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Interview with Dragisa Marinjes, bass player and founder of Evolucija
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Music has always drawn me in and been a part of my life, even before I actively started pursuing it. I grew up in a family of musicians, so from my earliest childhood, I was surrounded by instruments and music. Music has the power to express emotions and convey messages in a unique and profound way.
If I hadn't started pursuing music, I would probably have engaged in something that allowed me to express my creativity. Perhaps I would have dedicated myself to painting, which I still do when I have the time; it's another way for me to express my emotions. In any case, art is a part of me, and if I hadn't become a musician, I would likely have turned to another form of artistic expression.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
When I'm not involved in music, I love spending time in nature; it means a lot to me. We engage in beekeeping, have a large orchard, and a garden surrounded by the forest, where we produce a lot of food for our use. Observing nature, its perfection, colors, scents, and the various sounds it offers, greatly influences our creativity. Unfortunately, our creativity is also impacted by the disruption of that beauty and harmony from the human side.
How long has your band been around?
Evolucija was formed in 2007, and there have been numerous changes in the band lineup over the years. Starting in 2016, we began serious work, which can be considered the official beginning of the band's activities. Since then, we've released music and actively performed. The COVID-19 pandemic slowed us down a bit, but we used that time to work on a new album.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We are the Swiss-Serbian Symphonic Metal band. Our journey began in 2007 when we formed the band in Switzerland. Our roots are diverse, with our singer, Ilana, hailing from Switzerland and relocating to Serbia in 2012. It was in that year that we decided to move the band to Serbia and kickstart our musical endeavors more actively.
In 2016, we achieved a significant milestone by releasing an album with lyrics in the Serbian language. This album garnered widespread acclaim, with both critics and fans showering it with praise. In fact, it was voted as the second-best album of the year.
Our second album, titled "Hunt," was unleashed upon the world in 2018 through Pure Steel Records. This release catapulted us into the international spotlight, drawing attention from music enthusiasts worldwide. Towards the end of 2018, we were honoured to receive the Innocent Award for "Best Album of the Year" from the esteemed German magazine Cute & Dangerous.
We've embarked on successful tours in Switzerland, Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, and the Balkans. Along the way, we've had the incredible opportunity to share the stage with some heavyweights of the global heavy metal scene, including Paradise Lost, Doro Pesch, Children Of Bodom, Tyr, Pestilence, and many others.
Excitingly, this year, we anticipate the release of our new studio album, "The World is full of Wrath." This album was produced at the renowned Swedish "Fascination Street Studios" under the patronage of the illustrious Jens Bogren. We can't wait to share this new chapter of our musical evolution with our dedicated fans and the world at large.
How did you come up with the name of your band and what does it mean to you?
The origin of the name 'Evolucija' (Evolution) stems from our desire to advocate for progress and positive change. Initially, we started as 'Revolucija' (Revolution), but we discovered another band with the same name, which prompted us to make a symbolic shift. Evolution is a concept that resonates with all of us, especially in a world where progress sometimes seems to be moving backward. We aspire to lead by example, evolving with each album and performance and encouraging others to do the same.
Tell me about your most memorable shows.
We've performed in various countries and cities, playing in small clubs in front of small but passionate audiences. The intimate atmosphere and direct connection with the audience have allowed us to experience something truly special.
One of the memorable performances was at the Montreux Jazz Festival. The energy we felt while performing our songs was incredible, and that moment reminded me why I love music.
We've also had the privilege of sharing the stage with big names like Paradise Lost, Doro, Children of Bodom, Tyr, and others. Those were special moments for us.
Every performance has its own story!
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
Every place is great for performing, but if I had to single out a few, it would be Z7 in Basel and Izvestiya Hall in Moscow. These are venues that have a special atmosphere and acoustics, making each performance a unique experience. I would love to play there again because the connection with the audience was incredible.
I dream of playing at the Wacken Festival; every musician dreams of being part of that spectacle. I hope to have that opportunity one day.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Hahahahaha, that's a tough question! For drums, I would love to have my late brother Radisa, who was an incredible drummer. On guitar, Nita Strauss. For keyboards, Tuomas Holopainen, and for vocals, David Coverdale.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into playing in a band and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
The most important thing for a band is to have something unique, something recognizable that sets it apart from other bands. Band members should learn to handle criticism, as it can greatly help them progress.
The ups and downs are part of the music industry. Be patient and never lose faith in yourselves and your band, even when facing challenges. And, of course, practice and hard work are the keys to a band's success.
Advice I would give to younger musicians is to learn more about the business side of the music industry. Besides playing, it's important to understand what you're signing and how marketing and promotion can be crucial for success in the music industry. In my opinion, the most important thing is to never lose your passion for music, regardless of the challenges and obstacles. That's what will drive and inspire you on your musical journey.
If you could go back in time and give yourselves advice, what would it be?
I would tell myself to be more patient and to focus from the beginning solely on original work, and to surround myself with musicians who strongly drive the band forward.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
All the songs by Evolucija are dear to me, but if I had to pick one, it would definitely be the ballad from the upcoming album, 'Shame on You.' It features one of the best singers from our region, Zanil Zak Tataj. That song has the power to touch the hearts of listeners, I believe.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
One of the aspects I love about performing is the opportunity to communicate with the audience through music. When it comes to the songs that are most requested, it often depends on the occasion and the audience.
I really couldn't say which songs I love to perform the most because I hold all of them dear. In every song, I feel a part of myself, and I completely surrender to the songs. In that moment, together with the audience, we become one. And I would love not to leave that state, forever.
What is the creative process for the band, and what inspires you to write your music?
The creative process can vary from band to band and from individual to individual, but there are some common elements that often play a role in music creation.
For instance, songs can be written individually or in collaboration with other band members. Bands often spend a lot of time in rehearsals, where they experiment with different ideas and sounds.
We draw inspiration from real-life events, experiences, emotions, or stories, and the influence of other musicians and bands through listening to different genres. Our emotions, whether sad, happy, or nostalgic, are often a driving force in songwriting, as we use songs to express our feelings.
As I mentioned at the beginning, nature and the external world often serve as inspiration for our music. Landscapes, colors, and scents from nature can influence the creation of melodies and lyrics.
In essence, inspiration can come from various sources, and the process can be spontaneous or require time. All of this makes the music creative process challenging and exciting for bands and musicians.
What kinds of messages do you like to get across in your music?
Inspiration comes from various themes and emotions as we create our music, allowing us to express our feelings and emotions. It can be about love, sadness, happiness, or even social and political issues, where we express our perspectives on them.
We don't aim to impose our ideas and views but rather use our music and lyrics to reach an audience that can identify with and relate to them as their own.
Do you ever have disagreements in your band, and how do you get past them?
It's normal for disagreements to occur within any band, especially in the early stages while the band is still maturing together. As the band embarks on shared journeys and performances, it brings the members closer. If someone doesn't fit in, they may leave the band, which is also normal.
What's important is that we learn how to collaborate effectively with one another. Dialogue and open communication are crucial to avoid misunderstandings and conflicts.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
Our plans for the future are to continue progressing. We want to keep writing songs with deep emotional meaning that listeners can connect with. We aim for our music to touch people's hearts and have a positive impact on their lives. Additionally, we plan to embark on more tours and concerts to connect with audiences worldwide. We believe in the power of music.
As for our immediate plans, on October 6th, we are releasing our new single and video, 'The Earth is Full of Rats.' Following that, the release of a new album is in the pipeline, but it's still too early to discuss the details.
We thank you for giving us the opportunity to communicate with readers in this way, and we hope they become our listeners as well.