Interview: Ljubov Dzuzhynska
Photography: Nikita Demidko
How would you describe your art to those who is not yet familiar with it?
Denis: We’re a music band inspired by the rhytm and sensual perception of the times between the 70s and 80s. It has its roots somewhere there. Of course, we don’t focus on solely one thing but it’s a way of presenting us to someone for the very first time.
Daniil: Maybe it’s a meta-nostalgia? As in we create music that resonates the same feelings to different people of certain memories, even if those memories are non-existent. I base this on myself: our music causes me to feel weird experiences, as if from the past, only there was no past, because I was born in the 90s. My past is all about alternative rock and stuff like that. But there are real stories where we come across people and manage to take them back to 2011, or to 1987. It’s a double pit nostalgia. It doesn’t depend on the country: we meet such people in the US, in Russia, or in Europe.
What have you learned through Pompeya on both a personal and professional level?
Denis: I’ve learned to trust music. Everything I have is thanks to music.
Daniil: A lot of things. If not taking account the ever-growing knowldegde in music that I obtain, then I’d say it’s the english language, organizational qualities, graphic design and social media management, sceduling trips and tours, communication with people – we’re still learning all those things. Sustaining the band takes a lot of our attention, focus on music is a separate thing.
What have you learned from one another?
Denis: I’ve learned to love turkey sandwiches and now I know how to fry eggs.
Daniil: As a musician I’ve learned to to perceive music wider than what was given to me by nature. Initially I’m a rather heavy and melancholic person but I’ve learned to appreciate a danceable groove that is a key element of the music arrangement. I always try to follow this rule to add sounds that add a certain movement.
In terms of other matters then we clearly learn patience, sensitivity, mutual understanding, and communication from each other. There are all processes that happen in parallel.
What makes you happy?
Denis: A good breakfast and strong coffee!
Daniil: When everything turns out as planned. And it could be about everything: a song recording or a succesfull concert. Or, for example, we printed vinyls and it was a great happiness to receove the records and stick stickers on them, to hold the “product” in our hands.
Tell us a recent funny or awkward story from your career, maybe about some fucked up situations that happened while touring?
Denis: During one of our first tours in America, we drove to our gig through Nebraska. I was driving. At the speed of over a hundred km/h, I tried to outdrive a wagon in the right lane: at that dangerous and untimely moment, a huge hornet the size of a matchbox appeared in our van’s cabin. It buzzed like crazy and I started to wave my arms and scream, tried to get it out of the way, and Danya managed to get it out through the open window with the help of his hat. While doing that he also threw the hat out the window too. It was very scary in the moment but then it was extremely funny. It was like in a comedy movie.
Daniil: A follow up to that story… Afterwards we saw a cop car and decided to turn off the highway out of fear but ended up stopping at a truck weighing station, which looked ridiculous, because our van obviously did not look like a truck. The operator of the truck place looked at as rather awkwardly when we passed by. I must admit, we looked quite nervous and strange from the side. One could assume that we fought in the car, a hat flew out of the windown, then we drove weirdly. Usually drivers in the US report such behaviour to the road police. Well, this is certainly not the most embarrassing situation that happened to us on tour… it’s just a funny story for the little ones.
What topics fascinate you outside of music?
Denis: Exorcism, black and white magic, getting rid of obsessions, the book of Mine Reed, home cooking and boxing
Daniil: Politics, comedians, films, podcasts, mostly in English – this way (I think) I learn the language.
What recent trend annoys you the most?
Denis: I am very annoyed by the “scambro” style in clothing because I fail to look like that no matter how hard I try.
Daniil: Hard to say. I am a bit tired of the whole woke culture. Also the fact that politics is everywhere is also tiresome. A lot of my favorite musicians become ‘infuencers’ when a certain political campaign is on its way. It’s irritating that people constantly demand your position of every single issue. And I’m not talking only about Russia, it’s more of a thing in the US. If you’re not saying bad stuff about Trump or Putin then people immediately question you as a person.
Maybe my answer will seem strange, since I myself said that I am fond of politics, but that’s the problem – I am interested in it as a bypasser. Yet now it’s almost mandatory to be an activist for some reason…
If you could have a conversation with any historical or famous person, dead or alive, who would it be and why?
Denis: I would like to meet with Pushkin and save him from that stupid duel. Also I’d like to spend a couple of days getting drunk with the hussars!
Daniil: I love comedians so I would like to talk to Mark Normand.
What do you like and dislike about getting older?
Denis: I don’t like the decline in my biological functions, the ability to adapt to metabolic stress is decreasing. The good part about getting older is that your intellect takes over your hormones.
Daniil: Everything is good about it. It’s cool to be an adult (altought it’s important to keep the functions of a child in you).
In your opinion, what is the next stage of your life?
Denis: My horoscope tells me the following: just aim at running and raking. The situation is aggravated by the fact that luck will follow through in all directions: both in my professional and personal life. It’s time to burst. And it’s all because ofMars, which controls the representatives of the zodiac sign Aries. This year its exalted (activator) the Sun will dominate the celestial theater of events. Suppressed by Earth in terms of aggression and cruelty, Mars, nevertheless, under the influence of the Sun, will increase the energy fluids of pressure and tireless dynamics. This will lead to the fact that in 2019 you, dear Aries, will recover almost instantly after any tension: physically, intellectually and emotionally. So everything should be okay!
Daniil: I don’t divide life into certain stages, but afterwards I go, ‘oh, that was a stage’. But always when it’s already over.
Wha’ts the wisest thing you’ve heard?
Denis: Better safe than sorry.
Daniil: Keep putting one foot in front of the other.
You get back what you put out.
What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen in your life?
Denis Well, this is easy:
Not a book or a museum,
Will replace our friends,
A human is a mystery
A mystery and an answer
Nothing is as interesting in the world
As a human being!
Nothing is an insteresting,
Nothing in the world.
Daniil: It’s probably nature. I recall the Zion National Park. Or a panoramic view of some coastal city. Or the sea. Recently I saw Greenland from the airplane’s illuminator. And sometimes you see such places in your dreams and you feel as if you’ve always lived in that unreal beauty and you can’t even describe it with words.
What was the most memorable gig you’ve been to as part of an audience?
Denis: A children’s play of Buratino and the Christmas trees in the Kremlin.
Daniil: Well, this is easy since we rarely attend concerts, so they are all memorable. I can credit Duran Duran, Porches, Frank Ocean. I also unexpectedly went to Elton John’s last concert in Los Angeles. Maybe I could remember a few more…
If you could only choose one song to play every time you walked into a room for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Denis: Johnny Cash – Hurt.
Daniil: Оh… You’d get fed up with any song, but I’ll go for “True Colors” by Cindy Lauper. Although wait, it’s too sad. Let it be Africa by TOTO. On repeat.
If you had the chance to switch genders for 24 hours, what would you do with that time?
Denis: I’d try to win “Miss Universe”.
Daniil: Depends if I would stay in my own life or if I had a different one. If it would be my life then I would prank my friends and acquintances and watch their reactions.
If you had to make a choice between music and sex, what would you choose?
Denis: Ben and Jerry’s icecream.
Daniil: Music, I’m afraid.
What’s your own favourite music video and tell us a little about the process of making it.
Denis: Hot Summer + July. I like it more than others because we dance there, and dancing is sincerity, I believe in the language of dance!
Daniil: 90 – this is probably the most important music video in terms of filming, it took a lot of effort. We worked on the screenplay for a year and a half. We’ve spent a lot of manpower and money. The result was good. The rest of our videos were made without our active participation, or with a much smaller volume of costs.
But wait, no, YAHTBMF was also memorable in terms of bringing it to life. There was a whole tale with those planes. In general, all the videos shot by Leyla turned out to be cool and the process itself was always fascinating.
What are your favorite music videos overall?
1)The Smiths – Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before
2)R.E.M. – Losing My Religion
3) Wham! – Last Christmas
4)Pompeya – 90
5) Prince – Purple Rain
Tom Petty – Face In The crowd
Martika – Toy Soldiers
Simply Red – Holding Back The Years
ToTo – Africa
A HA – crying in the rain
the cure – just like heaven
Peter Gabrielle – Shock The monkey
And this is just the beginning of my list.
Could you share an absurd and useless piece of information with us?
Denis: You can find such information in my previous answers.
Daniil: In England there is a hotel that offers a yoga service with lemurs, and in Moscow there is a cafe with hedgehogs.
What question would you like to be asked in an interview and what would your answer be?
Denis: What did the victorians use to produce their tie pins? My answer: a badger’s penis.
You’ve had a lot of interviews, what was the most memorable question you were asked?
Denis: The one about the tie pins.
Translation: Elena Savlokhova