Interview on by Jamie Steinberg

Q) How would you describe your sound?

A) The key point of difference of Kalush Orchestra from other bands in Ukraine is the combination of ethnic music elements with modern sound production, hip-hop dances and Ukrainian-language rap. The essence is that we take the old Ukrainian folklore that has been forgotten. We dig it out from many generations and add modern, contemporary elements, rap and instruments. In the end we have a combination of what our ancestors had and what young people like today. And those are our songs.

Q) Who are some of your musical influences?

A) Music appeared in my life in 2008. During this period, I listened to a lot of Eminem and decided to start rapping as well. As for other members of the band, all Kalush Orchestra band members have prior experience in Ukraine TV shows such as “The Voice,” “Ukraine’s Got Talent” and others. They are also members and collaborators with other bands from Ukraine’s developing hip-hop scene. Each of us had our favorites in music and they are quite different. Now each of us brings something new to the collective sound of the Kalush Orchestra.

Q) Talk about the story behind your new song “Ushme Uturbe.”

A) The track sees we up with Canadian rapper bbno$, who we met in Austin, Texas, where we made a music video for the song. We met Alex (BBNO$) for the first time in real life, but it was so easy and fun working together on set that it felt like we were old friends. “Ushme Uturbe” is a light dynamic track that makes you want to dance. We are often asked what “Ushme Uturbe” means. We answer, this is a kind of musical “Hello” from the Kalush Orchestra.

Q) How did you come to connect with BBNO$ to feature them on the track?

A) We performed at the prestigious music festival South by Southwest (SXSW), where we met him for the first time in real life. Before that, we communicated by e-mail and on social networks. We showed Alex the track and he liked it and we agreed on cooperation.

Q) What do you think it is about the song that fans connect to?

A) As supporters say in the comments: “This song does not depend on the weather, it lifts the mood and sets the rhythm for everyone.”

Q) How does the video for the track play into the message behind it?

A) In the clip, we hang the Ukrainian coat of arms around the city. Thus, we wanted to show that a piece of Ukraine is always with us, no matter on which continent of the world we are. And also, in this way, we would like to thank every citizen of the United States for supporting our country.

Q) What is your song writing process? Do you need music before you can create lyrics?

A) Most often, our new tracks appear in the studio when we get together with the guys. Each of us begins to record something of our own, we come up with texts and in this joint creative search something new and interesting is born.

Q) How much of a hand do you have in the production of your music?

A) A hundred percent. When it comes to music, we are constantly experimenting. We continue to add folklore motifs to our sound.

Q) You were the 2022 Eurovision Song Contest winners. What did you personally take away from this experience and what does this accomplishment mean to you?

A) For us, the victory at Eurovision 2022 was not only a victory for our band, but also for all Ukrainians. Our victory at that time raised everyone’s fighting spirit quite a bit. It was very exciting and responsible for us to represent our country in this difficult time for it. Also, we proved as a band that a Ukrainian-language song with rap can win at Eurovision.

Immediately after the victory at Eurovision 2022, the Kalush Orchestra went on a concert tour of Europe. All funds collected by the group at charity events go to help Ukraine.

We appreciate the opportunity to personally communicate with people in Europe. Our mission now is to be the voice of the Ukrainian people. We decided to be useful to our country precisely on the musical front – to spread Ukrainian music and language abroad, and with the help of music to raise funds to help the country to speed up the victory in the war.

Q) Will there be a full album or EP coming in the near future or are you more focused on releasing singles for the time being?

A) We are currently focused on the release of new tracks, but we do not exclude the fact that very soon you will hear a full-fledged album. Follow our news on social networks so you don’t miss anything.

Q) Where are some of your favorite places to perform and what makes those locations so significant to you?

A) Of course, the most favorite place for performances is at home, in Ukraine. You know, when you perform at home, it’s always somehow special. As for our current concerts abroad, it is difficult to single out any one place and country. During each of our performances we feel incredible support from local visitors. We appreciate it very much.

Q) Who would you most like to collaborate with on a song in the future?

A) I would like to record a joint track with Eminem. If he is reading this interview, I hope he will respond.

Q) What artist/musician are you currently listening to and why do you dig them?

A) I would not like to single out anyone. In addition, everyone in our group has quite different tastes.

Q) You are a part of social media. Why is that such an important way for you to connect with your fans?

A) We are a modern band. Everyone’s life is now closely connected with social networks. We try to develop our social networks and be constantly in touch with our fans. I think this is important. In addition, with the help of social networks you can find out news and tell about your’s.

Q) What would you like to say to everyone who is a fan and supporter of you and your work?

A) We thank everyone for listening to us, watching our clips and coming to our concerts. It inspires us and motivates us to create new cool tracks and share them with you. By the way, this autumn we have a new concert tour planned in the USA. See the performance schedule here