Following on from the release of his highly-praised anti-war album ‘No Pity For The Sinking Ship’ last year, Ukrainian artist Alex Yarmak returns to his blistering ways on the driven new single 'Roots Grow Deep'.
Bringing back more of that raw and anthemic alt-rock direction he is known for, 'Roots Grow Deep' makes for an incredibly impactful listen. With a new video showing the true nature of Russia's war with Ukraine, his latest effort is a bold and powerful reminder of what is really going on in his homeland.
So with the new single available to stream now, we sat down with him to find out more about his background and what has inspired him most over the years.
What was the first instrument you fell in love with?
Piano. I saw it when I was 5 and couldn’t get my hands off it. No one called instrument abuse services, though, haha.
What kind of music did you love when you were younger?
I listened to a lot of local pop artists when I was a little kid, but then the rock phase started and you know how it is, we've all been there. Linkin Park, Limp Bizkit, and all nu-metal legends were in my ears 24/7.
What was the first album you remember owning?
Kanye West's "Graduation". Metal fans, hold on, there's a story to it, haha. It's not my favourite, though. I heard somewhere on the radio the "Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger" hook from Daft Punk (didn't know about them then), and when I asked my friend whose song that was, he said that it was Kanye's, lol. So yeah, I went to the store with my parents that day and bought the album. The fact that it was available in the store was a miracle because back in the day we had a really short supply of such things as music CDs here in Ukraine.
What is the one song you wished you could have written yourself?
Nice question, but I never thought about it. I mean, the point of being a musician is to express what you've been through, right?
Do you have any habits or rituals you go through when trying to write new music?
Nah, I just sit and tweak knobs, pretending like I know what I'm doing, haha. I mean, seriously, when you write a new song from scratch, it's always a random process and sometimes you feel like you're lost, but then you find yourself in a much better place.
Who are your favourite artists you have found yourself listening to at the moment?
Deftones. No one makes heavy and melancholic music as beautiful as they do. Also, their vibe is so soothing, which helps to live through the war. A lot of people say that their music is depressing, but I disagree. I find this kind of music really calming and it provokes you to see beauty in everything you see. The same goes for Radiohead, Nine Inch Nails, My Bloody Valentine, and so on.
If you could open a show for anyone in the world, who would it be?
I'd be humble and say for Bring Me The Horizon. I don't play live shows though. I'm only on stage when my homies Dima and Fima from хейтспіч (hatespeech) ask me to come and hug them when they perform live. In 2023 I'm definitely making more features on other artists' tracks, so I have even more people to hug.
What do you find is the most rewarding part about being a musician?
Doing stuff that you want to do.
And what is the most frustrating part?
Doing stuff that you want to do. Seriously though, just because there's no straight path or particular formula about what you should or shouldn't do, doesn't mean that you should just throw anything at the wall, hoping that things will work out somehow.
And what is the best piece of advice you have received as a musician?
"Don't be a dick". My guitar teacher.
Alex Yarmak's new single 'Roots Grow Deep' is available to stream now. Watch the new video for it in the player below.