Mad Meg: “I don’t trust happy music”

Mad Meg en vivo (1)Mad Meg is a Russian- American band influenced by different musicians as Tom Waits but with a postpunk and dark sound. When i was listen their music i remembered Kino (the most important band Soviet rock band in the 80’s, if you don’t know this both bands and search on YouTube). Well, i did an interview with this guys and enjoy it!

– The lyric of Functioning Adult is a metaphor about the contemporary adult instability emotional and existencial?

Ilya Popenko: Maybe. It was actually my response to my girlfriend at the time who expected me to act like a grown up. This song was kind of my half-assed promise to change and act like an adult, at the same time, warning her that she might not like the person who I would turn into. 

Dan Veksler: It’s definitely about adult emotional and existential instability, but it’s more autobiographical than generally about the state of things in the world.

Mad Meg Functioning Adult

– Can you talk me about Mad Meg?

Ilya Popenko: Yes!

Dan Veksler: “Mad Meg” is the English version of a Medieval Flemish legend about a peasant woman named Dulle Griet, who leads a peasant revolt to take over and occupy Hell. This legend was immortalized in 1563 by the painter Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Through a series of complex circumstances and esoteric connections, Ilya Popenko turns out to be a direct descendant of Bruegel, so he named the band after his beloved great great great great great granddad. 

Igor Reznik: I had never had more fun onstage then with my friends in Mad Meg. I feel like our performances and what we do have a strong sense of self irony and irony of the world around us. This is what makes us strong. I think that all our shows are a bit different and this keeps them very fresh and alive. We are definitely an live band. This is also the first band I was in in which I am able to scream out back vocals. As for me personally, I have been friends with Ilya for a while, but joined the band on guitar when he broke his hand, I think back in 2013. Then, when our bassist, Vero Madellin, moved back to Mexico, I took up the bass.  


 – I donʼt why Mad Meg remember me a little bit to Soviet 80ʼs band named Kino. Have you influences of Russian rock? 

Ilya Popenko: Funny you should mention that! I’ve heard that comparison before, but personally I don’t see the resemblance Kino and other Russian rock bands are an integral part of my upbringing and, of course, they have influenced us whether I wanted it or not. Kudos for knowing Kino though! I’m impressed! 

Dan Veksler: Our Russian listeners don’t feel we sound enough like Kino. Our cover of a Kino song is our most scandalous number to date. We certainly have some Russian rock influences, but I’m not sure Kino is really one of them that much. Although, our drummer is obsessed with Kino.

Ruslan Baimurzin: Yes. I was raised on Russian rock. And Kino is my favorite band.

Igor Reznik: I love Kino and grew up on them, but I don’t think we sound like them. I’m also very pleasantly surprised you know of Kino. We did do a cover to one of Kino’s songs and think it came out very cool, but sounded nothing like them.You can find it here :

Ruslan Baimurzin: Yes. I was raised on Russian rock. And Kino is my favorite band.


– Do you make music with dark inspiration? 

Ilya Popenko: I don’t trust happy music.

Dan Veksler: Yes. Our writing process involves bloodletting and candlelight incantations in oversized horned masks. 

Igor Reznik: Ilya popenko writes the music and lyrics and then we arrange all the songs together, so it’s probably more of a question for him. I think what we do has an element of dark humor storytelling, but definitely not depressing at all. It’s more dark Irony, like Jim Jarmush film has.  

Ruslan Baimurzin: Mostly of time. That’s why it’s rock and roll.

– Which wanna search with this project? 

Dan Veksler:As we are now all Americans, we are interested in only one thing: money.

Igor Reznik: I love playing live. I want to do this a lot.

Ruslan Baimurzin: Fame and money.


– In this Pandemic situation have you recording new music? 

Ilya Popenko: Most of us are trying new things and venturing into new creative territories during the quarantine. We worked on our solo projects, but we can’t wait to reconvene and start making music together again.

Dan Veksler: Individually, yes; together, no. At least a couple of us have done some solo projects while in quarantine. The guitar player, Dan Veksler, made an album of his own songs.

Igor Reznik: The pandemic and quarantine kind of allowed me to experiment in music video animation. Me and Anastasiia Kultina made 2 animated music videos together, even though we had never done anything like this before. One video is to the song “Torn” and the other to the song “New Pain”. Ilya Popenko did a bunch of experimental recordings along with music videos. He also did the music video for Mad Meg’s “Functioning Adult”. I believe our guitarist, Dan Veksler Veksler also recorded a lot of stuff, if I’m not mistaken, his solo record. Jason Laney, our keyboard player, also has been recording with side projects and Ruslan Baimurzin, our drummer, has been composing some music for film at home. 

Ruslan Baimurzin: Yes!


 – How was the experience of playing at female jail in Lithuania? 

Dan Veksler: It was very friendly, really a very sunny experience. Those ladies were so darling, and they treated us really well. It made us nostalgic for the Soviet kindergartens of our childhood. 

Igor Reznik: I think it’s one of the coolest things I have ever been a part of. It felt really amazing and I hope we could do it again.  I think  the girls loved us and I even remember how in the end they asked for one more song. Was a pretty cool experience. After we put out the live album, we sent a bunch of copies to the prison library.  Maybe we could do similar things in Mexico. 

– You sing in Russian and English, which language is better for express your feelings in a song?

Ilya Popenko:English for me is definitely better for songwriting. The words are shorter and easier to construct into melodies. Writing songs in Russian is an exercise in putting square pegs in round holes.

Dan Veksler: Both are good in different ways. The two languages contain entirely different worlds of meaning, and shades of emotion. 

Igor Reznik: More a question for Ilya, but I will follow his baritone anywhere!


 – How is a Mad Megʼ show? what we can hope? 

Ilya Popenko:Because of the quarantine, it’s been so long since our last show that I don’t remember how we sound. I think our shows are pretty good, but I can’t be certain.

Dan Veksler: It’s a pretty loud, upbeat, almost dancey show, where quite good musicians play music with fairly diverse influences, while the author of the songs and frontman of the band, Ilya Popenko, makes strange sounds into the microphone with his throat, his long and lanky body convulsing and strutting under the weight of his “fat Elvis” style bling.

Igor Reznik: Something very alive and little different every time!


– Would you lilke visit Mexico someday (when pandemic ends of course)?

Ilya Popenko: Yes! Mexico is on our minds!

Igor Reznik: Absolutely! The first chance we get, we are there!

Dan Veksler: We positively cannot wait for our opportunity to finally visit Mexico and play for you! Please don’t lose hope, we’ll see you soon. 

Ruslan Baimurzin: I love Mexico. I wanna play there.

Thanks for the interview, cheers! 




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