Interview: Elena Savlokhova
Photo: გიორგი ნებიერიძე

 Veselka: MCMLXXXV(Herrensauna) / 15.02 [Kiev]

Every person has a void deep inside. How would you describe yours?
Maybe that often I want it all and then end up with nothing. A literal void. Still trying to learn that less is more!

How would you define Herrensauna and its aesthetic to someone who is not yet familiar with it?
To me Herrensauna is a meeting point for people coming from all kinds of backgrounds. It’s a place where one can express themselves without the fear of being judged. Its aesthetic is very much that. It’s a mix of traditional, contemporary and futuristic visual elements, often put together with a sense of self-irony.

You tour quite frequently and you’ve mentioned how people from around the world feel connected with Herrensauna and ‘want to be a part of it’. In a sense you’re part of building a global community. How does it feel to acknowledge that?
I feel flattered you are putting it this way. All of us are probably still in the process of acknowledging this development. I guess what makes people from all over the world be so drawn to our project is the sense of liberty and freedom of expression Herrensauna embodies. That might be the most connecting aspect of it.

What is one thing about you that would surprise us?
I am one big surprise.

How was the Boiler Room experience for you? Could you tell us any fun tales?
I was so nervous, you have no idea. Sometimes you can actually see my shaky hands during my set. At the same time I was really focused and actually really enjoyed playing. It was a strange mix of emotions but all in all an amazing experience. Especially everything that happened since.

You have a captivating perception of beauty, particularly how it can be found beneath the surface of something that may at first glance seem displeasing. Could you share some examples of such instances?
Herrensauna I find is the best example for something like that. This dirty, sweaty, muddy, basement with its toilets often drenched in urine and I don’t even know what. Yet people from all over the world want to be there. It’s the community, the vibe that is beautiful. Beauty is a feeling, not necessarily something you can actually see, at least not with your eyes.

Opposingly, what is your definition of ugliness?
Disrespectful, rude and violent behavior.

Could you share any cool stories or meanings behind some of your tattoos?
A lot of my tattoos are just abbreviations for the word “faggot” in different languages. Nobody really ever notices though. I also got the Russian one “Пидор”.

Why do you think people hate what is not them?
This isn’t true for everyone but I think often fear and insecurity are the strongest reasons. If people felt more comfortable about themselves and were less driven by what they feel they should embody the world would be a calmer place. If you can accept yourself the way you really are, you can also accept others.

What is the most precious gift you’ve received from someone?
Definitely patience! I was really difficult when I was younger, but my friends and family always stayed true to me and I learned a lot from that. I’m still difficult though.

What are some of the recent trends that you find annoying?
Brexit, Trump, Putin, etc…

You’ve starred in a 2018 film ‘M&M’. Was acting challenging for you? What did you learn from the experience?
The entire experience was quite challenging. At the time I was studying, working and shooting this movie. It was a tiring month! I‘m not sure I could have done with another director than Drew Lint. Often when I arrived on set after sleeping only for a few hours and being cold and grumpy, I realized Drew had slept even less, but he would never stop being kind and patient with everyone. I found that very inspiring.

Did your reality ever exceed your fantasies?
I honestly would have never imagined my life to be the way it currently is. I’m very grateful for everything that has happened to me since I moved to Berlin. Times were often difficult but I came to understand they have to be in order for you to grow. So I think I can answer this question with a content “yes”.

What do you think the next stage of your life is going to be like?
I just hope to be able to continue doing what I love, to travel a lot and to keep on meeting inspiring personalities from all over the globe. One of the projects I‘m working on right now together with my colleagues is to explore the artistic boundaries of Herrensauna. We want to put our focus also on physical items, like clothes and beautiful artifacts. We are currently developing all kinds of pieces with different artists so stay tuned.