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The colourful stories of Straytones’ musical adventures.

August 27, 2021 will see Ukrainian psych and garage rock outfit, Straytones, release their fourth album, entitled Magic Green River Swimmin’ & Stunning Tarzanka Experience, via Robustfellow.

Following their latest, critically acclaimed EP Beware, Dark Lord! Here comes Bell-Man! (2019) and countless live shows with acts such as Somali Yacht Club or Stoned Jesus, on their upcoming full- length the Kiyv- based trio will delight rock fans with their vibrant blend of garage, psychedelic and surf rock. Imbued with the spirit of 60’s garage rockers and hippies, and heavily influenced by modern neo-psychedelic vibes, Straytones may recall associations with The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Night Beats, Wand, Ty Segall, Fuzz or Oh Sees, but add a very own and refreshing touch to their distinctive, groovy sound.

Metal Digest had a chat with the band about their new LP, ‘Magic Green River Swimmin’ & Stunning Tarzanka Experience’, Kiev summers, and the colourful stories of their musical adventures.

Welcome to Metal Digest!

Q: Kyiv plays an important role to your band and everything is somehow related to it. In what ways do you think the Ukrainian culture has shaped you as musicians?

Artem: Kyiv has its own distinct vibe and atmosphere, there’s nothing really quite like him J I’ve been born and raised here, and that’s the city I love, with all pros and cons, sometimes it’s love/hate relations but love always takes over. Since I remember it, Kyiv always has been quite a freedom-loving city, and has strived through tough 90s, relatively calm early 00s and all the way through the two revolutions, constantly changing environment that’s lasting till this day. It is hard to compare Kyiv’s culture to the rest of Ukraine, as I’ve said — it’s quite distinct. Of course, growing up in Ukraine means that Ukrainian culture touches you here and there, you can’t stand aside from it completely. But still it’s not the same. So, from my point of view, Ukrainian culture (specifically) didn’t had really big impact on the musician that I’ve become. It’s hard to deny though, that Ukrainian songs from the 90s (and 70s) were heard in vain, maybe these sprouts will show more significant growth in the future, who knows J
Vova: I moved in Kyiv about 20 years ago, and for me it’s more like love/hate relations with this city. I love the vibe in old districts like Podil, but hate traffic jams during rush hours. As for Ukrainian culture touch. Hmm… I don’t think it influenced me much, ‘cause since my teenage years I’m trying to stay aside from it. Especially from Ukrainian pop-culture. 🙂

Q: Say I just got your new album (preferably on tape) and with my headphones on hand I’m getting ready to immerse myself in the sounds. What is the best place to listen to your work beginning to end?

Artem: Hmmm… I would recommend walking down the street with occasional stops at places you can sit for a few minutes with a view you like and then continue walking. I would also recommend doing this walk during the golden hour, way before dusk, so that when you are done – the Sun will still be out there. In case you hate walking and prefer some cozy places – you can lay down on the grass and watch the crowns of trees, or on the beach, or if it’s cold outside – use that rug that really ties your room, but sunbeams and golden hour is crucial.
Vova: I like to listen to new music while walking on a street alone. Try it this way.

Q: Let’s talk about the title: ‘Magic Green River Swimmin’ & Stunning Tarzanka Experience’ I bet there’s a story behind that too.

Artem: You are absolutely right! The artwork needed to be paired with the title that would share the same concept and vibe, so we decided that this has to be a long game of words, or even better – a game of titles! So, just like experiment-loving home-cooks do, we took some ingredients from The Beatles, Creedence Clearwater and Hendrix, then added something from us and mixed in the right proportion to get the right result!
Vova: If I’m correct, it was our rehearsal during preparation for the album record. We were all smoking cigarettes during a small break and Artem just said that it would be cool to mix some 60-70s iconic album names with a touch of Kyiv vibe. After a few attempts that title was born.

Q: The artwork is nothing like we’ve ever seen before. Vibrant and summery, reminiscent of a Kyiv summer. Who is the mastermind behind that? Would you like to walk us through the picture?

Artem: “The Mastermind” behind that art is me – Art(em) J Back in June 2019 we were about to start recording this album, but the artwork and the title were missing.

I was on the riverbank of the Dnipro with my close friends, and all of a sudden, I started to see all the objects and subjects from a different angle, if you know what I mean. It was somewhat an insight. Here is our huge, wide and powerful Dnipro, here’s a doubled barge floating by, there’s a party-boat with party-girls, an old soviet car with doors wide opened and loud chanson music playing, squatting boys-from-the-hood drinking beer from a 2.5-liter bottles, granny with naughty screaming grandkids, an old fisherman and there’s also us, hanging out on the same riverbank. And I was like – this is it!

That’s the part of Kyiv-based summer flex, and me (and my buddies and bandmates) are a part of it, this is how we do it here! Let’s try to make this a concept idea for the artwork. I called Marina that same moment and explained what I just saw inside my head. I wanted it to have a lot of details and personages covered in a sarcastic, satirical way. However, Anastasia Yevtushenko (the illustrator that Marina found and curated for this purpose) perceived my idea with more warmth, and here we have it! She did a great job!

Q: Hot question of the day: What is tarzanka-jumping?

Artem: For those who never heard or seen a word tarzanka (Ukrainian: тарзанка) – this is how we call a jumping rope with a stick on the end (sort of handles). It is usually attached to the highest tree that grows right above the river (or lake) surface. You grab the stick, go backwards as much as you can and then you run like crazy towards the water and jump releasing the hands when far enough from the shore, just like Tarzan! And if you’re good enough – you do stunts! (The Tarzanka-jumping is depicted in the top-right corner of the artwork :))

Q: The album was recorded with your ex-drummer Marina who is currently, not a part of Straytones anymore, as another female drummer Eugenia took her place. I really, really dig the idea of girl behind drums. Is it intentional that you always have a female drummer?

Artem: When Marina decided to change her life and to quit the band, at first we wanted to preserve a female-drummer concept, and were lucky to find Eugenia fast enough. However, if not her, we would look for a drummer who would fit in regardless the gender.

Q: The release date is getting closer. Do you get nervous as we are heading into August? What is the best case scenario for this album and the band?

Artem: A bit nervous, of course, and mostly about the videos that we are going to drop later, but I want to believe that we are doing everything just right. The best-case scenario is if this album will be heard all over the world with almost zero dislikes and, as much word spreading and sharing as possible, and our band will become a little bit more recognizable in the sea of music and this genre specifically. Would love to tour and play on the festivals again! Thanks!

Thank you for the wonderful interview.

Until we meet again,

Chelf | Metal Digest.

For More Info Visit:​​​


Straytones are:
Artem (guitar, vocals)
Eugenia (drums)
Vova (bass guitar)


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