Interview with Nug

Interview with Yura Popov – Guitar

Interview by Lee Carter

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Hey and thank you for your time. Please state your name and position in the band.

Hi there! My name is Yura. I am the guitar player in Nug.

For those that don’t know, can you tell us a little about the origins of Nug and how you all met/formed?

A bit of a long story, but I will try to keep it short 🙂 Me and my good friend (our drummer Jevgen) quit our previous band and around 5-6 months after that, we figured out that we can’t sit at home and we need to play music. So we decided to meet once a week and just improvise. After a few jam-sessions we recorded a few demos. But metal music without bass is not pumping at all, so our buddy (former bass player Andriy) joined our meet-ups. A bit later Bogdan (our current bassist) replaced Andriy and Yura (vocal) with Vitaliy joining the band as well.

When coming together, what inspired you to take on the sound that you have?

I don’t even know exactly, because we all listen to different music and have different previous backgrounds in other bands. Probably, this is the main factor to our original sound and style. Actually, each of us brings a piece of his soul and original fingerprint into the music.

Who or what would you say are the biggest influences on the band?

This question is partially related to the previous, I guess. For instance, one of my first big impressions of metal music was “The Bleeding” by Cannibal Corpse. I know that our vocalist loves ISIS, the drummer is an old fan of Russian Circles, the bassist is the biggest fan of Metallica I’ve ever met, and guitarist Vitaliy likes Deftones. Actually we all love Deftones. Now let’s try to merge all these fellas into one imaginable band. That would be something that influenced us the most.

Prior to your debut, “Alter Ego”, you released an EP a year after your formation – “Темна Маса (Dark Mass)”. How did the writing process differ between the two releases?

To be honest, it was the same people and the same studio, so the recording process was pretty ordinary. For sure, studio recording sessions are always fun and a big responsibility at the same time. 

The cliche is that you have a lifetime to write your debut release – how long after the release of “Темна Маса (Dark Mass)” did you start writing for “Alter Ego”?

Honestly, I don’t even remember… I think we started to compose new stuff immediately after the release 🙂 We just can’t stand still, we need to move somewhere all the time.

Did you feel like the music came together easily, or were there a few bumps in the road?

If we talk about the upcoming ‘Alter Ego’ release, the material was recorded with a gap of almost 6 months, so yes, there were some difficulties with the sound of instruments. But we nailed it with the help of our friends Oleg Moroz and Valentyn Zhulenko (both are sound engineers).

But if we talk about song-writing process, then there are two scenarios: 1) The song is born incredibly fast. It may take a few hours during one rehearsal. 2) The song may stay as draft demo version on our Google Drive for months… And slowly takes the final shape. Both variants are good enough but different. 

Beyond the band’s influences, what inspired you during the writing process?

I’d like to say that our main and endless inspiration is life itself. Every second we feel something and all those feelings may be transformed into music.

The theme of the album is the “spiritual struggling with the alter-ego” – can you give an insight into the decision-making that made this the album’s concept?

Lyrical concepts always come from our vocalist Yura. I think that it was not a decision, like, “Well, this release is gonna be about the alter ego… Let’s write something about it”. The words and music are always attracted to each other. Probably, he wrote lyrics under the impression of the music.

When did you begin recording? Was it affected at all by the current global situation, or had you wrapped up by then?

Nope. We finished the recording/mixing/mastering process a long time before all this craziness happened. So, during this quarantine, we have been in the stand-by mode 🙂

How did you find going into the studio to record? Was it an enjoyable experience, or did you just want to hit the road and play these songs live as soon as possible?

We love to play live shows. It’s always a lot of emotions and energy. But much more we love to record our stuff in the studio (at least me and the vocalist). In any case, live shows and studio work are both parts of one process — bring our music to the people.

As an artist, when releasing a new body of work, do you ever feel a little anxious about it going out into the wider world for all to hear?

It’s stupid to deny, we all have some anxiety about the album release. But it’s more like pleasant vibrations, not fear or panic.

How have you found the initial response to ‘Alter Ego’?

It’s probably still too early to form an opinion but those few that we have received were pretty favourable. Some of them perceived the mood of our music a little bit TOO serious, which was kinda entertaining, honestly.

Whilst broaching the topic of live shows, once they are allowed to begin again, have you any plans to bring “Alter Ego” far and wide? Would there be any UK shows for our readers to look out for?

I don’t really know why, but we don’t often play live shows, even in Ukraine. That’s why it’s kind of a jackpot for people to hear us live. We’d be incredibly happy to book some dates for EU/UK shows, but it’s pretty hard at this point for us. First of all, we’ve never had a tour. So we need to find some promoters/clubs and put down a schedule. Also, because music is not our main occupation, and we all work to live. For sure, we will work on it, and maybe someday you will also be lucky to see us live 😉

If you could tour with anyone and go anywhere in the world, who would you want to share a stage with and where would you most like to go?

Oh, that’s a pretty difficult question. But I think my guys will agree with me… My answer is Amenra. Don’t know why, but when I read the question, in my head appeared the picture of “Amenra and support by Nug” on tour in Sweden or Norway. Actually, we’d be happy to tour with a lot of bands, but they have no idea about us 🙂

Given the global situation has curtailed a number of aspects of our day-to-day lives, how has the coronavirus situation affected you? How has Ukraine’s response been?

Personally, for me, nothing changed. I am working from home, so I didn’t even notice any difference. Probably, the same thing for Bogdan and Jevgen. But Yura and Vitaliy (especially Vitaliy) had a bunch of problems with work. I am not following all the news, but as I know, people are already bored of the masks 🙂

How are you and the rest of Nug doing whilst staying at home?

As I said above, I am totally okay 🙂 Can’t say for sure about the other guys, but I think they are all fine as well.

Are there any new bands or artists that have caught your attention recently? Any recommendations for the readers?

Since I am answering questions alone, I will give a few of my own opinions on heavy music:

1) Cauldron Back Ram and their album ‘Slaver’;

2) Xythlia with the album ‘Immortality Through Quantum Suicide’;

3) ‘Lupus Aurora’ by Cytotoxin;

4) ‘Devouring Ruin’ by Wake;

5) Leeched and their release ‘To Dull The Blades Of Your Abuse’;

6) Also, I just have to mention Ukrainian brutal death monsters and our label-mates Schizogen and their album ‘Spawn Of Almighty Essence’.

Even though “Alter Ego” will see its release in August, have you cast your eye to the future as yet? Are there musical ideas developing already, or are you enjoying the feeling of a job well done and letting the creative batteries recharge?

Sure thing! We already have a bunch of material for the new album and we are still working hard on new stuff. We’re always writing something… Even when we sit at home during this COVID pandemic.

What can we expect from any future Nug releases?

First of all, for a very long time we have had an idea to shoot the video for one of the songs of the album… I am not sure if this idea will be implemented soon, but that may happen someday. Honestly, we are also curious for what we can expect from our future releases. We are always trying to refresh our sound and style in general, so hopefully, it would be interesting, dark, and heavy.

Thank you for your time, is there anything you’d like to say to our readers?

We want to thank all of you for listening and supporting the heavy music scene. We will not let you down! Follow us on Spotify and stay tuned.


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