Death Pill: The Ukrainian female punk trio separated by Russia’s war – ‘I don’t choose to live in a horror film’ | Ents & Arts News

From an underground sheltered music club in the Ukrainian capital, Mariana Navrotskaya cannot hear the air raid warning above her. It’s his bandmate Anastasia Khomenko who informs him after checking online that a nationwide warning is in effect at the time of their Zoom call.

“It’s great that you’re at the shelter,” she says to her friend, concerned but not surprised by what’s happening in her home country anymore. “That’s me every day,” Mariana replies.

That’s 2pm in Kyiv, 1pm for Anastasia, who now lives in Barcelona, ​​and 10.30pm for the third member of their trio, Natalia Seryakova, who is currently in Adelaide, South Australia.

Across time zones, thousands of miles apart, the three members of feminist punk trio Death Pill have reunited for their first UK news interview – which just happened, also marking the first time the trio have seen each other together. seen, albeit on screen, since they split up shortly after the start. RussiaThe war is on Ukraine 10 months ago

Ukrainian band Death Pill

While 25-year-old Natalya was able to temporarily travel to Australia for work, 26-year-old Mariana chose to stay in Kyiv. Anastasia, 29, made the difficult decision to take her son Oreste, who turned eight in November, to Spain. Leaving behind her husband Evgenij.

“When the war started, I didn’t want to leave Kyiv,” she tells Sky News. “But I know I have to because I have a child and I want him to be safe and have a better life.

“It hurts me every time I think about the children in Ukraine. They have air warnings, they [having to go] Down in the shelters… it was a very difficult decision. I did not want to migrate. I love my country very much.”

A staunch punk trio, Deathpill debuted in its current lineup in 2021, when bass player Natalya joined. Emerging from Ukraine’s diverse underground music scene, they recorded their self-titled debut album and were ready to take on the world.

“After all, rock isn’t just about brutal men with long curly hair, right?” Mariana said in her promo.

But then the war broke out. For the first month, Anastasia and her family slept in their bathroom, the safest place. Now, she’s separated from her husband and parents – her father is fighting for Ukraine – and she and her comrades are scattered around the world.

Despite the distance, since they split, they have managed to finalize their album online.

Their releases so far have started to generate buzz and they have been included in 10 exciting new bands to watch in 2023 by Metalhammer. Signed to London label New Heavy Sounds, the plan is to release it on February 24, 2023 – the first anniversary of the start of the war – and they’re all hopeful that one day, hopefully soon, They will tour together.

Although it was never intended to be this way, the goal now is to use our platform to raise awareness of what is happening in Ukraine.

“Right now we have a dream team, our golden trio,” says Anastasia. “We have played in many cities in Ukraine… Now we have a lot of attention from Europe, America. And we appreciate it because we can spread the word about the war.

“We can share all this information with people who are actually living this life and going through it… We were waking up to missile attacks on February 24. This is not propaganda, this is real life.”

‘A year ago, we had it all’

Ukrainian band Death Pill

In recent months, Russia started attacks on electricity supply.There is a blackout across Ukraine. That’s why Mariana has put herself in a music club, which has a generator, for this interview. He is unable to communicate with his home.

Despite everything, he is resilient. “It’s making me strong and powerful,” she says. “You can’t imagine this situation at all. At all.

“It’s very difficult to live in Ukraine now – in Kyiv, in any other city – because you need to find electricity, internet, water.

“A year ago, you have all this and you don’t think about it. And now… when you read the history of World War II, you think it’s terrible, but now a And there is time, it will never happen again. I can’t find the words to explain.

“But now, it’s very interesting to be here because you understand the importance of everything. [thought] was…”

“Basic,” Anastasia answered for him. Now they appreciate the everyday things they took for granted.

Natalia and Anastasia tell their bandmates that they think they are more positive now than before the war.

“I’m going through big changes, and it’s great,” she replies. “You see how strong the Ukrainians are?” Anastasiia says about her friend.

But they miss each other. Brought together by a mutual desire to make music with something to say, to stand out from the crowd, they’re eager to see each other in person again.

I ask how they feel about not being able to play together now. “You want to see our tears?” Mariana replies. “That’s a very sad question.”

“It’s ***,” Natalia says. “You can’t plan. So I only know what I can do, like, half a year ahead. But after that, I don’t know. It’s slow, but it’s as good as we can do. “It is what it is.”

‘We broke the patriarchy, now we will break Russia’

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One positive to emerge from the war is that the underground music community is coming together to support their country.

“Because we have so many people who are artists, musicians, great people of our nation. [who] Now they are protecting their country with weapons, to protect all of Europe,” says Anastasia.

Natalia says that Russian artists with any kind of platform, those who are elsewhere in the world and are able to see what is really happening – instead of “propaganda” – should also stand up for Ukraine. .

“Even many famous artists in Russia don’t say anything about it, and it’s ***,” she says. “[People say] They are still born in Russia, but they have mouths to speak.”

She says she has lost contact with some of her own family members in Russia because they do not believe the truth of what is happening in Ukraine.

“When the war started… there were a lot of explosions going off far away from me,” she says. “I saw explosions in the window, it was five kilometers from my house.”

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Russia “took everything away” from us, says Anastasia. “I miss being carefree because I don’t have it anymore. When I look. [in Spain] A lot of people, they’re very happy, carefree. I am so happy for each of them, and for you that we never have what you have in our lives.

“But in another way I’m very angry because it was like that in our life. [making] Music in Ukraine and now people in Ukraine just need to survive…

“To all those people who are supporting Russian terrorists, I want them to see what it’s like. I want them to open their eyes in a horrible way. This is true and this is our life. We are this. We don’t want it and we don’t deserve it.”

After returning to Ukraine over the summer to visit her husband, Anastasia plans to do it again next year. “I’ll see Mariana,” she says. “We’ll play together, maybe even make some songs.”

“Together we broke the patriarchy and now we’re breaking Russia together,” Mariana says.

“For us right now, it’s our life,” says Anastasia. “To me it feels like I’m living in a movie. But I don’t choose to live in a horror movie. I want a movie where we’re rock stars.”

Death Pill released their debut album on 24 February 2023 via London label New Heavy Sounds.

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