personalities inside and every personality is fighting against each other. Sometimes I’m feeling like I’m on the wrong planet, but through music, I’m kind of getting out all these fantasies and crazy things. Sometimes it’s fun and sometimes it’s tough but in the end, I’m 31 now and I’m getting into it and it’s good to be me.

If you could travel in time where would you go and why?
I think it’s not good to go into the past. I had really good moments in the past but I’m not a fan of hanging on to things of the past you just have to go forward and think about the future. And

I think as long as everything’s cool in what’s happening now then the future can’t be bad.

That’s my mood that I’m trying to follow and I’m trying to not think too much about the future. I’m just trying to live in the moment and get the best things out of it. 

If you were part of the SpaceX plan for colonizing Mars, what would you miss the most about Earth?
I mean, not much is really going on Mars. I would probably miss music and just everything. Earth is such a beautiful planet and it’s so diverse. I’ve traveled a lot and I’ve seen a lot of places: I went to Africa, I went to India, many islands.

I think the best thing you can do is check out the place where you live and take it with you. It’s a beautiful planet. We have to protect it.

So yeah, even though it’s shit to fly. As long as we are here – take a look at our planet, it’s beautiful. 

What’s your personal definition of beauty? What was the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen or experienced in your life?
Beauty has so many sides and I’m more into the darker side. I see beauty in that, in things that maybe some people don’t think are beautiful. That’s also the reason why I really like the Lindemann show because he’s showing things that people would normally perceive as awful or provocative, but he just shows parts of reality. And for me, reality is a thing of beauty and everything that is fake is not.

For me natural things are the most beautiful things, like the wilderness, the planet – you don’t have to do anything because it’s already beautiful. You can find beauty in so many ways. 

What excites you the most in what you do?
At this stage of my life, I’m enjoying being in places where I’ve never been, for example, here. These are such new feelings for me. I’m singing in German and people don’t understand what I’m singing but they get into my music without understanding a word and that means a lot to me. I’m really trying to get the energy not only through words but through everything. It’s a whole thing. If people feel it then it’s very exciting. The entire tour is and I’m very thankful for being here and that Lindemann takes us with them. It’s such a big thing for me because I’ve only been on stage for one year and a lot of things are happening since then. It’s the best time of my life. 

What has your life been like before?
I was a real estate agent. In a way it is a good job, but if you are into arts and music and you just want to do that, then you feel like you’re being held in a cage while doing things that you don’t want to do. I want to be on stage and whenever I am there I try to take it all in very deeply. That’s what I want to do. 

What have you learned through your project on a personal and professional level in this one year?
To keep going and never stop believing.This is just one sentence and every artist says it but it is like that. You just never give up. I always believed in it. There are many people who are against it. I put so much energy into it and believed in it and believed in my band. Also Lindemann, they showed that they believe in us and they’ve taken us with them on tour. It means so much to me. There were so many instances when record labels told me, “You will never be anything”, right in your face. For me it means a lot more when a real artist like Till thinks otherwise and believed in me. Keep on fighting. 

What book, film, or cartoon reality would you like to live in?
I want to be in Jurassic Park haha. It’s one of my favorite things! But only in the old movies, they’re so much cooler and all those details, and I’m really into details. I would actually like to time travel and see the dinosaurs. It’s kind of scary with the dinosaurs because you would probably die, but if I could just be there and watch them – that would be cool. I also really like the film Inception about dreams. My own dreams are very vivid and most of the time I write songs out of my dreams. My dreams are like a high definition movie and I just wake up at 4 o’clock and just write it all down. I’m living the ‘dream’. 

Could you share a funny or awkward story from your childhood?
I have a crazy story. I was maybe 14 and I had the idea that I had to work with elderly people and help them somehow. So I went to a nursing home and the staff knew that I could play the guitar and asked me to play a song. The only things that I could play on the guitar were Marilyn Manson songs haha. So I was sitting in that catholic looking hall in front of all these elderly people with my acoustic guitar, and singing “The Nobodies”. Back then I did not think about the lyrics much because my English was not that good but now it has a deeper meaning because they were the nobodies and they wanted to be the somebodies. They didn’t understand one word of it because they didn’t know the language but they were clapping to it. Looking back I think there was a deeper meaning to it.

It’s good to involve old people or people of other cultures into things because everyone wants to be a part of something.

It was both a funny and meaningful story. Marilyn Manson is also a huge role model for me. 

What was the most memorable concert you’ve done?
Actually, today was one of the greatest shows we’ve played, the crowd was so into it, everyone was clapping, showing us hearts. We are just the support band and I know that everyone came out to see Lindemann, but people were really listening. That’s a good feeling. At all of the shows the people were great. Every show is different. I have to really reflect on it when I’m back from the tour. 

What about a concert you’ve liked as a part of an audience?
I’m a very visual person so when I attend a concert I want to see a show on stage and hear real musicians play, not playbacks. I miss that kind of thing nowadays. That’s why I enjoy artists who are unique, like Slipknot, who have masks and who think through their show. That way I think you feel the music more. Artists like Marilyn Manson, Rammstein, Lindemann are all about a good show. It might seem provocative but for me it’s about deeper meanings and messages when you think about it. When you go home and think about it then it’s a good sign. 

What modern trends scare you or bother you?
I really hate the trend that everything’s on social media now. It has two sides for an artist: your music is available to people, but then you feel pressure to constantly post or show something. I am not into the social media thing, but I know that it’s really important to be seen and to get a fan base. Music becomes not as worthy as it was years ago when you were just happy with buying a record. But now you want to know the artist and you want to be there when he’s going to the toilet or whatever. It pressures the artist and if you don’t do it then people unfollow you, ignore you. I don’t like the trend but you have to go with it. 

Do you think it’s okay to be an asshole sometimes?
Yes, of course haha. For me, there are not so many people that are really good on this planet. There are just so many assholes in the world. I’m nice to everybody and I try to approach everything with good energy but sometimes you have to be an asshole, especially being a woman. I’m not a militant feminist or anything, because women are really rude assholes sometimes too.

Sometimes you have to be an asshole but not to the wrong people. Otherwise just be nice and have a nice energy, yet if someone treats you unfair then be the asshole. Be right to yourself.  

If you had to choose between sex or music for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
You really have to think about it but I would stay with music. To be on stage and to do what you really want to do… If I just had sex then I would miss music so much. Sometimes being on stage feels like an orgasm, you have the same adrenaline-like feeling. So I would say music. 

We’ll ask you again in a few years and see if you change your mind. Is there a strong difference between your stage persona and you in daily life?
Some people say that I’m becoming more of an art figure, but I think it’s a normal kind of growth that you go through. If you do what you love you then the two things become one. I live through things on stage that I don’t experience in normal life because normal life is conservative, boring, and not provocative at all. On stage you have no rules. You can do whatever you want. You feel free and you can speak about things through your songs that you don’t talk to with other people because they’re personal. When I’m writing songs it’s like writing a diary or going to therapy. I’m both but I’m feeling the best on stage.

Who is or was your biggest teacher in life?
I think it was me because I always asked myself questions and I had to really go deep down into my own world to understand myself. You ask yourself questions and you discover the answers.

I think the best lesson in life is to reflect on yourself and to think about what you are doing, or what you did in life. That way you get things sorted and look at everything from another perspective. 

So what is the main thing that you’ve learned from yourself?
To not let in the pressure from the outside and not to listen to people too much. People are maybe not happy with themselves so they project it on you, telling you that you are not worthy. You have to reject that and set yourself free from what other people think of you. That’s not important. The only thing that is important is what you think about yourself and whether you are on the right way. Other people can do their own things.

You have to be in your own bubble and follow your dreams and that does not necessarily mean that you have to be egoistic and not care about anyone else. 

Did it take a long time for you to come to terms with that?
I’m 31 now and I’ve been struggling with that my entire life. People told me I’m too this, I’m too that, too loud. I had problems in school and then at one point I became really quiet and introverted, because people from the outside kept pulling me down. It was a long way to escape that and become the way I am now, to become self-confident, to be a fighter. That’s the type of music that I’m doing – being a black woman and going on tour with Lindemann, trying to rock the stage with my band in uniform. 

What’s your advice on how to get through times that suck?
It’s hard. You just have to lift yourself up every day out of black holes. It’s good when you have good close friends who understand you very well. I have a few very close friends and they help me through bad times. I’ve learned that you have to have your own will to be able to get out of it. Just kick yourself in the ass all the time. 

If you would switch genders for 24 hours, what would you do with that time?
I would fuck. That’s the only thing that would be interesting how it feels because all the other things I can do as a woman as well. 

What was a memorable question someone asked you?
Maybe this question.

There’s this film by Yorgos Lanthimos ‘The Lobster’, where single people are meant to find a partner in 45 days, and if they don’t, they must choose an animal to transform into. What animal would you choose?
I think I want to be a turtle. A really old turtle. For 250 years I would just hang out on Mauritius and eat salads very slowly. Is that boring? I don’t know. Everyone wants to be a bird and fly, right? I just like turtles and I would be one.

What piece of advice could you give to humanity?

Just kill yourself and let the planet grow with animals and nature.

Now it’s a bit harsh and rude but that’s true. Most of the people are shit. There is no good advice because humanity is not good, most people are not good.

There are many who fight for something good and want to protect those in need, to protect rights of other people and animals, but money rules the world and everyone becomes shit when money is involved. Even if you take away the money factor, people would still be at war over something else. People are just shit. 

Is there a music video by another artist that is meaningful to you?
Sweet Dreams’ by Marilyn Manson is one of my most favourite ones. It’s thoughtful. When I saw it for the first time I momentarily became a fan. Dean Karr directed it. Also “The Beautiful People” is a great video, which was directed by Floria Sigismondi. She shot a lot of his videos and she is a great artist. That’s what I like about Marilyn Manson – he was always pushing cool women in the arts.

Would you like to meet Marilyn Manson?
Yes. And Floria. I would like to have a music video directed by her. 

Would there be anything specific you’d like to talk to him about?

Sometimes I think it’s better when you’re just into the art and don’t know the artist. It’s better to let it stand where it is. Sometimes when you get to know people then your perspective changes.

I would like to actually work on a song with him or something like that, but there are no specific things that I would ask him. Maybe I would just tell him that he saved a ‘teenager’ life and helped me feel understood through his music. Otherwise I just want to leave it as it is for me. 

What superpower would you like to have?
Maybe to be me somewhere else. Beaming. Then I don’t have to fly.

What’s the wisest thing you’ve ever heard?

The life is a performance and if you keep that in mind, then everything you do doesn’t have to have meaning, or you just don’t think about it too much.

Sometimes it’s not good to overthink things too much. Just do it. If you think that it’s all a performance then everything you do is a part of your art. Everything becomes easier and it lets you grow. I think that’s really good advice.

What question would you like to be asked in an interview and what would your answer be?
I’m coming back to Kyiv in August. So the question would be, “When are you coming back?”. My birthday is on the 26th of August and the show is on the 29th