Steffen from Myband met Ukrainian Mad Heads XL just one moment before their bands 20th (!) anniversary. They met each other after their concert in the club Hanger 49 in Berlin. In a brief interview the band talked about future plans and why Ukrainian music will conquer the world soon – maybe with the help of Muse singing Ukrainian...
First, please tell us something about you, your band, where you're from and what kind of music do you do?
Mad Heads XL: Our band is from Ukraine, the music that we are doing is a mix of ska punk and Ukraine folk. The name of the band is Mad Heads XL.
Why did you started making music?
For me it was from the day of my birth on - it was a passion. Music is a big part of my life. I started studying in the university for an engineer diploma or you can say as a mechanical engineer. But since the day I was a schoolboy I had played as a violinist in a musical school. But it was not really funny. Then I switched to the guitar and I was a big fan of punk and rock music. I didn’t think rock music could be my profession, so I got “the real” education, but I did started the band because I still wanted badly to play music. Later it turned out that people like to pay for my band’s shows, and that I’m a shitty engineer, too. And so I made my music and haven't worked as a mechanical engineer a single day in my life. When Mad Heads started it was a rockabilly trio. We formed the band in 1991 and now we have a trombonist and a trumpeter in addition. And we had a lot of fun for the last 20 years. Now we're going to release our new album in Germany.
Is this your first time in Germany?
Well, with Mad Heads XL it is the first time in Germany, but with Mad Heads we’ve been here many times in the past, playing rockabilly and singing in English. Then there were lots of changes in the music, the language and the line up, we became very popular in our own country and didn’t have much time for concerts abroad. We played a few major festivals in Europe, like SZIGET in Budapest and ROCK FOR PEOPLE in Prague, but that was all for many years. Now we would like to come more often again, and that’s what we are going to do. The music that we play now is a mix of different kinds of rock-n-roll with the touch of Ukrainian folk, and it’s always a great party. We’ve been singing in Ukrainian for the last 10 years, but to present ourselves to a wider audience in Europe, we are doing part of our songs in English now. In the same time, we don't want to lose our roots because the Ukrainian language is very melodic, it sounds beautiful. We want to offer our songs and the Ukrainian language to the whole world. This is also a new experience for us and of course we want to travel to as many countries as possible with our music and make Mad Heads XL known in the world now. Germany is the first point, because we always had a lot of fans and friends here.
Do you have any idols?
Of course I have some heros especially in the circle of guitar players, the first of them was Brian Setzer, more recently it was Chris Cheney from the Living End. But I don't want to copy anyone! I like to create my own music. Talking of the most important influences for how we sound these days, I would name Manu Chao and Ska-P, as well as modern Balkan music inspired by the films of Emir Kusturica, but still there’s an Ukrainian twist in our music, which makes the difference.
What are your future plans?
Next spring we'll have a CD release with the best Ukrainian songs we've ever published. We translated these songs into English and put them together on a CD. And of course we want to have a large European tour: Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland – this is what I’ve heard from our promoters. Afterwards, in summer, we want to play some festivals in Europe and Canada (as we have a lot of fans there). Also, there’s a Euro Football Cup in Ukraine this summer, so there will be a lot of concerts in our home country. Right now we prepare a new video to support the recent Ukrainian release (an album “UkrainSKA”, CD made of Ukrainian folk songs). And finally, it's the band’s 20th birthday, which we are going to celebrate with our fans at big and very special anniversary concerts. You see we have a lot to do in the near future.
With how would you like play together, if you have a wish for free?
Can I choose someone? Does it matter if this person is still alive or not? Okay, but I would opt for Muse. This music moves me and I find it incredibly exciting what these musicians do, I think they are one of the greatest bands of all times, and while all the greatest are the bands of the past, Muse is something that is happening today. I would like to join those guys on stage and perform some Ukrainian songs. That would be great fun in any case.
Thank you very much for the nice talk. I'm wishing you all the best and lots of success and fun with all your future plans and especially at your next concerts.