HELL:ON/PRIPJAT

Ukrainian HELL:ON and German PRIPJAT has done a split release on CD and know a split interview. Anders Ekdahl ©2019

What kind of vision did you have when you started and how has it changed over the years?
Alexey: we thought it would be easy to get on top. It is just enough to make one album and play a couple of shows and everybody will understand that you are new Ozzy Osbourne. Now we know that it is not working like this way
Eugen: Yeah, it’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock n roll. And the way is even longer for death and thrash. When we first started, we just wanted top play thash the way we knew and loved it. Fast, aggressive, in your face…have I already mentioned fast? Over the years we got a feelign for dynamics, got better on our instruments, became better song- and lyricwriter. So now we want to stand out, be recognizable. We still play thrash without any doubt, but now our standards to ourselves got higher. We want people to know its Pripjat after a couple of seconds in the song.

How does the choice of band name shadow the way you play and write music, because to me it is a very specific band name?
Alexey: of course it does. We received approval from the Dark Lord for usage Hell in the name, and the mode is On. I’m sure it works perfect!
Eugen: We also asked Satan first and he was cool, so we rolled with it. Actualy Pripjat is a very strong name in my opinion. It is unique, short and loaded with meaning and personal experiences (two Ukrainians are in the band) through and through. We have to spell it every time, but so must I do with my last name. And a lot of kids only heared about Tschernobyl because of us…we woke their interest to this topic and that is something beautiful. Because nobody should ever forget what happened there 33 years ago.

What is it like to be a in a band and to get feedback from all over the world? What kind of feelings do that bring about?
Eugen: The internet makes it easy to get response. Of course it is very pleasant to hear good feedback. An artist relies on feedback no matter how much we do it for ourselves. Without an audience there is no band. I personaly am just proud and happy when other people take the time to give us a good response. Also a bad one if it is taught with respect and not as a random internet-crap-people-comment. We gonna find you one day, kid!
Alexey: Early it was good for ego. Now it makes less sense to us, as we simply enjoying the process of creation and playing. But of course it inspire a lot if people like it and have fun

What kind of reractions have you had on your music, your latest album and in general?
Alexey: We are happy to see that people on our concerts changing from 100 % headbanging to 50-50 % headbanging and listeners. We see it as the way of positive developing, coz music becomes more atmospheric and shamanic.
Eugen: People like to work or and drive fast in the car, when they listen to Pripjat . Honestly we get a lot of great reactions. The main word that always falls is “energy”. I think you have to see us perform to fully understand Pripjat. Our records are good, our live shows are (mostly) better. I really hope that some people also fuck to Pripjat…although I fear that they would be done quite fast if they keep the tempo

How do you know that you have written a “hit” song? Is there a particular feeling you get when you know that this is the one, this is the big “make it song”?
Eugen: A Hit? We are still talking about metal, right? We don’t write hits, we write songs.
Alexey: I have no idea how it is happening.. I’m not sure that musician has to take care about all this things.. the thing is we are not related to these commercial bands, which think and act in a mentioned way. But this is only my opinion.

As I am no musician I will never got to know the difference of analogue and digital. Can you explain the difference to me? what are the pros and cons of analogue V/S digital?
Eugen: Well – I guess you mean the art of the recording? Or the format of music? Its quite a huge topic. In general I use all kinds of formats – I have tapes, vinyls, CDs and I use Spotify. And I like all of them.

What is it like to have people you never met liking your music and singing along to it at gigs?
Alexey: It is like the work of your dream.. despite all these difficulties and harsh reality. The main thing is have fun and enjoy what you are doing. So, it is.
Eugen: I come. Every time.

How important are lyrics to you guys? Do you have any messages that you want to get forward?
Eugen: I write most of our lyrics, so they are very important for me. And of course I do have a message – political and personal. To get the messages you should read the lyrics, I am not a big fan of explaining them. I know that almost no one reads lyrics in these days, but I don’t care. For me they are an essential part of every song, sometimes more important than the music itself.
Alexey: Lyrics are very important, definitely. but in our case it is not clear and direct message to listeners. We choose the way of methaphors and hidden symbols. Emotions and mood. We would like to give to listeners opportunity to find some meaning which fits to his own perseption. To help us to “paint the picture” by his own paint, if you catch what i mean.

I love a really cool cover but I get the feeling that today with all this digital uploading/downloading people aren’t that concerned about artwork. How do you feel?
Alexey: The cover should has its own magic in it, i guess. And this is right. This is the only way. You can not just named your band on the cover and titled the album. You should “show the way” for the listeners, you should give a start of their musical journey. That’s is why i think cover will never die.
Eugen: I agree. Like the lyrics – also the artwork is an essential part of the whole. It puts images in your head and then you can fantasize while listening to the music. Raluca did an amazing job here – she normaly draws very cute and beautiful ilustrations that would be perfect in every good book for children. Of course I asked her to do something more dark and sinister for us and she came up with this beauty. A symbol for both bands, a symbol of our society. A lot of people will never see it in its whole beauty because of Spotify & co. But thats fine for me – some other will and they will appreciate it.

What does the future hold?
Alexey: Who knows. Only mighty Jesus and the Dark Lord, of course. But i hope, one day, we will sit near his throne, blazing and spreading His words to the world and hold His Black Flag high! Amen
Eugen: Death.

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