Interviews

Shitty Life Hardcore: Kaliningrad rock infused hardcore act JEALOUS release new album; share commentary

Jealous
Shitty Life Hardcore” is an ode to teenage angst, experimenting with recreational drugs, first relationships, bad jokes and growing up in small Russian town. Today, we’re teaming up with its authors, southern rock infused post hardcore act JEALOUS, to tell their story, comment on their new work, local music scene, and some of the political happenings in the world today.

jealous – is a mix of head-banging rock with a touch of post-hardcore. As citizens of Russian enclave, located right next to Poland and Germany, we got heavily influenced by European bands such as Sons of Saturn, Refused, Gallows and Defdump as well as North American heavy music wave of 2000s, like Every Time I Die, He Is Legend, Alexisonfire, Poison the Well and At the Drive-In.”

“The lyrics are mostly about relationships, to be more specific about radical and irrational thoughts you get when you seeing someone. Which especially applicable for first serious relationships you go through in your life.”

Continued the band: “The story behind the album is quite weird: we were one of the biggest bands in our hometown in 2008-2011, we headlined pretty much every meaningful concert there, we won awards, we played few sold out solo shows and were getting ready to record our debut LP. But we couldn’t reach a lot of people outside our town since were just of bunch of kids with no resources and very little knowledge of touring and recording processes. So we recorded some demos for the album in 2011 and as we grew older and our lives became more complicated with family and career issues, the band went on hiatus. Few years ago we played a few reunion shows in our hometown after which we decided to finish what we’ve started when we were kids – our album.

During the coronavirus pandemic our guitar player, who now owns his own record studio, mixed and mastered the album. Basically this record should’ve been released almost 10 years ago but for several reasons it’s only happening now. And to be fair we couldn’t be happier about it – we had a chance to get a fresh look on our songs, re-write lyrics and make the record overall much better than it would’ve been 10 years ago.”

JEALOUS band

Track by track commentary:

1. wet duke – this is our business card of track. A pile of steaming anger that we dedicated from the stage to various people we didn’t like very much.

2. rusk – this one is about people being heartless to each other, about the moment when people who claim that they care about each other act completely other way around. To the point when you start doubting whether they have a piece of dry bread for the heart or they’re just genuinely ashholes.

3. hypocrite’s oath – a very personal track about dealing with family issues. The title is kind of a wordplay on “Hypocrite” and “Hippocrate”.

4. zugzwang – this is an unusually heavy track for us, both lyrically and musically. Mostly this one is about getting an upper hand in a breakup, about the moment when you actually can’t wait to break the other person’s heart and savior that moment. The title comes from the term in chess, when you put your opponent in a position where any move of his will be his last one.

5. hookerface – we have an inside joke about that track, that our guitar player wrote it, while riding a Harley Davidson (he doesn’t own one or knows how to ride one). This track is from our “southern metal” influenced times so both musically and lyrically it turned out pretty cocky. Basically it’s a song about people lying with a straight face, even when everyone else already knows the truth.

6. nothing of nobody – so this one is about being on the other side of the Zugzwang situation. When someone breaks your heart out of the blue and just leaves you dealing with the consequences by yourself. Our dear friends PAKISSTAN did a hip-hop verse on the track. Those guys were always right by our side, they were doing shows with hardcore bands long before Tyler, the Creator and were always a part of hardcore community in our hometown. We didn’t try to raise hype by inviting rappers to the album, we wanted to remind everyone that hip-hop and hardcore music got common roots.

Shitty Life Hardcore

7. seven car pileup – you ever had one of those days when everything just falls apart? Those stressful days usually caused by some inner conflicts, some issues you’re afraid to talk about, so you keep pushing it deeper inside you and it just piles up there until one day everything collapse. This is what this track is about.

8. marijuana madness – pretty straightforward message here: “even if weed may seem harmless, it will fuck you up if used too often”. Basically it applies to any addictive substance – coffee, internet, your phone. There is a sequence in the track, where I tell silly stories in Russian about some shenanigans we had when we were high, it was inspired by similar sequence in King Crimson’s track “Thela Hun Ginjeet”, where Andrew Belew talks about his experience with cops and Rastafarians in London.

9. insidious G – this is an ode to the feeling you get when you get out of long term relationship and you feel like a frat boy who wants to fuck every girl around. And if you happen to get lucky most likely you’ll feel awful afterwards. Our friend Oleg Lucas did some additional vocals on this one. He used to sing in a band called SixPack, which inspired us in mane ways and which we absolutely loved as kids.

10. dear deer – an instrumental track that we like to play mid show. I did a few vocal demos on it but in the end we realized that instrumentals are too strong on this one.

11. wormholes – this is the last track we wrote before recording the album. It’s literally our swan song – when we were writing it everyone knew that I’m leaving Kaliningrad and the band is going on hiatus, so there is certain feeling of hopelessness to it. The quote in the beginning is by Andrei Tarkovsky, he is talking about the meaning of life and conflict of generations. Our friend Kirill Maksimchuk who was involved in numerous bands in Kaliningrad laid some additional vocals on the track as well.

Shitty Life Hardcore

Asked about their take on the current Black Lives Matter protests and their local music scene in Kaliningrad, the band offered the following:

“It’s a sensitive topic for sure. We grew up as part of anti-fascist community in Kaliningrad and had our share of run-ins with nazis on the shows. We are strongly against any form of discrimination. We support the protests but not the riots as violence is never the answer. Yet again I feel like we, straight white guys, don’t really know what minorities go through, so “we stand but will never understand”.

Kaliningrad scene was blooming when we were active in early 2000s, there was a lot of bands of any kind. We had a quite big hardcore community, that were led by bands like Dice, Голод и Тётка. Now the community is much smaller, a lot of bands disappeared, some people have passed away. There are some new faces for sure but it doesn’t feel the same.”

Jealous

10 bands that inspired “shitty life hardcore”:

Every Time I Die – simply one our all time favorite bands.

Refused – those guys turned our world upside down when we first heard “The Shape of Punk to Come”.

Gallows (Frank Carter era) – a perfect combination of power, groove and aggression is what we like about those Brits.

Rage Against The Machine – you can’t make any influences list and leave those fellas out.

Faith No More – same goes for these gents. Mike Patton is an icon for any singer in hardcore/metal scene.

Sons of Saturn – that crazy mix of hardcore, rocknroll and French charm was always a huge influence for us. We were lucky to play an unforgettable show with Hombre Malo, a new band by Sons of Saturn’s guitar player Boris.

Defdump – another hugely underrated European band that we were lucky to share a stage with. “This is Forevermore” is a must listen for any fan of heavy music.

Abduktio – they played a show in our hometown that left both me and our drummer Pasha speechless. Their album “Fire Walk with Me” is still one of my all time favorites.

Glassjaw – you can’t be a post hardcore band and not be influenced by Glassjaw. Simple as that.

Alexisonfire – I still remember the moment when our drummer showed up the rehearsal and showed us “Counterparts and number them”, this was a truly pinnacle moment for all of us, as we never heard anything like that before.

The band is: Denis – guitar, Pasha – drums/vocals, Misha – guitar, Matvey – vocals, Oleg – bass / Additional vocals: Dima Jazz (PAKISSTAN x KRUNTY) – on “nothing of nobody”, Oleg Lukas (ex-SixPack) – on “insidious G”, Kirill Maximchuck (ex-Edgecrusher) – on “wormholes” / Recorded at ATM Records, Kaliningrad, Mixed and Mastered by Denis Platonov (jealous, ATM Records), Artwork: “Musical Group on a Balcony” – Gerrit van Honthorst (1622).

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