“DESPITE THE FORMATS”: SVETLANA SURGANOVA’S INTERVIEW WITH “ROSSIYSKAYA GAZETA”

Svetlana Surganova: Any restrictions give the chance to show your best, at least despite all the formats, that are not inherent in you. 

 

The tour, which includes 16 Russian cities, is called “At Our Best”. “Surganova and the Orchestra” have chosen the best songs for it, from “Vesna” (“Spring”) and “Daleko” (“Far Away”)  to “Neuzheli Ne Ya?” (“Is It Not Me?”) with lyrics by Brodskiy. They’ll also play the songs from their latest double album “Vse Budet. Zavtra”. (“All Will Be. Tomorrow”): “Volchitsa” (“She-Wolf”), “Aquarel”, “Liven Osenniy” (“Autumn Rain”) … By the way, it is interesting to listen not only to the songs, but to what the artist is saying in the pauses between them. About hits, life and favorite poets, to whose verses she creates music:  Akhmatova, Gumilev, Mandelstam, Tsvetayeva… This year, the singer, violinist and guitarist also debuted in a new role – she appeared in the jury of young musicians competitions. The columnist of “RG” started the conversation with a sore point – why Russian rock had long been devoid of new talents.

What troubles the musicians are faced today: the dependence on hype, the need to fit into formats approved by producers? How did you cope with all that when you started out?

Svetlana Surganova: To mine mind, to promote your art today is easier. There is the Internet, and you can get your songs to the public without any intermediaries. It was more difficult for us, especially when there was a lack of money. It was difficult to show your songs if not many people knew you – that was the main stumbling block in those years.

Now, however, there is another trouble, the pressure of formats. Do you always have to adapt to trends? I don’t think so. You can always come up with your own format. Restrictions are also a chance to show your best! At least despite those formats that are not inherent in you.

What do you think of the current state of the rock scene? It seems that new bright names don’t appear any more, with some rare exceptions being Tosya Chaikina and Lyusya Chebotina? Is there a period of stagnation in  rock and rap?

Svetlana Surganova: It’s not the lack of talent – it’s just the vector that has shifted. In the beginning of the century, when we started out, rock music was very popular. Today people listen to another music, and it is harder for young rock bands to make themselves known. But fashion is cyclical, and we will see new rock legends born in future.

“Surganova and the Orchestra” release new albums regularly, unlike most of your colleagues who release an album in  three to five years. What inspires your creativity: events in the country, love, literature?

Svetlana Surganova: Usually these are inner feelings. Of course, sometimes they are triggered by what is going on around me. It is always something in tune with my soul, doesn’t matter whether I create  my own text or work with someone’s lyrics. One can be inspired by anything – even by the change of  seasons. So you get a song of mood, a song of state. Our recent premiere, for example,  is called “Leto” (“Summer”) – listen to it if you haven’t yet!

The trouble with new bands is that they start inner quarrels long before they become famous. Even the legendary “Chaif” confessed that the musicians had a big quarrel, and if it wasn’t for the song “’Oy-yo (Cry About Him)”, Vladimir Shakhrin and Vladimir Begunov would no longer be playing together. How does “Surganova and the Orchestra” manage to be steady? Apart from you, there are only men in the band, and in the 19 years of history you have never quarreled in public, and the band has hardly changed. Or is there something we do not know?

Svetlana Surganova: Right you are. I’ve seen bands break up or start messing around because of some nonsense, ambitions or minor grievances. How to counteract it? The main thing in a band is to trust each other. Also it is important to give freedom to your colleagues. Almost all these 19 years I have been reminding myself that I shouldn’t do everything myself, that there are great professionals around, and they do their part of work brilliantly without my constant supervision. If you respect each other, listen and hear each other, if everyone has room for creativity, then there is nothing to argue about. That’s the rule we stick to in our “Orchestra” today.

Do you set yourself goals or do you always rely on your  professionalism, destiny and good songs? 

Svetlana Surganova: I set myself goals much more often than when I started. Youth forgives everything, including the lack of a systematic approach. But now we are different and live in another way. We are aware:  the higher professionalism, the greater responsibility. I cannot let my audience down, and a consistently high result is a hard work. So I am all for setting goals and achieving them. By the way, the album “Vse Budet. Zavtra” (“All Will Be. Tomorrow”) was made following this approach – we did it scrupulously and it took a lot of time. We thought a lot, made decisions, tried different options, and the result surpassed all expectations.

By Alexander Alekseev 

Source: Rossiyskaya Gazeta