Earlier this year, the members of Jinjer were among the many Ukrainian citizens affected when Russia decided to invade the Ukraine. And in a new interview with Chaoszine, bassist Eugene Abdukhanov relays a horrifying tale of when he knew that the war had actually begun.
The bassist recalled, as transcribed by Blabbermouth, “I met the war exactly when it started. On the 24th [of February] at five o’clock in the morning, I was just driving and things around me started exploding. I got straight under the shelling, under the attack, and I thought, ‘This is the end.’ I was trying to get out of there, driving 180 kilometers on a very narrow road. It was still dark. And I saw things that I, before that, only saw in movies — huge explosions with all these pieces flying around. And they were falling right in front of me, and I was driving around them, and all the smoke around. It was like a real horror, but you’re a part of it.”
He continued, “I was on the way back to Kyiv, and I was just trying to get home as soon as possible. And I saw all these traffic jams — people were trying to get out of the city — and all the destruction because of the first attack. And then the first week was the most horrible time because nobody knew what was happening. I got home, and one of the first things which I did, I contacted everyone in the band. We made a post on social media. And everyone stayed home.”
He recalled, “Every half an hour, there was a siren. We went to the basement. I went to the basement alone, because I was staying alone — I took my family out. I was alone, just sitting, watching the news and going crazy. Then every half an hour, I’d go to the basement, then go up, basement, up, spend half of the night in the basement. And there [were] huge explosions all around. Things that [weren’t] even close the first night — like, five kilometers, ten kilometers away from me. This is not close; in our reality, this is not close. But [because of] how massive those explosions were, the land was shaking.”
“The real horror started to happen,” says the bassist. “And this is basically when the siege of Kyiv started. And the next very day, I just felt like stating our position [publicly] and claiming our position. I made that video which is on YouTube. I wasn’t able to realize things like that could happen.”
As for returning to the public eye and playing shows again, the bassist states, “Well, it has its pros and cons. On the one hand, being onstage for this 45[-minute], 50[-minute] or one-hour [set] is the perfect therapy for me, and it’s the only time I can forget about the war — just playing music and connecting with the crowd. Because all the other time, my mood really goes up and down constantly — it swings back and forth, back and forth. And I may feel absolutely okay at one point, but after a few minutes I’m totally depressed — depressed in the way that I can barely act. And being able to play is definitely a cure.”
Abdukhanov calls the start of the war “the most horrific times of my entire life,” but adds that the support has been great. “I was bombarded with texts — all my friends, who were just checking how things [were] with everyone,” he said. “I got a bunch of texts from fans from all around the world. But somehow we made it through this.”
As revealed earlier this month, Jinjer revealed that they were allowed to tour again, serving as official Ukrainian ambassadors. “We are very honored to announce that together with the help of the Ukrainian Ministry of Culture, that we have successfully been granted permission to travel abroad as ambassadors of our country to raise funds and awareness about the war raging back home,” stated the group upon announcing their summer touring. Currently on tour in Europe, you can find the band’s tour dates and ticketing info here.
Rock + Metal Bands Helping Provide Support for Ukraine
Amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that began in February 2022, several rock and metal bands came up with ways to offer tangible support for affected Ukrainians. See some below.