The rock musician visited the Metro-Saint Petersburg’s editorial office on the eve of her concert. She chattered about the coming performance, books and cats.

– Our concert at the Roof Place site is going to be a farewell to our Jubilee program with its focus on the strings arrangements. On the roof we will be accompanied by an octet, I think. The musicians who participated in the creation of the Jubilee tour will join us.

– Have you ever performed at such venues before?

– Never.  Yet, there were simple roofs, starting with my homeroof in Kavalergardskaya street. The song “The Fiddler on the Roof” was very popular at that time. And I thought: “Why can’t I? Here is the violin, there is a roof!” Frankly speaking, that roof was sloping and uncomfortable and the main thing was to choose the right shoes. My friends and I were just walking on the roof, and it wasn’t a business in those days as it is now. The video “Ty darila mne rosy” (“You gave me roses”) by “Nochnye Snaipery” was shot on one of the Moscow roofs. A photo session with Peter Malakhovskiy, when “Nechto Inoe” band existed, took place on a roof too. Therefore, hello, roofs!  Roofs are our all!

– How does a performance for a large audience, as the one at “Nashestvie” festival, differ from a chamber home concert? Do you have a favorite venue?

– Performing for three spectators or for 33 000 makes no difference.  You broadcast energy from the stage during the performance and the number of people does not matter. Sometimes it is difficult to sing even for ten spectators and you are nervous if the object of your affection is sitting in the hall. There are comfortable sites where everything is convenient for the artist. Daily life moments help to save energy for the concert.  A dressing room being stuffy or a restroom being too far – such things are distracting and taking energy. I like our Saint Petersburg’s clubs, I am even fond of Oktyabrskiy Concert Hall now, although in the early years it seemed rather “cold” to me resembling the Palace of Congresses. I had a feeling there  as if I was going on stage to make a report rather than to sing. This feeling is gone. Even the Kremlin turned out to be friendly, although it was difficult to think of a more official site. For one of our songs our dear fans staged a flash mob – and dances began during the performance! The world will never be the same for some employees of the State Kremlin Palace.

“Pushkin is near”

– What will your art space ‘Pushkin is near” look like?

– We are having a repair now and we hope to finish it in autumn. It will be a multifunctional space, small but cozy. It can accommodate 50-70 people. I was at Gorokhovskiy’s chamber concert, he’s been famous for his small concerts for 15 year already. We’ll be able to create something of this kind I hope.  Expositions, lectures, a rehearsal place – we have so many plans that sometimes we think: “How will we fit in there with our albums recording?” In fact, this is our new studio. We had a small office in Vosmaya Sovetskaya street. That home studio has served us faithfully for many years: almost all our albums were recorded there, except for “Uvidimsa skoro” (“See you soon”) album, which was recorded in Hamburg, Germany. But it started to feel a little bit small. Once I walked along Griboyedov Embankment and passed by the house number 174, there I saw a memory plate stating “Alexander Pushkin lived here from 1816 to 1818”. I decided: that was a sign! And a communal apartment was there on sale just next house but one – in house #172.  People had been waiting for resettlement for 15 years there.  I realized: that was the place – 6 windows, the facade overlooking Griboedov Embankment. And the future name of the space came into my mind immediately and spontaneously “Pushkin is near.” The idea of a studio developed into the idea of a small art space. Then I wondered: what did I know about Pushkin? Obscenely little since school days. And I was presented a two-volume book by Ariadna Tyrkova-Williams “The Life of Pushkin”. One thing led another. I plunged into the history of Pushkin’s life – and I fell in love with him more and more.

– What do you think about setting the poems by famous poets to music? Brodskiy’s descendants  were unhappy with Zemfira’s release of the song “Joseph”…

– I am happy when songs to the verses of great poets appear. A great example is the work of Eugenia Venlig. She has a lot of songs to the poems by Akhmatova, Mayakovskiy, Tsvetaeva, Akhmadullina. She does it subtly and gracefully. Some traits of Tsvetaeva’s poetry were revealed to me through the song of Alla Pugacheva  “Uzh skolko ikh upalo v etu bezdnu” (Oh, how many’ve fallen into that void).  The more poetry sounds – the better! People will listen to wise, beautiful, deep poetry.

A Duet with Pink or Tina Turner

– What would you say about modern music and new artists?

– Modern art has a longing for self-production. There is less inclination towards melody and harmony. It seems to me, the number of songs one could sing with accompaniment of a guitar in the yard is decreasing. Of the new ones I like “Monetochka”, but “Grechka” is not mine, although I like it as the dish “grechka” (buckwheat porridge). “Monetochka” is more interesting for me in its inner content.  Oxxxymiron – clever, interesting, but the texts are weaker, although the energy is good. IOWA – well done guys.

– With whom would you like to perform?

– I am faithful to my deepest sympathy: I would never refuse, not a single idea, from Vyacheslav Butusov – it would be my pleasure! And at the global level – Tina Turner! I am impressed by her energy and drive. I would love to sing in duo with Pink. Yet it seems a little farfetched to me. Performance with rappers is unlikely, my “RAM” is not enough for that. Yet, Yuriy Yulianovich (Shevchuk – ed.) did it at “Nashestvie” and it was cool! Maybe, one day I’ll have such a wish and dare too!

– “Nochnye Snaipery” fans were pleasantly surprised when you appeared together at the Jubilee concerts. Should we hope for more joint projects?

– I am ready for any experiments, it is up to Diana to decide. This “mess” happened 25 years ago, two planets took to the same orbit and as a result we got a unique phenomenon of “Nochnye Snaipery”. I believe that having passed a certain path and having received our life experience, we perceive more vividly how unique it was. Many people and I myself are missing the energy of “Snaipery” sometimes.

About travels and cats

– How do you live off the road? What is your daily routine?

– I am an early bird, I love early hours. 5 a.m. is my favorite time when I am full of energy and have time for everything. The day begins with Peter Kelder’s exercises, then 40 minutes for home gyms. The time of youthful exaltation and reflection is over, creative work requires perseverance and thoughtfulness. I try to read, to have a talk with mother, she needs my attention. Many gurus teach that every day, every minute is a new moment. And Mommy is my coach: sometimes some things are asked again and again,  15-20 times. And every second you start from the same point. This is also a certain lesson with its own aim. Patience and tact, as the main character of the movie “Office Romance” taught us.

– Could you tell about your cats?

– Mishka, he often appears on Instagram, has got a girlfriend, Sonya. She was brought from Moscow. Friends found her, a small kitten, under the protective crankcase. What’s not to take! After that, just one and a half month ago, we were starting the bicycle season and suddenly a red fluffy creature crossed the road in front of us. I look – there is a shortage on the left rear, a chopped stump. My heart bleeds. I had a red Maine Coon called Fox, stolen 3 years ago. And this one looks just like Fox, only smaller. I cannot eat, I cannot sleep – all thoughts are about the cat. We returned to the place with bowls of water and food. Began to lure. At the end we managed to catch it and take to the vet. The vet also removed two ticks. The surgeon worked on the poor fellow’s paw – now Fox is running around the house on his three paws faster than others. The cat turned out to be very affectionate – he would lie on your chest, rest his forehead on your chin – and do not move.

– So you are a cat lover.

– I do not like dogs, sorry, they bark loudly, I shudder every time. As a child, when I was 7-8 years old, we went to Sevastopol with my mother. There my relatives had a little dog that had spent 15 years on a chain and thus had acquired a bad temper. I, out of goodness of my heart, wanted to hand feed it with boiled crayfish. It took the crayfish along with my palm. There was a lot of blood, everything was topsy –turvy, but I was too embarrassed to cry at that time. Following was long healing, bandages.

– Where do you prefer to go on vacation?

– In August my friends and I are driving our cars to Switzerland and Portugal. My favorite place is  the ocean, lakes, mountains. The nature is amazing in Switzerland. In Portugal there is a fantastic ocean, powerful and cool – the way I like, with water temperature of 18 degrees, invigorating and nice to swim! Once we went to Thailand in May and the water temperature was +32 there, you go in like into a broth! I don’t like this kind of swimming.

– How do you respond to political issues?

– I do not understand anything in politics. It is originated from the human stupidity. If people knew how to communicate with each other, to respect each other, the politics as a field of science would not be needed. People would come to agreement themselves. I am genuinely sorry about the situations with Ukraine, Georgia, republics we have family relationships with. This is abnormal, that should not be. It’s not right for relatives to argue and fight.

Source: METRO newspaper

By Anna Lutchenkova

Photo Aljona Bobrovich