1: How did you decide on the name, “Vinok"?
Ilya and Nathalie originally started the band being in the US and wanted to associate the band with something meaningful and that at the same time connected us with a part of the world that is dear to us – Ukraine. Vinok seemed to be the perfect pick as it serves both purposes: the word means a flower crown in Ukrainian and is a traditional wreath to symbolize purity throughout centuries in Ukraine. It’s now worn during
festivals and traditional events in Ukraine. We like that combination of purity, power, and festivity, the serious and the fun.
2: What inspires you to create?
Our fans and providing hope for all who listen to our music. It is overwhelming to see the pain and suffering in this world and music has the unique ability to give strength and healing in many circumstances. With that, we aim to act as mediums of that hope for our audience.
Music is another form of communication and the greatest part is that everyone is fluent in it – all you have to do is listen. This is a great way of breaking cultural barriers and starting a conversation either if it’s in person or within a person’s headphones.
3: What advice would you give to someone who wants to be in a creative profession?
If it’s not something you feel is natural for you to do and if it’s not one of your first thoughts in the morning, chances are, it’s probably not for you to do as a profession since it can be extremely difficult. That’s not to say don’t be creative! We advocate for people to be in the creative realm no matter what their profession is, as it’s another food for the soul. Any art form should be honest, real, and not give in to the trends just for the
sake of fame. Make art with a purpose, art that matters! “We believe that it is a social duty (almost a requirement) as artists to take action, raise awareness, and provoke conversations that are often avoided” (Nathalie).
4: Do you feel open minded about what you listen to? Do you like going out of your comfort zone?
Yes and no. We are definitely open to listening to all sorts of music that is honest but we have a pretty good sense of understanding if the artist is just following a popular trend or being superficial. We keep a critical yet always open mind when listening to music or any art form for that matter. In regards to going out of our comfort zone - definitely! That’s why we love playing live concerts - you never know what exactly to expect.
5: What outlets do you find out about music from? (Record stores, magazines, samplers, etc.)
Typically various online platforms (i.e., Spotify and YouTube), friends and fans.
6: What is your favorite format to listen to music on? (CD, Vinyl, etc.)
Nothing can replace a live performance.
7: What band/artist do you think everyone should listen to?
The Cranberries and the early Arcade Fire.
8: What motivates you to check out a new artist?
Their honesty, passion, and energy drive. The musicians could be the best virtuosos in
the world but if they don’t have those two, we’ll pass on them.
9: Who was the first band/artist that became your favorite band?
Ilya - Muse, Radiohead
Nathalie - Whitney Houston and The Cranberries
Anton - Rage Against the Machine
10: What was the inspiration for your song “Hold On Me”?
“hold on me” is about the battles one faces with addiction and the false promises the poison presents. It is related to addictions that are both physical and psychological. Addictions take over, and one loses the ability to be in control - which is ironic, since what one desires more of in life is control. The song was presented in an aggressive manner to symbolize a sort of heaviness that can feel at times inescapable.
[Lyrics from the song] Just like a weight pressing down on me, as if I’m sinking to the
bottom of the sea. I’ll keep believing it’ll take care even if it’s my last breath of air.
“For us these lyrics directly convey that even when we know something is wrong for us
and others (causing more pain) somehow we still have a magnetic draw towards it. That
is why it is vital to have people in your life that care about you and can help you through
difficult circumstances,” said the band’s lead vocalist Nathalie.
“There’s just too much addiction surrounding us in our everyday lives and what is even
worse – people are starting to accept it as a norm. Whether it’s constantly looking at our
cell phones, making completely unnecessary purchases, having toxic relationships –
people are attracted to false promises and constantly bombarded to give in to it,” said
the band’s drummer Ilya.
“For many, whether consciously or subconsciously an addiction can feel like an escape,
a hiding place to avoid facing difficult realities. For others it is a way to cope with pain
and try to feel ‘better’ when that pain is too much - in either case, it is destructive,” said
the band’s lead vocalist Nathalie.
“hold on me” was inspired by Arcade Fire’s “Everything Now” album and in particular by
their song “Creature Comfort.” The Cranberries song “Salvation” is also a direct
reminder about substance abuse.