Interview with Evolucija
By Ivona Bogner
Not just a Swiss-Serbian band, Evolucija is a world class band! Read the interview with not only band mates, but life companions Illana and Dragisa Marinjes.
Hi! Since this is your first, and I hope not the last interview for Headshot Music, it′s gonna be a long one. Are you ready?
Ilana and Dragisa: Yes, we are ready and thank you for the opportunity to tell you something about Evolucija. We are happy to take the time to answer the questions. Let’s start!
You just came back from Russia where you played with Doro. Tell me something more about those two concerts with Metal Queen.
Ilana: The two concerts were fantastic and the audience crazy and overwhelming. We had a great time in Russia and we’ll be back soon. A live video of our concerts will be released soon.
It was also the first time we met Doro and her band and we had a great time. Rightly called Doro as a metal queen. The stage show by Doro is extremely professional and powerful. Private, she is a warm and open-hearted person. It was great to meet Doro, her band and her whole team!
We stated from the end, so back to the beginning… Maybe too boring, but… Tell me something more about the band. Just basics, where and when the band was formed?
Dragisa: The band Evolucija was founded in Switzerland in 2007 by me. Today I am the only member from this time. Ilana joined the band in 2010. Stevan has been playing with us since 2015 and Aleksandar since 2018.
If I am right, at first, the band name was Revolution. Why did you change it?
Dragisa: Yes, the band was called Revolution at first, that was before 2007. In that year there were some changes of members and I felt that it was time, to make something, that is mine. I formed Evolucija with my sons, one played the drums and the other played the guitar. Right from the start we wanted to make new music and release albums, so we started composing new songs. The name Revolution somehow did not seem to fit anymore. And so Revolution evolves in Evolucija.
Your first album ″Baklja slobode″ (″Torch of Freedom″) was released in 2007. The next one ″Igra počinje″ (″The Game Begins″) in 2016. Is there any specific reason why you waited for almost decade between two albums?
Dragisa: Yes, the period between the first and the second album is big. There are several reasons for this. We had performances with Evolucija regularly during this time, but privately, I had to struggle with some turbulence and so I was not in the mood to compose new songs.
There is only one composition from this time, the song is called “Pale Rider”. This song was selected as the soundtrack of the German movie “Die Templerherren” (“The Templars”). The song is not on any album yet. But I can tell at this point that he will appear on our new album.
In 2012, my wife and new singer Ilana and I emigrated to Serbia. We needed some time to settle in and find new band members. We started composing the songs for the album and so it came to “Igra pocinje” (“The Game Begins”).
Tell me something more about soundtrack for German movie you already mentioned ″Die Templerherren″.
Dragisa: My good friend and guitarist Oli, with whom I played for years before Evolucija, gave me the reference to the call for competition. The director Andreas Leffler was looking for a suitable soundtrack for his film “Die Templerherren”. The reward was to record and tailor a video clip with the band to the soundtrack. Enthusiastic about this offer, I set to work, and so was “Pale Rider”. Evolucija got the job, and cooperation with the film crew began.
″Pale Rider″ was the first professional video you made. Tell me something more about that experience.
Dragisa: For me, lovers of historical films, it was a special honor and indescribable joy to be able to contribute the soundtrack to the movie “Die Templerherren”.
Ilana: I was overjoyed to have been selected as a new singer by Evolucija, and that I was soon able to venture into such an important project.
The recordings to the soundtrack are an unforgettable experience. The ruins in Zell (D) were great backdrops and the collaboration with the film crew was professional and very cordial. Unbelievably impressive was also the film premiere in Munich, where “Pale Rider” was the opening credits on the screen.
A year after you released ″Igra počinje″, you recorded an English version too. Lyrics are different on those two releases, even lyrics writers are different (Darko Mitrović-Serbian version, Predrag Pavlović-Englsih version).
Ilana: The idea to record the songs in English came spontaneously in the studio when recording in Serbian language :-). To this day, I am thrilled to be able to sing our songs in two languages. I will do that with the new album too. This has meanwhile also become a trademark of the band.
Both writers are gifted and have artfully supported the melodies with text.
Your first singer was Tanja Apostolović. Are you still in contact with her? As I see, she isn’t active anymore.
Dragisa: Yes, we are in private contact with her. She just did not have enough time for the band and therefore withdrew from the music.
Ilana, when you joined the band, you did not speak Serbian at all. How hard was singing if you don′t understand language?
Ilana: Yes, that was difficult at the beginning. Thankfully, everything in the Serbian language is pronounced as it is written. That made it a little easier. Before recording in the studio, Dragisa and I also started to speak Serbian at home. So I made fast progress.
Your latest album ″Hunt″ (2018) was released for German Pure Steel Records. Serious label. What benefits they brought to the band?
Ilana: That’s right, we signed worldwide deal with Pure Steel, and we are really happy to be a part of that family. They are very professional, giving us absolute freedom when it comes to decision making, but also giving us important advice, which we are very thankful for.
When I got that album from Pure Steel Records, if I didn′t know we are speaking of Serbian band, I would not believe. It is so professional, high quality album. How was the feedback in Serbia and in rest of the Europe?
Dragisa: Thank you! The album was recorded in “Youth Center Studio” in Kragujevac, produced by Dragan Urosevic Uros, and recorded by Ivan Ilic Cili and Predrag Pavlovic. Remastered by Robert Romagna – Audiostahl Studio Austria.
We are very happy with the material, but of course, we are looking forward to make the next album even better, because we are still learning. We are satisfied with the feedback.
One of confirmation is that the German Cute & Dangerous Magazine Evolucija rewarded with the Innocent Award for the album “Hunt”. Over 15,000 readers / users / followers were able to vote. After the vote, Evolucija’s album was the winner.
Congrats! I think we should mention album cover too. Tell me something more about the main idea of it, and who is the artist who stands behind it?
Ilana: The artwork sows the concept of “evolution”, but the last person is downcast by a hand in the sky. Nature is stronger than humanity. When we look around ourselves and see all the things happening in the world, it’s easy to think that evolution kind of started turning backwards, which served as an inspiration for our newest album artwork. People might discuss if the evolution theory is right or wrong, but the fact is, that humanity does some things that really make us wonder if we are going in the right direction…
We thought for a long time about a suitable cover and received different offers from artists. When we got the idea of the “evolution” of Jaksa Vlahovic, we were immediately excited and we said to ourselves: “That’s it”! Jaksa is the son of the famous cartoonist Jugoslav Vlahovic.
At some point of your career, you moved form Switzerland to Serbia. Can you draw the line between your work in Switzerland and here in Serbia? I guess that both, work and life in general, here and there have good and bad sides.
Ilana: In 2012 we decided to move to Serbia. We packed our belongings in our van, which we still drive today, and drove off to Serbia. It was a real adventure, our daughter just 2.5 months old. Especially for me as a Swiss, it was a pleasure to experience a freedom that I did not know this way in Switzerland. The nature in Serbia is beautiful and the people are warm and open hearted.
Of course, it has good and bad sides in Serbia and in Switzerland. Here in Serbia we have much more time for our great passion of music. We are also more flexible, for concerts and tours. We are beekeepers and live with nature. We have our vegetable garden and fruit trees. The advantage that you have when you are in Switzerland is a full wallet hahahaha 🙂
Which concert experience is the most valuable for you by now?
Dragisa: Each concert is valuable to us and brings with it beautiful experiences. The special thing about performing in clubs is that the audience is very close. A special experience when audience mingles with the band. Performances in halls or open air in front of a large crowd are energetic and powerful.
You have been playing at lot of festivals, the last one was Goathell in Pula, Croatia. What suits you better: festivals or club shows?
Ilana: As Dragisa said, we love the exchange of energies with the audience no matter how many people they are.
Our last performance was with Children of Bodom in Minsk and our next gig is in Zurich in a typical metal club where we are headlining.
Your music style is fallowed by specific stage performance. Who is responsible for your visual appearance?
Ilana: When we were still living in Switzerland, we had a sponsor from a gothic shop. We still have many clothes from this time. Of course every musician of the band can decide for themselves about his outfit. I’m sure the visual appearance including performance is a very important part of the show.
When you started playing, what were your goals and have you achieved them?
Dragisa: When I started playing, I often read music magazines with many interviews. As teenager it has always been my desire to see my interview in a magazine one day and appear on the front page. This wish has been met to me many times and is always a special feeling of happiness for me. Another wish was that one day I would perform in front of many people. This wish has begun to be fulfilled…
Before Evolucija, did you play/sing in some other bands?
Dragisa: Some of the bands I used to play in where Korak, Fire edge, Rock and Callboys, Revolution, and, starting in 2007, Evolucija.
Ilana: I used to sing in some blues and rock bands, before joining Evolucija.
Can you tell me how do you see metal scene in Serbia?
Ilana: The rock and metal scene in Serbia is very big, and it has a lot of great, talented musicians. The problem is, however, that cover and tribute bands have way more opportunities to perform than bands with their own compositions. Unfortunately, a majority of the audience prefers to hear songs that they already know, rather than trying to discover something new. Best slots at festivals belong to those bands that are known from the 80s. So we are all the happier that our songs reach the Serbian audience very well and thanks to them we can look back on great experiences.
Are there any differences between fans in Serbia and in rest of Europe?
Dragisa: No. The Metal audience is fantastic everywhere!
As already mentioned, recently you shared the stage with Doro and Children of Bodom. If you could choose one band you would like to share the stage with, it would be…
Dragisa: Iron Maiden and Doro.
When you turn around, is there anything in your career you would do different?
Dragisa: Of course, pretty much everything hahaha. If you are young and inexperienced, you lose a lot of time in things that later turn out to be unimportant. You believe in people who just want to take advantage of you. With today’s experience, we would be more targeted.
Where do you see Evolucija in the future?
Ilana: Our plans are fairly simple, we want to push the band as far and as hard as possible, making songs that people can relate to, being on the road, making new friends, that kind of stuff.
Is there anything I did not ask, and you think it would be worth to mention?
Dragisa: At this point I would like to thank our management Alpha Omega. You make dreams come true and have given us the chance to experience some wonderful experiences. We are happy to be part of the Alpha Omega family.
We also want to thank everyone who believes in us, supports us and helps to make the metal scene strong again. The music knows no borders, it connects people all over the world.
Since Headshot is British magazine, I hope this interview will bring you more international fans. Do you have any message for our readers and your potential fans?
Ilana: Live shows are the best and most important thing for us. Being on stage, sharing the energy with the audience and feeling connected is a true enrichment and a fulfilling experience for us. Therefore, come to our concerts and let’s rock the stage together :-). Get ready for more songs from Evolucija. 🙂 We are currently recording in the studio.
So, when can we expect new album?
Illana: The new album will be released towards the end of 2020. The album follows fundamentally the style of the last album, but with additional elements. In production, we attach importance to the songs have even more power and ″modern″ sound.Let yourself be surprised!
Thank you so much for this interview. I wish you all the best! Take care! I hope next time we will speak face to face.
Ilana and Dragisa: Dear Ivona Bogner and Headshot Music Team, you are welcome and thank you for your great support and interesting interview questions! We look forward for a personal encounter at the next interview.