On 5th May, a Ukrainian band based in Kyiv – Brunettes Shoot Blondes played at the OFF Stage of Mastercard OFF Camera. We spoke with the band’s frontman, Andrii Kovalov.
The first thing that’s visually striking about your works is the ever-present rabbit – music videos, single covers and your logo. Where did it come from?
AK: The story of the rabbit is old and a bit bizarre. When we were to give our first concert in Kyiv, our first performance as the group, until the last moment we had no idea how to name our band. The concert was organized by our friends so everything was already arranged, but the band was still in the process of forming. We had no graphic designer for our logo and I drew the first poster on my own. For some reason, out of the blue, I thought about a rabbit. It was subconscious, and sometimes the things that come to our minds first are best solutions. That’s why the rabbit has stayed with us.
You’re mixing indie rock with some electronics – do you use other artists of this music genre as inspiration for your works?
AK: Actually, when we started to play, there were some bands we wanted to copy, especially those originating from British indie pop. Now, our music is different, it’s not only indie but also electronic, and it’s closer to the mainstream.
Your lyrics are in English, not Ukrainian – why is that? Was that your intention from the outset?
AK: Yes, I've always listened to lots of British and American music. As a teenager, I was a big fan of the Beatles. I wanted to make similar music. A language is an instrument too. When you switch languages, you say something different. That came to us organically, and stayed with us.
It wasn’t your first concert in Poland. You’ve been here a couple of times, e.g. you played together with Happysad. How do you find yourselves here and what do you think about Polish audience?
The Polish audience is great. We’re welcomed with genuine warmth and we can really feel their support. The atmosphere is similar in Western Ukraine, where people are more open to the variety of music. I come from Kryvyi Rih, a city in central Ukraine, slightly eastwards. We’ve been brought up not to show our emotions. The first visit to Poland was amazing to me because of the atmosphere. When we performed with Happysad, playing in front of such a large audience was the greatest experience for us.
How did you manage to cross the border and enter Poland to play concert for Mastercard Off Camera audience?
AK: When the war broke out, some of the members of our band were outside Ukraine, somewhere in Europe. We’ve decided to stay here to be useful and to provide help also from here, because it’s necessary. Other members of the band arrived here from Ukraine and they need to come back tomorrow. They’ve left the country on a special 48-hour pass.
In what way can your art and music help in the context of the situation in Ukraine?
AK: We generally try to help and use our contacts to organize specific actions – humanitarian and information assistance. War doesn’t make it easy to make music, because we concentrate on what’s around us. But the music itself is still important to people, they need to listen to it and get support from their favorite bands and artists. So that they could feel at least a bit better at this difficult time.
Would you like to add anything?
Yes, I’ve already said that from stage. We’re very grateful to everyone from Poland, to Polish people, for all the support we get from them. Polish people are true brothers and sisters who help us through these hard times. I’m sure the relations will grow even stronger in the future.
Interviewer: Karolina Potrzebska