“Do your thing, don’t be afraid”, that is the message from the intimate independently made documentary by Radio Plato about DLINA VOLNY, the enigmatic trio from Belarus.

Masha Zinevich (vocals), Vad Mikutski (bass) and Ales Shishlobegan (synths) began making music together as DLINA VOLNY in 2016, issuing their debut EP ’Neizmerima’ not long after. While their first album ‘Mechty’ emerged in 2018, a wider international breakthrough came in 2021 with the impressive second long player ‘Dazed’ released by Italians Do It Better, the label best known for GLASS CANDY, CHROMATICS and DESIRE.

Describing themselves as ’brut-pop’ thanks to their post-punk meets synth-noir aesthetics, the doomy spectre of The Cold War looms in their sound. Strong songs such as ‘Do It’, ‘I’m Not Allowed’, Tomorrow’ and ‘Redrum’ are complimented by an artful visual presence. With the dark disco of ‘Bipolar’ asking “what is it like being on the border?”, the ongoing conflicts in their part of the world and their public stand with Ukraine led to uncertainty and DLINA VOLNY relocating to Lithuania.

On behalf of DLINA VOLNY, front woman Masha Zinevich kindly answered a range of questions put to them by ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK about their musical universe and upcoming UK + European live shows.

How did you feel as a band that the time was right to take part in a documentary because some might view this as a conceit when you have released only two albums?

When Radio Plato pitched us the idea for this documentary, we felt like it was a great way for us to communicate our thoughts and feelings with our audience. We do that through our music but in a different way. So it was nice to discuss, elaborate on and appreciate what we’ve been doing amongst the three of us and share it with the world.

Were you concerned that a documentary might negate the cool mystique that has arisen about DLINA VOLNY which has been part of the band’s appeal?

No concerns at all. We like to talk to our listeners on social media and get to know each other. We’ve made quite a few mates all over the world this way, which is incredible. This film is one of those instruments for our people to understand us a bit better and see what our day-to-day looks like.

I do hope our mystique is still appealing and is still there haha

DLINA VOLNY could be considered unusual as a modern band in that you appear to spend a lot of time together, both creatively and socially whereas others engage remotely?

I’ve always thought that bandmates are supposed to be close. It always seemed to me that my favourite bands are best mates apart from just being a collective of musicians making music and touring together. And we work best when we’re in the same room and we take advantage of this opportunity. Working remotely would work too but there would be a different feel to it.

What concerns social life, we spend so much time together sharing our feelings with each other, pouring our hearts out that it’s only natural to me that one would want to chill with friends, go to shows etc, after all that hard work as a collective too.

How has the move to Lithuania worked for you?

It’s been working really well. We have a studio (in a prison), which is a first for us and we couldn’t be happier about that. We’ve also made quite a few mates from the Lithuanian arts scene, who are wonderful and incredibly talented people, who are loved and appreciated by Lithuanian people very much. There is a sense of community and belonging, which gives one endless opportunities to make music, shoot videos, collaborate and bring one’s ideas to life.

One of the biggest revelations in the documentary is that ‘Redrum’ was heavily influenced by THE DOORS… once you know that, it’s really obvious, what is the story?

We all love THE DOORS. Whenever there’s a jukebox in a bar, we always play THE DOORS and sing very loudly while showing off our most emotional moves. For some reason, I’ve always thought that everybody does the same, but at a bar in Mexico, when we were celebrating the end of our tour with LEBANON HANOVER, I realised that this was only our group’s sacred ritual. I found it even more special after this realisation.

We are all about emotion and feeling and each member of this legendary band brings so much of it to their music. We adore it, and ‘The End’ is so cathartic, so when ‘Redrum’ was being born, we felt this energy coming through and thought we should keep going in this direction.

Your debut album ‘Mechty’ from 2018 was bilingual, but how did the decision to record an album entirely in English with ‘Dazed’ come about?

It has always been more natural for me to write in English, since I would always listen to foreign music and spend a lot of time in London from a very young age. Writing in Russian was a challenge that we came up with when we started the band, just like the whole concept of DLINA VOLNY at the beginning – low vocals, synths, bass.

On ‘Dazed’ we wanted to just let go and write what and how we felt like. So writing stories in English was just that – a natural urge.

While your songs deal with the fragile reality of life which is enhanced by the contralto vocal delivery and dark atmospheres, there is usually a melodic sparkle coming from the synths like on the ‘Dazed’ title song, ‘Bipolar’ and ‘I’m Not Allowed’, was this template influenced by anything or any other bands in particular?

Not sure if it was influenced by any band in particular but the idea was to create dark surroundings and contrast them with a ray of hope in the form of those melodic sparkles. We do like to conceal dark meanings in more upbeat sounds, if they may be called that. We feel that it adds to the melancholy.

Since ‘Dazed’ was released in Autumn 2021, tensions have risen further in your part of the world. How has that affected you as artists and activists?

Well, we live in constant worry. The fact that there’s absolutely nothing we can do is super depressing. We can only find escape and release in playing shows and recording new music. Being on tours is healing and absolutely priceless so we are incredibly grateful that we can do that.

The glorious ‘Whatever Happens Next’ made some important statements?

It sure did. This song puts what we feel in simple words and powerful sounds. Unfortunately, it remains relevant, but now pertains to more than one dictator.

DLINA VOLNY and Italians Do It Better are an ideal fit, with your love of ‘Twin Peaks’ and the colour red, how did the connection come about?

We’ve always been big fans of IDIB so when ‘Dazed’ was coming together, we thought it was time for us to get in touch with them and see if we could work together. They loved the demos and offered us a deal an hour after we sent out that email. Pure luck.

Releasing ‘Dazed’ on Italians Do It Better was a step in boosting DLINA VOLNY’s profile internationally but have you experienced any cultural boycotts or travel restrictions as a result of the world situation?

Thankfully, it only happened once. We got cancelled by a promoter in Europe right after the war in Ukraine started.

As a sign of the wider international recognition of DLINA VOLNY, you collaborated with VANDAL MOON on the song ‘Easy To Dream’, how was the experience to work outside of your norm?

It was very interesting and pleasant. Blake Voss of VANDAL MOON is a wonderful human being, with whom we met when I tagged him in a Tik-Tok to ‘Hurt’, which I made with my dog Cherry. Blake offered to collaborate and we agreed straight away. ‘Easy to Dream’ is such a great song! When we received the first mix, it helped me let go and cry for the first time since the war started. It was such a powerful and liberating moment. We’re still in very good contact and are hoping to meet offline sometime soon.

DLINA VOLNY covered Madonna’s ‘Hollywood’ and interpreted it as a much harsher warning to those seeking fame and stardom. With this in mind, what are your hopes and fears for the future?

We hope to continue making music and touring, reach new audiences and immerse more and more people into this safe, ethereal and infinitely versatile space that we like to create.

How do you feel you have changed as a trio since you released the ‘Neizmerima’ EP in 2016?

We have definitely all grown as musicians and as people. We understand how things work and what we want to achieve a little better now, which, I hope, helps us reach new heights with the new album.

What is next for DLINA VOLNY? You are touring Europe in 2024?

Yes! We are touring Europe and the UK in January and February 2024. We are super excited since it’s going to be our first ever show in most of the cities we’re playing. And also it’s gonna be our first time touring the UK. Since we’re from Belarus, we need UK visas so it makes it a little more difficult to come to the UK. But we are very happy that we’re finally doing it!

We’re also looking forward to sharing new music with the world.

ELECTRICITYCLUB.CO.UK gives its warmest thanks to DLINA VOLNY

Special thanks to Alex at Radio Plato

‘Dazed’ is released by Italians Do It Better as a CD, purple vinyl LP, cassette and download, available from https://dlinavolny.bandcamp.com/

DLINA VOLNY 2024 UK + European live dates include:

Groningen ESNS Festival (19 January), Brussels Cafe Central (20 January), London The Black Heart (21 January)*, Newcastle The Lubber Fiend (22 January)*, Manchester YES Basement (23 January)*, Liverpool Kazimierz Stockroom (24 January)*, Paris Super Sonic (26 January)*, Bordeaux Iboat (27 January)*, Laval La Fosse (28 January)*, Toulouse Le Ravelin (29 January)*, Lyon Sonic (30 January)*, Dudingen Bad Bonn (31 January)*, Mannheim Juz Mannheim (1 February)*, Bochum Die Trompete (2 February)*, Copenhagen Råhuset (4 February)*, Oslo Dunk (5 February)*, Gothenburg Hängmattan (6 February)*, Stockholm Kollektivet Livet Bar & Scen (7 February)*, Malmö Plan B (8 February), Amsterdam Cinetol (10 February), The Hague Grauzone Festival (11 February)

*special guest Jennifer Touch




Text and Interview by Chi Ming Lai
11 December 2023