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» cosmopolitan

Indiana interview

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

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

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!

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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Interview with Naomi Pilgrim

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

About a year ago Naomi Pilgrim released her debut single – a trip-hop-y ‘No Gun’ that had pleasantly mellow sound and some remarkable lyrics (’12 hours flight, didn’t charge my Pod’ and ‘…at least now I know I should just stick to grass’ were among the best ones). Now she’s got a new song out – it’s called ‘It’s All Good’ (I’d like to think of it as a happy-end sequel to ‘No Gun ’ – ‘cause every melancholic Swedish lady deserves one!) and it’s, well, pretty good, too.

Back in April we did an interview for Cosmopolitan Russia and here’s the original version of the interview. Russian version is on the Cosmo’s website here:

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What’s your story?

My story contains Sweden and Barbados, a lot of longing for summer and creating while searching my own path. I’ve been making music for a long time, but it wasn’t until last year that I decided to dare to dream bigger and since then I’ve been busy fulfilling those dreams.

Why do you think so many talented artists come from Sweden and Barbados? Something in the water/air?

I think it’s because we live in a society where there is room for growth and where we appreciate the uniqueness in and of things. From that point of view we are able to take it further by pushing the limits.

What things from the ‘No Gun’ lyrics actually happened to you?

It’s not biographically written but some things are still true, but which scenarios I’m gonna leave unsaid haha.

What did you learn from working with Lykke Li?

I learned a lot, she is an excellent teacher. She taught me to ask the hard questions in the process of making/ creating and to always stand up for my vision.

What’s the most exciting thing about making music for you?

A lot of things! For example how an emotion and a simple thought can build a new world in a matter of seconds. Music teaches me new things Every day and I love to be absorbed in its wise universe.

You call yourself a ‘a whistle-blower for peace’. What does that mean exactly?

I am a firm believer in equality and since I have my freedom and we live in a cold world I think it would be a crime against humanity not to use it. The deadliest war since world war II  is happening right now in The Democratic Republic of Congo. Kids to small to carry a gun are being sent out in The frontlines of war armed with only a whistle. I use their weapon as my voice. Falling Whistles is campaign for peace in Congo, they sell this whistle and the proceeds goes to different life saving projects on the ground in Congo. And by wearing a whistle close to my heart I keep the story of these children alive.

Is there one thing that unites all Naomi’s of the world?

The warmth, the loving and the excellence?

What’s the game-plan for you this year? When will we hear new music?

I am heading out for The festival season with a new single coming out in the end of may!

What else does the world should know about Naomi Pilgrim?

I love champagne and oysters, swimming and horses.

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More on Naomi at her Facebook and twitter.

Interview with Owlle

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

French electro pop singer Owlle came to Moscow earlier this month for a private fashion show and I had a pleasure of chatting with her both before and after her show.

You can read the Russian version on Cosmopolitan Russia and the original version is below:

Why Owlle?

Owlle is a feminized version of the word ‘owl’ – I added French ‘elle’ (which means her). I know that word doesn’t exists, so it’s unique for me.

Why didn’t you want to use your real name? It’s beautiful – France…

Because it’s too close to my own personality. France and Owlle are the same person, but I feel different on stage – there’s different sensuality and attitude. So another name made more sense and makes me feel more confident.

Read more

Cosmopolitan Russia: Katie Cassidy

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

If you ever met me for more than one second, you probably know that one of my biggest obsessions in life is 2009′s flop remake/sequel of ‘Melrose Place‘. While the show pretty basic, it had one huge success – fantastic Katie Cassidy as a bitch-with-a-golden-heart fashionista-publicist named Ella Simms. So obviously I couldn’t miss an opportunity to write a piece for Cosmopolitan Russia on Katie’s recent success as an actress (she’s the female lead on The CW’s ‘Arrow‘) and a fashion blogger – she co-owns a website TomboyKC.com

And obviously I was totally happy ‘and stuff’ when Katie re-tweeted my article. Katie, please talk to The CW – it’s about time to resurrect Melrose Place!

Here’s the article – in Russian.