Ukrainian Rockers The Roles Talk Life As Artists Amidst Conflict, New Music, & More

It’s near-impossible to process the circumstances transpiring overseas in Ukraine.

To the point where it doesn’t feel proper to discuss it from our foreign perspective. And while we’re presented with horrifying coverage, we tend to forget people still need to make a living and chase their dreams.

Enter Kyiv-based alternative rock band The Roles, who are looking to use their influence to help those affected and spread their own artistic message. Led by Anastasia Savisko (vocals), Bohdan Demchuk (bass), Andrew Plyshchuk (drums), and Stas Syroyid (guitar), the band is doing their best to pursue their passions amidst the turmoil.

Rising from the ashes of a former group in April of last year, The Roles had come out swinging, eagerly trying to make a name for themselves like any other young rock band. They were ready to go full-steam-ahead before their daily lives became threatened and upended. The group has been in the thick of a literal nightmare, yet are still persevering.

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Since their inception, they have released three singles: “Lie”, “I Try”, and “It Feels.”

We got to chat with the group to discuss what life is like on their home soil, their latest releases, and much more.

So of course we wanted to ask about how the war has affected you and your loved ones. What has it been like for you personally?

It goes without saying that the war affected us, however, we are staying strong as there is no other choice. The main point is that we’ve moved from Kyiv where we were based, therefore, we are temporarily unable to rehearse, and our gigs were cancelled. However, we understand that we will be back in no time, and we will be able to proceed with our common activity we had before.

Are there any other Ukrainian musicians or arts collectives you guys have united with or collaborated with since the war started?

We had lots of gigs with a bunch of Ukrainian bands and we are members of the gig community, so we constantly participate in any possible events. Moreover, our latest demos are a collaboration with U.S. artists, so we will get back to it as soon as we are back in Kyiv. Unfortunately, we cannot name any well-known Ukrainian bands we have collaborated with, but we are sure it’s just a matter of time.

So how did the band come together?

Firstly, there are only two band members. We were roommates in a dormitory. However, we connected with more people to add more instruments, and develop our sound to perform better. Therefore, Nastia (our lead singer) as well as Andrew (ex-rhythm guitarist and now our drummer) had replied to our post on Instagram that we are seeking a new member. That`s how our band started. 

You shared your 2021 singles “ I Try” and “It Feels” with us. Can you briefly give us the backstory and inspiration behind these songs?

“I Try” is our first release which defined our future sound. We had decided to compose a song with a sexy-rock sound. There are some aggressive parts in the track as it had been written considering our personal feelings and emotions we lived through at that time.
In addition, 100% of our tracks are based on our personal life stories and situation. Lyrics reflects the feelings of our vocalist, and the other part is represented through the instrumental parts.

What messages or feelings do you typically try to convey in your music?

Feelings that everyone encounters. The point is to express the support and understanding to every listener and to help to live through tough situations. It is not only regarding love, desires, and feelings, but about family issues, self-esteem and confidence, inner demons and all the issues everyone experiences.

I know the tragic situation has put a hold on the group’s musical trajectory, but is there anything the band is working on in the meantime?

You are definitely right that everything is put on hold due to the situation. On the other side, we have more spare time to promote our music and basically, as we have no management – we are able to do that personally right now. In conclusion, our tracks are rotating on the U.S. radio (“Hard Rock Radio”) and we participate in different kinds of interviews and music reviews, so we admit there are some benefits as well.

Looking ahead to hopefully a brighter future, what are some of the group’s goals for the next few years?

We are sure that brighter times are coming soon, so we already have some plans. We are working on increasing our fanbase to have more potential listeners of the album we are going to release in the near future. We also plan further collabs with artists from all over the world, and we will definitely perform on the Ukrainian festivals as soon as they are back. It would be also good to join a new label and we wish it was foreign. Basically, there are lots of plans and ideas we would like to share, but it is hard to be sure in every next step due to the situation right now. 

What might a dream gig look like for the band?

We are all sure that such gigs as Glastonbury, Coachella, Sziget, and Reeding festival would be a big dream of every artist, and we are not an exception here. It would be nice to have a live performance on BBC Radio. We would like to admit that we are not just thinking wide, but we are sure that there are lots of Ukrainian artists on a high level of production, sound, and performance who deserve to be noticed and known. The gigs above are surely a great opportunity to prove that.

What can people do right now to help your situation?

It is a hard question, however, even small peace of mental support is greatly appreciated, and we definitely value the contribution of all the countries especially the U.S. We are so pleased to hear the latest news regarding your support. To be more specific, our country requires humanitarian help urgently, and it would also be good to share as much true information to reveal what is going on here to assist us in the informational war.

For more information on how you can help, click here.

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