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Interviews

Rita Ora Interview

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Articles, Interviews, Music | Leave a comment

Let me get this off my chest: Rita Ora’s new single “Anywhere” is brilliant. But then again most of her singles are great. So I had to come with some clever ways to incorporate the best ones in my brief phone interview with Rita for Cosmopolitan Russia. Russian version of our chat is here and original is below.

Congrats on the new single!

Thank you very much. I wanted to have something out there that people could dance to.

I definitely danced to it once or twice already.

Thank you. I hope everyone really enjoys it.

To get into the festive spirit I decided to get a little creative and play around your song titles. So please bear with me. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you like to be? And yes, you’re allowed to say Moscow.

I’d love to be on an island somewhere.

What’s your favorite song at the moment? Your jam?

My single is my jam. I really do love my song.

What’s the best way to feel hot right now?

The best way to feel hot right now would be to enjoy your life and go out hang with your friends in the pub.

What does a typical Rita Ora party look like? How do you do that whole partying thing?

I just enjoy partying with my friends. And I love listening to music and enjoy music.

Which fashion trend or beauty trick never lets you down?

Facial moisturizing cream and a good pair of jeans is amazing.

What’s one thing you do once you come home?

I love to make some tea and watch some TV. Maybe go to the gym.

What’s your favorite TV show at the moment?

The Handmaid’s Tale.

What’s your favorite poison? Boys, food?

It’s definitely food.

What’s your go-to cheat meal?

Burgers.

If you could be lonely together with any person in the world, who would you pick?

It would be my dog.

Let’s get serious for a second. What advice would you give to other female artist in the music industry? Because 2017 is surely about women in entertainment finally making their voices heard.

I think women are doing such a great job supporting themselves. I think that we should all just stick together and make sure that new artists are truly expressing themselves.

On a less serious note, are you getting a new haircut in the next 50 Shades of Grey movie?

I am definitely not cutting my hair, which is a good thing. I think it comes out next year so it’s gonna be a really cool. It’s gonna be the last movie of the trilogy, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Do you plan to do more movies after this one?

Yeah, I’d love to do more.

What’s the best way to get over jet lag?

Oh, it’s so hard. I’d love to just sleep, you know. But I think the best way is to not sleep as soon as you land.

When are we getting the new album finally?

Album comes out next year.

Interview with Daniel Teleky Toth

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Cinema, Interviews, MikeyMoscowTV, Travel | Leave a comment

What’s a journalist’s path if you don’t end up in some surprising places. This September I set out to a tiny Hungarian town named Komlo for its first ever movie festival Het Domb Filmfesztival (Seven Hills Festival, if that’s easier) to see some old time LA friends and make some new ones.

These were extra packed and friendly three days. I went to spa with the villain from Mad Max/Commando, sneaked into a hot tub at night, ate tons of weird meat, curated Q&A session for upcoming horror/western extravaganza “Rusty Revolver” (watch this space) on stage, drank gallons of palinka, took way too many interviews, learned about chanting and literally saw a couple of deer in the headlights crossing the road at night.

As for the interviews, here’s the first one I’m sharing: Daniel Komlo ft. Mikey Moscow. At least one of these dudes knows Brad Pitt and George Clooney. The other one’s got a cooler jacket. Up-and-coming actor Daniel Teleky Toth (“Suburbicon”, “War Machine”) talks going from a tiny Hungarian town to huge Hollywood movie sets, meeting Brad Pitt, stealing a lighter from George Clooney and fighting hangovers in the process.

TroyBoi intrerview

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Articles, Blog, Interviews, Music, Travel | Leave a comment

Music festivals are not all about fun. Okay, you got me, they are, ’cause even the ‘official part’ of the festivals usually looks like this for me: having a good laugh with British producer TroyBoi
right before his bombastic gig at Hungarian Sziget festival.

You can read to the interview at Myspace and watch it below:

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club interview

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Interviews, Music | Leave a comment

The interview was originally published on MTVIggy.com (which was sadly shut down and removed by MTV completely in November).

In the middle of our interview with 2/3 of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the backstage of Danish Tinderbox festival an inevitable question comes up: what does ‘rock’ even stand for in 2015? “I think there’s a difference between rock, rock’n’roll and a rockstar”, says vocalist and guitarist Peter Hayes of the San Francisco-born band, dressed in all black and sitting next to the drummer Leah Shapiro, “If we’re talking rock’n’roll, it’s important to have the roll with it, they have to go together. Rock is completely different from rock’n’roll. Neither of those really go anywhere. It just seems like you have to go deeper and deeper underground, to smaller clubs, to find it all. And that’s okay”.

One thing for sure: this trio has rock in its blood. Since its foundation in 1998, BRMC enjoyed all the pros and cons of the rock lifestyle: critically-acclaimed records, backstage fights, line-up changes, rehabs and label struggles. We’re talking about the band who had earned the nickname ‘the band that broke the floor’ after almost collapsing the Leeds Town Hall during its concert in 2003. How many rockers can say the same about themselves? All of this makes it quite hard to believe the musicians still leads a pretty normal life. But they do. “It’d be a fucking nightmare!” Shapiro exclaims when asked what her life would be like if she was followed around by the paparazzi. “It seems like sometimes it’s a little bit of a choice whether you want to hold yourself that way”, says Hayes regarding the ‘celebrity’ rockers, “Because there are people who think that have that, but they don’t. And they don’t know they don’t, because they’ve decided to kind of act like they do, so people around them shelter them from the truth. I don’t fuck around with that shit”.

The shit these guys (and a girl) want to fuck with is solely music. Even though it’s been awhile since we’ve got a new BRMC record: Specter At The Feast came out more than 2 years ago, although the fans were treated to the Live in Paris DVD/CD this June. They haven’t started recording the new album yet, but they’ve already started worrying about it. “Right now the thought of having to start the process of writing the new album and thinking about what I wanna do and where we want to take it as a band is the biggest challenge”, says Shapiro, “There are so many directions you can take. And figuring it all out can be a bit daunting”. Hayes listens to her, thinks for a bit and then adds: “Challenge comes down to just making a decision. You can get stuck in wanting to do something different so badly that you do nothing. And so you gotta forgive yourself even when you feel you’re being repetitive ‘cause you have to get it out”.

Can American politics still bring a much-needed doze of inspiration? Back in the day BRMC were known for their political-minded numbers such as 2003’s US Government, while their better-known song Beat The Devil’s Tattoo found its place on the God Bless America movie soundtrack, 2011’s blackest comedy about the excesses of American pop culture. “It’s never about resent. Never!” Hayes stresses when asked about his attitude towards the pop culture, “We’re not judging anything or anyone. We question it. We question its use and purpose. As much as they gonna question mine. But I’m useless to them. Who the fuck am I?”

Back in 2008 the band’s career took a drastic turn, when BRMC announced they will be releasing an all-instrumental album The Effects of 333 independently on their own label Abstract Dragon. Is another instrumental record in the cards? “Not for the main album but I would really like to do an instrumental record actually”, says Shapiro, who joined the band after The Effects of 333 release. As for the independence, the band is not going to give it away for sure: they plan to continue releasing everything by themselves. “With help”, Hayes corrects, “It’s a partnership. We’re not business-fucking-people. We don’t have names and numbers. And those names and numbers change every month. We’re pretty awful with that kind of shit. So it’s nice to have people helping you”.

“No one’s gonna give as much of a shit about your music as you”, Shapiro agrees, “It is like running a business which is not much fun, but the more you can take on yourself the better off you’ll be”. So the fun part is still hours and hours of jamming. When asked if they still get the chance to get together for a good ‘ol jamming session, Shapiro smiles: “All the time! That’s a very good way to move past the place where you can get stuck”. Hayes gives us one final rock lesson: “That’s how the records are made. A lot of people may not know it, but every song that’s been condensed down to 3-4-5-minutes started out as jam about 2 to 3 hours”. And if you need any more proof we’re dealing with real rockers here, here’s a fun fact: by the time we were finished there was a little spider trying to escape the glorious web of Hayes’ hair.

Anastacia interview

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Anastacia has always been one of my favorites: ever since I heard her powerhouse attitude-heavy vocals on her hurricane debut single I’m Outta Love back in 2000. I was also geeky enough to spend a lot of time on the Russian Anastacia-themed message board around the time her Anastacia album came out and made some fantastic friends in the process with whom we’ve traveled to Kiev, Saint Petersburg and Helsinki to see Anastacia’s shows over the years. So I was beyond excited to finally be able to chat with miss Freak of Nature about her newest compilation record Ultimate Collection, staying positive and people mispronouncing her name.

The Russian version of the interview was published at Zvooki.ru and the original is below.

Hi, Anastacia! It’s a huge pleasure to finally be able to talk with you after waiting for you outside your hotel in Moscow 10 years ago. How are you?

I am in Los Angeles in my house, still doing my work but at least being able to sleep in my own bed. Trying to take the last moments of sun before the winter comes ‘cause it’s coming.

It’s your second Greatest Hits compilation. What made you decide to release it now?

It was reuniting with Sony that made the decision pretty easy. It was a nice way to introduce coming back home to Sony. And I just released Resurrection so I felt like the title Resurrection, going back to Sony, the whole theme of what was going on the last couple of years was pointing to being able to put out an ultimate collection. It feels like even better time than when I released the first one which felt too soon.

You’ve certainly paid your dues (pun intended!). What’s been the most fun and the least fun moments of your career?

There’s a lot of ‘most fun’s, so it’s hard to give an exact answer ‘cause I really enjoy what I do and how I do it. It’s not fun to ever have to go through your health and personal life in public. I think most people can probably admit that but that is the hard thing to balance your career with. It becomes difficult but you just try to measure through the complicated part.

You’ve been to Russia a lot of times. What do you like about our country? And do you follow any of the Russian musicians? Cause you did work with Dima Bilan.

I actually enjoy seeing your country grow since I’ve been coming in around 2005. And just within that time and it’s only 10 years I’ve been able to see the amount of your country’s growth in dramatic ways which is very exciting. I guess I would kinda call it ‘Western ways’, ‘wordly ways’ developing into Russian culture. And it’s really exciting to see people becoming more understanding of other cultures, even our culture. It’s this fusion that I enjoy watching: when you adopt different things but still stay prideful in the Russian way. It’s like you want to stay Russian but have many different influences.

Did you ever think about doing a SPROCK record in a way that 1/3 of the album would be pure soul, the other one rock and the final one pop?

I don’t know if I’ll ever think about separating stuff, ‘cause when I do my music is just sorta forms into whatever it is. The song itself pens to sprock energy, but usually it’s not 100% sprock album, because that’s probably too much energy all at once [laughs]. It’s kinda the way I like to do my concerts, too: I like to have a variety, and give my audience almost a roller coaster ride instead of throwing them out of the plane with no parachute.

Your live shows used to be these huge spectacles with dancers and costume changes, but for your last Resurrection tour you decided to strip it all off (not literally though). Is this the way you want to perform now – almost low-key with your big voice in the center?

No, I don’t think so. Before the Resurrection tour I wanted to take the title of the tour and make it more of the rebirth and make it more about starting at the beginning spiritually, emotionally and mentally and that’s why I wanted to do a Q&A at the concerts, which isn’t normal. Sometimes when you perform with all the dancers and all that success, you forget what’s it like down at the bottom and you forget what it was like when you just started and didn’t have the hair and the make-up team or whatever. I just wanted to do things differently than my fans were used to and I think it really went well because nobody really does that at my level, so it was nice to experience almost like their own independent concert each and every night. And that was what I was trying to get out of the loyalty for my fans and the dedication that they’ve given me over the years. Now the fans want the Q&As at every concert. I can’t do it in arenas! That’s so funny.

If you didn’t follow through with being a singer, what would be the Plan B?
Before I got my break as a singer when I was 28-29, I started thinking: ‘Okay, it doesn’t look like people are gonna give me a record deal or that I’m gonna have a music career. I need to think of something I need to do for a job, ‘cause I’m getting too old’. And I thought what would make me happy would be if I went to school and got a degree so that I could become a social worker for children or a therapist for kids. I enjoy helping other people but actually helping the younger generation to try to get in touch with where they’re going. And that was my wish and then I got my career right around the corner. So I’m very glad I didn’t try to go to school, cause I think I might not have passed.

How many pairs of glasses do you actually own?

I got my eyes LASIKed so I don’t always have to have a prescription behind my glasses. I used to not be able to see far which is why I always wore glasses, now as my age is happening I need glasses to see my Blackberry. So maybe I will get my eyes fixed again, ‘cause it limits your activity. I have so many glasses, I can’t put a number on it, probably about a 100. It’s a little much, I know.

I noticed that on UK TV shows they often call you AnastaZia. That can’t be right, can it?

My mom came up with the pronunciation which isn’t the correct one. But I’m an American and that’s how we tend to say it. I think when my mom heard Anastacia in a Chekhov play before I was born she didn’t realize that it wasn’t with a C. So she spelled my name with a C. So now everyone whose name is spelled like this is probably influenced by me, because that’s definitely not the traditional way.

So now I’m picturing you on a theater scene in a Chekhov play. Maybe the next time you’re in Russia…

Oh my God that would be amazing! That would actually be really amazing, I would love that.

Well, your new single is called Take This Chance. So I was gonna ask you what chance are you gonna take, so I think that’s it – acting in theater!

That’s a big chance, I wouldn’t be able to speak Russian though. As long as I can do in English I think I can do it.

I feel like what a lot of people don’t know is that you have a great sense of humor. Is it hard to stay positive while working in this industry? And did you ever think about maybe writing a comedy, a sitcom?..

People have said to me: ‘Oh you should have your own show’. But from when I was very young I learned that the way to get through a lot of difficult times was humor. And maybe being diagnosed with Crohn’s disease it was an easier way to deal. And if you sometimes think about children in hospitals, they usually smile and have a good time because it gets them through their illness. And I think that was something that happened to me or maybe more my personality, it’s always sorta stuck with me to want to make people laugh and finding humor in something dark, trying to find silver lining in something difficult. It’s just been who I am and I continue to live with that kinda perspective and it’s been much easier to get through a lot of the situations in my life to have a little bit of a lighter opinion rather than be so down and moody. I just like to feel easy and light and let it roll off my shoulders easier.

What about writing an autobiography?

I do have a title for a book. I’ve had it for a good ten years and I do know that I’ve wanted to right my side of things that people don’t know. Not telling stories about other people but just about my own journey and how I grew up and what went on and different things that I think my fans would be interested in. But it still hasn’t happened for whatever reason I haven’t searched directly for a book deal, but I know that the right time will come when I am completely ready for it. It will happen, it just didn’t happen yet.

Just like my first glasses line that I will put out in spring with Bluemarine. It’s the first time I’ve ever put my name on a pair of glasses and people will be surprised because they’ll be like ‘Really?’. I am famous for my glasses but I’ve never had the opportunity to do the right deal. And this is just the perfect relationships and the glasses I have in the album cover is one of the pair of glasses that are part of the spring line. It’s so exciting to do something that I’ve thought of for so long. So I think the book will eventually happen and I’ll be saying the same thing: ‘Gosh, I’ve been thinking about this book for many many years’.

What are you favorite artists and songs right now?

There’s a lot of people I really like. I like Imagine Dragons and The Black Keys. Even though they’re rockbands, it’s the voices and the way they write their music that I enjoy. So whether or not we as two voices together would write the same kinda energy and work well I don’t know, but I’m a fan of old school rock as well. Classic AC/DC and Zeppelin yet I still enjoy Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, John Legend, I have such a variety of things that I like. I like Macklemore, ‘cause he’s so funny.

I’d love to hear a Macklemore ft. Anastacia single. I’ll tweet him! And finally when is the next studio album comes out?

I’m gonna tour the Ultimate Collection. And while I’m on tour I’ll write the next album. ‘Cause if I’d waited til after the tour, it would probably be too long. That’s how I wrote my last record and I liked not having too much in-between time strange as it is. I came home from my tour in beginning of September and I’m already doing interviews for the next one. I don’t mind, because the fans want the project. They’ve been following my tour for a long time and I think they’re ready for something new.

Get Ultimate Collection now.

Ciara interview

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Articles, Interviews, Music | Leave a comment

I’ve been a loyal Ciara fan ever since I heard incredibly infectious beats of Goodies in 2005. And unlike many other mid-00s r’n'b chicks, Ciara didn’t fade into obscurity and kept releasing albums. So it was a big pleasure for me to finally get the chance to chat with her just in time for the release of her sixth album ‘Jackie’.

The Russian interview was posted on Cosmopolitan Russian website and the original chat is below.

A lot of things happened in your life since the release of your previous album. What’s been the highlight?

The highlight was of course having my son. It’s been probably the sweetest moment in my life.

How did motherhood change you?

Being a mom changed me in a necessary way. Having a child helped to ground me more. Now the word ‘responsibility’ has a whole new meaning to it. And I also feel like I have a better idea and bigger purpose for why I do what I do.

What do we need to know about ‘Jackie’?

My album ‘Jackie’ really is my best body of work to date, I really believe that. I’ve pushed myself more than I’ve ever pushed myself over the years. My main goal was to make it as positive as possible. I wanted to express my happy energy as I’m honestly in the happiest place I’ve ever been in life. That’s what this album is about.

You’re comfortable with both midtempo and bangers. What’s the favorite though?

It’s hard to pick one… I love the song ‘Give Me Love’. I also love the opening song ‘B.M.F.’. The song that I dedicated to my son called ‘I Got You’.

We’ve seen a lot of r’n’b singers come and go yet you’re luckily still here and on your sixth album. What about your working ethic makes you so consistent?

First of all I feel so blessed to be able to be working in this industry for 13 years. I guess it has to do with me having big goals and big dreams. I know that they’re all possible and that’s what keeps me going. I love what I do: I spend each day doing exactly what I want.

Tell me about your Cavalli collaboration?

Oh my God, this is awesome! Honestly I’m truly honored. It’s so funny because almost a year and a half ago I was dancing with Roberto Cavalli in Dubai when he came to my set. So I was very honored to be a part of the new campaign.

Does it mean that you may do more modeling for now on?

I definitely want to do more collaborations with fashion. It would be very fun to merge the music and the fashion worlds together.

What’s one thing people don’t know or don’t realize about Ciara?

It is a tough questions. Cause I do express myself a lot on the social media, so I feel like my fans get to know me more. I can be very goofy and silly. I love having fun and making the best of life. My performances sometimes are so high energy, so my fans think that I’m… Oh, well, I don’t know what my fans think of me honestly!

So what’s the goofiest thing you’ve done this year?

Right now I’m on the NBC show ‘I Can Do That’ and there are a lot of goofy things in there.

And in this show you’re with Nicole Scherzinger. Does it mean we may finally get a duet from you two?

Who knows! You never know what can happen in our world of entertainment.

You’re a fantastic dancer. Do you still take dance classes?

I’ve actually never taken dance classes. Just a one or two when I was younger and not for a long period. So I’ve never had dance training. But I would like to, just to try the new style I’ve never tried before. That would be fun.

What’s your workout secret?

For me it’s just about balance. I train for one hour a day and check what I’m eating. I still eat fun things and I don’t try to be very strict, ‘cause I think if you get to strict you won’t enjoy yourself. So it’s about having a balanced diet and a workout schedule.

Some fashion tips for the summer?

Drink tons of water to keep your skin clean, ‘cause when it gets hot your skin needs hydration. Fashion-wise I’m really into 90s fashion right now. My philosophy on fashion is just do what you feel. Don’t over-think what you’re wearing, just express yourself. I think fashion allows us to express ourselves in a very cool way and how we’re feeling that day. If you feel it – wear it. Don’t be afraid to try new things.

And here’s just one of the killer videos from Ciara’s resume.

Marina and the Diamonds interview

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Articles, Blog, Interviews, Music | Leave a comment

Marina and the Diamonds was on the top of my interview bucket list for a while now. Actually, ever since I discovered her charmingly bizarre ‘Mowgli’s Road’ song and read her pretty sharp-tongued blog back in 2008. I almost talked to Marina in New York in 2011: “almost” as I didn’t recognized her (she just went blond at the time) and managed to party right next to this Primadonna for the whole night without acknowledging her. I finally got my chance when I was asked to interview her for Interview Russia earlier this spring in time for the release of her ‘Froot’ album.

Read the Russian version here and the original chat below.

 

You always take you album campaigns quite seriously. So what’s the concept behind ‘Froot’?

With ‘Froot’ I wanted the strategy to be distinctive. So I came up with a plan called ‘Froot of the month’, which meant that when you pre-order the album I’d send you a brand new song from the album every month until the album release. So each song has its own visual world, video, all that kind of thing.

So this is the 1st album you recorded on your own?

Yes.

Was it harder or more liberating?

Oh, definitely more liberating! I would say songwriting was easier in a way, because I had this artistic clarity versus writing with other people and trying to come up with the songs that would ‘work’ commercially. I didn’t want to do another electropop album. The production was very different two: just me co-producing everything with one person for three month. It’s actually not my favorite thing at what I do. But I enjoyed it nevertheless, as much as I could.

You do quite a lot of misspelling: froot, teen idle, shampaigne… What’s the idea behind it?

I love words! And I love messing with them. I think with ‘Froot’ spelling it in a way with how it sounded made it look more playful. That’s what I’m interested in as a musician – with my sound blending with natural human sounds and electronic sound. It’s also visually what I do: I really like blending themes of nature with modern life.

Your favorite fruit? Song and an actual fruit.

The fruit-fruit is probably mango and I like lychee as well. And my favorite song off the album changes a lot. I really ‘Savages’ and ‘Better Than That’.

Should we expect you to dress up as a fruit like Katy Perry does?

Ha, no!

You did perform in Moscow. What do you remember from that gig?

It was very positive. I’ve some time in Russia and Ukraine when I was younger, so I was very pleased to go back and to see that I have a fanbase there. I remember I played the same festival as Courtney Love did and I really loved her.

Do people really mistake you for Catherine Zeta-Jones (as you mentioned in your ‘Hollywood’ song)?

No, haha! No we do look quite similar, it’s that Celtic welsh blood.

I remember when you and I do were partying in a small bar in New York back in 2011. And I didn’t recognize you because you just went blonde.

Oh, no, really?! Haha! That’s so funny!

Do you plan any more dramatic changes to your appearance in the future?

I don’t think so, no. These days I look quite similar to how I looked during my first album. ‘Electra Heart’ look was built for that character. And now it’s kind of a relief to not have to dress up, if I’m honest.

What did you learn from being Electra Heart persona?

Most of things I’ve learned was about what I didn’t want to be as an artist and what I didn’t really like about being in this industry. There are parts of the industry which I love but I think if you’re pretending to be a popstar, then you have to go through the popstar system and they talk to you as if you’re quite dumb and as if you don’t write your own music. I didn’t really appreciate that. But I did like being an electropop artist. I’m happy where I am now with ‘Froot’.

Let’s get one thing clear: Primadonna was a sarcastic statement, right? Was there a lot of people who thought you were being dead serious?

I don’t know… I think most of the people knew it was this theatrical sarcastic song. But who knows?

What gets you excited in the current pop landscape?

I really like BANKS, Broods, Childish Gambino, Lykke Li, Clean Bandit.

The blog you ran back in 2008 was very sassy. Will you ever blog again?

Oh, no, you remember! Haha. I am interested in keeping a very genuine direct communication with fans. So I’m doing these FAQs now.

The thing we do here at the Interview magazine is making one celebrity interview other celebrity. So if you were to interview one famous person, who would you choose?

I would choose the photographer Cindy Sherman, musician Daniel Johnston and Marilyn Monroe.

Okay, I’ll see if when can hook you up with those. And if you were to start an ultimate girlband who would you invite?

Oh, wow. I would choose Bjork, my friend Lizzy from MS MR, Brody Dalle from The Distillers and Debbie Harry from Blondie.

I would definitely check out this record!

Well, thank you very much, I’ve got one fan!

A lot of your new songs are rather dramatic and pensive. Does it mean the days of ‘Primadonna’ and ‘Mowgli’s Road’ are over?

Each album is a chapter of your life, some have different colors and moods to the other ones. ‘Electra Heart’ was a very high energy album. I feel more flexible in terms of what I can do creatively now, so who know what’s gonna come up.

Is acting something you’d ever consider trying?

Yes, I would.

Do you still live in the state of dreaming?

It’s good to dream and to think about what you want.

Get ‘Froot’ on iTunes

Indiana interview

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When an artist borrows her stage name from Indiana Jones movies and cites ‘Drive’ as her biggest inspiration, you know the music has to be quite an adventure. And British newcomer Indiana’s debut LP ‘No Romeo’ did not disappoint at all. My favorites were ‘Solo Dancing’, ‘No Romeo’ and ‘New Heart’, all three a pleasant blend of trip hop and pop, accentuated by Indiana’s distant delivery. I have to agree with The Guardian review – this record deserves much more attention that it received. And I’m glad I got to interview Indiana for Cosmopolitan Russia: the Russian version is here and the full interview is below.

And don’t forget to get ‘No Romeo’ on iTunes, too.

First of all, thanks for a great record: I can’t get ‘No Romeo’ and ‘Solo Dancing’ out of my head for a week! And now that the album is out, do you feel relieved?

It’s a great feeling having it out there, I’m finding new people are discovering it every day.

In one interview you said that you didn’t plan to become a musician, but the music eventually found you. Can you elaborate on this? What’s your story?

I didn’t set out with a plan to release an album and become a recording artist. I was just using music as a creative outlet and because I loved it. Soon I discovered that I had so much within my reach and I became very determined and now I set myself so many new goals and aspirations.

You’re not just a passionate musician, you’re also a mother of two. How did being in the spotlight change your family routine?

It’s not at all really, I’ve always been a working mum. My jobs just a bit more interesting and rewarding now.

You also said that there are a lot of hidden meanings in your lyrics. What’s the funniest way someone has misinterpreted your lyrics so far?

Maybe that people actually think ‘Solo Dancing’ is just one big innuendo! It’s funny but also a little frustrating, it’s meant to be a song of empowerment… Maybe masturbation is empowering?

Do you actually enjoy solo dancing?

I love doing a lot of stuff alone, maybe it comes with having children but I find so much comfort in my solitude.

What’s the perfect settings to listen to you music?

Driving or in the studio.

There are a lot of nuances and undertones in your sound. How do you come up with all of this and where do you find inspiration?

Anything and everything, I see myself as a storyteller. My songs draw on personal experiences but they aren’t biographical. It’s more challenging when writing and interesting when listening, I think.

You play with food a lot in ‘Solo Dancing’ video. Is it something you always liked doing? And are you a good cook?
I like to think I can bake… My children will tell you different. I enjoy food so much, too much I think. If I’m not eating I’m thinking about eating.

How many takes did it take to get that shot of you laying on a bed with the milk spilling on the table right?
Just one, which was lucky ’cause we only had one carton.

When will we see you in Russia? And are you familiar with anything Russian?

Whenever you fancy, I’ve never been. I’m sure my band would love to sample some proper vodka… And of course I will join them!

I like your sense of style a lot: it’s very chic without trying too hard. What are the inspirations?

My biggest inspiration was always Debbie Harry back in the day: she’s boyish in a girly way.

Any fashion tips for the spring?

Little boxy tees with a mini skirt.

Five fun facts about Indiana are…

I’ve been driving since I was 17 but only got my license when I was 21.

I have a guilty obsession with Kim Kardashian.

My favourite film is Drive.

I would love to write a song with Prince

Sometimes I don’t change my socks everyday.

Photo by Tim Mattia

Susanne Sundfør interview

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Blog, Interviews, Music | 1 Comment

Let’s face it: Scandinavians got their pop figured out. They know how to make it, well, pop in a lot of ways. But to make a certain project really stand out, an artist should go beyond the typical ‘ballad on the dancefloor’ routine. And Norwegian singer Susanne Sundfør’s latest album ‘Ten Love Songs’ is a proper tornado. I may go as far as proclaiming this record my most favorite LP of the year so far. It has tons of nuances, emotions and surprises – this musical gift mixes Scandinavian folk music with the right amount of electronic glitz and keeps on giving listen after listen. Come for the glorious Bond-esque synthpop banger ‘Delirious’ and stay for the menacing ‘Accelerate’ (that features an epic organ part brings ‘Phantom of the Opera’ to mind), a bittersweet 10-minute-long requiem for a failed relationships ‘Memorial’ and a unapologetically catchy ‘Kamikaze’. And even though it’s Susanne’s 6th album, in a lot of ways it’s a fresh start for the singer that not only follows her previous dancefloor-ready collaborations with Kleerup and Royksopp but cements her place in the Scandinavian electropop female pantheon.

I interviewed Susanne for the Cosmopolitan Russia: read the Russian version or our original chat below. And do yourself a favor – go get that spectacular record.

What’s the story of Susanne Sundfør?

I started making music in my teens, got a record deal when I was 19 and have been releasing albums on a regular basis since then. My sixth album is out now.

˜’Ten Love Songs’ is incredibly ambitious and accomplished records. It sounds like it took a lot of inspiration and preparations to get all the layers, moods and emotions down. Was it a long and tough process? And what inspired you?

Thank you! It took about two years to finish it, but I didn’t work continuously the whole period. I travelled a lot and recorded it probably in ten different studios. I got inspired by the traveling, movies, music, life in general!

I personally hear ABBA echoing in your music. Was that intentional?

Not really, but maybe it’s a Scandinavian thing. We all grow up with ABBA here, and I’m a big fan of them as well, so probably subconsciously they’ve been an inspiration to some of the songs on the album. 

Scandinavian music has very distinctive sound and is always celebrated around the world. What makes you guys so talented and enigmatic?

The Scandinavian music scene is quite diverse though. The Swedes are the experts on pop songs and Norway has a big black metal and electronic music scene. Or at least that’s how I see it. Maybe we just get tired of all the darkness and need to do something creative instead!

We can hear a lot of the instruments on ‘Ten Love Songs’ from relaxed piano to 80s organ, from pulsating synths to some menacing drums. Was it hard recording all of this? And how did you decide that you want these particular sounds on your record?

It wasn’t necessarily hard, but it took a lot of programming and recording in different studios to get the different instruments like celesta, harpsichord, strings, drums and organ. It was the best part of making the album though. You have these midi-ideas that you have to listen to for ages while you’re composing and arranging, and then finally you bring it to life with the real thing and it’s such a high!

It’s safe to say that this album can become your international breakthrough (hey, we’re talking for Cosmopolitan Russia, so you get my point). But it’s actually your fifth album. For the listeners who’s not familiar with your previous records, can you guide us though the changes your sound experienced and maybe where you’d like it to go in the future?

Well, I’ve been in this business for such a long time now that nothing really surprises me anymore, so I’ll just go with whatever happens as long as I get to continue making the music I wanna make. My first album consists of songs I wrote when I was a teenager and are all in the singer songwriter style. Take One is a rerecording I did of the first album because I wanted a version that was completely unpolished.The next one, The Brothel, is more of a conceptual album with both quite acoustic and electronic soundscapes. A Night at Salle Pleyel is a comission piece with only synthesizers recorded live from the only concert I did with the piece. The Silicone Veil is maybe more electronic and bass-y. And then we have Ten Love Songs!

The album is very dramatic and cinematic. Should we expect some grand visuals from your live shows and music videos? Maybe even a musical based on the songs – about a couple of tormented lovers? Just an idea!

That’s a cool idea! I really like dramatic lights and visuals on shows, so as long as I can afford it I’ll make it as big and lush as I can!

‘Memorial’ is another obvious standout of the album. What’s the story of that song and how come you’ve decided to create this 10-minutes-long number?

It started as a ballad I made on the piano, and for a long time it was just piano and vocals. Then I wrote the string part and wanted it to be quite big. I then teamed up with Anthony Gonzalez from M83 and he added a lot of lush and beautiful synths and big drums.

If you were to create a soundtrack for a motion picture, what would you choose? It can be anything: from an actual movie to a made up documentary.

I don’t know about what kind of music but it would have to be a director who trusts in me. I’ve heard so many stories of musicians who make music for film who are basically dictated about what to write in the end, and I don’t like that kind of a work situation.

What kind of music are you drawn to these days?

I’m listening to Beck’s latest album on repeat. It’s just got so many layers of beauty and I keep discovering new details that just give me goose bumps all over. Fantastic album!

Russians are known for their love to all things excessive and dramatic (it probably has to do with our literature, theater and ballet history). Is there anything in our culture that fascinates you? And would you like to perform over here one day?

I read Master and Margarita not so long ago and loved it. I know there are a lot of cultural references there that are hard to understand for foreigners, but I still thought it was a brilliant piece of literature. I love Stravinsky and Tchaikovsky. To be honest I haven’t read Dostoevsky or Tolstoy yet, but it’s on my booklist for sure!

Photo by Sofai Fredricks Sprung

Zella Day interview

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Articles, Blog, Interviews, Music | Leave a comment

It’s not easy flirting with the Americana esthetics in these post-Lana Del Rey days with the critics more than willing to put a ‘copycat’ label onto you. Yet a young singer Zella Day, who’s about to release her debut album ‘Kicker’ in June, is not a follower but a capable contributor to the ongoing small American romanticism narration.

This blonde with a soft voice and blue eyes filled with innocence switched the landscapes of her tiny Arizonian town to the dream-packed highways of the City of Angels, where she mastered her craft of telling metaphor-heavy stories about tragic love affairs (‘Hyptonic’), the loss of innocence (‘Sweet Ophelia’) and teenage rebelliousness (‘Mustang Kids’). And all of that while sporting a ‘hippie beauty of 2015’ look, surrounded by flowers, wearing a nose ring and covering her head with a cowboy hat.

The Russian version of the interview was published at the Cosmopolitan Russia website and the original is below.

I’d also like to note that ‘Hypnotic’ is my favorite song of 2015 so far.

What’s your story so far?

I am currently writing the exposition of my autobiography. With lots of twists and turns, this story began in the deep forests of Arizona far away from any logical explanation why a 13 year old girl couldn’t someday find herself in LA finished with her first record about to tour the country. I worked my way slowly but surely out of a small town into the deep valleys of Southern California crossing paths with producers, management, and a label that believed in my vision with a passion equitable to my own.

You grew up in a small town. Is it a more comfortable or challenging environment for a starting musician?

The reason I left was because it was too comfortable. I was growing beyond the walls of the place I had grown up. I don’t think it’s only because the town was small but because I had reached the point in which I needed something unfamiliar to contribute to my growth. I’m sure if I grew up in LA I would feel the same way; busting at the seams ready for a fresh prospective.

There’s some hippie/gypsy influences in your music and especially videos. Is that conscious?

I’m a conscious human being. It’s not like I’m throwing ideas at a wall to see what sticks. I’m influenced by the women I grew up around, that being my mother and aunties who were all strong natural beautiful women running around California with their sun kissed apple cheeks. I know real hippies… and I’m not one. The term “Hippie” gets thrown around like the word “Indie”, a hippy is somebody who is living as close to the land as possible and “Indie” means that you are working independently without a label, both terms are not genres.

If you were to pick one lyric that influenced/inspired you the most, what would that be?

“I am good and I am grounded” by The National.

How’s your tour going? Any wild stories to share?

Besides getting a psychic reading from a stripper in New Orleans? No not really.

Your song ‘Hypnotic’ deals with the subject of dark love affair that turns into obsession. Do you think everyone should experience something like this in their lives? How much heartbreak is enough for a true artist?

Everyone will experience heartbreak at least once in their life. Human tragedy is something that binds us together as people, we relate on the loss in our lives. ‘Hypnotic’ is referring to a specific type of loss, that being the loss of love. I’m grateful for the love that I’ve lost in my life just as much as the love that I’ve gained because I wouldn’t be the same had I not experienced both.

‘Hypnotic’ video looks like it was fun to make. Did you enjoy all the snake action and getting buried alive?

I shot that video with some of my closest friends, so as you can imagine we all had a ball getting freaky. I got over my phobia of snakes and I’m sure everyone enjoyed burying me up to my neck in dirt. It was a win/win situation.

‘Hypnotic’ was featured on the episode of the MTV show ‘Eye candy’ that deals with the themes on cyber danger and the pros and cons of online lives we lead these days. What are your relationships with the social media and Internet in general?

My personal life is personal. I enjoy social media as a way to connect with people by sharing images that I find to be beautiful but not as a way to keep everyone updated on what I’m doing throughout the day. before I post anything I always ask myself why I’m sharing and if it’s a positive contribution to the cyber world. I’ve always disliked the fact that social media can be very self-serving, there’s much more important things going on in the world then what you had for lunch.

Do you think you have the power to start a new nose ring trend?

The trend has been ongoing since the Aztec Indians which makes me a follower not a leader.

Excuse my obvious word play, but what is the favorite part of the day of Zella Day?

Without a doubt my coffee in the morning. It’s my meditative moment I get to have to myself no matter what.

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?

I’m a complete bore. “YAWWWWWWN”

Tell us a bit about the song you did for the ‘Insurgent’ soundtrack.

That song chose me. It was written so fast with a very clear intention of what it was going to do; accompany the most beautiful Shailene Woodley as she kicked everyones ass. I’m honored to have been a part of a film so affluent to my generation.

What’s your plan for 2015? When will we hear your album?

The album comes out June 2nd titled “KICKER”. Come see me at a show xoxo.

And finally what fascinates you about Russia (if anything)?

The fact that Russia is bigger then Pluto.

Pre-order ‘Kicker’ on iTunes.