Ukrainian band Braii mixes post-punk with indie rock with great ease and energy. It’s a cold atmosphere and rather distant sound. The vocalist/guitarist Oksana Bryzgalova sings with a characteristic husky voice. On March 26th, Braii is to embark on a tour across Poland. The band will play in five cities: Warsaw, Łódź, Kraków, Wrocław and Bydgoszcz. Mateusz Stypuła interviewed Bryzgalova just before the start of the tour.
How long have you been playing together?
Oksana Bryzgalova: Well, we know each other for a long time, few times in the past we even tried to form a band, but it never went anywhere. Maybe we were not ready, not focused enough. But in summer 2017, almost two years ago I heard this call inside, that it’s the right time. We went directly to the studio, and in a week our debut EP City of nothing was recorded. It took some time for production, video, management, and basically right a year ago, 21 of April we released our debut single and a video On the Bottom.
Obviously your friends from the band listen to a lot of different things but is there a band or a musician that inspired your style as a band the most?
Oksana: So I can say that we all listen to different music. Inna ( bass player) is into jazz, Slava (drummer) is a techno guy, Andrei ( guitarist) and me are into different indie, punk, post punk and rock bands. I can definitely say that my first and biggest music impression and memento ( from the age of 12) is Nirvana. But now we’re inspired by a lot of genres and bands of course.
Could you tell me something about the creating of your EP and the recording process? How it came to be? And one remark: the production is great
Oksana: THANK YOU. So I have to say that basically we’re a band of five people. There is one more super important and irreplaceable member of the band, the sound producer Alexey Krivisheiyev, that was a recording engineer and a sound engineer of our debut EP. On the time when we started the recording process, all songs were written by me, but during the recording session we made all the arrangements together. It was a great week, full of music, experiments, wine and fun. that’s how our debut EP showed up.
You once said that music is an opportunity to talk about personal and share my experience with the listener. Can you elaborate on that?
Oksana: Music, for me, is the only therapy. It’s the way to say by lyrics to someone things that you had to say in the past, it`s a way to forget, forgive, cry, laugh. All my songs are very personal, intimate, most of them are about my relationships, love and hate. I never write if I don’t feel an inspiration, if I don’t have anything to say and share right now. I remember once a guy that I loved a lot, asked me to give him a promise that I would share all my thoughts and stories within music and will make a band. so I kept my promise.
What, at the moment, can you tell me about your debut full-length album?
Oksana: Now we’re in a process of recording an LP, it will be released in september of this year. I`m super exited. It’s a bit different comparing to EP, but it’s keeping our Braii’s sound, vintage guitars, husky voice, atmosphere. A half of the album is done already, second half is still in demos, many songs. I think it will be enough of songs even for b-side. The first single Maybe and a video were released already, and in the middle of April we will release a second single.
Your music videos have that specific movie aesthetics. Can you tell me something about your most recent one, to Maybe?
Oksana: Yes, we try to make music videos that would’t help to sell a song, presenting it, but more to keep a vibe, harmony. The director of the video Maybe is a famous Cuban-Ukrainian director Tanu Muino. She saw this story with gypsies, funeral, wedding and fire. I trust her vision and intuition, she ‘s a great professional.
How is the situation with your local music scene?
Oksana: Well, a lot of good things are happening now in Ukrainian music industry. Studios, bands, media, and shows. But still, Ukraine is more pop music oriented country, so indie stage is the one that has to penetrate the market and audience. But it’s interesting to feel yourself at the cradle of creation of something new and important for people who cares.
From the point of view of the founder and owner of Istok recording studio as well as a band member: How does Istok Live Sessions help local bands?
Oksana: So Istok Live Sessions — are series of live performances recorded directly in the studio. It’s a stage for new bands to be seen, and a great opportunity to show themselves. I’m super grateful to my team and all musicians that were involved, cause it’s a chance to capture the whole decade in establishment of Ukrainian alternative stage.
Have you ever been in Poland before?
Oksana: I’ve been to Poland few times as a tourist. I’m in love with Krakow with all my heart. First music festival in my live many years ago happened with me in Krakow. But as a band, we never played in Poland.
What can we expect from the upcoming concerts?
Oksana: First of all, we’re very exited to play in Poland, trying to find here our audience, connecting with new people, sharing moments and stories. On our shows you will see music and people on the stage just the way they are. 4 people deeply in love with music and rock’n’roll. You’ll hear the true stories about love and hate, pain, depression, happiness, searching for meaning of all this, bravery and deep gratitude to people who care.