Interview: Ljubov Dzuzhynska & Elena Savlokhova
Photo: Iva M.

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in conversation with Rok Rupnik

What’s it like to be you?
I don’t consider myself to be anything special. That’s a really deep question. I wasn’t prepared for it, so I don’t know what to say. I like watching anime.

What’s your favorite anime?
Death Note’. It was the first one I’ve ever seen and it opened the gates to the world of Japanese anime. So it’s ‘Death Note’ for sure. 

Same story.

Yeah, it was the first one I’ve seen too. So, if you would be a Shinigami [ed. note – the God of death] what would you do?
I don’t know. I guess if I was in that position and I had to, I’d make it painless. Probably by pills

No matter the sin?
It would depend. I think rapists and child molesters deserve to suffer in the worst way. 

Have you seen Hayao Miyazaki’s movies?
I’m not sure….Can you throw in a few examples?

Among the most famous ones – ‘Princess Mononoke’.
Oh yeah, Ghibli studios. Yeah, I’ve seen a lot of those. ‘Spirited Away’, ‘Princess Mononoke’, ‘Howl’s Moving Castle’... My friends told me to watch ‘My Neighbor Totoro’.

It’s good, quite childish, but there’s definitely something about it.
Of course. It’s not the same as the others, which are more ‘grown up’. But yeah, I still need to watch that one. Studio Ghibli does awesome work.

Is there an anime reality you would like to live in for a while?
Probably the one I’ve been most fascinated with – “Sword Art Online”. 

The first season?

The second season sucked so much though.
But the first season is amazing. And it’s just the whole concept of the virtual world and being able to, you know, transfer your conscience into something, and just live a completely different lifestyle and just watch it all. That reality seems really awesome to me. 

Have you seen this new one about the guy who’s walking around with his demon sister in his backpack – “Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba”
Oh no I think haven’t seen that. I actually have a list of anime I need to watch and I’ll definitely write that one down. 

If you could travel in time where would you go and why, either past or the future?
I would probably choose both. I’d like to travel to the past and change some things I’ve done and have a different outcome. Obviously I’d like to travel to the future just because I’m a physics nerd and I really want to see humanity evolves: are we going to kill each other or are we actually going to able to come together as a human race and strive for something bigger than ourselves. Would we be able to travel light years away and discover different worlds and new species? I’m really curious whether we go beyond or just die out.

Is there a technology that you personally anticipate the most?
For a long time in high school was completely obsessed with black holes. That was the main thing for me and the whole concept that a black hole is a natural time machine, if you break it down. How the nearer you approach a black hole – the slower time goes. And how the center of it, which I think is called the point of singularity is where time stops altogether. So the whole thing is just mind blowing to me.

Do you think that technology will be a threat to humanity at some point? How do you project it?
I think people are kind of split. Some people know that technology is really good for us, that it helps us, whereas some think it fucks us up. There are loads of movies on the subject. Of course, there is one possible outcome where artificial intelligence and robots will gain conscience, how it’s shown in the Matrix trilogy. That machines will take over because they will be superior to mortal humans and robots will be smarter, stronger, faster, better. On the other hand,

I still sort of think that maybe this is the next evolutionary step for humankind, maybe we’re supposed to create something better that shall thrive. Maybe we could, you know, live together and it would become symbiotic or necessary, right? 

Would you consider becoming a cyborg yourself?
I think I would. I’m a super technology nerd. I’m all about technology and into the entire concept of the Matrix movies. We could probably create this virtual world, or even the world we’re living in now could be a simulation of some sort. I’m all about that. 

Yet do you think that these simulated worlds would become a new reality for us or remain a getaway and a way to escape what is actually real?
I think maybe virtual reality could become so real that some people might not distinguish it from what we call reality; some people might get so immersed into it that they forget that there’s actually a real world outside. Yet

I’m sure loads of people would prefer to live in the virtual reality just because their life sucks and they would be able to create a reality that they want but can’t recreate in the actual world. I think a lot of people are unhappy with their lives. Everyone strives for something better, bigger, better. Even if you have all the money in the world and everything you’ve strived for – you still always want more. You always strive for the unachievable, but with the virtual world, you could create everything you want. But then again, when you have absolutely everything then I don’t know what happens after that.

Do you have a specific goal yourself? Something that you’re trying to achieve in life.
Currently, we are trying to make it as a band and be able to support ourselves. It’s not about making a lot of money, but just going on tour and getting back home and being able to survive a month or two and then just create more music. Because currently our drummer Luka and I are very fortunate, because our boss and co workers are very supportive. They let us take as much time as we need and when we get back home, we still have a job. So that’s really cool and we make a really good living so my payments are really awesome. Shout out to our boss.

What do you do for work?
I do IT support stuff and Luka is a programmer, we work for the same company. Financial sphere. It’s pretty cool. We’re also able to work remotely so we take our laptops with us on tour if something needs to be done. Our boss paid for our van rental the first time we went on tour and our music video, which we shot. He brought three or I four Porsche cars for it.

Is he into your music?
No, I don’t think he’s really a fan of that genre of music, but he’s just fascinated with how successful we’ve been. He really supports us.

What have you learned through Within Destruction?
Loads of stuff. I think the biggest thing we’ve all learned is teamwork. You have to be a team player and you can’t put personal emotions into work otherwise it explodes when you’re touring. Imagine it’s been a month and you’re with the same people, you see each others faces 24/7 and you’re always tired after the shows, and on top of that you’re talking to people all the time and things get on your nerves, you’re frustrated. You learn to know when to speak to someone or when you have to be quiet, when to shut your mouth. It’s about being a team and everyone doing their jobs and being good at what we do. 

Is it difficult to separate these roles?
It’s not  that difficult – everyone learns a specific job and does it well. Then it just all works out.

Who is or was your biggest teacher in life?
I don’t know. I think I have to say myself. If we start from my childhood then actually I didn’t quite have a father because my parents separated from when I was very young. My mother was struggling with jobs: she was in and out of jobs and she was still trying to study to go to college. I was basically left to myself all the time, up until I think, the age of 10. Then she met my stepfather, and yet at that time, I didn’t have a father figure and just had the relationship with my mother. Yet most of the time I was just left to myself and I think that’s how I learned to be a lone wolf. I really love privacy and I really love to be left alone. I don’t like to socialize. I don’t like going to parties. The moment I feel best is when I’m alone. I love solitude. So I think it all comes from there and that’s how I feel about it.

Let’s shift the direction a bit. If you had to choose between sex or music for the rest of your life, what would you choose?
I know it’s cliche, but I’d probably say music.

So you give up sex?
Yeah. I mean, sex is awesome, don’t  get me wrong, but I feel like it’s a nuisance. If I could suppress my sexual drive I would, because I think if you don’t have it, you can’t fuck things up, if you know what I mean. Your sexual drive is only a need. I don’t know, you’re hungry and then you eat and you’re not hungry anymore. With sex I feel it’s always the same – you get horny, you have sex and you’re not horny anymore. With music, you create something and put it out there – it’s art. You could get tired of it, but I think it’s just a whole different concept – a legacy and what you leave behind. It goes way deeper. That’s how I feel about it.

In our interviews a lot of musicians pick sex because they are so fed up with music that they prefer the sound of silence.
We’re kind of a strange band. Every time we encounter a new promoter, band or just a new person, a new fan, they all get surprised. Luka and I don’t drink, don’t party, don’t use drugs etc. We have this policy that we don’t hook up with fans just because we’ve seen a lot of shit going on. 

What is the enemy of creativity and how do you find it?
I think It’s just fatigue, just being tired and always exposed to metal music. You know, we write metal, we play metal music, we listen to our music all the time, we listen to other bands play music all the time, and it’s just fills your head up with everything. When we come back from touring, you know, we go directly to work. This is my fifth year of being employed at this company and I’ve never took a personal day off. I’ve spent my entire vacation on touring with the band. I’m working all the time so it’s constant fatigue: I do tours go home and then straight to work for 8 or 10 hours, come back home and then I have to spend hours working on music. You’re just tired all the time. I try to chill by having my headphones on, I listen to other music, watch anime, sort out my thoughts etc. And it’s just like, having my headphones and how I find that it’s just trying to chill, you know, trying to do other stuff try to listen to other music I try watching anime just to get through my head up with other stuff and like I said, we don’t win where I can winner when we’re back home when we’re in card you know driving, we don’t listen to listen to all different genres just pure heads of bullshit.

What do you listen to as of late?
I love Billy Eilish actually. Me and my sister are so into Billy Eilish. She’s awesome.

What was the wisest thing you’ve ever heard?
The wisest thing I’ve ever heard? Really good question. I’m trying to think… Fuck I really can’t remember.

Something recent?
I can’t really remember anything that anyone’s told me. But if it’s something that I’ve learned through experience, then maybe It’s not to be impulsive and not to act on your emotions. You know that feeling when something happens and you immediately fill up with emotions and someone pisses you off and you just want to tell off that person or punch him. Times like this you should just close your eyes and count to 10, cool down. Once you’ve cooled off you then analyze everything and see if the situation was your own fault, if you overreacted. If you still feel the same once you have your answers, then you have to act  accordingly. I think that’s a good thing I’ve learned.

What moments in your life will you recall to your death?
I don’t know. The most painful thing I’ve experienced in the past years was probably the death of my best friend and the death of my first dog. That was pretty painful. So I don’t know ,these were the strongest emotional things that happened to me.

Very sorry for your loss. If not too personal to ask, are there certain memories that you cherish more than others?
Of my friend? I think it’s pretty much everything. When I was younger, I was pretty much left to myself. We became friends when I was really young and we were best friends for a long time. Then I had to move from the suburbs with my mom when she met my stepdad. We had to move to another city. We ended up being long distance best friends and we only visited each other on school holidays. We slowly drifted apart and he got into drugs and stuff like that. One night, I think, he was very tripped out so he went to the train tracks and a train just ran him. When I’ve heard that he passed away, I just thought about all those moments with him from when we were kids to when we became grown ups. It was the best time of my life I I’d say. I’d give everything for him to be alive and to experience those years again. It was a really awesome time.

What was the most memorable question you were ever asked?
I don’t talk to people too much, so I can’t remember anything. I can use up all my words in this conversation and then be quiet for days. I’m just trying to remember really something that’s worth talking about. I’d say it’s not the most memorable but a question I get asked all the time is, ‘why don’t you drink?’. The answer is because I don’t want to drink. I’m so tired of explaining. It’s just like me asking back, ‘well, why do you drink?’ It’s the same thing. I don’t want to explain to people why I don’t drink, so I might as well make up a disease or make up some stupid thing just so they would shut up, you know. If I say that I would die from alcohol – no more questions asked. If I simply say that I don’t like it then people start argumenting why I should drink. I can have a meaningful conversation with you guys, or with my friends, but sometimes you meet fans who are semi-drunk and tend to ask this. It’s a question that will probably be stuck with me for the rest of my life.

What would you rate 10 out of 10?
I’d say smoked tofu with pasta rice – it’s the best thing.

What useless or absurd piece of information could you share with us?
Your ear lobes align with your nipples. I know it, but it’s useless information.

You never know if information is useless haha. What book would you recommend and why?
I’m not a big reader and the last book I read was Harry Potter.

Have you read the fanfic that’s called “Harry Potter and the methods of rational thinking”?

It was written by a scientist. He takes all the main characters from the story and makes Harry a very rational and smart guy who approaches everything critically.
It’s actually interesting how you can take the same story and just tweak a few things that would change the entire storyline. Like a butterfly effect.

Ever heard of the dead grandpa effect?
Oh, the paradox of killing your own grandfather? 

Yes! You come back in time and kill him so you would never exist in the first place. Just like parallel lines that will never meet.
And speaking of Harry Potter, the year I was born aligns with when it was written, so growing up I always imagined myself going to Hogwarts.

Then you will definitely appreciate the book I’ve mentioned. Moving on – do you think it’s okay to be an asshole sometimes?
I think it depends.

If you’re an asshole to an asshole – go at it. But if you’re an asshole just for the sake of being the asshole then I think you are an asshole.

If you were a part of the SpaceX colony plan, what would you miss the most about Earth?
I don’t know. Probably everything. Mars is just a barren red planet and there’s not much there. Maybe the gravity aspect would be fascinating for a couple of days – jumping 5-10 meters in the air. That’d be cool. But apart from that it’s just sand everywhere. On Earth you have the mountains, the lakes, you have snow and the sun. I mean, Mars also has the Sun only farther, but it’s all just so different. 

Probably very quiet too. What was the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen or experienced in your life?
It’s kind of cheesy but I’d say my sister. I’m really connected with her and I’m really proud of everything she does. She’s super smart. She’s the brains of the family and she’s very successful. I just love to see a very thriving life and I think that’s beautiful.  

What have you learned from her?
How to really care for someone. Also how to be responsible, and how to not ‘manipulate’ women. We had this previous band member who was constantly looking at very young girls. I was like, ‘dude, my sister is their age, what the fuck are you talking about, I’m going to stray you’. I have a different perspective on this thing. Having a sister changes your mentality and how you think about people. I became super protective. Just like you asked whether it’s ok to act like an asshole. I act like an asshole each time my sister brings a guy home. Because my father is super chill and so is my mother, so I have this defensive mechanism that goes, ‘who the fuck are you? I need to know who you are what you do’. I want to make sure the guy won’t hurt her, so each time she brings someone I act protective. She was even scared to introduce us to anyone and my mom keeps calming me down. I’m really skeptic and the guy has to prove himself that he’s cool and good enough. Once he does that I can trust him. My standards are very high.

Sounds near to impossible.
It is possible but I’m a guy, and I see how guys act, and I see how some guys perceive women and I just filter that type out and I’m gonna make sure he doesn’t fuck her over. Maybe a lot of older brothers go through that mental twist when the time comes. 

What question would you like to be asked in an interview and what would your answer be?
Just don’t ask me why I don’t drink.