Interview: Ljubov Dzuzhynska
Vocals – Nikolay Komiagin
Guitar, Synthesizer – Aleksandr Galianov
Drums, Sampling – Pavel Lesnikov
Guitar, Bass, Accordion – Aleksandr Ionin
Drums, Percussion – Danila Kholodkov
If Shortparis were a church, then the parishioners would never miss a single service of worship. Even the saints would have voluntarily fallen.
May those hear who do not hear, May those see who do not see. Even the empty-spirited shall be touched. It was by far the most memorable performance in my life.
The only thing that had me worried during the gig was whether the drummer is going to die.
The only thing that I’ve desired was for the vocalist to never stop his mesmerising movements. If I had to answer what moment I would want to cycle over and over in my life I would definitely choose to put this concert on loop, for the moment it ended was too sorrowful.
Are you talented or are you obsessed?
Aleksandr Galianov: Of course obsessed.
Nikolay Komiagin: Anything, but talented.
If you had the opportunity to travel back in time, where would you go?
Danila Kholodkov: New York in the late sixties. The origin and formation of the punk scene. Deep Wound. It turned out that the entire wave was actually born there.The Sex Pistols in England only appeared afterwards.
Nikolay Komiagin: Why would you want to be a part of a culture that already exists? Create your own here and now so that later in the year 2050 someone would say: “I’d like to go back to the year 2017 in St. Petersburg. A wave was born there”.
Danila Kholodkov: Yeah. But I’d still want to travel to the sixties. It was cooler than cool over there.
Aleksandr Galianov: It seems to me that it’s way cooler to travel back into antiquity. To Athens during the times of Socrates. The movement that was born back then was way more sophisticated.
Aleksandr Ionin: What would be even better is to travel 24 hours into the past. My bet is that everyone likes “Groundhog Day” better than the sixties or antiquity. To live in that film for one day and then relive it would be something I would do. The second time would be cooler.
Nikolay Komiagin: I’d go back to being 7-8 years and the courtyard where I grew up. Zapsib – it’s a small neighbourhood in Novokuznetsk. There were 4 houses situated opposite each other and a few poplars. The fellas played soccer or stuck knives into the ground. The happiest thing was when someone told you that your way of sticking knives was cool. We called it making a ‘tank’. I’d like to go back to that.
But would you like to go back with the consciousness that you currently have?
Nikolay Komiagin: For sure.
What moment would you like to relive over and over again?
Aleksandr Galianov: Definitely not the first time I’ve had sex.
Aleksandr Ionin: Probably death. Imagine reliving the last minute before death. Over and over again.
Aleksandr Galianov: That happened in “Futurama”.
Aleksandr Ionin: I’ve never seen it.
Nikolay Komiagin: How Danya caught a trout in Kharkov. For the record, Danya caught two trouts today. Alyona cooked them nicely.
Danila Kholodkov: It was very-very tasty.
Nikolay Komiagin: We had fish in our bellies when we were on stage.
Danila Kholodkov: And three hours before that the fish was fighting for its life in the grip of my hands.
A story of a person who inspires you.
Danila Kholodkov: Currently at this stage of my life I am inspired by Nikolay.
Nikolay Komiagin: Because you owe me some hryvnias?
Danila Kholodkov: He inspires me with his maturity, masculinity and leadership qualities. Whenever I’m going through a rough patch I always think about what would Kolya have done in this or that situation. It helps me grow up. Thank you, Nikolay! It’s all true. I hope I’m doing ok.
Aleksandr Galianov: What about Shokalsky?
Danila Kholodkov: It’s actually his birthday today. The boy has grown. Now I can’t call him a kid anymore for the remainder of the year. We are currently the same age but in December I will be able to call him a kid again. For another half a year. The level of entertainment in my life is over the top.
Nikolay Komiagin: I’ll probably go with Francis of Assisi.
Aleksandr Galianov: I didn’t have enough time to think.
Nikolay Komiagin: For you it’s Socrates? Diogones?
Aleksandr Galianov: Alexander Piatigorsky.
Nikolay Komiagin: Yeah, on tour we listen to Piatigorsky’s lectures in our headphones before going to bed, especially Sasha.
Aleksandr Ionin: In my case it’s difficult to name one person so there shall be no answer.
What do people tend to overcomplicate?
Nikolay Komiagin: Answers to questions.
Aleksandr Galianov: Their own life.
Tell us a funny or awkward story from your life.
Nikolay Komiagin: Every single day!
Danila Kholodkov: Forgive us, it’s a sensitive subject.
Nikolay Komiagin: We still have a kaleidoscope in our heads so I can’t even pick anything from this wondrous list.
Danila Kholodkov: The vivid impressions of this tour. The story of how everyone went to Minsk. Except me.
Aleksandr Galianov: There was this awkard situation when Danila and Aleksandr missed the Intercity train from Kiev to Lvov. We basically lost them. They just didn’t come to the train station. They were supposed to be at the promoter’s apartment but it turned out they were in arms reach from our hotel rooms. But we couldn’t even reach them by phone.
Danila Kholodkov: We were next door.
Nikolay Komiagin: You were watching soccer all night.
Aleksandr Galianov: They were just sleeping a few meters away.
Danila Kholodkov: Sasha and I used Bla Bla Car and ended up getting a lift in a BMW X5. The conditions were as comfortable as one can imagine. The rest of the fellas travelled seated in that Ukrainian ‘swallow’ while we were napping in the car.
Aleksandr Ionin: You should add more special effects to this answer so that it would seem like the funniest story ever.
What excites you the most in your field of activity?
Aleksandr Galianov: Music and sex are very alike.
Aleksandr Ionin: As said in one rap song of one modern Russian band that lost its relevance: “The most terrible and beautiful things are in our hands darling”. The fact that it’s a product that we create ourselves is probably the most exciting thing.
Aleksandr Galianov: Discovering oneself – that’s what Sasha means. You find yourself in music, as if in a mirror.
Aleksandr Ionin: A startup. Handmade. If you won’t want it – nothing comes out of it. Leave the band. If you have the desire to write a song then just do it. That’s what’s cool about it.
What truth have you learned after all these years you’ve lived?
Aleksandr Ionin: The scariest things are the most beautiful things.
Nikolay Komiagin: Not enough time. Do people actually answer these questions in a serious manner?
Danila Kholodkov: I’ll say this: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”.
Nikolay Komiagin: I think when we start answering such questions without irony then shoot us as if we are a dead horse.
Aleksandr Ionin: Ah come on. It’s a normal thing to know some truth. Some kind of truth.
Danila Kholodkov: To know means to understand. Why don’t you advocate this truth?
Aleksandr Ionin: Knowing is ok too. So let’s not shoot anyone. We still didn’t learn it.
Nikolay Komiagin: If I’ve learned how to twist the ball in table tennis then could it be the truth?
Pavel Lesnikov: Well why don’t you talk about it.
If you had to eliminate either sex or music from your life, what would you say no to?
Danila Kholodkov: But why?
Aleksandr Ionin: I’ll start crying now.
Nikolay Komiagin: To hell with you. I’ll go with sex. Hey why are you guys silent? You have to follow my lead. I’m the leader, dammit.
Danila Kholodkov: Go ahead. Tell us about your impressions afterwards.
Aleksandr Galianov: I think the whole point is to give up both music and sex. Most likely this is called depression.
Aleksandr Ionin: It’s an abstract question. We won’t be able to refuse both.
Nikolay Komiagin: Abstained.
What book would you suggest us to read?
Aleksandr Galianov: Absalom Podvodny “Tractats”.
Aleksandr Ionin: I’d suggest to myself to read the Bible.
Danila Kholodkov: I’d suggest everyone to read the Bible.
Pavel Lesnikov: I kind of don’t read books.
Nikolay Komiagin: I’d go with Vvedensky and his work “God is possibly all around”.
Did a stranger ever change your life?
Aleksandr Galianov: We are all strangers.
Nikolay Komiagin: It seems to me that Vladimir Putin might be that stranger.
Aleksandr Galianov: I’ve heard a bear walk nearby in the woods once. We were searching for a friend who got lost in a gorge for an entire day. It was in the Altai mountains and some huntsmen joined us. It was scary.
Aleksandr Ionin: Also Nikolay mentioned his childhood in Novokuznetsk. Sometimes strangers flew into our lives like comets. They were a bit older and tried to ask for our money and then flew further. Probably they’ve influenced us in some way and left a trace behind.
Nikolay Komiagin: This will probably sound off topic but I’d like to mention how Aleksandr walked around Novokuznetsk holding a hammer.
Aleksandr Ionin: It happened just once.
Nikolay Komiagin: But it was so spectactular.
Aleksandr Ionin: This random hammer stroll illustrates our entire youth.
Nikolay Komiagin: It’s that previously mentioned pleasant and fleeting interaction with a stranger holding a hammer in his hands.
Aleksandr Ionin: You’ve added special effects. They came out of the blue..
Nikolay Komiagin: The hammer is like the stranger.
Things you can’t unthink.
Aleksandr Ionin: Music, sex. I want to refuse. I will think about why Kolya answered that question the way he did all my life now.
What interview question would you like to answer?
Nikolay Komiagin: It all depends. Usually you come to an interview with some experience of concern and you want to share it with the interviewer. This time everything that was meant to be said was said during the performance. I’ve answered your question on stage.
Let me share an example. Every time I move on stage, I emanate from the rhythm that I hear. As cheesy as it may sound, I absorb every blow of the drum. It strikes me in my gut and my body reacts. And every time my movements are circumstantial and unpredictable. At times Pavel plays differently and I fall when expecting some kind of beats. The intellectual charge that we carry within ourselves is each time an answer, a reaction to a certain happening. As if these occurrences are like traps in the surroundings of any given day. But today we’ve already been through all those traps. So at this moment I have nothing to say because I am empty. As sang in one famous song of Shortparis.
We’ve never been to St. Petersburg. What is your advice on where not to go and what not to do?
Nikolay Komiagin: I wish we could make a GIF of the current facial expressions of the guys and post it instead of the answer.
Danila Kholodkov: You shouldn’t go to Dumskaya but it’s my personal opinion. The band’s opinion might differ.
Aleksandr Galianov: I’ve also thought about it, by the way.
Danila Kholodkov: If I were asked which place I dislike the most, I would answer Dumskaya. People shoot or stab others, sing karaoke 24/7. The central station is there as well as a few gay clubs without a sign. And some shitty clubs in general. It’s a place for tourists in the manner of a cliche ‘must-do thing in St. Petersburg’. But there are many similar streets with lots of bars and these places are way nicer. Dumskaya depicts St. Petersburg in an unpleasant manner. People who hang there are also unpleasant.
Nikolay Komiagin: I think this answer is rather banal.
Aleksandr Ionin: We can edit it later.
Nikolay Komiagin: An aesthetically banal answer. Like someone from St. Petersburg, Danya is trying to protest the stereotypes around it. Just like people from Odessa were protesting the stereotypes that we hung on to a few days ago when we were visiting the city. Like someone not from St. Petersburg I’d advise you not to come there at all.
Danila Kholodkov: The perfect end of the tour is a new venue that is even better than the previous one. As if you take by storm a performance on a next level. It’s such a thrill.
Nikolay Komiagin: We’ve already been to all the cities we’re touring now. We’ve had an amazing gig in Lvov, which rocked even better than a similar show in St. Petersburg. Once we performed in a strip-bar and it was a mini failure. We didn’t manage to fully convey the intended meaning. Half-naked women danced to Orthodox tunes and one would think that it was actually all great. I could pretty much say: “Once I performed at a strip-bar where women took off their clothes to my Orthodox greek singing while our backs were facing the audience”. Sounds dope, right? I hope it does. Only it’s the case when words overpower the actions. In fact, the whole experience was a failure. So this time we played in a strip-bar in Lvov again and everything was just exquisitely elegant, stylish, with taste and beyond taste. Real art is beyond taste. An astonishing lady danced without taking her clothes off and this time it was so much better. I was very pleased with the result. I’ve fulfilled an idea that was a cripple, a lost child. Just like Plato teaches that an idea requires its fulfillment. I’ve found a physical form into which my idea has entered. Its birth was a success.
Aleksandr Ionin: Our band is meant for stadiums. In case someone didn’t know. We haven’t reached the culmination yet. Stay tuned for future news.
Nikolay Komiagin: In reality we’re just waiting for Vakarchuk to give us a call.
Danila Kholodkov: I’ve been waiting for his call all my life.
– Danya, everything is okay. You are doing great.
– Thank you, father.
It would be pleasing to hang up afterwards.
Aleksandr Ionin: Today an Airborne force soldier told us about ‘Mivina’ on the train. We’ve never tried it though.
Nikolay Komiagin: Another example of a stranger who entered our lives.
Aleksandr Galianov: His name was Maksim.
Translation: Elena Savlokhova