“The sirens interrupted our sleep, grabbed in two suitcases everything that is in the past, then go!” sings Antytila frontman Taras Topolia on the Ukrainian band’s new collaboration with Ed Sheeran.
It’s a reworked version of Sheeran’s hit single “2step.” Topolia has added a new verse and created a video to promote the remix. The version was released Monday.
“I decided to explain in the lyrics how it was the first day of the war for me and for millions of Ukrainian people,” the singer-songwriter — and now soldier — told The Associated Press on Tuesday (May 3), talking from Ukraine, on the frontline of the war against the Russian invasion.
In the music video, Topolia leans against the side of a military vehicle during a patrol with his battalion, the reality of life right now for this recording artist turned soldier.
“We were doing our job. And like driving and between the positions of our battle in the Ukrainian army and just stopped on the road and took the GoPro camera and shot this video. It took maybe 10 or 15 minutes.”
He says that though it was dangerous, it made for a dramatic scene.
As a father of three, Topolia wanted the video — which shows a young family fleeing the war by car — to tell the story of the “painful and difficult situation” for Ukrainian children.
“Ukraine is not just only destruction and horrible war. Ukraine is also talented, talented people. And those kids that now have no possibility to dance, to sing, to increase their skills, to play in the playgrounds.”
Another part of the video shows young Ukrainian dancer Oleksii Sokolov performing in a theatre. He later dances in the rubble of a destroyed building.
“He came back to Kyiv from Mariupol just to film this video,” Topolia says. “His parents say that it’s very important for him and for them to take a part in this.”
Antytila formed a friendship with Sheeran via social media, after they tweeted the British singer- songwriter ahead of his headlining performance at “Concert for Ukraine” in the U.K. in April.
While the Ukrainian band was unable to perform remotely at the event, Sheeran invited Antytila to team up with him on “2step.”
Topolia explains that continuing with music while fighting in the war is “very hard.”
“I push myself to do something creative because the situation is not so creative. The situation is terrible. But I believe, I know that, what I’m doing now is just collecting the emotions inside,” he said.
“When we will get the victory, all those emotions will be spread up by the songs, by the lyrics. And I will share it with all over the world,” Topolia says.
“Emotions of happiness, of fresh start. Emotions of new country, of new future that we will build together united.”
Over the next 12 months, royalties from streams of the “2step” remix video will be donated to Music Saves UA.