Interview with “The Aftermath”
“Marsho“, a monthly Chechen magazine in Turkish language, held a special interview with the members of “The Aftermath“, a band which was created by two Ingush sisters in 2004 in Moscow. These two talented sisters, Taita and Fatima Matieva write and compose their own songs in English and share their world with us. When you listen to their songs, you lose yourself in their sorcerous voices and impressive lyrics, especially when you hear that they don’t have any musical education, you can’t hide your wonder. The band released its first album “I Follow Song” in 2006, and their second album “Charming October” was released last year. Let’s meet Taita and Fatima.
Marsho: How did you become interested in music?
The Aftermath: When we lived in Grozny, (at the time the capital of the Chechen-Ingush Republic), our father had a rich collection of records: blues, folk, jazz, rock, soul, country, etc. So, it probably had an effect on us. But the most memorable moment was when Dad turned on the Beatles records. It was a collection of their songs, the songs were mostly from the Beatles “White Album”. By the way, it still remains one of our most favorite albums. We fell in love with the music. Then we got involved in English folk, then got hooked on the root blues, etc. then classical music, especially music of the Baroque era, our favorite and composer is Bach. We have listened to a lot of instrumental music by Ennio Morricone, Paul Mauriat, Leonard Bernstein, etc. Then we began to listen to the music of various nations. We also love the music of nature: birds singing, sounds of rain, a sea, a wind, etc. I think we have loved music from birth. And how can one not love it? Music is inextricably linked with all that surrounds us – people.
Marsho: How did you decide to create your own band?
The Aftermath: It was a dream of ours from the time when we studied at school. But we thought, and we believe that in order to create a group one must be able to write their own songs. Without it, we would not feel like a real band, real musicians. Therefore, as soon as it happened, the appearance of our group was inevitable.
Marsho: Why did you choose “The Aftermath”? What does it mean?
The Aftermath: Aftermath is a very beautiful word from the phonetic point of view, you see. But firstly, the word “Aftermath” means “consequences”. We were born and grew up in Grozny, we left our homeland because of the war. We think that the music was born as a response to the experience we had, and therefore, we decided to call ourselves “The Aftermath”.
Marsho: Taita, as far as we know, you have a PhD in math and your sister Fatima has a bachelors degree in linguistics. Is music a hobby, a part-time job or a profession for you?
The Aftermath: Of course, music is not just a hobby but at the same time it’s difficult to earn enough money doing music only. Especially in Russia. So it’s a part-time job. To tell the truth, I can’t call it a job. Because music is what we love most of all.
Marsho: Why did you choose to write and sing in English?
The Aftermath: I guess because we’ve loved the English language from early childhood. Also we think that music and language are tied together very much and that means that the roots of our music (blues, jazz, folk, rock) are English and American. But in general, we’ve never thought about that, it happened itself.
Marsho: How does it feel to sing in English within a Russian speaking country?
The Aftermath: We don’t think about a language when we are singing. Because music is language itself. At present in Russia it is hard to be a musician, an artist, a creator of any kind of art, even if you do it in Russian.
Marsho: Your first album “I follow song” was published in 2006, but the second one “Charming October” was released in 2012, why did it take so much time?
The Aftermath: I don’t know really. I think because we are perfectionists. We could have done it much earlier because we had enough songs and they were ready to be recorded. We recorded it the first time in 2008 but we didn’t like the result. Now we have new songs written and we’re almost ready for a third album. I guess that this time we won’t “play for time” and try to release it next year.
Marsho: In your last album, there is a song “Some time ago” and for the first time, you play dechig-pandur, shall we expect more traditional musics?
The Aftermath: We wrote this song in the North Caucasus sitting near our mountains. We heard some tradition in it that’s why we decided to use our traditional folk instrument called dechik-pandur. Isa Mezhidov (who are an amazing player of traditional music on dechig-pandur and never played in such kind of music) played the song. I remember how I was trying to explain him on guitar what chords I use and he was trying to repeat it on his instrument. So as a result we all liked what we did.
Marsho: Will you cover any traditional Chechen-Ingush songs?
The Aftermath: We love our traditional music very much and it is quite possible that we will record some covers. For example, we can make a cover on a song written by our granny. She was composing music in youth and she was a wonderful harmonic player. Some of her songs are well-known as folk songs today but our old people remember that she was a composer of them. It’s really a pleasure to know that.
Marsho: Thank you for your time, we wish you success and a lot of fans.
The Aftermath: Thank you for the interview.
**The interview was published first at Septembre 2013 issue of “Marsho”, translated by Waynakh Online and edited by Michael Capobianco