Courtesy Photo / Alina Chernohor
Jinjer will perform Wednesday at the Aztec Theatre.
Ukrainian metal band Jinjer’s current U.S. tour is momentous, not just because more than half of the dates have sold out. The jaunt marks the band’s first return to the U.S. since the pandemic.
After dealing with a rollercoaster of uncertainty for almost two years, Jinjer is playing San Antonio's Aztec Theatre Wednesday — its second performance in the Alamo City — this time to melt faces with tracks from its newest album Wallflowers
Jinjer began growing an overseas audience with the release of its acclaimed 2016 release King of Everything
, so by the time the four-piece stepped on U.S. soil for the first time in 2018, it already had a sizable following. The number of sold-out shows on its current tour isn’t exactly surprising to bassist Eugene Abdukhanov but a development that’s been a long time coming.
“If you told to me 15 years ago that this would be a touring band, I would not believe it,” Abdukhanov told the Current
from a tour stop in Atlanta. “We never wanted to be big rock stars, we just wanted to play music.”
Asked whether the unexpected shot at international fame led the band to strive harder or deal with unexpected pressure, Abdukhanov acknowledged that it’s been some of both.
“It is, as you say, a double-edged sword,” he said. “It is a good thing for us, but we also feel the pressure that comes with it.”
Among those pressures, touring has become trickier with the pandemic still grinding on. Across genres, individual shows or even whole tours are being canceled and postponed if just a single band- or crewmember tests positive for COVID-19. While it hasn’t been hard for Jinjer to adjust to the new tour protocols, Abdukhanov acknowledges the threat of someone contracting the virus is ever-present.
“There are a lot of things we can do as precautions so there is less chance of someone being sick, but there is always the possibility. There’s that sort-of …” He paused to think of the correct before continuing, “anxiety always in the back of your mind.”
Giving a quick recap of his day, Abdukhanov noted that the band recently finished the soundcheck for its Atlanta show and had crêpes for breakfast.
“We call them pancakes back home, but they are basically the same thing,” he added. “So, it feels a little bit like home.”
Home for Jinjer — at least originally — is the war-torn city of Donetsk. However, each band member eventually left the dangers of their hometown and now resides in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine.
That anxiety and all the mental struggles resulting from the pandemic are what drive the themes of Wallflowers
, Abdukhanov said.
His favorite tracks off the album change “every two to three days.” Currently, however, he leans toward “Call Me a Symbol” and title track, the latter of which centers around the feelings of an introvert and strays from the band’s usual formula for a progressive, melody-driven song. The melodies on Wallflowers
help convey the meaning of each song and give the release its melancholic feel, he added.
Jinjer are no stranger to being defined by individual songs. The band’s 2016 single “Pisces” turned heads on YouTube and helped built an early following — even if it’s not a track the members are thrilled to be most associated with. Abdukhanov said he doesn’t believe “Pisces” highlights everything Jinjer is capable of.
“I would really like ‘I Speak Astronomy’ to be a song that everyone knows about,” he explained. "I mean, most people know the song, but I wish it was known to everyone the way ‘Pisces’ is. I think that song really shows who we are as a band and everything we can do. The other song is 'Pit of Consciousness' — along with how good the music video is.”
Despite constantly writing new material — even on tour — Abdukhanov said Jinjer is looking forward to slowing down the timetable for its next recording.
“We released two albums in two years — well, two albums and an EP in two years. So, for the next album, we are going to take our time with it,” he said. “There’s no rush. We want to spend time with our friends and family, relax a bit. For now, we will be touring for a while.”
$28-$95, 7 p.m., Wednesday, Dec. 8, Aztec Theatre, 104 N. St. Mary’s St., (210) 812-4355, theaztectheatre.com.
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