As part of Drum Dum Fest 12, for the first time after more than thirty years, the legendary Macedonian group “Leb i Sol” will perform. Behind the drums is the undisputed Mihail Parushev.

Photo: Angel Sitnovski

Mihail, 1989.  started playing with professional Skopje bands (Oktavian, SETH, Arkhangel, Kismet – Mizar, Vlatko Stefanovski Trio, Project Zlust, String Forces, BLLA BLLA BLLA, Parussion group, Amon Mra and many others). A year later, he was declared the best drummer at the rock festival in Skopje, and in the same year he entered the “Ilija Nikolovski Luj” Music School to study classical percussion with professor Zoran Spasovski. In 1992, he recorded his first album with the group Set, while in 1996 he recorded an album with Archangel. Together with Aleksandar Pop-Hristov, he starts working with Vlatko Stefanovski, and in 1998 they record an album as V.S. Trio, and in the same year, together with Gjok Grujevski and Djijan Emin, he formed the group “PROJECT – ZLUST”.


DDF: In the band “Leb i Sol” for 13 years, what did the band mean to you before joining and after?

Mihail Parushev: I am the same age as Leb and Sol (laughs). I listened to them from a young age, we woke up to their music. It was somehow known in my family that I would be a drummer. I already had a set of drums at the age of six and my dad took me to Garabet Tavityan, the band’s original drummer, to take lessons. Garo said: “Well, he knows everything, what should I teach him” (laughs). I kind of developed myself, listening to “Bread and Salt” so I was really ready when they called me. We played all over the world.

DDF: You say that “Leb i Sol” had a lot of influence on you, who else would you name?

Mihail Parushev: I really liked “EKV” besides that. I didn’t have much time to listen to local bands, because I mostly played. And what was called rock and roll at that time, for me it was EKV and Leb and Sol. I listened a lot to the bands “Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Nirvana, Red Hot Chili Peppers”… Then I got into gothic bands, and after high school I was drawn to jazz. When I entered the Academy, I got a little “stuck” playing jazz and got to know that music, not only as a drummer, but also as a composer. I was lucky enough to “hang out” on the premises of Macedonian television where jazz orchestras practiced, and of which I was a part, I was lucky enough to be part of that “Big Band” in Macedonia, before it disbanded, unfortunately. I always wanted to be a bass player or a guitar player, but I “sneaked” as a drummer (laughs). You know what, I’ll tell you a secret, I’ve been waiting for you to call me (laughs). Sorry, I’m Yugoslav (laughs) I learned a lot from Sedmorica mladih, the Belgrade Big Band, when I saw it on TV, I didn’t know it was jazz, for me it was music! We have a good jazz festival in Skopje, so I had the opportunity and luck as a kid to listen to those concerts. I have had quite a few “gurus”. First, my father gave me records to listen to rock and roll, but also to know Macedonian traditional music, because that music is the best school for us Macedonians. We have that Macedonian traditional jazz, that’s the music that gives us everything actually, that’s the real inspiration.

Parushev, who has been part of “Leb i Sol” for 13 years, and who has many successful projects behind him, as one of the most dominant is “Projekat AGOL” or “Ensemble Parision Group” of his band “Parision”. The compositions are part of Parush’s work, and for the “AGOL Parision Group” project, arrangements for a nine-piece orchestra were prepared. The base is Macedonian music, but in a completely new and modern version.

Mihail Parushev: When my music first appeared, sometime in 1999, it was my first song that I made on the guitar, to this day I play it with a band, it’s a creepy song and I use that era a lot, when I was young, for inspiration . I tried not to resemble what I listen to or various other authors, but it draws everything to jazz-rock, only there is no jazz harmony in my music, those jazz chords are present in me, but they are from classical music.

DDF: What is music for you?

Mihail Parushev: People heal themselves with music! When we play, we listen to the music and what the whole band sounds like, we admire that music and try to make it as good as possible, especially Leb and Sol, it’s space music. Their view of music, that is, how they see music, I don’t think I’ve had such an experience in any band, it’s just some secrets that are heard on stage, it’s just a different dimension and you need to understand it.

DDF: You said that you were waiting for Drum Dum Fest to invite you, so tell me how you characterize our festival and how important it is from your perspective for young musicians?

Mihail Parushev: There are great drummers in the Balkans, young or old, it’s good to just hang out. Those drumming stories, which sticks you use, drums, have you tried this or that… The workshop as part of the festival is a great thing because of the education of young drummers, although today’s children with all the means of information start playing very early, in my opinion it is somehow best to start with the young to be done around the age of five or six. I recommend to everyone a lot of practice, a lot of music and a lot of experiences, the more they play on stage, the better it will be.