Anna Rose Greenberg, Traffic Director and DJ for WOBC, recently spoke with Leonid Chernitsky, drummer for the Russian ethno-industrial band MystTerra. MystTerra are known for their energetic songs and creative orchestration.
Anna Rose: What is MystTerra’s mission? What do you set out to accomplish when making your music?
Leonid: Well, it’s our life to play music. I think everybody that makes music for a great part of his life is some kind of a fanatic. Three men in this band have known each other for about 15 years. We’ve played different styles and at last we found what we can do best in music.
I’ve recently had the pleasure of corresponding, mostly via Facebook messenger, with Canadian drummer Nick Yacyshyn. Like a lot of metal heads I’ve met and/or talked to, Nick’s a genuinely friendly guy, and he has graciously agreed to be interviewed for the WOBC blog. On top of that, he’s a uniquely talented, creative drummer.
I first became aware of Nick as a result of his involvement in post-metal super group SUMAC, where he plays alongside Aaron Turner of Isis/Old Man Gloom and Brian Cook of Russian Circles/ex-Botch/ex-These Arms Are Snakes. As I’ve said many times to those who will listen, SUMAC’s inaugural album, The Deal, is hands down my favorite of 2015. Since its release, I’ve listened to it at least 10 times. As a drummer, I became fascinated by Nick’s complex texturing and unconventional rhythmic patterns. One song in particular, ‘Thorn in the Lion’s Paw’, had my mind warped. Rather than submitting to my utter confusion, I decided to reach out to Nick and ask him what the pattern was. Despite being on tour on the other side of the planet, Nick got back to me with an hour. He clearly explained the drumbeat, and demystified that which would have otherwise remained totally opaque and indecipherable.
Following this exchange, I dug into Nick’s back catalog, including (but not limited to) his two albums with British Columbia based hardcore act Baptists. Needless to say, I was blown away, not only by the band’s explosive sound but also by their—and in particular Nick’s—breakneck speed. And as I soon found out, I wasn’t the only person who was impressed. Ex-Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighter Dave Grohl had posted numerous videos of Nick playing with Baptists online, accompanied by messages like ‘My favorite drummer’ and ‘Drummers beware’. Drummers beware, indeed.
But enough with the stunning praise and all-star endorsements, and onto the interview!
Last week I had the pleasure of interviewing Hieroglyphic Being on WOBC. For those of you that don’t know Jamal is one of Chicago’s most respected DJs. Jamal is also the owner of the record label Mathematics. Mathematics is one of the most interesting labels in the game they continuously put out fantastic records, such as Kuba Sojka’s Mysterious Intrigue. Jamal does an incredible job picking up artists from out of the blue. The records he puts out always have unique styles that draw heavily from the mega-centers of Techno and House such as Detroit, Berlin and of course Chicago. I always find it surprising when I find out that the artist is actually from somewhere I have never heard of. We spoke for about 45 minutes and discussed a variety of topics ranging from his beginnings as a musician, to starting a label; of course we also listened to some unreleased Mathematics tracks.
The cover band showcase was great. Not only was it fun, but the bands seemed to have genuinely put some work into actually sounding good. I can’t say I had any favorites, but the Shakira cover band, Shakir A’neal sounded awesome.
After the show, I caught up with lead singer, Carla, and lead Guitarist, Maxim, and asked them a few cover band related questions:
Why did you choose to cover Shakira and how did the band name come about? Max and Carla were sitting out in wilder bowl, postponing our midterm studying, and as soon as we started talking about the cover band show case, we immediately thought of Shakira. We knew the energy was right. There were really no other options, just Shakira. It was perfect. We asked a few passerby if they’d be in the band. None of them ended up in the band. But they were all extremely interested. The band name is just a hybrid between Shakira and Shaquille O’neal. There’s really not much to it.
What songs did you cover and why did you pick those particular songs? We covered “Wherever, Whenever,” the Spanish version of “Objection (Tango),” and “Hips Don’t Lie,” which medley-ed into “Underneath Your Clothes.” The first song was a given. For the second song, we thought it was necessary to do a true Spanish ballad, given that our singer was well versed in Spanish, and Shakira herself is practically fluent. “Hips Don’t Lie” was a crowd pleaser. And then Max was hanging with a Shakira fan late into the night at Tank, and she expressed the need for “Underneath Your Clothes.”
What was your general impression of the cover band showcase and how did you feel about your performance? Wow! Wow! Wow! We wished that we could be more aggressive in the venue, but given the floor was nearly breaking, we understood that this wasn’t an option. Other bands were great. [We] couldn’t hear any vocalists. Maroon Four killed it. We really messed up “Hips Don’t Lie,” but the crowd was too drunk to care, so that was awesome.
Will we see Shakir A’neal again? You’ll definitely see us hanging out on campus. And we might not all be together again, but individually you’ll definitely see us.