Interviews: JONAVA

On this new occasion, we have had the opportunity to interview the Christian Black Metal band, Jonava from the USA and Lithuania. Check out the interview and follow the band on their FACEBOOK PAGE

1. Where did you get the idea for the band name, you planned it or came out just like that?

Ryan: Ya, I was traveling by train through Lithuania and we pulled up to the Jonava station. At the time the sign was old and grimey, and the name was written in all-caps, with one of those bold fonts from the Soviet era: JONAVA.

It definitely caught my eye. So later I looked into it and the name isn’t actually Lithuanian, but some kind of old Yiddish; I think it means something like prosperity. It just left an impression on me. I actually wanted to name our first daughter Jonava, but my wife wouldn’t let me. So, the band name was the next best thing.

2. Why did you want to play this genre?

Ryan: My goal has always been to fuse Impressionist classical with black metal. As times passes I hope we’re coming closer and closer to realizing that dream. Why? Because I somehow love each genre for its ability to communicate beauty in their own way.

Arthur: I find black metal to be both beautiful and brutal, and while we have other forms of metal (and other genres) infused in our sound, the root musically still falls within that realm.

3. Did you know each other before the band was formed?

Ryan: No, we met after I posted in a mutual Facebook group. I was looking for a singer and was open to other musicians. We started out as a group of about 5 or 6, but by the end, it was just us and that’s worked out well so far.

4. Each band member's favorite band?

Ryan: Band? Probably Emperor. But I don’t usually listen to them for conscience's sake. Over the last few years, I probably listen to my own music the most. That could be an age thing; I might just be weird. Probably both.

Arthur: I can’t pick just one. A typical shuffled playlist for me might have anything from Extol to Emperor to Kate Bush to Pink Floyd to Tool to Nickel Creek to Bob Dylan to Living Sacrifice to Embodyment to Kanye West to Gordon Lightfoot and Genesis. I’m all over the map.

5. Who or what inspires you to write songs?

Ryan: I jot down ideas in a notepad all year long, but I mainly write in winter. We’re a large family, with young kids, in a small home, and Lithuania gets buried in snow. So writing music allows me to put on headphones, or head out to the mancave, and not only vent a bit, but do something that’s creative. Over the years I’ve found that I have to find ways to create and appreciate beauty. I emotionally shrivel up otherwise. So music gives me great opportunities. Erik Satie also inspires me.

Arthur: I go with what feels right. I try to make what I would want to hear. Something to inspire, uplift, make people make the mean metal face too, and ultimately also encourage their walk with God for those listeners who are believers. Music has always been around me, and making music is in my blood.

6. Where was your last gig?

Ryan: I played my kids some “braams” that I made today. They were impressed. 

Arthur: Being an online-only band we’ve never gotten the chance to play out together. My last gig was playing bass at church last week which I’ll be doing again in a few days! Prior to that my last live band was called This Undying Fire, sad to say but that was nearly 10 years ago that we last played live.

7. Where would you like to play?

Ryan: there’s a few pagan metal festival here in Lithuania. But one in particular called Kilkim Žaibu, I’ve definitely daydreamed that Arthur and I were able to assemble a band here and played. While I write some parts, I can clearly picture us there.

8. Whom would you like to play with?

Ryan: Open for Emperor.

Arthur: Same….or a Pink Floyd reunion…or Kittie?

9. Whom not?

Ryan: Kittie?

Arthur: I’m open to opening for any band save for My Chemical Romance. This should say something to the reader.

10. Have any of you ever suffered from stage fright? Any tips for beginners on how to beat that?

Ryan: I definitely played a lot of shows back in the day. I can remember one time, we had a singer leave and I took over on main vocals. I was used to backup’s. But I heard my voice tense and squeak a couple…. OK, a few times. What would I change now? Let Arthur do vocals.

Arthur: Funnily my stage fright in past bands was next to none. However, doing the bass gig at church…I have to fight stage fright on that one sometimes. I need a wall of distortion to hide behind.

11. What bands have inspired you the most?

Ryan: In last few years listen to Slugdge quite a bit. Stortregn’s last album was great too. But honestly, I get a lot of inspiration from groups like Florence & the Machine too. But my biggest influences are Satie, Chopin, and Debussy. It is an absolute joy to pour over their works and be inspired. I don’t write anything without a copy of one of their scores near me.

Arthur: see my list above, there are too many influences to list.

12. What's the weirdest thing a fan has ever asked you for?

Ryan: Our album is on 8-track.

13. What do you think of your fans?

Ryan: I’m grateful and excited. I hope they are blessed and encouraged in their walk with Christ.

14. What do you think of our site?

Arthur: I wasn’t familiar with the site until now but I’ll definitely subscribe to it now. Looks great!

15. Something to add?

Arthur: Thanks for the interview and thanks for listening!

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