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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.

Lost River

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Blog, Cinema | Leave a comment

Ryan Gosling’s directorial debut ‘Lost River’ left me with a lot of mixed feelings.

I do like such stories: all of this small town Americana romanticism, odd teens, confused adults, urban myths, coming-of-age-plot, neon, metal, glitter, blood, fire, woods. But Gosling is not quite there yet.

I saw some bits of ‘Drive’ here (neon + blood), some Cronenberg (the ‘shells’ room), some Lynch (the freakshow of a town and Eva Mendes’ gory variety show) and some bits of Araki’s early films (teens with that age-long sadness on their faces). But I didn’t see Gosling The Director there, and some of his camera acrobatics did make me feel dizzy. I think he’d be better off directing someone else’s script (or at least team up with another writer). But it’s still a decent debut. Let’s see what he’s doing next.

Cosmopolitan

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

Discovering and interview up-and-coming artists has always been my thing, so I’m very excited that these day I get to write about new acts on a weekly basis for Cosmopolitan Russia. Here are my latest interviews with artists from all over the world: Agni (Russia), Indiana (UK), Ace Wilder (Sweden), Lola Blanc (USA), Onuka (Ukraine) and Susanne Sundfor (Norway).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The original versions of the English interview are coming up!

MTV Iggy

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

My recent articles for MTVIggy.com

Girls on Fire report

12 Interesting Ukrainian Acts

The Boy Next Door

Posted on by Mikey Moscow in Blog, Cinema | Leave a comment

Do yourself a favor – go see ‘The Boy Next Door’ movie: the one where the ever-youthful Jennifer Lopez is playing a teacher who becomes an object of obsession of a hunky and maniacal young neighbour. I promise: it’s ever more hilarious than ’50 shaded of Grey’.

Bad news: it’s not a musical (although there’s a Broadway star Kristin Chenoweth playing a vice principal and JLo’s songs would make a perfect soundtrack for this passionate story). It’s not even a porn flick (although the image of Jennifer Lopez who’s wearing glasses and sitting on a teacher’s desk can easily overshadow any typical ‘Sasha Grey’).

Good news: it’s a truly phenomenal movie. The one where each scene, a moan and a twist are filled with such surrealism that the creators of any run-of-the-mill ‘Scary Movie’ should start making notes ASAP. It’s even better than the quite similar ‘Obsessed’ thriller, where Beyoncé was fighting her husband’s lover while Beyoncé songs were playing in the background.

All you need to know about ‘The Boy Next Door’ is captured in the already infamous scene, where the young stud presents a first edition of ‘Iliad’ to his literature teacher from Bronx, saying that he ‘has got it on a garage sale for a dollar’. The first. Edition. Of. Iliad. Although it’s not entirely clear wheather these characters are quoting Homer from Ancient Greece or Homer Simpson. One thing for sure, they did learn their detective tricks from Scooby-Doo.

It’s always great when the most fascinating character in a thriller isn’t the actual psychopath but the curvy middle aged beauty, who’s dealing with her cheating husband (she now has to go on a date with a loathsome sexist, ew!) and raise her asthmatic son (‘My kid is bullied at the school where I also teach? Well, what can I possibly do?!’). Jennifer’s portrayal of Claire is even more pleasant than the jeweler’s attention of the camera to her world-renowned culo. She exclaims and sighs like a professional telenovela star and her countless ‘Oh, no!’ sound even better with the Russian dubbing.

This poor teacher can’t cut a cake, pull up a garage door, brake up with a cheating husband, resist a young seducer and eat a single cookie (in the movie’s most sensual and mysterious scenes she picks up a cookie, smells it and then puts it back on a plate – Homer could never! ).  But at least she can spy on her naked neighbor, brake into a stranger’s house and slowly but surely delete all the files from the MacBook’s bin; she needs about a minute to hide more than hundred photos in her class room and she likes to walk on the stripper heels in her underwear in a bedroom when she’s by herself. And she can also score a meeting with a detective without even saying why she’s so concerned about the case.

But she says a strict no to stripping: this momma got it all under control, as she has her name on the producers’ list. So ‘Step Up’ graduate Ryan Guzman had to do all the work, pulling down his boxers whenever the director said ‘Go!’ and patiently showcasing every bit of his muscles. He’s allowed to ‘play’ a true villain around the finale and we get a healthy mix of ‘Benny Hill’ and early 80s horror movies, where the heroes are running in circles in a tiny barn filled with weapons, so that at the very end (spoiler alert!) Jennifer Lopez could remember a lesson from ‘Loony Tunes’ and drop a weight on the psycho’s head (piano would definitely be a better choice).

All of that brings an enlightenment of such proportions that’s I’m willing to forgive the crew for not recording a sequel to JLo’s ‘Papi’ called ‘Mami’. And I’m gifting them an idea for a whole franchise: pop stars VS psychos (as the movie’s director has the first ‘Fast & Furious’ in his resume which evolved into a proper monster of a series). ‘The Boy Next Door 2’ can have Britney Spears as a gymnastics teacher who’s stalked by a villainous football player, Part 3 can see Lady Gaga as an arts teachers with a student who paints with blood and then Part 4 can be about Taylor Swift as a chemistry teacher who’s suffering from a crazy 12-year-old. The one that will give her the first edition of the Periodic table.

GLEE-nale

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

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There are songs that bring back the memories and then there are TV shows that define the whole eras of your life. I will forever treasure Buffy the Vampire Slayer as the show that helped me settle into my teenage years or the campy-yet-charming 90210 remake that was launched when I was 18, becoming the show that at times mirrored my love dramas (hey, maybe that’s why my romantic life has been such a trainwreck!).

And then there was Glee, my Big Dream show. I remember watching my very first episode of Glee on my first plane to New York in the summer of 2010 when I was 20. There’s no other way of putting it: that trip was a turning point of my life with me living on my own in another country for the first time, renting my fist ever apartment and learning that life’s nothing but a series of dreams and goals. So getting addicted to a pop-culture-galore show about making your dreams come true was pretty much a given. I loved the music, I loved the style and I loved the idea of taking all of the high school movies’ clichés and pushing them to the max. But when the show became a bit too soapy around the season one’s finale, I lost my interest: my main complaint was that it’s hard to take a bunch of caricatures serious.

I skipped Glee’s season 2 and 3, but jumped back on this musical train when the season 4 premiered, seduced by the potentially inspiring ‘Let’s conquer New York’ storyline and an impressive list of the A-list guest stars (Kate Hudson as a dance teacher from hell was my ultimate favorite). At this point I didn’t care much about the show’s logics (let’s be realistic: Ryan Murphy’s shows tend to lose its plots quite quickly) and embraced the goods – the jokes, the covers and the eternally blissful message. There are shows like Girls that show you how ridiculous our real lives are and then there are shows like Glee that remind us that life can become quite dull if your fantasy’s denied a proper flight.

And though Season 5 was an even messier ride, when it was good – it was spectacular, with the ‘Quarterback’ and ‘New Directions’ being some of the series’ best episodes (I still believe ‘New Directions’ would make a perfect finale for the show although that would be a rather somber move). The New York part of the season was quite unbearable, so I was happy the shortened final season 6 saw the much needed return to the show’s basics.

I could spend days listing what was wrong with Glee and what should’ve been done with its storylines instead, but let’s remember Mr. Shuester’s philosophy: it’s always better to focus on the good. Glee was a show that inspired a whole generation of people, launched several successful careers and embraced all types of the outcast, while constantly making fun of itself. Yes, it was rarely consistent, often silly and it didn’t even invent its unofficial motto ‘Don’t Stop Believing’ (it was all Journey’s achievement), but it sure as hell showered us with the (un)healthy dose of glittery escapism and made a whole lot of people happy for these past 6 years, me included – not unlike a lot of the pop tunes the show re-imagined along the way.

And that’s why the finale brought tears to my eyes on more than one occasion: during the final Sue VS Shue performance of ‘The Winner Takes It All’, Rachel’s solo performance of ‘This Time’ and her Tony speech. At the end of the day these scenes captured what the show was all about: a great dream is nothing without a great battle and it doesn’t matter if you were fighting with a conniving enemy or with your inner demons.

A lot has happened since I was 20-year-old self, watching the show in the living room of my Harlem apartment, and me crying and laughing at the finale this Sunday as a 25 year-old so-called-adult. But one thing never changed: I still appreciate a good performance and a good inspirational speech.

So Farwell, Glee. Thanks for reminding us that you don’t need a visa to dream. And also giving us Brittany.

PS: Surprisingly, this is my favorite performance from the show:

Charli XCX interview

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

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There are artists you’re just meant to interview and Charli XCX was always on my list. So I started my Moscow chat with the I Love It/Fancy/Boom Clap hitmaker Charli XCX in December 2014 with the excited ‘It’s so nice to finally meet you‘. I mean, I’ve been hearing great things about Charli from her musician friends like Maya von Doll for years now. We only had about 5 minutes before her (rather random) gig at the opening of the ice rink at Moscow’s Gorky Park, so I did my best to prove that I’m no sucker. So can we please go crash some prom next time we meet, Charli?

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

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What’s the weirdest way people have misspelled your stage name?

People always put an ‘e’ at the end of my name. Sometimes people call me Charli CXC, which is also kinda strange.

You represent the new generation of popstars. What do you think the popstar of the 21st century should look like? If you say ‘Like me’, it’s a good answer, just so you know…

Haha, well, yeah, like me. But just not boring, I’d say. Have their own personal style. I don’t believe in following fashion. I think people should follow their own sense of style.

Your new album is called ‘Sucker’. Do you think that nowadays the popstars should be the ultimate suckers? That ‘revenge of the nerds’ thing? As opposed to the bubblegum divas from 10-15 years ago?

I love the bubblegum teendream divas as much as the next person. But I’m myself is definitely a bit clumsy and messy and I don’t really think what people think of me. And that’s always nice to have someone who’s real and doesn’t really give a fuck. That’s nice, too.

You’ve written quite a few amazing choruses in your career. What’s the secret to that?

Thank you. But I really don’t know! I’m a very spontaneous writer. I try not to do the same thing twice and I think as long as I keep doing it, I’ll keep making interesting music.

Both of us are 90s bitches. Is ‘Jawbreaker’ your favorite movie?

Ha, nice! ‘Jawbreaker’ is definitely one of them! I also love ‘Clueless’ and ‘The Craft’.

I’ll tell it to ‘Jawbreaker’s director Darren Stein and he’ll be thrilled!

Oh, great, thank you!

You’re here for the ice rink opening. Do you ice skate?

I love ice skating! I haven’t actually been outside today but everyone told me it’s so cold. I really wanna go ice skating later though.

What’s the fanciest thing you’ve done?
Probably took a private jet, that was petty fancy. I didn’t pay for it though.

And you didn’t pilot it?

No. I was just on it. But that was definitely a pretty fancy moment.

In the past you’ve been one of the editors of the ‘Shut Your Pretty Mouth’ magazine and you also DJed. What other secret talents do you possess?

Well, I like to think that I’m quite good at ten-pin bowling. I’m also actually quite a good ice skater! Maybe you’ll see my skills later. Definitely not as good as your Russian athletes, not Olympic level!

Are you a good girlfriend or a bad girlfriend?

Bad girlfriend. 100%.

I expected that… And finally: who would you take to prom? Any living, dead or fictional character.

I think I’d take Cher Horowitz (the main character from ‘Clueless’ – Mikey) to prom. We’d go as a double date. That would be cool and we’d have amazing outfits!

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Russian indie music report for MTV Iggy

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

This is my biggest article of 2015 – and my biggest one in English so far. I tried to figure out for MTV Iggy website what it’s like to be an indie musician in Moscow in 2015:

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Clean Bandit spreading the love

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

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Last night Clean Bandit performed in Moscow at Love Radio’s Big Love Show. The show’s a big celebration of mostly Russian pop music, so the recent Grammy award winners did stood out quite a bit. Especially when Grace Chatto in perfect Russian addressed the band’s support to all kinds of love in her unexpected impromptu speech. As if I wasn’t a huge fan of this adorable violoncellist before!

Here’s my recording of the speech:

She basically said: “Today is the day of all the lovers. For us, it means gays, lesbians and everyone else. We love you all”.

Obviously I had to find out how come Grace’s Russian is so spot on and here’s what I learned through the wonders of the Instagram:

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She and Neil also made these cool statement-heavy t-shirts for their Moscow show. Talk about dedication!

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All I can say it: ‘Hey, Grace, guess what? Cool!’.

Christina Milian talks body parts

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

Okay, so ‘Christina Milian Turned Up’ reality show is getting more and more iconic with each episode. Last night’s one was dedicated to Christina’s attempts at getting a ‘marge’ booty (that’s a medium large sized donk, as I’ve learned) by visiting a twerking class followed by a trip to a plastic surgeon’s office. Obviously, the subject matter got Christina and her big sister Danielle all philosophical and I just had to share the best quotes with all of you.

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