Fotos por Studio Bros y Martina Rusalka Šestić
Faced with the current situation that we are going through, and which are public knowledge, there is a fundamental element that has always been present, and that is music, which transcends all kinds of borders. Due to the context of social and preventive isolation, confinement makes day to day more and more difficult to carry on. Still, music has the power to transport us where we want to go.
Dino Jelusick was born in 1992 in Požega, Croatia. From an early age he was stimulated in the world of music, playing the piano and singing. He has participated in festivals, where he also included dance and acting.
In June 2005, Dino is invited to the Langeland Music Festival in Denmark, the same country in which he had won the Junior Eurovision Song Contest two years earlier. In 2008 a new single called "Malena" comes out from the album "CMC 08" of the Croatian Music Channel.
Since then, his career has been on the rise, adding composition along the way. Starting in 2012, what would become the revelation formation of Croatia began to form: Animal Drive. The current line-up consists of Zvonimir Mihaljevic on drums, Rokindja on bass, Ivan Keller on guitar, and Dino Jelusick on vocals.
- Could you give us a review on the beginning of Animal Drive?
Well, we became ''Animal Drive'' before signing with Frontiers Rec. Before that it was my solo band for 4 years. We had most of the songs from ''BITE!'' before we even became AD.
- Of course "Back to the roots" let us know a little bit, but what are the main musical influences on Animal Drive?
We love alot of music. From Phil Collins to Pantera literally. Alice In Chains, Dream Theater, Whitesnake, Dio, Led Zeppelin, Black Label Society... Way too many.
- “Bite!” was released in February 2018 under Frontiers Records label. What do you feel about it and what experiences can you tell us?
I think it was a great record. When ''Tower of lies''came out as a 1st single I remember the ''boom'' it made on social media. People were saying that they're so happy something fresh and heavy came out on Frontiers. I love ''Deliver me'' and ''Devil Took My Beer'' - two completely different songs but I think they have the x factor.
- What can you tell us about the songwriting process? What is a typical composition day like?
It depends. I sometimes write riffs first, sometimes melodies and sometimes I jsut write lyrics first. I wrote way too many songs over the past 4 years when I knew the deadline so I can't recall how ti looked like. The best ideas come at night, before falling asleep, I can tell you that.
- And what about the composition and assembly of “Bite!”?
Well, we were going for massive production and heavy riffs, catchy choruses and here and there a little bit of prog elements.
In 2019, through Frontiers Music, Back To The Roots is released, an EP that brings together several songs of great force to be versioned by Animal Drive. The force that embraces covers is really enveloping. On the album are tracks such as Monkey Business by Skid Row, Uncle Tom's Cabin by Warrant, Judgment Day by Whitesnake and The Look by Roxette (with the guest voice of artist Rosa Laricchiuta from the Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
- How did you choose the songs for "Back to the Roots"?
We took the best songs of each band that Frontiers suggested. And we wanted to do ''The Look'' ourselves.
- At least in South America, Animal Drive is one of the few bands that have come from Croatia. How is the current situation of Heavy Metal and Hard Rock there?
There is no situation cause there are no hard'n'heavy bands, not that I know of. Side Effects are eclectic rock and are damn cool, Magnar is a cool yougn band too but overall that type of scene is not developed here.
- You have being in music from a young age, what experiences can you tell us about that?
I can write about that for ages. I just went through a lot of things as 11 year old that people go through in my age... That's why I know what I want and what I dont want to do.
- How do you face this new year? Do you tour, shows?
I was stuck on the airport in Chicago. I haven't celebrated New Year for the past 4 years (with the exception of 2018, in LA) since I fly back from the TSO tour at that time.
- Leaving aside the current situation: Are there any plan for Animal Drive to visit Argentina in the near future?
We would LOVE to play Argentina and hopefully that happens with this new album!
- Are you working on new material? Can you tell us something?
Yeah, It's done but it's also postponed. It's probably the best record I wrote and sang on, I think people will love it. Very Ark-ish.
- Finally, a curiosity. You are a friend of Diego Valdez, who is a great pride for the Heavy Metal of our country. How did you meet him? Will we be able to hear something from you together in the future?
Diego became a great friend, such a nice guy. Adore his voice and everything he sang on. We met at Frontiers Rock Festival in 2019 and sang together with Lords Of Black in August 2019 on Leyendas Del Rock fest! We were supposed to sing together on new LoB album but unfortunatelly won't happen.