Jester: Hi, Ilya. I really enjoyed listening to your album Comrade Ambassador. The sound is fresh, but at the same time there are a lot of retro sonic elements. You’ve also got a new EP coming out soon (October 13).
Ilya: Thank you. We’re thankful to our supporters and audience back home. So we do not only rely on new audiences to sell. It’s like you delay leaving your parent’s home and everything is open and there are lots of things to discover. But you know that if you really need to, you can come back to your parent’s house and be more than welcome.
The new EP is called Paradise Ahead and it consists of 5 tracks. Three of those are in English and you haven’t heard them. Two of them are from Comrade Ambassador. When we finished our last tour in the
How do you think your sound has changed for these new songs or over time?
To be honest, I do not know. Because in my mind, we have not really changed since I first started to write the songs we’ve made since we were just teenaged: 12, 13, 14. Some of those songs we still play live, but the general concept, which is somewhere inside my brain, it’s kind of still the same. This is live music, live instruments. We don’t really use a lot of technology just because we bought it. The moment you depend on those click tracks, you know, computers and stuff, something accidental can ruin your show. Computers crash and then what else do you have to do? We are doing it in a really old fashioned way, having guitars and amps. So, even if there is no electricity… I mean it happened just two days ago, we were in
How was it writing the new songs in English?
It’s a challenging task in a way, because I’m really careful about my lyrics in Russian. People in
I don’t speak Russian, but I did find translations for Comrade Ambassador on russmus.net. Are you familiar with this site?
I don’t know. The official translations of the songs were included in our booklet on the CD. But I’m sure that there are lots of different translations which our fans did. We’ve been to
Reading those translations, your lyrics seem very poetic. It’s a different style than a lot of typical pop music here.
Yes, I guess so. In England, they usually say, “Your songs remind us of the kind of writing that Morrissey would usually do,” which compliments us. He’s one of the greatest lyric writers in English pop music. So, it’s not really the expected pop lyrics, just kind of really good feelings. This is where I started, initially. I wasn’t really interested to describe what is all around me, because I didn’t really find it exciting. So I would imagine “how would it happen if?” If, if, if…and lots of people just don’t really like that “if” attitude. But I don’t mind. You know, inside me, I’m a rather pragmatic and realistic person. I don’t really live in worlds of illusion and stuff. That’s why I’ve never really dreamed of my band being so big. But now, sitting in, where am I now,
But what does exist? Real people, real me, real you. You’re on the telephone, but we talk, we communicate. The moment we build communication with the outside world, then something’s happening. Maybe I would still write something that, in
You’re playing smaller venues in the
Yeah and it’s been fascinating. We’re doing open air events and big arenas back home in
How does the rest of the band enjoy the time here in the
They really like it. It’s been a great change to be in your country and to experience a different lifestyle. Okay, we’re living on a bus, but they can experience things like going to Laundromats (laugh). Little things which are a bit different from how they’re organized back home. It’s nice. I would say it’s not that hard at all. In
During your time here, have you had any chance to collaborate, to play with American musicians?
I’m not really a big fan of so-called duets or proper collaboration. We’ve never been signed to any major label. Usually it’s the task of the label to unite a few artists for promotional purposes. In our case, it’s been more of an accidental thing. I remember when Marc Almond (of Soft Cell) came to
Thank you for your time, Ilya. I’m looking forward to seeing you in
Absolutely, come all. It’s probably the best thing you do in your life (laugh). It’s good to get to a live gig. Come to say hi to us, and chat. It’s really a nice place, really we like it. Because we’ve traveled in the Midwest, mostly in the winter and it was something like being back in